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Trump adminstration upsetting balance of power in Middle East

Iran’s Nuclear Chief Warns U.S. Against Tilting Power Balance In Middle East https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear-chief-wars-us-against-tilting-power-balance-middle-east-saudi-arms-sales-/28576396.html, 24 June 17 Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who helped forge the 2015 nuclear agreement, warned the United States on June 23 against upsetting the balance of power in the Middle East by siding with arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Salehi said Tehran views a “lavish” deal U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion in weapons as “provocative.”

“This is especially the case if the national defense efforts of Iran…are simultaneously opposed and undermined,” he said, alluding to steps the Trump administration has taken to increase U.S. sanctions on Iran for developing ballistic missiles even as it has ramped up arms sales to Riyadh and its allies.

“It would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain indifferent to the destabilizing impact of such conduct,” said Salehi, an MIT graduate who has also served as Iran’s foreign minister and was a senior negotiator on the nuclear deal.

Salehi stressed that Washington’s strong tilt toward Tehran’s rivals in the Middle East not only risks setting off a regional arms race and “further tension and conflict” in the region, but it imperils the “hard-won” nuclear deal, which took two years to negotiate.

If the nuclear deal is to survive, he said the West must change course. “The moment of truth has arrived.”

Trump and the Saudis frequently blame Iran for wars ranging from Yemen to Syria, as well as for restive minority Shi’ite populations within the borders of the kingdom and other Persian Gulf states ruled by Sunni Muslims.

The Saudis, like Trump, were strongly opposed to the nuclear deal. But while Trump has promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal,” he has not so far taken any concrete steps to do so. His administration has indicated it will adhere to the deal, which requires Iran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, as long as Tehran continues to do so.

But Salehi’s article in the Guardian suggested that — what Iran says is — its so-far strict honoring of the deal may come into doubt in the future if the United States continues to disregard Iran’s “genuine security concerns” and “stokes Iranophobia” in the region.

Salehi urged the United States and its Western partners to “save” the nuclear deal with “reciprocal gestures” showing a commitment to engagement with Iran.

Iranian voters recently showed their preference for engagement with the West by re-electing President Hassan Rohani with his pro-Western platform, but “engagement is simply not a one-way street and we cannot go it alone,” Salehi said.

“Unfortunately, as things stand at the moment in the region, reaching a new state of equilibrium might simply be beyond reach for the foreseeable future,” he said.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump leads the world to war against Iran

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at… Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about… Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identifiedNorth Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Other threats that have appeared at one time or another in the administration’s rotation include China, Cuba, the mainstream media, former FBI director James Comey, and Shakespeare (for writing Julius Caesar and then somehow, from the grave, persuadingthe Public Theater to run a scandalous version of it).

Through it all, however, Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam.

You’re worried about Trump and the nuclear football? The prospect of blowback from an all-out U.S. assault on the Islamic State keeps you up at night? A preemptive strike against North Korea, which Mattis acknowledges would be disastrous, has you rethinking that upcoming trip to Seoul?

Sure, those are all dystopian possibilities. But if I had to choose a more likely catastrophe, it would be a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran. After all, everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

The Fate of the Deal

The nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union is hanging by a thread. Trump made no bones about his distaste for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He promised to tear it up.

He hasn’t done so. It’s not just that he’s gotten pushback from the usual suspects in Washington (diplomats, foreign policy mavens, talking heads, journalists). Even members of his inner circle seem to see value in the agreement. Mattis, who is otherwise hawkish on Iran, has stood by the JCPOA and diplomacy more generally. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has, albeit reluctantly, acknowledged that Iran has lived up to its side of the agreement. Then there are all the American jobs on the line from the Iranian purchase of Boeing jets.

Even though Trump hasn’t torn up the agreement, he has certainly attempted to give it a good crumple. He has directed the Treasury Department to apply additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program. He’s considering the option of declaring the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Congress, meanwhile, is pursuing its own complementary set of sanctions against Iran (though, because it’s bundled with sanctions against Russia, the legislation may not meet Trump’s approval).

None of this violates the terms of the JCPOA. But it challenges the spirit of the accord.

Adding insult to injury, Trump damned Iran with faint condolences after the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump wrote. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Talk about bad taste. After September 11, Iranians gathered for candlelight vigils to mourn the mostly American victims of the attacks. The Iranian government didn’t say anything about chickens coming home to roost after U.S. military interventions in the Middle East, for that would have been inappropriate (though accurate).

But Iran might yet have to make a statement that echoes Trump’s tone-deaf remark: States that tear up international agreements risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Proxy Wars

The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups.

Both countries could decide to team up against the Islamic State. And indeed, Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria this last weekend in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Tehran. As after September 11, when Tehran and Washington briefly worked together, cooperation against Sunni extremists would seem a no-brainer.

But the would-be caliphate, having lost most of Mosul and now teetering on the verge of conceding its capital in Raqqa, is shrinking at a rapid clip. Which may well explain why the United States has been wading deeper into the Syrian conflict. For the first time since the war in Syria began, U.S. forces shot down a Syrian government plane this last weekend. It’s only the latest in a series of attacks on Assad’s forces, according to The Atlantic:

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Several administration figures, notably Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey in the National Security Council, are eager to confront Assad and his Iranian backers more aggressively. Mattis, however, has reportedly opposed several of their risky propositions. Regardless of the Pentagon chief’s somewhat more risk-averse behavior, both Iran and the United States are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the collapse of ISIS………

Back in 2013, Trump said,

We will end up going to war with Iran because we have people who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Every single thing that this administration and our president does is a failure.

Who knew that Donald Trump could be so prescient? The president has proven himself high-performing in at least this one regard: self-fulfilling prophecies.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-coming-war-with-iran_us_594ec1fce4b0f078efd9821c

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Meeting between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump not likely to lead to any nuclear trade deal with India

PM Modi-Trump talks: Civil nuclear deal to figure, no pact on reactors,Time of India.| Jun 25, 2017, 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
  • The progress on the 2008 civil nuclear deal is likely to be discussed during the meeting.
  • During his visit to the US on June 25-26, Modi is slated to meet Donald Trump.
NEW DELHI: The Indo-US civil nuclear deal is expected to figure during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump on Monday, but a pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the parleys between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies,….
They said a financial turmoil in Westinghouse and absence of a functional reference atomic plant were the main impediments behind the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) unwillingness to sign the agreement with the American nuclear giant.

According to a joint statement by Modi and the then US president Barack Obama in 2015, both the sides had resolved to work towards “finalising the contractual agreement by June 2017”.

However, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in March.

Apprehending uncertainty, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the NPCIL are unwilling to go ahead with any agreement with the beleaguered company till it comes out of the financial turmoil……http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-trump-talks-civil-nuclear-deal-to-figure-no-pact-on-reactors/articleshow/59311335.cms

June 26, 2017 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump Wants America To Be Topp in Energy Exports

Trump to Call for U.S. ‘Dominance’ in Global Energy Production, Bloomberg By Jennifer A Dlouhy, 25 June 2017
  • President to flag historic shift as U.S. becomes net exporter
  • Renewables and nuclear power technology also set to gain

Donald Trump will tout surging U.S. exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at highlighting the country’s growing energy dominance.

The president also plans to emphasize that after decades of relying on foreign energy supplies, the U.S. is on the brink of becoming a net exporter of oil, gas, coal and other energy resources.

As with previous White House policy-themed weeks, such as a recent one focusing on infrastructure, the framing is designed to draw attention to Trump’s domestic priorities and away from more politically treacherous matters such as multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

With “Energy Week,” Trump is returning to familiar territory — and to the coal, oil, and gas industries on which he’s already lavished attention. Trump’s first major policy speech on the campaign trail, delivered in the oil drilling hotbed of North Dakota in 2016, focused on his plans for unleashing domestic energy production. The issue has also been a major focus during Trump’s first five months in office, as he set in motion the reversal of an array of Obama-era policies that discourage both the production and consumption of fossil fuels.

Plans for the week were described by senior White House officials speaking on condition of anonymity because the details hadn’t yet been formally announced.

Exports Equal Influence

Trump is set to deliver a speech at the Energy Department on Thursday focused almost entirely on energy exports ……

Dominance’ Sought

Trump’s theme of “energy dominance” marks an evolution. For years, the catch phrase of choice has been “energy independence,” as politicians and industry officials sought to highlight how a new era of abundance was helping the U.S. wean itself from foreign sources of oil and natural gas.

That was in turn a dramatic change from the 1970s, when former President Jimmy Carter turned down the White House thermostats and used a televised address in February 1977 to urge consumers to conserve energy …..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-25/trump-to-call-for-u-s-dominance-in-global-energy-production

June 26, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) in a panic about UK leaving Euratom, as part of Brexit

Britain’s Brexit plan will plunge its nuclear power plants, cancer
treatment centres and leading research facilities into chaos within two
years, according to a secret government assessment.

Times 26th June 2017, The UK plans to pull out of Euratom, Europe’s nuclear body, at the same time as it leaves the EU
in 2019. A bill to replace European safeguards with a British system of
oversight was published in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

However, experts say that this would not match the regime provided by the EU body, meaning that
plants, research facilities and hospitals may be unable to import
radioactive material after Brexit. Officials from the Department for
Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy have warned that it will take
seven years to replace the current set of agreements, The Times has been
told.

The delay would partly be caused by the fact that work on new
international treaties, for example with the US and Japan, cannot start
until new inspections standards are approved. Ministers have suggested
that, as with financial regulations, there could be a transition period
after Brexit to allow a new regime to be put in place, but experts say that
the complexity of the task is still not sufficiently realised.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) will today step up calls for David Davis, the
Brexit secretary, to consider asking for Britain to remain an associate
member of Euratom instead. That option will worry some Tory MPs, because
some lawyers believe that it would require oversight by the European Court
of Justice or even for Britain to continue to take part in elections to the
European parliament. Tom Greatrex, the NIA chief executive, said the plans
did not “come anywhere close” to matching the scale of the problem.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/experts-warn-of-chaotic-fallout-from-post-brexit-nuclear-plan-mh8prkkdv

June 26, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

There are “positive signals” on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue – China

China hails “positive signals” on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/23/c_136389835.htm Editor: Mengjie BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) — China on Friday hailed recent “positive signals” on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and called for addressing concerns of various parties in a balanced way.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the comments in response to a question regarding remarks by a number of diplomats concerned about the issue.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) ambassador to India Kye Chun Yong said Wednesday the DPRK would not rule out suspending nuclear and missile tests if the United States abandoned the practice of holding large-scale military drills, according to media reports. The ambassador said Pyongyang was ready for negotiations with the United States at any time and without preconditions.

Meanwhile, a special advisor to President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) indicated a reduction of joint war games with the United States if the DPRK stopped nuclear and missile activities.

“China believes these positive messages are important for easing tension on the peninsula and for a solution to the issue through dialogue,” Geng said. Geng said the root of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue was in security. He said the solution required comprehensive measures and addressing both the symptoms and root causes.

China proposed a “dual-track approach” to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, establishing a peace mechanism in parallel, and a “suspension for suspension” to defuse the looming crisis.

As a first step, Pyongyang may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale Washington-Seoul military exercises.

China has also called for strengthening efforts on non-proliferation and promotion of peace talks to bring the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula to a peaceful settlement.

“We are glad to see China’s proposals have gained increasing support and responses,” Geng said.

China welcomes and encourages suggestions to help alleviate tension and confrontation, enhance communication and trust, and restart dialogue as soon as possible, Geng said.

He called for the international community to seize all possible opportunities, to promote the settlement of the issue through dialogue and consultations.

June 24, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

As the global renewable energy transition speeds up, Russia gambles on nuclear energy

Experts have expressed concern that these ambitious development plans are proceeding without adequate plans for disposal of nuclear waste. The Bellona Foundation, an organization that conducts independent research into international nuclear and environmental issues, has been critical of the lack of planning for nuclear waste processing and disposal, and has pointed out that dependency on Russia for nuclear fuel may leave countries particularly vulnerable in the event of a sour political climate.

Russia and Nuclear Power http://www.eurasianet.org/node/84076,June 21, 2017 , by Emma Claire Foley

In an age where sources of renewable energy are becoming an increasingly cost-efficient means of providing electricity, Russia is still going nuclear.

Nuclear energy is losing its luster in many parts of the world. In the United States, the drop in the cost of renewables production is making them a more attractive electricity-generation option than nuclear power. France, a country long associated with nuclear power, is also looking to reduce its reliance on reactors. And even China is now investing more in developing wind farms than it is in nuclear infrastructure.

Russia, though, is bucking the trend. Nuclear energy accounts for 11 percent of domestic power production, while the share of wind and solar power generation remains negligible, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Overall, more than 40 percent of Russian power is generated by natural gas. Meanwhile, hydropower is the main renewable source of power in Russia, responsible for a roughly 20-percent share of the overall mix.

Russia has taken steps in recent months to develop its wind power potential. But development efforts are hampered by legislation that requires at least 40 percent of all renewable-energy infrastructure to be locally produced. To meet the requirement, Russia needs to find a substantial amount of foreign investment.

In the realm of international trade, Russia is trying to turn its slow embrace of renewables into an advantage. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company, is by far the most active player these days in the international market for nuclear power technologies. Rosatom currently has agreements to provide plants, fuel or expertise in 20 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. With the notable exception of the Barakah Atomic Energy Station in the United Arab Emirates, which is being built by the Korea Electric Power Corporation, Russia is the most heavily involved of any nuclear-exporting countries in developing nuclear power facilities in the Middle East.

Rosatom’s most recent move in the Middle East was a deal, sealed in late May, to construct Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, pending final approval by the Egyptian government. The pact is the latest of four bilateral agreements signed by Egypt and Russia concerning the nuclear power station at El Dabaa, approximately 200 miles west of Cairo on Egypt’s north coast. The first of these, signed in late 2015, covered the construction and maintenance of the plant for a 10-year period, and included a stipulation that Russia would provide fuel for the plant for 60 years.

The plant would consist of four VVER-1200 reactors, a new design based on the earlier VVER-1000 model developed in the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s. The first VVER-1200 was brought online earlier this year at Russia’s Novovoronezh plant. It is projected to begin producing power in 2024.

Egypt is one of four countries in and around the Middle East where Rosatom has built, or plans to build, nuclear power facilities. Rosatom’s subsidiary, Atomenergostroy, which handles the company’s overseas construction projects, has contracts to build plants in Jordan and Turkey. In addition, it is building additional reactors at Iran’s Bushehr facility. The company will provide financing, staff, and fuel, while retaining ownership of the plants and receiving revenue from the power they produce.

Russia has provided approximately 50 percent of the financing for Turkey’s plant at Akkuyu, and will provide fuel for its operation once construction is complete. Upwards of 85 percent of the financing for the El Dabaa project in Egypt is to come in the form of loans from Russia, a country in the midst of an economic downturn brought on by the global fall in fossil fuel prices.

Egypt is also exploring options for a second nuclear power plant to be built on its coast. During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union provided supplies, facilities, and training to Middle Eastern countries in an effort to promote nuclear power. The governments of Jordan and Egypt expressed interest at the time in developing nuclear power facilities in the mid-1950s, and the Soviet Union began construction on a research reactor in Egypt in 1961. Similar reactors were built in Iraq in 1967 and in Libya in 1981. In 1995, Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy signed a contract to take over construction of the Bushehr plant.

 
In 2010, Rosatom was granted the right to open offices in embassies abroad by a change in laws governing its operations. It did so in Dubai and Beijing in April of 2016, and the company’s website now boasts over $133 billion USD in overseas orders for its products.
 
Rosatom has also partnered with the International Atomic Energy Agency to fund nuclear infrastructure development internationally, pledging $1.8 million as well as equipment and expertise to equip countries that hope to develop nuclear power capacities in the future.
 
Experts have expressed concern that these ambitious development plans are proceeding without adequate plans for disposal of nuclear waste. The Bellona Foundation, an organization that conducts independent research into international nuclear and environmental issues, has been critical of the lack of planning for nuclear waste processing and disposal, and has pointed out that dependency on Russia for nuclear fuel may leave countries particularly vulnerable in the event of a sour political climate.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Brexit brings Britain’s nuclear industry to a “cliff edge”

The Engineer 20th June 2017, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, argues
that any gap in the arrangements by which the UK nuclear industry
co-operates with the world could cause considerable disruption There’s a
common phrase popping up across many articles and interviews about Brexit
– ‘cliff edge’. Whether that’s the Institute of Directors, which
said the two-year timeframe is unlikely to be enough to sever ties and form
new trade deals; or EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, calling for a
five-year transition period to ease the uncertainty for businesses,
they’ve all had this word in common.

The nuclear industry has also talked of an approaching cliff edge, a scenario backed by the both the Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee and the House of Lords
Science and Technology Committee.

That cliff edge was hidden in the smallprint of the supporting notes to the EU Withdrawal Bill, as it detailed how
the UK will also leave the European Atomic Energy Community – commonly
known as Euratom – at the same time as leaving the EU. Readers might say:
‘So what?’ All industries are under pressure.’ But, Euratom is a fairly unique proposition for the government to contend with and the cliff edge in our scenario could bring nuclear trade to a halt. https://www.theengineer.co.uk/brexit-towards-the-nuclear-cliff-edge/

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s facade of military nuclear power, as it boycotts UN Nuclear Disarmament Talks

UK Boycotts UN Nuclear Disarmament Talks to ‘Maintain Facade’ of Military Power, https://sputniknews.com/military/201706201054811611-uk-trident-nuclear-ban/    19 June 17 Over 120 countries have gathered at the United Nations to discuss a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Leading the boycott of the event is the US – perhaps unsurprisingly, given officials’ avowed dedication to maintaining Trident, the UK has also refused to dispatch an official representative to the event.

The event, which began June 15, is attended by a majority of the world’s governments, and is hoped to conclude with the inking of the landmark international agreement by July 7. Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor and disarmament hero, has said he believes the treaty can, and will, change the world.

In a statement, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons said anything less than a categorical ban — requiring nuclear-armed countries to destroy their stockpiles in a time-bound, verifiable manner — would fundamentally fail in its objectives.

Despite the talks’ boycott by the US, UK and others, the treaty’s prospects appear positive. In all, 113 UN member nations voted to convene the talks in December 2016, and some nuclear weapon states appear receptive, or at least not totally opposed, to the prospect, with China, India, and Pakistan all abstaining — and attending the subsequent talks.

​The ban of many forms of weaponry has been proven largely effective — numerous chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions, and landmines have all been banned, precipitating full-scale decommissioning and disarmament, and their virtual disappearance from military arsenals and battlefields.

The UK’s refusal to even attend the talks is puzzling, as a YouGov poll suggests 75 percent of the public is in favor of officials doing so. However, the UK’s determination to maintain Trident at all is arguably puzzling in itself.

A 2014 cross-party parliamentary report on Trident was unambiguous — the UK’s “independent” nuclear deterrent is in no way independent, and a “hostage to American goodwill.”

Moreover, the report’s authors suggested Trident would only ever be effective in cases of “nuclear blackmail” — which they acknowledged, the prospects of which would be slim. Their conclusions were also damning of many key myths used to justify Trident’s maintenance, and called for UK leaders to step up efforts to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament, and consider further steps to reduce Britain’s operational stockpile of nuclear warheads.

“The fact that, in theory, the Prime Minister could give the order to fire Trident missiles without getting prior approval from the White House has allowed the UK to maintain the facade of being a global military power. In practice, it is difficult to conceive of any situation in which a Prime Minister would fire Trident without prior US approval. The USA would see such an act as cutting across its self-declared prerogative as the world’s policeman, and would almost certainly make the UK pay a high price for its presumption,” the report said.

As the UK is completely technically dependent on the US for the maintenance of the Trident system, presumably one way the USA could demonstrate its displeasure would be to cut off the technical support needed for the UK to continue to send Trident to sea, robbing the country of any nuclear deterrent at all.

“In practice, the only way Britain is ever likely to use Trident is to give legitimacy to a US nuclear attack by participating in it. There are precedents for the USA using UK participation in this way for conventional military operations. The principal value of the UK’s participation in the recent Iraq war was to help legitimise the US attack. Likewise the principal value of the firing of UK cruise missiles as part of the larger US cruise missile attack on Baghdad was to help legitimise the use of such weapons against urban targets,” the report concluded.

Despite these findings, Trident continues to be deemed fundamental to the UK’s security, a particularly hot topic over the course of 2017, given the spate of terrorist attacks that have rocked the country North to South on an almost monthly basis since March.

After every atrocity, ministers have issued ringing declarations about the need to modernize the UK’s defenses against the threat of terror, in all its forms. However, Trident has been entirely absent from these discussions — officials have instead typically pushed for greater internet regulationan end to encryption and enhanced surveillance powers for the intelligence services.

The reason for Trident’s dearth in these matters is obvious — it cannot defend against these attacks, and demonstrably has not done so, whether they are conducted by lone bombers, crazed car and van drivers or knife wielding maniacs. Evidently, such sources of violence pose a far greater threat to the country’s security than nuclear weapons — as do cyberattacks, which again Trident seems fundamentally ill-equipped to combat.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn — former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Vice President — as Labour leader likely offered much hope to the UK’s assorted anti-nuclear campaigners, although they were surely bitterly disappointed when a pledge to renew Trident wormed its way into Labour’s election manifesto.

​Corbyn’s seeming slippage may be attributable to the unending chorus of Conservative broadsides launched at him on the issue ever since his election in September 2015 — a wave that reached a crescendo when Defense Secretary Michael Fallon suggested Corbyn wasn’t up for the job of Prime Minister due to his refusal to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against a “hostile” nation.

Moreover, there are clear suggestions the UK public doesn’t hold Trident in such high affinity as the country’s ruling class — a July 2016 poll demonstrated that while 51 percent backed full renewal of the system, 49 percent opposed maintaining any system. In time, a greater swath of the populace may come round to the view that the UK’s need for a nuclear, as destructive as it is illogical, is non-existent

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rosatom’s plans to DEVELOP NUCLEAR CLUSTER IN SOUTH AFRICA 

ROSATOM SAYS IT HAS PLANS TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR CLUSTER IN SA http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/19/rosatom-says-it-has-plans-to-develop-nuclear-cluster-in-sa  In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.Tara Penny JOHANNESBURG – Russia’s Rosatom has confirmed it is in contact with South African authorities on plans concerning the civilian use of nuclear energy.

The CEO of Rosatom’s foreign unit, Anastasia Zoteyeva made the comment while answering questions on the sidelines of a conference in Moscow on Monday morning.

She also told reporters that the Russian state nuclear corporation is proposing to develop a whole nuclear cluster in South Africa.

In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Earthlife Africa, which brought the case, said the judgment vindicates its argument that the process government has followed was unlawful because it failed to consult the public about its decision.

The case was first brought in October 2015, when Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute argued that former Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersen had not consulted the public nor Parliament before deciding to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power.

The judgment meant all deals that government had pursued with Russia and the United States were not valid.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom denies any ‘secret deal’ with South Africa

Russia’s Rosatom says no ‘secret deal’ with South Africa http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFR4N1JC007 Jun 20, 2017, MOSCOW,   – Deputy chief executive officer of Russia’s state nuclear firm Rosatom Kirill Komarov told a briefing on Tuesday that there was no “secret deal” between Russia and South Africa over nuclear projects.

 

He also said the nuclear pact between two countries from 2014 was standard for such circumstances.

Russia and South Africa discussed joint nuclear projects but those plans were disrupted after South Africa’s High Court deemed a nuclear cooperation pact with Russia unlawful earlier this year. (Reporting by Alexander Winning; writing by Maria Tsvetkova; editing by Vladimir Soldatkin)

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia sells 49 percent stake in Akkuyu nuclear project to Turkish companies

Russia’s Rosatom sells 49 percent stake in Akkuyu nuclear project to Turkish companies, Hurriyet Daily News, 19 June 17 MOSCOWRussia’s state-owned nuclear energy conglomerate Rosatom agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in a giant nuclear project in southern Turkey to Turkish investors in a preliminary agreement on June 19 on the sidelines of a nuclear conference in Moscow.

The stake in the Akkuyu project was sold for an undisclosed sum to the three Turkish companies Cengiz, Kolin and Kalyon, dubbed CKK as a consortium, which are quite active in construction and energy sectors. Each of these companies will have an equal stake.

The shareholders’ agreement will be signed by the end of the year, the consortium said in a follow-up press release. The sum of the deal is then expected to be revealed, according to the press release.

Turkey and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement to build and operate a nuclear power plant in the southern province of Mersin’s Akkuyu in 2010. According to the agreement, Russian companies would own a minimum of 51 percent of stake in the nuclear power plant, marking a first in Turkey.

The respective parties are planning to start construction this year. ……http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-sells-stake-in-akkuyu-nuclear-plant-project-in-turkey—–.aspx?pageID=238&nID=114520&NewsCatID=348

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

The escalating nuclear crisis of North Korea: time to abandon coercive diplomacy

Overcoming Nuclear Crises: North Korea and Beyond http://www.globalresearch.ca/overcoming-nuclear-crises-north-korea-and-beyond/5594878, BRichard Falk and David Krieger Global Research, June 17, 2017

June 19, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

U.S. Congress not satisfied with Ontario Power Generation’s latest nuclear waste submission to the Canadian government

Proposed nuclear waste dump draws Congressional ire http://www.voicenews.com/news/proposed-nuclear-waste-dump-draws-congressional-ire/article_743d7c7d-d48f-5d35-bcaa-1ab7c08496c8.html   OPG appears to sidestep Canada’s request for more details By Jim Bloch | For The Voice Jun 14, 2017 

Ontario Power Generation’s latest submission to the Canadian government about its proposed nuclear waste dump on the shores of Lake Huron continues to be evasive and overly broad, according to critics of the project.

In OPG’s Dec. 28, 2016, response to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the power company chose two enormous geological formations comprising about 75 percent of the entire province: The crystalline rock of the Canadian Shield, which is about a billion years old, and the sedimentary rock formations of southern Ontario, which are 354 million to 543 million years old.

The CEAA also requested further analysis of the cumulative effects that the dump could have on the environment, especially if a high-level waste dump is built nearby, and an updated list of OPG’s commitments to reduce “each identified adverse impact” of the deep geological repository on the environment.

 Despite its 144 pages, OPG’s new report did not satisfy opponents.

Congressional delegation responds

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, of Michigan’s 12th District, and Rep. Dave Trott, of Michigan’s 11th District, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on June 7, urging him to enter the fray against the dump.

“We write to urge you to do everything in your power – through both diplomatic and legal channels – to protect our Great Lakes and to convince the Canadian government to require OPG to select an alternative site that will not place the health, safety, and economic security of Americans at risk,” said Dingell and Trott in the letter.

Thirty-two bipartisan Congressional representatives from the Great Lakes states co-signed the letter, including Paul Mitchell, the Republican representing the 10th District, covering Michigan’s Thumb – all of St. Clair, Huron, Lapeer and Sanilac counties and most of Macomb County. The only member of Michigan’s Congressional delegation who did not endorse the letter was Justin Amash, the Cascade Township Republican.

The lawmakers said that OPG had “doubled down” on the dump “for two inconvenient facts for the company: that they believe an alternative site would be more expensive and take longer to construct.”

In its report, OPG pegged the baseline cost of a Deep Geological Repository at the proposed site in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada, or the alternative sites in the Canadian Shield or in southern Ontario, Canada, at $2.4 billion. The company said that transporting low and intermediate nuclear waste from the province’s 20 reactors to a location in Southern Ontario would add $381 million to $493 million to cost of the project; transportation of waste to a location in the Canadian Shield would add $452 billion to $1.424 billion. Incidental costs would grow by $832 million in southern Ontario and $2.056 billion in the Canadian Shield. OPG labeled the additional transportation and incidental costs as “unacceptable.”

On April 13, Fred Kuntz, Manager of Corporate Relations and Communications for OPG in Bruce County, told Bruce County stakeholders that a shift to a new location could add 15 years to the construction timeline.

“We cannot let cost be the sole driving factor in this critical decision, as storing nuclear waste in the Great Lakes basin bears far too great a risk that would be fundamentally devastating to an entire region,” said the Congressional reps in their letter to Tillerson.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Turkey to go into big debt to Russia for $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plan

Turkey gives Rosatom go ahead to build nuclear plant, Reuters, 15 June 17,  

Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) won approval from Turkey’s energy watchdog on Thursday to go ahead with building its $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey.

The project to construct four nuclear reactors has repeatedly run into delays, including being briefly halted after Turkey downed a Russian jet near the Syrian border in November 2015. Ties have since normalised between the two countries and work on the plant has resumed……

Rosatom has sold several nuclear reactors to developing countries under a model by which Russia finances, builds and operates the nuclear plant and sells power to its customer – a model that has also raised questions about Russia using energy policy as a means to political ends.

EPDK said it had given Rosatom’s project company Akkuyu Nukleer AS a 49-year production license.

Dependant on imports for almost all of its energy, Turkey has embarked on an ambitious nuclear programme, commissioning Rosatom in 2013 to build the four 1,200 megawatt (MW) reactors…..https://www.reuters.com/article/turkey-energy-nuclear-idUSL8N1JC3FL

June 16, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment