France 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
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
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
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
Saudi 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
US officials: ‘Saudis set to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan’, IBT By Yasmin Kaye May 17, 2015 Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times.
Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.
The deal being negotiated between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany would see the Shi’ite nation curb its sensitive nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
“For the Saudis the moment has come,” a former US defence official told the Sunday Times last week.
“There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward.”
‘This stuff is available to them off the shelf’
Another US official working in intelligence told the paper that “hundreds of people at [CIA headquarters] Langley” were working to establish whether Islamabad had already supplied the Gulf nation with nuclear technology or weaponry………….
- Saudi Arabia has financed substantial amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, providing Pakistan‘s government with billions of dollars of subsidised oil while taking delivery of Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles.
“Given their close relations and close military links, it’s long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them immediately with nuclear warheads,” former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen told the Sunday Times.
A senior British military officer also told the paper that Western military leaders “all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear.”
“The fear is that other Middle Eastern powers — Turkey and Egypt — may feel compelled to do the same and we will see a new, even more dangerous, arms race.”
Lt.Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who helped develop Pakistan’s nuclear program, denied Islamabad had ever sent nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia or any other country in recent comments. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-officials-saudis-set-buy-nuclear-weapons-pakistan-1501733
Saudi Arabia vows to set off new Middle East arms race and ‘match Iran’s nuclear capability’ The Independent ADAM WITHNALL THURSDAY 14 MAY 2015 Saudi Arabia has threatened to spark a new kind of nuclear arms race in the Middle East, setting out a bullish stance ahead of a rare, high-profile meeting of the US and its Gulf allies at Camp David.
President Barack Obama faces an almost impossible balancing act between making overtures to Iran that will allow it to pursue its nuclear programme for energy purposes, and appeasing the security fears of Sunni Arab leaders………..
It sets up the prospect of a new kind of arms race between the Middle East’s various parties – the implication being that if Iran is to be left to its nuclear programme, why shouldn’t Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE?……..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-vows-to-set-off-new-middle-east-arms-race-and-match-irans-nuclear-capability-10250789.html
Today’s Links 1–Kerry in Riyadh: A meeting of war criminals, wsws Friday, May 8, 2015 http://mikewhitneysgraspingatstraws.blogspot.com.au/
The US president is scheduled to hold a summit at Camp David next week with the crowned royals of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He is prepared to offer them an advanced ballistic missile defense system as well as bunker buster bombs.
CNN quoted a senior US official as saying that “the president’s goal is building a defense infrastructure and architecture for the Gulf region that also includes maritime security, border security, and counter-terrorism.”
In other words, the Obama administration is further solidifying US reliance on the Saudi monarchy as a key pillar of its drive for domination of the strategically vital and oil-rich Middle East. Even as the US and the other major powers negotiate an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, Washington is building up Saudi Arabia and the other reactionary Gulf states for a possible war against Iran….
Even as it continued bombing Yemeni cities, the Saudi air force, with Washington’s blessings, dropped arms and supplies this week to Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) forces in Yemen, a movement that the Obama administration had previously portrayed as the paramount terrorist threat. As the most rabidly sectarian enemies of the Houthis—inspired by the Saudi monarchy’s state religion of Wahhabi Islamism that animates similar movements, from ISIS to Boko Haram—AQAP has now been recast as Yemeni patriots.
RIYADH—The nuclear deal that the U.S. and other world powers hope to reach with Iran would put a 10-year curb on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. For some of Iran’s regional rivals, that is also becoming a deadline for developing nuclear arms of their own.
In Saudi Arabia, there are widespread public calls to match Iran’s nuclear quest. The two other Middle East heavyweights, Turkey and Egypt, could also feel compelled to follow suit, senior Western and Arab officials warn.
Such an arms race would further destabilize what is already the world’s most volatile region, where the risks of a nuclear war would be compounded by the threat of radioactive material falling into the hands of terrorist groups……..http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-considers-nuclear-weapons-to-offset-iran-1430999409
Pakistan Has Complicated Nuclear Relationship With Saudi Arabia, Iran VOA, Ayesha Tanzeem April 07, 2015 ISLAMABAD—
Iran’s foreign minister visits Pakistan Wednesday to discuss the conflict in Yemen, which many see as a fight for influence between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Iran also has recently reached a framework nuclear agreement with six world powers to possibly curb the weapons potential of its nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia, in the past, has reportedly sought to form its own nuclear alliances to counter a perceived Iranian threat. A member of the Saudi royal family and the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, warned a few months ago that the kingdom would seek the same nuclear capabilities that Tehran is allowed to maintain under any deal.
In this regard, Pakistan’s relationship with the kingdom is unusual.
On one hand, it has sold nuclear secrets to Iran in the past through a network run by former chief Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. The network also sold nuclear technology or know-how to Libya and North Korea.
On the other, it has faced allegations of promising Saudi Arabia a nuclear umbrella against Iran.
‘Unacknowledged nuclear partnership’…….http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-has-complicated-nuclear-relationship-with-saudi-arabia-iran/2710343.html
Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons, TKG News March 27, 2015 Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.
Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”. Pressed later on the subject he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”
The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.
Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.
The two countries maintain close relations and are sometimes said to have a special relationship; they currently have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.
The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force. In addition it has significant nuclear expertise in the form of a civilian nuclear programme of the kind Iran says it wants to develop.
In 2012 the Saudi Arabian government threatened to acquire nuclear weapons were neighbouring regional power Iran ever to do so……..http://www.tkgnews.com/saudi-arabia-says-it-wont-rule-out-building-nuclear-weapons/
Saudi Arabia, South Korea sign MOU on nuclear power Wed Mar 4, 2015 Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on the development of nuclear energy, Saudi state news agency SPA said, building on a deal signed in 2011.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday in Riyadh during an official visit, SPA said.
The MOU calls for South Korean firms to help build at least two small-to-medium sized nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.
“If the two units go ahead, the cost of the contract will be (near) $2 billion,” the statement said……http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/saudi-south-korea-nuclear-idUSL5N0W61GM20150304
At corporations, the mentality has shifted from being willing to spend a little more money to use green power to viewing the shift to green power as a way to save money.
renewable energy—for so long a flaky, small-scale enterprise—has developed into an industrial-strength solution that affords big companies the opportunity to lock in the cost of electricity over a period of 20 to 25 years
Each of these new, large-scale transactions will displace and obviate the need for power produced from fossil fuels.
Big Solar: Renewable energy finally makes sense as a utility—and that’s why it’s becoming a threat to coal. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_juice/2015/02/apple_kaiser_permanente_solar_investments_renewable_energy_is_finally_a.html
Once the technologies were proven, and the costs began to come down, investors and operators stepped in. Companies put up plants, and then made deals with utilities to buy the output—often at a price above the cost of electricity created by coal plants. Utilities complied in part because of state requirements that they source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.
Now we’re entering a new stage. Companies in sectors such as technology, health care, and consumer products—all big consumers of power—are striking deals to purchase huge amounts of renewable energy from newly constructed plants
This is different than companies putting up a solar array, or buying some carbon offsets, or making token greenness gestures. They are conjuring into existence new infrastructure that can’t help but replace coal. Continue reading
renewable sources generate up to 65 percent of Canada’s electricity. Solar and wind are the country’s two fastest growing sources.According to him, Solar photovoltaic capacity reached 1,210 megawatts of cumulative installed capacity in 2013. The Canadian Solar Industry Association forecasts that annual capacity will increase three folds by 2025. By then, the Canadian solar industry will support more than 35,000 jobs, displacing 15 to 31 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Canada has two of the largest solar farms in the world
Saudi Arabia, Canada to hold renewable energy seminar http://www.arabnews.com/economy/news/651686 29 Oct 14, A Canadian trade delegation, headed by Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade Simon Kennedy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet several Saudi officials and major firms with a special focus on renewable energy in Saudi Arabia.
Canadian Ambassador Thomas MacDonald said Canada’s first renewable energy mission, which is focused on solar technology, will visit the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), ACWA Power and other industry leaders. Continue reading
Pride and pragmatism: The UAE’s nuclear strategy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2 JUNE 2014 Lauren Carty When the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement for nuclear cooperation in 2009, the terms of the deal were quickly heralded as a gold standard for US nuclear negotiations and nonproliferation goals. Not only did the UAE agree to forgo uranium enrichment and nuclear waste reprocessing—an unprecedented concession in a bilateral agreement of this type—but the United States also retained the right to order the UAE to remove special fissionable material “if exceptional circumstances of concern from a nonproliferation standpoint so require.”
For its part, the United States agreed that it would not extend terms more favorable than these to any other non-nuclear-weapon state in the Middle East in a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement. The Emirates, however, probably did not foresee the United States backing off its high standards in future agreements with countries outside the Middle East, such as the 2014 agreement with Vietnam that is awaiting Congress’ likely approval. In spite of the Emirates’ subtle animosity over the more flexible US-Vietnam agreement, they have taken it in stride, and have actually used it as an opportunity to lead and exert dominance over the Arab world, as well as to boast of their commitments to sustainability and clean energy technologies.
A double standard? Unlike any other US nuclear agreement to share certain nuclear technologies with its allies, the 2009 arrangement included the stipulation that the UAE must import low enriched uranium rather than building its own enrichment facilities. Some analysts were puzzled when, five years later, the United States entered into a nuclear cooperation deal with Vietnam that allowed the country to enrich uranium. If the gold standard had been established with the UAE in 2009, why did the United States not apply it to Vietnam? Outmaneuvering China is one answer to this question, along with the fact that Vietnam hardly has the infrastructure to undertake a viable enrichment program. These considerations gave the United States incentive to create nuclear foreign policy on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever the reasons for the discrepancy, the UAE is fully aware that it received the short end of the stick………
Nuclear power is just part of the UAE’s strategy for meeting future energy demands. Abu Dhabi—one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE—has become the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, an organization of 163 countries including the United States and the European Union. Another emirate, Dubai, looks to gain recognition for its environmental sustainability efforts, aiming to be in the top 10 carbon-neutral cities in the world by the end of the decade……http://thebulletin.org/pride-and-pragmatism-uae%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy7219
The DF-3 has a range of 2,650 km and carries a payload of 2,150 kg. It is equipped with a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield.
Watched by a wide array of Saudi defense and military dignitaries, headed by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz, the parade marked the end of the large-scale “Abdullah’s Sword” military war game.
Conspicuous on the saluting stand was the Pakistani Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif alongside eminent visitors, including King Hamad of Bahrain and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi………
By showing off their ageing Chinese missiles, the Saudis intimated that they had acquired the more advanced generation of this weapon, which they are keeping under wraps. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that in recent visits to Beijing, high-ranking Saudi officials negotiated the purchase of Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), whose range is shorter, 1,700 km, but more precise and effective in view of its terminal radar guidance system. The West has no information about when the new Chinese missiles were delivered to Saudi Arabia.
5. The presence of the top Pakistani soldier at the parade of military and nuclear hardware was meant as corroboration of Islamabad’s active role as the source of the Saudi nuclear arsenal.
6. The Saudis no longer rely on the American nuclear umbrella. They are developing their own nuclear strike force with the help of China and Pakistan. http://www.debka.com/article/23878/Saudis-parade-nuclear-missiles-for-the-first-time-in-defiance-of-US-Iranian-nuclear-accord
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