Follow the Money http://majiasblog.blogspot.jp/2015/05/follow-money.html I’ve been following the money for the uranium supply chain:
I turned over a rock and found Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s biggest, if not the biggest, uranium trader through its control of Nufcor.
2008 June 26, Nufcor was bought by the Constellation Energy Group, a U.S. firm that operated several nuclear power plants, for about $103 million. (Exelon has owned Constellation Energy since 2011)
2009 Goldman acquires Nufcor from Constellation Energy as part of a purchase of 900,000 pounds of uranium. Nufcor is the biggest private trader of uranium.
Details about Goldman’s uranium venture are included in the 2014 US Senate report chaired by Carl Levin and including Senator John McCain title: “Wall Street Bank’s Involvement with Physical Commodities”: From Senate Report: page 113 Constellation Acquisition. After its conversion to a bank holding company, Goldman continued to expand its physical commodity activities. In 2009, according to a Goldman presentation to the Federal Reserve, Goldman purchased over 3,000 trading assets involving U.K., French, and German power and U.K. natural gas; as well as about 60 coal contracts, 20 time and voyage freight agreements, and 900,000 pounds of uranium ore from Constellation Energy, a U.S. utility and trading business.Included in that acquisition was Nufcor International, a uranium trading company which stored and traded uranium ore in various stages of enrichment, as further described below…
…Page 124: In 2009, Goldman purchased Nufcor, and expanded its business over the
next five years, resulting in Goldman’s buying millions of pounds of uranium, controlling inventories of physical uranium at storage facilities in the United States and Europe, and becoming a long term supplier of physical uranium to nine utilities with nuclear power plants. Because no employees who conducted Nufcor’s business joined Goldman after the sale, Goldman employees ran the business. In 2014, for a variety of reasons, Goldman decided it would sell Nufcor or wind it down…
I find no evidence that Goldman has successfully sold Nufcor. Since 2011 Constellation Energy, which no longer owns Nufcor, has been owned by Exelon.http://www.constellation.com/about-constellation/pages/about-us.aspx
In 2006 and 2007 hedge funds piled into Uranium. Goldman is noteworthy because of the scope of its involvement the leverage that involvement affords it over uranium pricing and, no doubt, demand.
If you want to know why nuclear is pursued despite its obvious costs and risks, there is no better place to begin understanding than addressing who benefits from the global uranium trade.
‘Beautiful’ nuclear power stations can win over sceptics, says Energy Secretary Amber Rudd The Independent 7 June 15 Britain’s new nuclear power stations and other energy infrastructure projects must be designed to look beautiful to garner essential public support, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said…..flood defences will need to be built to protect buildings, along with weather-resistant transport, waste and water services, as climate change makes weather conditions increasingly extreme.
Ann Robinson, of the uSwitch price comparison website, welcomed Ms Rudd’s call to visual arms. “I think she’s absolutely right. We’re a small island and it’s important to do things in a sensitive way. Public acceptability is important and the key to that is making the infrastructure as attractive as possible.”
Ms Robinson added: “A lot of these projects can be controversial and Amber Rudd is proposing to give people more say in local developments. Against this backdrop, it’s increasingly important that projects fit in with their surroundings.”……..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/beautiful-nuclear-power-stations-can-win-over-sceptics-says-energy-secretary-amber-rudd-10301365.html
Survival of the fittest? World’s major nuclear builders are in for a long stretch in the red, Bellona, May 18, 2015 by Vladimir Slivyak, Translated by Maria Kaminskaya MOSCOW “……..Rosatom: not much to brag about, either
In Arab countries and in Asia, in South Africa, and even inside the European Union borders, the French nuclear industry regularly bumps into competition: Russia’s state corporation Rosatom. The Russian company is selling the VVER-1200, a reactor type similar to – though less powerful than – the EPR. The official price cited for a VVER-1200 is around €5 billion. But independent observers, in the case of Rosatom’s new project in Finland, Hanhikivi NPP, estimate expenses per one reactor at over €7 billion. This is close to the current cost of the troubled EPR project in the same country……….
Beyond the EU borders
The confrontation between Russia and Ukraine that started last year has made it essentially impossible for Rosatom to complete the construction of Units 3 and 4 of Khmelnitsky NPP in Western Ukraine. Still, at the end of last year, the Russian corporation claimed it had a sheaf of orders to the tune of over $100 billion – 27 new reactor orders, predominantly, in developing countries. At the end of 2013, $74 billion’s worth of new orders was cited.
These figures should be taken with a grain of salt. In most cases, what is meant is not specific contracts, but rather agreements of a general nature. Effectively, these are obligations that are yet to be committed to paper. For instance, one such agreement on a strategic partnership in the development of nuclear energy was signed last fall with South Africa – something that Russian media presented as an order for eight new reactors and a range of nuclear power infrastructure sites to a total amount of approximately $40 billion.
But when details of the deal – which the government of South Africa kept secret – eventually found their way to the public, a scandal broke out: The document stipulates no liability on the part of Russian suppliers in case of a nuclear accident, provides for tax exemptions, and includes a restriction that forbids South Africa’s cooperation with any other countries without Russia’s permission. The country’s government so far insists it has not yet chosen the future contractor and claims agreements have been signed with France, South Korea, China, and other countries besides Russia. Last February, meanwhile, reports surfaced in the media that the implementation of the South African nuclear program was being postponed by several years due to political opposition.
If any new construction is happening at all in Rosatom’s projects, it’s only the new plants in China and Belarus (not long ago, it was also India, with Kudankulam-2, which was recently reported by the Russian media as completed). Back home, Rosatom promised to launch three new reactors in 2014, but only one started operation, at Rostov NPP in Southern European Russia. All new Rosatom construction sites where any work is being done are plagued by lengthy delays that translate into substantial cost rises. In Belarus, official statements made recently said the new NPP in Ostrovets would be completed at a later date than was scheduled initially.
One other important aspect is that Rosatom’s resources – including the corporation’s production capacities – are limited. It is very doubtful that Rosatom is capable of building dozens of new reactors across the world, as its claimed order book would suggest, within the next decade. Even in Russia, actual reactor construction rates are perpetually behind those stated in project schedules. Additionally, in the next several years, Rosatom is going to face the same problem that awaits France: decommissioning old reactors. ……….
Distress or demise?
Rosatom’s circumstances are unenviable. Last year, generous promises were given by the corporation to build dozens of new reactors in many different countries. India, China, Iran, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia – these are just some of the purported customers on the list. In 2015, Rosatom was planning to sign contracts in South Africa and, possibly, in Kazakhstan. A new addition is Egypt, though there is little clarity as to what documents exactly were signed there and whether they imply any specific commitments. It remains just as unclear how Rosatom is going to fulfil its promises if an order for a new reactor is actually made……..http://bellona.org/news/uncategorized/2015-05-survival-fittest-worlds-major-nuclear-builders-long-stretch-red
Nuclear energy: An unpopular product on sale http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/joost-lagendijk/nuclear-energy-an-unpopular-product-on-sale_377657.html JOOST LAGENDIJK J.firstname.lastname@example.org szaman.co
I first noticed the advertisements on a tram I boarded in İstanbul last week. Later I saw huge billboards along major roads and a TV commercial trying to promote the same product: nuclear energy. For one moment I hesitated: Did I miss something and was Turkey already able to provide electricity from nuclear reactors? A quick check taught me it wasn’t at all far: Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, at Akkuyu, near Mersin, is still in the first phase of construction and will most probably only start producing electricity in 2023. So why then spend so much money on marketing a product that is not for sale in the foreseeable future?
For decades Turkey has tried to acquire its own nuclear power plants. For all kind of political and financial reasons, Ankara never managed to strike a deal with a foreign company to build one until in 2010 the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom came up with an offer that Turkey could not refuse. The Russians will build, own and operate the $20-billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant while the Turkish state will guarantee the purchase of most of the electricity produced there against a fixed price. Three years later, in 2013, Turkey signed a second deal with a Japanese/French consortium that will build and operate another nuclear plant in Sinop but that will only start delivering after 2023. For the moment, all attention is focused on Akkuyu.
You can be sure last week’s publicity offensive is only the first phase of a long campaign to convince the Turkish population of the benefits of nuclear energy. The Turkish government knows very well that for now, most Turks are either opposed to nuclear energy or at the very least very skeptical about the presumptive advantages. Nuclear energy is an unpopular product that will need massive marketing to get it accepted by the time it becomes available.
In the months and years to come we will witness a very professional public relations campaign with only one aim: To try to take away the doubts about nuclear energy and highlight the positives. The arguments in favor will be a combination of the general ones always promoted by the nuclear industry and some specific Turkish ones. Belonging to the first category are the following catchwords: Improved safety, low costs, cleaner than coal, major contribution to fighting climate change. On top of that will come several presumed national bonuses: It will decrease Turkey’s energy dependency and current account deficit and will increase the country’s status and prestige.
All these justifications will be challenged by a motley collection of environmentalists, academics and local activists from Akkuyu and Sinop who don’t want their towns to be the places where this controversial experiment is located.
All these justifications will be challenged by a motley collection of environmentalists, academics and local activists from Akkuyu and Sinop who don’t want their towns to be the places where this controversial experiment is located.
The arguments against nuclear power are well-known as well: The unresolved waste issue, the lethal impact of possible accidents, the brighter future of renewable alternatives such as sun and wind power, and, in the case of Turkey, the danger of earthquakes and the growing dependency on Russia.
In a timely, recently published book on Turkey’s nuclear future, edited by George Perkovich and Sinan Ülgen, another potential risk is stressed and that is the need for an independent regulatory nuclear agency that will give Turks and the international community confidence that safety will be an overriding imperative. Whether or not such an agency can be effective and, if need be, go against the government, depends according to the authors on the evolution of the Turkish state. Will independent institutions still be allowed to operate freely in a country where power is increasingly concentrated in a de facto presidential system with few checks and balances left intact?
These and all the classical questions on nuclear energy will hopefully be part of the debate we should have in Turkey in the upcoming years. My advice: Be critical of the slick and polished pro-nuclear advertising campaigns that will be launched to prepare the ground. Take your time to listen to the arguments of the opponents who, I admit, convinced me some time ago that going nuclear is an old-fashioned, 20th-century solution at a time when better, safer and cheaper alternatives are available.
US nuclear ‘breakthrough’ cloud on France deal, Telegraph New Delhi, Feb. 5:France has indicated it may want to use elements of the nuclear liability “breakthrough” India and the US have claimed, in setting up its own reactors in this country, signalling potential for competitive bargaining over the terms New Delhi offers to different nations.
India last year offered France and Russia – the two nations other than the US that have committed to selling nuclear reactors – an insurance pool created by Indian public sector firms to fund any compensation following an accident from their reactors.
The US had so far appeared unconvinced by the insurance pool plan. Its apparent turnaround during President Barack Obama’s India visit last week has sparked speculation in the capital’s diplomatic enclave that New Delhi may have offered Washington a particularly sweet deal……….
France is pandering to Modi’s pet initiative of “Make in India” by promising to build “large parts of the Areva reactors” in India. And unlike the US, France had also never sought any change in the nuclear liability law despite its concerns that the law was draconian and out of line with global standards, the senior French official said…….
The Indian foreign office also pointed to France’s acceptance of India’s liability law.”Every country has a different approach to this matter,” Akbaruddin said, citing the example of uranium India already sources from France. “With France, the template of our engagement is already set.” http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150206/jsp/nation/story_1764.jsp#.VNUrReaUcnk
Russia steps up nuclear plans in Iran as talks near deadline By Josh Levs, November 11, 2014 (CNN) — Russia has announced plans to build new nuclear reactors in Iran — a move with international repercussions as a deadline looms.
The country will construct up to eight new reactors for the “peaceful use of atomic energy” in Iran, Russian state news agency Ria-Novosti reported Tuesday.
The announcement came less than two weeks before Iran’s negotiations with Western powers over its nuclear activities are set to expire……..http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/11/world/meast/iran-russia-nuclear/
China becomes latest country to sign SA nuclear accord http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-south-africa/china-becomes-latest-country-to-sign-sa-nuclear-ac Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg| 09 November 2014
Deal signed by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her Chinese counterpart Wu Xinxiong.— South Africa, the continent’s second- largest economy and biggest power producer, signed a nuclear cooperation accord with China following similar agreements with Russia and France.
The framework agreement, which is a precursor to procurement, was signed by South Africa Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her Chinese counterpart Wu Xinxiong, the Pretoria-based Department of Energy said today in an e-mailed statement.
South Africa is planning agreements with other countries including Japan as it decides how best to procure as many as 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy by 2030. The country, which through its state-owned utility has installed capacity of about 42,000 megawatts, is struggling to meet power demand and on Nov. 2 had rolling blackouts, a consequence of decades of underinvestment in generation.
Companies that have expressed interest in building nuclear power plants in South Africa include France’s Areva SA and Electricite de France SA, Westinghouse Electric Corp., a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., Russia’s Rosatom Corp., China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp. and Korea Electric Power Corp.
Canada wants relaxation in India’s nuclear liabilities rules THE HINDU, 1 Dec 13 Unless the provisions regarding a plant operators’ liabilities in case of nuclear damages are relaxed, foreign companies will not come in a big way, a senior Canadian government official has said.
“The way the liability has been framed in the Civil Nuclear Liability Act deviates from the global standards and it is our view if it is not modified, it is hard to see any foreign supplier coming in a big way to India,” Canadian consulate general Richard Bale told PTI on the sidelines of the nuclear summit here over the weekend.
As per the Act, an operator of a nuclear plant (so far only NPCIL) will be liable for damages worth up to Rs. 1,500 crore. However, there is a provision for the right of recourse for the operator. If written into the contract, the operator can claim the liabilities from the manufacturer and supplier. Most of the suppliers, domestic as well as international, are concerned over whether they will have to bear over Rs. 1,500 crore towards in the event of nuclear disaster.
“It is the government’s prerogative to determine what the public policy should be. But on the one hand the government is saying it wants to expand the nuclear power programme, on the other they have put in place a framework that makes it difficult to achieve that goal,” Mr. Bale said…… http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/canada-wants-relaxation-in-indias-nuclear-liabilities-rules/article5410644.ece
apan PM heads to Turkey to push nuclear exports, Yahoo 7 News, 28 Oct 13 Japan’s prime minister headed to Turkey Monday to cement nuclear contracts and push the export of more reactors as the industry tries to emerge from the shadow of the Fukushima atomic crisis……
During Abe’s previous visit a Japanese-French consortium won a $22 billion deal to build Turkey’s second nuclear plant on the Black Sea coast, a milestone for the Japanese nuclear industry as it tries to get back on its feet after the 2011 Fukushima crisis.
He and Erdogan also penned an agreement that allows Japanese manufacturers to build nuclear power plants in Turkey.
Abe has travelled the globe since coming to power in December last year selling Japan’s infrastructure as part of his bid to dramatically hike exports and light a fire under the country’s long-slumbering economy.
His drive comes even as all nuclear reactors at home remain offline amid continuing nervousness about atomic power in post-Fukushima Japan…… http://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/japan-pm-heads-turkey-push-083205105.html
India, US seal first commercial deal on civil nuclear power http://zeenews.india.com/news/delhi/india-us-seal-first-commercial-deal-on-civil-nuclear-power_879777.html 28 Sept 13 Washington: India and the US have reached the first commercial agreement on civilian nuclear power, five years after a landmark deal between the two countries was clinched.
Addressing a joint media interaction after talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Barack Obama disclosed that the two countries have sealed the agreement.
“We’ve made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power, and in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a US company and India on civilian nuclear power,” Obama said.
However, there was no word on the tough nuclear liability clause in the Indian laws over which the US firms had strong objections.
There was a major uproar in India last week over the agreement because of apprehensions that it entailed bypassing the Civil Nuclear Liability Law in place in the country by waiving the operator’s right to recourse with the supplier.
LONDON (Reuters) –
(Additional reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel in Moscow; editing by Keiron Henderson)
18 September 2013
Two years after catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima plant, sellers of atomic reactors woo potential buyers with the promise that lessons learned from one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters make the technology safer than ever.
The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns and radiation leaks at the plant, 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Tokyo, causing widespread contamination and prompting mass evacuations. The shockwave through the nuclear industry has not subsided and Fukushima plant owner Tepco is still struggling to contain the consequences.
Last month the firm said new spots of high radiation had been found near storage tanks holding highly contaminated water, raising fear of fresh leaks. Barbara Judge, a UK-based nuclear expert appointed by Tepco to improve its safety culture, says the disaster has made safety the top priority. “My opinion is that after Fukushima everything will be safer and that the safety agenda will be first in everyone’s minds,” she said In the aftermath of the accident many reactor developers reviewed their designs following government guidance and engaged in deep soul-searching that continues more than two years later.
Germany, with a traditionally anti-nuclear voting force, went as far as completely shunning nuclear power, vowing to switch off its nuclear fleet by the early 2020s. As a consequence of the political rethinking on nuclear power after Fukushima, companies such as France’s Areva (AREVA.PA), Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit or GE-Hitachi have seen orders dry up and costs for new plants explode due to additional safety requirements set by regulators.
At the end of 2010, 120 nuclear reactors were planned across the world.. By the end of last year this number had dropped to 102, according to statistics published by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) also scaled back the 2035 nuclear capacity forecast by some 50 gigawatts in its latest World Energy Outlook due to policy changes. “The prospects for nuclear power worldwide have been clouded by the uncertainty surrounding nuclear policies after the Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011,” said IEA analysts in the outlook.
In a bid to win new business, nuclear reactor makers largely ignore references to the Fukushima accident in marketing material, and those who do refer to it say the event has made their designs safer. “Since March 2011, the context has changed, but the fundamentals remain the same,” Areva’s chief commercial officer, Tarik Choho, says in a statement in a brochure promoting the company.
Areva has long realised that chasing nuclear customers alone is not a sustainable business and has been selling renewable energy technology alongside nuclear reactors since 2006. Its stall at the London-based annual conference of the World Nuclear Association last week had a picture of an offshore wind turbine that caught the eye before images of its nuclear plants.
In two bold examples showcasing how costly it is to build new reactors, Areva’s European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) projects in Finland and in its home market in France are billions of euros over budget and years behind schedule. “
Utilities worldwide are increasingly required to reduce emissions, while adapting to regional resources and producing profitable, competitive electricity – with the utmost safety,” he said.
Unfortunate that Indo-US nuclear trade has stalled, says Washington NDTV by Pallava Bagla | August 09, 2013 Washington: The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was billed as the corner stone of the burgeoning strategic partnership between the countries. However, five years later, the deal has not gone according to the script, and the US says the nuclear commerce has not benefitted the Americans who did most of the global diplomatic heavy lifting.
India’s people-friendly nuclear liability regime has reportedly irked the US.
“The nuclear issue is complex. US is not frustrated but India’s nuclear liability law is a concern and it is unfortunate that nuclear trade has not commenced,” said Richard Stratford, director of nuclear energy, safety and security at the US state department….. http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/unfortunate-that-indo-us-nuclear-trade-has-stalled-says-washington-403342
“a gross contradiction, that we are pushing forwards with the change in energy generation while supporting atomic energy abroad.”
Germany still supports foreign nuclear power http://www.thelocal.de/national/20130121-47451.html#.UP7XzR19JLs
21 Jan 13 Despite the German government’s dedication to ridding the country of nuclear power, it will continue to use public money to guarantee the construction of such power stations in other countries, it was reported at the weekend. The parliamentary committee for sustainable development voted unanimously at the end of last year to recommend the government stop financial backing for foreign atomic energy projects.
The change in energy policy only applies to domestic production, the letter says. The government considers it a “sovereign decision of other states to choose a different construction for their own energy policy.”
Chairman of the committee, Andreas Jung, from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said it was “a gross contradiction, that we are pushing forwards with the change in energy generation while supporting atomic energy abroad.”
The government is currently promoting its policy with the slogan, “High time that something changed”, while Environment Minister Peter Almaier has been talking of establishing an international club of countries stepping away from nuclear energy.
Japan lobbied aggressively to win the contract to build a nuclear power plant in Vietnam. Japan and other nuclear powers are now desperate to sell plants to developing nations, since Fukushima has destroyed the dream of a nuclear renaissance in advanced economies.
If we don’t, someone else will (and other dubious rationalizations) Kanagawa Notebook, September 23, 2012 “…..Vietnam, a nation which, with the assistance and “know-how” of both Russia and Japan, is about to go nuclear. In spite of the Fukushima disaster, the Vietnamese government plans to honor their contract with a Japanese firm to build a nuclear power plant, and in fact, preparations are already underway.
While the Noda administration waffles and stumbles before its own citizens, it is “leading the way” with confidence in Vietnam, where residents believe that 1) the nuclear industry is safe and trustworthy, and 2) Fukushima was something unfortunate, but unrelated to their own situation. Continue reading
AUDIO Indonesia’s nuclear power plans http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/connect-asia/indonesias-nuclear-power-plans/1005302 24 August 2012 Pressure is mounting on Indonesia to push ahead with planning for the country’s first nuclear power plant. Neighbouring Vietnam and Malaysia already have nuclear planning firmly in place, and nuclear power advocates within government are proving to be increasingly vociferous in Jakarta.
But for now at least a long standing scheme to build a nuclear power plant in Central Java is off President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s agenda, and has been ever since the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.
So where does Indonesia go next ? Presenter: Richard Ewart
Speaker: Professor Richard Tanter, senior research associate, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
TANTER: Well there certainly are companies that want to be involved in it, there are certainly also foreign companies where nuclear power vendors, like Mitsubishi in Japan, Kepco in Korea, also Russian companies.
Unfortunately though, there’s a new factor, a wild card in the election campaign for president which is now beginning to get
underway in Indonesia. One of the leading contenders, Prabowo Subianto, who has a very famous or rather infamous record of human rights violations while a Kopassus military leader. He has come out and said Indonesia must get nuclear power, so that’s a big new change.
… don’t think he [the current President] will back nuclear power….. the pressures mainly are coming from as you would say before vested interests, Continue reading
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