The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nadejda Koutepova speaks out on the hidden scandal of the Mayak radioactive contamination

flag_RussiaA Russian antinuclear activist asks for asylum in France  Mediapart , October 2, 2015, by Amélie Poinssot and Michel de Pracontal, The revelation, decades later
“………Fifteen years ago you established the NGO “Planet of Hope” in order to aid the victims of radioactive contamination from Maiak. What led you to this cause?
Nadejda Koutepova :
My grandmother was a chemical engineer and she worked at the complex from the time it opened in 1948. The Soviet state wanted, like the Americans, to develop nuclear weapons, so they built a secret factory in the Siberian forest next to the closed city of Ozersk. People who worked there were forbidden from talking about their work. In 1965, my grandmother died of lymphatic cancer. I never knew her. At the time of the accident in 1957, when a container of highly radioactive waste exploded, my father was a student in Ekaterinburg. He belonged to the Komsomols (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) so he was immediately mobilized as a liquidator. He worked there for nearly five years. In 1985, he died of intestinal cancer. I was a teenager at the end of his life, and it was horrific. He lived with a colostomy bag and was consumed by alcoholism.
But it was only later that I understood what could have caused him and my grandmother to die. One fine day in 1999, I was invited to a conference on the environment organized in Chelyabinsk, the big regional city. It was there that I discovered that the whole Ozersk region is contaminated, yet the local population ignores the situation completely. Officially, the region is not polluted. The inhabitants eat mushrooms and fish in the rivers without asking any questions. This conference was a revelation. At that moment I decided to establish an NGO. I had studied law, sociology and political science at university. I wanted the inhabitants who were still there to have the means to leave and I wanted the unrecognized victims to be able to defend themselves.
Mayak disaster
In the first years of operation of the factory, 1949-52, all the highly radioactive wastes were dumped into the Techa. Cases of leukemia and premature death multiplied in the villages along the river, so the factory started managing the wastes in metal tanks. During the next decade, 34 out of 39 villages along the river were evacuated. At the same time, radioactive wastes were dumped in Lake Karachai. It was only in 1962 that the authorities announced that they would stop these practices.
In reality, the contamination of the surrounding waters never ended. In 2005, the director of the factory at Maiak, Vitali Sadovnikov, was prosecuted for having let the factory release, starting in the year 2000, tens of thousands of cubic meters of radioactive water into the Techa. Sadovnikov was given amnesty by the Duma (Russian parliament) in 2006. Nonetheless, the files on the court decision on Sadovnikov show that 30 to 40 cubic meters of radioactive water were dumped between 2001 and 2004! Since then, we haven’t even had access to the file, and the Maiak factory denies all responsibility for the contamination of the river.
Do the Russian authorities today recognize the victims of radioactive contamination?
A law was enacted in 1993, inspired by the 1991 law on victims of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. This law provides social assistance to the victims of the 1957 accident and to people affected by the contamination of the river—but not to their spouses or children. It specifies the typology of illnesses: if the patient could prove a direct link to her work at Maiak or to a place where she lived with radiation from Maiak, then she had a right to compensation.
In total, 19,000 people have been classified as eligible. The figure is always declining because of deaths. Five years ago there were 23,000. But this only represents a small part of the population affected by the consequences of contamination in the region. Our NGO estimates that the number has grown now to about 100,000.
The typology is very restrictive. It was reduced a lot by scientists after Chernobyl. There are only four categories: cancers, blood diseases, genetic instability, and chronic cellular dysfunction. Mental health and psychosomatic problems, for example, are not on the list. Furthermore, when a patient applies for compensation, a “council of experts” gets together at the center for radiation research in the Urals. Made up of eleven persons, they vote by a show of hands on whether the patient should be compensated. These men are not independent. They raise their hands under pressure from their supervisors. And who are we to question their decisions? They respond that they are the scientists. It is they who have the knowledge. We have tried to set up procedures to appeal their decisions. It is impossible.
Another problem is that many people lived and worked in the city at various jobs, but their occupations were not considered to have put them at risk. These were such people as the teachers at the technical college in Maiak, or workers at the train station in the neighboring town. They couldn’t claim compensation. Others didn’t live within the officially recognized zone of contamination. There is also the story of the children of the village of Karabolka who worked regularly in the fields. They were mobilized after the accident to bury carrots and potatoes. For weeks they handled irradiated produce. But unlike the liquidators, they never received certificates proving their participation. Fifty years later they have finally been recognized.
European Court of Human Rights
Still now local people don’t have the chance to get proper medical tests. When they are done, they are often very cursory. I know a woman who had a chromosome test done, but they looked at only one hundred cells. In order to do it properly, they need at least 500 to 1,000. As a result, no pathology was proven.
Compensation is not large. It depends on the occupation and the place the applicant lived. A former liquidator, for example, receives a food supplement of 600 rubles a month (which is worth about 8 euros at present rates), as well a small payment annually for health care. The recipient has access to free medicine and can, in theory, go once a year to a sanatorium. In some cases, a housing benefit is available…….

October 9, 2015 Posted by | environment, Reference, Russia | 1 Comment

The work of Russia’s anti nuclear NGO “Planet of Hope”

 A Russian antinuclear activist asks for asylum in France  Mediapart , October 2, 2015, by Amélie Poinssot and Michel de Pracontal,  “…….What did your NGO accomplish?
Protest-No!flag_RussiaOur NGO, based in Ozersk, had three programs. We educated citizens about their rights, in particular those who were victims of radioactive contamination. We did sociological research on the inhabitants. And we gave training to representatives of other NGOs in the Ozersk region.
We brought some sixty cases before Russian courts or administrative bodies. In most cases, they concerned proving that the person resided in the contaminated zone. For others, it was a matter of making them aware of their right to be relocated by the state, or to obtain the correct level of compensation.
One example was the case of Akhmadeyeva, a mother and her son who lived in the village of Mouslioumovo, on the Techa river. They requested to be relocated. The child had a mental deficiency linked to the effects of radiation contamination from the river. The municipality finally recognized him as disabled, then the state gave him a housing allowance and they were able to move to Chelyabinsk.
But we also failed many times. Such was the case with a small girl who died in 2011 from liver cancer. Experts had recognized that her illness was linked to a genetic anomaly derived from her grandmother’s exposure to radiation when she worked on cleanup of the site, after the accident in 1957. But the court decided that the accident was too far in the past. The case rested on a claim for pecuniary damage, which wasn’t possible under the laws of the USSR.
We took other cases to the European Court of Human Rights. My mother, Gayeva, was one such case. As a widow of a liquidator, she had not been compensated, and despite the positive appeal decision of the court in Ozersk (a three-year legal battle), her compensation was quickly denied by the regional court in Chelyabinsk. So next she went to Strasbourg. But the delays were very long, and she died in the meantime.
Have you taken on other types of cases?
Yes, we also worked on cases that were linked to the status of the closed city of Ozersk. At that time in the USSR, Ozersk was called Chelyabinsk 65. Like all the closed cities, it couldn’t be identified, so it took the name of the closest major city, followed by a postal code. On my passport, this is still listed as my place of birth. After an eight-year legal battle, a woman succeeded in correcting this incongruity and got her place of birth recognized as Ozersk, not Chelyabinsk.
Still today, even though the Soviet Union hasn’t existed for twenty-eight years, access to the town is limited. No one can enter without official authorization, and there are many restrictions. A resident of Ozersk who went to prison wanted to return when he was released, but he was not allowed to. We helped him in his applications, and he went as far as the European Court of Human Rights. In 2011, the court decided in his favor. He was able to return to his place of origin.
The explosion in 1957 was not revealed until nineteen years later, in 1976, by the exiled biologist Jaurès Medvedev. However, you, in spite of the illnesses you saw in people close to you, didn’t become aware of the severity of the accident until much later, after the collapse of the USSR. Why was this disaster ignored for so long?
The 1957 explosion released 20 million curies (two million went up in the atmosphere, 18 million fell on the nearby environment). An area of 23,000 square kilometers was contaminated at a high level. But all of this happened at a strategically important facility which didn’t exist on any map. It was completely shut off from outside visitors. The catastrophe remained a state secret.
It was 1990 when there was the first official recognition of the accident, with a visit from Boris Yeltsin. As for myself, at that time I still couldn’t admit the truth. We were brought up with such an ideology. We were convinced that at Ozersk we worked for the security of the USSR, we were heroes. My mother, who was a doctor, cared for employees at Maiak, and she lost her husband who was a liquidator. She told me certain things, but I didn’t attach importance to them.
Declared “undesirable”
What is Maiak like today?
The facility that was built, at first to produce the Soviet nuclear bomb, functions today as a nuclear fuel reprocessing center, including for foreign clients (Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Iraq and Ukraine, according to Greenpeace). 15,000 people live there and work in the complex. The old military reactors have been shut down.
But abnormal situations continue. The village of Mouslioumovo, one of the last to remain, was finally moved between 2005 and 2008. Most people took compensation and left, but a few chose to relocate only two kilometers from the Techa, which is highly polluted. Some inhabitants were not registered with local authorities. They were not eligible for compensation.

Today, we have no way to be certain that releases into the Techa have been stopped. The factory states that the reservoirs are secure…….

October 9, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Russia | Leave a comment

Turkey warns Russia it may not get its nuclear technology from Russia

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia on nuclear project, natural gas: papers   ISTANBUL (Reuters), 8 Oct 15  – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia there were other places Turkey could get natural gas and other countries that could build its first nuclear plant, in the wake of Russian incursions into Turkish air space during its air campaign in Syria.

Russian aircraft twice entered Turkish air space at the weekend. Turkish F-16 jets have also been harassed by Syrian-based missile systems and unidentified planes since then.

“We can’t accept the current situation. Russia’s explanations on the air space violations are not convincing,” the Turkish daily Sabah and others quoted Erdogan as telling reporters as he flew to Japan for an official visit. He said he was resentful over what had happened but did not currently plan to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“These are matters for Russia to think about. If the Russians don’t build the Akkuyu (nuclear plant in southern Turkey) another will come and build it,” he said.

Turkey in 2013 commissioned Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors, but a start date for what is Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project has not yet been set.

“We are Russia’s number one natural gas consumer. Losing Turkey would be a serious loss for Russia. If necessary, Turkey can get its natural gas from many different places,” he said.

Around 28-30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkey’s 50 bcm annual natural gas needs are met by Russia.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

October 9, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

How Russia repressed anti nuclear Non Government Organisation Planet of Hope [Planeta Nadezhd]

censorshipflag_RussiaA Russian antinuclear activist asks for asylum in France  Mediapart , October 2, 2015, by Amélie Poinssot and Michel de Pracontal,  “………..You have been in France since July, in Paris, and on October 2nd you are applying for asylum. Why did you leave Russia?
Our NGO came under increasing pressure over the years. In 2004, a law was passed to make it illegal to do sociological research in the Ozersk region, under the pretext that it threatened national security.
Starting in 2008, we were ordered to pay tax on our “profits.” We refused because we are financed by donations and we are non-profit. Next they tried to intimidate us. I was watched and harassed. But we won the game in court.
In 2012, a law enacted by the Duma put controls on NGOs that received donations from abroad. They were considered as “foreign agents.” So we organized a public meeting to explain that we are not foreign agents because in our activities we consult the local population. We work only for Russians.
But in April of this year, the authorities put us on their list of foreign agents. They accused us of two things: receiving financing from the United States, and “political activities.” This latter accusation concerns two interviews that I gave, one to an ecology magazine in which I discussed Article 42 of the constitution that grants the right to compensation when one is the victim of an environmental disaster. I criticized the way the courts were circumventing Article 42. The other interview was with the nuclear information website Bellona. I spoke of the deaths of children of liquidators and I also criticized the Russian courts.
In May, the pressure continued. The court in Ozersk ordered us to pay 900,000 rubles (4,000 euro) for not having registered with the authorities as foreign agents. All of a sudden, Rossia 24, one of the leading national media networks, broadcast an “assassin report” about us. My face was there at the top of the news, my views were misrepresented, and I was accused of industrial espionage. Journalists came and filmed my house. The question is this: how did they get the permits to enter Ozersk, which is still a closed city?
After this, my supporters encouraged me to leave Russia. Since then, I have been added to a list of persons declared “undesirable” by the Duma. This indicates that I could be imprisoned. At the end of June, a new report was broadcast on television. We decided to dissolve the NGO. On July 7, with my children I left for Paris as discretely as possible.
How do you explain the reaction by the media and the Russian authorities?
The general policy is that the United States is our enemy. We are surrounded by enemies. Whoever receives aid from enemies is an enemy also. Then there are the local interests. FSB Ozersk is not eager to have people know about the ecological catastrophe of the region. These interests merge with national interests.

See also:

Chris Harris, “Charity boss flees with young kids after Russia’s NGO crackdown,” Euronews, September 9, 2015.

October 9, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Russia | Leave a comment

Gangs of smugglers tried to sell nuclear materials to ISIS

Smugglers Have Tried to Sell Nuclear Materials to ISIS and Other Terrorists, Report Says Desmond Butler, Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press   6 Oct 15 In one case, man expressing hatred for the U.S. tried to sell bomb-grade uranium to a Sudanese buyer. (CHISINAU, Moldova) — The Associated Press has learned that gangs with Russian ties are driving a thriving black market in nuclear materials in eastern Europe, often with the explicit intent of connecting sellers to Middle Eastern extremist groups.

Authorities working with the FBI have interrupted four attempts by gangs shopping radioactive material in Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe. The latest known case came in February, when a smuggler offered radioactive cesium, specifically seeking an Islamic State buyer.

The most serious case came in 2011, when a man expressing hatred for the U.S. tried to sell bomb-grade uranium to a Sudanese buyer.

Successful busts were compromised by striking shortcomings: Key suspects got away; prison sentences were surprisingly short; and gang leaders may have escaped with the bulk of their nuclear contraband.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Russia Bolsters Pacific Ocean Submarine Presence

  By Wendy Laursen 2015-09-30  The Russian navy has announced that it is developing its strategic nuclear submarine presence in the Pacific Ocean with the addition of the newest member of its submarine fleet……..

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia is watching North Korea’s nuclear program closely

Russia Rejects North Korea To Be Recognized As Nuclear State, Value Walk,  By:  September 27, 2015 Russia does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear state while openly opposing Pyongyang’s nuclear program, according to top Russia’s envoy in South Korea Alexander Timonin. Speaking at a forum marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Russia, Alexander Timonin said the Kremlin will never justify North Korea’s nuclear missiles nor its nuclear program.

Timonin noted that if North Korea wants to claim the right as a sovereign state to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, then North Korean leader Kim Jong-un first needs to uphold his father’s pledges made on September 19, 2005 under the Joint Statement to abandon the nuclear program as well as comply with UN resolutions banning Pyongyang from launching long-range missiles.

Timonin also noted that the Kremlin has repeatedly notified North Korean leadership of its stance over Pyongyang’s nuclear program during many diplomatic events.

North Korea is not the only Korea Russia is concerned about. Timonin also expressed Moscow’s concern over possible delivery of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

He warned that Russia and China will have to respond for the sake of their own security in case a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery is delivered to South Korea.

Pyongyang and Moscow have significantly strengthened bilateral ties in the past year, with Russian foreign ministry calling 2015 the ‘Year of Friendship’ with North Korea. However, Kim Jong-un declined to attend Moscow’s Victory Day Parade in May, and has not had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin yet.

Russia is watching North Korea’s nuclear program closely

It doesn’t seem like a ‘Year of Friendship’ at all, considering the latest non-supportive concerns expressed by Russian foreign ministry toward North Korea’s plans to resume nuclear operations and launch missiles announced on Tuesday.

In a statement on Thursday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Kremlin has been “paying attention” and monitoring the situation ever since North Korea announced plans to launch a missile and resume activities at its Yongbyon nuclear site.

Russia expresses its concern regarding North Korea’s continued pursuit of rocket launches and nuclear weapons production, activities that have been prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Zakharova said, as reported by Yonhap……..

September 28, 2015 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia woos Malaysia to its nuclear technology

Russian-BearRussia offers nuclear expertise to Malaysia 25 Sept 15  KUALA LUMPUR: Russia will extend its expertise if Malaysia decides to develop its own nuclear programme.

Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev, who said this, added that his country was well-placed to build and support a national nuclear industry.

“We will propose a very sophisticated and complex construction of a local nuclear programme. We can construct nuclear power generation stations………

September 26, 2015 Posted by | Malaysia, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia to take ‘counter-steps’ if USA upgrades nuclear weapons in Europe

Flag-USARussia threatens to take nuclear ‘countermeasures’ over reports U.S. plans to upgrade weapons in Europe, National Post, Roland Oliphant, Justin Huggler, Raf Sanchez, The Telegraph |September 24, 2015 
Russia has threatened to take “countermeasures” if the United States goes ahead with the deployment of a new type of nuclear weapon in Germany, raising fears of a return to a Cold War arms race in Europe.

The Kremlin said plans reported by German media for the U.S. to upgrade its nuclear weapons arsenal in the country would be “a serious step towards raising tension” in Europe.

“Unfortunately, in the case of these plans – and we can say with certainty that they are moving towards realization – this can lead to a violation of the strategic balance in Europe,” said Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.

“Therefore, of course, that would require Russia to take counter-steps and countermeasures to restore balance and parity,” he added. The deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe is subject to secrecy. But Washington is reportedly planning to replace 20 nuclear weapons deployed at Buchel airbase in western Germany with a more modern variant, according to ZDF television.

According to media reports, B61 bombs are to be replaced with B61-12s, more accurate and less destructive weapons which can be fired as missiles, as well as dropped from aircraft.

The Kremlin did not say what form the threatened countermeasures might take, but one source said a possible option would be the deployment of nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, Russia’s exclave on the Baltic Sea which borders Poland and Lithuania.

“With the new bombs the boundaries blur between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons,” Hans Kirstensen of the Nuclear Information Project in Washington told ZDF……..

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia rattled by USA adding to its nuclear weapons stockpile in Germanay

boys-with-toysUS Nuclear Weapons In Germany: Russia Concerned By American Plans To Add To Stockpile By  @Charress on September 22 2015 Russia is concerned about U.S. plans to modernize and station additional nuclear weapons in Germany, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who spoke with a German TV channel Tuesday. The channel had reported earlier in the day that the U.S. planned to station 20 nuclear weapons in the European country, as per a line in the 2015 U.S. defense budget.

“We are concerned that these states actually have nuclear weapons as part of the framework of NATO’s nuclear sharing program,” said Zakharova in an interview with Germany’s ZDF television, according to Russian news site Sputnik. Zakharova also said that the move would contravene the Treaty of Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was ratified by 191 nations in 1970 to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

“At the same time in Europe — not just in Germany, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey — U.S. tactical nuclear armaments remain deployed,” said Zakharova, who also claimed that Russia had reduced its own stockpiles fourfold since the 1990s, despite the U.S. keeping its arsenal at strength. “The Americans are modernizing their aerial bombs, and the NATO European members are modernizing their aircraft that carry these weapons,” he said.

The U.S. continues to maintain nuclear carrying facilities in the countries mentioned by Zakharova through a NATO sharing program. As part of nuclear sharing, host countries carry out consultations, make decisions on weapons policy and maintain equipment required for the use of nuclear weapons, including warplanes capable of delivering them. The United Kingdom and France are the only countries in Europe that maintain state-owned nuclear arsenals.

As part of the renewed hostilities between the U.S.-led NATO and Russia, who are clashing over Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine, Russia has threatened to place short- to medium-range nuclear capable missiles in Kaliningrad, an enclave on the Baltic coast controlled by Russia, according to a BBC report. The missiles would have the ability to reach nearly all areas of Europe.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia slowly turning to its former interest in developing renewable energy

renewable_energyflag_RussiaRenewable Energy Rises in Russia: The Early Steps Huffington Post By Woodrow W. Clark II and Dimitri Elkin(*)   Economist for environment and renewable energy

As renewable energy becomes more widespread, its “green” transformational impact can be seen in some of the most remote corners of the world. Here are two recent examples from Russia, a country not typically associated with the green energy industrial revolution. The EU countries, Asian nations and now China are all embarked on this green revolution. While the USA just started, Russia is moving ahead with its own green renewable energy industrial transformation………..

Russia’s image as an ecologically ignorant oil superpower is so well established that it may come as a surprise that during the Soviet period, Russia had many groundbreaking achievements in the renewable energy sector. For example, in the 1930s, USSR was the first nation in the world to construct utility-scale wind turbines. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union opened an ocean tidal electric plant and took the lead in building geothermal power plants. There are currently around 100 MW of geothermal power plants operating in Russia, and about 55 MW of more geothermal planned additional capacity in the near future.

Whatever progress the Soviet Union made with renewables, it was derailed by Russia’s economic upheaval during the post-Soviet period (1991-2014), when electricity production fell by one third, creating plenty of spare capacity. During the presidency of Boris Yeltsin (1991-2000) when the USSR transformed into a new Russia, and then the first two terms of Vladimir Putin (2000-2008), the Russian government was preoccupied with delivering economic growth without considering its impact on the environment through the exploiting and exporting of coal, oil and now natural gas………

Social attitudes are also changing. Russia, just like other BRIC nations and developing countries around the world, is seeing a burgeoning middle class who now worries about their environment. And with the recent declines of the cost of renewable power, including solar panels, these renewable energy systems now seems a feasible solution for many energy consumers in Russia.

With its diverse geographic area that stretches from Arctic Circle to the subtropics, Russia sees an especially compelling opportunity for on-site power from renewable energy that is distributed through the country in cities and communities…..

While many areas of Russia will probably remain dependent on gas and coal for the foreseeable future due to central plant energy distribution, there are plenty of communities like Oktyabrsky and Batagai in Russia where renewables make economic and environmental sense.

September 3, 2015 Posted by | renewable, Russia | Leave a comment

Forest fires out of control around Lake Baikal in Siberia

wildfire-nuketext-relevantMassive 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………

August 26, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia to supply credit to sell untested nuclear reactors to Bangladesh

Russian-BearRosatom eager to sign three more accords with BAEC 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.

“Two separate deals will be sign to dispose of the “spent fuel” and another one will be sign for the maintenance of the power plant,” a senior official of the BAEC told the Daily Observer on Tuesday.
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.
“One technical team had flown to Moscow on July 21 and another one is set to fly on July 25 to discuss the separate issues,” Minister for Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman said.
Bangladesh formed three separate teams to discuss the issue.
It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh kicked off the negotiation with Russia in November last year but failed to draw a credit line and select the technology to be applied in the plant.
“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.
Although Bangladesh is yet to finalise any model and technology but it was learnt that it is going to procure TOI version which is still a new one and an experimental one.
“The capacity of TOI is around 1,255 MW, however, there is no difference between VVR 1,300 and TOI rather it is all most the same,” a senior scientist of BEAC said. He claimed that the same one is installed in India and is going to be installed in Russia.
“And still we don’t know anything about the price of the general contract, before that we have to sign these three deals,” according to the ICT Ministry. In June last the Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman visited Moscow to frame a credit line but failed to achieve a US$10 to $12 billion dollars for installing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) in Pabna district on the north-west of the country.
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.
According to the BAEC ROSATOM will start designing the reactor for RNPP that requires money. Under the contract with the Russian Federation, it will provide the credit and agree to manage the “spent-fuel.”
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.
Under the agreement, the Russian government will provide all necessary supports and infrastructure development to build the plant and supply necessary fuel to run the plant and also take back the spent fuel.
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.
Following the signing of the first deal between Bangladesh and Russia, the Public Relations Director of ROSATOM, in a press conference in Dhaka, declared that ‘about $1.5 billion to $2 billion dollars will be needed to set up 1000 MW power plant depending on security features and technology standards,’ but now ROSATOM is saying it needs around $10 to $12 billion.

July 25, 2015 Posted by | ASIA, business and costs, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia eases ban on seafood imports from Japan

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

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Russia | | Leave a comment

Russia to be the big loser in any nuclear deal with Iran

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.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment


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