Jordan commits to buying nuclear fuel from Russia for 10 years, in $10 Billion Deal on Nuclear Power Plant
Jordan, Russia Sign $10 Billion Deal on Nuclear Power Plant, abc news AMMAN, Jordan — Mar 24, 2015, By SAM McNEIL Associated Press Jordan signed a $10 billion deal with Russia on Tuesday to build the kingdom’s first nuclear power plant, with two 1,000-megawatt reactors in the country’s north.
The deal, signed in the Jordanian capital, Amman, with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom company caps efforts of the energy-poor kingdom to increase energy sufficiency and reduce imports……
Under the deal, Jordan must buy fuel from Rosatom for the reactors for 10 years, after which it may seek other suppliers. The Jordanian government will have a slight majority ownership, with Rosatom owning 49 pecent of the plant, according to the Jordan Times.
Earlier this year, Rosatom signed an agreement, the details of which are secret, to build two reactors in Hungary. And last month, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Egypt, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant at an existing nuclear site in Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast where a research reactor has stood for years. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/jordan-russia-sign-10-billion-deal-nuclear-reactors-29874766
Unstated Factor in Iran Talks: Threat of Nuclear Tampering, NYT, By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROADMARCH 21, 2015 “………if negotiators succeed in reaching a deal with Iran, does the huge, covert sabotage effort by the United States, Israel and some European allies come to an end? “Probably not,” said one senior official with knowledge of the program. In fact, a number of officials make the case that surveillance of Iran will intensify and covert action may become more important than ever to ensure that Iran does not import the critical materials that would enable it to accelerate the development of advanced centrifuges or pursue a covert path to a bomb.
In the case of the covert effort to purchase the specialty aluminum, the Iranians actually discovered the switch before they installed the tubes, and now say they are racing ahead to develop a next-generation centrifuge that would produce nuclear fuel far faster, a prospect that has become a major sticking point in negotiations.
In public, the Obama administration says economic sanctions on oil exports and financial transactions drove Iran to negotiations — and the prospect of getting those restrictions lifted are the best chance of persuading Iran’s leadership to take a diplomatic deal limiting Iran’s production of nuclear fuel for a decade or more.
In private, officials say sabotage was the other big stick — a persistent effort to slow Iran’s progress, and a signal that the United States had other ways to deal with the nuclear program. On occasion they allude to it, as Stephen J. Hadley, President Bush’s national security adviser, did at a presentation on sanctions last year, when he talked about how the financial penalties were supplemented by “things directed at their program, which we can’t talk about.”
Although American officials remain suspicious of Iran operating a covert nuclear facility, they say they see no solid evidence of a hidden operation today.
It is entirely possible that if an accord is reached, President Obama could call a pause in what has been more than a decade of attacks, the most famous of which was a yearslong effort, code-named Olympic Games, which inserted into Iranian facilities the most sophisticated cyberweapons ever deployed. One of them was the Stuxnet worm that disabled about 1,000 centrifuges, but also spread around the world, revealing the program.
But reaching an accord is quite different than reaching a state of trust. Inside Iran, there will be pressure to keep making slow progress on a nuclear program that is central to the ambitions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and thousands of scientists who have labored for years. And in the uneasy alliance among Israel, the United States and Europe there will be continued debate about whether to supplement diplomatic pressure with covert action to keep Iran from getting to the threshold of being able to build a weapon.
For the past decade or so, the covert war to halt Iran’s nuclear program has included high-profile assassinations of their top scientists — widely attributed to Israel — and cyberattacks.
The assassinations suddenly stopped a few years ago, after they were publicly denounced by the United States. The cyberattack efforts may be continuing, probably at a lower level: a recently disclosed document from the National Security Agency, written in 2013, describes “NSA’s planned battle rhythm” to attack Iran’s systems in case of a crisis, and “Iran’s discovery of computer network exploitation tools on their networks in 2012 and 2013.” They make it clear that the N.S.A. has played a crucial role in the negotiations, in “support to policy makers” during negotiation on Iran’s nuclear program.
The ultimate goal of the covert program of industrial sabotage, according to intelligence and weapons specialists, is to produce damage obscure enough to evade easy detection, but extensive enough to result in random failures that seriously impede Iran’s nuclear drive………http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/world/middleeast/unstated-factor-in-iran-talks-threat-of-nuclear-tampering.html?_r=0
IS THE INDIA NUCLEAR AGREEMENT REALLY THE ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ OBAMA PROMISED? Chauthi Duniya, March 20th, 2015 Analysts and experts familiar with the negotiations say that the legal issues remain so complex that private U.S. companies may continue to shy away from new deals in India,….
The Indian Government has already slated sites for nuclear power facilities for Westinghouse Toshiba in the western state of Gujarat and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in the state of Andhra Pradesh. “My feeling is that there’s not as much there,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the nonprofit Arms Control Association, a non-proliferation watchdog group. “The real test is, will GE or Westinghouse say ‘this is good enough for us’ or not and whether they will sign contracts.”…….
The key issue will be whether the conflict between international law and Indian law can be waved away by a memorandum from India’s Attorney General. The memorandum would have to say that the 2010 liability law “doesn’t mean what it says,” said a Washington lawyer familiar with the issues but who asked for anonymity to protect his professional relationships. Continue reading
What does the nuclear lobby want, for South Australia?, Online Opinion,
|By Noel Wauchope 19 March 2015 “….It is difficult to work out exactly what is planned in nuclear industry expansion for South Australia. The plans involve some or all of these industries: uranium enrichment, nuclear power, importation and storage of nuclear wastes, 4th Generation nuclear reactors, and expansion of uranium mining.
However, we can be grateful to ABC Radio’s Ockham’s Razor programme, as it provided the nuclear lobby with a platform for setting out succinctly their intentions. Oscar Archer, a well -known voice for the nuclear industry, explains……
Australia should get a fleet of PRISM small nuclear reprocessing reactors – Archer’s plan is for “IFS+IFR: Intermediate Fuel Storage and Integral Fast Reactor, namely the commercially offered PRISM breeder reactor from General Electric Hitachi.”What he means here is the Power Reactor Innovative Small Module
Archer then sets out the sequence of events that would lead to the establishment of this fleet. In Archer’s words “it goes like this. Australia establishes the world’s first multinational repository for used fuel – what’s often called nuclear waste”
However, he notes that “This is established on the ironclad commitment [my emphasis] to develop a fleet of integral fast reactors to demonstrate the recycling of the used nuclear fuel”……
the sting in the tale of his plan is really exactly what he calls the first step – the overturning or weakening of Federal and State laws. The Federal Act protects against nuclear reprocessing and expanded nuclear industries. ARPANSA sets safety standards for exposure to ionising radiation. South Australian State Law would have to be overturned, too – under the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000
The central premise of Oscar Archer’s promotion of this nuclear chain of events is that Australia should go out on a limb – be the first country in the world to import nuclear wastes and to order a mass purchase of PRISM reactors…..
The PRISM reactor exists only on paper and its development is decades away from completion. David Biello, in Scientific American comments “Ultimately, however, the core problem may be that such new reactors don’t eliminate the nuclear waste that has piled up so much as transmute it. Even with a fleet of such fast reactors, nations would nonetheless require an ultimate home for radioactive waste, one reason that a 2010 M.I.T. report on spent nuclear fuel dismissed such fast reactors.”
The PRISM can’t melt down in the way that conventional nuclear reactors can. However, its essential use of plutonium entails hazardous transport – vulnerability to terrorism and use as a “dirty” bomb. And – finally the PRISM reactor itself becomes radioactive waste requiring security and burial.
There is another, underlying premise here that needs to be examined. This is the premise that it is OK for Australia and the world to continue to consume energy endlessly…….
The plan purports to reduce greenhouse emissions by means of thousands of little reactors, (and big ones) – but their development is so many decades away that it would be too late for climate change action.
We are left with a plan that looks suspiciously as if the troubled nuclear industries of USA, Canada and UK have selected Australia as the guinea pig for a plan to reverse their industries’ present decline.
It is a worry that the South Australian Government is looking to Canada to take part in the Royal Commission. If ever there were a troubled nuclear industry, it is in Canada. The World Bank’s Corrupt Companies Blacklist is Dominated By Canada, because of one company, SNC Lavalin, – exporter of small nuclear reactors………http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17185
Hours before talks were due to resume in Switzerland on Sunday, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough sent a letter to a senior Republican critic, urging him to shelve legislation that would clip the administration’s wings.
Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, is bringing a bill that would require Congress to vote on any deal with Iran and remove the waiver authority that allows President Barack Obama to suspend sanctions imposed by the legislature.
“The legislation would potentially prevent any deal from succeeding by suggesting that Congress must vote to ‘approve’ any deal, and by removing any existing sanctions waver authorities that have already been granted to the president,” McDonough said.
“We believe the legislation would likely have a profoundly negative impact on the ongoing negotiations – emboldening Iranian hardliners.”
Calling on Corker to hold off the bill until a deal is reached, McDonough also warned that if the US was blamed for negotiations falling apart, Washington would be unable to muster the international support needed to ratchet-up sanctions on Tehran.
“Put simply, it would potentially make it impossible to secure international cooperation for additional sanctions, while putting at risk the existing multilateral sanctions regime,” he said…….
A framework agreement between the international powers and Iran is supposed to set out the key element of a deal in which Iran accepts limits of its nuclear activities for a number of years (expected to be at least 10) in return for sanctions relief. The negotiators would then have until the end of June to complete detailed annexes on how the deal would be implemented and verified.
With days to go until the deadline for a framework deal, there are still said to be gaps remaining on the central issues of Iran’s future uranium enrichment capacity and the question of which sanctions will be lifted and when. Diplomats from all sides have voiced readiness to stay in Lausanne through the Persian New Year holiday, Nowruz, which begins next weekend, but western negotiators are reluctant to push the first deadline beyond the end of the month.
“We believe very much that there’s not anything that’s going to change in April or May or June that suggests that at that time a decision you can’t make now will be made then,” Kerry told CBS News before arriving in Lausanne.
“If it’s peaceful, let’s get it done. And my hope is that in the next days that will be possible.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/15/iran-nuclear-talks-white-house-warns-congress-stand-down
Green Parties call for a nuclear free region on anniversary of Fukushima, Global Greens 10 March, 2015 “……The Green Parties of the Asia Pacific region offer our sincere condolences for the tragedy suffered, and our solidarity with the people and Green Party of Japan.
We use this anniversary to remind the Governments of the world, that it is the responsibility of all nations to ensure the safety of our planet.
There is no doubt, the suffering for the Japanese people has been immense, especially for those living in and around Fukushima, and it is not yet over. The world has already witnessed suffering following nuclear disasters in Chernobyl (Ukraine), Khystym (Russia), Sellafield (United Kingdom), and Three Mile Island (USA). However, there are currently 71 new nuclear plants under construction around the world, the majority of which are in the Asia Pacific region (China 26, Taiwan 2, India 6, Japan 2, Pakistan 2, South Korea 5). (3)
It is time we fully committed to a nuclear-free world.
Whether your country is listed as one of these constructing further nuclear plants or not, we are all implicated in the nuclear supply chain – through uranium mining, refining, power generation, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons, or through complicity by not discouraging the practice of our trading partners.
Green Parties around the globe oppose the expansion of nuclear power and are working to rapidly phase it out. Nuclear energy is not the emissions-free solution that the world needs to address climate change, in fact, it is a net producer of greenhouse gases.(4)
As we have seen with Fukushima, the human and planetary costs are too high, and when examining the nuclear supply chain, it is simply ineffective at reducing emissions.
We need to stay focused on transitioning to clean renewable energy sources – these are not only safer, but offer a more equitable solution. We can achieve economic development with genuine quality of life through a sustainable smart green economy. Examples of this kind of development include community-based, co-operative, renewable energy operations complemented by reduced energy consumption through electricity saving government policies.
At this critical moment, we ask the people Asia Pacific to call on their governments to:
- Commit to a nuclear-free world.
- Move to clean equitable renewable energy solutions for your country
- Provide democratic process in citizens’ referenda on nuclear power.
- Ensure information transparency, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice for residents living near power plants and nuclear waste fields.
- Prioritise in decision-making the wellbeing of our planet and future generations.
The Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) Coordination Committee
The APGF’s members are:
- Australia: Australian Greens
- India: Uttarakhand Parivartan Party (UKPP)
- Indonesia: Sarekat Hijau (Indonesian Green Union)
- Japan: Greens Japan
- Korea, Republic of: Green Party Korea
- Mongolia: Mongolian Green Party
- Mongolia: Civil Will Green Party of Mongolia
- Nepal: Nepali Greens (Green Civil Society)
- New Zealand: Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
- Pakistan: Pakistan Green Party
- Taiwan: Green Party Taiwan http://www.globalgreens.org/news/green-parties-call-nuclear-free-region-anniversary-fukushima
EU blocks Hungary’s €12bn nuclear deal with Russia, Ft. March 12, 2015 Andrew Byrne in Budapest and Christian Oliver in Brussels The EU has blocked Hungary’s €12bn nuclear deal with Russia, in a decision that is likely to inflame tensions between the Kremlin and Brussels.
The ruling from the European Commission is a setback for Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, who has courted the Kremlin despite the conflict in Ukraine……..
Arguments have raged for weeks over the technical, financial and fuel provision agreements of the contracts with Rosatom. All nuclear fuel supply contracts signed by EU member states must be approved by Euratom, which imposes financial and technical requirements on fuel suppliers.
In the end, Euratom refused to approve Hungary’s plans to import nuclear fuel exclusively from Russia. Hungary appealed against the decision, but according to three people close to the talks, the European Commission has now thrown its weight behind Euratom’s rejection of the contract.
The decision, details of which were kept secret, came at a meeting in Brussels last week of all 28 EU commissioners, including Hungary’s Tibor Navracsics.
The result is to block the whole Paks II expansion. To revive it, Hungary would need to negotiate a new fuel contract or pursue legal action against the commission.
Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, warned that the letter “could become a spanner in the works” of the negotiations, due to resume on Monday, with an “unpredictable effect on opinion” inside Iran.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also poured derision on the Republican letter in a statement expressing astonishment that members of Congress would seek to undermine a US administration by writing directly to a foreign power, and suggesting that the letter’s authors had much to learn about international and even US law.
However, the sharpest reaction to Monday’s open letter came from the White House. President Obama accused its 47 Republican signatories of “wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran”.
The US vice-president, Joseph Biden, said the letter, drafted by Tom Cotton, a freshman senator from Arkansas, was “expressly designed to undercut a sitting president in the midst of sensitive international negotiations”.
we will need to reduce the power and influence of the fossil fuel companies, kicking their representatives out of government and moving subsidies away from polluting fuels and towards clean energy. Divestment campaigns shouldn’t just call for an end to fossil fuel funding but galvanize a shift in public investments into cleaner alternatives: not corporate renewable schemes but community energy, sustainable local transport and energy efficiency projects.
We can’t just sit back and expect the falling price of solar and wind to sweep away the old energy order. Renewable energy could be a powerful tool for dismantling the current failed system – but we need to use it wisely, and not let it fall into the wrong hands!
Whose renewable future? New Internationalist MARCH 2015 Is big business poised to capture the renewables revolution? Danny Chivers draws up the battle lines. “……..This increasing reliance on companies, not governments, as providers of energy services and infrastructure is driven by a global economic system based on market ‘liberalization’, profit maximization and endless growth. It’s a trend that we need to reverse if we want renewable energy truly to be a force for good.
Luckily, alternative models are appearing all over the world. Renewable energy co-operatives have hundreds of thousands of members and are building and installing their own solar, wind and small-scale hydro projects from Indonesia to Costa Rica. Continue reading
Merkel to discuss Germany’s nuclear exit, cooperation on renewable energy during Japan trip, Fox Business, March 07, 2015 BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she plans to use her upcoming trip to Japan to discuss how Berlin and Tokyo can cooperate to expand the use of renewable energy.
Merkel will visit Japan on Monday and Tuesday as part of a series of bilateral meetings with G-7 leaders ahead of a June summit in Germany.
Germany sped up its exit from nuclear energy after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011.
Merkel said in a weekly online address Saturday that Germany was “now strongly emphasizing renewable energy. And I believe Japan should go down this road too — and it is.”….http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/03/07/merkel-to-discuss-germany-nuclear-exit-cooperation-on-renewable-energy-during/
The letter, seen by the Guardian, calls for new EU financing mechanisms for nuclear as a low carbon technology, and research and innovation initiatives to deal with the costly and unresolved issues of nuclear waste and decommissioning.
New state aid guidelines are also needed, it says, and these should be based on past EU decisions, including the approval of the UK’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset……..
The letter to the commission’s vice president Sefkovic and climate commissioner Miguel Cañete was signed by the Romanian energy minister, Andrei Gerea, on behalf of ministers in seven other countries including the UK, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia.
The ministers’ core argument is that many countries would not be able to cost-effectively meet EU climate targets and energy security objectives, without bloc support for new nuclear plant builds and the maintenance of existing reactors.
The cost-effectiveness argument is key, as minutes of a commissioner’s discussion seen by the Guardian indicate that the UK’s planned £17.6bn subsidy for Hinkley was cleared by Brussels partly on the basis that it would have been too expensive to organise a competitive tendering process.
The competition commissioner of the time, Joaquín Almunia, told other commissioners that “the specificities of nuclear technology made it impossible to achieve full competition between operators, at least at the time of the HPC project. For a project like the present one, the costs of preparing a project bid are so considerable that it would seem almost impossible to organise an open and transparent bidding process with several bidders.”
The minutes show that the EU decision largely rested on the imputed common interest in advancing nuclear power outlined in the Euratom treaty. But Hinkley’s approval was resisted by the commission’s environment and climate directorates who argued that it called into question the bloc’s ‘technology neutrality’ and would create market distortions.
“This is really about state aid which is supposed to be for new technologies that haven’t proved themselves viable yet. But nuclear energy has had 70 years and still has not been able to prove itself viable, even when the public pays for its waste disposal and decommissioning. It should not be eligible for subsidies,” said Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP for South West England and Gibraltar………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/04/uk-joins-romanian-push-for-new-eu-nuclear-aid-package
What Netanyahu left out of his speech to Congress http://warincontext.org/ 03/06/2015
Gary Sick lists five significant omissions: 1. Iran has dramatically reduced its stockpile of enriched uranium. Remember Bibi’s cartoon bomb that was going to go off last summer? Well, it has been drained of fuel, and that will probably continue to be true indefinitely. No mention.
2. Inspections will continue long after the nominal 10-year point, contrary to his claim that everything expires in ten years. No mention.
3. The heavy water reactor at Arak will be permanently modified, so it produces near zero plutonium. Not only did he not mention it, but he listed the reactor and plutonium as one of his threats.
4. His repeated assertion that Iran is actively seeking nuclear weapons ignores the judgment “with high confidence” of both American and Israeli intelligence that Iran has taken no decision to build nuclear weapons. It also contradicts the repeated findings of the IAEA that no materials have been diverted for military purposes.
5. All the major countries of the world are co-negotiators with the United States, so a U.S. congressional intervention that killed the deal will not only affect us but all of our major allies. If we stiff them, there is no reason to believe the international sanctions will hold for long. No mention.
Germany says using tax money for nuclear power ‘out of the question’ BY BARBARA LEWIS AND TOM KOERKEMEIER BRUSSELS Thu Mar 5, 2015 (Reuters) – Using taxpayers’ money to fund nuclear power is “absolutely out of the question”, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday, in an apparent swipe at British plans to finance new atomic generation.
Gabriel was arriving for talks in Brussels on the European Commission’s proposal for an energy union, which would deepen cross-border cooperation on energy across the 28-member EU…….
“There are countries in the EU that want to support nuclear power with tax money. We think that is absolutely out of the question,” Gabriel said.
“We will not agree by any means that nuclear energy be supported by public money. Nuclear energy is the most expensive kind of generation. It has now been around for 50 years, it is not new and it is dangerous.”
Gabriel did not directly mention Britain’s plans to finance new nuclear generation to be built by French utility EDF at Hinkley Point in southwest England.
The European Commission last year approved state aid for the 16 billion pound ($25 billion) plan, drawing fierce criticism and legal action from those who say the subsidy distorts competition.
On Wednesday, a German energy cooperative announced it would take legal action against Britain’s plan to pay a guaranteed price for power produced at Hinkley Point….. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/05/us-eu-energy-nuclear-idUSKBN0M115Q20150305
The talks will resume on March 15, probably in Geneva, as the latest deadline for agreement looms at the end of the month.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said a deal was “very close”,telling NBC that he and his team were prepared to carry on working through the Persian New Year celebration of Nowruz starting on March 21. Continue reading
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