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In the wake of suspected sabotage at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility on 11 April, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi in a letter to the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi on 13 April announced that Iran would start the uranium enrichment at the level of 60%. Under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran the P5+1 group of countries (the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) Iran agreed to limit its nuclear development in return for the lifting of sanctions. Under the JCPOA, Iran had committed to keep enrichment to 3.67%. However, after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, Iran began reviving its nuclear programme and had increased its enrichment level to 20% in January.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsiran-steps-up-nuclear-activity-following-attack-on-its-natanz-facility-8673087

The laboratory will be sited in granite 560m below ground in the Beishan region of Gansu province, in China’s remote northwest. China will spend $422m building an underground laboratory for research into storing high-level radioactive waste from the country’s growing fleet of nuclear power plants with the aim of building the country’s first deep geologic repository by 2050.

If successful, a repository that could store 100 years’ worth of high-level waste will be built, reports in China said. The waste will mostly be in the form of spent nuclear fuel, which is currently stored in spent fuel ponds at nuclear plant sites.

Reports said construction will begin next year and will finish by 2024. Work has begun on supporting infrastructure such as paved roads.

“We are doing research into this project and it will soon be put into practice,” said Liu Hua, head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, during a press conference on Tuesday.

Date: Thursday, 15 April 2021
Original article: nucnet.org/news/beijing-plans-usd422-million-underground-laboratory-for-repository-research-4-3-2021

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) said on 6 April that Triga International had recently completed a major renovation project at its fuel fabrication facility in Romans, France. Triga International is a joint venture between General Atomics (GA) and CERCA, Framatome's subsidiary for the fabrication of fuel elements for research reactors.

Date: Wednesday, 14 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsmajor-renovation-of-triga-reactors-completed-8665733

China is building a massive underground laboratory to research disposal technologies for high-level radioactive waste, China Daily reported on 8 April. This will pave the way for a repository that can handle the disposal of at least a century's worth of such materials for tens of thousands of years, the lab's chief designer, Wang Ju, vice-president of the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, told China Daily. The lab will be situated in granite up to 560 metres below ground in the Beishan region of Gansu province. The underground lab was listed as one of China's major scientific construction projects in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

Date: Wednesday, 14 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newschina-begins-construction-of-underground-lab-to-research-waste-disposal-8665745

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on 10 April unveiled 133 new nuclear achievements in the provinces of Tehran, Markazi, Isfahan, Alborz and Qom to mark the 15th anniversary of the National Nuclear Technology Day. In a ceremony held via videoconference he gave the order for Iranian scientists to begin injecting uranium hexafluoride gas to a pilot cascade of 164 new generation IR6 centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment facility. He also announced that Iran has started mechanical testing of IR-9 centrifuges and launched an assembly line for their production.  

Date: Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsiran-unveils-nuclear-achievements-as-talks-continue-in-vienna-8663463

A major renovation project has been completed at TRIGA International's fuel fabrication facility in Romans-sur-Isère, southeastern France. The facility is the only supplier of uranium-zirconium hydride fuel for use in TRIGA-type research reactors. The upgrades will ensure the continued operation of 36 such reactors around the world.

Date: Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Plant-upgrades-ensure-continued-TRIGA-fuel-supply

Policymakers who ignore nuclear energy are not serious about meeting climate goals, delegates said at an Atlantic Council webinar last week. The first in the Raising Ambitions series, the event highlighted the attributes of this clean source of electricity and heat ahead of the Leaders’ Climate Summit, which the US Administration is hosting on 22-23 April.

Date: Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Nuclear-power-can-help-raise-climate-ambitions

As pressure continues for nuclear to be included in the European taxonomy, a group of 46 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from 18 countries has written to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen saying that the exclusion of nuclear from the taxonomy is "clearly inadequate" to decarbonise the region's economy. It was signed by 27 European organisations, including eight from France, and 19 NGOs from outside Europe, including eight from the USA.

Date: Friday, 09 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsngos-call-for-nuclears-inclusion-in-eu-taxonomy-8657462

Introducing the 2020 report by Finnish company Fennovoima, CEO Joachim Specht said the Hanhikivi 1 project “is picking up speed and progressing well”. The Hanhikivi-1 project provides for the construction in Pyhajoki of a single-unit nuclear power plant based on a Russian-design VVER-1200 generation 3+ reactor. The project is currently at the stage of licensing and preparatory work is underway at the NPP construction site. A construction licence is expected in 2021. RAOS Project Oy is the general supplier under the EPC contract signed with Fennovoima on in 2013. RAOS Project, a 100% subsidiary of REIN JSC (part of Rosatom), was established in Finland in 2015 to implement the project.

Date: Friday, 09 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsfennovoima-2020-report-says-hanhikivi-project-is-progressing-well-8657467

US and Iranian officials said initial indirect talks in Vienna on 6 April aimed at reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were "constructive", with negotiations set to continue, although direct talks between US and Iranian officials are not taking place. Under the JCPOA between Iran the P5+1 group of countries (the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) Iran agreed to limit its nuclear development in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Date: Friday, 09 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsiran-talks-seen-as-constructive-8657478