The time bomb

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Since the end of the cold war, the United Nations has logged more than 800 incidents in which radioactive material has gone missing, often from poorly guarded sites. Who is taking it - and should we be worried? Julian Borger investigates.

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CIA used Swiss to thwart foreign nuclear programs: report

Monday, August 25, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Central Intelligence Agency recruited a family of Swiss engineers to help it thwart the Libyan and Iranian nuclear programs as well as an underground supply network of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, The New York Times reported on its website late Sunday.

The newspaper said the operation involved Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, who have been accused in Switzerland of dealing with rogue nations seeking nuclear equipment and expertise.

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Plutonium leak contained at ageing IAEA laboratory

Monday, August 4, 2008

VIENNA, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A small amount of plutonium leaked in an ageing International Atomic Energy Agency laboratory outside Vienna but radioactive contamination was contained to a storage area and no one was injured, the U.N. watchdog said. Last year the IAEA director warned that its main analytical lab built in 1970 was outmoded and no longer met U.N. safety standards, and he called for 27.2 million euros ($42.4 milion) in extra funding from member states to modernise it.

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Azerbaijan gets rady to go nuclear

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flush with cash from energy exports, Azerbaijan is preparing to build its first nuclear reactor. Government scientists and officials tout the project as a sign that the country is now poised to flex its research muscles, but some ecologist warn of potential risks to the health and welfare of nearby population centers.

In June, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a preliminary agreement for the construction of a 10-15 megawatt nuclear reactor outside of Baku for research purposes. The $119-million reactor will operate under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Radiation Problems, which specializes in nuclear energy research.

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Experts say Macedonia needs safe, permanent nuclear waste depot

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Macedonia, under international regulations applying to countries with nuclear waste, must construct a depot to store radioactive materials. However, opposition by residents of potential locations has thwarted the country from complying with the requirement. The struggle to find a depot site has continued for five years.

The latest case attracting public attention is that of Sopiste Municipality, outside Skopje, which refuses to allow construction of a depot on its territory. The facility would store residues from devices using radioactive elements -- such as old lightning rods or laboratory and X-ray residue. Currently, temporary dumps in unsafe urban locations, namely, the grounds of the Brazing Institute and former Radioisotope Centre, contain the country´s nuclear waste.

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Germany reports 122 'notifiable incidents' at nuclear power plants

Saturday, July 26, 2008

German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety said Saturday that 122 incidents were subject to reporting at the country's nuclear power plants last year, according to the Munich-based Focus news magazine.

Based on a seven-stage international evaluation scale (INES), 120 incidents were reported on the lowest notifiable category.

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Poland to Build Nuclear Power Plant to Avoid Electricity Deficit

Friday, July 25, 2008

WARSAW, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Poland may run out of electricity in 12 years, and after 2020 the demand for electricity will exceed its production by 30 percent, the Energy Market Agency predicted in a report on Thursday.

The report suggested that around 2030 Poland will either have to import 30 percent of required electricity or build a nuclear plant by that time, according to Polish news agency PAP.

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Nuclear incident overshadows EU environment talks

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - A water leak at Slovenia's Krsko nuclear plant threatened to overshadow European Union environment talks on Thursday, as Slovenia reassured there was no danger and fended off criticism of its handling of the case.

The accident at the plant tripped the EU's "Ecurie" early warning system on Wednesday afternoon, but some member states were initially informed that the incident was a drill.

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Slovenia shuts nuclear plant due to coolant leak

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LJUBLJANA, June 4 (Reuters) - Slovenia's only nuclear power plant was shut down on Wednesday because of a water leak but there was no impact on the environment and the situation was "fully under control", Slovenian and EU officials said.

"The plant was shut down and the leakage was located already. Now the plant will have to cool down for a day or so before the leakage can be repaired," Andrej Stritar, head of the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration, told Reuters.

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Swiss to investigate shredding of files in nuclear smuggling case

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

BERN, Switzerland: A powerful Swiss parliamentary committee is investigating why files in a high-profile nuclear smuggling case were secretly destroyed on government orders last year, officials said Tuesday.

The parliamentary committee charged with overseeing intelligence issues said it will collect further evidence on how the files were destroyed and publish a report before the fall.

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