the coverage of the Ukrainian predicament is the worst journalistic failure since the Fukashima Disaster. Incidentally both journalistic failures involves nuclear power
Media Propaganda and the Ukraine Crises Paul Rogov, 25 Aug 14 “…… Western journalists write for corporate interests. It does not really matter who it is—The New York Times, The New Republic, The Economist, USA Today, CNN, or Fox— but the Western media it self is the entity that is aggravating the situation in the Ukraine.
By appealing to Western-led Eastern European, Eurasian and Russian scholars and American think-tanks and universities in hopes of the establishing lesser known “facts” about the Ukraine, corporate journalism often pounces on every opportunity or rumor or idea, so it can get its story out for the U.S.’s own benefit, having had met its deadlines.
The media was originally intended to critique the government and serve the people by giving them accurate, unbiased information. All an American needed was the facts. Commentary journalism, however, is different. It is a meta-journalism: a critique of itself.
Meta-journalism is in grave crisis. More than ever independent and free presses are needed to keep mainstream media, which seems to have merged with the U.S. State Department, in check.
A corporate journalist writes their article for their corporate sponsor—wanting to get their story off to his or her editor as quickly as possible— effectively perpetuating the U.S. Military Industrial Complex and explicitly propelling the idea of WWIII.
Now, with American academic-ideologues like Timothy Snyder, who writes articles like “The Battle of the Ukraine Means Everything” for The New Republic, it should be clear that this media dragon has many heads. Americans, in turn, have to lop off each one in order to deconstruct the propaganda that feeds the hysteria within the psyche of the average citizen……..
Western corporate Journalists are the creators of WWIII because they choose to bifurcate everything for the American people. Hawk versus Dove. Democrat versus Republican. NATO versus Russia. West verses East. Is there no way to be multipolar and live in a multipolar world? Western corporate media uses split screen techniques on television and broadcasts about complex political topics that cannot be resolved by two talking heads. They present only two points of view for just two ways of understanding American culture in under two minutes.
Whereas I do not remotely trust news coverage that comes from the Russian Federation, the Western coverage of the Ukrainian predicament is deplorable and dishonest, hysteria-arousing, sometimes pedestrian, uninformative, inaccurate and most of all, propaganda. Why? Because Western corporate journalists serve the U.S.’s Military Industrial Complex. Continue reading
Nuclear war is suicide for humans, but our leaders still have their fingers on the nuclear triggers. There seems to be absolutely no awareness, either in our Federal government or in the American public, of the existential danger posed by nuclear war. Such ignorance is embodied by The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, which if enacted will put us on a direct course for nuclear war with Russia
“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research, BySteven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014
Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely uponCounterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.
RAPA provides de facto NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova via RAPA
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, or RAPA, “Provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.” Major non-NATO ally status would for practical purposes give NATO membership to these nations, as it would allow the US to move large amounts of military equipment and forces to them without the need for approval of other NATO member states. Thus RAPA would effectively bypass long-standing German opposition to the US request to make Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO.
Germans rightly fear placing US/NATO troops and US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in Ukraine, given the profound and long-standing Russian objections against the expansion of NATO (especially to Ukraine and Georgia) along with deployment of European US/NATO BMD. Germany is acutely aware of the distinct possibility that the civil war raging in Ukraine could evolve into a Ukrainian-Russian war. Under such circumstances, deployment of US/NATO forces in Ukraine would make it virtually inevitable they would come into fight with Ukraine against Russia. Continue reading
Media Propaganda and the Ukraine Crises Paul Rogov, 25 Aug 14 “………..Coverage of the Ukrainian plight is cynical, if not insensitive. Many corporate journalists are simply uninformed about the region. Many of these journalists believe the war in the Ukraine will lead to “WWIII” and that it began with ousted former President Victor Yanukovych, when he fled on February 22nd. But this is incorrect.
The Ukrainian crises, an ethnic war of Slavic subjectivity, which began prior to the inception of the Soviet Union, extended through not one, but two World Wars, the collapse of a superpower and chaos of post-Soviet economies. In fact, it goes back to medieval times.
U.S. military analysts know, as NATO knows, that the entire Ukraine could be taken by Russian armed forces rather quickly. While the Ukraine conscripts its soldiers and security forces deteriorates in the Eastern region, the Ukrainian military are weak yet somehow mysterious “victorious” too—disembodied, yet possessing a well-guided singularity of purpose.
According to one article released on May 4th Fars News headlined “S. Arabia Relocating Takfiri Fighters from Syria to Ukraine.” Saudi Arabia sent extremist militants against Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. An unidentified Arab security official told Fars News that:
“A large number of terrorist Takfiri fighters in Syria, who bear Saudi and Chechnian nationalities and receive financial and military backup from the Saudi intelligence agency, have been transferred to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on several planes to help the Ukrainian army in its fight against the pro-Russian population. The forces have been immediately dispatched to Kramatosk city in Eastern Ukraine, and are now fighting beside the Ukrainian army forces against the pro-Russians under the name of militias who support the government.”
On top of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Ukraine (which no Western journalist talks about), Western corporate media bungled what happened in Odessa. There is no disputing that a Ukrainian extremist, right-wing group called Right Sector set the fires in Odessa of Trade Union buildings that senselessly burned alive and killed innocent people, while the U.S. State Department issued no statement that the deaths were due to Ukrainian fascists.
The Western corporate media is a collective failure as it constantly fails to realize that the Ukraine has never been a true European country. The same Western corporate media always presumes the Ukraine wants to be in all of its articles, where Ukrainian independence is concerned. Just pick up any major U.S. periodical or rather read off the Internet the presupposed rhetoric the Western corporate media utilizes.
The only time the Ukraine was tied “gloriously” to Europe in any concrete way was by its collaboration with Nazi Germany.
Russia, not too long ago, proclaimed that Ukraine’s assault in Slovyansk ended the chance for peace. Heads of State, Putin and Obama, as well as journalists are issuing statements and journalists are not citing their sources. This brings us to the issue of how the mainstream media is going to spin us right into a world war.
The questions that should be asked are numerous, but some examples would be: Who broke the story first that the Ukraine was heading for war? Who shot who first? Who burned alive who first? Isn’t it convenient how a right-wing coup occurred after “a democratically elected election”? Any form of slaughter in this case (and the prospects of U.S. or NATO involvement) is ridiculous and evil. How many more photos does one need to see of corpses for us to understand that the U.S. is in the shadows?
The Western corporate media have managed to evade talk of the money and the resources necessary for the Ukraine to even be considered a member of the E.U. and have totally hopped over the fact that the Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovich secured “a $15 billion bailout from Russia in December 17th, 2013, offering respite for an economy heading ever closer to default but also drawing accusations he has sold his country out to its former Soviet master.”
The Ukrainian government is just as corrupt as its Russian counterpart, yet the U.S. government and the mainstream media does not seem to understand that the political and economic weakness of Ukraine itself. The Ukraine’s inability to put its house in order is a result of inner tensions within the political climate of the Ukraine……http://paulrogov.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/media-propaganda-and-the-ukraine-crises/
The presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia
“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research, By Steven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014
“……………RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.
On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.
What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.
Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).
After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.
The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi political parties; theAzov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia……….http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171
U.S.-Russia Nuclear Deal Stalls as Tensions Over Ukraine Rise NYT, By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROADAUG. 2, 2014 WASHINGTON — The growing confrontation between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine has derailed a recent accord that promised one of the most expansive collaborations ever between the countries’ nuclear scientists, including reciprocal visits to atomic sites to work on projects ranging from energy to planetary defense.
It was only 11 months ago that the American energy secretary — Ernest J. Moniz, a former M.I.T. professor who has championed scientific programs that would bury the Cold War competitions between the United States andRussia — went to Vienna to sign the agreement, an indication of how recently the Obama administration believed it had a chance of building on a quarter-century of gradual integration of Russia with the West.
Handshakes and congratulations exchanged with Mr. Moniz’s Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Kirienko, sealed an arrangement that would let Russian scientists into, among other places, the heart of the American nuclear complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was constructed 70 years ago, and a dozen sister laboratories devoted to the making of the American nuclear arsenal. In return, American scientists would be allowed deep into Russian nuclear facilities, including the birthplace of the Soviet bomb……
Today, the real-life accord is on ice. This year, the Energy Department canceled nuclear meetings, symposia and lab visits with Russia……http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/world/europe/us-nuclear-deal-with-russia-fails-as-tensions-rise.html?_r=0
Bill reviving Ukraine’s nuclear power ambitions goes to parliament July 31, 20:20 UTC+4 KIEV, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. A bill restoring Ukraine’s nuclear power status was registered in the national parliament on Thursday amid the ongoing military conflict in the south-eastern regions and strained relations with Russia.
The bill, reviving Ukraine’s nuclear ambitions, was forwarded to the parliament’s security and budget committees………
Nikolai Filatov, head of the all-Ukraine Union of Strategic Missile Forces Veterans, said the restoration of the nuclear power status would take much effort and cost at least one or two annual national budgets but “maintaining [strategic missile forces] in combat readiness would be much less expensive,”
He said that Ukraine was able to create land-based mobile missile systems, “which will pose a threat to a potential enemy”……
Ukraine, which had the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the USSR, abandoned nuclear weapons under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Russia and Britain.http://en.itar-tass.com/world/743128
Sanctions on Russia have potential for nuclear impact, PennEnergy, July 23, 2014 By Diarmaid Williams International Digital Editor Recent events in Ukraine have put Europe’s energy security again under scrutiny, and while there is great concern about the bloc’s vulnerability to Russia retaliating to sanctions by turning of the gas, not as much attention has been paid to the nuclear power aspect.
It is an important supplier of the raw material for nuclear fuel, uranium, accounting for 18 per cent of EU supplies.
The BBC reports that 30 per cent of the enrichment work to make uranium suitable for power generation is done by Russian companies.
Meanwhile, many countries within the EU have a significant number of older, Russian-designed nuclear reactors – 18 in all. Finland has two – and all the reactors in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (who are in deals with Russia to build two more) are Russian-designed.
These states are heavily reliant on their nuclear capacity, with 50 per cent of Slovakia’s electricity and 45 per cent of Hungary’s being accounted for by these plants.The fuel for a reactor also has to be supplied in a form – called a fuel assembly – that meets the specifications of the particular reactor, and for Russian-designed nuclear reactors the fuel comes from a Russian company, TVEL. Anything that disrupts the supply of the fuel assemblies needed for these countries’ reactors would be a serious problem for them. A recent European Commission report argued that, “Ideally, diversification of fuel assembly manufacturing should take place, but this would require some technological efforts because of the different reactor designs.”
Because of the implications to countries’ power sectors and, subsequently, their economies, many are reluctant to back aggressive sanctions against Russia……..http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pei/2014/07/sanctions-on-russia-have-potential-for-nuclear-impact.html
The Chilling Threat Of Nuclear Civil War In Ukraine http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article46340.html Jul 07, 2014 By: Andrew_McKillop Playing With Fire The WNA-World Nuclear Association which tirelessly promotes nuclear power presents Ukraine as a poster child of civil nuclear power. It says that after construction of Ukraine’s first-ever civil nuclear power complex – at Chernobyl in 1970 – Ukraine’s present 15 NPPs (nuclear reactors) grouped into 4 major complexes operated by State monopoly NNEGC Energoatom had a combined capacity of about 13 900 MW and were all VVER-type reactors (mostly VVER-320s) of Soviet design. Using 2009 data, they produced about 48% of Ukraine’s total electricity output of 177 billion kWh of which 4 billion kWh was exported.
Nearly all major Ukrainian NPP complexes are in western Ukraine – with the exception of Zaporijia or Zaporhyzhya, located about 125 kms north of Crimea. Flight time from Crimea in a Mikoyan-Gourevitch 29 (Mig-29 or Su-29) carrying up to 5000 kilograms weight of bombs and missiles can be estimated at about 3 minutes and 24 seconds. Russia’s Crimean forces also have the later navalised enhanced Mig-29K codenamed Fulcrum-D by Nato, with a combat radius of about 1800 kilometres.
The net total capacity of the six-reactor Zaporija complex is given by the WNA as the highest in Europe, at 5718 MW, with the Graveslines complex near Dunkerque in France, operated by France’s EDF as second-largest in Europe at 5400 MW. The radiological inventory of either of these complexes is hundreds of times the radiological output of the single Hiroshima atom bomb of 1945.
Apart from Zaporija-6, all other VVER-320 reactors at the complex were built before 1989 with a 30-year design lifetime. Rather than decommissioning these reactors, and as in other European countries, Ukraine has sought to extend their operating lifetimes. As of March 2013, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) announced a 300 million euro loan for reactor safety upgrading to the end of 2017, matching another 300 million euro loan from Euratom.
In total, EU atomic agencies have provided or intend to provide 1.4 billion euros to extend Ukrainian reactor lifetimes by investing in “up to 87 safety measures addressing design and safety issues”, including national emergency preparedness for NPP accident management.
To be sure, none of this includes deliberate attack by military aircraft on particularly soft NPP targets!
Unsafe (Even In) Peacetime
Soviet design VVERs have a deserved reputation for danger. Accession to the European Union of Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania was delayed solely by the question of shutting down their 8 Soviet-design PWRs (pressurized water reactors).
This was a non-negotiable condition for their entry to the EU.
However and overall in eastern Europe, 11 of the earlier RBMK series of PWRs, and 4 VVER 230s, which preceded the slightly safer 320s still operate. The RBMK series, exactly like early Westinghouse (American) PWRs was directly scaled up from graphite-moderated, water-cooled submarine power reactors. It could be called a “naked reactor” due to its critically low amounts of shielding and cladding. Apart from submarine propulsion, its other main design goal was maximized plutonium production – for bomb material – during operation. Operator safety was a minor concern!
After the Chernobyl accident in April 1986, EU governments were quick to point the finger at RBMK and first-generation VVER 230 reactors in Eastern Europe, mainly to tout the claimed high levels of safety built into Western designs. In the emotive discussions after Chernobyl, Western safety standards were taken as unquestioned yardsticks. The politically-motivated communication on this subject enabled Western governments to avoid shutting down any Western PWRs and no Western construction project was aborted by political decision, due to constant and heavy manipulation of public opinion.
In the run-up to Germany’s reunification, the government in 1989 examined the feasibility of upgrading the six VVER reactors then under construction in East Germany, one of which had just started up. For purely financial reasons the four operating V-230s at Greifswald and an earlier VVER at Rheinsberg were closed in 1990. Although the units under construction could be brought up to Western safety standards, no investor could be found to take on the re-licensing risk. Especially in Germany, the post-Chernobyl reactor safety scare led Siemens to develop the claimed “uber safe PWR’ now called the EPR. Since Siemens complete abandonment of nuclear engineering in 2011, after Fukushima, only France’s Areva continues with this uber-expensive reactor design. Following 9/11, firstly Siemens and then Areva claim that EPRs are able to resist the crash of 1 wide-bodied civil airplane.
No mention is made of potential military attack by fully-armed Mig-29s. Either singly or in groups!
Ukraine’s Nuclear Civil War
Energoatom provides a map of major reactor complexes in Ukraine, mostly located in western Ukraine
We can note that towns focused for military repression of pro-Russian separatists by the Kiev government – Mariupol, Slovyansk, Luhansk and Donetsk – are like Crimea also about 120 to 150 kilometres from the Zaporija reactor complex. Well before the Flash Mob uprising in Kiev, former Ukrainian minister of Energy and Coal, Eduard Stawicki on January 27 stated that UN IAEA experts were going to arrive in the country with an unscheduled inspection “conditioned with the fact of threats of seizure and blocking Ukrainian thermal, nuclear and hydro power stations. We have permanent inspection regime, but now the situation is very difficult with such tension in the society”.
Since late January there have been several under-reported and nuclear-related actions in Ukraine as tension deepens, such as the brief occupation of the Zaporija complex by 40 Neo-nazi Right Sector actvists from Kiev in May in an action “designed to deter pro-Russian federalists and separatists”. From April 2014, the Kiev government has on several occasions made calls for “Western governments” to provide international monitors and “non-aligned peacekeeping forces” to protect the country’s NPPs, repeatedly stating that major attacks on NPP complexes could release more radiation than Chernobyl and Fukushima combined.
To be sure no action has resulted and all is in place for Ukraine’s civil war to “go nuclear”. The nuclear threat is with no possible doubt yet another reason why Western powers are making sur not to engage Russia in a hot war for the control of Ukraine – but the internal and domestic dynamic of civil war and Kiev’s attempt to suppress pro-Russian activists open the door to a nuclear endgame at any time.
By Andrew McKillop Contact: email@example.com
Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights
Co-author ‘The Doomsday Machine’, Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012
Ukraine State Calls for ‘Nuclear Strikes’ (E42) RT.com June 29, 2014 Parliament moves to quit Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; Nazis ‘regular reconnaissance visits to nuclear power stations'; Billionaire governor, whose Privatbank is top recipient of new IMF bailout, being placed on international wanted list for ‘banned methods of warfare and aggravated murder’.
Monday June 30 at 0045 GMT
For more information, please visit rt.com/schedule/This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.RT:
Nuclear weapons plans in the new gangster state of Ukraine. Coming up.Announcer: Ukraine’s new coalition calls officially for “pre-emptive nuclear strikes”.
Governors on the international wanted list.
And the sordid past of the new oligarch President……….. http://rt.com/shows/the-truthseeker/169176-ukraine-gangste-nuclear-strikes/
Ukraine crisis raises risk for nuclear reactors, DW 10 June 14, Ukraine’s volatility exacerbates the risk for the country’s 15 Soviet-style nuclear reactors, warn German experts. They demand more attention for the country where the world’s worst nuclear accident took place The recent news of a water shortage due to a broken pipeline affecting thousands in
strife ravaged Eastern Ukraine spells trouble for the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants.
That’s because the security and reliability of a country’s critical infrastructure like its electrical power and water grid is essential to safely run nuclear reactors.
“Once you have decided to operate a nuclear power plant or like in this case a nuclear reactor park, you must guarantee you don’t have unstable social situations and you definitely can’t have a war,” Michael Sailer, chairman of the German Nuclear Waste Management Commission and member of the German Reactor Safety Commission, told DW.
Potential for human error “We are talking about nuclear power plants that have a high risk even when they are constructed well and properly maintained,” Sailer who also heads Freiburg-based environmental think tank Öko-Institut added. “And in the Ukraine we are talking about the additional problem that there is an increased potential for human error due to less motivated nuclear operators than elsewhere and the fact that the security features of these reactors are a lot weaker than those of modern reactors.”
Ukraine currently has four nuclear power plants with 15 reactors online providing roughly half of the country’s energy needs which makes it practically impossible to shut them down during the crisis. All of the reactors stem from the Soviet era, went on the grid in the 1980s and are similar to the Chernobyl reactor that blew in 1986 causing the worst nuclear accident in history. Ukraine’s largest plant in Zaporizhia is located about 200 kilometers from Donetsk, the epicenter of the clash between pro-Russian militants and the Kyiv government.
Danger of sabotage But it’s not just the maintenance of the technical infrastructure and the motivation of the engineers operating the reactors that has the experts worried. The continued fighting between government and pro-Russian forces including the seizure of buildings raises the risk that the country’s nuclear plants could also be drawn into the mix…….
More attention The Chernobyl ruin serves as a reminder of the danger of nuclear energy
That the command structures particularly in the east of the country are already tenuous and embattled is evidenced by the ongoing fighting, the hostage taking of OSCE observers and the seizures of public buildings. And that this can easily affect critical infrastructure is highlighted by the recent news of a broken water pipeline in Eastern Ukraine.
That’s why – notwithstanding NATO’s assistance – not enough attention is being paid to the security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, argue the experts.
“It’s really a problem, because only very few people think about this,” said Sailer. Nuclear experts usually don’t focus on such instable situations and the people who are concerned with instable situations like diplomats usually don’t realize how sensitive a nuclear power plant is.”http://www.dw.de/ukraine-crisis-raises-risk-for-nuclear-reactors/a-17694776
USA’s Westinghouse taking over nuclear fuel supplies to Ukraine, despite problems in those fuel assemblies
Chernobyl memories faded? Kiev turns blind eye to disaster risk in nuclear deal with US http://rt.com/news/159848-ukraine-nuclear-deal-westinghouse/ May 19, 2014 In order to alleviate energy dependence on Moscow, the coup-imposed government in Kiev has resurrected a contract with a US company to supply fuel to Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. Using US fuel rods was banned in 2012 due to dangerous incompatibility.
The rivalry for nuclear fuel supply to Ukraine between Russia’s nuclear fuel cycle company TVEL and America’s Westinghouse took a twist when in April 2014, shortly after the armed coup, Kiev signed a new deal with America’s leading nuclear fuel producer, Westinghouse Electric Company, instead of the Russian TVEL company that has been supplying fuel rods to Ukraine for years.
Ukraine’s 4 nuclear power plants constitute a huge part of the country’s energy system. The country’s 15 nuclear reactors produce at least 50 percent (over 13 megawatt) of all electric power generation in Ukraine. All nuclear fuel for Ukrainian reactors (worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year) has been produced in Russia, which also recycles Ukraine’s nuclear waste.
Moreover, Russia’s Rosatom state-owned nuclear monopoly is currently constructing a nuclear fuel fabrication plant in Ukraine, where nuclear fuel rods will be assembled using uranium enriched in Russia.
All in all, Ukraine has relied on Russia in all atomic matters – but the West has muscled in on the relationship.
The Westinghouse Electric Company has been trying to ‘ease’ the former Soviet-bloc countries energy reliance on Russia and enter the market in Eastern Europe for over a decade. For that purpose the company was also using political leverage. Back in 2012, the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attempted to convince Czech leaders to pick up America’s Westinghouse as a primary nuclear fuel supply partner instead of Russia, which would create thousands of new jobs in the US.
Actually, Westinghouse has already supplied nuclear fuel to Ukraine’s Energoatom nuclear power generator company. In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-developed reactors, were tried at the South Ukraine plant in one reactor together with Russian fuel rods.
Though nuclear engineers were skeptical of the pilot probe, the government of former president Viktor Yushchenko signed a deal in 2008 with Westinghouse on fuel rod supply, despite the fact that American nuclear fuel is significantly more expensive and technologically different: Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in section, while Americans produce fuel assemblies of square section
This time a batch of 42 fuel assemblies was loaded into three reactors at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant for a standard three-year period of commercial operation.
When in 2012 the time came to replace the fuel assemblies, Ukrainian nuclear engineers found that Westinghouse assemblies deformed during exploitation and got stuck in the core.
Energoatom accused Westinghouse of producing poorly engineered assemblies, whereas Westinghouse countered, accusing the Ukrainian engineers of installing the rods badly.
After the incident the use of American nuclear fuel was banned in Ukraine fuel rods were returned to the producer ‘to get fixed’ and Russian experts were summoned to help with the repair of the equipment produced in the USSR. The Energoatom Company lost an estimated $175 million.
Similar problems with Westinghouse fuel assemblies occurred at a number of other USSR-constructed nuclear power plants: NPP Krško in Slovenia, NPP Loviisa in Finland and NPP Temelin in the Czech Republic. All these countries opted to return to time-proved fuel assemblies produced by Russia’s TVEL Company.
Now Ukraine appears to be ready to fall into the same trap twice. The coup-imposed Kiev regime has renewed the 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25 percent of the Russian-made fuel rods with an option to “provide more if needed,” reported the Associated Press in April – all this for the sole purpose of ‘diversifying’ supply.
Kiev’s interim authorities may be not familiar with nuclear energy technologies, but they surely have a clue about theconsequences of a Chernobyl-like tragedy.
What happened back in 2012 at Zaporozhskaya NPP could have potentially ended with another Chernobyl, because having unextractable fuel assemblies loaded means a potential loss of control over the fission processes inside the reactor.
But the new Kiev authorities, supported by Washington, are making every effort to cut Ukraine’s economic ties with Russia, so crossing over from Russian nuclear fuel to American sounds attractive to Arseny Yatsenyuk’s government despite the 2012 incident.
Furthermore, Westinghouse won’t recycle its fuel rods when they ‘burn out’, so Ukraine will be spending even more budget money to prepare special storage facilities for nuclear waste. Also, the company may have its sights set on a much-hotter prize.
“This move by Westinghouse is really to secure not just a fuel contract, which will go on for many years, but to put its foot in the door to build a fuel fabrication plant in eastern Ukraine. And that’s what’s most important and that’s what they’re after,” John Large, an independent nuclear analyst from London, told RT.
Experts generally agree that nuclear power plants are constructions that should not undergo drastic transitions. A nuclear reactor demands a coherent structure of operations. The active reactor core is the most dangerous when it comes to the impact it may have on people and the environment. All reactors differ in smallest details, and toying around with them leads to no good,” Evgeny Akimov of the International Union of Nuclear Energy Veterans told RT.
And if something goes wrong, Kiev may find that they are lonely in facing the consequences.
“As far as I know, Westinghouse signs contracts in which the company bears no responsibility, so the burden will lie with Ukraine,” said Rafael Arutyunyan, a nuclear security expert and professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
With Chernobyl and Fukushima being the prime examples, nuclear power is a force to be handled with great care. Yet, Kiev’s actions seem to be dictated by politics rather than risks, even when the consequences may affect not just Ukraine, but the entire European continent.
When the Chernobyl tragedy occurred back in 1986, it was a pure coincidence that Ukraine’s wind direction, usually directed into Europe, changed, sending radioactive fallout in the direction of Russia and Belarus.
In this over-politicized case, European capitals would do well to learn how the wind blows beforehand.
Chernobyl: Ukraine’s nuclear time bomb still ticking, SMH, May 17, 2014 Jan Villalon Video journalist While the current political tensions in Ukraine continue to threaten stability in the region, an even larger spectre looms in Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident.
Nearly three decades later, recovery from the disaster continues, with construction currently under way on an immense shield designed to entomb the radioactive remains of the reactor that exploded all those years ago.
At nearly 110 metres high and 275 metres wide, and weighing around 32,000 tonnes, the arch-like New Safe Confinement is one of the most complicated feats of modern engineering that, once complete, will be the largest movable structure ever built. It’s designed to last 100 years – the estimated time to finish clean-up at the site.
But the project is already years behind schedule. Though plans have been in the works to contain the leaky, crumbling reactor since 1992, construction on the New Safe Confinement only began in 2010. Originally slated to be finished 2015, developers have now pushed the date back to 2017.
Half of the arch has been assembled so far, but the future of the $2.2 billion project, funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now hangs in the balance. With Ukraine thrown into an economic crisis and Russia at its borders, there are concerns the shelter may not be completed in time – if at all.
“It is unfortunately a situation which can further deteriorate and it’s very difficult, then, to predict what the impacts on our project will be,” said Vince Novak, director of nuclear safety at the EBRD.
“You must not forget that this is a project about nuclear safety,” Novak said in an interview with The Verge. “And its importance transcends borders and transcends political divisions and differences.”
Adi Roche, head of the NGO Chernobyl Children International, recently returned from a trip to study the progress of the shelter’s construction and describes the situation as a “ticking time bomb”.
“Chernobyl is the old Soviet Union’s deadly legacy to Ukraine and the world has very real reason to be extremely concerned about the ongoing threat it poses, especially at a time of great instability and growing hostility between Ukraine and Russia,” she said.
For many Ukrainians, Chernobyl remains a deep wound, a stark reminder of an era during which government policies of secrecy and corruption bred deep mistrust among the public. ………….
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev admitted in a 2006 opinion piece that the disaster was a catalyst for the dismantling of the USSR.
“The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl . . . was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was an historic turning point: there was an era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that followed,” he wrote……..
With no warnings of the true dangers of radiation, and no basic safety guidelines in place, firefighters had rushed to the scene at Chernobyl completely unaware they were being exposed to lethal doses of radioactive waste. Many of the first responders, as well as workers sent in to help contain the disaster, suffered severe symptoms of acute radiation poisoning within days.
When calculating the human cost of the Chernobyl disaster, figures vary widely. Two workers were killed in the initial explosion, with a further few dozen more deaths linked to the incident. Many claim thousands more died as a result of the aftermath and clean-up operations.
The wider impact of radiation exposure is difficult to measure, however. Over the years, various reports have pointed to rises in fatal cancers among the population as well as the number of children born with genetic defects linked to radiation. Some estimates put the number of people affected as high as a million across Europe, while more conservative figures hover in the tens of thousands. …..Meanwhile, what remains of reactor four is still at risk. Encased in its shoddy, rusting sarcophagus, Chernobyl’s time bomb is just one spontaneous chain reaction away from another disaster. http://www.smh.com.au/world/chernobyl-ukraines-nuclear-time-bomb-still-ticking-20140517-zrfpn.html#ixzz32C5tLeaw
CHERNOBYL RADIATION EFFECTS: 28 YEARS LATER Green Fudge, Irini Chassiotou May 11th, 2014 “……… Many studies have shown that birds living in the area have eye cataracts or smaller brains, while insects, microbes and other decomposers exhibit abnormal behavior. Changes in abundance, distribution, life history and mutation rates are some more documented negative effects of Chernobyl’s radiation on the region’s plants and animals. In fact, the genetic effects of chronic radiation exposure on each species studied so far have often been subtle and varied and only conclusively shown after many generations.
What’s sure is that different species react to chronic exposure in different ways. Research into low-level radiation since 1986 have demonstrated that, for example, pine trees are more adversely effected by radiation than birch, while migrant barn swallows are more radio-sensitive than resident birds. In another study, winter wheat seeds were taken from the Exclusion Zone a few days after the disaster and they were germinated in uncontaminated soil, producing thousands of different mutant strains. This resulted to genetically unstable new generations, even 25 years after the accident.
Flora and fauna studies may reveal the effects of long-term radiation exposure on humans, obtaining statistically significant epidemiological data on cancer, which is rather complicated. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government, satisfied with the anecdotal evidence of the zone-based research team, has opened the zone to tourism. Scientists fear that future plans will include repopulating the Exclusion Zone at the earliest opportunity.
Report: Ukrainian Police Arrest 9 Militants Smuggling Uranium-235 Prison Planet, Bradford Thomas May 8, 2014 Russian news outlet NEWSru.ua reported Monday that Ukrainian police in the Chernovci region arrested nine militants—eight Ukrainian citizens and one Russian—who were in possession of 1.5 kilos of substance containing Uranium 235, contents that could be used to create a “dirty bomb.”
The car containing the U-235 had foreign plates and was coming from Pridnestrovie (or Transnistria), a Russian military occupied breakaway territory in Moldova………http://www.prisonplanet.com/report-ukrainian-police-arrest-9-militants-smuggling-uranium-235.html
Nuclear Energy Reactors: U.S. to Turn Ukraine into a “Second Chernobyl”? The Role of Westinghouse http://www.globalresearch.ca/nuclear-energy-reactors-u-s-to-turn-ukraine-into-a-second-chernobyl-the-role-of-westinghouse/5379390 By Leonid Savin Global Research, April 27, 2014 The use of US-produced fuel for Soviet reactors is not compatible with their design and violates the security requirements. It could lead to disasters comparable with what happened in Chernobyl. The International Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry (IUVNEI) issued the following statement on April 25,
“Nuclear fuel produced by the US firm Westinghouse does not meet the technical requirements of Soviet-era reactors, and using it could cause an accident on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster, which took place on the 26th April 1986.”
The IUVNEI brings together more than 15,000 nuclear industry veterans from Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It was founded in 2010 and headquartered in Moscow.
The Ukrainian state enterprise Energoatom and the Westinghouse Company previously agreed to extend the contract for the supply of US nuclear fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants until 2020.
Two years ago, there was a near-miss in Ukraine, when TVS-W with damaged distancing armatures risked substantial uncontrolled releases of dangerous radiation. Only by a miracle was there no disaster at the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant. But it did not prevent the signing of the agreement. A Czech nuclear power plant faced depressurization of the fuel elements produced by Westinghouse in 2006, followed by the Czech government abandoning the company as a fuel supplier. According to Yuri Nedashkovsky, the president of the country’s state-owned nuclear utility Energoatom, on April 23, 2014 the Ukraine’s interim government ordered to allocate 45, 2 hectares of land for the construction of a nuclear waste storage site within the depopulated exclusion area around the plant of Chernobyl between villages Staraya Krasnitsa, Buryakovka, Chistogalovka and Stechanka in Kiev Region (the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors). The fuel is to come from Khmelnitsky, Rovno and South Ukraine nuclear power plants.
At present used fuel is mostly transported to new dry-storage facility at the Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Factory in the Krasnoyarsk region and storage and reprocessing plant Mayak in the Chelyabinsk region, the both facilities are situated on the territory of Russian Federation.In 2003 Ukraine started to look for alternatives to the Russian storages. In December 2005, Energoatom signed a 127, 75 million euro agreement with the US-based Holtec International to implement the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors. Holtec’s work involved design, licensing, construction, commissioning of the facility, and the supply of transport and vertical ventilated dry storage systems for used VVER nuclear fuel. By the end of 2011 Holtec International had to close its office in Kiev as it had come under harsh criticism worldwide. It is widely believed that the company has lost licenses in several countries because of poor quality of its containers resulting in radiation leaks. Westinghouse and Holtec are members of U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).
Morgan Williams, President/CEO of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, works in Ukraine since the 1990s said at the ceremony devoted to Westinghouse Electric Company and Holtec International signing contracts with Ukraine in 2008:
“Today is one of the most important days since Ukraine’s independence as the efforts of these two internationally known companies will go a long way to assuring that Ukraine has greater energy independence. This is made more important by the fact that for Ukraine, energy and political independence are closely interdependent. I join all of the USUBC members in toasting the success of these two great member companies, as we all work to assist Ukraine on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration and a strong democratic, private market driven nationhood.”
Morgan Williams is known as a lobbyist representing the interests of Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil in Ukraine. He has close ties with Freedom House involved in staging “color revolutions” in Eurasia, North Africa and Latin America.
One more interesting detail is to be mentioned here. Some time ago it was reported that according to covert agreements reached between the Ukraine’s interim government and its European partners, the nuclear waste coming from the EU member states will be stored in Ukraine.
Being in violation of law the deal is kept secret.
Leonid Savin is an Russian expert on international conflicts, editor-in-chief of Geopolitica.ru news, analysis and forecast online journal.
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