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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Africa’s nuclear power plans clouded in secret deals

secret-dealsflag-S.AfricaEskom not taking part in nuclear acquisition   BUSINESS DAY BY CAROL PATON, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014, ESKOM, FORMERLY DESIGNATED THE “OWNER AND OPERATOR” OF SA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME, WILL NOT BE INVOLVED IN THE UP COMING NUCLEAR PROCUREMENT, SAY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OFFICIALS, EXCEPT AS THE PURCHASER OF POWER FROM A NEW — POSSIBLY FOREIGN — NUCLEAR ENTITY.

The Cabinet subcommittee on energy security is deep into the technical work needed to procure a massive nuclear fleet. Key to the procurement going ahead will be the financing arrangements, as the construction of nuclear plants has enormous capital costs.

While the Nuclear Energy Policy for SA of 2008 designates Eskom as the “owner and operator of nuclear power plants in SA”, department acting director-general Wolsey Barnard said recently that both Eskom’s financial circumstances and the availability of alternative financing arrangements for energy meant this would have to change.

“The nuclear policy has not yet changed, but what needs to be realised is that the financial position of Eskom has deteriorated since 2008 and to expose Eskom to such a project at this stage would not be sustainable. ……..

Insufficient consultation

Though the government feels confident that public opinion has been taken into account, neither business nor labour agrees that consultation has been sufficient.

The National Development Plan urged caution on nuclear power, saying other options — such as natural gas — should be explored first.

Business Unity SA (Busa) acting CEO Cas Coovadia said “an effective debate on our energy options in the long term” was urgently required. Busa is working to draft an energy policy both for SA’s immediate and long-term needs, he said.

National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni, whose union is a leading opponent of nuclear energy in the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said the union was dead-against nuclear power over safety and cost issues.

“As a country we have not had a dialogue on nuclear power. The process is not transparent and will be easily corrupted. It will make the arms deal look like a Sunday picnic. And the National Development Plan (NDP) is not positive on nuclear. Government can’t pick and choose on the NDP; if they do it is not a plan,” said Mr Baleni……….

Eskom spokesman on nuclear power Tony Stott. said there would be another opportunity for comment through the National Nuclear Regulator’s and Nersa’s licensing processes.

However, these will be long after the contracting is completed. http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/09/15/eskom-not-taking-part-in-nuclear-acquisition

September 17, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s very suspect plan for vendor-financed nuclear power

flag-S.Africa A nuclear tale that sounds too good to be true Business Day BY CAROL PATON, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014, BUILD now, pay much later. That is the good news story about nuclear energy being told to SA’s decision-makers. In this model, a nuclear vendor and a financier — usually the government of the country of the vendor or a state-owned enterprise or bank — come as a package. The loan from the financier is repaid from the electricity tariff over the long term, 15 to 20 years, and repayments begin when electricity is produced.

This is the simple picture, which has given rise to the perhaps apocryphal story in which a very senior member of the executive told Treasury officials after meeting his Russian counterparts: “We don’t need to pay for it!”

The vendor-financed option has made the scary R1-trillion price tag, wielded by Department of Energy and Treasury officials as a warning to their political principals, disappear in a puff of smoke. The nuclear option appears even more attractive when vendors move onto the next part of the story: as operating costs for nuclear energy are low, and the expense lies in construction, once the loan is repaid, energy becomes a virtual “cash cow” for the operator, and any private investors, for up to 30 years………

The clear frontrunners in this are French company Areva and Russian state-owned enterprise Rosatom. Both offer technology and finance in one package, with some differences. At the heart of both is a power purchase agreement in which the operator of the grid, Eskom, would make an irrevocable commitment to purchase the electricity at an agreed tariff………

An important part of the financing package for vendors interested in SA is the government’s commitment in the nuclear policy of 2008 to a fleet approach. Vendors are able to offer better prices if a fleet of reactors is procured as they get better at building them. Some vendors will not consider SA at all without a fleet procurement.

fighters-marketing-1

This is what lies behind SA’s curious decision in the IRP 2010, SA’s electricity plan, to include 9,600MW of nuclear power in the energy mix. This would amount to a fleet of six Areva reactors (or more, if other vendors with smaller reactors are selected). As electricity demand is far from certain, and has not grown as expected over the past two years or more, overbuilding capacity is a risk.

Independent analysts, such as Prof Harald Winkler of the University of Cape Town, argue that even a nuclear fleet would be more expensive than other options and would lock SA into even higher electricity prices with negative effects on the economy.

Costs such as insurance in the event of a nuclear accident, dealing with the waste, and decommissioning the plant, are not built into the construction prices.

The conclusion of all of this is that the magnitude of the government guarantees required in a R400bn-R800bn nuclear plant building exercise remain very difficult to estimate. Whatever the size of the guarantee and its purpose — for construction or as a guarantee to purchase the power — it would have to find its way onto SA’s contingent liabilities……..

Despite the good “build now, pay later” message being punted by nuclear vendors, the probability is that it will be business and consumers that not only pay later, but pay much more. http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/09/15/news-analysis-a-nuclear-tale-that-sounds-too-good-to-be-true

 

September 17, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Political risk for Finland’s government in Russian nuclear build deal

flag-FinlandFinnish Greens Warn Over Russian Nuclear Project Junior Party Opposes Reactor to Be Built by Finnish-Russian Consortium  WSJ By  JUHANA ROSSI Write to Juhana Rossi at juhana.rossi@wsj.com Sept. 15, 2014 

HELSINKI—Finland’s Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said he is confident his government will remain in office despite a junior party’s threat to quit the government over a proposal to allow a Finnish-Russian consortium to proceed with its controversial nuclear power-plant project in Finland.

logo-Finland-GreensFinland’s Minister of the Environment Ville Niinisto said Monday he will take the Greens of Finland out of government if it issues on Thursday a preliminary permit for Fennovoima Oy to build a nuclear reactor on a greenfield site on the west coast of Finland. The Greens party is a junior partner in Finland’s five-party coalition government…..

Mr. Niinisto said that the Greens cannot abide by a potential government decision. In case the decision goes against the Greens’ wishes, Mr. Niinisto said he would submit a request at a party meeting this weekend for the Greens to withdraw from the government. If the Greens choose to exit, the government will command a razor-thin majority of 101 votes in Finland’s 200-seat parliament…….

The escalation of the Ukraine crisis this year has cast further doubt over Fennovoima. Mr. Niinisto cited Rosatom’s close links with Russian government as one of the reasons why he is firmly opposed to Fennovoima’s project…….

Deterred by risks and the potentially high costs associated with nuclear power, several of Fennovoima’s Finnish investors have backed away from the project in recent years. As a result, now only 54 percentage points of Voimaosakeyhtio SF’s 66% stake in Fennovoima have actually been subscribed to by Finnish investors, while remaining 12 percentage points don’t have an assigned investor.

Mr. Vapaavuori said that at least 60% of Fennovoima has to be owned by investors from Finland or more broadly from the EU. Otherwise Fennovoima won’t be granted a building permit, the final stage in the approval process for a new nuclear reactor. http://online.wsj.com/articles/finnish-greens-warn-over-russian-nuclear-project-1410805908

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA)’s blueprint for the next government

ballot-boxSmflag-UKRenewable manifesto sets out blueprint for next government http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2014/09/14/renewable-manifesto-sets-out-blueprint-for-next-government/  Sunday, September 14th, 2014 By  Ahead of next year’s general election, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has published a blueprint for the next government, outlining plans to create jobs, investment and growth whilst helping the UK catch up in the global energy race.

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The UK currently gets 5% of its energy from a renewable industry that supports over 100,000 jobs and has received over £30 billion of private investment since 2010.

In order to meet a legally binding target of having 15% of the national energy demand met by renewables by 2020, the UK must more than double the share of renewable electricity, more than double the share of renewable transport fuels and more than quadruple the share of renewable heat.

REA states, “The next government will be responsible for the UK succeeding – or failing – in meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets. It could also be the government that turns the government that turns the budding renewable energy industry into the main economic engine for creating jobs and growth in the energy sector and reducing the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.”

Currently the UK is 26th in the EU renewables league tables, but by REA argues that with forward-thinking policies the UK can move up the rankings and benefit as a result. Nina Skorupska, REA chief executive, said, “From clean power infrastructure to Zero Carbon Homes and from heat networks to sustainable transport, this is the most comprehensive guide a government could wish for if they’re seeking to maximise the value of this young, vibrant and innovative industry.

“Looking out to 2020, this manifesto sets out how the government can keep up the progress on renewable electricity, and accelerate the roll-out of renewable heating technologies and transport fuels.”

September 15, 2014 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Uncompetitive nuclear industry is rigging regulations and “spinning” media in order to survive

Flag-USAKilling the Competition
The Nuclear Power Agenda to Block Climate Action,  Stop Renewable Energy, and Subsidize Old Reactors, Report by Nuclear Information and Resource Center (NIRS) Sept 14 
The electric utility industry has begun an aggressive push to change energy policy in the  United States to favor nuclear power. Led by the country’s largest nuclear generators,  Exelon and Entergy, this campaign represents what would be the single largest change in  energy policy in twenty years. While their intent is to make nuclear the preferred energy  source, the changes they seek necessarily go far beyond that. They would also support  coal and natural gas-fired electricity generation, and block the growth of renewable energy and attempts to address climate change.
nukes-sad-

Exelon and Entergy see sustainable energy  solutions—renewable energy, efficiency,  conservation, etc.—as a long-term threat to
their profits. This is not because of excessive  regulations or safety requirements on nuclear  power: the industry has not had to implement  a single safety upgrade due to the Fukushima  meltdowns and faces less regulatory  enforcement than it did twenty years ago. The  closure of a record number of reactors since  2013 has exposed fundamental economic  problems facing the industry, and a growing  number of nuclear plants simply cannot  compete with modern, efficient, cost-effective
energy resources.

The industry’s campaign is an attempt to “fix”  this problem and restore the economic  viability of nuclear power for the next 20 years  or more. But in effect, these corporations  would have us sacrifice our best opportunity to create millions of jobs, revitalize our  economy, and rise to the challenge of  addressing climate change—just to keep old,
obsolete, uncompetitive nuclear reactors in business
This agenda would be unpopular at best, so  Exelon and Entergy have focused on  drumming up fears of job losses, power
shortages, and carbon emissions if some of  their unprofitable reactors were to close in the  coming years. They have only discussed their agenda in vague terms, and disclosed  particulars in piecemeal fashion.
Like the Manhattan Project that gave birth to nuclear  technology, they are counting on people not  putting the pieces together so they can see the full picture. The purpose of this brief is to  complete that picture, and enable America to  see the nuclear industry’s plan in full and to  understand the implications.
Nuclear’s Economic ProblemIn order to survive, the nuclear industry must remain economically competitive or prove that
it is necessary and should be propped up. But if uncompetitive reactors close and more of our energy needs are met by economically and environmentally sustainable solutions,  the rationales offered for producing electricity  by splitting atoms would lose relevance The industry’s economic problem is actually quite simple:
 Running nuclear reactors is becoming
more expensive as they age.
 Electricity markets generally favor the
lowest-cost energy sources.
 Energy prices have fallen to levels
lower than the costs of running
reactors.
 Energy efficiency has reduced growth
in electricity demand.
 The costs of renewable energy
sources are falling dramatically………
The industry has settled on a three-part
strategy:
 Repeal or weaken renewable energy
and efficiency programs
 Include subsidies for nuclear in carbon
reduction programs.
 Rig energy markets to guarantee

 

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Legal, politics, Reference, spinbuster, USA | 2 Comments

Scotland’s independence movement makes UK’s nuclear Trident programme look unsustainable

in the face of such opposition from Scotland — even in the possible wake of a decided No vote — it will remain difficult for the UK government to continue its absurd and costly pursuit of renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system against the backdrop of international negotiations to ban nuclear weapons.

Britain’s wee nuclear problem, IFP.com  Erika Simpson and Bill Kidd, Special to QMI Agency Friday, flag-ScotlandSeptember 12, 2014″…..The SNP pledges it will negotiate the removal of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system from the Faslane naval base, 40 km from Glasgow. The UK’s four Vanguard submarines are stationed on the Firth of Clyde, a series of rivers, estuaries and sea lochs.

A Yes vote would mean Britain’s 20-billion-pound replacement of the four Trident submarines during the next decade could not go ahead.

It also could mean the UK’s commitment to nuclear weapons would need to be rethought.

The UK government has assumed since 1968 that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty gives it some kind of right to possess nuclear weapons.

If an independent Scotland fulfills its policy to remove the submarine-based Trident nuclear weapons system from its territory, the UK will need, within four years, to find another stationing location for all its sea-based nuclear warheads, since it costs too much to deploy them at sea for months at a time.

This will be a difficult task, almost as tough as it would be for Vladimir Putin to find another home for Russia’s Black Sea fleet stationed in the Crimean Peninsula.

If the UK wants to maintain its nuclear-armed submarines, it would need to find another deep-water port, preferably on British turf and not on another colony’s territory….. The UK government says other potential locations in England are unacceptable due to their proximity to population centres, although the UK has housed nuclear submarines and loaded nuclear weapons onto them not far from Glasgow since 1969. If Westminster does decide to relocate the weapons, cost estimates vary enormously.

Some argue building a new base would cost merely 2.5 billion to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.47 billion to $6.26 billion), while others say moving the Tridents will cost closer to 50 billion pounds. Certainly, it would be a lot extra for English and Welsh taxpayers to pay for in the wake of their country’s partition and probable economic decline……..

if an independent Scotland decided to join the alliance, it could follow the example of other NATO states such as Canada, Norway and Lithuania, which do not allow nuclear weapons on their soil. Furthermore, if an independent Scotland spearheaded initiatives to establish more international treaties to prohibit nuclear weapons, its approach could have a major impact on other NATO members, despite the inclination to erect a new central front in Europe to protect the Baltic states.

Even if not enough Scots vote Yes to win independence, their voting patterns could provide an opportunity for Britons as a whole to rethink their approach to nuclear weapons. The very high costs of replacing the submarines, coupled with the logistical challenges of relocating the weapons, means there is a strong opportunity to reject the nuclear option, should a Westminster political party adopt such a policy.

For their part, representatives of the SNP are prepared to participate actively in the humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons and support negotiations on an international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, even without the participation of the nuclear-armed states. Such a treaty would make the possession of nuclear weapons unambiguously illegal for all, putting them on the same footing as biological and chemical weapons.

In the face of such opposition from Scotland — even in the possible wake of a decided No vote — it will remain difficult for the UK government to continue its absurd and costly pursuit of renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system against the backdrop of international negotiations to ban nuclear weapons. Scotland’s vote this Thursday could go either way, but it is already sure to push Mother England to overcome her Cold War thinking about security by undermining traditional arguments in favour of maintaining these weapons of mass destruction.

— Bill Kidd is the Scottish Member of Parliament for Glasgow Anniesland and a member of the Scottish National Party, which supports an independent and non-nuclear Scotland.

— Erika Simpson is an associate professor of international relations in the politics department of Western University. http://www.lfpress.com/2014/09/12/britains-wee-nuclear-problem

September 13, 2014 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Obstacles in the way of nuclear restart for Japan’s Sendai reactors

speed-bumpSeriously? Japan Plans to Restart Nuclear Reactors http://inhabitat.com/seriously-japan-plans-to-restart-nuclear-reactors/ by , 09/10/14 Despite the devastation wreaked by the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, Japan wants to restart two nuclear reactors that were shut off in the wake of the disaster. According to the Guardian, Japan’s nuclear watchdog has said the reactors can be started up again, as long as the operator can convince the local communities they are safe. That might not be an easy task as the Japanese public has been wary of nuclear power since Fukushima, which was the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) only gave permission to open the Sendai plant in southern Japan after a 400-page safety report and months of public consultation. Plant operator, Kyushu Electric Power still needs to get two more NRA approvals for other facilities at the plant, as well as the all-important public approval. So it’s unlikely the plants will open until sometime in 2015.

Newly-appointed Japanese Industry Minister, Yuko Obuchi will have to be persuasive to restart the plant, and she acknowledges she has a tough road ahead of her. “If people say they are worried, I think it’s only natural,” she told the Guardian. “If you are a mother, I think it is a kind of feeling that everyone has. The central government must offer a full explanation to these sentiments.” She added that it’s important to earn the “understanding of hosting communities” who might not like nuclear facilities operating in the backyard, despite the new safety rules.

But Greenpeace Japan is campaigning to have the country abandon nuclear power altogether. The organization says the government is ignoring the fact that Japan has done just fine without nuclear power over the past year, and that it favors dangerous nuclear energy over renewable sources. “The government . . . is ignoring the lessons of Fukushima and attempting to prevent the renewable energy revolution, trying to take the nation back to its dependence on dangerous and unreliable nuclear power,” Kazue Suzuki of Greenpeace Japan said in the Guardian.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Closure of uranium mines by State in East Singhbhum

Uranium Corporation stops mining at Jadugora after 47 years ,TNN | Sep 8, 2014 JAMSHEDPUR: Uranium Corporation of India stopped all mining activities at Jadugora in East Singhbhum from Sunday after 47 years. following a ministry order in July.
The Centre, following a Supreme Court order in May on amendment of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, issued a directive to all mineral-rich states on July 12 asking them to stop mining by corporate entities under deemed extension. The state then ordered closure of the decades-old uranium mines. “We have served the notice to UCIL (Uranium Corporation of India) informing the company about the directive of the state government,” said district mining officer Ratnesh Kumar Sinha…….http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ranchi/Uranium-Corp-stops-mining-at-Jadugora-after-47-years/articleshow/41970997.cms

September 9, 2014 Posted by | India, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Japan’s Nuclear Regulator stands firm on need to close reactor sited over earthquake fault

logo-EnformableRegulatory panel in Japan affirms decision that will force decommissioning of Tsuruga reactor, Enformable, Lucas W Hixson, 5 Sept 14 

On Thursday, a panel of experts organized by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) determined that it will not change its 2013 judgment that an active geologic fault exists under the Unit 2 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant.

The determination means that the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC), the utility which operates the Tsuruga nuclear power plant, will be forced to decommission one of the two reactors at the nuclear site.

During the meeting, officials from the JAPC attempted to present new data, which they said challenged the decision made by NRA, but many experts at the meeting debated the validity and objective nature of the data and the ability of the new findings to support claims made by the utility.

After hearing the panel’s decision, the vice president of Japan Atomic Power demanded more discussion on the issue, but was rebuffed by NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki who stated that “Enough scientific debates have been done.”…….

After NRA experts determined that the D-1 fault zone of pebbles and sediments under the Unit 2 reactor is an active fault in May 2013, the JAPC began actively working to change the regulator’s decision, and the meetings between the two parties have been known to be contentious.

The secretariat of the NRA has told reporters that it plans to file a protest with Japan Atomic Power Company over inappropriate and threatening remarks made by Hiroshima University professor Koji Okumura, who is affiliated with the utility……..

nuke-reactor-deadExperts estimate that the costs to decommission a reactor like the Unit 2 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear site will cost in excess of $650 million.

September 6, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear regulators pushing for permanent closure of aging reactors

nukes-sad-flag-japanAging Nuclear Reactors May Close in Japan http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/aging-nuclear-reactors-may-close-in-japan/  TOKYO (Reuters) 5 Sept 14 – Japan will push nuclear operators to draft plans to scrap a quarter of the country’s 48 reactors, which are either too old or too costly to upgrade to meet new standards imposed after the Fukushima disaster, the Nikkei reported on Friday.

The government is betting that by forcing older units considered more vulnerable to disaster to shut down it may gain public support to restart newer units, the Nikkei reported.

Continue reading

September 6, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

North Korea’s Yongbyon may be restarting

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korean nuclear reactor may be operational, DW 5 Sept 14  A new report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog says North Korea may be operating a reactor at its main nuclear facility in Yongbyon. The site has previously been associated with the production of nuclear weapons. In the document seen by news agencies on Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had detected signs the reactor in the country’s north was undergoing tests that suggested it was being prepared for a restart.

The agency said it had “observed, through analysis of satellite imagery, steam discharges and the outflow of cooling water” at the reactor since late August 2013, adding that these were “consistent with the reactor’s operation.”

However, the IAEA stopped short of saying the facility was fully operational, as it has had “no access to the five megawatt reactor since April 2009.” The IAEA relies mainly on satellite images in its assessments of North Korea’s nuclear activities because Pyongyang does not allow the agency’s inspectors into the country………http://www.dw.de/north-korean-nuclear-reactor-may-be-operational/a-17904551

September 6, 2014 Posted by | North Korea, politics | Leave a comment

Greenland public becoming aware of disinformation promoting Australian uranium mining company

the people of Greenland are “split down the middle regarding the repeal of the ban.”

Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.

The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.

In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem

Australian uranium mining in Greenland is tearing the country in half jagadees.wordpress.com August 23, 2014 Antony Loewenstein. source theecologist.org

This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.

Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..

In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise. Continue reading

August 25, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

The presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia

“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research,  By Steven Starr Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014

exclamation-flag-Ukraine“……………RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.

On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.

What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.

Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).

After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.

The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalistneo-Nazi political parties; theAzov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia……….http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171

 

August 25, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics international, Reference, Ukraine, USA | 1 Comment

Bill in USA Congress supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea

exclamation-Flag-USA“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research,  By Steven Starr Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014

“………..RAPA supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act demands that Russia “withdraw from the eastern border of Ukraine,” which is by definition, the Russian border.  In other words, RAPA provocatively demands that Russia remove its own military forces away from its own borders, while Ukrainian military forces are meanwhile massed on the other side, attacking predominantly Russian cities.

RAPA also demands that “Russian forces must have withdrawn from Crimea within seven days of the enactment of the Act.” Not likely to happen, given that

(1) Crimea was part of the Russian empire from 1783 until 1954,

(2) withdrawal from Crimea would require Russia to abandon its only warm water port at Sevastopol, where Russian forces have been based, by internationally recognized treaty, since 1997, and

(3) more than three-quarters of all Crimeans voted “yes” to reunify with Russia, a vote which Russia accepted by its subsequent annexation of Crimea.

Thus, in the eyes of Russia, the requirement to “withdraw from Crimea” amounts to a US demand that Russia surrender Russian territory. Putin has just taken the entire Russian Duma (the Russian House of Representatives) to Crimea, to address them there and strongly make the point that there will be no withdrawal from Crimea.

RAPA, however, stipulates that the US does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and creates sanctions and legal penalties for anyone who does. RAPA therefore provides both military and political support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s stated goat that Ukraine will retake Crimea.

This goal was recently echoed by the Ukrainian defense minister, who was applauded by the Ukrainian Parliament when he told them that the Ukrainian army will “have a victory parade in Sevastopol“. These statements are taken seriously in Moscow, where they are viewed as a promise to attack Russia. Thus, Putin’s advisers are telling him he must fight today in Eastern Ukraine, or tomorrow in Crimea.

Any Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine would certainly be described in the West as Russian aggression in pursuit of empire, which would trigger deafening demands that US/NATO forces act to support Ukraine. Should NATO intervene, subsequent Russian military action against any NATO member would trigger the alliance’s Chapter 5 mutual defense clause, committing it to war with Russia.

Any major Ukrainian attack upon Crimea would make war with Russia inevitable. Ukraine appears to be preparing for such an assault by drafting all men of ages 18 to 60 years, in a forced mobilizationof its armed forces, which also includes calling up its active reserves of one million men, and bringing more than 1000 battle tanksout of storage.  Putin is being told by his close advisers thatUkraine will have an army of half a million men in 2015.

RAPA would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to train and arm the rapidly expanding Ukrainian armed forces, and position US/NATO forces for rapid intervention on the side of Ukraine in the event of a Ukrainian-Russian war. Thus, the many political and military provisions of RAPA would certainly act to fully encourage Ukraine to carry out its stated policy to retake Crimea. The Republic of Georgia attacked Russian forces in 2008 with far fewer US promises of aid. Of course, RAPA would also arm Georgia, too………..http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171

 

August 25, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Propping up Japan’s nuclear industry – with guaranteed electricity prices?

scrutiny-on-costsflag-japanJapan may guarantee price for nuclear power to prop up industry TOKYO Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japan will consider guaranteeing prices for electricity generated by nuclear plants to help the country’s struggling utilities, which have lost about $35 billion in the three years since the Fukushima disaster saddled them with extra costs.

Japan’s nuclear plants are in shutdown with no schedule for restarts after the meltdown at Fukushima in 2011, leading the country’s utilities to turn to expensive fossil fuel imports.

But even if they can get their reactors running they face higher costs to meet new safety requirements just as the government is pushing through plans to allow more competition in the industry. They also face possible costs for decommissioning older units that are too costly to upgrade.

The move was floated by a trade ministry panel as an example of supporting the nuclear industry financially like Britain’s “Contracts for Difference” scheme, which guarantees nuclear operators fixed rates for power.

The panel, which is in charge of making detailed policies in line with the government’s basic energy plan, did not give a schedule for finalising the scheme.

Propping up nuclear power, promoted for decades by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party as cheap, safe and reliable, is likely to be at odds with public sentiment which has turned against atomic energy since Fukushima. If the market price of electricity falls below a pre-set level, consumers would pay the gap to the utilities, according to the British example discussed on Thursday at the panel……… http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N0QR1G120140821

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August 22, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

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