[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Total, Suez, Areva to build two nuclear plants in Abu Dhabi

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Mon Jan 14 10:17:52 CST 2008


Total, Suez, Areva to build two nuclear plants in Abu Dhabi
Nuclear safety expert Herbert Kouts dies
French offer Saudi nuclear energy help
Nuclear giant Areva renews deal with Niger
Temelín nuclear power plant - one of unusual tourist attractions
A chance for nuclear industry to clean up its act
India, China sign joint statement
Nuclear fallout: Scotland slams Westminster's energy plans
With Nuclear Rebirth Come New Worries
Israel says all options open to stop Iran going nuclear

Total, Suez, Areva to build two nuclear plants in Abu Dhabi

PARIS (AFP) - French nuclear giant Areva, oil company Total and 
utility group Suez have reached agreement on plans to build two next 
generation nuclear power plants in Abu Dhabi, Total said Monday.

A Total spokeswoman said the two plants would be based on the third-
generation system developed by Areva, the world's largest nuclear 
power group.

A statement on the deal is due shortly, the spokeswoman added.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday started a three-nation 
tour of Gulf Arab states, having offered to share France's expertise 
in civilian nuclear technology with the Islamic world.

During a stop in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, France and the United Arab 
Emirates are to sign a framework accord for cooperation in developing 
civilian nuclear energy, a source close to talks between the two 
governments said earlier.

Amid concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions and growing regional 
clout, the six Arab monarchies of the Gulf decided in December 2006 
to develop a joint nuclear technology programme for peaceful uses.

On the bourse Monday, Areva was up 0.78 percent at 708 euros while 
Total added 1.21 percent to 57.72 euros, helped by news of the deal 
on an otherwise flat market.

Suez, however, was down 2.24 percent to 45.37 euros, hit by news of a 
large sale of the company's stock.

Nuclear safety expert Herbert Kouts dies

NEW YORK, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A U.S. pioneer in nuclear safety, Dr. 
Herbert J. Kouts, has died in an East Patchogue, N.Y., hospital at 
the age of 88, his family announced.

Daughter Catherine Sigmon told the New York Times her father died 
Jan. 7 of congestive heart failure and complications from a fall.

Among his accomplishments after serving in World War II, he 
established the Reactor Shielding Group at the Brookhaven National 
Laboratory, in Upton, N.Y., in 1945, the Times said.

In the early 1970s, he was director of reactor safety research at the 
Atomic Energy Commission and maintained that position in the 
successor organization, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

He was among the experts Congress asked for testimony in 1981 when 
the Israeli air force destroyed a small nuclear reactor being built 
by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. In 1983, New York Gov. Mario Cuomo 
named him to a commission to study the safety of the Shoreham nuclear 
reactor facility being built on Long Island Sound.

Kouts is survived by his wife, two daughters, three stepsons, a 
sister, a half-sister, and nine grandchildren.

French offer Saudi nuclear energy help

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - France's president offered Saudi Arabia help 
in exploring a possible civilian nuclear energy program as the French 
leader began a visit to the oil-rich kingdom on Sunday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and King Abdullah also signed agreements on 
oil and gas and political cooperation at the start of the visit. 
Sarkozy also intended to press the leader of the world's top oil 
producer for lower prices of crude, which reached a record high of 
$100 a barrel this month, according to a French diplomat.

The Saudis want to buy more helicopters, ships, and submarines from 
the French as well as get help revamping border security systems. 
They also want to tap French expertise on railway construction as 
Saudi looks to build a TGV fast train link between the holy cities of 
Mecca and Medina, as well as a subway in the capital Riyadh.

Sarkozy offered the king the services of France's Atomic Energy 
Commission to explore the possibilities of a civil nuclear energy 
program in Saudi Arabia, the president's office said.

The trip is Sarkozy's third to the Middle East in three weeks and 
during a December visit to Egypt, Sarkozy also expressed France's 
willingness to assist Egypt in the nuclear field.

France was to sign a nuclear cooperation accord with the United Arab 
Emirates during Sarkozy's upcoming visit there Tuesday, the French 
leader told the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat in an interview published 
last week.

The accord for cooperation in civilian nuclear activities, a first 
step toward building a nuclear reactor, would be the third France has 
signed recently with Arab nations, after Libya and Algeria.

"I have often said that the Muslim world is no less reasonable than 
the rest of the world in seeking civilian nuclear (power) for its 
energy needs, in full conformity with international security 
obligations," Sarkozy told the London-based Al-Hayat.

Building nuclear reactors for civilian use for these countries would 
mean lucrative contracts for France, which generates most of its own 
electricity from nuclear power.

During his visit, Sarkozy planned to tell his hosts it was in the 
interest of both producers and consumers to lower the price of oil, a 
French diplomat said on condition of anonymity because he was not 
authorized to discuss the matter.

Nuclear giant Areva renews deal with Niger

PARIS (AFP) - French nuclear giant Areva announced a deal with Niger 
on Sunday fixing uranium prices for the next two years and green-
lighting production at the billion-euro (1.5-billion-dollar) 
Imouraren site.

The agreement marks a return to harmonious relations with the west 
African state after authorities deported a local manager in July amid 
accusations Areva was financing a Tuareg rebel group in an alleged 
bid to discourage competitors.

Shortly afterwards, the Niger government -- seeking to exploit 
skyrocketing prices -- announced an end to Areva's monopoly in the 

Areva denied the allegations, with the backing of the French 
government, which supplies eight million euros in aid annually to 

The Imouraren site is expected to begin production at the end of 
2010, while increases of around 50 percent in the price Areva will 
pay to extract the precious ore have also been set in stone, 
according to the company's website.

Imouraren will lift Niger to second in the uranium-producing world 
rankings with almost 5,000 tons of uranium produced annually and 
create 1,400 permanent posts, said an Areva spokesman.

Areva is Niger's top private employer and has operated two uranium 
mines in the country for the past 40 years.

Temelín nuclear power plant - one of the country´s more unusual 
tourist attractions

The southern Bohemian nuclear power plant Temelín has long been a 
thorn in the side of anti-nuclear activists. Its operator, the power 
utility CEZ, insists that the Soviet-designed plant is perfectly safe 
and is now working to improve its image. It has launched an 
advertising campaign to attract visitors to its information centre, 
which seems to be bearing fruit, as Jana Gribbinová from the power 
plant explains:

Temelín nuclear power plant Temelín nuclear power plant
"Last year was very successful for us, we had nearly 27,000 visitors, 
which is the highest number we have had since we opened the visitor 
centre, and compared with the figures for 2006, it´s up 10%."
And what sort of visitors did you get last year, were there lots of 
school groups for example, and were there lots of foreigners?
"More than half of the visitors are students of primary or secondary 
schools, or of universities. These are mostly organized groups, and 
we have special programmes for them, based on the age of the 
students. Most of the visitors are Czech, but about 7% of our 
visitors are foreign. Most of them are from Austria and Germany, but 
we also have some visitors from more exotic countries like Guinea, 
India, Yemen and Japan."

Maybe at first glance, a factory isn´t the most exciting place to 
visit, so how is it that you have visitors coming from these exotic, 
far-flung places?

Temelín nuclear power plant Temelín nuclear power plant
"Three years ago we started a very intensive advertising campaign to 
promote our information centre. We cooperate with the Southern 
Bohemian Tourist Authority, and with 13 information centres in 
southern Bohemia. We produce and distribute information and 
invitations to the plant which can be found on the internet, and in 
these southern Bohemian towns."

But do you also think that maybe a lot of the bad press that Temelin 
gets attracts people to come and see for themselves?
"Yes, of course. Interest in the Temelín nuclear plant information 
centre is connected with the worldwide intensive discussion about 
nuclear energy. The Czech Republic is no exception, and so people are 
coming to see what it´s like and how it works."

Information Center Information Center
Can I ask you now about the visitor experience which you offer? What 
can a visitor to Temelín expect to see?

"There are organized tours with a guide who explains what it is that 
you are looking at etc. There are different models, different 
photographs, and we have a cinema in which you can see a documentary 
about Temelín. There´s a virtual visit to the power plant, and 
there´s also a three-dimensional film. And apart from all the 
technical information, the visitor can also visit different art 

Are there some questions that people most frequently ask, what is it 
about Temelin that people are generally most interested in?
"The most frequent question is whether Temelín is safe or not. We can 
prove that there is absolutely no problem, and that Temelín is one of 
the safest nuclear power plants in the whole world."

A chance for nuclear industry to clean up its act

The Candu advantage 

Thestar.com- If the DUPIC (direct use of spent pressurized water 
reactor fuel in Candus) process Canada has been working on with South 
Korea proves commercially viable, it could solve many problems for 
the nuclear industry:

Countries with existing and new light-water reactors could use the 
spent uranium fuel in those reactors on a separate fleet of Candus, 
meaning less consumption of new uranium fuel.

When the spent light-water fuel is run through a Candu, it packs two 
times the amount of energy as when the original fuel was used.

Turning spent light-water fuel into usable fuel in the DUPIC process 
only requires mechanical separation and repackaging, a more 
proliferation resistant process than the so-called "wet chemical" 
approach used to re-enrich spent fuel.

Finally, when the spent fuel is recycled and used in a Candu reactor, 
more of the dangerous radioactive materials are burned away, meaning 
less bad stuff to handle when it does eventually go into long-term 

Defining what is and isn't "clean technology" can sometimes be a 
challenging exercise, particularly when talking about nuclear energy.

As a form of power generation, nuclear reactors generate virtually no 
greenhouse gas emissions and, for that reason, are pitched by many as 
crucial in our battle against climate change. But nuclear, which 
produces highly radioactive fuel waste that remains dangerous for 
thousands of years, could hardly be called a friend to the 

Hence the problem: Do we consider nuclear energy a clean technology 
in an age determined to halt global warming, or do we ignore it 
because of its other - quite significant - environmental 

Can it be ignored? Sure, one can protest the construction of a new 
nuclear plant in southern Ontario, only to look at China's plan to 
build 30 reactors by 2020. If you're hardcore anti-nuclear, it's a 
depressing thought.

Personally, I'm not a fan of either nuclear or coal, but forced to 
take the lesser of both evils I'd likely choose nuclear. And since 
many of these decisions are happening outside of our province and 
country, I do see room for clean-technology innovation within the 
nuclear industry as a way to keep waste and proliferation issues in 

Last Friday, federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. announced 
it had signed an agreement with the Nuclear Power Institute of China 
to collaborate on the "design, research, development and 
demonstration" of what was termed "low uranium consumption Candu 

Within this, they specifically referred to "recycling recovered 
uranium from spent Pressurized Water Reactors fuel."

Reading between the lines, this is a potentially important 
development. Last February I wrote a story about the ability of 
AECL's Candu reactors to use the spent fuel from rival light-water 
reactors as fuel. The process is called DUPIC (direct use of spent 
pressurized water reactor fuel in Candus).

Canada, in partnership with South Korea, has been working on the 
process for 15 years, and has made some significant progress. If it 
ever does prove commercially viable, it could solve many problems 
(see "The Candu" at right).

Jerry Hopwood, AECL's vice-president of reactor development, calls 
the agreement with China a "step towards DUPIC."

China, he says, already relies on nuclear power and has big plans to 
expand, but it also has to import most of its uranium. "So they're 
very conscious of being fuel efficient."

Hopwood says the initial work with Chinese nuclear authorities won't 
be around DUPIC directly. Current methods for recycling spent light-
water fuel results in some recovered uranium that can't economically 
be put back into light-water reactors. AECL is helping China on plans 
to use that uranium in its two existing Candu reactors.

"This is not as high-tech a solution as the DUPIC solution, but it 
will pave the way toward what we believe to be the ultimate, which is 
the DUPIC cycle," says Hopwood. "Chinese authorities have recognized 
the value of this, and are very interested in working with us."

There are lots of light-water reactors in the United States, too.

AECL's competitors, as you would expect, are down on DUPIC. "This is 
a scientifically exciting and industrially unrealistic technology," 
says one executive at a rival reactor firm.

But even Westinghouse, one of the "Big 3" reactor suppliers, 
recognizes DUPIC's potential. In a patent filed in 2005, describing a 
new ceramic tube design for holding nuclear fuel, Westinghouse touted 
how the innovation could lower the cost of using the process, and 
"make the DUPIC cycle commercially viable."

Peter Mason, president and CEO of GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada 
Inc., called DUPIC an "exciting opportunity" in an interview last 
fall. "Certainly the industry is looking at it," he said.

In fact, several sources say AECL is an attractive acquisition target 
partly because of DUPIC, particularly within the context of U.S. 
President George W. Bush's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), 
which Canada joined in December.

The initiative aims to develop a nuclear fuel cycle that enhances 
global energy security while promoting non-proliferation. This means 
that uranium-supplying countries, such as Canada, would be 
responsible for taking back and recycling used fuel.

Energy consultant Steve Aplin wonders whether the Canadian government 
appreciates the role DUPIC could play in GNEP. "I don't know if 
(Prime Minister) Harper is sending lobbyists to Washington to push 
this, but if it's viable he should."

Hopwood, meanwhile, points out that it's still very early days for 
GNEP. "From AECL's point of view, and Canada's point of view, we 
think DUPIC should be considered a part of it."

AECL is at a crossroads. According to a recent report from the 
federal Auditor General, the company will spend at least $400 million 
by the time it completes the design of its third-generation Advanced 
Candu Reactor - assuming it can. The window of opportunity to sell 
this reactor is closing, and it's no sure thing Ontario will buy it.

What this means for taxpayers is $400 million potentially down the 

The federal government faces a big decision. Throw more money at AECL 
so it can start on a fourth-generation reactor it may never sell, or 
recognize that AECL's best chance is to specialize in something the 
others don't do.

DUPIC is unique, and has the potential to solve many problems in a 
nuclear energy market increasingly dominated by light-water reactors. 
It also gives existing and new Candu 6 reactors a chance to at least 
minimize the environmental risk we're forced to live with. Canada 
would corner the market.

If we were really bold? The government would declare that by 2020, or 
some achievable date, every Candu reactor in service will generate 
power exclusively from recycled light-water fuel.

It might not be "cleantech" for some, and may go against the 
principles of others. But it's sure better than the status quo, and 
it gives AECL a better excuse to soak up taxpayer money. 

India, China sign joint statement

Monday, January 14, 2008 (Beijing)
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao have 
signed a six page joint statement that both leaders described as a 
shared vision of the twenty first century.

For the Indian delegation the centerpiece of the joint statement 
seems to be a mention that there will be civil nuclear cooperation 
between the two countries.

The statement though says nothing about what position China would 
take at the Nuclear Suppliers Group on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

When India's Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon was asked whether 
China will support India on the nuclear deal at the NSG, he replied 
that India is not asking the question right now, but China's pledge 
of bilateral cooperation is a positive sign.

The joint statement also says that the India-China relationship is 
not targeted at any other country, and that China supports India's 
aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations, including 
in the Security Council.

On the other hand India has reiterated the fact that it would 
continue to abide by its one China policy.

The boundary talks have not made any visible progress but Dr Manmohan 
Singh has called them useful, and both sides say, peace will be 
maintained on the borders until a settlement is reached.

PM talks business

The most concrete progress seems to be on the business front; 
bilateral trade will now target $60 billion by 2010. The earlier 
target was $40 billion.

An announcement is also expected allowing India based Jet Airways to 
use Shanghai as a transit hub.

After official level talks with his counterpart Wen Jiabao Dr 
Manmohan Singh said: ''A high end business forum will be created. The 
commerce ministers have been given authority to study feasibility of 
regional trading arrangement or RTA, and the second round of India-
China military exercises to be held in India this year.''

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is on a three-
day visit to China also addressed the India-China economic summit.

Singh spoke of increasing trade to China but also hinted that it 
needed to simplify rules and regulations governing trade.

He also continued on his theme that the two countries could both 
compete and cooperate.

The PM has urged Indian business to diversify its ''export basket '' 
to China.

He also said that the Indian and Chinese government should work 
together to ''remove administrative barriers and simplify regulatory 

The PM has said both countries should develop a strategic plan for 
the future so that there is a vision for ''economic cooperation.''

He further said both should learn from each other's markets and 
management styles, and that competition is not inconsistent with co-

Nuclear fallout: Scotland slams Westminster's energy plans

Scottish leaders have distanced themselves from the decision in 
Westminster to push ahead with a new generation of nuclear power 
stations and stressed the northern nation's potential to meet more of 
its energy needs with renewable sources.

Nuclear no thanks: Dounreay is unpopular with Scots.

With its vast tracts of relatively sparsely populated land and 
lengthy coastline, Scotland has traditionally housed more than its 
share of Britain's nuclear installations.

But John Swinney, the Scottish Executive's Cabinet Secretary for 
Finance and Sustainable Growth, reassured his countrymen that 
Edinburgh had thrashed out a deal with Gordon Brown's government 
which meant that none of the proposed nuclear build would take place 
north of the border.

"The UK Energy Bill provisions on nuclear power do not extend to 
Scotland," said Mr Swinney.

"This is a great success for the Scottish Government.

"New statistics show that Scotland in 2006 supplied 92.5% of its 
energy needs from fossil fuels, renewables and pumped hydro storage.

"The risks and uncertainties of new nuclear power, in terms of waste 
disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are 
obviously far too great.

"Our agenda is clear - Scotland does not want or need new nuclear 
power. We have massive potential for alternative clean, green energy.

"The installed renewables generating capacity already exceeds that of 
nuclear. In 2006, overall electricity generation in Scotland 
increased by nearly a tenth, while electricity generated from nuclear 
power in Scotland decreased by a quarter.

"Through the further development of new technologies, like carbon 
capture and storage, we can build a low carbon future without having 
to deal with the legacy of toxic radioactive for thousands of years.

"And nuclear will not only come at a cost to the development of new 
technologies, it will hit consumers in the pocket. Scots now face the 
prospect of increased electricity prices to fund the decommissioning 
of English nuclear power stations.

"Charges on suppliers to pay for future decommissioning will be 
passed on to consumers - Scotland will pay for this folly, despite 
our clear position on resisting new nuclear power. 

With Nuclear Rebirth Come New Worries

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Global warming and rocketing oil prices are 
making nuclear power fashionable, drawing a once demonized industry 
out of the shadows of the Chernobyl disaster as a potential shining 
knight of clean energy.

Britain is the latest to recommit itself to the energy source, with 
its government announcing support Thursday for the construction of 
new nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants produce around 20 
percent of Britain's electricity, but all but one are due to close by 

However, some countries hopping on the nuclear bandwagon have abysmal 
industrial safety records and corrupt ways that give many pause for 

China has 11 nuclear plants and plans to bring more than 30 others 
online by 2020. And a Massachusetts Institute of Technology report 
projects that it may need to add as many as 200 reactors by 2050.

Of the more than 100 nuclear reactors now being built, planned or on 
order, about half are in China, India and other developing nations. 
Argentina, Brazil and South Africa plan to expand existing programs; 
and Vietnam, Thailand, Egypt and Turkey are among the countries 
considering building their first reactors.

The concerns are hardly limited to developing countries. Japan's 
nuclear power industry has yet to recover from revelations five years 
ago of dozens of cases of false reporting on the inspections of 
nuclear reactor cracks.

The Swedish operators of a German reactor came under fire last summer 
for delays in informing the public about a fire at the plant. And a 
potentially disastrous partial breakdown of a Bulgarian nuclear 
plant's emergency shutdown mechanism in 2006 went unreported for two 
months until whistle-blowers made it public.

Nuclear transparency will be an even greater problem for countries 
such as China that have tight government controls on information. 
Those who mistrust the current nuclear revival are still haunted by 
the 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor and the Soviet Union's 
attempts to hide the full extent of the catastrophe. Further back in 
the collective memory is the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 
Pennsylvania in 1979.

The revival, the International Atomic Energy Agency projects, means 
that nuclear energy could nearly double within two decades to 691 
gigawatts - 13.3 percent of all electricity generated.

"We are facing a nuclear renaissance," Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of the 
French nuclear energy firm Areva, told an energy conference. 
"Nuclear's not the devil any more. The devil is coal."

Philippe Jamet, director of nuclear installation safety at the 
International Atomic Energy Agency, describes the industry's record 
as "second to none." Still, he says that countries new to or still 
learning about nuclear power "have to move down the learning curve, 
and they will learn from (their) mistakes."

The Vienna-based IAEA, a U.N. body, was set up in 1957 in large part 
to limit such trial and error, providing quality controls and 
expertise to countries with nuclear programs and overseeing pacts 
binding them to high safety standards.

But the agency is already stretched with monitoring Iran and North 
Korea over their suspected nuclear arms programs, and IAEA chief 
Mohamed ElBaradei says his organization cannot be the main guarantor 
of safety. The primary responsibility, he says, rests with the 
operators of a nuclear facility and their government.

Developing nations insist they are ready for the challenge. But 
worries persist that bad habits of the past could reflect on nuclear 
operational safety.

In China, for instance, thousands die annually in the world's most 
dangerous coal mines and thousands more in fires, explosions and 
other accidents often blamed on insufficient safety equipment and 
workers ignoring safety rules.

Chinese state media on Saturday reported that nearly 3,800 people 
died in mine accidents last year. While that is about 20 percent less 
than in 2006, it still leaves China's mines the world's deadliest.

A Finnish study published in 2005 said India's annual industrial 
fatality rate is 11.4 people per 100,000 workers and the accident 
rate 8,700 per 100,000 workers. Overall, Asian nations excluding 
China and India have an average industrial accident fatality rate of 
21.5 per 100,000 and an accident rate of over 16,000 per 100,000 
workers, says the report, by the Tampere University of Technology in 
Finland. The study lists a fatality rate of 5.2 people per 100,000 
for the United states and 3 per 100,000 for France.

Countries with nuclear power are obligated to report all incidents to 
the IAEA. But the study said most Asian governments vastly 
underreport industrial accidents to the U.N.'s International Labor 
Organization - fewer than 1 percent in China's case.

Separately, China and India shared 70th place in the 2006 Corruption 
Perceptions Index, published by the Transparency International think 
tank that ranked 163 nations, with the least corrupt first and the 
most last. Vietnam occupied the 111th spot, and Indonesia - which, 
like Hanoi, wants to build a nuclear reactor - came in 130th.

"Are there special concerns about the developing world? The answer is 
definitely yes," said Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia expert with the 
Australian Defence Force Academy.

Corrupt officials in licensing and supervisory agencies in the region 
could undermine the best of IAEA guidelines and oversight, Thayer 

"There could be a dropping of standards, and that affects all aspects 
of the nuclear industry, from buying the material, to processing 
applications to building and running the plant."

Issues of national pride may also come up.

A Vienna-based diplomat whose portfolio includes nuclear issues told 
the AP that in the 1990s the Canadian government offered India 
troubleshooting information for its reactors, but the Indians "did 
not want to know about it." The diplomat, who demanded anonymity in 
exchange for discussing confidential information, said: "It reflected 
the attitude that national pride is more important than safety."

The AP's efforts to obtain Indian official comment were unsuccessful.

Permanent storage of radioactive waste - which can remain toxic for 
tens of thousands of years - is another major problem, as is shutting 
nuclear plants that are no longer safe.

In China, permanent dump sites are not expected to be operational 
before 2040, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy. 
So for now, China - like India - stores the waste in temporary sites, 
usually close to reactors, where it is more vulnerable to theft and 
poses a greater environmental danger.

Nuclear proponents say new generations of reactors now on the drawing 
board come with better fail-safe mechanisms and fewer moving parts. 
But even some of these supporters are skeptical about creating the 
foolproof reactor.

Hans-Holger Rogner, head of the IAEA's planning and economic studies 
section, says he is "suspicious when people say the next (reactor) 
generation will be safer than the one we have."

Israel says all options open to stop Iran going nuclear

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel warned on Monday that all options were on 
the table in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, echoing 
Washington in ratcheting up the rhetoric against their archfoe.

"We are not ruling out any option," a senior government official 
quoted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as telling parliament's foreign 
affairs and defence committee.

"Anything that can lead to preventing Iran from nuclear capability is 
part of the legitimate context when dealing with the problem."

His comments coincide with US President George W. Bush's Middle East 
trip, which is aimed in large part at mustering the support of 
Washington's regional allies in his campaign to isolate Iran.

Both the United States and Israel say Iran is using its nuclear drive 
as a cover for efforts to build an atomic bomb, but Tehran denies the 
charges, saying its programme is aimed at generating energy for its 
growing population.

Israel is widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed 
power with an estimated 200 warheads although it has never confirmed 
or denied having an atomic arsenal.

During Bush's visit last week, Israel said it was keeping all options 
on the table if economic and diplomatic pressure failed to halt 
Tehran's nuclear programme.

"The Iranians are continuing their ingrained efforts to produce non-
conventional capabilities and therefore we should use all the 
available means to stop it," Olmert said on Monday.

"There are many options that should be applied wisely, with 
determination and consistence," he said. "We should continue 
international efforts on this issue and we have a strong basis to 
assume, in view of my talks with the president, that this activity 
will not stop."

Defence Minister Ehud Barak also said on Monday that no option is 
being removed from the table in the face of Iran's nuclear programme.

"Iran is definitely a major challenge for Israel and the world. There 
are many things that can be done regarding this threat such as 
increasing the intelligence efforts, tightening sanctions as well as 
the options that are never removed from the table," he said in 

A US intelligence report in December said that Iran halted a nuclear 
weapons programme in 2003, although Washington is still pushing for a 
new set of UN sanctions against the Islamic republic.

The UN atomic watchdog, which has been investigating Iran's nuclear 
programme for several years, said on Sunday that Tehran has agreed to 
clear up remaining questions on its activities in four weeks.

Tensions between Iran and the United States were heightened following 
a confrontation in the strategic Strait of Hormuz between Iranian 
speedboats and US warships just days before Bush began his week-long 
tour of the region.

On Sunday, Bush warned of what he called the threat to the world 
posed by the Islamic republic.

"The United States is strengthening our longstanding security 
commitments with our friends in the Gulf -- and rallying friends 
around the world to confront this danger before it is too late," he 
said in a keynote speech in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

Tehran "seeks to intimidate its neighbours with missiles and 
bellicose rhetoric," Bush said. "Iran's actions threaten the security 
of nations everywhere."

He described Iran as "today the world's leading state sponsor of 
terror" and, with Al-Qaeda, the main threat to the region's 
stability, and called on the regime in Tehran to "heed the will" of 
the people.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki retorted that Bush's 
efforts to damage Tehran's ties with its Arab neighbours were futile, 
and dismissed his tour as a "failure."
Sander C. Perle
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at cox.net 

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