The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA promotes a nuclear arms race in Asia, by Supporting India’s entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group

flag-indiaPromoting a nuclear race?, Business Recorder June 23, 2016 IKRAM SEHGAL India clandestinely diverted nuclear fuel from the Canadian supplied civilian nuclear reactor in Tarapur for conducting its nuclear test in 1974. Created in 1974 as a direct result of the Indian subterfuge, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was meant to prevent in future what India had done, being tasked with regulating nuclear commerce for civilian uses and preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons.

On the back of the US-India nuclear deal in 2008, the Bush Administration applied immense political pressure to exempt India from the NSG’s rules on civilian nuclear trade when it was under US sanctions for proliferation activities. This double standards waiver was engineered when Pakistani’s letter vehemently objecting to it was suddenly and surprisingly withdrawn in Vienna during NSG deliberations at the last minute on the express telephonic instructions from President Asif Zardari. This unparalleled “personal” initiative appeased the US and India but it destroyed the original concept of the NSG and cost Pakistan dearly. It “officially” allowed India to expand its arsenal massively by using imported fuel for civilian nuclear reactors and replenish stocks for weapon production. “Harvard’s Belfer Center” and US think tank “Arms Control Today” confirmed that this defeated the very purpose why the NSG was created in the first place.

ndia’s 1974 blast forced Pakistan into its own nuclear weapons programme, the Pokhran nuclear blasts in 1998 made Pakistan respond in kind to ensure a deterrence capability. Had the mandate of NSG been faithfully adhered to, India would not have stood a chance with a non-discriminatory and principled criterion for membership. Even if non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are to be allowed in NSG, it should have been on the basis of equitable criteria and procedures before the waiver was granted because even today India persists in diverting clandestinely imported fissile material from civilian to weapons use.

What about nuclear balance in South Asia? In an article published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), in September 2008 the writers correctly assessed that, “The action the NSG has been goaded into taking by the US has immense and incendiary strategic implications for South Asia, tilling the balance of power between India and its historic rival Pakistan sharply in India’s favour. It also rubbishes the basic principle of the nuclear regulatory regime the US championed earlier that States which pursue nuclear weapons will be “punished” by an embargo on all nuclear trade and those that adhere to the NPT will, in return, be assisted in developing civilian nuclear energy. And, as was foreshadowed in the events at the NSG meeting itself, it will intensify and complicate the ongoing and ever more explosive rivalry amongst the big powers for markets, raw materials, and geo-strategic advantage.”

Having a triad of nuclear capable delivery systems of air, land and sea based short, medium and long range missiles; India can deliver SLBMs from nuclear powered submarines and is working on production of Hydrogen and thermo nuclear weapons. India has not fully separated its civilian and nuclear reactors despite the undertakings given when it got the NSG waiver in 2008. As the largest buyer of weaponry for its conventional military arms build-up, India has the potential many times over to pursue its aggressive “Cold Start” Doctrine against Pakistan. Pakistan’s development of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs) and delivery systems is meant to neutralise India’s “Cold Start” doctrine. What is disappointing is that the apparent security threats to Pakistan from India notwithstanding, the Obama Administration is asking Pakistan to freeze its nuclear and missile programs without extracting an equal demand from India!

A Senate hearing on 24 May saw US Senator Markey saying something extremely relevant, “Since 2008 when (we) also gave them an exemption, India has continued to produce fissile material for its nuclear weapons programme virtually un-checked. At that time Pakistan warned us that the deal would increase the chances of the nuclear arms race in South Asia”. Some countries, led by China and Turkey, are resisting this pressure on principle, arguing that if any exception to the rules is made, it should apply equally to both India and Pakistan. Since all 48 member NSG decisions are made by consensus, even one member can block a decision.

India has not honoured its limited commitments under the international non-proliferation regime that earned it the 2008 waiver, adhering to limited IAEA Additional Protocol as well as US laws (Hyde Act) for transparency in use of imported fissile material, agreeing to a moratorium on fissile material production for weapons use; signing and ratifying the CTBT and putting a cap on its nuclear weapons production. In the face of these obvious deficiencies, allowing India NSG membership will intensify the nuclear/strategic arms race in South Asia, undermine NSG’s credibility and will give India the legitimacy of a nuclear weapon state. Bent on using India as a counterweight to China, the US must realise the dangerous confrontation that will erupt in South Asia………

June 24, 2016 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Germany criticises NATO’s warmongering policy towards Russia

Germany slams NATO ‘warmongering’ on Russia  Berlin , Yahoo News, 18 June 16 (AFP) – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticised NATO for having a bellicose policy towards Russia, describing it as “warmongering”, the German daily Bild reported.

Steinmeier pointed to the deployment of NATO troops near borders with Russia in the military alliance’s Baltic and east European member states.

“What we should avoid today is inflaming the situation by warmongering and stomping boots,” Steinmeier told Bild in an interview to be published Sunday. “Anyone who thinks you can increase security in the alliance with symbolic parades of tanks near the eastern borders, is mistaken,” Germany’s top diplomat added.

NATO had announced on Monday that it would deploy four battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to counter a more assertive Russia, ahead of a landmark summit in Warsaw next month…….

June 22, 2016 Posted by | Germany, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

China not happy with USA’s promotion of India to join Nuclear Suppliers Group

flag-ChinaChina Takes Swipe At US Over India’s Nuke Club NSG Bid

All India |Written by Nidhi Razdan NDTV June 21, 2016 NEW DELHI:  China has taken a swipe at the US, while reiterating that India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG membership is not on the agenda at the elite nuclear club’s Seoul meeting, which is taking place this week. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, has also said the “door is open” for discussions on the issue but accused America of backtracking.

“I have not seen the US statement supporting India. But the US is one of those who made the rule that non-NPT countries should not join the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” she said.

“According to my understanding, it (entry of new members) is not on the agenda of the NSG meeting in Seoul. The door is open for the admission of the non-NPT members. It is never closed. It is open. But the members of the NSG should stay focused on whether the criteria should be changed and whether non-NPT members should be admitted into the NSG”, she added.

Talking to journalists about the implications of India’s membership, the Chinese official said, “If the non-proliferation regime is changed how can we explain the Iranian nuclear treaty. We have North Korean issues there. So this concerns the core issue whether NPT and non-proliferation system could be impacted by this.”

On Monday, the United States gave a fresh push to India’s membership by asking members of the NSG to support India’s entry. White House Press Secretary josh Earnest said, “We believe, and this has been US policy for some time, that India is ready for membership and the United States calls on participating governments to support India’s application at the plenary session of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)”……

Apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand are not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.

China has also been batting for its close ally Pakistan’s entry if NSG extends any exemption for India.

The NSG looks after critical issues relating to the nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.

June 22, 2016 Posted by | China, India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Financially imprudent for India to let Westinghouse build nuclear reactors

flag-indiaThe cost of nuclear diplomacy, THE HINDU, SUVRAT RAJU, 20 JUNE 16  The government’s decision to let Westinghouse build six nuclear reactors in India smacks not only of arbitrary use of executive authority but is also financially imprudent

Toshiba WestinghouseIn their recent joint statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama “welcomed the start of preparatory work… in India for six AP1000 reactors to be built by Westinghouse…” Judging by the cost of similar reactors under construction in the U.S., these six reactors may cost as much as Rs.4 lakh crore. This makes the deal potentially the largest commercial contract in the offing between the two countries.

There are several disturbing aspects to this agreement that deserve close public scrutiny. These include the arbitrary use of executive authority in selecting Westinghouse as a supplier, the international legal commitment made by the government to indemnify Westinghouse in the event of an accident, and the high expected cost of electricity from these reactors.

Economically unviable   When the United Progressive Alliance government announced its intention to start work on two reactors each from Westinghouse and General Electric (GE) in the 12th Plan period (2012-2017), it did little to pretend that these contracts made sense on their own merits. Instead, as the former chairperson of the Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, explained, India had “to keep in mind the commercial interests of foreign countries and of the companies there” and was obliged to purchase these reactors in return for U.S. diplomatic support on other issues.

Last year, GE backed out of this arrangement citing concerns about India’s liability law. This was good riddance; GE was offering India an untested design that it has not yet managed to sell anywhere in the world. But the government’s decision to deepen India’s investment in Westinghouse — even as negative news about the company has accumulated — makes little sense.

In April, Toshiba, which acquired Westinghouse in 2006, announced a $2.3 billion write-down in its value, largely because of persistent concerns about the economic viability of Westinghouse’s AP1000 design. Of more than a dozen orders that Westinghouse expected from within the U.S. a decade ago, only four have materialised. Just last month, a utility called Florida Power and Light postponed its plans for two AP1000 reactors by at least four years. And in February, the Tennessee Valley Authority, a U.S. government company, cancelled its plans for two AP1000 reactors explaining that this was “the fiscally responsible action”.

 Likewise, the fiscally responsible action for India would be to cancel this deal………
  • the government has persisted in making concessions to Westinghouse. In February, it ratified the “Convention on Supplementary Compensation” (CSC) for Nuclear Damage that contradicts India’s domestic liability law and protects nuclear suppliers from liability for an accident. Now, in the event of a disaster, Indian courts may find it difficult to exercise jurisdiction over Westinghouse that is not based in India and could point to India’s international commitments under the CSC to block any potential claims against it.
  • For example, Dow Chemicals has rebuffed attempts to make it contribute to a clean-up in Bhopal by arguing that Indian courts have “no jurisdiction over it”. And in a cautionary tale about how flawed international agreements can subvert the domestic legal system, in 2011, an international arbitration tribunal awarded White Industries Australia Ltd. AU$4 million under a bilateral investment treaty even as its dispute with the Indian government was sub judice in India’s Supreme Court……..

June 20, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

America fails to monitor health of Spanish community affected by hydrogen bomb accident

Decades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident, NYT, by DAVE PHILIPPS JUNE 19, 2016 “……….Spain’s Monitoring

The United States promised to pay for long-term monitoring of health in the village, but for decades it provided only about 15 percent of funding, with Spain paying the rest, according to a declassified Department of Energy summary. Broken air-monitoring stations went unfixed and equipment was often old and unreliable. In the early 1970s, an Atomic Energy Commission scientist noted, the Spanish field monitoring team consisted of a lone graduate student.

Reports of two children dying of leukemia during that time went uninvestigated. The lead Spanish scientist monitoring the population told American counterparts in a 1976 memo that, in light of the leukemia cases, Palomares needed “some kind of medical surveillance of the population to keep watch for diseases or deaths.” None was created.

In the late 1990s, after years of pressure from Spain, the United States agreed to increase funding. New surveys of the village found extensive contamination that had gone undetected, including some areas where radiation was 20 times the permissible level for inhabited areas. In 2004, Spain quietly fenced off the most contaminated land near the bomb craters.

Since then, Spain has urged the United States to finish cleaning the site.

Because of the uneven monitoring, the effect on public health is far from clear. A small mortality study in 2005 found cancer rates had gone up in the village compared with similar villages in the region, but the author, Pedro Antonio Martínez Pinilla, an epidemiologist, cautioned that the results could be because of random error, and urged more study.

At that time, a United States Department of Energy scientist, Terry Hamilton, proposed another study, noting problems in Spain’s monitoring techniques. “It was clear the uptake of plutonium was poorly understood,” he said in an interview. The department did not approve his proposal…..

About a fifth of the plutonium spread in 1966 is still estimated to contaminate the area. After years of pressure, the United States agreed in 2015 to clean up the remaining plutonium, but there is no approved plan or timetable…….

June 20, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, health, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Spain, USA | Leave a comment

India paying high cost to save Westinghouse’s nuclear business

Modi,-Narendra-USAThe Cost of Modi’s US Visit: Offering Rs. 2.8 lakh crore to Westinghouse, News Click,  Prabir Purkayastha, June 09, 2016

The 4th visit of Modi to the US has very little to show as achievements. No wonder, the headlines screamed about “the start of the preparatory work” on six nuclear reactors as a major achievement. Not content with this, the Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors were even hyped as 5th generation reactors, skipping two whole generations of reactors in between. The earlier AP 600 reactors are recognised as 2nd generation reactors, making the AP 1000 the 3rd generation, which is how they are known in the rest of the world – except to certain gentlemen in the Indian media.

The reality is that after 8 years of negotiations on the Westinghouse reactors, India has now shifted the location from Toshiba WestinghouseMithivirdhi in Gujarat to Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. The negotiations for the deal with Westinghouse are still stuck, and only a new beginning is being sought with this new site. All that Westinghouse has agreed is that they will do some preliminary work for this new site — “start of the preparatory work”.

In today’s world, nuclear energy is a dying technology. Its costs are too high, its ability to build to schedule is non existent and it faces the challenge of renewables – wind and solar – the costs of which are dropping rapidly. The US, after a brief flirtation with nuclear energy – the so-called nuclear renaissance – has pretty much decided not to invest any further in this technology.

It is only China and India that can revive the dying nuclear industry of the US. Both Westinghouse and GE are without any further orders in the US and in the EU. So it is not the US showing its willingness to “give” us nuclear reactors to India that is the issue; it is India helping to revive a patient – the US nuclear industry – which has currently one foot already in the grave.

How much are we committing to pay to revive a dying Westinghouse? Continue reading

June 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, India, marketing, politics international | Leave a comment

Time that USA government backed its Iran nuclear deal and promoted investment

diplomacy-not-bombsFlag-USAflag-IranThe Obama Administration Needs to Double Down on the Iran Deal Washington doesn’t move to help get banks and business into Iran, the nuclear deal will collapse.   esident Barack Obama spent enormous political capital to cement an agreement with Iran that constrained its nuclear program for more than a decade. That agreement, however, is now at risk of unraveling.

The danger of the agreement collapsing, to the detriment of U.S. interests, is now evident. Under the nuclear accord, Iran agreed to constrain its nuclear program in return for economic reprieve from U.S. sanctions. While Iran has so far lived up to its nuclear-related obligations — addressing U.S. concerns over its nuclear program by reducing its number of operating centrifuges, reconfiguring its heavy-water reactor, and permitting an unprecedented inspections regime — the United States has struggled to fulfill its end of the nuclear bargain.

The British law firm Clyde & Co. conducted a recent survey of business executives interested in engaging Iran. Respondents stated that the major barrier to market entry into Iran is U.S. sanctions, which are inhibiting access to trade finance and insurance and effectively preventing banks from bolstering their business ties with Iran. As a result, Iran has faced persistent difficulties receiving practical value from the lifting of sanctions, which is placing the nuclear accord at risk.

Hard-liners in Iran are touting the sanctions issue as an example of why the United States cannot be trusted.That message is having an effect: Recent pollingindicates that the Iranian people are growing increasingly skeptical that Washington is acting in good faith in meeting its commitments. Iranian moderates who support the accord, meanwhile, risk being undermined by this development. Absent a turn in Iran’s economic fortunes, the hopes and aspirations of the Iranian people will continue to be denied and their political engagement — as evidenced by recent parliamentary elections, in which Iranian hard-liners were dealt a significant defeat — stymied.

To its credit, the Obama administration is actively seeking to resolve concerns over the sanctions-lifting. A few weeks ago, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting of the British Bankers Association to encourage major European banks to re-engage their Iranian counterparts. High-level U.S. officials have likewise been touring the world, seeking to provide practical guidance on what the lifting of sanctions means and the scope of remaining U.S. sanctions. More public written guidance will soon be forthcoming.

But such guidance has been insufficient — and is likely to remain so. Following their meeting with Kerry, most of the banks in attendance stated publicly that they would not engage in Iran-related business for the foreseeable future, due to persistent U.S. sanctions risks. Without major European banks willing to re-engage Iran, financing will be unavailable for some of Iran’s bigger trade and investment opportunities.

The Obama administration needs a new game plan.Just as it expended political capital to secure the deal, it must expend the political capital to sustain it. Otherwise, the administration risks snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory and upending this historic diplomatic achievement.

Such additional steps come in two parts. First, the Obama administration will need to provide detailed written guidance to foreign banks and companies explaining what steps are required to ensure that they do not risk exposure to U.S. sanctions. Absent such guidance, non-U.S. banks and companies will continue to lack the confidence to engage in Iran-related dealings.

The Obama administration reportedly has been reluctant to provide the level of detail necessary to instill confidence in companies that they can do business in Iran. For instance, companies have long sought to understand the necessary level of due diligence to avoid exposure to U.S. sanctions — perhaps through a checklist of sorts. But U.S. officials, unwilling to act outside their comfort zone, have rejected calls to provide such detailed guidance, thus failing to address many firms’ primary concern.

Second, the Obama administration will need to take action to ease market entry into Iran. Banks have been hesitant to facilitate trade with Iran so long as Iran remains cut off from the U.S. financial system, and large foreign enterprises have been reluctant to pursue trade and investment opportunities in Iran so long as the U.S. primary trade embargo remains intact.

The administration can resolve these persistent concerns through a broader licensing scheme. For instance, the United States could re-authorize the U-turn license, which permitted U.S. dollar transactions involving Iran to be cleared through a U.S. bank, or license American banks to provide dollars to foreign financial institutions so that dollar-clearing can take place offshore. Similarly, the administration could take a hard look at the sense of maintaining a unilateral trade embargo with Iran while it is encouraging foreign parties to engage in trade with Iran. In lieu of those more dramatic steps, the administration could also license U.S. persons to facilitate certain transactions with Iran, particularly if those U.S. persons are employed in non-U.S. companies.

The politics of such action may not prove appetizing. Uber-hawks in Congress are bent on denying the Obama administration this diplomatic success and will try to block any action aimed at resolving sanctions concerns. But the sustainability of the nuclear accord is dependent on the Obama administration taking these steps. Absent such measures, the Iran deal threatens to unravel with the United States being the scapegoat, as Iran will continue to be denied the benefit of its bargain.

Passing off current problems with the lifting of sanctions to the next administration is not an option. Obama has made a big investment in limiting Iran’s nuclear program — the time is now to secure that investment.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

US agencies and prosecutors influence Europe’s banks to impede Iran nuclear deal

Why our nuclear deal with Iran is turning to dust, The Independent, Robert Fisk  @indyvoices  16 June 16 

Many of Europe’s largest banks won’t do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement – but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors.

The Middle East is littered with missed opportunities, lost chances and dreams turned to dust. The Iranian nuclear deal is now heading in the same direction. President Hassan Rohani, hero of the hour and Iran’s new Mr Good Guy in America, even obtained the support of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, when he signed off on the agreement with six world powers last year to reduce the country’s nuclear activities in return for an end to Western sanctions. But he’s beginning to look like a patsy.

And all of the old Iranian revolutionaries, the sons of martyrs and the war veterans and the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the managers of its billion-dollar conglomerates are turning out to have been right all along. The sanctions have been lifted – but they haven’t been lifted. Western investments are not, despite all the promises, pouring into Iran because banks – especially European banks – are too frightened of breaching the rest of America’s sanctions laws to do business with the Islamic Republic. Washington both giveth and taketh away; it’s a slogan that every Iranian president should learn.

Mohamed Khatami was the only real statesman the Middle East produced in half a century and he was elected president of Iran in 1997. He wanted a “civil society”, the nearest you can get to a secular nation ruled by Shiite democracy-necrology-government for and by the dead. But the United States treated Khatami with scorn – and so the crackpot Mahoud Ahmedinejad became the next president, a man with whose ravings America’s right-wing felt far more comfortable.

Hadn’t they said all along that Iran’s leaders were anti-Semitic nuclear crazies, even – this from the Israelis – worse than Hitler? Now Rohani, the man-America-could-do-business-with, may lose next year’s presidential election because he, too, forgot the slogan which, at its simplest, reads: don’t trust America.

Iran has not been reintegrated into the global financial system – and it’s not going to be – though the Chinese will be happy to do business. Khamenei’s supporters are now suggesting that the Supreme Leader – not the shrewd but naïve president – is the great hero of modern Iranian history (after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, of course). The banks, he says, fear the Americans who “have not acted on their promises and [only] removed the sanctions on paper”. Worse still, he’s right. “Khamenei’s life is the one you should be writing about,” one of his believers announced last week. “He is the saviour.” Yes, thanks to America.

For many of Europe’s largest banks won’t do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement – but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors, hunting for evidence of Iranian money laundering, the financing of “terrorism” and monetary crime. The French BNP Paribas shelled out £6.3bn for its Iranian dealings a couple of years ago – over five years, along with StanChart and HSBC, the figure comes to a whopping £10.7bn.

So why should the UK’s Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, Credit Suisse or Deutsche Bank line up to pay more fines just because their governments want to do business in Tehran? Some American bankers – this from the Economist – won’t even hand over their business cards to Iranians. Now that’s what you call fear………

While Iran cannot break free of sanctions from which it thought it had been unshackled, its own paid militia in Lebanon – a nation which a Shiite prelate once described as “the lung through which Iran breathes” – is being caught up in the same financial net. So it’s not difficult for the Iranians to spot what they call in Persian the “dasisa” – and what the Hezbollah, in Arabic, refer to as the “muamara” – which means, quite simply: THE PLOT.

Decide for yourself if it’s true. But in Iran, the lifting of sanctions is a promise un-kept, the Revolutionary Guards are smiling and the nuclear deal is, surely, going downhill. A dream, in other words, fast turning into dust

June 17, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Finland concerned about the uncertain state of France’s nuclear industry

plants-downflag-FinlandFinns deeply worried about French nuclear industry Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent , 14 June 16 
One of the main international customers for a much-delayed and costly nuclear reactor has expressed deep worries over the future of France’s atomic industry amid signs of political wrangling.

Finland’s TVO was the first customer for French nuclear group Areva’s European Pressurised Reactor technology — due to also be used at the UK’s controversial Hinkley Point power station — but the project has been beset by large cost overruns and a delay of almost a decade.

The two companies had been in negotiations in recent weeks to resolve multibillion-euro legal claims by both parties, as well as pave the way for the sale of a majority stake in Areva’s nuclear reactor business to French utility EDF.

But the sudden breakdown of those talks has rattled TVO, which operates some of Finland’s nuclear power plants. Jarmo Tanhua, chief executive, told the Financial Times of his big concerns about the future of France’s nuclear industry.

“We are afraid of what is happening. One thing is we don’t really understand why we don’t proceed with the negotiations. Our understanding is that it has something to do with the restructuring in France or the politics,” he said.

Mr Tanhua added that his biggest fear was that the French could decide to run down “some parts of the industry or some know-how”, particularly in its EPR technology.

The issue is likely to be raised by Finland’s prime minister, Juha Sipila, when he visits his French counterpart Manuel Valls on Wednesday in Paris………

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Finland, France, politics international | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear lobbying

Viewpoint: India’s nuclear lobbying and an increasingly isolated Pakistan, BBC News, By Ahmed RashidLahore 14 June 2016

India’s American-backed bid to join the prestigious Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has once again isolated Pakistan in South Asia.

Pakistan is increasingly finding itself friendless in the region as Iran, Afghanistan and India all find fault with Pakistan’s inability to end terrorism on its soil and in particular to bring the Afghan Taliban to the table for peace talks, as Islamabad promised to do nearly two years ago.

The 48-nation NSG, which sets global rules for international trade in nuclear energy technology, has become the latest diplomatic battleground between India and Pakistan. It is due to hold a crucial meeting this month. The Pakistani military Toshiba Westinghouseis angry that after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to Washington, the US has been furiously lobbying all member countries to give India a seat at the NSG table.

Pakistan then asked for the same, but its proliferation record is not as good as India’s and it clearly would not succeed. Instead, it has asked China to veto the Indian bid which it is likely to do. However, smaller countries are angry with the US, who they accuse of browbeating them, and complain that neither India nor Pakistan can become members until they sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) which is an essential requirement.

President Obama is going against his own policy of nuclear restraint and disarmament by offering to make India – but not Pakistan – a member of the NSG, when the US has also tied up plans to sell India six nuclear power plants……..

June 15, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Russians call US nuclear reactors a “white elephant” for India

Russian-BearUS Nuclear Reactors to Prove White Elephant for India. Sputnik News 13 June 16 Toshiba Westinghouse India’s latest move in the direction of implementing a nuclear energy pact with the US is gaining strong resentment as the US reactors are most likely to cost three times more than that of Russian reactors already well operational.

The Indian government’s commitment to expedite the formalities of a deal allowing America’s Westinghouse Electric to set up six nuclear reactors in India is drawing flak for being commercially nonviable. The proposition was part of the talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama during the former’s latest visit to the US.Many are questioning the rationale behind such a commitment as installing nuclear reactors manufactured by Westinghouse would overshoot the cost of Russian reactors already in operation at Kudankulam of Tamil Nadu…….

June 13, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, India, marketing of nuclear, politics international | Leave a comment

Former NATO Commander calls for nuclear negotiations with Russia

diplomacy-not-bombsFormer NATO Commander: We need to talk to Russia about nuclear deescalation, Business Insider ALEX LOCKIE JUN 11, 2016, On Wednesday, at the Atlantic Council retired four-star Air Force General and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Philip Breedlove, spoke about the mounting tensions between Russia and the West as a NATO summit draws near.

At July’s Warsaw summit, NATO leaders will convene to discuss the future of the alliance, the possibility of expansion, and overall strategy…….

tensions between NATO and Russia are reaching alarming levels……

Breedlove firmly put forward that the US must open lines of communications with the Russians who have “talked themselves into a frenzy” regarding war and the use of nuclear weapons, as an Atlantic Council member put it.

Breedlove stressed that NATO should take the lead in establishing communication: “We have to, in a very determined way, we need to establish quality communications with the Russians. If we wait for it to fall in our lap we’re going to fail.”…..

“Russia does understand power, strength and unity,” said Breedlove, offering some hope for reconciliation for the two forces that find themselves in the most heated conflict since the Cold War……

June 10, 2016 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

Stumbling block prevents Toshiba Westingouse selling nuclear technology to India

6 Nuclear Power Reactors For Andhra? Deal Iffy, Says Foreign Media NDTV  All India | Steven Mufson, The Washington Post  June 08, 2016 “…….On the nuclear power front, Westinghouse Electric (now owned by Toshiba) has been negotiating with India in the hopes of selling it six AP-1000 nuclear power reactors. The project site was recently moved to the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where site preparation is underway. Local opposition prevented the multi billion-dollar project from moving ahead in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

Nisha Desai Biswal, assistant secretary of State for South Asian affairs, told a Senate committee on May 24 that a commercial deal was “quite close.”

The stumbling block, however, has been one article in a 2010 piece of Indian legislation that would make Westinghouse — and its suppliers — potentially vulnerable to crippling litigation under local Indian laws in the event of an accident. India has offered to establish insurance pools, but companies have not accepted that plan. There was no indication Tuesday that this issue had been resolved.

“They’ve painted themselves into a corner,” Omer F. Brown, a lawyer and nuclear liability expert, said of the Indian government. “I don’t know how they get out of it given that they wrote the law the way they did.”

Toshiba WestinghouseWestinghouse and General Electric’s nuclear arm have been striving to reach a deal with India for more than a decade, and in 2008 Congress approved an agreement to promote nuclear cooperation with India, which critics said undermined half a century of U.S. nonproliferation efforts.

Energy and climate issues have overshadowed other aspects of U.S.-India relations. Non-proliferation groups have raised questions about the Obama administration’s current efforts to persuade the Nuclear Supplier Group, which deals with the export of nuclear materials and equipment, to accept India as a member. So far, membership in the NSG has required that a state be a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But India chose not to sign the treaty in 1968, and later built its own nuclear weapons, which it tested in 1974 and again in May 1998.

Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association, said the U.S. push for India’s membership in the NSG “would compound the damage in my view of Bush administration’s exemption” for India. He and 16 other non-proliferation experts, including from the Obama administration, have written a letter urging the administration to drop its support for India’s membership……..

June 10, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, politics international | Leave a comment

Ukraine sseking to renew deliveries of nuclear fuel from Russia

Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks to restart Russian nuclear fuel deliveries, Tass, June 07,
Energoatom is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked KIEV, June 7. /TASS/. Energoatom, the operator of Ukrainian nuclear power plants, is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked, Energoatom President Yuri Nedashkovsky said in reply to a TASS question on Tuesday.

“Our lawyers are working on possible alternative schemes of fuel deliveries,” he said in comments on the question about whether the company was considering the option of advance deliveries of Russian nuclear fuel with delayed payments for these supplies. The company head didn’t provide any further details, referring to the confidentiality of the information.

No breach of Russia contract with larger Westinghouse fuel load

The larger use of fuel from US Westinghouse Company at Ukrainian nuclear power plants does not breach Ukraine’s contractual obligations with Russia on fuel delivery by Russia’s TVEL Enterprise, President of Ukraine’s NPP operator Energoatom Yuri Nedashkovsky said on Tuesday.

According to the Energoatom president, the contractual obligation to load NPS with nuclear fuel of Russian assembly is relevant only if a nuclear fuel-producing facility is built in Ukraine jointly with Russia’s TVEL.

“The contract with Russia stipulates such a condition [on certain volumes of loading NPPs with Russian fuel assemblies] but only if a nuclear fuel factory is built,” the Energoatom head said.

A nuclear fuel plant that was planned for construction in partnership with Russia in the Kirovograd Region would have been the third source of fuel assembly fabrication for Ukrainian NPPs, Nedashkovsky said.

TVEL Fuel Company Vice-President Oleg Grigoryev earlier said Russia had not received any official notice from Ukraine on loading Westinghouse fuel into the reactors of the South Ukraine NPP. According to him, in case of receiving the notice, “measures of juridical nature will be taken as the load of the US nuclear fuel into Ukrainian reactors is a breach of the contract.”

Energoatom and Westinghouse have been cooperating since 2000 under the project of introducing US fuel at Ukrainian NPPs.

In April 2012, damages of US fuel cassettes were found at the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. A special inter-departmental commission found that the damage had been caused by design defects. In 2014, the Ukrainian leadership readdressed the issue of diversifying nuclear fuel deliveries and the contract with Westinghouse was extended to 2020.

Currently, Westinghouse fuel assemblies are loaded into the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. As Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulation Inspection earlier told TASS, the department “has no principled claims to the operation of Westinghouse fuel at this power unit.”

Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks options for restart of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries…….

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

China becoming more anxious over consequences of Fukushima nuclear disaster – calls for transparency

China’s action call over Fukushima, Shanghai Daily Source: Agencies | June 4, 2016 CHINA is extremely concerned about the consequences of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said yesterday, and has urged the Japanese government to carry out timely follow-up measures.

“We hope Japan will take effective measures to provide timely, comprehensive and accurate information to the international community and protect the ocean environment,” Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

On Monday, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, admitted for the first time that its insistence on referring to the incident as “nuclear reactor damage” over the past five years had “hidden the truth.”

According to Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist with the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the consequences of the Fukushima accident were “unprecedented,” since over 80 percent of the leaked radioactive substances had flowed into the sea.

“We hope Japan will maintain a high sense of responsibility to its own people, the people in neighboring countries and the international community,” Hua said. China is willing to communicate with relevant parties, including South Korea, she added.

China has also asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance monitoring and evaluation of the radioactive water that had resulted from the accident, Hua said…….

June 4, 2016 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment