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In Ukraine, USA to finance American companies to sell nuclear technology there, and to other States

Where the Russians are coming, so is Westinghouse with its nuclear ambitions
, ANYA LITVAK, Post Gazette, 7 Feb 22, Over the past few months, Joel Eaker, Westinghouse Electric Co.’s vice president for new nuclear power plant projects, has been shaking hands and posing for pictures all over Eastern Europe.

He was in Poland last month, where he plans to move in the spring. A week before that, he was in the Czech Republic to announce agreements signed with local companies in Cranberry-based Westinghouse’s bid to sell its AP1000 reactors in the region.

The nuclear renaissance never happened in the United States. But Mr. Eaker thinks Europe is headed in that direction.

The long game

The nuclear business is a long game with fits and starts.

For more than two decades, Westinghouse has been seemingly on the cusp of selling new nuclear reactors to various Eastern European countries ………….

All along, Westinghouse was pursuing a parallel strategy: making fuel that could be used in existing Russian-made reactors that are scattered across Europe.

…… Westinghouse  could provide an alternate supply of fuel, which effectively delinks those countries from Russia.”

After some attempts loading the fuel in Russian-made reactors at Temelin in the Czech Republic, it was Ukraine that allowed Westinghouse to test and refine its fuel assemblies in Russian reactors.

Today, the U.S. company’s fuel is loaded into nearly half of Ukraine’s nuclear plants, and Westinghouse is trying to use those bona fides to sell fuel to existing Russian-style reactors in Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, Tarik Choho, president of Westinghouse’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa division, told Ukraine’s news service in August.

Mr. Eaker said Westinghouse’s pursuit of that market was both earnest and strategic.

The company’s bread-and-butter business is supplying fuel to and servicing existing reactors. It’s what made Westinghouse, then in bankruptcy, attractive to the Canadian asset management firm Brookfield Business Partners, which has owned it since 2018.

It’s difficult to predict if this recent burst of nuclear promise in Eastern Europe will yield actual new reactor projects, Ms. Harrington said.

…………  In 2014, when the continued existence of the U.S.’s Export-Import Bank became a topic of debate in Congress, Westinghouse’s then-CEO Danny Roderick said the first thing he was asked when pitching a new plant to clients in places like Central Europe is how much the U.S. government is willing to help financially.

………. Pierre Paul Oneid, the chief nuclear officer at Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company that specializes in decommissioning and nuclear fuel storage. Holtec, Mr. Oneid said, had been working for a decade to close a deal for a centralized storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Ukraine, which would not be possible without financing from the U.S. government.

……..  While Mr. Oneid said the deal was in the “eleventh hour,” in fact it took three more years to finalize. U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. announced in 2017 that it was providing $250 million in political risk insurance to the Ukrainian utility. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch would then sell that $250 million commitment in the form of fixed-rate bond securities.

It was the first such deal of its type, but probably not the last.

Show me the money

If there’s another major piece, other than climate change, that’s opening doors for Westinghouse in Eastern Europe, it’s the prospect of the U.S. government’s expanded role in financing nuclear projects, Mr. Eaker said.

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump created the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group………. Among its recommendations was for the U.S. Development Finance Corp., a newly-created vehicle to fund projects in low-income countries, to lift its ban on providing funds to nuclear projects. 

The development agency listened and, in the summer of 2020, it unshackled itself from the ban, which was a holdover from its predecessor and modeled on the language of the World Bank. The DFC can even provide financing to projects in higher-income countries in Eastern Europe as part of its charge under the The European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019.

This means the U.S. government can now offer equity financing for nuclear projects abroad, a first. It can also give larger loans and loan guarantees than what is typically handled by the Export-Import Bank, and it can offer political risk insurance.

This is the next step in Westinghouse’s advances in Eastern Europe. Once it finishes doing a $10 million front end engineering and design study for AP1000 reactors in Poland — the U.S. government funded 70% of that work as part of an intergovernmental agreement — then it hopes to submit a formal bid along with a U.S. government financing proposal this fall.

In Ukraine, Westinghouse has already signed contracts with the electric utility to start ordering long-lead equipment and doing other preparations, but the contracts won’t be fully implemented until the U.S. comes with the financing package.

Anya Litvak:


February 8, 2022 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Canadian First Nations do not want small nuclear reactors on their lands

Decolonizing energy and the nuclear narrative of small modular reactors
Kebaowek First Nation is calling for an alternative to a planned SMR project, one that won’t undermine proper consultation and leave a toxic legacy.

by Lance Haymond, Tasha Carruthers, Kerrie Blaise, February 7, 2022  In early 2021, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission began reviewing the application from a company called Global First Power to build a nuclear reactor at the Chalk River Laboratories site about 200 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

This project, known as a micro modular reactor project, is an example of the nuclear industry’s latest offering – a small modular reactor (SMR).SMRs are based on the same fundamental physical processes as regular (large) nuclear reactors; they just produce less electricity per plant. They also produce the same dangerous byproducts: plutonium and radioactive fission products (materials that are created by the splitting of uranium nuclei). These are all dangerous to human health and have to be kept away from contact with people and communities for hundreds of thousands of years. No country has so far demonstrated a safe way to deal with these.

Despite these unsolved challenges, the nuclear industry promotes SMRs and nuclear energy as a carbon-free alternative to diesel for powering remote northern communities. The Canadian government has exempted small modular reactors from full federal environmental assessment under the Impact Assessment Act. Many civil society groups have condemned this decision because it allows SMRs to escape the public scrutiny of environmental, health and social impacts.

The proposed new SMR in Chalk River, like the existing facilities, would be located on Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation territory and the lands of Kebaowek First Nation – a First Nation that has never been consulted about the use of its unceded territory and that has been severely affected by past nuclear accidents at the site.

At this critical juncture of climate action and Indigenous reconciliation, Kebaowek First Nation is calling for the SMR project at Chalk River to be cancelled and the focus shifted to solutions that do not undermine the ability of First Nations communities to be properly consulted and that do not leave behind a toxic legacy.

While these reactors are dubbed “small,” it would be a mistake to assume their environmental impact is also “small.” The very first serious nuclear accident in the world involved a small reactor: In 1952, uranium fuel rods in the NRX reactor at Chalk River melted down and the accident led to the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere and the soil. In 1958, the same reactor suffered another accident when a uranium rod caught fire; some workers exposed to radiation continue to battle for compensation.

What makes these accidents worse – and calls into question the justification for new nuclear development at Chalk River – is that this colonized land is the territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation territory (which consists of 11 First Nations whose territory stretches along the entire Ottawa River watershed straddling Quebec and Ontario). Kebaowek First Nation, part of the Algonquin Nation, was among those First Nations never consulted about the original nuclear facilities on their unceded territory, and is still struggling to be heard by the federal government and nuclear regulator. Its land has never been relinquished through treaty; its leaders and people were never consulted when Chalk River was chosen as the site for Canada’s first nuclear reactors; and no thought was given to how the nuclear complex might affect the Kitchi Sibi (the Ottawa River).

History is being repeated at Chalk River today as the government pushes ahead with the micro modular reactor project without consent from Kebaowek. Assessments of the project have been scoped so narrowly that they neglect the historical development and continued existence of nuclear facilities on Kebaowek’s traditional territory. The justification for an SMR at this location without full and thorough consideration of historically hosted nuclear plants – for which there was no consultation nor accommodation – is a tenuous starting point and one that threatens the protection of Indigenous rights.

The narrative of nuclear energy in Canada is one of selective storytelling and one that hides the reality of the Indigenous communities that remain deeply affected, first by land being taken away for nuclear reactor construction, and later by the radioactive pollution at the site. All too fitting is the term radioactive colonialism coined by scholars Ward Churchill and Winona LaDuke, to describe the disproportionate impact on Indigenous people and their land as a result of uranium mining and other nuclear developments. In country after country, the uranium that fuels nuclear plants has predominantly been mined from the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples at the expense of the health of Indigenous Peoples and their self-determination.

Kebaowek First Nation has been vocal in its objection to the continuation of the nuclear industry on its lands without its free prior and informed consent, as is its right under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Despite requests for the suspension of the SMR project, pending adequate provisions for Indigenous co-operation and the Crown’s legal duty to initiate meaningful consultation, Kebaowek has yet to see its efforts reflected in government decisions and Crown-led processes.

Nuclear is a colonial energy form, but it is also bio-ignorant capitalism – a term coined by scholars Renata Avila and Andrés Arauz to describe the ways in which the current economic order ignores the planetary climate emergency, human and ecological tragedies, and the large-scale impact on nature. The narrative of nuclear as a “clean energy source” is a prime example of this bio-ignorance. Decision-makers have become fixated on carbon emissions as a metric for “clean and green,” ignoring the radioactive impacts and the risks of accidents with the technology.

It is more than 70 years since Chalk River became the site for the splitting of the nucleus. The continuation of nuclear energy production on unceded Indigenous territory without meaningful dialogue is a telling example of continued colonial practices, wherein companies extract value from Indigenous land while polluting it; offer little to no compensation to impacted communities; and abide by timelines driven by the project’s proponents, not the community affected. We need to move away from this colonial model of decision-making and decolonize our energy systems.

The challenge of climate change is urgent, but responses to the crisis must not perpetuate extractivist solutions, typical of colonial thinking, wherein the long-term impacts – from the production of toxic waste to radioactive releases – lead to highly unequal impacts.

The authors thank Justin Roy, councilor and economic development officer at Kebaowek First Nation, and M.V. Ramana, professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, for contributing to this article.

February 8, 2022 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear mud

 500 000 tonnes of Hinkley mud are now to be dumped at Portishead. Thisdumping was licensed by @The_MMO – the English Marine Management Organisation – on the basis of EDF’s skimped EIA that brushed over the key issues of *what* contaminants, and where they *go*.

 @cianciaran 6th Feb 2022

February 8, 2022 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

India’s Nuclear Weapons Could Kill Millions Of People- a matter of pride?

What’s a few million dead. compared to national pride?

India’s Nuclear Weapons Could Kill Millions Of People, Caleb Larson, 7 Feb 22, India might be the nuclear weapons state many military analysts forget about. Nonetheless, New Delhi could start a nuclear war within just mere minutes: India’s indigenously developed technology—and a lot of Russian hardware and help—all keep Pakistan and China at bay.

No First Use. An NFU policy essentially constitutes a promise, backed by a survivable nuclear arsenal, to only use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack,” explained a Carnegie publication. “The logic is simple and effective: you don’t nuke me, and I won’t nuke you. India and China both have declared no-first-use policies, whereas Pakistan and the United States, among others, do not rule out the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.”

Despite India’s formidable nuclear arsenal, India had since 2003 maintained it will not use said weapons of mass destruction first, but strictly in a retaliatory manner for deterrence.

However, 2019, India called their no first use policy into question when Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no first use’. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.” This curious statement is perhaps an example of deliberate strategic ambiguity.


India maintains a nuclear triad—that is a three-pronged nuclear weapon delivery system that utilizes a diverse array of means for delivering nuclear payload on target. New Delhi has air-launched nuclear missiles, land-based nuclear missiles, and most recently submarine-launched missiles……………….

February 8, 2022 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

European dispute over the Taxonomy plan to class nuclear power as ”green”, qualifying it for billions of euros in subsidies.

EU Observer, 7. FEB, 07:22, Barely a month since France took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, and France and Germany are already in dispute over the highly-controversial EU proposal to grant nuclear energy and natural gas a green investment label under the EU taxonomy on sustainable finance rules.

The EU proposal was published on Wednesday (2 February) with only minor edits – despite the internal row it had sparked amongst several member states.

The initial proposal itself had been quietly distributed to EU members on New Year’s Eve – the day Germany closed half of its six nuclear power plants.

If the proposal now passes the EU’s legislative procedures without getting blocked by the commission or the parliament (both unlikely scenarios), it will likely channel billions of euros into the construction of new nuclear power plants across the bloc…………………….

During the past weeks France has taken a strong stance in support of nuclear energy with president Emmanuel Macron labelling it as the “sovereign solution”, while Germany has expressly rejected the integration of nuclear power into the green taxonomy…………….

After their success in September’s federal elections, German Greens secured their position as the second-largest party in the current coalition government – making them crucial for the future of the German coalition.

No compromise

And nuclear energy is one of the topics the Greens are not willing to compromise on.

The Greens, born out of the 1980s anti-nuclear protests, were quick to call out the EU over the new energy proposal with the German vice-chancellor and climate minister, Robert Habeck, accusing the EU of “greenwashing”.

February 8, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment