Australian news, and some related international items

USA now officially seeking to send nuclear wastes back to uranium mining countries

Official: U.S. in Early Talks About Int’l Nuclear Leasing Arrangements, NYT. By HANNAH NORTHEY, August 23, 2011 Department of Energy officials have spent weeks trying to knock down reports that they have been interested in building a nuclear waste repository in Mongolia.

Now, the Obama administration is going a step further, disclosing that what DOE hopes to do is “lease” uranium from other countries, then return the spent fuel to the originating country.

A senior Obama administration official told Greenwire earlier this month that the government is in preliminary talks with several countries, including Mongolia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, about setting up commercial nuclear fuel leasing arrangements.

In one example of how a fuel leasing arrangement could work, countries with uranium reserves could mine, enrich and fabricate the material and lease it to reactor companies abroad. Spent nuclear fuel would then be sent back to the originating country, the official said.

Discussions have not touched upon what those countries would do with the waste, the official said, but the United States hopes to prevent proliferation by providing alternatives to domestic enrichment and reprocessing capabilities…..

the commercial nuclear fuel leasing arrangements the administration official discussed seem to be consistent with what some U.S. officials want to see for the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), formerly the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.
The Obama administration scrapped parts of GNEP, which was part of the George W. Bush administration’s efforts to accelerate research and development on the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in reactors (ClimateWire, Dec. 24, 2009). The partnership was seeking to create “cradle-to-grave fuel services” under a regulated market for enriched uranium, which would allow a few large countries to supply smaller ones with enriched uranium to burn in reactors, sparing them the billions of dollars needed to build facilities for uranium processing and disposal (Greenwire, Oct. 26, 2010)……

August 25, 2011 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international

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