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Is nuclear power REALLY a clean-power fix for Africa – as Russia and China push it

Russia, China back nuclear as a clean-power fix for Africa

Money Web , Sebastien Malo, Thomson Reuters Foundation  /  10 February 2019  “…….For now, South Africa is the only country on the continent operating a nuclear power plant.

But in recent years, at least seven other sub-Saharan African states have signed agreements to deploy nuclear power with backing from Russia, according to public announcements and the World Nuclear Association (WNA), an industry body………

Like Ethiopia, emerging nuclear states Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and Ghana have signed agreements with Russia’s state nuclear corporation, ROSATOM – most since 2016.

Their content ranges from language on the construction of nuclear reactors to assistance with feasibility studies and personnel training, press statements show.

ROSATOM’s solutions for managing spent fuel and radioactive waste vary from country to country, but are normally worked out at the later stages of a nuclear new-build programme “in the strictest compliance with international law”, a spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Chinese state-owned nuclear firms have also taken the lead in the region, sealing deals with Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, WNA data shows.

South African student Masamaki Masanja, 23, won a ROSATOM competition for young people to make videos about Africa’s nuclear potential, and got to visit the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant in western Russia in 2017.

“It was mind-blowing,” said the second-year mechanical engineering student, via Skype.

The experience left him with a strong sense that nuclear power should be adapted quickly for Africa’s needs………

Rebel risk

Some political observers, however, are concerned about the prospect of nuclear reactors backed by Russia in some countries with rebel groups and weak government institutions.

An Africa-based Western diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, doubted Russia’s assurances it would collect nuclear waste from projects it helped establish.

“You could end up with very unfortunate situations in parts of Africa … if you have a decaying nuclear power plant overrun by rebels, with waste that’s not going away,” he said.

Multiple requests for an interview with Russia’s ambassador in Ethiopia were declined.

So-called dirty bombs can combine conventional explosives like dynamite with radioactive material such as nuclear waste. ………

It could take 20 years for Ethiopia to build a nuclear power plant, estimated Hong-Jun Ahn, a Korean electrical engineer who advises the Ethiopian government on its nuclear plans.

Yonas Gebru, director of Addis Ababa-based advocacy group Forum for Environment, said green activists could prove another hurdle amid debate over whether nuclear power is “clean” energy.

“It would be good, and it would be wise also … to better capitalise on already started initiatives such as hydropower, wind energy (and) solar energy,” said Gebru.


February 12, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, China, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Despite the severe disadvantages to Uganda, of nuclear power, Uganda’s govt succumbs to China’s nuclear marketing

Uganda to generate nuclear energy amidst safety, environmental concerns, DAVID MAFABI | PML Daily Senior Staff Writer KAMPALA Uganda is in the final stages of efforts to start generating some 2000 megawatts of electricity from five nuclear plants it plans to build in five districts scattered in the country’s four geographical regions……..

February 11, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, China, marketing | Leave a comment

Countries going into deep nuclear debt to Russia; Hungary the latest victim of this political blackmail

Hungary seeks to postpone loan payback to Russia for Nuclear power plant: What will the final cost be?Bellona  February 1, 2019 by Charles Digges Budapest is seeking to modify the terms of a loan it must repay to Russia for building two new VVER-1200 type reactors that will eventually replace Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant, according to a report from Reuters.

The reactors, which will constitute a plant called Paks II, will be built by Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear power company, at a cost of 10 billion euro ($12 billion), and will replace the older Soviet-built nuclear plant that supplies half of the country’s electricity.

Rosatom’s construction contract, which includes the loan for Paks II, was the subject of a hotly-debated probe by the EU’s Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, which investigated whether the Russian bid violated European competition statutes.

At the time, EU officials and commentators viewed the deal as a Trojan Horse to help cement Moscow’s influence over the right-leaning, rabidly anti-globalist government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The EU eventually dropped its investigation in 2017 and granted Hungary permission to build the reactors – partly in an effort to entice Orban, who was insistent about contracting Rosatom, back into the democratic fold. Now Budapest is citing the delay caused by the competition review as reason to renegotiate when it begins paying Rosatom back.

Hungarian financial authorities plan to ask Moscow to postpone collecting on the debt until after the new reactors begin to generate electricity – but it is as yet unclear whether Rosatom will accept new terms. The plant’s construction, meanwhile, is running late. The build was supposed to begin last year………

While the terms of the Paks II loan remain in the shadows, other financing arrangements Moscow has made for building nuclear reactors in other countries suggest that the interest alone could prove to be very expensive for Budapest.

An $11.4 billion, 30-year agreement Rosatom signed with Bangladesh to build the Roopur nuclear plant will net Moscow $8 billion in interest. A $25 billion deal Rosatom is pursuing with Egypt to build that country’s Dabaa plant could, over the 35-year term of that loan, swell to $71 billion.

Another enormous $76 billion deal between Rosatom and South Africa was eventually thwarted by environmentalists when it was revealed the project had been secretly negotiated. Had the deal held it would have siphoned off a quarter of South Africa’s gross domestic product before the reactors even began operation.

Terms like this could spell trouble for Hungary in light of Moscow’s tendency to be a kneecapping creditor when it comes to energy projects ­– especially when Russia sours on the politics of its debtors.

In 2014, at the height of East-West tensions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Kremlin officials threatened to cut nuclear fuel supplies to Ukraine’s Soviet built reactors – which would have interrupted their chain reactions and likely caused a catastrophic accident.

Rosatom eventually walked the threat back. But the lurid message in Moscow’s head-fake toward igniting a second Chernobyl was clear: Russian-built reactors are a useful new tool for political blackmail………..

Many in Europe – Hungary included – subsequently sought to diversify their energy supply in favor of nuclear. Yet, in a devious twist, Rosatom has emerged as the most stable and eager nuclear builder on the international market.

For now, Rosatom can afford to offer risky loans thanks to the enormous state subsidies it receives. These subsidies can be funneled into more loans, and the loans then boost the company’s profits on paper. But for the past several years, it has become clear that these subsidies to the company will likely decrease or dry up altogether in 2020.

As a result, Rosatom is amassing so-called memorandums of understanding from any country vaguely interested in nuclear power. The company says is currently has dozens of these MOUs amounting to more than $130 billion in incoming business.

But that claim should be viewed skeptically, as many of the countries for which Rosatom is promising to build reactors – countries like Jordan, Algeria, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo and Bolivia – won’t have the infrastructure to support nuclear power for decades.

For now, it’s not difficult to imagine Moscow extending the terms of its loan to Hungary for as long as Budapest likes. It will, after all, remain profitable on paper. But in the end, Budapest will be left holding the bag for Rosatom’s over extended balance sheet. But so long as Orban’s government continues it rightward lurch, Moscow is unlikely to call in its marker.


February 4, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, marketing, politics, politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

5 countries scramble to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Receives Offers from 5 Countries to Build 2 Nuclear Reactors 23 January, 2019 Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat

Five countries have submitted their requests for the establishment of two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Gulf coast.

The bid was made after the peaceful Saudi nuclear project met the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The oil-rich Kingdom launched a tender to define specifications of sites that will host the two reactors, said Chairman of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) Khalid al-Sultan.

He added that KACARE asked the services providers in the US, Russia, France, South Korea and China to present their preliminary offers…….

January 24, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom signs up Serbia for a nuclear science centre

January 19, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

Riyadh hosts workshop on Russian nuclear technology RIYADH — ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation organized a workshop on Russian nuclear technologies in Riyadh on Dec. 5 for representatives of Saudi companies. The event was held at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce………

Milos Mostecky, vice president of Rusatom Overseas, highlighted the vast experience of ROSATOM in engaging local suppliers while projects implementation abroad.
“We are confident that Saudi companies are ready to take part in large-scale projects in power sector. Our Saudi partners are willing to participate in NPP construction in Saudi Arabia and think highly to perspective of cooperation with Rosatom,” Mostecky added.
In June 2018, ROSATOM was shortlisted to the next stage of competitive dialogue on Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear power project.
Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. On Oct. 5, 2017, ROSATOM and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy signed Program for Cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. According to the program, Russia and Saudi Arabia intended to cooperate in the field of small and medium reactors, nuclear infrastructure development, consideration of prospects for establishing a center for nuclear science and technology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia based on a Russian-design research reactor etc…….

December 13, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Russia, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

China’s push to take over the abandoned Moorside nuclear project

Chinese nuclear giant flags interest in NuGen’s abandoned Cumbria plant, Building, By Will Ing7 December 2018 China General Nuclear also reveals plans to speed up delivery of nuclear power plant in Essex.China General Nuclear has flagged interest in building on the Moorside site recently vacated by Toshiba subsidiary NuGen as it reveals plans to speed up development of a nuclear power plant in Essex.

China General Nuclear (CGN), who is already developing Hinkley Point C (pictured) with EDF Energy, is carrying out technical assessments with a view to building another plant with the French energy giant in Bradwell, Essex.

Speaking at the Nuclear 2018 conference in London Rob Davies, the UK chief operating officer of CGN, said: “With the demise of NuGen there is a gap in the UK’s nuclear programme; the expected sequence of reactors coming down the line has been interrupted.

“We are confident we can close that gap by bringing Bradwell into operation much sooner.”…….

December 8, 2018 Posted by | China, marketing, UK | Leave a comment

China and USA competing to market technology to Argentina

China, vying with U.S. in Latin America, eyes Argentina nuclear deal, Cassandra GarrisonMatt Spetalnick, BUENOS AIRES/WASHINGTON (Reuters) 29 Nov 18 Argentina and China are aiming to close a deal within days for the construction of the South American nation’s fourth nuclear power plant, a multi-billion dollar project that would cement Beijing’s deepening influence in a key regional U.S. ally.

Argentina hopes to announce an agreement on the Chinese-financed construction of the Atucha III nuclear power plant during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit on Sunday following the summit of leaders of G20 industrialized nations in Buenos Aires, Juan Pablo Tripodi, head of Argentina’s national investment agency, told Reuters in an interview.

The potential deal, reportedly worth up to $8 billion, is emblematic of China’s strengthening of economic, diplomatic and cultural ties with Argentina. It is part of a wider push by Beijing into Latin America that has alarmed the United States, which views the region as its backyard and is suspicious of China’s motives.

………. The negotiations on Chinese financing of the Atucha III nuclear power plant are a key cause for concern for the U.S. government, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters.

Atucha III would be one of the biggest projects financed by China in Argentina, according to the Reuters review of Chinese state funding data……..

December 1, 2018 Posted by | China, marketing, SOUTH AMERICA, USA | Leave a comment

“New Nuclear” lobbyists, Nuclear Alternative Project and USA’s CINTAC, target Puerto Rico

Nuclear Advocates Set Sights on Advanced Reactors for Puerto Rico

With big push of meetings with key officials, nuclear industry hopes to be part of Puerto Rico’s energy future, Morning ConsultBY JACQUELINE TOTH 

  • Supporters are highlighting the energy, climate and safety benefits of advanced reactor concepts.
  • Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives passed a resolution to study nuclear energy.
  • Details are sparse this early in the discussions, and Puerto Rico has no concrete plans for nuclear, instead focusing on other sources.
Nuclear industry professionals have launched a long-term bid to convince Puerto Rico they may have the solution for the island’s energy woes. ………

A group of nuclear industry professionals, who have formed The Nuclear Alternative Project nonprofit organization, recently hosted a group of nuclear executives to meet with Puerto Rican lawmakers and officials to discuss new nuclear concepts.

“We were in Puerto Rico for four days, and we were able to take the conversation from, ‘You guys are nuts,’” to something Puerto Ricans would consider if it would lower their energy bills, said Jesabel Rivera, the nonprofit’s community impact and engagement consultant.

But a host of questions over when, where, how and at what cost these reactors would be deployed and operated in Puerto Rico remains unanswered at this early stage. Some groups have also raised environmental concerns.

Officials from companies that included small modular reactor and micro-reactor developers NuScale Power LLC, X-Energy LLC, Westinghouse Electric Co. and GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc., attended the meetings on the island.

“A lot of folks didn’t know anything about nuclear other than what they had kind of seen in movies,” said Jose Reyes, chief technology officer of NuScale, who attended the trip. “One person mentioned Homer Simpson.”

Another participant was Donald Hoffman, president and chief executive of nuclear consultancy EXCEL Services Corp., founder of the United Nuclear Industry Alliance, a former adviser to now-President Donald Trump and a member of the Commerce Department’s Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee.

Several of the recent tour’s other participants are CINTAC members.

After the tour, Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives on Nov. 7 approved a resolution that calls on the House Government Commission to investigate the need for nuclear energy reactors on the island and report back within 180 days.
SMRs are billed as faster-to-construct, safer technologies with longer refueling cycles compared to older nuclear reactors, though no U.S. designs have yet undergone construction. The U.S. SMR furthest along in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process is NuScale, which has completed phase one of design review……

But discussions are at a nascent stage.

“There’s not enough detail yet. There’s no site,” design or cost determination for nuclear in Puerto Rico, Carlos Fernández-Lugo, chairman of the environmental, energy and land use practice group at law firm McConnell Valdés LLC, said during an Oct. 30 public panel discussion on nuclear energy held at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

It also remains unclear whether the customer for a nuclear plant would be the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the struggling government-owned utility that is undergoing restructuring.

The Nuclear Alternative Project is looking for funding to move forward with a feasibility study, Rivera said.

On Friday, however, a spokeswoman from the Department of Energy said the department does not have plans for a study on advanced nuclear in Puerto Rico at this time.
Puerto Rico does not currently have any operating nuclear reactors, but it once had the Boiling Nuclear Superheater Reactor Facility, an experimental reactor in Rincón, which operated at full power in 1965 but stopped about three years later due to technical difficulties and the resulting expensive changes that would be required. It was decommissioned, and decontamination work continued into the early 2000s.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | marketing, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear safety agreement with Ukraine is a nuclear marketing exercise

Silver Post 17th Nov 2018 The signing of the agreement Ukraine-the United States on nuclear safety
will provide America the opportunity to sell the Ukrainians their nuclear
fuel. That is one of the main goals of this agreement is commercial.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Ukraine, USA | 2 Comments

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry lobbying in Prague for the U.S. nuclear industry

US energy secretary In Prague to lobby for nuclear industry, WP, By Associated Press, November 14  PRAGUE — U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been lobbying in Prague for the U.S. civil nuclear industry as the most suitable to develop the Czech nuclear program……..Perry warned against cooperation with Russia, saying it has used energy “as a political weapon.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

South Korean firm KEPCO keen to get $20 billion by selling nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Kepco is still working to land Saudi nuclear power deal,  Korea JoongAng Daily   BY LEE HO-JEONG [], 2 Nov 18, GWANGJU – The CEO of Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) said it still hopes to be picked for a $20 billion nuclear power plant project in Saudi Arabia that is expected to be decided by the end of next year. …….

“We are trying to show that we are working to become Saudi’s long-term partner,” Kim said

In July Korea was put on the shortlist for the Saudi nuclear project along with the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

The Saudi government is planning to build two nuclear power plants with a 2.8 gigawatt capacity by 2030. The country has plans to build a total of 16 nuclear power plants in the next 20 to 25 years. …….

Kim said earnings from overseas could make it easier for Kepco not to raise domestic electricity bills. ……..

November 5, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, South Korea | Leave a comment

Russia’s ROSATOM uses the “medical” propaganda to market nuclear technology to Philippines

Russian firm offers expertise in nuclear research to Philippines
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) – October 16, 2018   MANILA, Philippines — Russian State Atomic Energy Corp. (ROSATOM) is eyeing more opportunities to advance the Philippines’ nuclear research program particularly in medicine and agriculture through its partnership with the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI).

ROSATOM has been partnering with countries like Bolivia and Zambia to put up a Center for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) that will allow them to start the development of nuclear technologies that may be applied in science, healthcare, agriculture, geology and other fields……..

October 16, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons proliferation risks in China’s push to export nuclear reactors

October 11, 2018 Posted by | China, marketing, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA, Russia, South Korea and China, salivating at thought of huge Saudi Arabia market for nuclear reactors

U.S. Makes Shortlist for Saudi Nuclear-Plant Deal, One stumbling block: Negotiations over restrictions meant to prevent spread of weapons. WSJ By Timothy Puko, Sept. 26, 2018

Saudi Arabia has put the U.S. on its shortlist of potential partners competing to build nuclear-power plants in the kingdom, while the two countries negotiate how to do a deal without spreading nuclear weapons, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

The kingdom has been hearing offers from several countries, including Russia, South Korea and China, for what could be the biggest new market for nuclear power. Mr. Perry told reporters Wednesday the kingdom recently made a decision that keeps U.S. businesses— foremost Westinghouse… (subscribers only)

September 28, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia | 1 Comment