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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Behind the Russia – South Africa nuclear love affair

World Nuclear Association strategist Steve Kidd said that it was highly unlikely that Russia would succeed in carrying out even half of the projects in which it claims to be closely involved.

While a world nuclear report by two independent international energy consultants concludes that, “the lack of realism and overblown market expectations drive nuclear companies and traditional utilities into ruin”.

This may explain why rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly ‘credit positive’.

Over and above that, the project as it stands threatens our country’s sovereignty, since our energy supply will be solely in the hands of Russia, which Allister Sparks describes as a country with “one of the world’s nastiest dictatorships”

truthZuma, the Guptas and the Russians — the inside story RAND DAILY MAIL LILY GOSAM 02 FEBRUARY 2016  “………From Russia with love of all things nuclear   Russia is Zuma’s “preferred partner” for the 9 600 MW nuclear build, according to energy experts, analysts and journalists. He has had numerous personal negotiations (some undisclosed) between 2009 and 2014 with his Russian counterparts — Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev[13] — and within that time two agreements were signed (and both concealed from public scrutiny[14] [15] [16]).

Should the nuclear programme go ahead as Zuma and his benefactors have planned, Rosatom — Russia’s state-owned nuclear company — will build the nuclear power plants.

Rosatom consists of 360 companies, with 34 reactors in operation, and 29 under construction, including nine in Russia [M&G][17]. It is a nuclear mass production machine designed and dependent on worldwide nuclear energy expansion and domination[18].

Over the past five years, Rosatom has quietly cornered the market in nuclear energy, systematically seeking out agreements and contracts with roughly 30 nations interested in the installation of nuclear power plants. According to Global Risk Insights, Russian-built nuclear power plants in foreign countries become more akin to embassies — or even military bases — than simple bilateral infrastructure projects. The long-term or permanent presence that accompanies the exportation of Russian nuclear power will afford president Vladimir Putin a notable influence in countries crucial to regional geopolitics[19] [20]. Continue reading

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Reference, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Big anxieties with China and Russia’s plans for floating nuclear reactors

reactors-floatingChina and Russia plan to cover the oceans with floating nuclear power plants    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-and-russia-plan-to-cover-the-oceans-with-floating-nuclear-power-plants-2016-01-21 By  JURICADUJMOVIC  Jan 21, 2016

And the big problem: Human memory is short, even when it comes to disaster

In an effort to become the largest exporter of nuclear-energy technology, China has started building a reactor housed in a floating vessel, which is scheduled to be finished by 2020. If that sounds alarming, brace yourself: More than 100 additional nuclear reactors are planned for the next decade.

The idea behind this “micro” 200-megawatt reactor (1 megawatt can power 1,000 homes) was to create a mobile energy source for offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as provide electricity, heating, and facilitate desalination for islands and coastal areas.

I don’t know about you, but this certainly gets my Geiger counter beeping with unease. While some dismiss the danger, saying floating nuclear reactors aren’t all that dangerous — nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers basically fit that description — the truth remains that it’s still a freaking nuclear reactor. History taught us the price we have to pay every time “highly unlikely” disasters happen, and now that another 100 of these will be built in the coming decade, the likelihood of yet another nuclear disaster will increase.

 A grim foreshadowing of what might happen is the horrific explosion at a chemical-storage facility in Chinese port Tianjin, where a blast eerily similar to a nuclear explosion took place in August. The accident killed 173 and injured 797, both from the shocking blast and the hazardous material that rained down on the area The explosion generated seismic shock waves with an energy equivalent of 21 tons of TNT.

The Chinese government did its best to cover up the disaster, silencing local and foreign journalists. Now imagine if it were a floating nuclear reactor. Nothing would change, apart from more dire consequences and even more censorship.

Also looking to join the fun in the radioactive sun is Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov. This floating nuclear power plant will be ready for deployment in October. It’s going to be used to power port cities, industrial infrastructure, and oil and gas drilling rigs and refineries, which, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, will prove to be a great asset in Arctic exploration. The ship is 144 meters long with two reactors capable of producing 70 megawatts of electricity.

Although they have their fair share of nuclear “mishaps,” the Russians are kicking their nuclear efforts up a notch: Akademik Lomonosov is only the first of many floating nuclear power plants that will be built. Vessels will also be available to rent. So far, 15 countries have shown interest in having these power plants for their own use.

Here’s where things get scary: Imagine that out of hundreds of these floating nuclear power plants, just a dozen or so become targeted by terrorists or a military force. Regardless of the scenario, the resulting tragedy would be felt worldwide.

Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps we’re ushering in a sort of a nuclear renaissance, an age in which nuclear energy really proves to be a safer and better solution than fossil-fuel sources.

But I doubt it. Humanity has proven that it understands the dangers of something only when the worst has already happened, and even then just for a brief while. ..

You can thank the Chernobyl disaster for 20 years of stagnation (1986-2006) during which time fewer nuclear power plants were built. In 2007, however, humanity tried its luck with nuclear energy again. Following a short increase, we saw yet another decline in 2011. Why? You guessed it: That was the year of the Fukushima disaster, and it took the world less than five years to forget the effects of the meltdown. It’s time for another adventure!

But what of Fukushima? As of 2013, the site in Japan remained highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and tracts of land that will likely remain unsuitable for farming for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 years or longer to complete, and will cost tens of billions of dollars. Following the disaster, Japan shut down 54 nuclear power plants.

We’ve seen what happens when things go awry with just one nuclear power plant. Now, with hundreds in the making, will we live long enough to finally learn from our mistakes? Let’s hope so.

January 22, 2016 Posted by | China, Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Inquiry into Litvinenko’s radiation murder points to Putin as instigator

LitvinenkoDyingflag-UKVladimir Putin ‘probably’ ordered KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko’s death by radioactive poisoning: inquiry, SMH, January 22, 2016   London: Russian President Vladimir Putin “probably” ordered the murder of defected KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in London, an official inquiry in Britain has found.

The finding will put pressure on the British government to take fresh measures against Russia, possibly including targeted sanctions and travel bans. It may also harm potential co-operation in military action against ISIS, and upcoming peace talks on the Syrian conflict.

Litvinenko died in November 2006 after a radioactive poison was slipped into his tea at a London hotel.

 “The FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by [then FSB head Nikolai] Patrushev and also by President Putin,” Sir Robert Owen, who led the year-long inquiry, said.

The inquiry examined expert evidence and heard testimony from forensic scientists and family members, as well as secret evidence that was not disclosed in the public report – but believed to be from Western intelligence agencies.

Sir Robert said he was “sure” that Litvinenko was deliberately poisoned with the radioactive element polonium 210, which he ingested on November 1, 2006.

That afternoon Litvinenko had met two men for tea at the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, London.

The men were Andrey Lugovoy and his associate Dmitri Kovtun – former Russian army officers. Lugovoy was a former KGB agent.

Forensic evidence showed the Pine Bar was “heavily contaminated” with polonium 210, the inquiry found………http://www.smh.com.au/world/vladimir-putin-probably-ordered-kgb-defector-alexander-litvinenkos-death-inquiry-20160121-gmba0w

January 22, 2016 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Anything to make nuclear look good – Russia’s asteroid plan

Scientists plan nuclear strike to save earth http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/scientists-plan-nuclear-strike-to-save-earth/news-story/803d9da83072b44a5934fcb60f1a1268  MARC BENNETTS THE TIMES JANUARY 18, 2016

Russian scientists have come up with plans to protect the planet from asteroids heading towards Earth by launching nuclear missiles.

Although the use of nuclear weapons in outer space is prohibited under a 1967 treaty, Russian scientists say that the ban would be lifted if the planet was in genuine danger. “If the asteroid threat becomes a matter of massive destruction or even the very existence of life on the planet, that ban would naturally be lifted,” they said.

The plan would not be to destroy the asteroid but to deflect it off course to a safe distance from Earth.

The strategy was formulated as part of the 2012-15 European Union-funded NEOShield project. Researchers from Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said: “Work was distributed among participants from different countries and organisations, and work on deflecting dangerous space objects with nuclear explosions was conducted by Russia.”

NEOShield, which received most of its funding from the EU, brought together researchers from Germany, France, Britain, Spain, Russia and the US. A three-year follow-up programme, NEOShield-2, began last March.

Other proposals developed as part of the project include a “kinetic impactor”, deflecting asteroids by crashing small unmanned spacecraft into them.

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Russia, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia punishes environmental groups as “foreign agents”

civil-liberty-2smflag_RussiaRussian green group labelled ‘foreign agent’ in crackdown on NGOs http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/14/russian-green-group-labelled-foreign-agent-in-crackdown-on-ngos
Dauria, that has led ecological campaigns for 20 years, joins nearly 100 environmental and human rights groups hit by law preventing them from receiving funding from abroad,
Guardian, Alex Luhn An ecological centre in Russia’s far east has become the latest environmental group to be declared a “foreign agent” amid a wider crackdown on NGOs.

The justice ministry ruled that Dauria, which has led environmental campaigns in Chita and the surrounding Zabaikalsky region for nearly two decades, was a foreign agent under a law that prohibits NGOs that allegedly engage in political activities from receiving grants from abroad. The label, which has all the connotations of the word “spy” in Russian, requires groups to undergo audits and declare this status on all their materials or face large fines.

The accusations stemmed from a joint programme between Dauria, Russian mining giant Polyus Gold and the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation. Dauria was in charge of selecting students for educational activities, while funding for the programme came from abroad.

Dauria head Natalya Kovalyonok, who is also a public chamber member, told local publication Zabaikalsky Rabochy that a hotline she ran for voters to report violations during elections had been deemed to be political activity, even though it did not agitate for any specific candidate.

“Obviously it was unbecoming for the region not to have its own foreign agent, and they really had to find one,”Kovalyonok said.

“Dauria is a conscientious organisation working to protect the earth, and declaring it a foreign agent is a result of … individual groups in the government trying to strengthen their position by cracking down on made-up threats,” Igor Shkradyuk of the Biodiversity Conservation Centre, who has frequently worked in the Zabaikalsky region, told the Guardian.

A growing number of environmental and human rights groups have been declared foreign agents in what Mikhail Fedotov, head of the presidential human rights council, has called a “witch hunt”. Nearly 100 organisations have been added to the foreign agent list, forcing many to cease activities, and the number of NGOs in Russia has reportedly decreased by a third since the law came into effect in 2012.

Last year, president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning “undesirable” foreign organisations that allegedly threaten national security.

Most recently, the Nizhny Novgorod-based Dront Ecological Centre was declared a foreign agent and fined 300,000 roubles (£2,700). Prior to that, the well-respected Sakhalin Environmental Watch was forced to return $159,000 (£110,000) it had received from Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation after it wasdeclared a foreign agent in September. In recent weeks, the group has been fighting to contain an oil leak from a tanker that ran aground on a shoal off of Sakhalin island.

The environmental groups Bellona Murmansk, Ecodefense, and Planet of Hopes have also been added to the foreign agent list.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia has potential to be very competitive in renewable energy market

flag_RussiaRussia can be one of the most energy-competitive areas based on renewables, EurekAlert, 30 d3ec15 LAPPEENRANTA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY A fully renewable energy system is achievable and economically viable in Russia and Central Asia in 2030. Researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) modelled a renewable energy system for Russia and Central Asia. Results show that renewable energy is the cheapest option for the continent and can make Russia a very energy competitive region in the future.

According to the research, a 100 percent renewable energy system for Russia and Central Asia would be roughly 50 percent lower in cost than a system based on latest European nuclear technology or carbon capture and storage. Renewable energy covers electricity and industrial natural gas demand, not, for example, transport or heating.

“We think that this is the first ever 100% renewable energy system modelling for Russia and Central Asia. It demonstrates that Russia can become one of the most energy-competitive regions in the world”, emphasises professor Christian Breyer, co-author of the study.

Moving to a renewable energy system is possible due to the abundance of various types of renewable energy resources in the area. This then enables the building of a Super Grid, which connects different energy resources of the researched area……..

The research was done as part of Neo-Carbon Energy research project, which has previously shown that a renewable energy system is also economically sensible in North-East Asia, South-East Asia, South America and Finland. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-12/luot-rcb123015.php

January 6, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Russia | 1 Comment

Russia to dump nuclear waste in melting permafrost in Arkhangelsk Region

permafrost thawing eastern-siberia-lgApproves radioactive waste disposal in melting permafrost December 22, 2015 http://thebarentsobserver.com/ecology/2015/12/approves-radioactive-waste-disposal-melting-permafrost

On Monday, the Government of Arkhangelsk Region sent an order to Russia’s national operator for radioactive waste management with the approval to locate a repository for low- and medium level radioactive waste on the south-western part of the southern island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

Novaya Zemlya is geographically part of Arkhangelsk Oblast.

The repository will receive radioactive waste that already are in temporary storages in north-western Russia, including the large quantities stored at the naval yards in Severodvinsk on the coast of the White Sea, reports Nuclear.ru

The repository will be underground, but near the surface. Novaya Zemlya, like most other places in the High Arctic has permafrost in the ground. With climate changes, scientists fears the top layers of the permafrost could melt. That worries nuclear safety experts.

“It is important to consider the melting permafrost when studying risk-assessments for a radioactive waste repository on Novaya Zemlya,” says Nils Bøhmer, Nuclear Physicists with the Bellona Foundation in Norway.

He says the melting permafrost makes it highly uncertain for how long such waste can be protected.

Low- and medium level waste must be kept safe for hundreds of years according to Russian standards, reports Polit.ru that wrote about the Novaya Zemlya plans on Monday.

Bøhmer says it would be a much better alternative to establish a final repository for low- and medium level radioactive waste on the Kola Peninsula where the rocks are way more stable.

“In addition, it is safer to establish a repository where most of the waste already are located. Sea transport across the Barents Sea to Novaya Zemlya is a risky business in itself,” Bøhmer argues.

Novaya Zemlya was one of ten different sites in Northwest-Russia studied over the last couple of years to see if it is suited to be repository. Sites on the coast of the Kola Peninsula were also studied.

 

December 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Leningrad Nuclear Plant accident: radiation spike: mass panic

safety-symbol-Smflag_RussiaMass panic as radioactive cloud pours from nuclear plant — Radiation levels reportedly spike near reactor after emergency shutdown — Traffic jams as people evacuate area — “Everyone got very worried and rushed to get iodine” (PHOTOS) http://enenews.com/mass-panic-radioactive-steam-pours-nuclear-plant-radiation-levels-spiked-area-plant-traffic-jams-people-evacuate-area-everyone-very-worried-rushed-iodine-photos?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Express, Dec 21, 2015 (emphasis added): Russians flee Chernobyl-style plant over fears of radioactive leak — Russians took iodine and caused traffic jams… amid fears officials were covering up a radioactive leak. The panic followed the emergence of pictures showing a cloud of vapour pouring from Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, some 50 miles from St Petersburg. The authorities insisted that the was no radioactive leakage… but people did not believe the “no danger” claim. Radio Svoboda reported that in the wake of the incident on Friday locals in Sosnovy Bor started withdrawing money from their credit cards. They said locals were in panic mode despite statements from officials that the radiation level was normal… One local said: “Everyone got very worried and rushed to get iodine.”… There were traffic jams as residents left the area and headed for St Petersburg… The plant manager (not pictured) insists there are no reasons for evacuation. [Oleg Bodrov, chairman of Green World ecological group] said: “They know well that the officials’ first task is to say all is normal but not to report about danger, even if there is one. All those who understand a bit about nuclear energy know that it was an attempt to mistake the wish for the reality… this vapour is surely radioactive… Bodrov called for medical checks for staff at the power plant. Interfax reported that a special commission was working at the nuclear station aiming to find out the reasons for the emission.

Daily Mail photo captions: A cloud of vapourpouring out of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant in St Petersburg caused mass panic… Russian radio reported St Petersburg residents rushing out to buy iodine to protect against radiation poisoning after spotting the steam flowing out of the power station… The billowing vapour spreads across buildings

QHA, Dec 19, 2015: Accident occurred at Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (PHOTO) — Eyewitnesses of the accident and theinhabitants of the Russia’s northern capital are scared. The second unit was stopped at the station… The accident occurred at the second power unit when a pipe with steam cracked in turbine hall yesterday. The steam filled the room, and leaked beyond the power plant. The employees of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) had to go home… According to specialists, the release was radioactive, because the waste steam entered the so-called loop reactor coolant. However, the population was encouraged not to panic.

Baltic Newsletter of the Green World, Dec 20, 2015: An emergency stop of the second power unit of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant took place… The reason for the stop and cooling of the reactor was a sudden leak of radioactive steam from a faulty pipe in one of the rooms of the turbine shop… During the cooling – down step, the reactor steam was ejected through the pipe into the environment. A south – southeast wind of 5 meters per second (not typical for this area) blew the radioactive steam toward the Gulf of Finland… Thus, the five millionth city of St. Petersburg, located 40 km east of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant was fortunate this time. According to some sources , the radiation level rose a few times higher than the background radiation only in the NPP area.

Watch video from the Director of Leningrad NPP here

December 24, 2015 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Accident at The Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant

exclamation-flag_RussiaAnother Accident at Russian Nuke http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/12/20/1462217/-Another-Accident-at-Russian-Nuke Just a heads-up. The Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant west of St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland suffered an accident on December 18th, according to the Crimean News Agency. A pipe carrying steam from the reactor in the second BWR [Boiling Water Reactor] plant apparently “cracked” [burst, failed] in the turbine hall, releasing radioactive steam and forcing an evacuation of the facility after the reactor was manually scrammed. This would be unit-2 of at the 4-unit facility.

The accompanying photo [on original] was taken of the Leningrad unit-2 plant today (December 20, 2015), showing that radioactive steam is still being emitted in bulk to the atmosphere. Officials at the facility did say they don’t “think” the situation will develop into another Chernobyl. That does not sound particularly reassuring to me, but so far so good.

The four reactors at LNPP are the RBMK-1000 design of Chernobyl type graphite moderated plants. Two more reactors of the newer VVER-1200 type were granted construction license in 2009 and 2010, the first scheduled to go into commercial operation in 2016, and two more are planned in the future.

The population near the plant was encouraged not to panic, as winds are carrying the plume of radiation toward Estonia and Finland. A Latvian news source reported that the government assured citizens there was no danger from the release, the Finnish monitoring stations aren’t showing a spike at present, 3 stations did mark one on the coast east of Helsinki (likely plume path), reaching up to .3µSv/hr on the 18th/19th. Which is .03mr/hr, just above background average.

Measurements of radiation in downtown Sosnovy Bor, 5 km [~3 miles] from the plant, were up to 20mr/hr* (a level about twice the average daily dose most non-grunt workers on the Island at TMI2 absorbed in the days/weeks after that meltdown), so let’s at least hope the residents were warned to “shelter in place” for the duration of this ongoing accident. And have some idea of how to do that properly. Area and regional pharmacies are reported to have ordered potassium iodide, so residents could be getting that. Radiation levels in St. Petersburg, a city of 5 million ~40 miles west of the nuclear facility, are reported to be normal.

The reactors at Leningrad have been plagued with accidents on a semi-regular basis since 1975, most never reported to the media or public. Including one accident at unit-1 in 1975 that came dangerously close to the very same accident later experienced at Chernobyl.

* The reported peak figure of 20mr/hr in the nearest town — which is indeed suspiciously high — is pointed out in the comments to be a mistranslation of µR (microrem) as mR (millirem). Which isn’t enough radiation to register above the considerably higher background. If indeed the Russians have taken to measuring and reporting radiation dose exposures in Rem/Rad instead of the internationally used Sievert. A very odd thing for them to do all of a sudden with this accident when they never did before, but technical deception is a regular art form with nukes of all nationalities. No surprise there.

December 24, 2015 Posted by | incidents, Russia | 1 Comment

Threat to Russia of USA’s tactical nuclear weapons in Europe

U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe threaten Russia – Putin http://rbth.com/international/2015/12/20/us-tactical-nuclear-weapons-in-europe-threaten-russia-putin_552869

It’s a bigger threat to Russia than Russian weapons are a threat to the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are a bigger threat to Russia than Russian weapons are a threat to the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

“U.S. tactical nuclear weapons have always been there [on the planes] after WWII, after America became a nuclear power. They are simply modernizing them now,” the president said in an interview in a documentary, “World Order,” of the Rossiya-1 (VGTRK) television channel.

“Indeed, this is a dangerous thing now. Why? Because our tactical nuclear weapons are not strategic for the United States, they cannot reach their territory, while U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe can reach our territory. In this sense, they are strategic for us and they are posing a bigger threat to us than our strategic nuclear weapons,” the president said.

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

Missing highly enriched uranium canisters probably came from Mayak nuclear facility

In the age of terrorism, disturbing questions remain on nuclear security, WP,  By Editorial Board December 14 THREE TIMES in the past 16 years — Bulgaria in 1999, France in 2001 and Moldova in 2011 — containers of highly enriched uranium have been seized by authorities, according to an article published online last month by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization. In each case, the person holding the uranium said it was part of a larger cache for sale.

Such proffers have in the past been made by employees at nuclear facilities in the former Soviet Union who smuggled the material out of their plants. In 1992, a worker diverted approximately 3.3 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from a facility in Russia, taking it home bit by bit, storing it on his balcony. He was arrested at the local train station, planning to travel to Moscow to sell it.

But the three containers of highly enriched uranium have something in common that until now has been kept secret. According to the article, forensic analysis by U.S. and French nuclear scientists strongly suggests that the materials came from the same source. The analysis indicates all three samples were produced in the early 1990s at a Russian nuclear facility, the MayakProduction Association, located near the town of Ozersk in the Ural Mountains region of Chelyabinsk. The uranium could have been removed in the chaotic early years after the Soviet Union collapsed, when many such facilities were poorly guarded, and it may now be anywhere……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/nuclear-insecurity/2015/12/14/21a7f38a-938e-11e5-b5e4-279b4501e8a6_story.html

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Real possibility of accidental nuclear war between USA and Russia

atomic-bomb-l“An Accidental Nuclear War between the U.S. and Russia is Possible”. Nuclear Holocaust in Just 30 Minutes – Former US Navy Advisor  By Dr. Theodore Postol and Sophie Shevardnadze
Global Research, December 13, 2015

The Nuclear End of the World never happened. When the Cold War finally ended, the whole world sighed in relief as the threat of total annihilation seemingly passed. And yet, 25 years later, both the US and Russia once again are pumping up their nuclear arsenal, and the Doomsday Clock shows it’s just three minutes before midnight. Is nuclear destruction looming once again over humankind? And, even if no state is actually ready to press the button – could Atomic Armageddon happen by accident? We ask these and many other questions to a specialist on nuclear technology, a professor from MIT and a former adviser to the US Chief of Naval Operations. Dr. Theodore Postol is on Sophie&Co……

Dr. Theodore Postol: I think this is a consequence of the domestic politics. You can never understand the foreign policy of a country without understanding its domestic situation, and in this case, the domestic politics has caused Mr. Obama to decide – frankly, I think, incorrectly – that he has to modernize the U.S. arsenal in order to avoid being criticized for not being concerned about the defence of the country…….
 I think the current political confrontation between Russia and the West and, particularly, the U.S. is potentially dangerous too. Both sides are very aware of the catastrophic consequence of nuclear weapons being used by one or the other, so I think both will be very cautious – but I think the danger does exist, yes…….
The problem is that as long as forces are on alert, at a high level, there’s always the possibility of a series of unexpected accidents that could lead to nuclear exchange, and I think, that’s the real danger……
typically what the U.S. and Russia have are several kinds of what are called “ballistic missiles” – they, in the case of both Russia and the U.S. we have land-based ballistic missiles which are in fortified underground missile silos, so they are protected to some extent from nuclear attack, or on submarines, in the holds of submarines. The ballistic missile could be fired, basically, within 50 or 60 seconds, more or less, after alert being given to the operators.The warning could take minutes to occur  – that is, the Russian government or the American government, could believe that an attack is underway, they could access the situation, and then, collect information and then make a decision whether or not to launch.

That could take 10 or 15 minutes. In the case of actually launching a rocket, that would take 40-60 seconds, more or less, depending on procedures – which are easily changed. The rocket will then ignite, it would fly out of its silo or its launch hall in the submarine, it would typically undergo powered flight for about… between 150 and 300 seconds, depending on whether or not the rocket is what’s called a “solid-propellant” or “liquid propellant”, so in one case 5 minutes, in other cause, maybe, 2,5 minutes – and then it would release warheads. The warheads would float in the near vacuum of space under the influence of gravity and momentum, and in about 20-28 minutes would arrive at their targets, re-enter the atmosphere and explode. So the world could be, basically, finished off in anywhere from half hour to an hour upon the arrival of these warheads. People who think about these things generally expect – nobody really knows what to expect – but if you have a massive exchange, most nuclear warheads would be delivered in a very short time, probably within half hour or an hour interval.

SS: Now, the bombs that Russia and the U.S. have in their arsenal right now – they are 100 times more powerful than the ones that were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How devastating would be the aftermath of the nuclear explosion be today?

Dr.TP: They are more than 100 times more powerful. Typical warhead from a Russian missile like what we call the SS-18, the one of these warheads –  this rocket can carry up to 10 warheads – one of these warheads, detonated over New York city, for example – one! – would essentially destroy all of Manhattan, most of Staten Island, probably all of it, basically. Large parts of New Jersey to the west. basically, the borough of Brooklyn and most of Queens and the Bronx out to a range range of, maybe, anywhere from, I’d say, 10 kilometers range from the central area where it exploded. If you had a similar warhead from the U.S. over Moscow, it would destroy, again, most of the city. It would, again, destroy a 150 square kilometers of the city easily and that’s only one warhead. There would be many warheads targeted on each of these great cities by the other side.

SS: Now, you wrote that there’s a lack of quality staff in the American nuclear forces. Are you saying nuclear arsenal is not being looked after properly, or is it safe?

Dr.TP: I think, there are very serious problems with the nuclear arsenal at the current time. Basically, what is going on is there is a catastrophic falling of morale among the troops…….

the leadership of the U.S. has domestic – again, I want to underscore this, domestic political, not international, political commitments to doing missile defence. The Congress is deeply committed to it. I think, the big defence companies that do the work wanted to keep their contracts and the American Congress is strongly influenced by the ability of these companies to influence elections through their money. I think the President has not behaved…has not shown leadership in this particular area. He has backed away from his original scepticism, which was well-justified, about the value of these missile defences in terms of their technical capability, and…

The U.S. has vast industrial power, vast wealth. It has shown that it is more than able to engage in irrational military activities, and the Russian military cannot be assured that the U.S. won’t make some kinds of changes in some unforeseen future scenario to this missile defence. So you can have a missile defence, like the Americans have, which technically speaking is a joke –  I want to underscore it, it’s a technical joke in terms of what it can do – but, the Russian military has almost no choice but to treat it as if it is a serious concern. So you get the worst of both worlds. Even from an american point of view – a missile defence that doesn’t work, but is treated by the Russian side as if it works……. http://www.globalresearch.ca/an-accidental-nuclear-war-between-the-u-s-and-russia-is-possible-nuclear-holocaust-in-just-30-minutes-former-us-navy-advisor/5495548

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Putin ramps up Russia’s nuclear forces

Putin strengthens nuclear forces as tensions with U.S. rise http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/dec/11/putin-strengthens-nuclear-forces-tensions-us-rise/ By L. Todd Wood – The Washington Times – Friday, December 11, 2015

Russia’s conventional forces are strained at the moment, supporting the frozen conflicts in East Ukraine, Transdniester, South Ossetia, and an expeditionary force in Syria. With the price of crude oil approaching $30 on the global market, many analysts have said Putin’s adventure in the Middle East is unsustainable.

Nuclear weapons are Russia’s ace in the hole, the great equalizer to NATO superior numbers and technology. As tensions with the United States and NATO rise over the conflict in Ukraine and Russian operations against the Syrian resistance and the Islamic State, Russian PresidentVladimir Putin wants to remind the West of Russia’s nuclear power.

“New weapons should go to “all parts” of the nuclear triad of air, sea, and land forces,” Putin told a Defense Ministry meeting in Moscow on Friday. “Action must also be taken “to improve the effectiveness of missile-attack warning systems and aerospace defense,” reported Bloomberg. Putinsaid Russia’s military must continue its program of training drills and devote special attention to the “transport of troops over long distances” as well as “strategic nuclear deterrence” and the ability to airlift forces including “anti-aircraft, missile and electronic elements.”

Putin has reminded the West repeatedly to “not forget that Russia is a nuclear power.” These recent comments, combined with his statement this week that he ‘hoped nuclear weapons would not be needed against the Islamic State,’ could be illustrative of the pressure the Kremlin feels regarding fears of social unrest with a shrinking Russian economy.

December 12, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia suspends work on Turkish Nuclear Station

Russia ‘Halts Work’ At Turkish Nuclear Plant, Radio Free Europe, December 09, 2015 Turkish officials say Russia has stopped construction work at Turkey’s first planned nuclear power plant, amid a bitter row between Moscow and Ankara.

Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border on November 24, prompting Moscow to impose economic sanctions on Ankara.

Unientified Turkish energy officials were quoted as saying on December 9 that Russia’s state nuclear company, Rosatom, had not terminated the contract for the building of the plant in the southern Turkish town of Akkuyu, and is reluctant to do so because of the heavy compensation clauses.

However, the officials said Turkey was assessing other potential candidates for the $20 billion project…….http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-turkey-nuclear-plant-work-halted/27417247.html

December 11, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Russia trying to sell to Egypt nuclear reactors with 80 year operation

Russian-BearMoscow, Cairo to Discuss Construction of Nuclear Power Plant on January 31, Sputnik News, 8 Dec 15  Egyptian Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Badri said that Russia and Egypt will discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant within the framework of the Russia-Egypt intergovernmental committee on January 31……

On November 19, Moscow and Cairo signed an intergovernmental deal on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt.

According to the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, the plant will take around 10 years to build and will be in operation for around 80 years…….. http://sputniknews.com/business/20151208/1031425665/russia-egypt-nuclear-power.html#ixzz3tldVDvoI

December 9, 2015 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

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