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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Optimism for a nuclear agreement with Iran, but big hurdles remain

Big hurdles to Iran nuclear deal as deadline looms, Reuters  VIENNA | BY JOHN IRISH AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU 26 June 15 As a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal approaches, major differences remain between Iran and world powers on several key issues including sanctions relief and U.N. access to Iranian sites, a senior Western diplomat said on Friday.

“The most difficult subjects need to be resolved in the coming days,” the diplomat told reporters on condition of anonymity in the Austrian capital, where talks between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran have entered their final phase.

“The questions of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions (to Iran’s nuclear activity) and sanctions remain extremely problematic. We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences.”

 Iran and six major powers set themselves an end-June deadline for a long-term deal that would lift sanctions crippling the Iranian economy in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program that would remain in place for at least a decade. But diplomats said the talks would likely run into July……..

Officials close to the talks say they have yet to agree on the speed and scope of lifting sanctions, how Iran will reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, the future extent of Tehran’s enrichment-centrifuge research and development program, and access for U.N. inspectors to military and other sites, as well as U.N. access to Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately, though diplomats say they will be eased gradually in accordance with a schedule and only after confirmation that Iran has met its commitments.

Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.

The real deadline is not June 30 but July 9, diplomats say.

The U.S. delegation must present the deal to Congress by July 9 if a mandatory congressional review period before President Barack Obama can begin suspending sanctions is to be limited to 30 days. After July 9, the review will last 60 days, according to a law passed recently by U.S. legislators…………..http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/26/us-iran-nuclear-talks-idUSKBN0P623G20150626

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

France keen to save AREVA, by selling nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Hollande-salesFrance plans new Saudi nuclear reactors, Sky News 25 June 2015 France has confirmed it is looking into building two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, as part of 12 billion euro ($A17.31 billion) worth of deals struck between the nations.

Under one of the agreements Airbus will sell 23 H-145 multipurpose helicopters to Saudi Arabia for 500 million euros as well as launch a feasibility study into building the reactors, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday……..

The study for two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) – which France considers the safest and most advanced in the world – takes on added significance given the current efforts by Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, to develop its own nuclear capabilities.

In addition to the study, France will sign an agreement to train the Saudis on nuclear safety and the treatment of nuclear waste……

France has been reinforcing links with the conservative kingdom despite persistent criticism of its human rights record,…… http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/mideast/2015/06/25/france-plans-new-saudi-nuclear-reactors.html#sthash.tI5czLBA.dpuf

 

June 26, 2015 Posted by | France, marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

Nuclear power a very poor deal for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia must not focus on nuclear power THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT NUCLEAR POWER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COMPETE ECONOMICALLY WITH SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC AND WIND ENERGY BY ALI AHMAD AND M. V. RAMANA, SPECIAL TO GULF NEWS JUNE 25, 2015

On June 19, 2015, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to cooperate on nuclear energy development, with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV announcing that Russia would play a significant role in the kingdom’s plan to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2032. In March, there was an agreement with South Korea to conduct a preliminary study to review the feasibility of constructing a new Korean reactor design called the Smart — which has never been built anywhere — in Saudi Arabia.

Although Saudi Arabia has officially expressed interest in acquiring nuclear power since 2006, it is clear that this effort has gained momentum in the last few months, since the progress of negotiations between P5+1 (United States, Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme. Though some may find it understandable on strategic grounds, it is important to realise that nuclear power fares poorly if compared economically with fast-growing renewable technologies, especially solar photovoltaic energy.

Currently fossil fuel, oil and natural gas-based electricity generation constitutes essentially all of Saudi Arabia’s power production capacity. But it is desirable to develop alternative sources of electricity and both nuclear power and renewables have been held out as possibilities……

Nuclear reactors not only take long periods to construct, but are also prone to major construction delays and huge cost overruns. This is true in many countries, including industrialised economies with substantial nuclear capacity such as the US and France. Even without delays, establishing a nuclear power programme from scratch can take a minimum of 10 years. The UAE, for instance, started its programme in 2008 and expects to connect its first reactor to the grid in 2018. In comparison, solar projects typically have a one to two-year construction period.

If Saudi Arabia, for example, decides to build a nuclear reactor today, it will likely take a minimum of 10 years for it to start generating electricity. Therefore, any cost comparison must be based on what solar power may cost in 2025 rather than today’s costs. This time period is significant and if the dramatic decline in the cost of solar photovoltaic panels over the past decade (more than 75 per cent since 2009) continues till the end of this decade, the cost of generating nuclear power will exceed that of photovoltaic energy. There are good reasons to expect solar power costs to decline further in a similar fashion, including the relative lack of maturity of underlying technologies.

Even without such declines, there is evidence that renewable energy is already more economical than nuclear power. ……

Saudi Arabia is a natural location for investing in solar energy. It has one of the highest Direct Normal Irradiation resources in the world.

Likewise, wind energy too has significant potential in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, there is much greater scope with renewable energy for Saudi Arabia to ensure a higher degree of localisation and create a base of highly skilled workforce. Such localisation is certainly more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with nuclear power.

Therefore, there is little doubt that nuclear power will not be able to compete economically with solar photovoltaic and wind energy. ….http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/saudi-arabia-must-not-focus-on-nuclear-power-1.1540888

June 26, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

What if Israel signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

What I fear will is one of Shavit’s more depressing conclusions: Dimona’s nuclear weapons success “that allowed Israel to flourish . . . will become the biggest threat facing Israel. It might turn the lives of Israelis into a nightmare.”

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-IsraelIsrael should consider signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, The Age, 21 June 15 Walter PincusWhat if Israel suddenly changed course and announced it was prepared to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and work toward establishment of a Middle East nuclear-free zone?

I’m not saying this is in the works. Far from it. As negotiations between the United States and five other world powers, known as the P5+1, and Iran head toward some sort of conclusion, it’s apparent that no matter what any agreement contains, there will be a fight in the United States about its merits. And if the agreement survives, the years ahead inevitably will see allegations from all sorts of quarters that one side or the other has violated its terms.

This seemed like an opportune moment to ponder the “what if?” question, which was also triggered by re-reading a section from Israeli columnist Ari Shavit’s 2013 book, My Promised Land, The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Continue reading

June 21, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jordan going ahead with solar technology in a big way, helped by China

piggy-ban-renewablesChinese enterprise funds Middle East renewables, Independent Australia Anthony M Horton 18 June 2015, New reports confirm that the future of the Middle East is in renewables, which is already cheaper and more reliable than oil. The region is predicted to become a global green economic hub, reports Anthony M Horton.

FOLLOWING A grant worth US$310 million from Hanergy, a Chinese energy enterprise that produces thin-film solar technology, Jordan will expand its power grid and increase its renewable energy production by 1 Gigawatt. As a result of Hanergy’s assistance, Jordan will achieve its goal of increasing renewable energy capacity to 40 per cent (1.8 Gigawatts) by 2020.

Jordan began removing fossil fuel subsidies and created the country’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Fund a decade ago. This signalled the move to cleaner energy, and other Middle Eastern countries are also looking seriously at them. A report published by The Climate Group earlier this year (reported on 23 April) discussed the potential of the region to become a global green economy hub.

Their analysis, which was supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency, gave an overview of the current and future renewables landscape and explored the role that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would play in reshaping the world’s energy future, given the lessons it was learning from flagship projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in terms of the best opportunities and ways to upscale renewables.

The report also highlighted the increasing adoption of solar energy technologies as evidence of the growing appetite of the private sector……….https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/chinese-enterprise-funds-middle-east-renewables,7839

June 21, 2015 Posted by | China, Jordan, renewable | Leave a comment

Costs of Enriching Uranium Have Hurt Iran – Iranian Professor Sadegh Zibakalam

Iranian Professor: The Costs of Enriching Uranium Have Hurt Iran http://www.thetower.org/2156-iranian-professor-the-costs-of-enriching-uranium-have-hurt-iran/ by TheTower.org Staff | 06.12.15  In a public debate last month against an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollahi Ali Khamenei, Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam of Tehran University, who is associated with the reformist movement in Iran, argued that Iran’s enrichment program has been expensive for the country with little benefit. His remarks were translated Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Do we even know how much money has been wasted on the nuclear [program]? What was our aim at Fordo, Natanz, and Arak? Why did we act this way when we had no intention of developing a bomb [but only of developing] agriculture andnuclear medicine and enriching uranium to 3% for the Bushehr reactor? Now the question is: How much does every kilogram [of enriched uranium] cost us? What is its cost to agriculture? How much will it cost [in the long run]?
“Take for example the joint Iran-Qatar South Pars [natural gas field]. [The two countries] are supposed to benefit from it equally, but because of the sanctions, we have not been able to produce all [the gas] we are entitled to produce from it. In 2013, we produced only 50 billion cubic meters, [while] Qatar produced 150 [billion] and a bit more. The 100 billion [cubic meters more that Qatar produced] is because Qatar faces no sanctions, and the cost of this [to Iran] is$40 billion…

“I’m not saying that the nuclear [program] is bad; it’s good. But at what cost? Now they will say ‘Zibakalam said we don’t need a nuclear [program]’… The political, partisan, and factional conduct on this [nuclear] issue must be resolved. Does the nuclear [program] exist for the sake of the state, or does the state exist for it? Must Iran be sacrificed for the sake of the nuclear [program], or should we sacrifice the nuclear [program] for the sake of Iran?”Zibakalam argued that enriching uranium has huge direct operating costs, but the penalties for having an illicit enrichment program has hurt Iran even more. Zibakalam suggested that Iran would have been better off buying enriched uranium and incurring neither cost.

Zibakalam, who was sentenced to prison last year for questioning Iran’s nuclear program, made several references during the debate to not being allowed to express an opinion about the nuclear program. In a different forum last year, Zibakalam said that Iran’s threats against Israel were the reason Iran’s nuclear program is viewed with suspicion.

June 13, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Iran, Uranium | Leave a comment

Influence of Israel in railroading the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Israel in Action: Spoiling the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty By Binoy Kampmark Global Research, June 11, 2015 More should have been made about it last month, but the security patrons and aficionados heaved a sigh of relief more than despair when it concluded.  Effectively, efforts to obtain a consensus document at the end of the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference held between April 27 and May 22 were railroaded.  The UK delegation suggested that there was only one key sticking point: that of the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

As a review in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists noted, “It came down to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada supporting Israel’s position on a conference to pursue a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”[1]  The 2010 final document had demanded that a conference be convened on the subject of the zone prior to the end of 2012, to be hosted in Finland with the facilitator Jaakko Laajava.  So much for that.

Such reviews, which come every five years, tend to be ceremonial gestures of box ticking and smug denial.  They focus, ostensibly, on assessing the progress made towards halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons; provide states complying with the provisions of the treaty access to non-weaponised nuclear technology; and, rather dreamily, the efforts of nuclear weapons disarmament on the part of the Permanent Five (P5) states.

Those fascinated by the dynamics of the nuclear club see the NPT as a successful document, one that has 191 signatories and has stalled the creation of more nuclear states. Once the atomic genie was unleased in August 1945 with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the spectre of total nuclearisation became all too real.  But getting countries on board the regime of non-proliferation has entailed a rather empty promise as outlined by Article VI of the Treaty.  Not developing nuclear weapons on the part of 186 states was bought by the assurance that the nuclear club would dismantle their arsenals.

The non-nuclear states have over the years found the exchange unsatisfactory.  The P5 continue going about wistfully refusing to engage in serious dismantling. The old logic of refusal prevails, and with just under 16,000 nuclear weapons available at the push of a trigger, this balance of terror is something that established nuclear states would not do without.  If one has them, the rest have to.

All that seemed to transpire at this conference was a desperate attempt to keep an ill patient afoot.  It reached an absurd point where a skeletal, poor document of 184 paragraphs was backed by a majority of delegates for no other reason than there was no other alternative. Austria’s representative, speaking for over 20 signatories of the Austrian Pledge on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, noted continuing legal deficiencies in the quest for disarmament.  But even that creation, with severely diluted language about disarmament, was rejected by the US, Britain and Canada.

Israel’s role as a spoiler was vital. Being itself outside the NPT framework, it has manipulated it with a degree of determined ruthlessness.  Its official stance, which neither affirms or denies its nuclear stockpile, suggests how singular approaches will be tolerated………

Delegates familiar with their history of the NPT noted that its indefinite extension was only bought because of the 1995 resolution on a Middle East WMD Free Zone.  Egypt’s delegation was particularly vocal on that score, while the Tunisian delegate insisted that the resolution continued to hold force.

For all that, the singular stance of Israel, one that its allies took note of, doomed an already deficient review document to oblivion.  The NPT will simply going on being a shadow of itself, degenerating, as the South African delegate observed, “into minority rule – as in apartheid-era South Africa – where the will of the few reigned supreme over the majority.”

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com     http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-in-action-spoiling-the-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty/5455013

June 13, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

‘Dirty bombs’ tested by Israel

radation sign dirtyflag-Israel  Israel tested ‘dirty-bomb cleanup’ in the desert Haaretz 10 June 15 Series of tests in conjunction with four-year project at Dimona nuclear reactor measured damage and other implications of detonation of radiological weapon by hostile forces. By  | Jun. 8, 2015 

Israel recently carried out a series of tests in the desert in conjunction with a four-year project at the Dimona nuclear reactor to measure the damage and other implications of the detonation of a so-called “dirty” radiological bomb by hostile forces. Such a bomb uses conventional explosives in addition to radioactive material.

Most of the detonations were carried out in the desert and one was performed at a closed facility. The research concluded that high-level radiation was measured at the center of the explosions, with a low level of dispersal of radiation by particles carried by the wind. Sources at the reactor said this doesn’t pose a substantial danger beyond the psychological effect.

An additional concern stems from a radiological explosion in a closed space, which would then require that the area be closed off for an extended period until the effects of the radiation are eliminated.

In 2010, staff from the Dimona nuclear reactor began a series of tests, dubbed the “Green Field” project, designed to measure the consequences of the detonation of a dirty bomb in Israel. The project was concluded in 2014, and its research findings have been presented at scientific gatherings and on nuclear science databases. The researchers explained that the experiments were for defensive purposes and that they were not giving consideration to offensive aspects of the tests.

Public concern over radiological terrorism began after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the threat by representatives of Al-Qaida to use such weaponry against the United States. The radioactive material is available to the medical and industrial sectors, and those who threaten its use as a weapon aim to augment the damage and fear caused by an explosion by adding the threat of radiation to the mix……

In the course of the experiments, 20 detonations were carried out involving between 250 grams and 25 kilograms of explosives together with the common radioactive substance known as 99mTc, which is used in the health care field for medical imaging. The experiments made use of the reactor’s most innovative technology, including tiny drones used to measure radiation and sensors to measure the force of the blast.

In the course of the project, there was an additional test known as “Red House,” designed to examine another kind of radiological scenario in which a substance would be left in a crowded public space but not exploded….. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.660067

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA negotiates with Iran, while selling advanced weapons to Iran’s opponents!

Threatening Iran with military attacks while also negotiating with it only casts doubts on the sincerity of the Obama administration to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement and to seek out Iran’s help to thwart the advances made by the Islamic State.

Obama puppetIt Is Untenable to Seek a Nuclear Agreement With Iran While Also Arming its Opponents, Huffington Post 06/09/20 Ever since the negotiations between the administration of President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and P5+1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany — began in earnest in September 2013, and particularly since the announcement of the Lausanne Accord, the Obama administration has been trying to mollify the opponents of the nuclear accord. The most outspoken foes of the agreement are the usual suspects, namely, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Arab nations of the Persian Gulf area. They all claim that the agreement with Iran threatens their national security, but offer no viable alternative to the negotiations and a comprehensive agreement. What they really want is a new war in the Middle East, this time against Iran. As the President rightly stated on April 2 when the Lausanne Accord was announced, insisting that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and continuing the sanction regime and even tightening it up further will eventually lead to war with Iran.

And how has the Obama administration has been trying to mollify Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies? By threatening Iran and selling more advanced weapons to them. Last October, the U.S. announced sale of new missiles to Saudi Arabia worth $1.75 billion. This is on top of $60 billion worth of weapons that the U.S. has sold to that nation since 2010.

U.S. allies in the P5+1 have also been busy selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia threatening to develop nuclear weapons

Saudis ready to go nuclear: ‘All options are on the table’ if talks fail to contain Iran, ambassador says, National Post Con Coughlin, The Telegraph | June 9, 2015 “…….this year came Saudi Arabia’s dramatic military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. Saudi warplanes and troops are now involved in a bitter conflict with Iranian-backed rebels from the Houthi religious movement in Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as one of the region’s dominant military powers.

In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around 37 billion pounds (compared with the UK at around 34 billion pounds)……

Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme…..

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice. ………..http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/saudis-ready-to-go-nuclear-all-options-are-on-the-table-if-talks-fail-to-contain-iran-ambassador-says?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NP_Top_Stories+%28National+Post+-+Top+Stories%29

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Security benefits to Israel in Iran nuclear deal – say Israeli military

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IsraelIsraeli Military Sees ‘Security Benefits’ To Iran Nuclear Deal http://www.mintpressnews.com/israeli-military-sees-security-benefits-to-iran-nuclear-deal/206312/ The Israeli military says that the deal, and increased inspections, would provide increased clarity on Iran’s civilian nuclear program and the risks of a “breakout” to military use. By June 6, 2015 Once again underscoring the profound disconnect between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nation’s security apparatus, the Israeli military has held a “closed door” briefing in which they seemed to praise the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, saying it provided “security benefits” for Israel.

Though the details of the briefing were not supposed to be fully made public, some details got out, including the military saying that the deal, and increased inspections, would provide increased clarity on Iran’s civilian nuclear program and the risks of a “breakout” to military use.

Netanyahu has repeatedly and loudly condemned the talks, claiming any deal with Iran on any terms would be a threat to Israel’s existence. The military, however, said it believed the threat from Iran was waning, and would more so with a nuclear deal.

Netanyahu has struggled to keep military and intelligence officials backing his public narrative, and earlier this year Israeli intelligence briefed the US Congress against imposing sanctions demanded by Netanyahu on the grounds it would sabotage diplomacy. Netanyahu’s pre-election visit to the US Congress was the result of efforts by him and hawkish Congressional leaders to try to undo the “damage” done by the briefing.

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Time for a Mideast Nuclear Free Zone and for Israel to join the NPT

flag-IsraelIsrael should join the NPT in return for a Mideast Nuclear Free Zone i24 News, YAKUB HALABI, 2 JUNE 15 “…….The Middle East and world politics, however, have gone through tremendous political, economic and social changes in the past four decades that not only render Israel’s ambiguous nuclear policy obsolete, but turned the whole project of Israel’s nuclear program into a liability.

First, Israel is no longer under an existential threat: as reflected in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, the Arab states are willing to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for full withdrawal from the 1967 occupied territories. And second, instead of being a deterrent against the Arab states and Iran, its alleged nuclear arsenal may be stimulating not only a nuclear arms race in the region, but also political tension and conventional wars as Israel seeks to preserve its monopoly as the region’s only nuclear power. Israel struck twice at Arab states in order to deprive regional states from possessing nuclear power: in 1981 against Iraq and in 2007 against Syria. More recently it has said it would not rule out a strike against Iran for the same objective.

It is true that the powers’ negotiations with Iran could beget a bad agreement or none at all. The outcome for the regional players, however, would be the same: Iran would continue to march slowly but safely towards manufacturing a nuclear bomb. Under these circumstances, Israel would have no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, in order to maintain its monopoly over nuclear power, prevent a potential regional nuclear war, and deter other states from following in Iran’s footsteps.

Further, Israel wants the United States to apply a double standard: Israel would remain an exception to the rule and privileged over the Arab-Muslim states. In this regard, the question looms large: can the US continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear weapons (according to foreign media reports) and impose sanctions on every other Middle Eastern state which dares follow in Israel’s footsteps?

A few weeks ago, the American assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, Thomas Countryman, visited Israel in order to examine the likelihood of creating a nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East.

In my opinion, Iran would be more willing to abandon its nuclear aspirations under a regional NWFZ agreement than under the current conditions of preserving its monopoly. In short, Israel should take part in the P5+1 negotiations in which it would declare its willingness to strip itself of nuclear weapons and join the NPT in return for signing a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone.

Yakub Halabi is an Arab-citizen of Israel, assistant professor of international relations and fellow at the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. http://www.i24news.tv/en/opinion/73445-150602-israel-s-alleged-nuclear-arsenal-a-liability-not-an-asset

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia aiming to be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy

sun-powerSaudi Arabia: an unlikely ally in the march towards renewable energy, Guardian, Molly Scott Cato, 5 June 15 The oil-rich kingdom’s enthusiasm for renewables has nothing to do with saving the planet from climate change and everything to do with economic dominance “……..How striking, therefore, to learn that the Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, is predicting that within just 25 years we could no longer need fossil fuels. This, from a representative of a country that has done more than most to block progress in climate negotiations.

Of course, this announcement has little, if anything, to do with a newly discovered yearning to save the planet from climate change; it has everything to do with economics. Saudi Arabia finds itself in the fortunate position whereby it can effortlessly switch from dominating the energy market of the 20th century through oil to dominating the 21st century with renewables. Al-Naimi believes that solar power will benefit the economy even more than fossil fuels. The evidence for this is that global investment in renewables jumped 16% in 2014, with solar attracting over half the total funding for the first time, driven by a 80% decline in manufacturing costs for solar in the last six years……..

Far from being a curse that concentrates power in the hands of an elite, renewables work most effectively when in community ownership. Energiewende(energy transformation) in Germany has shown this to be the case. Here, local ownership of renewables has provided a dramatic economic payback to investing communities.

The end game of climate change was always going to be a tussle between the vested interests of the past, using the wealth and power of the fossil fuel era to defend their assets, and the visionary supporters of the new clean energy technologies. The powerhouse states of the fossil era look set to overtake us on the path to a renewable energy future, while we continue to live under a finance curse inflicted on us by a government deeply attached to the finance industry. Saudi Arabia’s motivation may not be protecting the planet from climate change, or indeed improving community control over energy production, but it might just become a useful ally in the transformation towards a new energy era. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/04/saudi-arabia-ally-renewable-energy-oil-rich

June 6, 2015 Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Urgent talks between USA and Iran before June 30 deadline

diplomacy-not-bombsIran, US talks gain urgency as nuclear accord deadline nears  SMH, June 1, 2015  Karen DeYoung, Geneva: Significant differences remain between the United States and Iran over a nuclear deal, but the two sides are clear on what needs to be resolved and the urgency of doing it before a June 30 deadline, a senior Obama administration official said after six hours of weekend talks here between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The discussions, the official said, were “intense at times” as both sought clarification of the two biggest issues between them. Iran wants to know exactly which sanctions against it will be lifted and when.

The US and its global partners in the negotiations want specific mention in a final deal of international verification and monitoring provisions that include all Iranian sites, including military facilities. Other issues that remain unresolved include the extent to which Iran will provide details of its nuclear research history.

“All issues were reviewed” but “differences still remain”, Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi told reporters as his delegation depa http://www.smh.com.au/world/iran-us-talks-gain-urgency-as-nuclear-accord-deadline-nears-20150531-ghdd13.htmlrted for Tehran…….

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 1 Comment

USA and Israel tried a Stuxnet type computer worm to muck up North Korea’s nuclear program

computer-worm-nukeTHE US TRIED TO STUXNET NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM  KIM ZETTER  Wired,  05.29.15 A PRECISION DIGITAL weapon reportedly created by the US and Israel to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program had a fraternal twin that was designed to attack North Korea’s nuclear program as well, according to a new report.

The second weapon was crafted at the same time Stuxnet was created and was designed to activate once it encountered Korean-language settings on machines with the right configuration, according to Reuters. But the operation ultimately failed because the attackers were unable to get the weapon onto machines that were running Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

WIRED reported back in 2010 that such an operation against North Korea would be possible in light of the fact that some of the equipment used by the North Koreans to control their centrifuges—the devices used to turn uranium hexafluoride gas into nuclear-bomb-ready fuel—appeared to have come from the same firms that outfitted the Iranian nuclear program………

While the plan worked beautifully in Iran, it ultimately hit a snafu against North Korea where the nuclear program is even more tightly controlled than Iran’s and where few computers—belonging to contractors or anyone else—are online and accessible via the internet.

As WIRED reported in 2010, “someone would have to infiltrate the Hermit Kingdom’s most sensitive sites and introduce the worm into the command systems, a hard bargain to say the least. In other words, don’t go thinking the United States or an ally could magically infect North Korea with Stuxnet. But if more information emerges about the North’s command systems, that might provide fodder for a copycat worm—provided someone could introduce it into Yongbyon.” http://www.wired.com/2015/05/us-tried-stuxnet-north-koreas-nuclear-program/

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Israel, North Korea, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

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