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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

IAEA confirms that Iran is complying with conditions of the nuclear deal with world powers

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran acts to comply with interim nuclear deal with powers: IAEA Yahoo News, By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) 20 Oct 14 – Iran is taking further action to comply with an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly U.N. atomic agency report showed, a finding the West may see as positive ahead of a November deadline for clinching a long-term deal.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and major powers seek to negotiate a final settlement of a decade-old nuclear dispute.

It said Iran had diluted more than 4,100 kg of uranium enriched to a fissile concentration of up to 2 percent down to the level of natural uranium. This was one of the additional steps Iran agreed to undertake when the six-month accord that took effect early this year was extended by four months in July……..http://news.yahoo.com/iran-acts-meet-terms-extended-nuclear-deal-powers-163649048.html

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian government sets up a disastrous course for nuclear weapons proliferation

India-uranium1Australia–India nuclear treaty: a non-proliferation disaster, The Strategist, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Blog 14Oct 2014  By  “…….Nuclear suppliers do have a responsibility, however, for ensuring their nuclear material isn’t used to build nuclear weapons, and must maintain strict mechanisms for that purpose. If countries can access nuclear supply without the attendant responsibilities, then support for longstanding non-proliferation regimes will be undermined, countries will see less value in treaties such as the NPT, and a key pillar of the nuclear arms control regime as a whole will be weakened.

The text of the proposed Australian export deal fails that basic test. In addition to a range of other flaws, for the first time in 40 years Australia won’t be able to guarantee how the nuclear material it supplies is being used. Specifically, the agreement allows India to reprocess uranium supplied by Australia to create plutonium, potentially at weapons grade, with no direct accounting by India to Australia for that material, and unusually, no provision for the return of the material in the event of it being misused. As former Director-General of ASNO, John Carlson, explains, Australia currently allows reprocessing only by two export partners, the EU and Japan, each with direct reporting requirements and specific permission being given by Australia as to how the reprocessed material is to be used.

Accordingly, the deal with India isn’t comparable to Australia’s other nuclear export agreements. Australia is privileging India by excluding key provisions normally included to ensure a recipient of nuclear material is accountable to the supplier. Australia’s other nuclear export partners might demand similar concessions, undermining the integrity of the non-proliferation regime as a whole.

Moreover, the concessions made by Australia are unnecessary. ………Not only does this agreement undermine long established non-proliferation regimes and Australia’s credibility as a nuclear supplier, it represents a missed opportunity to strengthen it. Given that what matters most to India is being treated on a par with China and the United States, India should be expected to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) after the US Senate does, just as China has already agreed to do……..

The agreement marks a significant departure from Australia’s longstanding practice. By excluding the normal provisions that ensure a nuclear recipient is directly accountable to the supplier, Australia is abrogating the principle that nuclear suppliers are accountable for how their exported nuclear material is used……..Crispin Rovere is a former PhD student at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU and co-author of Non-strategic nuclear weapons: the next step in multilateral arms control. Image courtesy of Flickr user Indiawaterportal.orghttp://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australia-india-nuclear-treaty-a-non-proliferation-disaster/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear giant AREVA gets agreement to supply reactors to South Africa

areva-medusa1

 

 

France and South Africa sign nuclear energy agreement  By Martine Pauwels, Cécile Feuillatre Paris (AFP) 14 Oct 14,  – Paris and Pretoria signed Tuesday an agreement which could open the way for French nuclear giant Areva to bid to build eight nuclear reactors in South Africa worth up to $50 billion (39.5 billion euros).

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and South African Tina Joematt Pettersson signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy development which is necessary for any commercial deal……..http://news.yahoo.com/france-south-africa-sign-nuclear-energy-agreement-133802965.html

October 15, 2014 Posted by | politics international, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom now denying that there is a contract with South Africa

questionflag_Russiaflag-S.AfricaNuclear deal was ‘lost in translation’, Business Day  BY SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA, OCTOBER 10 2014 ROSATOM, THE STATE-OWNED RUSSIAN NUCLEAR COMPANY, SPENT ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON TRYING TO DISOWN ITS EARLIER CLAIM OF HAVING BEEN AWARDED A CONTRACT TO BUILD SA’S PROPOSED FLEET OF POWER STATIONS.

The company blamed a poor translation for its late September statement in which, quoting South African government officials, it said it had been granted the right to build a fleet of nuclear power stations for SA.

The news that Russia would build nuclear power stations came as a surprise as no announcement had been made by the government that it had begun any tender process to procure the 9.6GW it said it would be actively seeking.

“The wording (in the statement) from Rosatom wasn’t well chosen,” said Viktor Polikarpov, regional vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa. “We have to admit that we worded the statement wrongly. It was lost in translation (from the original Russian).”

In this statement Rosatom quoted Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. After going to ground and for days being unavailable to confirm the Rosatom claim, the Department of Energy eventually released a statement on its website, which was almost identical to Rosatom’s “translated” statement.

Following this, the department said the statement in no way confirmed SA had reached a deal with Russia. The agreement only envisioned possible future co-operation on nuclear energy issue……….

When Business Day asked for a copy of the co-operation agreement, Mr Polikarpov said the document “is classified … it is not available for public consumption”.

Mr Polikarpov was asked how Rosatom arrived at the $50bn price estimate for the project. After much discussion in Russian with Alex Kirillov, head of marketing in SA, he said this was the estimated cost of Rosatom’s plants……..

Rosatom will apply for a $50bn loan from the Russian government if SA chooses a build, own and operate model, he said……..http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/10/09/nuclear-deal-was-lost-in-translation

October 10, 2014 Posted by | politics international, South Africa, Spain | Leave a comment

European Greens urge principled opposition to EU nuclear deal that will damage renewabl eenergy

flag-EUEU nuclear deal will hit renewables http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/07/eu-nuclear-deal-will-hit-renewables   The Guardian, Wednesday 8 October 2014 Today (8 October) the 28-strong outgoing European commission will make a decision on the Hinkley C financial deal, with far-reaching consequences both for the integrity of decision-making in Europe and for the future of European energy policy (Conflict of interest concerns over EDF’s Hinkley nuclear project approval, 1 October).

UK-subsidyIn December 2013, the commission raised doubts on almost all aspects of the project, finding the state credit guarantee of £10bn for EDF “incompatible under EU state aid rules”. So why is competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia, backed by former EU president José Manuel Barroso, recommending the commission give the deal the green light? Could it be that the German federal government has been involved in a backroom deal?

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has previously achieved exemptions from EU subsidy rules for Germany’s ambitious renewable energy plans. The legislation behind this, which provides feed-in incentives for renewable energy technologies, is helping transform energy generation away from fossil fuels and nuclear; renewables now account for around 30% of Germany’s electricity.

However, in return for these subsidy exemptions, Merkel is rumoured to have agreed to support British nuclear subsidies. So, while the Berlin government is decommissioning its own nuclear power plants and turning to renewables, it is at the same time undermining nuclear phase-out across the rest of Europe. Greens in the European parliament urge departing commissioners to hold fast to their principled opposition to this extremely dodgy deal and set all of Europe, not just Germany, on course for an energy policy for the common good.
Molly Scott Cato Green MEP
Rebecca Harms Green MEP
Claude Turmes Green MEP
Benedek Jávor Green MEP
Michèle Rivasi Green MEP

October 8, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

The need for reconciliation with Iran is now urgent

diplomacy-not-bombsA deal that offers Iran a nuclear power industry not exceeding its needs and ambitions, and the rest of the world reassurance through intrusive inspections, would do more than bring Iran in from the cold. It would inaugurate a new relationship between the Islamic Republic and the west that could keep together a region that is, in every other particular, coming apart.

Iran nuclear talks: why Tehran must be brought in from the cold

flag-IranA deal with Iran is vital for the stability of the wider Middle East. The opportunity must be grasped     The Guardian, Friday 3 October 2014 In Iran a few weeks ago I travelled with my 11-year-old son from Tehran to the ancient fire temple at Takht-e Soleymān, not far from the Iraqi border. At no time during our journey – part of which was made in a clean, comfortable, Chinese-made train – did we feel anything but safe. Our only exposure to violence was in the provincial town of Zanjan, famous for its knife production, where a salesman dry-shaved his own forearm in demonstration of his wares.

No one in their right mind would undertake a comparable journey nowadays inside the borders of any of Iran’s war-torn neighbours: Iraq, Afghanistan, or, a bit further afield, Syria. Iran is the exception along the Middle East’s strategic, resource-rich central belt, a functioning nation state where the central authorities enjoy a monopoly of force, the infrastructure works and the people are overwhelmingly literate and unarmed. Perhaps most significant of all, as capo di tutti capi of the Shia world – wielding clout over its co-religionists in Iraq and Lebanon as well as propping up Bashar al-Assad with military assistance and subsidised oil – Iran could have a vital role in restoring stability throughout Mesopotamia and the Levant.

I say “could” because there is no guarantee that the Iranians will be invited to assume the role that common sense assigns them. It’s one of the perversities of modern politics that the west does not have a decent working relationship with the most important country in the Middle East…….. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Movement in European policy makers to overturn approval for UK’s Hinkley Point nuclear power plan

flag-EUOpposition builds to UK nuclear project in EU executive -sources 

* European Commissioners expected to vote on Oct. 8

* Britain has not been forced to make big changes

* Critics predict legal protest if decision approved

UK-subsidyBy Barbara Lewis and Foo Yun Chee  BRUSSELS, Oct 3 (Reuters) - A landmark deal to use British taxpayers’ money to build a 16 billion pound ($25.6 billion)nuclear power station has triggered opposition from a quarter of EU policy-makers, who want to overturn approval from the top European regulator, EU sources said………

critics say it breaches EU law over when government funding is allowed, and representatives of the renewable industry have threatened to bring legal action against the Commission if the Hinkley Point plan is approved.

An internal meeting of senior Commission staff on Monday will examine the decision, and the college of 28 Commissioners including President Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to hold a closed-door vote on Wednesday.

Five separate sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said seven Commissioners opposed approval of the Hinkley Point funding, and although that would not be enough to block it, it was an unusually high level of opposition.

One source said the number could rise, because there are still a few days left before the vote, and predicted a delay.

“They should make more effort to accommodate objections,” one of the sources said, referring to the department of Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, which has managed the case………

The case is a benchmark for EU member states on both sides of the debate as EU countries such as Germany phase out nuclear and seek to replace it with renewable power, while nations such as Poland, like Britain, favour nuclear…….

Britain classes nuclear as well as renewable power as carbon-free, although opponents of nuclear say it cannot be regarded as an environmental solution because it creates radioactive nuclear waste.

They also say there is no justification for funding an expensive and mature technology, when subsidies are being taken away for renewable energy, which is becoming more and more commercially competitive.

“They are rolling out the red carpet for nuclear and waving a red card for renewables,” Claude Turmes, a Luxembourg member of the Green party in the European Parliament, told Reuters.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is scheduled to leave office at the end of October, and sources said he felt he could not leave the Hinkley Point decision for his successor.

Environmental campaigners say he had no right to leave his successor to tackle the aftermath of a hasty conclusion.

“If the deal is approved, the outgoing Commission will be leaving Brussels in a getaway car after the heist of the century,” said Andrea Carta, EU legal adviser to campaign group Greenpeace. “Taxpayers would be left paying for one of the most expensive power stations in the world.” (1 US dollar = 0.6262 British pound) (editing by Jane Baird) http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/04/eu-britain-edf-nuclear-idUSL6N0RY3FE20141004

October 6, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, UK | 1 Comment

European Commission goes along with charade hiding costs of UK’s Hinkley C nuclear farce.

European Commission issues smokescreen ‘protection’ to hide consumer exposure over Hinkley C Dave Toke’s green energy blog http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/ , 4 October 2014
 The European Commission, in signalling its intention to give the green light to the British Government’s Hinkley C nuclear power plant deal under the ‘state aid’ permission procedure has failed miserably to protect British consumers against the consequences of what must be the highly likely outcome of cost overruns in building the Hinkley C plant. Instead it has issued what must be seen as a smokescreen of ‘protection’ to British electricity consumers by asking the British Government to introduce rules clawing back profits made by EDF. See http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/03/eu-britain-edf-nuclear-idUKL6N0RY3FE20141003?irpc=932

protest-Hinkley-CObservers might be forgiven for imagining that the 35 year contract for Hinkley C, underpinned by £10 billion of state loan guarantees paying higher premium prices (£92.50) than privately built onshore windfarms receive for only 15 year contracts, will give EDF and their Chinese partners big profits. However this impression is an artefact of the ludicrous propaganda perpetrated for many years that nuclear power stations are potentially profitable, competitive, operations. They are no such thing. Continue reading

October 6, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

North Korea wanting to resume nuclear talks with world powers

North Korea ready to resume talks on its nuclear programme, says UN envoy  No missile tests planned but country must ‘remain ready’, while Kim Jong-un’s illness ‘fabricated rumour’, says So Se Pyong The Guardian, Friday 3 October 2014 North Korea is ready to resume six-party talks on its nuclear programme but must maintain its readiness in the face of joint US-South Korean military exercises, a senior envoy in Geneva said on Thursday.So Se Pyong, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told Reuters that his country was not planning a nuclear or missile test.

In a wide-ranging interview, he said that reports about the ill health of its leader Kim Jong-un were “fabricated rumours” and that it was not clear whether the US was willing to negotiate the release of three detained Americans.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with North Korea’s foreign minister in Moscow on Wednesday that he saw a possibility thatstalled talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme could resume, but it would take time.

“For the six-party talks we are ready, and as far as I think, China and Russia and the DPRK are ready,” So said in the interview in the DPRK’s mission overlooking Lake Geneva.

“But America, they don’t like that kind of talks right now. Because America does not like that, so that’s why the countries like South Korea, Japan also are not ready for those talks.”

North Korea promised to abandon its nuclear programme in 2005 but appeared to renege on the agreement when it tested nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009………http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/03/north-korea-ready-resume-nuclear-programme-talks-un-envoy-so-se-pyong

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

UN rejectiion of Arab states’ effort to make Israel come clean about its nuclear arsenal

U.N. nuclear assembly rejects Arab bid to pressure Israel BY FREDRIK DAHL VIENNA Thu Sep 25, 2014 (Reuters) - Member states of the U.N. nuclear agency on Thursday rejected an Arab resolution targeting Israel over its assumed atomic arsenal, in a diplomatic victory for the Jewish state and Western countries opposing the initiative.

Arab states had submitted the non-binding text – which called onIsrael to join a global anti-nuclear weapons pact – to the annual meeting of the 162-nation International Atomic Energy Agency, in part to signal their frustration at the lack of progress toward banning atomic arms in the Middle East……….

Fifty-eight countries voted against the Arab proposal and 45 states for, a clearer outcome than in a similar vote last year. Other countries either abstained or were absent.

Intense lobbying by both sides underlined the resolution’s symbolic geo-strategic significance and deep divisions on the issue of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, where some Arab countries joined the United States this week in air strikes on radical Islamist insurgents.

Israel is believed to possess the region’s only nuclear arsenal, drawing frequent condemnation by Arab countries and Iran. It is also the only Middle Eastern country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A draft text circulated at the IAEA meeting by 18 Arab states expressed “concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities and calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.”……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/25/us-nuclear-iaea-israel-idUSKCN0HK14C20140925

September 27, 2014 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international | Leave a comment

Kow towing to mining industry, Australia violates the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

India-uranium1A BLATANT VIOLATION OF Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty–SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 By  By Yusra MushtaqAmongst the various accords of Arms Control and Disarmament, the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has widely been adhered to by most of the countries, which gives testament to the worth of this treaty. Nevertheless, it also has been the fate of being violated again and again by its own signatory members — most recently by Australia which signed a uranium deal with India, ade-facto, but non-signatory state. Previously, the US a big proponent of NPT, paved the way for this kind of illegal nuclear cooperation with the non-NPT state of India by signing a deal back in 2005. The blatant violation of NPT left no room for India to sign this treaty because it already enjoys full benefits as if it were a NPT member state without any restricted conditions.

Largely based on the three pillars of Non-Proliferation, Disarmament and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, the NPT serves as a central bargain. “The NPT non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and the NPT nuclear-weapon states in exchange agrees to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals”. There are 190 states which have joined the NPT club. It is extended for indefinite period of time which reflects its obligatory status. In order to make Global Nuclear Non Proliferation and NPT particularly more fruitful, many substantive initiatives have been taken. They are dominated by export controls regime like Nuclear Suppliers Group and enhanced verification measures of IAEA Additional Protocols. The sole aim of all efforts is to end every possible mean to acquire nuclear weapons. Within this context, success becomes a far off cry as NPT is in a fix between global and national interests of respective states.

Australia signed a deal to sell uranium to India to coin the natural blessing of one third of world’s uranium reserves for the sake of national interests. It is the first non-NPT signatory nation with whom Australia has inked a nuclear deal. Australia is the tenth country in the world that has signed a nuclear deal with India. Both the states are joining hands happily while violating the norms of NPT so blatantly. There is a sheer absence of handwringing editorials at the international news desks. Between the celebrations of this so-called triumph, no one is talking of the sanctity of international arms treaties…….

an irony for the  Global Non Proliferation Regime that there are high voices for NPT to be adhered to, but at the same time its own vocal members have optimized national interests over the security of the whole globe. All are quiet on the sheer violence on this international violation of a treaty because it’s a matter of great powers vested national interests with a de facto state. For this Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher stated; “The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”  Yusra Mushtaq is a scholar on the issues of defense and security. http://www.eurasiareview.com/26092014-blatant-violation-npt-oped/

September 27, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Delays and impediments to South Africa getting Russian nuclear power plants

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaAnalysis: Why we won’t be getting any nuclear power plants from Russia anytime soon, Daily Maverick, DIRK DE VOS SOUTH AFRICA
25 SEP 2014
 
 The Department of Energy recently issued a statement regarding a new partnership in nuclear energy. But let’s not get excited. Nuclear power is a diversion from the real issues in the energy sector – and the culmination of a whole lot of dreaming. By DIRK DE VOS.

The recent media release issued by the Department of Energy, on the agreement regarding a strategic partnership in nuclear energy, will go nowhere.

We are advised that the agreement was signed between the Director-General of state-owned Rosatom but on behalf of the Russian government and Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersen, our minister of Energy, at the 58th session of the Atomic Energy General Conference. While the actual agreement is not available, the announcement reads that it “lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plants (NPP) procurement and development programme of South Africa, based on the construction…of new nuclear power plants with Russian VVER reactors with a total installed capacity of up to 9,6GW (up to 8 NPP units)”.  It goes on: “Rosatom seeks to create in South Africa a full-scale nuclear cluster of a world leader’s level – from the front-end nuclear fuel cycle up to engineering and power equipment manufacturing.” (sic) It ends with the sentence: “This agreement opens the door for South Africa to access Russian technologies, funding, [and] infrastructure, and provides a proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration”.

So, not that clear at all……..

 Already, the Rosatom view has been qualified with a senior government source tellinReuters “[t]hey jumped the gun” and Xolisa Mabhongo, an executive at South African state agency Nuclear Energy Corporation confirming that there would be a bidding process before any final contracts were signed.

The whole drive for nuclear power is very hard to understand, especially since it goes against the government’s own policy document, the Integrated Development Planwhich advises that commitments to long range, large-scale investment decisions “should be avoided” in order to ensure “decisions of least regret”. Nuclear builds take a long (a decade) to be completed and therefore do nothing to ease our current pressing energy problems. If nuclear were to get the green light, other shorter-term solutions would still be needed and then, when nuclear eventually comes online, we will find ourselves sitting with thousands of megawatts of excess and extremely expensive baseload capacity. ……….

…..Perhaps “jumping the gun” has something to do with the pressure Rosatom is facing from its various foreign nuclear power station builds, which it says amounts to $100 billion due to tighter economic sanctions imposed against Russia for its role in Ukraine’s civil war. This includes a $8.4-billion nuclear power project in northern Finland (where Rosatom has a 34% ownership stake) and a $10 billion nuclear plant expansion deal brokered between Rosatom and a Hungarian utility company. The Hungarian one is especially  interesting. It is reported that Benedek Javor, a Hungarian member of parliament, requested that the EU investigate Rosatom deal because he says that it secured its deal without a public procurement process in violation of EU regulations……….

Despite everything, nuclear energy is just uneconomic and will not solve our immediate energy problems either. Countries that select power supplies through democratic, transparent and market-based methods aren’t building new nuclear reactors. The cost differentials between nuclear energy and anything else can’t be fixed by sharpening pencils – the gulf is just too big. None of this means that we should not be vigilant. Rosatom’s footprints in Hungary and Turkey should be closely tracked.

Perhaps the biggest problem with our government’s apparent fixation with nuclear power is that it diverts attention away from the very many things in our energy sector that desperately require our attention. We can but hope that our decision makers will consult the IRP and put these nuclear dreams aside.DM http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2014-09-25-analysis-why-we-wont-be-getting-any-nuclear-power-plants-from-russia-anytime-soon/#.VCXSO2ddUnl

September 26, 2014 Posted by | politics international, South Africa | Leave a comment

Ukraine crisis is holding up Russia’s nuclear technology export business

Russian-BearRussia’s Nuclear Energy Ambitions Run Into Trouble Over Ukraine Moscow’s Backing for New Reactors in Several European Countries Fuels Political Tension, WSJ, SEAN CARNEY And  JUHANA ROSSI, 23 Sept 14, 

When it comes to expanding its influence in Europe through energy, Russia has been looking to move beyond natural gas into financing for nuclear-energy projects. But its investment push has become complicated by rising political tensions over the Ukraine crisis.

Several countries along the European Union’s eastern flank have nuclear projects in the works that are intended to help meet the bloc’s climate-policy goals. Funding, however, has become harder to obtain since Germany turned against nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Russia has been seeking to fill the gap in recent months, but is facing more resistance in some places as the EU tightens its economic sanctions on Moscow.

Finland’s government last week came near to breaking up after a conditional permit was granted to a Russian-backed consortium to build a new plant in the country’s northwest that could cost up to €6 billion ($7.7 billion)…….http://online.wsj.com/articles/europe-wrestles-with-russian-nuclear-diplomacy-1411385720

September 24, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

India-Australia nuclear trade will destabilise the Asia Pacific region

India-uranium1Australia and uranium: the pusher of the Pacifichttps://overland.org.au/2014/09/australian-and-uranium-the-pusher-of-the-pacific/ ByAdam Broinowski 19.Sep.14 “……… The new demand from India will include uranium mined from Ben Lomond near Mt Isa which is likely to be shipped from Townsville Port, and coal mined from the gargantuan Galilee Basin and shipped from Abbott Point, passing through the dredged Great Barrier Reef, or freighted by road to Darwin or Adelaide ports (which hold uranium licenses). The Australia-India uranium agreement supports this concerted and accelerated push.

In cementing a nuclear deal with India, the Abbott government has committed to selling uranium to a nation-state that barely conceals its intentions to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal and that rejects the NPT and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)………..

First, the Australia-India uranium trade agreement is unsafe. If Japan’s nuclear industry and government have proven unable to properly contain the potential for serious nuclear accidents at its domestic nuclear power plants, then India’s nuclear industry, which is much less reliable and possibly even more corrupt, poses even higher risks of mismanagement.

Internally, India is also unstable, as the government fights an embedded insurgency. It maintains a violently repressive approach to imposing nuclear installations and uranium operations (such as Gorakhpur, Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Jagudoga) upon vulnerable communities, and against the wishes of civil protesters, five of whom have been killed since 2010. While guaranteed only intermittent electricity supply, such communities are experiencing higher rates of disease, congenital malformations and early deaths. In Jagudoga, Jharkhand (19,500 people), those living near the central uranium mine operated by Uranium Corp. of India Ltd. (UCIL), have suffered disproportionately high health problems……….

Second, while Tony Abbott reiterated that ‘suitable safeguards’ were in place to ensure that Australian uranium would be used for ‘peaceful purposes’ and for ‘civilian use only’, such ambiguous terms create false impressions. Nuclear technologies are inherently dual-use (both for civil energy production and military use), and it is disingenuous to claim that a water-tight separation can be ensured. In fact, ten of India’s twenty nuclear facilities do not fall under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervisional authority, and India only selectively recognises IAEA safeguards for specific foreign supplied reactors and facilities. With no mechanism to inspect this nuclear technology to ensure that the fuel is not diverted into nuclear weapons production, safety cannot be guaranteed.

Even if the diverted fuel was discovered, neither Australia nor the IAEA could force compliance. An influx of imported foreign uranium will simply make it easier for India to reserve some of its indigenous uranium for enrichment and/or reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium, or for some of Australia’s uranium to be ‘misallocated’ toward military facilities.

In effect, Tony Abbott’s policy to treat India as the exception undermines the IAEA standards within the disarmament regime, and breaches Australia’s obligations to the Rarotonga Treaty for the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.

Third, and perhaps most significant, the deal will upset the ‘balance’ between India-Pakistan and in the South Asian region so as to aggravate rivalries and intensify tensions between the two nations, as well as others such as China and Bangladesh………

While leaders such as Abe, Abbott and Modi downplay the reality confronting people affected by radiation exposures from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we should remember that this contamination came, in part, from Australian uranium.

The refusal of executive leaders to acknowledge the dangers of the uranium trade reflects the centrality of nuclear power to the US-led security regime that seeks to dominate non-compliant nations such as China or Russia………

Dr Adam Broinowski is an ARC postdoctoral research fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University.

 

September 24, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, India, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran seeks to negotiate about combating ISIS and nuclear power

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran seeks give and take on militants, nuclear program BY PARISA HAFEZI AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU UNITED NATIONS Sun Sep 21, 2014 (Reuters) – Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants, but would like to see more flexibility on Iran’s uranium enrichment program, senior Iranian officials told Reuters.

The comments from the officials, who asked not to be named, highlight how difficult it may be for the Western powers to keep the nuclear negotiations separate from other regional conflicts. Iran wields influence in the Syrian civil war and on the Iraqi government, which is fighting the advance of Islamic State fighters.

Iran has sent mixed signals about its willingness to cooperate on defeating Islamic State (IS), a hardline Sunni Islamist group that has seized large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and is blamed for a wave of sectarian violence, beheadings and massacres of civilians.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said recently that he vetoed a U.S. overture to the Islamic Republic to work together on defeating IS, but U.S. officials said there was no such offer. In public, both Washington and Tehran have ruled out cooperating militarily in tackling the IS threat.

But in private, Iranian officials have voiced a willingness to work with the United States on IS, though not necessarily on the battlefield. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran has a role to play in defeating Islamic State, indicating the U.S. position may also be shifting………http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/21/us-iran-nuclear-exclusive-idUSKBN0HG03T20140921

September 22, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

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