DOE secretary approves K-25 land transfer

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. —

Congressman Zach Wamp announced this week that Oak Ridge will get a boost in its reindustrialization efforts to recruit new industry to the East Tennessee Technology Park’s Heritage Center.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman approved the land transfer of the ED-5 West parcel requested by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, Oak Ridge Economic Partnership and the city of Oak Ridge.

“This land transfer is a way that the federal government can reinvest in communities like Oak Ridge,” said Wamp, a Tennessee Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge. “By transferring unused land for private development, the Department of Energy will allow Oak Ridge partners to proactively engage companies in advanced manufacturing and other industries.”

A development plan for Heritage Center was unveiled in September 2008 as a major site for recruiting new industry to Oak Ridge at the former K-25 uranium enrichment site. With Volkswagen Group of America’s summer announcement that it will build an automotive production facility in Chattanooga, the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and other partners, including the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, want to develop new industrial facilities in an effort to attract Volkswagen’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers.

The first phase of the development will be the construction of a 50,000-square-foot speculative building that can be expanded to 100,000 square feet. This will be built on a section of Heritage Center known as ED-5.

There are two parcels on ED-5: East and West. The ED-5 East parcel had previously been transferred, but the ED-5 West parcel was preferred for this development project because the site will more readily accommodate the 50,000 square-foot footprint and its possible expansion, among other things.

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall.

http://www.oakridger.com/news/x199479569/DOE-secretary-approves-K-25-land-transfer

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Prague approves US missile base forces accord

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Russia plans to carry out four strategic missile tests by the end of 2008
©2008 Google – Map data ©2008 PPWK, Tele Atlas – Terms of Use

Prague approves US missile base forces accord

PRAGUE (AFP) — The Czech government approved Wednesday an agreement on deploying US forces at an anti-missile radar, with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek dismissing a Russian general’s threat to target the site as “nonsense.”

Topolanek told a press conference that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) would go to the Czech parliament in December at the earliest, in other words “after the US presidential elections.”

The agreement was the last hurdle before the missile shield plans, which are strongly opposed by Russia, go before parliament, but public opinion is hostile and it is not yet certain to get majority backing.

Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova announced that the government had succeeded in having many of its demands included in formal agreement.

Prague and Washington in July signed a preliminary deal to base a powerful radar system in the Czech republic to support a battery of 10 anti-missile missiles in neighbouring Poland.

Shortly before Parkanova’s announcement, a senior Russian general said Russia could point its own missiles at the Polish and Czech sites, which the United States says are designed to counter attacks by “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea.

Moscow “is obliged to take corresponding measures that prevent under any circumstances the devaluing of Russia’s nuclear deterrent,” Interfax agency quoted General Nikolai Solovtsov, head of Russia’s strategic missile forces, as saying.

While the interceptors planned for Poland could not themselves undermine Russia’s arsenal, Solovtsov said Moscow was troubled by a lack of transparency in the project.

Moscow sees the plans for new US missile defence facilities in central Europe as part of an effort to encircle Russia. The US denies this, and Topolanek rejected the latest Russian threats as “nonsense.”

“I do not intend to contribute to cold war provocation or rhetoric,” he said. “The radar is purely defensive, designed to deal with long-range missiles from rogue states,” he said.

The radar “cannot either technically or militarily be aimed at a state such as the Russian Federation, which has an arsenal of thousands of these missiles.

“This is nonsense on the technical, security and military aspects.

“The fact that the Russian administration, or rather Russian generals, use such rhetoric, with some even talking of a new cold war, gives me no pleasure, but it does not change our position in any way.

Europe needed a “defensive umbrella,” Topolanek added.

SOFA, which could be officially signed in September at NATO defence ministers’ talks in London, restricts US troops largely to the interior of the radar base, Parkanova said.

The area and buildings, on a former Soviet military base at Brdy, some 70 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of Prague, will remain Czech property, and Czech forces will be responsible for its protection and external security.

“The US military will be authorised to operate outside the radar station to maintain the discipline of their personnel, but only with the agreement and supervision of the Czech side,” Parkanova said.

UN approves India-US nuclear deal

UN approves India-US nuclear deal

TIMETABLE FOR NUCLEAR ACCORD
India's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, located 30km from Mumbai (Bombay)
Approval required from 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group
Congress to approve deal before President Bush signs it into law
All this to happen before Mr Bush’s tenure expires on 3 January 2009

UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has backed a controversial nuclear deal between India and the US, diplomats say.

Approval was granted after the agency’s 35-nation board met in the Austrian capital, Vienna, officials said.

India’s government recently survived a confidence vote over the deal, and says it is vital to meet energy demands.

Critics say the plan rewards a non-proliferation outsider. IAEA approval is a key condition for enacting it.

India must now win an unprecedented waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) later in August which would allow it to trade in sensitive nuclear materials.

The deal must also be ratified by the US Congress.

Hurdles

IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei told those present at the closed meeting that a basic inspection plan for India met agency safeguards.

NUCLEAR POWER IN INDIA
India has 14 reactors in commercial operation and nine under construction
Nuclear power supplies about 3% of India’s electricity
By 2050, nuclear power is expected to provide 25% of the country’s electricity
India has limited coal and uranium reserves
Its huge thorium reserves – about 25% of the world’s total – are expected to fuel its nuclear power programme long-term
Source: Uranium Information Center

“It satisfies India’s needs while maintaining all the agency’s legal requirements.” Talks had started on a system of extended checks, he added.

IAEA inspectors are supposed to monitor Indian nuclear reactors to ensure fuel is not diverted to military use.

The deal would allow India to enter the world market in nuclear fuel and technology – as long as it is for civilian purposes.

It had previously been banned from doing so under the terms of a 30-year embargo imposed because of its testing of atomic bombs and refusal to join the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Under the terms of the accord, India would get access to US civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

In return, Delhi would open its civilian nuclear facilities to inspection – but its nuclear weapons sites would remain off-limits.

Correspondents say that 14 of India’s 22 existing or planned reactors would come under regular IAEA surveillance if the deal goes ahead.

Delhi is under pressure from Washington to sign the accord before the US presidential elections in November.

‘Consultations’

Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon is leading a team of officials in Vienna to brief member countries of the IAEA and the NSG on the planned safeguards.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns is also in Vienna for “consultations at the IAEA relating to the nuclear deal [with India]”, according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

The US restricted nuclear co-operation with India after it first tested a nuclear weapon in 1974.

Critics of the deal say it creates a dangerous precedent – allowing India access to fuel and technology without requiring it to sign the NPT as other countries must do.

They fear assistance to India’s civil programme could free-up additional radioactive material for bomb-making purposes.

But, despite the reservations, the BBC’s Kerry Skyring in Vienna says diplomats believed IAEA approval was likely because the inspections will mean a net gain in nuclear safeguards.