The Nuclear Option in Uruguay
On December 5, 2008, the then-President Vazquez decreed the creation of a committee to make a feasibility study for a nuclear power reactor that would allow Uruguay to achieve nuclear generation.
Such committee, where he was included, was led by people representing both the ruling party and the opposition.
Four years after its creation, this committee obtained a million dollars from the national budget to finance their tasks, which include hiring national and international consultants services to study various subjects related to the nuclear option in Uruguay, a country with its own characteristics.
The committee so formed decided on his own to follow in principle the 19 steps advised by IAEA to begin the initial phase of study according to the publication: Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has given certain importance to this circumstance, providing sustained support for technical advice through technical cooperation projects. Thus, the IAEA developed several seminars at the highest level on issues such as the "sitting", i.e. the location of a first nuclear reactor in the country according to the conditions of a necessary geological stability, the technical industrial resources and safety among others.
To date reports have been released to the President-in-office reporting the progress of the Working Group. The conclusions are provided on various topics under study which include among others, the current state-of-the-art technology available and most suitable for the present and future situation of the electricity in the country, nuclear waste study, possible location of a first nuclear reactor, a survey of public opinion, project funding and economic and environmental impact scope. The nuclear fuel is a separate issue directly related to the technology chosen as well as the electricity-generating capacity of the first nuclear reactor. The observations on energy sovereignty are quite common in the country within stakeholders on nuclear technology being a major issue in debate. Noteworthy is the Uruguay's strategic location between two geographically and economically large countries such as Argentina and Brazil.
To be taken into account, there is also the growing regional power interconnection and especially with these two countries, whose energy complementation is real and evident even with the difficulty of having electrical frequency difference between Brazil and Uruguay, 60Hz in Brazil and 50Hz in Argentina and Uruguay.
The electricity consumption peaks have increased at an accelerated pace due to the Regional economic development by the worldwide high demand for food, being this a region that produce meat, soy, wheat, barley, high quality dairy products. The consumption peaks in winter and summer approach increasingly more and all electrical systems in the countries begin to have recurring energy crises due to climate variability that affects directly on renewable resources, especially water.
The price of electricity directly affects the level of competitiveness in industry and tourism, which could frustrate risk investments therefore the issue of the cost of energy becomes a matter of state policy. Extending the useful life of nuclear reactors to 60 years is very important in the current economic equation.
The international environmental requirements have turned more interesting the nuclear option due to the absence of greenhouse-gases emissions.
Summarizing, the option for nuclear energy in a country of 189,000 km2 like Uruguay faces additional challenges such as the dispose of resources for an initial investment of around 3,000 million dollars, plus the supervisory structures and security measures. It should also have solid technological assistance agreements, about the supply of materials, components and fuel, electricity export and final destination of nuclear waste generated by its first nuclear reactor.
Regarding the environmental dilemma, it should be noted the inevitable public mention of "repenting environmentalists" like James Lovelock, author of the Gaia theory, and Patrick Moore, cofounder of Greenpeace.
In his latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, Lovelock says: “We should also be prepared for surprises, deadly local or regional events that are wholly unpredictable. The immediate need is to dispose of secure and safe sources of energy in order to keep the lights of civilization… Nuclear energy is free of emissions and it will not depend on imports in a future unstable world.”
NPSGlobal Foundation, 17 Apr 2014.
A United Nations report Thursday said that Iran has reduced its stockpiles of sensitive uranium by 75% as part of a deal with six world powers seeking assurances of the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program, Reuters news agency reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran had diluted half of its reserves of uranium with 20% enrichment.
Under the terms of the agreement, the other half of the country’s sensitive uranium reserves were to be converted to oxide. Reuters said that the U.N. agency reported that this process was halfway completed.
Global Security Newswire, 16 Apr 2014.
A terminated U.S. Army facility worker faces charges for holding what was thought to be a deadly form of uranium, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.Police detained 44-year-old Joseph Gibeau on Saturday after allegedly finding radioactive substances inside several lead-shielded containers at his home while responding to a domestic call, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. Two containers reportedly held a substance tentatively identified by authorities as uranium sulfate, a potentially lethal chemical.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 14 Abr 2014.
The leader of the global monitoring group that is helping oversee the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal said Monday President Bashar al-Assad’s government has no more margin for delays if it is to meet the June deadline for destruction of its arsenal.
Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the removal of the chemicals had fallen behind a revised schedule that called for the delivery process to be completed by April 27.
Global Security Newswire, 17 Apr 2014.
North Korea reportedly has deployed a mobile rocket launcher to its east coast in a possible sign that a threatened missile test is imminent.
A transporter-erector-launcher was detected moving toward the North's coast, an anonymous senior South Korean government official told the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper for a Tuesday report.
The mobile launcher was earlier fielded at the North's "central front," the official said. "North Korea made similar moves before the launch of its short-range FROG rockets and KN-09 ballistic missiles in late February and early March."
NPSGlobal Foundation, 13 May 2014.
A high-level U.N. official today opened a four-day conference on lethal autonomous weapons encouraging delegates to take bold action to assure that the ultimate decision to take life remain under human control.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 21 may 2014.
A study by security experts of a British university said that a Chinese businessman, who has been accused of supplying prohibited technology to Iran, may have begun manufacturing a key component of guidance systems for ballistic missiles, seriously threatening international peace and security.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 18 Apr 2014
The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accidentally directed 200 tons of highly radioactive water to a building within the plant site that was not supposed to receive the contaminated water, the Japan Daily Press reported Thursday.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) told the Japan Daily Press that Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) ordered the company to monitor for leakage even though TEPCO assured that the facility was watertight.
TEPCO reported that the highly contaminated water, which is used for cooling the disabled reactors, had been mistakenly routed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities for the plant.
NPSGlobal Foundation, Apr 14, 2014.
A Japanese columnist today said Washington may soon force Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to accept traditional safeguards on its nuclear materials unless it backs down from its confrontational stance with neighboring countries.
Norihiro Kato, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and literary professor at Waseda University, said in an Op-Ed piece in the newspaper that if Abe “continues on his confrontational agenda, his government may lose Washington’s support.”
By Godfrey Marawanyika & Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg, 10 Aug 2013.
Zimbabwe hasn’t signed an agreement allowing uranium exports to Iran, Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire said, after a media report the country entered into a deal to export the material used to build nuclear weapons.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 20 May 2014.
The state of New Mexico in the southwestern region of the United States has given the Los Alamos National Laboratory a deadline for securing 57 nuclear-waste barrels that were linked to a radiation leak in February, according to news reports.
New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said the nuclear-waste drums may pose an “imminent” and “substantial” danger to health or the environment, NBC News reported. He said the laboratory had until Wednesday to propose how to secure the barrels to prevent further leaks.
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