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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia considers leaving 1987 intermediate range nuclear forces (INF) treaty

Moscow may walk out of nuclear treaty after US accusations of breach http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/29/moscow-russia-violated-cold-war-nuclear-treaty-iskander-r500-missile-test-us

Russia said to be on point of leaving 1987 treaty, after Obama administration said it violated the accord with tests of R-500   in Moscow and   The Guardian, Tuesday 29 July 2014

Russia may be on the point of walking out of a major cold war era arms-control treaty, Russian analysts have said, after President Obama accused Moscow of violating the accord by testing a cruise missile.

There has been evidence at least since 2011 of Russian missile tests in violation of the 1987 intermediate range nuclear forces (INF) treaty, which banned US or Russian ground-launched cruise missiles with a 500 to 5,500-mile (805 to 8,851km) range. But the Obama administration has been hesitant until now of accusing Moscow of a violation in the hope that it could persuade Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to stop the tests or at least not deploy the weapon in question, known as the Iskander, or R-500.

Washington has also been reticent because of the technical differences in definition of what constitutes the range of a missile under the INF treaty. That ambiguity now seems to have dropped away. According to Pavel Felgenhauer, a defence analyst and columnist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Russia has indeed broken the treaty by testing the R-500 which has a range of more than 1,000km.

“Of course, this is in gross violation of the 1987 treaty, but Russian officials including Putin have said this treaty is unfair and not suitable for Russia,” Felgenhauer said. “The United States doesn’t have [medium-range missiles] but other countries do have them, such as China, Pakistan and Israel, so they say this is unfair and wrong.”

Russian press reports have suggested the missile may even be in deployment, with state news agency RIA Novosti reporting in June that the “Russian army currently uses its Iskander-M and Iskander-K variants.” Felgenhauer said he doesn’t believe the missile has been deployed, although he said it’s entirely possible that Russia will leave the treaty amid tensions with the US.

“The present situation of a new cold war in Europe – and not even cold, at least not in Ukraine right now – it’s a situation in which Russia can abrogate the 1987 treaty, and the possibilities are rather high,” Felgenhauer said.

Russian officials have previously criticised the 1987 treaty, including former defence minister Sergei Ivanov. In 2013, Ivanov, then presidential chief of staff, said of the treaty: “We are fulfilling it, but it can’t last forever.”

  • According to Kremlin-linked analyst Sergei Markov, Russia has a far greater need for medium-range cruise missiles than the |US, because military rivals including China are located near its borders and because Moscow lacks the Americans’ long-range bombing capabilities.”Russia would be happy to leave this agreement, and I think Russia is using the Ukraine crisis to leave the agreement,” Markov said.

    As for Russia’s complaints about US aegis missiles, Felgenhauer said they reflect the genuine belief among Kremlin top brass that the US missile defence has a secret attack capability and poses a threat to Russia.

    “This was a normal Soviet practice that missile interceptors had the in-built capability to be used as an attack missile,” Felgenhauer said.

 

July 30, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret new nuc lear weapons deal between UK and USA

UK-US sign secret new deal on nuclear weapons, Guardian 29 July 14,

• Closed contents of updated Mutual Defence Agreement
• Vital for Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system
• MPs also demand debate on UK’s future world role A new agreement critical to Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, was signed the other day by British and US officials.

Whitehall was silent. We had to rely on the White House, and a message from Barack Obama to the US Congress, to tell us that the 1958 UK-US Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) had been updated.

A new amendment to the treaty will last for 10 years. Obama told Congress it will “permit the transfer between the United States and the United Kingdom of classified information concerning atomic weapons; nuclear technology and controlled nuclear information; material and equipment for the development of defense plans; training of personnel; evaluation of potential enemy capability; development of delivery systems; and the research, development, and design of military reactors.”

The UK, Obama added, “intends to continue to maintain viable nuclear forces into the foreseeable future.” It was in America’s interest, to continue to help Britain “in maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent”.

There was no word from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Whitehall department responsible updating the UK-US treaty. Parliament, a spokesperson said in response to questions, would be informed “at an appropiate time”. MPs would have a 21 day window before the end of the year in which they could debate the issues involved.

However, the content of the new agreement will remain secret. To reveal them, Whitehall officials say, could “assist proliferation” of nuclear weapons.

That is a curious comment given that both the US and UK insist the agreement does not in any way breach their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

The updated agreement, as I described last month, means that Britain is stepping up its cooperation with the US over the design of nuclear warheads, raising new questions about the independence of the UK deterrent. Increased cooperation with the US on warhead design and the exchange of material crucial in the manufacture and stockpiling of nuclear weapon is vital to the Trident system.

Though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.

Paul Ingram, executive director of the British American Information Security Council (BASIC) says that though the agreement is an international treaty that requires regular ratification, it has never been debated in the Commons. Questions from MPs were met with “cursory information”.

He adds: “With the deepening of technical collaboration that shapes the procurement decisions here in London over nuclear weapons programmes, in a manner that stretches or breaks Article 1 of the NPT, it is high time we took this relationship and its consequences for international security seriously.”…….

http://www.theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/jul/29/nuclear-weapons-us-uk-cooperation

July 30, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia ramps up marketing nuclear technology to India

Russian-BearIndia and Russia hold major consultation to set up 22 nuclear power projects in India By ET Bureau | 30 Jul, 2014 NEW DELHI: India and Russia held major consultation in the realm of nuclear research away from the public eye ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Brazil in July.

Nuclear energy was a key element at Modi-Putin talks. Both countries are discussing to set up Russian assisted 22 nuclear power projects in India.

Last month a scientific forum was held at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in the Russian city of Dubna with  ..  http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39250290.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

July 30, 2014 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Serious effects on Europe’s nuclear power if Europe puts sanctions on Russia

exclamation-Smflag-EUSanctions on Russia have potential for nuclear impact, PennEnergy, July 23, 2014  International Digital Editor  Recent events in Ukraine have put Europe’s energy security again under scrutiny, and while there is great concern about the bloc’s vulnerability to Russia retaliating to sanctions by turning of the gas, not as much attention has been paid to the nuclear power aspect.

Russia is highly influential in terms of the EU’s nuclear power capability.

It is an important supplier of the raw material for nuclear fuel, uranium, accounting for 18 per cent of EU supplies.

The BBC reports that 30 per cent of the enrichment work to make uranium suitable for power generation is done by Russian companies.

Meanwhile, many countries within the EU have a significant number of older, Russian-designed nuclear reactors – 18 in all. Finland has two – and all the reactors in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (who are in deals with Russia to build two more) are Russian-designed.

These states are heavily reliant on their nuclear capacity, with 50 per cent of Slovakia’s electricity and 45 per cent of Hungary’s being accounted for by these plants.The fuel for a reactor also has to be supplied in a form – called a fuel assembly – that meets the specifications of the particular reactor, and for Russian-designed nuclear reactors the fuel comes from a Russian company, TVEL. Anything that disrupts the supply of the fuel assemblies needed for these countries’ reactors would be a serious problem for them. A recent European Commission report argued that, “Ideally, diversification of fuel assembly manufacturing should take place, but this would require some technological efforts because of the different reactor designs.”

Because of the implications to countries’ power sectors and, subsequently, their economies, many are reluctant to back aggressive sanctions against Russia……..http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pei/2014/07/sanctions-on-russia-have-potential-for-nuclear-impact.html

July 28, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, Russia, Ukraine | 1 Comment

UK will pay communities just to “think about” hosting nuclear wastes

bribery-1flag-UKCommunities could be paid £40m for considering nuclear waste dump   The Guardian, Thursday 24 July 2014  Renewed effort to find site for underground disposal site will not allow veto for any one level of local government Local communities could be paid over £40m by government for simply considering the building of an underground nuclear waste disposal facility in their area, ministers announced on Thursday.

The renewed effort to find a permanent solution for the UK’s growing stockpile of nuclear waste comes after Cumbria council vetoed a proposed waste dump site in January 2013. But the new approach will not allow any one level of local government to veto future site decisions.

The plan allows for communities to get up to £1m a year for about five years whilst local consultations take place. If the community moves to accepting exploratory drilling, which would take five to 15 years, they would get up to £2.5m a year, meaning a total of over £40m before a decision is taken on whether or not to build the waste burial facility.

Additional and much higher community investment would follow a decision to build the facility. There is no cap on the number of communities that could apply for local consultation.

The Liberal Democrat energy secretary, Ed Davey, said: “Geological disposal provides the secure, long-term solution we need to deal with the radioactive waste we have been creating for more than 60 years.

“Building and running a geological disposal facility will be a multi-billion pound infrastructure project, which will bring significant economic benefits to a community.” He said the new process was “based on a fundamental principle of listening to people”.

But the plan was immediately attacked by the president of the LibDems, Tim Farron, who is a Cumbrian MP. “The geological disposal facility should not be foisted on a community without their wholehearted support. The mooted plans to remove the veto for local councils against a nuclear repository is undemocratic and makes an absolute mockery of the idea of localism.”

Anti-nuclear campaigners dismissed the “no-strings-attached” payments to local communities as “bribes”.

Oscar-wastesFollowing the government’s failure to persuade Cumbria to accept a deep nuclear waste disposal site, the new plan represents another return to the drawing board. Ministers have been trying without success to find a suitable site for over two decades.

David Cameron said in 2007: “The problems of nuclear waste have not been dealt with and they have got to be dealt with to make any new investment possible.” However, the government has already given the green light for a new EDF nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset…………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/24/communities-could-be-paid-40m-for-considering-nuclear-waste-dump

July 26, 2014 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Belarus’ new nuclear reactors bypass regulations and international conventions

safety-symbol-SmBelarus anti-nuclear activist fears for ‘another Chernobyl’ on her doorstep  theguardian.com, Friday 25 July 2014 Tatyana Novikova says new Russian-funded nuclear power plant bypassed official planning regulations and violates international conventions

In 2009, Tatyana Novikova bought a wooden house near the border between Belarus and Lithuania. She chose the area carefully, she says. It’s next to a lake, untouched by industry and – crucially for the mathematician who worked on contamination models in the aftermath of Chernobyl – unaffected by the fallout from the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

But six months after she bought her dream home, Belarus announced that a new nuclear power station, financed by Russia, would be built nearby in Ostrovets.

“I’m completely devastated,” says Novikova, who says the government bypassed official planning regulations, ignored safety concerns and failed to carry out an adequate environmental impact assessment for the plant.

Her experience with Chernobyl, when radioactive contamination forced around 350,000 people to leave their homes and led to an unknown number of deaths, have left her cautious about nuclear power and distrustful of government safety promises.

“Another Chernobyl cannot happen,” she says.

Novikova has appealed to international environmental authorities to try to stop the NPP project, without any success. In the meantime authorities have already started work on construction.

“The problem is that [Belarusian president Alexander] Lukashenko does not give his citizens a voice,” she says.

In a country which does not tolerate activism or public protest – the annual Chernobyl anniversary marches she organises often end in arrests – Novikova has taken her opposition abroad.

She is in London to raise awareness about the issue and hopes to spur the EU to put pressure on Belarus, as the plant would be 60km from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

text-Please-NoteA group of Belarusian activists, including the theatre company Belarus Free Theatre, have launched a petition against the power station – and have won support from some high-profile figures:

sign-thisAnother Chernobyl?! No thanks! Join me – sign petition to block dodgy new nuclear plant in Belarus http://chn.ge/1pNrmGO 

The petition cites several problems with the plant:

  • Construction was started before design plans were in place, and before a license had been issued
  • The design is experimental and has not been properly tested
  • An assessment by more that 50 independent experts found gaping holes in the government’s environmental impact assessment

Novikova says the plans flaunt international regulations; Belarus is a signatory of the Espoo and Aarhus conventions, which specify environmental protections and monitor requirements such as public consultations over construction projects.

She approached the Aarhus committee in Maastricht in June, asking them to prevent the power plant because Belarus had violated the convention by not obtaining official planning permission. The committee came back to her with bad news; they would only issue what she calls a “caution of a caution” to Belarus, believing the government wouldn’t listen anyway. …….http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/25/belarus-anti-nuclear-chernobyl-on-her-doorstep

July 26, 2014 Posted by | ACTION, Belarus, safety | Leave a comment

Russian firms to star in nuclear materials, nuclear weapons sales festival in London

Russian-Bearflag-UKDiary: Russians selling nuclear weapons expertise in Westminster? What’s not to like? Reception at Westminster Abbey, gala dinner in Kensington, maybe even a night of top-flight football at the Crabble. Business as usual for Alexander, Lyudmila and comrades, you might say 

Will there be a resounding silence in September at the World Nuclear Association symposium and exhibition in Central Hall, Westminster?

The world’s nuclear industries will be strutting their stuff: 700 business and leaders from 30 countries discussing such issues as the fuel cycle front-end (no, me neither), the security of nuclear fuel supplies, financing new builds, and uranium resources. There will be a reception at Westminster Abbey and a gala dinner at the Natural History Museum.

And, to crown it all, a discussion panel. That is due to feature Alexander Lokshin, deputy director general of Rosatom, the organisation that controls Russia’s nuclear weapons companies, research institutes and safety agencies; and Lyudmila Zalimskaya of Tenex, which exports the country’s nuclear materials, such as enriched uranium, and is big in the Emirates and China. So far 34 Russian delegates have booked (last year there were 70), but it’s early days. “We have not been told that they will not be allowed to come,” says an organiser. So, business as usual. Maybe…….http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/24/stephen-bates-diary-tenex-crabble

July 26, 2014 Posted by | marketing, Russia, UK | Leave a comment

Hot weather forcing Sweden to cut nuclear reactors’ output

nuke-hotflag-SwedenSweden’s nuclear plants forced to cut output due to warm weather Planet Ark,  24-Jul-14  Balazs Koranyi Sweden’s top nuclear power generators have been forced to cut output because of exceptionally warm weather in Scandinavia, and their output could be reduced for over a week, their operators said on Wednesday.

Oskarshamn, part of Germany’s E.ON and Forsmark, operated by Swedish utility Vattenfall have both cut output because warm sea water temperatures are limiting their ability to cool down.

“For each degree above 23 decrees Celsius in the cooling water, each unit has to decrease power by 3 percent,” Forsmark said in a market message. “It is uncertain how long this will last, but according to meteorologists, the warm weather will last for at least 11 more days.”

Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees in the southern part of Scandinavia this week, hitting their highest level in years…….http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/71927

July 26, 2014 Posted by | climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment

Belarus anti nuclear critic presses on, despite harassment

Belarus anti-nuclear activist fears for ‘another Chernobyl’ on her doorstep theguardian.com, Friday 25 July 2014 “…………The proposed new plant in Belarus will be funded by Russia. Belarus’s official cost estimate is 9.4 billion US dollars, with one third of this to be spent by 2015. Its reactors would be constructed by the Russian company AtomEnergoMash.

Novikova is critical of the EU for not clamping down on nuclear power in the wake of the Fukishima nuclear disaster of 2011, and points out that some countries are steering away from nuclear energy. “Germany is phasing out of nuclear power; it produced 50% of all electricity generation from more renewable sources last year. The Italians said no in their nuclear referendum.”

Like many Belarusian activists, Novikova has faced severe harassment. She was detained in her own home in Minsk during anti-nuclear protests. Her elderly mother has received prank calls which the police confirmed came from the KGB. In Russia, she was arrested and jailed for five days for trying to hand in an environmental petition to the Russian embassy.

She was also was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011, and can’t tell if she was contaminated from radiation exposure from Chernobyl. The WHO says the disaster will cause 50,000 new cases of the cancer among young people living in the worst-affected region. Increased rates ofthyroid cancer are also being reported in Japan, post-Fukushima.

But she refuses to dwell on her own problems: “I’m still alive. Mine is not the worst case of persecution of people.”

“What should I do? Stop my fight? I lost my health, now I have lost my house,” she says. “Why should I run from this problem? I could go to the US or Europe, but it won’t change if I run – maybe I will, if my life will be in danger. Nobody knows. Right now, I have an opportunity to do something.”http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/25/belarus-anti-nuclear-chernobyl-on-her-doorstep

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Belarus, civil liberties | Leave a comment

UK government’s approach to nuclear waste disposal ?bullying and bribing

Communities could be paid £40m for considering nuclear waste dump   The Guardian, Thursday 24 July 2014 “……..The government said the new approach to waste disposal will involve two years of work to come up with a “more sophisticated” process by which the views of local communities affect decision taking, but it said the ability of a council to veto had gone.

“All levels of local government must be involved but we are keen that no one level has an absolute veto,” said a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).

She said the new plan would give communities access to independent advice. “We hope putting in place these actions will mean volunteer communities will understand better what it is all about,” she said. “One of the lessons from our [Cumbria] experience and experience internationally is that the immediate reaction is negative, because ‘nuclear must be bad’, but once people to get to dig into the detail they get more positive.”

Construction of the underground waste dump, sited between 250m and 1000m down, will then take 10-15 years, meaning it could be almost 2050 before any waste is buried.

Germany, Sweden, Finland and the US are currently considering deep geological disposal for nuclear waste. The UK currently has around 600,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste, enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall six times over. Waste from any new nuclear plants will be more concentrated and current government projection for new reactors would mean another two more Albert Halls’ worth.

The UK underground waste site is estimated to cost £12bn, more than the £9bn Olympic Games in London in 2012. The government says the sum is already accounted for in spending plans of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Despite extensive previous geological examination, a new national screening process will take place to identify suitable regions, but it will not pinpoint a site.

The chair of the campaign group Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), councillor Mark Hackett, said: “NFLA welcomes the new policy of carrying out a national geological screening exercise, rather than assuming waste can be buried near Cumbria where the geology has been shown to be unsuitable. We also welcome the idea of assisting communities to obtain independent third party expertise………

Craig Bennett, at Friends of the Earth, said: “We’re still not even close to figuring out an adequate solution for the nuclear industry’s legacy of toxic radioactive waste. The fact that the government is now having to offer bribes to communities to even talk to them, while making it clear they will override their views anyway, makes it crystal clear that this is a technology of the past, not the future. UK governments have wasted immense amounts of money and political effort on nuclear power down the years. If even half of that had been put into renewables and energy efficiency, we’d all be in a much better place”.

Greenpeace UK’s Louise Hutchins said: “This is a bullying and bribing approach by a government that is getting desperate about solving this problem. First David Cameron reneged on his promise [on nuclear waste], now he’s resorting to bribing reluctant communities.”http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/24/communities-could-be-paid-40m-for-considering-nuclear-waste-dump

July 26, 2014 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Scotland’s tax-payers to pay for new nuclear power?

text-my-money-2flag-ScotlandRow over contract to help nuclear firms, Herald Scotland, Daniel Sanderson Wednesday 23 July 2014

 FIVE years ago the First Minister branded nuclear power “a busted flush”.
 However, Scottish Enterprise, the quango that received £233million in Scottish Government funding in 2012-13, apparently holds a different view to that of its paymasters.

The body is to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds of public cash in a project aimed at helping Scottish firms move into the nuclear power industry.

As part of its Nuclear Supply Chain Phase II initiative, Scottish Enterprise has advertised for expert companies to come forward to assist Scottish firms to win business in the sector. In a document provided to firms interested in winning the three-year contract, worth up to a third of a million pounds excluding VAT, it says that as well as extensive opportunities for businesses to play a role in decommissioning old plants, there is also “considerable commitment to nuclear new-build” in the UK and overseas that could be exploited.

The contract has been offered despite Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing saying last year that support for nuclear was “misguided” after the UK Government announced it planned to build another plant in England. Mr Ewing added that economic powerhouses, including France and Germany, were scaling back or eliminating their reliance on the power source and that investment should instead be diverted to renewable energy sources.

While Scottish Enterprise said it believed the “vast majority” of new activity would involve the decommissioning of old plants, environmentalists have hit out at the agency, accusing it of wasting public money by “chasing the nuclear dream”.

Meanwhile, opposition MSPs have accused the SNP of “hypocrisy” after details of the project emerged. Murdo Fraser, energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The Scottish Government continually argues that nuclear power is declining, yet is now looking for a firm to deliver a programme designed to help businesses take advantage of nuclear power opportunities.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends Of The Earth Scotland, said he believed the Scottish Enterprise project was “a waste of time”, and said the cash would be far better spent on creating jobs in green energy. He said: “Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy but has no useful expertise in new nuclear. Scottish Enterprise should concentrate on playing to our strengths in renewables and not be distracted by the nuclear white elephant.”……..http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/row-over-contract-to-help-nuclear-firms.24830973

July 23, 2014 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

The whopping great financial mess that is Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant

flag-FinlandFrench auditors slam Areva for Olkiluoto nuclear project in Finland http://yle.fi/uutiset/french_auditors_slam_areva_for_olkiluoto_nuclear_project_in_finland/7358244?origin=rss 16 July 14, The French nuclear contractor Areva is at the centre of a storm of criticism by French government auditors over its operations. Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK says it still hasn’t received all of the new paperwork relating to nuclear safety for the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant currently at a standstill in western Finland. And the company remains locked in a cycle of recrimination with the plant’s owner. A 122-page report by French government auditors has not yet been officially published but the financial paper Les Échos has quoted liberally from the account, which details major fiascos, billion-euro losses and the dissemination of misleading information by the French nuclear power plant contractor Areva.

The progress of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Eurajoki western Finland forms a central part of the narrative. Areva was selected in 2003 — as part of the Franco-German joint venture Areva-Siemens — to deliver the Finnish nuclear reactor.

“Areva was ready to do anything to win the Olkiluoto deal, including downplaying project management deficiencies. They had also previously delivered and commissioned nuclear reactors but they had never undertaken an entire project end-to-end, since the main French contractor had always been the EDF Group (Électricité de France), explained Les Échos editor in chief Pascal Pogam in an interview with Yle’s A-Studio current affairs program.

Based on accounts by parties such as the Olkiluoto owner-operator, the Finnish power consortium Teollisuuden Voima or TVO, Areva is said to have lied about the possibility of constructing a nuclear reactor within the agreed schedule.

reactor-Olkiluoto_14

“During the time of the Olkiluoto agreement Areva and Siemens (Areva’s former German joint venture nuclear partner) assured TVO that they had the required expertise to see the enterprise through to the end. On hindsight, TVO has speculated that Siemens and Areva minimised their difficulties and covered up their shortcomings to get the deal,” Pogam continued.

Bottomless pit of financial losses However the Olkiluoto reactor turned out to be a bottomless pit of financial losses for Areva, with the project languishing seven years behind schedule and racking up nearly 3.5 billion euros in deficits for the French contractor.

French government auditors took Areva to task for its inability to accurately estimate the cost and timetable required to complete the project.“It’s difficult to blame Areva alone, which is now locked in a futile dialogue with TVO and STUK. The parties can no longer communicate. The future of the project remains wide open because there seems to be no solution to the dispute. Currently Areva and TVO are only communicating via their lawyers. That’s not helping and no one can say when the project will be completed or at what cost,” Pogam remarked.

“According to the report the uncertain situation could get out of hand and the final bill could be massive. However I wouldn’t blame Areva entirely, it’s more a question of each side holding the other to ransom in a situation where each is equally to blame,” Pogam added.

Escalating arbitration battle

For the last couple of years Areva and TVO have been engaged in a pitched arbitration battle before the International Chamber of Commerce, with each side ratcheting up compensation claims over construction delays and unpaid fees.

In late October last year, Areva slapped an additional 700 million euros to bring its claim to 2.6 billion euros for the voided nuclear reactor deal. In its turn, TVO has claimed 1.8 billion euros in compensation for construction delays.

Meanwhile according to the most optimistic estimates the reactor is expected to be ready for firing up at the beginning of next year – many years behind the original completion schedule of 2009. However TVO has said Olkiluoto 3 won’t be operational until one year later in 2016 – and it’s anybody’s guess what the final price tag will be.

July 16, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

New law on renewable energy funding passed in Germany, accepted by European Union

flag-EUGerman green energy law clears final hurdle http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL6N0PM3KB20140711?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0  FRANKFURT, July 11 (Reuters) – Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved on Friday revamped legislation on funding renewable energy, clearing the way for the law to come into force on Aug. 1.

The far-reaching law, which seeks to cap support payments for renewables without jeopardising the country’s shift towards a low carbon economy, had hung in the balance, after months of negotiations, due to wrangling with European Union authorities over its compatibility with state aid guidelines.

But Brussels granted its consent this week, providing encouragement to the Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s 16 states, to vote through the reform package to the renewable energy act (EEG) in its Friday session.

“Germany has embarked on a long project to derive the energy supply of an industrial nation from renewable energy sources, which is historically without parallel,” Stefan Wenzel, environment minister of the state of Lower Saxony, told the Bundesrat.

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, approved the reform package two weeks ago. On Wednesday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Berlin had allayed concerns that German industry might receive unfair advantages through exemptions from obligatory payments towards the cost of funding green energy. He also said Germany had cleared up two other remaining issues – the need to bring foreign renewable power into planned auctions for green energy from 2017 and to change the system of allowing industrial companies, which produce their own power, full discounts on the EEG after that date.

In 2011 Germany embarked on a strategy to accelerate its exit from nuclear energy in light of Japan’s Fukushima crisis, stepping up its renewables expansion and lowering its dependence on power stations that run on gas and coal.

Green energy from sources such as wind or sunshine has already reached a share of 25 percent of Germany’s power mix and is meant to reach 45 percent by 2025 and 60 percent by 2035.

The EEG reform is aimed at lowering the cost of green energy funding for consumers, among a number of other elements that will be introduced in future, including compensation of conventional producers for loss of market share. (Reporting by Markus Wacket and Vera Eckert; Editing by Gareth Jones)

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Threat of nuclear strike against Ukraine ?

Russia Threatens Nuclear Strikes Over Crimea http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/russia-threatens-nuclear-strikes-over-crimea/ Russian FM Lavrov warned that Russia could resort to nuclear weapons if Ukraine tried to retake Crimea.By Zachary Keck July 11, 2014 A senior Russian official appeared to issue a nuclear threat against Ukraine over Crimea on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, numerous senior level Ukrainian officials have promised to return Crimea to Ukraine despite Russia’s decision to annex it earlier this year. Following his appointment as Ukraine’s new minister of defense, Colonel General Valeriy Heletey promised the parliament in Kiev he would work to retake Crimea from Russia.

“Believe me, there will be a victory parade — there will be for sure — in Ukraine’s Sevastopol,” Heletey said, referring to the capital city of Crimea. At the same hearing, Heletey pledged he “will work day and night for restoring the military capability of our armed forces.” Similar pledges have been made by Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, who has promised to oversee the “revival of the army,” as well as Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

When asked about these comments at a press conference on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded, “If it comes to aggression against Russian territory, which Crimea and Sevastopol are parts of, I would not advise anyone to do this.” He then added, “We have the doctrine of national security, and it very clearly regulates the actions, which will be taken in this case.”

This is a not-so-subtle threat to use nuclear weapons to retain Crimea. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s conventional military capabilities have deteriorated significantly. As a result, it has come to be increasingly reliant on nuclear weapons to protect its national security. This has been reflected in its post-Cold War military doctrines, particularly the ones since 2000. These military doctrines have greatly reduced the threshold that would needed to be crossed before Russia would resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

Most notably, Russia’s military doctrines starting in 2000 introduced the concept of de-escalation, which is “a strategy envisioning the threat of a limited nuclear strike that would force an opponent to accept a return to the status quo ante.” In other words, Russian military doctrines have said that Moscow will use limited nuclear strikes in response to conventional military attacks against it. The most recent military doctrine issued in 2010, for example, states:

“The Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.”

It was this military doctrine that Lavrov was referring to at the press conference this week. As quoted above, Lavrov began by emphasizing that Moscow sees Crimea as an integral part of Russian territory. He then stated that Moscow has a military doctrine that “very clearly” outlines how Moscow would respond to threats to its territorial integrity. The military doctrine “very clearly” states that the “Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons” in these situations. This is not the first time a Russian official has issued a nuclear threat against its neighboring states. For example, as tensions rose between Russian and several former Soviet Union and Warsaw states in 2011, General Staff Chief Gen. Nikolai Makarov warned a Russian legislative body that:

“The possibility of local armed conflicts virtually along the entire perimeter of the border has grown dramatically. I cannot rule out that, in certain circumstances, local and regional armed conflicts could grow into a large-scale war, possibly even with nuclear weapons.”

To enhance the credibility of its threat to use nuclear weapons, Russia’s armed forces have conducted regular military drills since 2000 in which a limited nuclear strike is simulated. These drills have become increasinglycommon since the Ukraine crisis began. In some cases, Vladimir Putin has ordered snap drills simulating nuclear strikes.

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Arrests of peace activists blocking nuclear convoy in Scotland

radiation-truckPeace Activists Detained For Blocking Nuclear Convoy, Morning Star  Saturday 12 July 14, TH FOUR peace activists were arrested yesterday after blockading a military convoy transporting nuclear weapons through Scottish streets under the cover of darkness. The four were picked up after briefly halting nuclear warhead-laden lorries near Loch Lomond in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Monitoring group NukeWatch said they believed the four converted lorries — part of a convoy of more than 20 military vehicles — were carrying around half a dozen warheads.

The convoy snaked up the M74 through south Glasgow en route to Coulport — part of a Ministry of Defence project to overhaul its nuclear arsenal.

Scottish CND co-ordinator John Ainslie said it was hard for people in Glasgow to imagine the peril they had endured while they slept. …..

an internal report from a 2011 dry run released last June described “major difficulties,” with emergency services at the scene in Glasgow stranded without help from the ministry’s weapons experts for more than five hours.

An MoD spokesman declined to comment on the movement of material “for national security reasons.” http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-271d-Peace-activists-detained-for-blocking-nuclear-convoy#.U8HV5ZRdUnk

July 12, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

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