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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

Russia’s huge nuclear waste dumps in Arctic seas

wastes-1Russia announces enormous finds of radioactive waste and nuclear reactors in Arctic seas August 28, 2012 by  Enormous quantities of decommissioned Russian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste were dumped into the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia over a course of decades, according to documents given to Norwegian officials by Russian authorities and published in Norwegian media. “…..The catalogue of waste dumped at sea by the Soviets, according to documents seen by Bellona, and which were today released by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, includes some 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radiactively contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.

Bellona’s two decades on the case

“Bellona has worked with this issue since 1992 when we first revealed the dangerous nuclear waste laying at the bottom of the Kara Sea,” said Bellona President Frederic Hauge.

He acknowledged, however, that a precise accounting from the Russian side could hardly be expected given Russia’s own ignorance of the extent of the dumped radioactive waste………

Making way for oil exploration

Bellona’s Igor Kurdrik, an expert on Russian naval nuclear waste, said that, “We know that the Russians have an interest in oil exploration in this area. They therefore want to know were the radioactive waste is so they can clean it up before they beging oil recovery operations.” He cautiously praised the openness of the Russian report given to Norway and that Norway would be taking part in the waste charting expedition.

Bellona thinks that Russia has passed its report to Norway as a veiled cry for help, as the exent of the problem is far too great for Moscow to handle on its own.

The most crucial find missing

Kudrik said that one of the most critical pieces of information missing from the report released to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority was the presence of the K-27 nuclear submarine, which was scuttled in 50 meters of water with its two reactors filled with spent nuclear fuel in in Stepovogo Bay in the Kara Sea in 1981.

Information that the reactors about the K-27 could reachieve criticality and explode was released at the Bellona-Rosatom seminar in February…….http://bellona.org/news/uncategorized/2012-08-russia-announces-enormous-finds-of-radioactive-waste-and-nuclear-reactors-in-arctic-seas

 

July 2, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

AS Russia spens $millions on new submarines, it again delays cleanup of radiologically dangerous ship us

text-radiationVessel a radiological hazard  The scientific community in Russia has been unified, repeatedly underscoring to Russian media that the unloaded spent nuclear fuel aboard the ship poses a major environmental danger to the Arkangelsk Region, where Zvezdochka is located

Long-time push to dismantle huge Soviet nuclear battle cruiser again put off  The long struggle to dismantle the Soviet era nuclear missile cruiser Admiral Ushakov – which has been out of active duty for the past 17 years following a machinery accident – has been put off for another year over cost concerns, raising environmental and radiological concerns, the b-port news portal in Murmansk reported. Bellona, June 11, 2014 by  

The long struggle to dismantle the Soviet era nuclear missile cruiserAdmiral Ushakov – which has been out of active duty for the past 17 years following a machinery accident – has been put off for another year over cost concerns, raising environmental and radiological concerns, the b-port news portal in Murmansk reported.

A spokesman for Zvezdochka ship repair yard where the vessel is moored, yesterday told b-port that dismantlement works on the enormous vessel would not begin until 2016 at the earliest.

Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has included in its 2015 budget costs for drawing up engineering schematics for its dismantlement, but by all accounts, the project is running late and short on cash.

The financial crunch to dismantle the Admiral Ushakov comes as a bad time. The majority of international aid flowing to nuclear submarine dismantlement and radiological waste security via the G-8 Global Partnership plan has already been committed, laying the burden for securing the vessel on the Russian government.

ship-Russian-missile-cruise

Unilateral funding from the United States’ Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program has also reached its conclusion, and tensions between the West and Russia over the simmering crisis in Ukraine make it difficult for Moscow to find donors.

What’s more, the costs for dismantling nuclear battleships and cruisers run as much as 10 times more than dismantling the largest nuclear submarines, experts say, mostly because the expertise for nuclear battleship and cruiser deconstruction in Russia is in short supply, and international assistance almost a necessity, officials told b-port. This could become a problem with as many as three older nuclear battleships still on the Russian Navy’s registers.

For its part, the Russian Navy is instead pouring a mint into developing new submarine technologies at the expense of cleaning up legacy waste, said Nils Bøhmer, Bellona’s general manager and nuclear physicist

‘The Russian navy is currently spending millions on new submarines which is diverting funding from cleaning up radiological challenges left over from the past,” said Bøhmer.  “To have this vessel lying around for 17 years with spent fuel is a dangerous and uncertain situation.”…….

Vessel a radiological hazard

The scientific community in Russia has been unified, repeatedly underscoring to Russian media that the unloaded spent nuclear fuel aboard the ship poses a major environmental danger to the Arkangelsk Region, where Zvezdochka is located…….http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/radioactive-waste-and-spent-nuclear-fuel/2014-06-long-time-push-dismantle-huge-soviet-nuclear-battleship-put

 

June 13, 2014 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Russia tried floating nuclear plants – costly and risky

reactors-floatingRussia’s Plans for Floating Nuclear Power  Motley Fool, By Maxx Chatsko  May 4, 2014 |  “………. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have proposed building a floating nuclear power plant roughly five to nine miles offshore. Huh? Is that even possible?

I’m all about American innovation, but the idea was not originally conceived by MIT researchers, although their designs are novel. The original idea for floating nuclear power plants was actually developed in Russia. More surprising is that its more than just an idea — designs are being constructed and commercialized as you read this article. Is the world really ready for floating nuclear power?

Russia’s plans
The Russian designs for floating nuclear power plants were created by Rosatom, which originally planned to build up to eight facilities by 2015. Those plans were proven overly ambitious, but the first two reactors were installed (non-operable) last October and are expected to be deployed in Pevek. Each power plant will consist of two nuclear reactors ranging from capacities of 35 MWe to 325 MWe each and boasting a lifetime of 38 years. The plan is to tow the facility back to port every 12 years for one year of maintenance and fuel reloading. Some will produce power exclusively for the grid in remote locations lacking access to Russia’s abundant natural gas reserves and extensive pipeline network through underwater transmission cables, while others will act as cogeneration facilities capable of feeding the grid and desalinating large quantities of seawater. Meanwhile, the ship hulls are being constructed in Russia, although South Korea and China have been rumored to be possible partners in future facilities.

It’s not difficult to imagine the ambitious and pioneering projects experiencing cost overruns — and that’s exactly what has happened. Planned facilities have been canceled, moved, sold, bought, and resold in their relatively short existence. Whether the floating nuclear power plants can produce power economically remains to be demonstrated, although the cost is expected to drop with each new facility………

The potential risks are numerous,….Unfortunately, the risk increases for unproven and unverified designs. There would be unique threats such as terrorists, pirates, or stray tankers, as well as familiar threats such as equipment malfunctions…. environmentalists would be sure to interpret proposed designs as humanity’s disregard for marine life,

May 5, 2014 Posted by | Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Barents Sea a radiological danger, with its dead nuclear submarines

Kara-barents_seaRussia, Norway urge raising of dumped Soviet-era nuclear subs by Alexey Pavlov and Charles Digges (charles@bellona.noMURMANSK – Two derelict Soviet-era nuclear submarines lying at the bottom of the Barents Sea present a real radiological risk to surrounding waters and could have a negative impact on the delicate ecosystems of Arctic Seas, leading Russian scientists and Russia’s Ministry for Emergency Services have said. April 3, 2014 by 

MURMANSK – Two derelict Soviet-era nuclear submarines lying at the bottom of the Barents Sea present a real radiological risk to surrounding waters and could have a negative impact on the delicate ecosystems of Arctic Seas, leading Russian scientists and Russia’s Ministry for Emergency Services have said………

The long dormant conversation about raising the subs has been reanimatedbecause of the recent joint workshop held by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Bellona last month in Murmansk, where the Russian side expressed its wish to see the vessels retrieved.

Yet, the subs are hardly all of the radioactive hazards languishing at the bottom of the Kara Sea.

According to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), other submerged radiation hazards include 19 ships containing radioactive waste; 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radioactively contaminated heavy machinery and 17,000 containers of radioactive waste.

Bellona Murmansk director Andrei Zolotkov said an international dialogue about raising radioactive Russian military machinery 20 years ago would have been impossible.

But the overwhelming tally of international cooperative successes on radiological and nuclear hazards in Northwest Russia are, he said, immeasurable. As such, the conference has opened the door for a joint Norwegian-Russian inspection, particularly of the K-159 submarine, later this year………

The radiological archipelago

The Bellona-Rosatom workshop reinvigorated discussion about radiological research surrounding the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, were the Soviets scuttled tons of solid radioactive waste and vessels containing spent nuclear fuel.

The task of past expeditions to this Davy Jones’ locker of radioactive debris has been to inspect sunken reactor cores, ships and containers of solid radioactive waste for leaking radionuclides, as well as to search out other radiation hazards that have not been charted – something Korolyov told the international gathering.

“We have to continue searching for what is lost,” he said, and citing that previous searches for barges loaded with reactor chambers have been unsuccessful, though they are assumed to be in the waters surrounding Novaya Zemlya…….. http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2014-04-russia-norway-urge-raising-dumped-soviet-era-nuclear-subs

April 5, 2014 Posted by | oceans, Russia | 2 Comments

Bad timing to let Russia be in control of Britain’s nuclear reactors

Russian-BearRussian nuclear power in the UK? We might want to think about that  theguardian.com, 13 Mar 14, 

We should beware Russia’s politicisation of gas supplies to Ukraine as we contemplate a deal with it to build an atomic plant in Britain

Clearly there is something jarring about the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) boasting about its positive negotiations with the Russians over building a nuclear power station in Britain just as a summit is due to begin in London about what sanctions can be taken against Moscow over its involvement in the Crimea.

If Vladimir Putin is threatening to once again use energy as a political weapon in the Ukraine by cutting off the country’s gas exports, then this is a bad moment to talk about state-owned Rosatom taking a critical stake in UK power infrastructure through the construction of an atomic plant.

Western Europe is already 30% (and in past years 50%) dependent on Russian gas, while London now hosts the headquarters of Gazprom’s global gas trading operation. But surely Britain does not want to open itself up to further dependence on Moscow by allowing its electricity to be generated by Rosatom? Well, few people five years back would have believed state-ownedChinese firms would form key partners in the project to commission the UK’s first new nuclear plant in 27 years at Hinkley Point in Somerset, and yet that is now settled.

So why not the Russians too, the little question of sanctions aside? After all, Rosatom has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Decc and with nuclear and aerospace-contractor Rolls Royce……..

But the current biggest roadblock to any new nuclear facilities is financial. China and perhaps Russia may be willing to sink billions of pounds into Britain’s nuclear industry as a showcase for exports to the rest of the world, but even they will need help from the UK state like that being offered at Hinkley. The European commission may yet rule that the Decc “strike price” of £89.50 per megawatt hour is an illegal subsidy, which would leave any wider new nuclear programme by the Russians or anyone else dead in the water. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/12/russian-nuclear-power-uk-gas-ukraine-britain

March 13, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Russia, UK | Leave a comment

Russia aims to monopolise Europe’s nuclear industry?

Russia muscles into European nuclear industry, Global Post 23 Jan 14 A new deal with Hungary is set to boost Moscow’s influence as its grip on oil and gas wanes.BERLIN, Germany — A leading Hungarian official has said an agreement last week to give Russia a foothold in his country’s nuclear future is Budapest’s best deal in 40 years.

Hungary granted Russia’s state energy company Rosatom a $14-billion contractto double the capacity of the country’s sole nuclear power plant, a 2000-megawatt reactor in the Danube River city of Paks.

The funds would be offered as a 30-year loan package to be extended at below-market rates.

“These new reactors will surely enhance Hungary’s energy independence and security,” Russian President VladimirPutin told reporters.

devil-bargainBut one person’s bargain is another’s Faustian deal — in this case at least. Critics say the sweetheart deal may as well have been written by Mephistopheles, the demon of German folklore.

They say the project was never tendered for competitive bids despite an earlier expression of interest from the French energy company Areva. Skeptics worry it represents an effort by Putin to add nuclear energy to the oil and gas monopoly he’s used so effectively to cement Russia’s influence in Central and Eastern Europe.

“What are Hungarians to make of the fact that Prime Minister Viktor Orban has committed them to invest [billions] building two new nuclear reactors without consulting his own cabinet let alone parliament, industry experts, or the Hungarian people?” asked a pointed editorial in the English-language Budapest Beacon…..

The European Commission’s decision about the agreement’s compliance could have far-reaching implications.

In 2012, allegations of corruption surrounded the Russian bid to expand the Czech Republic’s Temelin nuclear reactor due to the involvement of a Czech firm under investigation for insider trading and breach of trust in connection with previous deals. Now it looks doubtful that project will go forward at all, according to Czech media.

Similarly, a Russian project to build a 2000-MW nuclear plant in Belene, Bulgaria, was excoriated as “a corrupt and completely illegitimate business project, aimed at producing abundant and expensive electricity in a country with excess capacity in a region of declining electricity demand,” in the words of Ognyan Minchev, a research fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Balkan Trust for Democracy. The Bulgarian parliament voted to scrap plans for the reactor in February last year following a protracted debate over its environmental impact and a new investigation into the projected costs……http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/140123/russia-nuclear-deal-hungary-power-influence

January 24, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Russia placing nuclear missiles near Polish border

Baltic alarm over reports of Russian nuclear missiles in Kaliningradhttp://www.euronews.com/2013/12/16/baltic-alarm-over-reports-of-russian-nuclear-missiles-in-kaliningrad/   Russia has placed nuclear Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, which borders Poland andLithuania, according to reports in Russia’s Izvestia newspaper.

Izvestia appears to be confirming German newspaper reports this weekend that missiles were visible near the Polish border on satellite imagery.

The news of the advanced placement has caused alarm in the Baltic states, wary of Russian militarism after decades of dominance by the Soviet Union.

Russia announced in 2011 that it would place missiles in Kaliningrad to counter Nato’s plans for a Western anti-missile shield.

Nato’s system of radars and missiles aims to neutralise the threat from Russian missiles by intercepting them mid-flight.

But Russia says the shield upsets the fine strategic balance, which has kept East and West locked in a nuclear stalemate since the end of the cold war.

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Russia keen to sell nuclear reactors to USA

Russian-BearMegatons to Megawatts 2.0: Russia eyes new nuclear project with US energy industry Rt.com  December 11, 2013 “……..Rosatom enters US nuclear energy market Marking the end of the HEU-LEU agreement signed in 1993, the head of Russia’s Rosatom Kiriyenko--tsarnuclear energy corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko, has met with his American counterpart in Washington, the US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and his deputy Daniel Poneman.

The parties “compiled a list of mutually interesting projects” Kiriyenko told journalists on Tuesday. The head of the Russian nuclear energy industry named one such project: an international fast-neutron reactor, but refrained from specifying the others.

Kiriyenko said that the HEU-LEU agreement has become “unique experience” which paved the way for future Russia-US cooperation in the nuclear energy sphere.

Rosatom has already signed more than $5.5 billion worth of direct contracts, with US nuclear power generators outside the framework of the HEU-LEU agreement, Kiriyenko acknowledged.

“It is the basis that allows our companies to discuss further cooperation options after the completion of this project,” Kiriyenko said…….. http://rt.com/news/heu-leu-agreement-over-037/

December 12, 2013 Posted by | marketing, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Russia aggressively marketing nuclear power to South Africa

Russian-Bear

the draft Russian agreement, which Business Day has seen, had a veto clause, which would allow the parties to block the involvement of a third country

Russia turns up heat on ambitions for nuclear build in SA  flag-S.AfricaBUSINES DAY LIVE, BY CAROL PATON, 29 NOVEMBER 2013 THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT IS PUMPING UP THE PROPAGANDA SURROUNDING THE COUNTRY’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA WITH A SERIES OF REPORTS ON THE OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTER VOICE OF RUSSIA THAT A DEAL HAS BEEN STRUCK TO BUILD SOUTH AFRICA’S PLANNED NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS.

Several countries are jockeying for position in South Africa’s nuclear build programme, which envisages the construction of three nuclear power plants to supply 9,600MW at the cost of at least R1-trillion. The government has said the procurement process is close to finalised and there is high expectation among bidders that it will go ahead next year.

fighters-marketing-1

This week, the temperature over the nuclear build was further heightened when state-owned Russian corporation Rosatom hosted a nuclear suppliers’ forum in Johannesburg “with the aim of establishing and developing lasting partnerships in South Africa”.

At the forum on Monday, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) and a Rosatom subsidiary. Continue reading

November 30, 2013 Posted by | marketing, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Disturbing photographs of Russia’s nuclear decay in the Barents Sea

PHOTOGRAPHY This Island Holds The Decaying Remains Of The Soviet Nuclear Fleet, Gizmodo, 26 Nov 13  

 Located in the Barents Sea just 120km from Norway, the island is home to a host of used-up reactors and other parts from Soviet nuclear submarines. High-level radioactive waste is relegated to the island’s tunnels for long-term storage, so everything you’re seeing in these pictures consists of the low to intermediate level waste left scattered above ground. And according to one Soviet coastguard who witnessed the dumping in April of 1991, the level of safety precautions was “scandalous”.

nuclear-decay-Barents-Sea

Seeing the slow decay of these once-awesome feats of military prowess is oddly beautiful, if not totally creepy. Below are some of photographer Ralph Mirebs’s photographs of the Soviet ghost island, and you can the rest of his work over at English Russia……………… [English RussiaHTTP://WWW.GIZMODO.COM.AU/2013/11/THIS-ISLAND-HOLDS-THE-DECAYING-REMAINS-OF-THE-SOVIET-NUCLEAR-FLEET/#

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Russia | Leave a comment

Reasons behind Russia’s belligerent nuclear posture

Russia Flexes Its Nuclear Muscles, The National Interest, Nikolas K. Gvosdev  November 14, 2013   Two decades after the Cold War removed the Damocles’ sword of mutually-assured destruction in a sea of nuclear fire from over our heads, and, in the words of George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn, “made the doctrine of mutual Soviet-American deterrence obsolete“, the Russian decision to update, modernize and upgrade its nuclear forces is seen as a worrisome harbinger of a new era of strategic competition between Moscow and Washington. …….

Last month, the Russian government unveiled spending plans that would double the amount allocated for the country’s strategic nuclear forces, to reach 46 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) by 2016. That announcement was followed by a “snap check” of the country’s nuclear deterrent, held at the end of October, in which both land-based and submarine-launched ballistic missiles were fired and Russian air and missile defense systems were tested at the Kapustin Yar proving grounds. This nuclear exercise was designed to remind the United States (as well as other powers) that Russia is no paper tiger, at least when it comes to its deterrent capabilities…….
Nuclear weapons hold a special pride of place in Russia’s strategic conception of itself as a great power. It is only in the nuclear realm (and in the related field of space flight) that Russia retains parity with a United States which otherwise far surpasses Russia in all other categories of national power—in terms of economic output, global reach, number of allies, or ideological “soft power.”…..

it is important to note important gaps between stated plans and executable outcomes. Reading the press releases of the Russian Ministry of Defense alone does not provide the entire story.

For one thing, the next generation systems have flaws. Nearly half of the tests of the Bulava missile—meant to be the signature piece of the new Borei-class boomers—have failed, with some experts questioning whether the other tests which were classed as “successes” are also masking problems…….

For an Obama administration that holds out the promise of a world without nuclear weapons, however, the Russian decision to renovate its nuclear posture creates real difficulties, especially when Russia is also resuming long-distance patrols and conducting exercises. (The Russian claim that these new efforts are in direct response to U.S. missile-defense efforts also creates political difficulties.)…… the Russian push to upgrade its nuclear forces may push the administration to scuttle any plan for shifting the U.S. nuclear posture to the most minimal one needed for deterrence.http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/russia-flexes-its-nuclear-muscles-9399

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s ambitious, but dangerous floating nuclear power plants

safety-symbol-Smflag_RussiaRussia’s floating nuclear plants to power remote Arctic regions, The Conversation,  Tony Roulstone, 12 Nov 13  “…..Russia is embarking on an ambitious and somewhat imaginative programme of building floating nuclear power stations…… These reactors, mounted on huge, 140m by 30m barges, are being built in the Baltic shipyard in St Petersburg and will be floated through the Norwegian and Barents Seas to where they will generate heat and electrical power in the Arctic.

The first, Academician Lomonosov, has been built and its two 35MWe KLT-40S reactors are now being installed. Lomonosovis destined for Vilyuchinsk, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East where she will be operating by 2016. Up to ten similar plants are destined for similarly remote and unpopulated areas……. The KLT-40S reactor is fuelled by 30-40% enriched uranium, which falls outside what would be allowed for civil use (concern about weapons proliferation limits enrichment to very low levels). The reactors are built in factories and assembled in shipyards, where productivity is much higher and quality standards easier to police than on construction sites. But military reactors are designed with little thought for costs and because of their small power output it’s very likely that their lifetime generating costs will be several times that of large, grid-connected reactors, and many more times higher that of a gas power station…….

Just how safe Russian military reactors are is clouded in secrecy; we just don’t know how safe the KLT-40S is. Russia has successfully operated nine nuclear icebreakers over the past 50 years. On the other hand we know that seven Russian nuclear submarines have sunk, some due to reactor problems and others due to weapons explosion onboard, and a further ten reported reactor accidents. So this reactor’s pedigree is not unblemished.

Cooling systems for civil reactors have become very complex and this is a prime cause of soaring construction costs. It is difficult to install in a naval vessel the number of systems and separate them so that they provide redundancy should one fail. …..

As with many other aspects, we do not know whether the containment structure of the Russian reactors will be effective. Though the Russians are being imaginative in developing barge-mounted reactors to address a problem specific to their geography and their needs, the lack of openness makes it hard to see how useful their nuclear technology can be in the West……. http://theconversation.com/russias-floating-nuclear-plants-to-power-remote-arctic-regions-19994

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Russia, safety | 1 Comment

Computer worm Stuxnet ‘badly infected’ Russian nuclear power plant

computer-worm-nukeStuxnet infected Russian nuclear plant By Darren Pauli on Nov 8, 2013  Jumped airgap, Kaspersky boss says. http://www.scmagazine.com.au/News/363578,stuxnet-infected-russian-nuclear-plant.aspx  Stuxnet had ‘badly infected’ the internal network of a Russian nuclear plant after the sophisticated malware caused chaos in Iran’s nuclear facilities in flag_RussiaNatanz.

The malware, widely considered to have been developed by the US Government as a means to disrupt Iran’s nuclear enrichment plans, had crossed a physically separated ‘air-gapped’ network in the Russian plant after it was carried across on a USB device.

Eugene Kaspersky, the charismatic boss of the Russian antivirus company bearing his name, said a staffer at the unnamed nuclear plant informed him of the infection. “[The staffer said] their nuclear plant network which was disconnected from the internet … was badly infected by Stuxnet,” Kaspersky said.

“So unfortunately these people who were responsible for offensive technologies, they recognise cyber weapons as an opportunity.” But USB devices were used to ferry malware cross a far greater air-gap: Russian astronauts had carried a virus on removable media to the International Space Station infecting machines there, Kaspersky said.

In a presentation given at the Canberra Press Club designed to give mainstream journalists a broad overview of the state of information security, the chief executive offered his view of the state of online crime and state-sponsored espionage. “All the data is stolen,” Kaspersky said. “At least twice.”

He said sophisticated malware like Gauss, Flame and Red October were rare and would require around $10 million to build.

Such malware had infected Saudi Aramco knocking it offline for two weeks, Kaspersky noted. Half of all malware was written in Chinese, according to Kaspersky. About a third was written in Spanish or Portuguese, followed by Russian-coded malware that was less prevalent but the most sophisticated in the world, he said.

He said Chinese malware appeared to ‘not care’ about operational security because researchers regularly found personal photos and social networking accounts on servers used in attack campaigns.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, technology | 2 Comments

Russia wants to subsidise Armenian nuclear power plant

Russian-BearRussia Offers to Subsidize Nuclear Plant Asbarez.com, 6 Nov 13YEREVAN (Arka)Russia is ready to finance 35 percent of the cost of construction of a new power unit for Armenia’s nuclear power plant, Vahram Petrosyan, the secretary of a presidential council on nuclear power safety, said today……On September 3, Russian president Putin said experts from Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and Armenian experts will work to extend the service life of the Armenian nuclear power plant in Metsamor for another 10 years until 2026.

Petrosyan said the extension of the service life of the facility requires at least $150 million……

he governments of the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation will soon sign an agreement on cooperation in the area of nuclear safety, the President said. The agreement will allow Armenia to:

– develop infrastructure for nuclear safety in preparation for the construction of new energy units based on Russian designs.

– train, re-train and upgrade specialists of nuclear safety, taking into consideration IAEA recommendations.

– expand the framework of cooperation in nuclear energy…….http://asbarez.com/115886/russia-offers-to-subsidize-nuclear-plant/

November 7, 2013 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

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