Massive wildfires transform Siberian paradise into disaster area Mashable, Andrew Freeman 25 Aug 15 Dozens of large wildfires are burning out of control around Lake Baikal in Siberia, which is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume and the deepest lake, at more than 5,300 feet deep. The Lake Baikal area is a popular recreational area during the summer, with campgrounds and cottages surrounding the shoreline.
Because of the composition of the soil in this part of the world, these fires are spewing unusually high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming.
The region has seen drier and milder than average weather this year, and a combination of natural and manmade fires have led to a cataclysmic scene, with thick smoke seen from space and orange-tinted skies on the ground.
In July, the Lake Baikal area was one of the most unusually mild areas on Earth, according to NASA data as well as information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Fires have been burning off and on in this area since April, when farmers traditionally burn dried grass to help fertilize the soil. However, this year, many agricultural fires in this region got out of control, killing at least two dozen people and destroying several villages.
The smoke even made it across the Pacific Ocean, making for red sunsets in the Pacific Northwest, which is now suffering through it’s own wildfire calamity………http://mashable.com/2015/08/24/massive-fires-are-surrounding-the-worlds-deepest-lake-in-siberia/
Rosatom eager to sign three more accords with BAEC http://www.observerbd.com/2015/07/22/100629.php#sthash.jdS4D1ks.USjrUblf.dpuf Shahnaj Begum, 22 July, 2015, The Russian state-owned nuclear power agency, Rosatom, is eager to sign three separate deals with Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) before signing the general contract to install the country’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur on the north-west part of the country.
According to the official one deal will be signed to arrange the fuel to run the plant and another one for the “back end” for taking away the waste of the plant, and another one is for the operational purpose (maintenance), he added.
Bangladesh formed three separate teams to discuss the issue.
“We are yet to know about the technology, but we want to procure a reactor which will have SSE (safe shut acceleration) and capacity to handle minimum peak ground acceleration value of 0.38g (which means it would be all right against earthquake of 9 on the Richter scale),” a BAEC official said.
This is a follow-up to another visit by a high-powered technical committee to Russia last month.
This visit is necessary for selecting the right thing for Bangladesh and ensure a block allocation from the Russian Federation to implement the dream project, first of its kind in the country,” Yeafesh Osman said.
Moscow financed the technical study of the RNPP. Under the deal Bangladesh would borrow an amount of $569 million with an interest rate of not less than 5 per cent from Russia.
The government is going to build two nuclear plants with the capacity of 1,000 MW each at Rooppur with the latest ‘third generation’ technology from Russia where five-layer security measures would be installed, according to officials.
Everybody suddenly forgets that fish swim? Long distances….
Russia’s farm ministry said it has partially lifted a ban on seafood imports from Japan imposed in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear crisis.vA total of 23 fish processing companies in Aomori Prefecture will now be allowed to ship their products to Russia, but the trade embargo will remain for companies in seven other prefectures, the ministry said Tuesday.
Russia made the decision based on preliminary results of a study carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency in February. The fact that Aomori Prefecture is relatively far from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant played a role in the decision.
According to the Japanese Fisheries Agency, the seven prefectures still subject to Russia’s trade restriction measures are Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Chiba and Niigata prefectures.
Prior to the nuclear crisis, about 520 fish processing companies in Japan were allowed to export their products to Russia. Since April 2011, more than 200 companies in eight prefectures, including Aomori, have been banned from exporting products.
Source : Japan Times
The Great Debate Big loser in any nuclear deal with Iran may be Russia By Agnia Grigas and Amir Handjani, Reuters, July 10, 2015 As Iran and six world powers edge closer to solidifying an accord that puts limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, a unique opportunity presents itself for the West. The United States and its European partners could begin to decouple the unnatural Iranian-Russian alliance to reign in Moscow’s hegemonic ambitions, as well as bring Iran back into the global economic fold. Competition between Moscow and Tehran would reduce Russia’s influence in the Middle East, unlock Iran and may even serve Europe’s future interest as it looks for alternatives to Russian gas.
Iran and Russia share a complicated history rooted in both countries’ imperial past. In fact, over the past two centuries, Iran has ceded more territory to Russia than any other country. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union destabilized and encouraged separatist movements in the province of Iranian Azerbaijan, similar to what Moscow is doing in Ukraine. As recently as the 1980s, Iran backed Afghan rebels in their conflict against the Soviet Union.
The recent Russo-Iranian alliance has been more a marriage of convenience than a genuine partnership. Russia uses Iran as a geopolitical foothold in the energy-rich Persian Gulf and to poke a finger in the eye of U.S. allies in the region. In return, Iran takes advantage of Moscow’s veto power at multinational forums such as the United Nations. An Iran that is engaged with the West in areas such as energy, trade and peaceful nuclear power generation would no longer see Russia as protector of its interests. It is a fact that Iran’s fractured and vitriolic relationship with the West has driven it to form political, commercial and military ties with Russia. Those ties are still fragile, at best.
Russian companies have signed deals that underwhelmed the Iranian market in contentious areas such as energy and nuclear power. Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear reactor was riddled by delays and cost overruns. Over the past year, Russian firms have been quick to sign all sorts of long-term agreements in aviation, commercial shipping and agricultural trade out of a fear they would be pushed aside by superior Western firms as a nuclear deal looked more likely.
Russia and Iran have competing interests in energy more so than in any other area of strategic importance. ……..The pending deal between Iran and the six world powers has the potential to be a net loss for Russia. The West should grasp the opportunity and encourage Iran’s drift away from Moscow’s economic orbit. Fostering economic competition between the two historical rivals would eventually reduce their political collaboration. In the long run, this deal may result in achieving a strategic win for the United States and Europe. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/07/09/big-loser-in-any-nuclear-deal-with-iran-may-be-russia/
South Africa has concluded similar pacts with China, France, the US, Japan and South Korea.
“There are serious questions that need to be answered as to whether South Africa is able to finance this programme and how any investment would have to be repaid,
Will Putin pay for SA’s $100bn nuclear plan?, Mail & Guardian, 06 JUL 2015 11:03 MIKE COHEN The awarding of contracts to build SA’s nuclear plants is nearing. Who will pay for the big project? Russia is seen as the frontrunner to win the right to build South African nuclear power plants that may be worth as much as $100-billion. With a six-month deadline to award contracts, who’s going to pay for the country’s biggest project yet remains a mystery.
Price-tag estimates for as many as eight reactors generating 9 600 megawatts, which the government wants to begin operating from 2023 and complete by 2029, range from $37-billion to $100-billion. Bids are due to start this quarter, with Russia’s Rosatom seen as a leader. Areva, EDF, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding and Korea Electric Power have also shown interest.
The planned investment comes as the government battles to fend off a junk-grade credit rating and the Treasury seeks to rein in the budget deficit. Proceeding with the nuclear plants could result in a large increase in public debt, the International Monetary Fund warned in a report on June 24.
“There appears to be a simple-minded assumption that countries like China or Russia will provide cheap plants and offer finance,” Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich in the UK, who has monitored South Africa’s nuclear plans since 1997, said in a phone interview on June 24. “That’s an illusion.” Continue reading
Nuclear deal – 200 South Africans to be “educated” during excursions to Russia http://www.biznews.com/briefs/2015/07/09/nuclear-deal-200-south-africans-to-be-educated-during-excursions-to-russia/ ALEC HOGG JULY 9, 2015 Cape Town – The Department of Energy announced in a statement on Thursday that it has signed two memoranda of understanding with Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom at the 7th summit of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries in the Russian city of Ufa.
According to the first document, Russia and South Africa aim to implement several joint projects for education in the nuclear power industry.
The countries will cooperate to provide training for five categories of specialists for the South African nuclear industry: nuclear power plant personnel, engineers and construction workers, staff for operations not related to the power industry, personnel for nuclear infrastructure, students and teachers.
There will also be education programmes for 200 South African candidates at Russian universities and educational organisations. This memorandum stipulates the development of educational materials and scientific literature on nuclear power, student exchange programmes for students of various levels of training, organisation of internships and summer courses, student competitions and teacher training.
The second memorandum signed in Ufa stipulates joint efforts of the parties to promote nuclear power in South Africa, increasing the awareness of local residents of modern nuclear technologies used in the power industry and in other industries, and ensuring public acceptance of nuclear power.
In particular, the parties have agreed to work out a plan for the implementation of a joint communication programme to be launched in South Africa. This will involve the organisation of round tables and other events aimed at promoting nuclear power and modern nuclear technologies.
A nuclear energy information centre in South Africa is also under consideration. “The parties seek to exchange information and best practices in the nuclear industry by organising working visits and international conferences and exhibitions,” said the Department of Energy. Source: http://www.fin24.com/Economy/Rosatom-seeks-to-educate-SA-on-nuclear-power-20150709
Russia to tighten grip on global nuclear market with standardised reactors, Global Construction Review, 17 June 2015 | By David Rogers Russia’s state nuclear corporation claims it will start mass-producing nuclear reactors to meet growing demand for nuclear power around the world.
“Something we have and nobody else does is that we have learned to replicate nuclear power plants,” said Valery Limarenko, head of Rosatom’s Atomstroyexport subsidiary, speaking during the Rosatom’s annual conference.
He said: “The serial production of nuclear power plants around the world is a difficult thing to do, but we have managed it because we are building a series of standard designs with options covering seismicity, climate and the other parameters. Our competitive ability is very high because a company that can build a series of projects, has a very strong position on the market.”………http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/russia-tighten-grip-glob8al-n4uclea0r6-4m2ar0k8et/
Russia will add 40 ballistic missiles to nuclear arsenal in 2015, Vladimir Putin says, SMH, June 17, 2015 – Moscow: President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will boost its nuclear arsenal by more than 40 intercontinental missiles this year, as a senior defence official accused NATO of seeking to drag Moscow into a new arms race.
Mr Putin made his announcement a day after Russian officials warned that Moscow will retaliateif the United States carries out its plan to store heavy military equipment in eastern Europe.
“This year the size of our nuclear forces will increase by over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles that will be able to overcome any, even the most technologically advanced, missile defence systems,” Mr Putin, flanked by army officers, said in a speech at a military and arms fair.
“We will be forced to aim our armed forces … at those territories from where the threat comes,” Putin added…….
he New York Times reported on the weekend that the Pentagon was poised to station heavy weapons for up to 5000 American troops in several Eastern European and Baltic countries to deter Russian aggression.
The proposal, if approved, would be the first time since the end of the Cold War that the US has had heavy military equipment – including battle tanks – in newer NATO members that were once under Moscow’s influence as part of the Soviet Union………
“The feeling is that our colleagues from NATO countries are pushing us into an arms race,” RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov as saying on the sidelines of the arms fair.
Ex-U.S., Russian brass: ‘De-alert’ nukes or risk disaster Politico. com By BRYAN BENDER 4/29/ 15
Amid all the talk about a new Cold War, here’s one hard, cold fact: Nearly 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington and Moscow still have nearly 2,000 atomic bombs ready to fly at a moment’s notice to destroy each other.
And that so-called hair-trigger alert is now sparking new concerns that deepening distrust between the former foes significantly raises the risk of a miscalculation and nuclear disaster.
Story Continued Below
On Thursday the American general who recently commanded U.S. nuclear forces will lead a group of ex-Russian officers and other national security leaders in an appeal for the United States and Russia to take immediate steps to “de-alert” their respective arsenals.
Their proposal starkly warns that the current dismal state of relations — combined with other new factors such as the threat of cyberattacks — demands leaders on both sides be given more time to respond to potential provocations before ordering the unthinkable.
“Tension between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis has brought the parties one step closer to the precipice of nuclear brinksmanship, the point at which nuclear risk skyrockets,” according to the findings of the commission convened by the disarmament group Global Zero, which will be delivered at the United Nations. “This tension is uncharacteristic of their post-Cold War partnership, but it has flared to the point that it is producing dangerous misunderstandings and action-reaction cycles with strong escalatory updrafts.”
The group, led by retired four-star General James Cartwright, who oversaw the U.S. nuclear arsenal before leaving the military in 2011, says the United States and Russia are at serious risk of an accidental nuclear confrontation, spurred by flawed intelligence or a misreading of the other side’s intentions. The primary reason: Fully half of their large arsenals remain designed to respond within minutes, what is known as launch-on-warning. As the report points out, “the go-code comes as a message that is the length of a tweet.” And “Minuteman missiles are so named for a reason.”
By requiring more steps be taken to prepare the weapons for launch, Russia and the United States would have hours — if not several days — to develop better information before reacting, while still maintaining a strong deterrent force, Cartwright told POLITICO.
“These weapons that are on alert are particularly vulnerable to being hijacked or [the systems] indicate something that is not true in a situation where you only have a few minutes to make a decision,” said Cartwright, who was head of the U.S. Strategic Command before becoming vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“In a tense military-political situation, like the one that exists currently as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, the probability of making erroneous decisions increases,” added retired Russian Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, former director of Research Institute No. 4 in the Russian Ministry of Defense. “That is why at the present time it would be necessary for the presidents of Russia and the U.S. to formally renounce the launch-on-warning form.”
Russia rejects US accusations of nuclear treaty breach Yahoo News By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV 9 June MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Tuesday pledged adherence to a Cold War-era nuclear treaty and rejected U.S. accusations that it had violated it. Speaking at a briefing, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. has failed to provide evidence to prove allegations of Russian breaches of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty.
He added that Moscow is ready for an “honest but specific dialogue” and said Russia “has no intention to break the treaty.” The disagreements over the INF treaty come amid the Ukrainian crisis and may further foment Russia-West tensions.
Asked to comment on U.S. considerations to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged Russian violations, Lavrov warned that “building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.”He said that Russia had its own grievances regarding the U.S. implementation of the treaty and that mutual concerns could be assuaged through dialogue.
The U.S. has accused Russia of flight-testing a ground-launched cruise missile with a range prohibited by the treaty. Russia denied the claim and, in its turn, alleged that some elements of the U.S. missile defense shield violate the treaty…….
The INF Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. Its signing followed some of the darkest periods of the Cold War, when NATO allies hosted U.S. ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershing 2 ballistic missiles to countering Soviet SS-20 missiles….. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-rejects-us-accusations-nuclear-treaty-breach-121350545.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw
Last week India’s Economic Times reported that the Indian conglomerate Reliance Infrastructure—which owns stakes in numerous Indian defense companies—is seeking Russian assistance for programs to locally produce nuclear submarines and other stealth warships. According to the report, top Reliance executives were in Moscow last week to meet with Russian defense officials about finding a partner for a joint venture between a Russian defense company and Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering, India’s largest defense shipyard, which Reliance has an 18 percent stake in. Specifically, Reliance is looking for a Russian partner with the “requisite technology expertise for manufacturing warships in India.”
As the Economic Times points out, the meetings come on the heels of India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approving a plan for an Indian company to locally manufacture six nuclear submarines and seven stealth warships. The initial investment outlay for the project was set at Rs 1 trillion ($15.67 billion.)
Although the Russian government refused to specifically confirm the report, it did sound receptive to such a possibility…….http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-eyes-massive-nuclear-submarine-deal-india-12997
Commenting on the possibility of Russian nuclear deployments, Breedlove said that the military alliance had not seen any changes recently.
“We have to be very clear – we have not seen direct evidence of any deployment of nuclear weapons [by Russia],” Breedlove told reporters.
Relations between NATO and Moscow deteriorated after Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the escalation of the crisis in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
In April 2014, the military alliance halted all practical cooperation with Russia, accusing Moscow of fueling the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly denied these accusations and, in turn, voiced concern over NATO’s military buildup close to its western borders.
Survival of the fittest? World’s major nuclear builders are in for a long stretch in the red, Bellona, May 18, 2015 by Vladimir Slivyak, Translated by Maria Kaminskaya MOSCOW – Judging by the numerous reports on negotiations under way over new reactor construction projects, 2015 should be a pivotal year for nuclear power development across the world. The most vigorous efforts toward expanding their presence on the international markets are applied by the Russian Rosatom and France’s Areva. But all is not so rosy with both companies’ balance sheets. In free market conditions, without generous subsidies from state budget, the industry is as good as paralyzed, and it’s no wonder that its leaders are made of those with access to state coffers. Will the largest nuclear competitors find salvation in their governments’ support? Continue reading
US to Spend $60 Mln on Russian Nuclear Security Despite Sanctions http://sputniknews.com/us/20150508/1021898724.html The United States Department of Energy might spend over $60 million on nuclear security activities in Russia.
The DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) “has budgeted the funds to be spent this year through an international organization called the Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Program in Russia (MNEPR),” news website read, citing administration sources. NNSA spokesperson Derrick Robinson did not reject this information and said that US-Russian dialogue on nuclear security issues plays a great role in diminishing the level of nuclear terrorism threat.
He added that the United States has worked with Russia for a long time in order to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The United States and the European Union, as well as some other Western nations, have accused Moscow of escalating the crisis in Ukraine, and imposed economic sanctions on Russia to exert a change in Kremlin policy. Moscow r
Russia and the US are racing to modernize their nuclear forces http://www.businessinsider.com.au/russia-and-the-us-are-racing-modernize-their-nuclear-forces-2015-5 JEREMY BENDER The Kremlin has embarked on a process to update all of its nuclear warheads and launch systems.
The modernization effort will affect all of Russia’s strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons — a total of 4,500 warheads, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reports. The modernization process includes the replacement of Soviet-era intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with new rocket launch systems.
Also included in the modernization push is the development and launch of an upgraded Borei-class ballistic missile submarine. Within the coming decade, Moscow plans to replace two older ballistic missile submarine classes with the newly updated Borei. The new variant will feature improved electronics, among other modifications.
Russia is not alone in wanting to upgrade its nuclear forces. The US also wants to modernize its nuclear weapons and launch platforms with the express aim of making its arsenal more efficient without having to acquire new warheads.
“[W]hile we haven’t deployed major new strategic systems in some time, we’ve been modernising the ones we’ve got more or less continuously — new rocket motors and guidance systems for the Minuteman missiles, lots of rebuilt parts for the B-52s, etc., etc.,” Matthew Bunn, a nuclear proliferation expert at Harvard, told Politifact.
In total, the US modernization plans are estimated to cost a total of $US348 billion over the coming decade,accordingto estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
However, the total bill could rise to as much as $US1 trillion over the following three decades thanks to upkeep costs, a report from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studiesestimates.
This process of modernization is triggering what John Mecklin, the editor of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, calls a “different kind of arms race.”
“It’s one in which technological advance is the race,” Mecklin told the BBC. “Nuclear countries are trying to make sure that the other nuclear countries don’t get some sort of technological edge.”
This modernization drive has no resulted in matching efforts within the US and Russia. Just as Russia is modernising its arsenal of ICBMs and ballistic missile submarines, the US is also replacing its nuclear triad with new missiles, submarines, and a next-generation bomber.
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual