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Russian state firm signs $9.1bn loan deal to fund nuclear plant in Turkey

Rosatom, which has been wiring money to Ankara to shore up Turkey’s depleted foreign currency reserves, signs deal with Gazprombank, Ragip Soylu, Antalya, Turkey, 16 September 2022

Russian state-owned company signed a $9.1bn loan deal with Gazprombank in August to fund the construction and development of Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear power plant, according to the official documents. 

In a public announcement on Wednesday, Rosatom Corp published the deal signed on 3 August, which opens a line of credit to finance Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, its subsidiary in Turkey………………………..

Bloomberg reported last month that Rosatom had decided to wire $15bn to Turkey for the construction of the $20bn Akkuyu nuclear power plant, citing officials who said that an initial $5bn had already been received…………………

The Turkish government is in dire need of foreign funding as a result of its rapidly evaporating foreign currency reserves.

Rosatom is expected to rapidly spend up to $2bn on overdue payments to subcontractors. The company told Bloomberg that it would indeed transfer some funds to Turkey, but an amount much lower than that declared by Turkish officials………….more

September 19, 2022 Posted by | marketing, Turkey | Leave a comment

Ukrainian government wants to sell nuclear energy to Germany

 DW, 4 Sept 22, Kyiv offers nuclear energy to Germany. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said a proposal to export electricity to Germany amid the ongoing energy crisis would be “a very good deal for both sides.” DW rounds up the latest…….

“Currently, Ukraine exports its electricity to Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. But we are quite ready to expand our exports to Germany,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the dpa news agency on Saturday.

“We have a sufficient amount of electricity in Ukraine, thanks to our nuclear power plants,” he said. The issue will be discussed during Shmyhal’s visit to Berlin over the weekend, where he will be meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

Electricity consumption in Ukraine has fallen since the start of the Russian invasion, due to the mass exodus of refugees and an economic slump.

Shmyhal said such a deal “would be very good for both sides.”…….

Ukraine operates four nuclear power plants with a total capacity of more than 14 gigawatts.

However, observers fear Russia’s capture of the Zaporizhzhia facility — the largest nuclear power plant in Europe — could lead to a serious accident if the war intensifies………….

September 4, 2022 Posted by | marketing, Ukraine | Leave a comment

USA now desperately trying to flog off NuScam’s small nuclear reactors to Europe, starting with Romania

U.S. funds study for NuScale SMR deployment in Romania,

By Kevin Clark 6.27.2022 The United States will commit $14 million toward a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the basis of deploying NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) in Romania.

President Biden made the announcement June 26 at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Germany. The funding is part of the administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), aimed at narrowing infrastructure gaps around the world, including through clean energy deployments.

NuScale and Romania’s state nuclear power corporation S.N. Nuclearelectrica S.A. (Nuclearelectrica) plan to conduct engineering studies, technical reviews, and licensing and permitting activities at a site in Doicesti, Romania, the preferred location for the deployment of the first NuScale VOYGR power plant. The partners signed an MOU in May 2022.

The 8-month effort, expected to cost $28 million in total and including contributions from Nuclearelectrica and NuScale, will provide Romania with key site-specific data – cost, construction, schedule, and licensing details – necessary for the deployment of a NuScale’s 462 MWe VOYGR-6 SMR nuclear power plant.

The aim of the project is to show the ability of advanced nuclear reactors to replace coal generation, while creating thousands of jobs. NuScale President John Hopkins recently spoke with Power Engineering about how the company’s SMR plants are ideal for coal replacement.

NuScale believes Romania has the potential to accommodate the first SMR deployment in Europe and become a catalyst for SMRs in the overall region.

“Nuclear energy, including small modular reactors, represent a critical tool in the fight against climate change, and can also enhance energy security and boost economic prosperity,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

The PGII initiative is funding projects in four major categories: clean energy, health systems, gender equality and information and communications technology.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

”Infinite war” – NATO and U.S. weapons industry found the perfect sales opportunity in Yemen

Arms Industry Sees Ukraine Conflict as an Opportunity, Not a Crisis,  Jonathan Ng, Truthout , 2 Mar 22,

In the United States, the industry employs around 700 lobbyists. Nearly three-fourths previously worked for the federal government — the highest percentage for any industry. The lobby spent $108 million in 2020 alone, and its ranks continue to swell. Over the past 30 years, about 530 congressional staffers on military-related committees left office for defense contractors. Industry veterans dominate the Biden administration, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin from Raytheon.  

”’………………….Yemen Burning

Arms makers found the perfect sales opportunity in Yemen. In 2011, a popular revolution toppled Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had monopolized power for two decades. His crony, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, became president the next year after easily winning the election: He was the only candidate. Thwarted by elite intrigue, another uprising ejected Mansour Hadi in 2015.

That year, Prince Salman became king of Saudi Arabia, but power concentrated into the hands of his son, Mohammed bin Salman, who feared that the uprising threatened to snatch Yemen from Saudi Arabia’s sphere of influence.

Months later, a Saudi-led coalition invaded, leaving a massive trail of carnage. “There was no plan,” a U.S. intelligence official emphasized. “They just bombed anything and everything that looked like it might be a target.”

The war immediately attracted NATO contractors, which backed the aggressors. They exploit the conflict to sustain industrial capacity, fund weapons development and achieve economies of scale. In essence, the Saudi-led coalition subsidizes the NATO military buildup, while the West inflames the war in Yemen.

Western statesmen pursue sales with perverse enthusiasm. In May 2017, Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia for his first trip abroad as president, in order to flesh out the details of a $110 billion arms bundle. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, arrived beforehand to discuss the package. When Saudi officials complained about the price of a radar system, Kushner immediately called the CEO of Lockheed Martin to ask for a discount. The following year, Mohammed bin Salman visited company headquarters during a whirlwind tour of the United States. Defense contractors, Hollywood moguls and even Oprah Winfrey welcomed the young prince Yet the Americans were not alone. The Saudi-led coalition is also the largest arms market for France and other NATO members. And as the French Ministry of the Armed Forces explains, exports are “necessary for the preservation and development of the French defense technological and industrial base.” In other words, NATO members such as France export war in order to retain their capacity to wage it.

President Macron denies that the coalition — an imposing alliance that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan and Senegal — uses French weapons. But the statistics are suggestive. Between 2015 and 2019, France awarded €14 billion in arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia and €20 billion in licenses to the United Arab Emirates. CEO Stéphane Mayer of Nexter Systems praised the performance of Leclerc tanks in Yemen, boasting that they “have highly impressed the military leaders of the region.” In short, while Macron denies that the coalition wields French hardware in Yemen, local industrialists cite their use as a selling point. Indeed, Amnesty International reports that his administration has systematically lied about its export policy. Privately, officials have compiled a “very precise list of French materiél deployed in the context of the conflict, including ammunition.” 
Recently, Macron became one of the first heads of state to meet Mohammed bin Salman following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Like Trump’s trip, Macron’s diplomatic junket was a sales mission. Eventually, Macron clinched a deal with the United Arab Emirates for 80 Rafale fighters. The CEO of Dassault Aviation called the contract “the most important ever obtained by French military aerospace,” guaranteeing six years of work for a pillar of its industrial base. 

French policy is typical of NATO involvement in Yemen. While denouncing the war, every Western producer has outfitted those carrying it out. Spanish authorities massage official documents to conceal the export of lethal hardware. Great Britain has repeatedly violated its own arms embargo. And the United States has not respected export freezes with any consistency. 

Even NATO countries in Eastern Europe exploit the war. While these alliance members absorb Western arms, they dump some of their old Soviet hardware into the Middle East. Between 2012 and July 2016 Eastern Europe awarded at least €1.2 billion in military equipment to the region. 

Ironically, a leading Eastern European arms exporter is Ukraine. While the West rushes to arm Kyiv, its ruling class has sold weapons on the black market. A parliamentary inquiry concluded that between 1992 and 1998 alone, Ukraine lost a staggering $32 billion in military assets, as oligarchs pillaged their own army. Over the past three decades, they have outfitted Iraq, the Taliban and extremist groups across the Middle East. Even former President Leonid Kuchma, who has led peace talks in the Donbas region, illegally sold weapons while in office. More recently, French authorities investigated Dmytro Peregudov, the former director of the state defense conglomerate, for pocketing $24 million in sales commissions. Peregudov resided in a château with rolling wine fields, while managing the extensive properties that he acquired after his years in public service.  

The Warlords

Kuchma and Peregudov are hardly exceptional. Corruption is endemic in an industry that relies on the proverbial revolving door. The revolving door is not simply a metaphor but an institution, converting private profit into public policy. Its perpetual motion signifies the social reproduction of an elite that resides at the commanding heights of a global military-industrial complex. Leading power brokers ranging from the Mitterrands and Chiracs in France, to the Thatchers and Blairs in Britain, and the Gonzálezes and Bourbons in Spain have personally profited from the arms trade.

In the United States, the industry employs around 700 lobbyists. Nearly three-fourths previously worked for the federal government — the highest percentage for any industry. The lobby spent $108 million in 2020 alone, and its ranks continue to swell. Over the past 30 years, about 530 congressional staffers on military-related committees left office for defense contractors. Industry veterans dominate the Biden administration, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin from Raytheon.  

The revolving door reinforces the class composition of the state, while undermining its moral legitimacy. As an elite rotates office, members insulate policymaking from democratic input, taint the government with corruption and mistake corporate profit with national interest. By 2005, 80 percent of army generals with three stars or more retired to arms makers despite existing regulations. (The National Defense Authorization Act prohibits top officers from lobbying the government for two years after leaving office or leveraging personal contacts to secure contracts. But compliance is notoriously poor.) More recently, the U.S. Navy initiated investigations against dozens of officers for corrupt ties to the defense contractor Leonard Francis, who clinched contracts with massive bribes, lavish meals and sex parties. 

Steeped in this corrosive culture, NATO intellectuals now openly talk about the prospect of “infinite war.” Gen. Mike Holmes insists that it is “not losing. It’s staying in the game and getting a new plan and keeping pursuing your objectives.” Yet those immersed in its brutal reality surely disagree. The United Nations reports that at least 14,000 people have died in the Russo-Ukrainian War since 2014, and over 377,000 have perished in Yemen.

In truth, the doctrine of infinite war is not so much a strategy as it is a confession — acknowledging the violent metabolism of a system that requires conflict. As a self-selecting elite propounds NATO expansion, military buildup and imperialism, we must embrace what the warlords most fear: the threat of peace.The author would like to thank Sarah Priscilla Lee of the Learning Sciences Program at Northwestern University for reviewing this article.

March 3, 2022 Posted by | France, marketing, MIDDLE EAST, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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

Rolls Royce aims to market its Small Nuclear Reactors to Saudi Arabia (a good step towards nuclear weapons?)

Rolls-Royce heads to Middle East as Saudi Arabia plots £74bn nuclear investment, 

ROLLS-ROYCE is looking to the Middle East to export its new [so-called] green technology while Saudi Arabia is reportedly eyeing up a £74billion nuclear investment.

Express UK By JACOB PAUL, Wed, Jan 19, 2022………….. Rolls-Royce looks set to bring its SMR technology to the World Future Energy Summit. This is a global conference showcasing green energy technology. Mr Samson said the company is hoping to start talks with government representatives and large industrial in the Middle East……

And this comes as Saudi Arabia is reportedly exploring options of investing $100 billion (£73.55billion) in several nuclear plants with a combined capacity of 22 gigawatts………

It comes as Rolls-Royce looks set to bring its SMR technology to the World Future Energy Summit.

This is a global conference showcasing green energy technology.

Mr Samson said the company is hoping to start talks with government representatives and large industrial in the Middle East.

And this comes as Saudi Arabia is reportedly exploring options of investing $100 billion (£73.55billion) in several nuclear plants with a combined capacity of 22 gigawatts……..

Mtr Samson – “We have opened up a whole spectrum of customers.”

And Rolls-Royce has already been looking for opportunities to sell its technology to potential UK customers.

But the first SMR units are not expected to come online before the early 2030s. Mr Samson said the company needs to first go through the regulatory processes in Britain. It also needs time to build factories, certify its designs and move on to the production process…………

January 20, 2022 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, UK | Leave a comment

China’s grandiose plans for nuclear build and export of reactors.

Along with the potential for geopolitical fallout, potential partners have other concerns. China hasn’t signed on to any of several international treaties that set standards for sharing liability in the event of accidents. It also hasn’t offered to take back spent fuel, an added disadvantage when competing with Russia, which does……………

China’s Climate Goals Hinge on a $440 Billion Nuclear Buildout. China is planning at least 150 new reactors in the next 15 years, more than the rest of the world has built in the past 35. Bloomberg, By Dan Murtaugh and Krystal Chia, 3 November 2021, Nuclear power once seemed like the world’s best hope for a carbon-neutral future. After decades of cost-overruns, public protests and disasters elsewhere, China has emerged as the world’s last great believer, with plans to generate an eye-popping amount of nuclear energy, quickly and at relatively low cost. ……………..

China also expects its domestic projects to persuade potential overseas buyers. In 2019, the former chairman of China National Nuclear Corp. said China could build 30 overseas reactors that could earn Chinese firms $145 billion by 2030 through its Belt and Road Initiative.

Its most eager customer has been Pakistan which, like China, shares a sometimes violently contested border with India. China’s built five nuclear reactors there since 1993, including one that came online this year and another expected to be completed next year.

Other countries have been more hesitant. Romania last year canceled a deal for two reactors with CGN and opted to work with the U.S. instead. A 2015 agreement with Argentina has been stalled by economic upheaval and changes in the country’s leadership. Memorandums of understanding to build reactors with countries including Kenya and Egypt have yet to develop into anything concrete.

Along with the potential for geopolitical fallout, potential partners have other concerns. China hasn’t signed on to any of several international treaties that set standards for sharing liability in the event of accidents. It also hasn’t offered to take back spent fuel, an added disadvantage when competing with Russia, which does……………

Prior to the meltdown at Fukushima, China’s nuclear goals were even bigger. Within a week of the tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Japanese atomic plant, the Chinese government put a moratorium on new projects and began a deep safety review of its entire program. By 2014, it decided against building any more reactors that required active safety measures, like the one at Fukushima did. It paused approvals again for several years until it was satisfied with its new technology.

Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island: Each new disaster underscores the most obvious risk in nuclear energy. Plants house incredibly dangerous radioactive material — even after 10 years of cooling, spent fuel can release twenty times the fatal dose of radiation in one hour. And in the event of a leak or an explosion, the potential for immediate and long-term damage is enormous. In Chernobyl, 350,000 people had to be evacuated after an explosion shot radioactive material into the atmosphere, and dozens of workers died of radiation poisoning within weeks. More than 30 years later, there are still reports of dangerously high levels of radiation in locally produced milk and grain. ……….

public support for nuclear power has waned to the point that new investment is politically untenable in most democracies. At COP26, applications by the International Atomic Energy Agency and industry advocates to set up shop at a more public and visible area were rejected. Japan’s efforts to restart its fleet are mired in court actions and public opposition, Germany will take the last of its reactors offline next year, and France has pledged to cut its reliance on nuclear energy from 70% to 50% by 2035.

Beijing’s own record was largely spotless until June, when reports emerged of an issue at the French-designed plant in Taishan. Any report of a problem at a nuclear plant is alarming, let alone one at a facility within 100 miles of both Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

The incident underscored the potential problem with big nuclear projects, and how they can be made worse by Chinese firms’ typical lack of transparency or public accountability. While media reports and rumors swirled about a possible problem at the plant, CGN insisted everything was fine. Its partner, the French utility EDF, wasn’t so sure, and eventually took its case to the public as a way to push for more information, at one point alerting the U.S. government.

It took weeks before Chinese officials clarified that the problem involved a few damaged fuel rods, which is common and in this case, experts agreed, unthreatening. The plant was eventually shut for maintenance, which EDF said would have happened as a matter of course in France.

While the incident ended up being largely uneventful, it widened the already gaping trust gap between China and the global marketplace for nuclear technology. China’s business practices are often opaque and sometimes downright hostile to the world’s other big emitters. The U.S., India and others are unlikely to build critical infrastructure around Chinese technology, even if it does prove safe and cost-effective.

………. In 2016, China’s CGN invested in three U.K. reactor developments, part of an effort to upgrade an aging nuclear fleet. Now, even as the country confronts a potentially crippling energy crisis this winter, government officials are trying to minimize CGN’s involvement in one of the projects and buy out its stake in the other two.

Crisis or no, it’s hard to see the country move actively toward more nuclear now, given the country’s fraught relationship with China, said Michal Meidan, director of the China Energy Research Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “The lack of transparency and concerns about working relationships have become deeper,” she said.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | China, marketing, politics | Leave a comment

France’s failing EDF nuclear company hopes to save itself by marketing small nuclear reactors

France will act as the shop window for exports of the new SMR technology — billed to be less powerful but easier to produce and run than conventional reactors — with EDF expected to begin building its first “Nuward” reactor in nine years


France’s nuclear drive offers chance of redemption for EDF
New commitments boost state-controlled utility but path ahead remains uncertain , Anna Gross and Sarah White in Paris, 31 Oct 21, As the French government signals a future where nuclear power will play an integral rolein achieving carbon neutrality for the country by 2050  [ed. that is a spurious claim]  , its state-controlled energy giant EDF remains encumbered by its past. Positioned at the heart of the nuclear debate in France and Europe, EDF struggles under a debt-laden balance sheet and a reputation for being unable to make novel nuclear technologies on time and on budget. But now President Emmanuel Macron has extended an olive branch and seemingly cleared a path for it to expand internationally and attract much-needed investment.  

………..Created in 1946 by General Charles de Gaulle, EDF holds emotional power in France, Europe’s last bastion of nuclear power, and is linked with the nation’s industrial past and future. For years it was unclear if Macron, under pressure to move away from nuclear power towards renewables, would give the green light to new reactors long called for by EDF. Shortly after coming to power, Macron committed to reducing nuclear’s share of France’s electricity production from 75 to 50 per cent by 2035.

  However, ambitious European climate goals, which hinge on pivoting to forms of energy that emit less carbon than fossil fuels, have put the spotlight on nuclear again and handed France an opportunity to assert its dominance in the field.  

  For EDF, thawing state tensions and confirmation of France’s desire for a nuclear future bring increased visibility to ensure it can keep training and hiring the people it will need and attract investment. That will be no small task for a company saddled with €41bn of debt and a colossal maintenance and investment programme to fund. UBS estimates a total investment requirement of more than €100bn for it to secure a 20-year life extension for 80 per cent of its nuclear fleet.  

 If approved, any government subsidies to fund six new reactors — estimated in leaked documents in 2019 to cost around €47bn — and the final price of the nuclear power produced by them, will ultimately be given the green light by Brussels. The cost of this funding could also be influenced by whether or not the EU includes nuclear energy in its taxonomy on “green finance”, making it a more attractive investment prospect. That decision has been delayed indefinitely because of infighting in the EU.  

  “Whether we can get financing at a low rate or super high rates completely changes the final cost. That’s the real subject, behind the gross number,” said Ursat. EDF faces other hurdles too, including the failure to reach a compromise with Brussels over the restructuring of the utility that would have allowed it to raise the regulated price at which it sells nuclear energy and ringfence some of its activities. It also needs to show it can deliver on its next-generation European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) technology, which it is planning to sell to India, Poland and the Czech Republic. 

EPR reactors under construction in Europe — including Flamanville in France and Hinkley Point in the UK — are billions over budget and years behind schedule. The company’s previous chief financial officer quit over concerns about strains Hinkley Point was putting on EDF’s balance sheet.  

These setbacks have led some investors and analysts to question EDF’s strategy and growth in the risky and costly field of nuclear power, were it not more than 80 per cent owned by the French government.  

“The new reactor at Flamanville is not up and running yet, and some will want to see that project completed before France commits to more reactors with the same design,” said Sam Arie, an analyst at UBS. “From an investor point of view, is there interest in new nuclear projects? Not really.” However, recent soaring energy prices coupled with stringent climate goals seemed to have turned the tide in EDF’s favour. ……….

 France will act as the shop window for exports of the new SMR technology — billed to be less powerful but easier to produce and run than conventional reactors — with EDF expected to begin building its first “Nuward” reactor in nine years. ……..

November 1, 2021 Posted by | France, marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

$6000 a day to one US advisor to Australia on getting nuclear submarines. How much to the 3 new ones?

American-dominated panel advising government on submarines as Defence eyes US and UK choices for nuclear fleet, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene, ABC, 25Oct 21.

Three senior American shipbuilding executives are being paid to advise Australia on submarines, but the defence department and government are refusing to say what their work involves or how much they are costing.

Key points:

  • Defence is refusing to discuss the role or salaries of the American officials on the Submarine Advisory Committee
  • Senators are expected to examine the work of the submarine committee during Senate Estimates hearings this week
  • Industry insiders believe the submarine committee needs a British official given the UK’s role in AUKUS

Senators are this week expected to grill officials over the role of the Submarine Advisory Committee, which was formed by the Turnbull government in 2017, a year after a French company was selected for the now dumped $90 billion Attack-class program.

………  Over the next year and a half, the defence department’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force will work with Australia’s British and American AUKUS partners to identify the best way to acquire a fleet to replace the scrapped French project……. Retired Admiral Donald Kirkland, Jim Hughes and Donald McCormack are all veterans of the US shipbuilding sector and their current three-year appointments to the committee are due to end in May 2024.

Admiral Kirkland is the chairman of American company Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), which builds US Virginia-class submarines, Mr Hughes has also worked for HII, and Mr McCormack is an executive director at the US military’s Naval Sea Systems Command.

Questions sent by the ABC to the defence department last week concerning how much Submarine Advisory Committee members are paid, and what interactions they now have with the Nuclear-Powered task force, remain unanswered.

While Defence is yet to respond to questions about remuneration, an 18-month contract from 2018 uncovered by the ABC, shows Admiral Kirkland was paid $675,000 for his advisory services.

Earlier this month, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead confirmed his secretive “Capability Enhancement Review” completed ahead of the Morrison government’s nuclear submarine announcement had not worked with the advisory committee.

Jostling between British and American companies for Australia’s future nuclear-powered fleet is well underway with early debate emerging over whether a US Virginia-class or UK Astute-class submarine is the best base model

Defence industry insiders are now privately questioning whether the government will appoint any British experts to the Submarine Advisory Panel given the United Kingdom’s membership of AUKUS and the country’s extensive experience with nuclear boats.

Last month, it was revealed former US Navy Secretary Donald Winter was being paid $US6,000 a day as an advisor to the federal government on shipbuilding matters.Defence industry insiders are now privately questioning whether the government will appoint any British experts to the Submarine Advisory Panel given the United Kingdom’s membership of AUKUS and the country’s extensive experience with nuclear boats.

Last month, it was revealed former US Navy Secretary Donald Winter was being paid $US6,000 a day as an advisor to the federal government on shipbuilding matters.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French President Macron now goes for small nuclear reactors – with vision of an exporting bonanza

France unveils nuclear power overhaul – with an eye on China,   French President Emmanuel Macron announced a shift to small modular nuclear reactors on Tuesday as he unveiled his €30 billion, five-year strategy to bolster France’s high-tech sectors, building on the country’s history as a pioneer of nuclear energy. France 24,
17 Oct 21,
Macron announced that the “number one priority” for his industrial strategy was for France to develop “innovative small-scale nuclear reactors” by 2030.

This marks a sea change in France’s approach to nuclear energy……………“The small modular reactors each generate less than 300 megawatts (MW) of energy; far less than most reactors currently in service, which tend to produce between 950 and 1300 MW, with some of them including the Flamanville plant [on the English Channel] capable of as much as 1600 MW,” said Giorgio Locatelli, an expert on the engineering of nuclear power stations at Milan Polytechnic. 

……… In the grand sweep of the history of French nuclear power, the shift towards smaller reactors looks like a step back, Locatelli suggested, because France “started with small reactors in the 1960s before switching to larger ones to develop economies of scale”.However, this trend has now reached its limited, he continued. “Reactors like the one at Flamanville are not only very expensive, but also it’s a long and complex process to build them.” It takes billions to create such plants, and often it is difficult for governments to find investors willing to wait up to a decade before their returns start coming in. 

Competition with China

Most countries lack the means to pull of these massive reactors, noted Nicolas Mazzucchi, an energy specialist at France’s Foundation for Strategic Research: “The financing models they require – not to mention the capacity to really mobilise a country’s savoir-faire in this domain – are increasingly rare, except in nations like Russia and China where energy companies have total state backing.”

Consequently, switching to small modular reactors is a strategic pivot to allow France to deal with competition from countries like China, which has increasingly big ambitions when it comes to nuclear power.

France’s change of approach could also allow it to win lucrative new markets. “By 2025, nearly a quarter of the world’s existing nuclear capacity will be exhausted because the reactors will have become too old,” Mazzucchi continued……………..

‘Lack of experience’………. The people in charge of reactors using cutting-edge technology “will have to justify their safety”, Herviou said. So far, the theoretical advantages of small modular reactors have not been confirmed in practice. Some 70 such reactors are currently in development throughout the world – and the vast majority of these projects are still in the early stages. “The main concern with this technology is the lack of a track record,” said Locatelli. What is more, he continued, nuclear power’s “chicken-and-egg problem is still there: Is it better to start building reactors first to win over buyers or is it best to find the investors first?”  ………….

October 18, 2021 Posted by | France, marketing, politics | 1 Comment

US and UK begin jostling to supply Australia with nuclear submarine fleet

US and UK begin jostling to supply Australia with nuclear submarine fleetABC By defence correspondent Andrew Greene10 Oct 21, ‘……….In 2021, the Australian Defence Force is again considering what role the Royal Navy could play in developing its next submarines, or whether like many modern acquisitions, it will focus on interoperability with American technology.

Under the AUKUS partnership struck in September, the leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed to work with Australia on how to build a new class of nuclear-powered submarines.

Over the next 18 months, the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force inside the Department of Defence will lead a study into the numerous regulatory issues involved in the ownership and operation of nuclear-powered boats.

While the design is not yet known, or what the criteria will be, for many commentators the existing British Astute-class is emerging as an early favourite for Australia to replace the Collins-class fleet

Others inside the defence industry believe any nuclear-powered Australian submarine will need to be an American boat, based on the Virginia-class so that it can be serviced at nearby US bases in Guam or Japan.

Both the British and US options have various advantages and disadvantages, which highlight the extraordinarily complex process the ADF faces to select a nuclear-powered submarine — which may never actually eventuate.

Already the regulatory challenges appear significant, as nothing is more complex and costly in the military world than nuclear-powered submarines, particularly for a country with no domestic nuclear industry.

In the United States, an eminent group of former officials and experts has written to President Joe Biden warning the AUKUS deal could threaten national security by encouraging hostile nations to obtain highly enriched uranium (HEU).

Australia insists it will uphold its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but the engineering sector warns it will be a steep learning curve for the Defence Department.

The now dumped Attack class submarine being designed by France’s Naval Group was based on the Barracuda class, which lost three years in development because of less complex regulatory issues associated with low enriched uranium (LEU).

“This is a very long-term effort that’ll be decades, I think, before a submarine goes in the water,” US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday predicted last month…………   

October 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby stooge Jennifer Granholm wants ”unusual partnerships” in order to save the nuclear industry

Top U.S. Energy Official Sees ‘Unusual Partnerships’ for Nuclear, From reactors at coal plants to hydrogen production and potential cross-border collaboration, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is seeking new roles for U.S. nuclear power

Bloomberg Green, By Jonathan Tirone, 21 September 2021, The Biden administration’s top energy official said the nuclear industry should broaden its business case beyond power markets in order to ensure its place in a carbon-free economy. 

U.S. nuclear energy has come under relentless pressure in recent years from cheap natural gas, solar and wind power. More reactors are being taken offline permanently than built, risking the long-term future of the country’s biggest clean energy source.  resident Joe Biden has pledged financial support to keep aging atomic plants online. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said “building back better” for nuclear might mean more than just generating electricity as it competes with emerging renewable energy and storage technologies.

“We need to pursue a silver buckshot rather than a silver bullet approach,” Granholm said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Vienna.  The former governor of Michigan said some “unusual partnerships” between nations and industries might be needed for U.S. nuclear operators to tap the $23 trillion global clean [nuclear is NOT clean] energy market over the next decade. Granholm urged more cross-border collaboration in developing a new generation of small modular reactors, as well as using nuclear plants for the production of emissions-free hydrogen…….

Granholm spoke at a meeting of senior officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency, where Chinese and Russian envoys called for more research-and-development collaboration to accelerate the deployment of new generations of miniature reactors. 

The Department of Energy curtailed some joint projects with China during the Trump administration, including work on a test reactor backed by billionaire Bill Gates. Granholm suggested the urgency of the climate crisis might require re-evaluating prohibitions on some technology transfers and cooperation. She did not signal any new near-term partnerships with Russia or China. The issue could be revisited during two weeks of international climate talks — known as COP26 — beginning Oct. 31 in Glasgow, Scotland…..

Granholm reserved special praise for the Gates-led company, TerraPower LLC, which in June announced it would build its first test plant at a shuttered coal site in Wyoming rather than in China. ….

September 25, 2021 Posted by | marketing, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Jennifer Granholm and Westinghouse enthusiastic to sell ”clean” nuclear power to Poland

You really have to wonder just who Jennifer Granholm works for. Is it the American people, or is it the nuclear industry? She’s great at regurgitating nuclear lies about ”clean” nuclear

US lures Eastern Europe with nuclear power, $23t in clean [nuclear is NOT clean]energy market

By Frédéric Simon |  24 Sept 21, The climate crisis presents “a market opportunity for carbon-reducing technologies” such as nuclear power, said US energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, teasing a $23 trillion market to countries in Central and Eastern Europe by 2030.

Low-carbon technologies “will be a 23 trillion-dollar market by the end of this decade,” which offers “an enormous potential to countries on both sides of the Atlantic,” Granholm said on Wednesday (22 September).

Speaking from Poland during an online press briefing, Granholm said the transatlantic market “will give us a chance to launch new business, new industries, to attract billions of dollars of new investment, and certainly to create millions of new jobs”………

In the US, President Biden’s ‘build back better‘ agenda includes an objective to have 100% of US electricity produced from “clean sources” by 2035, [nuclear is NOT clean] she explained, saying this involves reducing CO2 emissions by more than 50% by 2030 and cutting them down to net-zero by 2050……

Nuclear: ‘The reason we’re here.’

And nuclear power features highly among the US objectives.

“The reason we’re here in Poland is because we have been talking about a partnership in the area of nuclear,” Granholm said. “We’re really excited that we may have this partnership here with Poland”.

In October last year, Warsaw and Washington signed a 30-year intergovernmental agreement on future cooperation in the development of the Polish civil nuclear energy programme.
And the US is in pole position to win those contracts.

“Our collaboration to develop Poland’s civil nuclear programme is vital to Poland achieving EU carbon reduction targets and to guarantee its energy security,” Granholm said. “That dispatchable, clean [nuclear is NOT clean] , uninterruptable power is the gold standard of what every nation is looking for” in their quest to reduce CO2, she explained.

In July, US nuclear power firm Westinghouse announced the launch of a front-end engineering and design study – or FEED – under a grant from the US Trade Development Agency to advance Poland’s nuclear energy programme.

“It’s an opportunity to give American technology to help meet Poland’s clean-energy needs, [nuclear is NOT clean] and Westinghouse is going to offer its AP1000 nuclear reactor for the project,” Granholm said.

September 25, 2021 Posted by | marketing, politics, USA | Leave a comment

USA has conned Australia into paying for its super-costly nuclear submarine project

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

Has PM put Australia on the hook to finance struggling UK, US submarine projects? Michael West Media, By Marcus Reubenstein| September 23, 2021,

“Almost comical”. Experts lambast Scott Morrison’s “crazy” AUKUS deal to buy nuclear submarine tech from parlous UK and US programs. Marcus Reubenstein finds a real prospect Australia will be used to “underwrite” the foundering foreign submarine industry.

Twenty-five years of ongoing maintenance delays for nuclear submarines, chronic shortage of both parts and skilled workers, under capacity at shipyards, and attack class submarines missing from deployments for up to nine months. These sound like potential problems for Australia’s future nuclear submarine fleet but they are actual problems right now confronting the US Navy and its fleet of 70 submarines.

The US is at the cutting edge of nuclear propulsion. It has the largest and most sophisticated submarine fleet in the world, its first nuclear submarine was commissioned 67 years ago, and the US has literally decommissioned twice as many nuclear subs as Australia is planning to buy. 

If the US cannot manage to keep its fleet in the water, how can the Morrison government commit up to $100 billion of taxpayer money to secure nuclear submarines and guarantee they will be always operational and ready for deployment?

Professor Hugh White, ANU Professor of Strategic Studies, former Deputy Secretary of Defence and an eminent figure in strategic policy, wrote in The Saturday Paper, “The old plan was to build a conventionally powered version of a nuclear-powered French submarine. It was crazy.”

“The new plan—to buy a nuclear-powered submarine instead—is worse”. 

Says White, “There is a reason why only six countries, all of them nuclear-armed, operate nuclear powered subs.”

The sales pitch is underway 

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

The ripples of the announcement, however, reached British shores in double-quick time. Just two days after the AUKUS alliance UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallis announced a $320 million (£170m) grant to be shared between BAE Systems and Rolls Royce to develop technology for Britain’s next generation submarines. 

According to Department of Finance figures, In the past twelve months BAE Systems has collected $1.88 billion from Australian taxpayers. The Astute class submarine, touted as one of the two options Australia is considering, is manufactured by BAE Systems. 

US Naval analyst, and Forbes Defense columnist, Craig Hooper predicts AUKUS could give the US Navy a big shot in the arm as well. He says a deal with Australia could effectively underwrite major improvements to the US Navy’s outdated submarine maintenance facilities by supporting “America’s decade-long, $US25 billion ($34.6 billion) effort to refit the U.S. Navy’s four aging public shipyards. With yard repair costs already high, America would go to great lengths to welcome any additional bidders for shipyard capability improvements.”

US subs in dry dock In a report published six months ago, the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found: “The Navy’s four shipyards have experienced significant delays in completing maintenance on its submarines (all of which are nuclear-powered).” ………. Should Australia go down the nuclear sub path what choice will it have other than to outsource the fleet’s maintenance?   …..

Her Majesty’s sub optimal fleet

Britain, touted as the alternative nuclear submarine supplier to Australia, has problems of its own. The Royal Navy operates ten submarines, only four of them were designed and commissioned this century. 

Like their American nuclear counterparts there are systemic problems keeping these subs in service……

That report also indicated significant delays to the BAE Systems built Astute hunter-killer submarines, the same class of nuclear submarine being touted for Australian as part of the AUKUS deal……….

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA keen to market nuclear reactors to Poland (and indeed – to anybody)

Bechtel, Westinghouse join forces to pursue Polish nuclear power plant project, July 16, 2021,    RESTON, Va., July 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bechtel and Westinghouse Electric Company, two leading U.S. companies in the global nuclear industry, today announced they’ve formed a team to pursue new nuclear power plant projects in Poland…….

“Poland is taking steps to transition to a clean energy economy while retaining its energy independence and security. The Westinghouse-Bechtel team offers proven technology and hands-on experience in nuclear project delivery and is ready to immediately support Poland’s transformative vision.”……

This news follows the U.S. Trade and Development Agency announcement on June 30 providing a grant for a front-end engineering design (FEED) for a plant in Poland using proven Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. The FEED is expected to be delivered in 12 months.

July 17, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment