The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA edges closer towards nuclear war with Russia

usa-vs-russiaUS citizens warned to prepare for NUCLEAR WAR over claims attack warning upgraded  THE US could be edging ever closer to nuclear war with Russia after upgrading its attack defence readiness, it has been claimed.  By VICKIIE OLIPHANT Oct 16, 2016 DEFCON is an alert system used by the US military to indicate the current threat of nuclear war.

  The system has five states of alert, increasing in severity from DEFCON 5 – the least severe – to DEFCON 1 – the highest level. Currently, the levels is understood to be at 5.

But conspiracy theorists have warned the threat has secretly been upgraded two levels to DEFCON 3 – meaning the US could mobilise troops in as little as 15 minutes. The level was last upgraded to 3 in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 – with standby ordered for a potential rise to DEFCON 2.

Now website DEFCON warning system claim it has been upgraded again in a terrifying revelation.

While there are currently no imminent threats to the US, it claimed the situation is “fluid and can change rapidly.” However it also highlighted the dying relationship between the US and Russia, citing concerns of all-out warfare between the bitter rivals. A statement posted on its website read: “Tensions between Russia and the United States have reached levels beyond the cold war in the recent week.

“The situation between Russia and the United States is extremely fluid at the moment. In all likelihood as dynamic as at times during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

“At this time, the DEFCON Warning System feels that an increase to DEFCON 3 would be a prudent move.” Russian citizens have been encouraged to find bomb shelters and gas masks today, as state-sponsored infomercials on television gave out guidelines on how people should prepare for a nuclear attack.

President Vladimir Putin meanwhile has ordered the evacuation of 40 million people in a military drill.He also transferred nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles to one of its strategic Baltic regions last week, in what officials claim was part of regular military manoeuvres.

However many world leaders fear the moves are being carried out in preparation for war. The conspiracy theory site warned citizens to prepare for any potential conflict, saying: “This is a very sensitive situation which has the potential to spiral out of control.

“It is recommended that all citizens learn the steps to be taken in the event of nuclear war.”

Theorists have even claimed a move to DEFCON 2 is being muted, based on Putin’s call for Russians to return home.

Though the threat of war seems to be rising, the DEFCON level indication reported by the website is only speculation.  The US military do not share the actual DEFCON status  with the public for obvious security reasons.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The American point of view on USA-Russia crisis over Syria

Throughout her campaign, Clinton has repeatedly called for a no-fly or “safe zone” for Syrian civilians, without providing a detailed explanation as to what that would entail. But her advisors have suggested that it could involve the United States shooting down Syrian aircraft, forcing Russia to choose between defending Assad or working with Washington. In discussing the no-fly-zone idea, Clinton has not acknowledged the presence of an advanced Russian S-400 air defense system in Syria, which potentially could be used against U.S. aircraft enforcing a no-fly zone


Putin Throws Out the Old Nuclear Rules, Rattling Washington, FP, Washington and Moscow used to keep arms control separate from other crises around the world. But that era is over and the next president will have to decide how to deal with it. BY DAN DE LUCEREID STANDISH OCTOBER 16, 2016

   Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling and military brinksmanship have upended the rules that long governed relations between Moscow and Washington, presenting the United States with a dangerous dilemma.

The next U.S president will inherit an increasingly fraught relationship with Russia in which Washington’s attempts to deter Putin have mostly failed. Moscow’s decision this month to pull out of a landmark agreement on disposing tons of weapons-grade plutonium, coupled with reports last week that Russia deployed new nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, underscore how Putin is flexing Russia’s power in new and often unpredictable ways.

U.S. and European officials are increasingly alarmed over Putin’s willingness to risk military confrontation and threaten to use his country’s nuclear arsenal over issues the West sees as unrelated and separate. That makes it devilishly difficult for the United States and its European allies to find an effective response to Putin’s audacious tactics that in recent years range from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, to its air war in support of the Syrian regime, to Moscow’s suspected hacking of America’s presidential election.

“It very much feels like we are entering a very troubled and dangerous phase in this bilateral relationship,“ said Julianne Smith, a former senior Pentagon official who oversaw NATO policy and a former senior advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. “The next president will face some big strategic choices,” said Smith, who now advises Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Europe and Russia.

President Barack Obama’s successor will have to choose from a range of unpleasant and risky options when it comes to handling a resurgent Russia, current and former officials said. A more conciliatory stance, aimed at cutting a grand bargain with Russia focused on Ukraine, would defuse tensions in the short term but at the cost of ultimately emboldening Putin. A more hawkish line — like the one championed by Clinton, who is leading nationwide polls — would risk escalation, with the chance of a military showdown in Syria or the Baltics……….

In the Kremlin’s decree this month declaring Russia would no longer cooperate with the United States on a 2009 agreement to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, Moscow said it would consider reviving the agreement only if the United States scaled back its military presence near Russia’s border, lifted all sanctions against Russia, and paid Moscow compensation for the economic losses caused by the sanctions.

U.S. officials said they were disappointed by Moscow’s decision and dismayed at what they consider a worrisome pattern of behavior……..
The United States says Russia has flouted a 1987 arms control treaty, negotiated by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, which called for the elimination of all ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty helped bring an end to the Cold War and served as a crucial foundation for arms control efforts.
After signing the New START arms control accord in 2010, Russia has rebuffed overtures from Obama during the past six years to negotiate further reductions in nuclear weapons. The treaty expires in 2021, and without a new deal, the gains in arms control over the last 25 years would be endangered. Putin’s government also has backed away from mutual efforts launched in the 1990s to secure nuclear material. In March, Russia declinedto attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington…….
Against the sharp deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations, finding a new way to moderate mounting tensions between the two countries will be left to the next U.S. administration. In Syria, Russia’s deployment of fighter aircraft squadrons and artillery in 2015 blindsided the Obama administration, and has succeeded in shifting the tide of the war in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The intervention has enabled Russia to set the agenda in Syria, reducing Washington’s influence and drastically limiting U.S. options for any military action.

When lawmakers last month asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, about the possibility of the United States setting up a no-fly zone in Syria, he said it “would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia.”

Throughout her campaign, Clinton has repeatedly called for a no-fly or “safe zone” for Syrian civilians, without providing a detailed explanation as to what that would entail. But her advisors have suggested that it could involve the United States shooting down Syrian aircraft, forcing Russia to choose between defending Assad or working with Washington. In discussing the no-fly-zone idea, Clinton has not acknowledged the presence of an advanced Russian S-400 air defense system in Syria, which potentially could be used against U.S. aircraft enforcing a no-fly zone…………..

October 18, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Russia indicates readiness for World War 111- bomb shelters and gas masks

Putin preps Russians for nuclear war; civilians advised to check bomb shelters and prepare gas masks. INQUSITR, John Thomas Didymus, 15 Oct 16 
President Vladimir Putin of Russia is sending a clear signal to the U.S. and its Western allies that he is ready for a military showdown with the West over the ongoing clash of geostrategic interests in Syria. Following the spiraling of tensions between Moscow and Washington to their highest since the Cold War, the Russian government has been issuing instructions to civilians through the state-controlled media about what to do in the event that war breaks out with the West and the “Motherland” comes under direct attack.

The Russian authorities have directed civilians to check and familiarize themselves with the nearest bomb shelters and to prepare their gas masks, according to ABC News. Officials have also issued detailed instructions on how to prepare for a nuclear attack and what to do in the event of an attack.

The latest disquieting set of instructions to civilians and related actions in recent weeks by the Russian authorities ostensibly in preparation for war have grabbed the attention of global analysts who are scrutinizing them to decipher the underlying motives of the Kremlin.

Most analysts believe that despite Moscow’s elaborate and dramatic posturing to the rest of the world that it is preparing for a major global conflict that could involve deployment and use of nuclear arms, Putin is not actually preparing to launch a war against the U.S. and its allies. He is only engaging in tactical responses to ongoing speculation that Washington is considering seriously a plan to launch airstrikes against Syrian government forces.

The chain of events that led directly to the present situation was initiated after the U.S. suspended bilateral consultations with the Russians over Syria, with U.S. officials alleging that the Russians had failed to fulfill a commitment to curtail ongoing aerial and ground assaults on the eastern districts of Aleppo held by rebel forces.

The U.S. authorities also formally accused the Russian government of waging cyber warfare against U.S. institutions, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Inquisitr reported.

U.S. intelligence officials later told NBC News that the CIA was preparing to launch a series of retaliatory cyber-attacks against the Russian government. The CIA sources said the attacks were being designed specifically to disable the capacity of the Russians to use cyber warfare to disrupt presidential voting in November.

According to NBC News, the CIA sources said the agency “has already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation.”

“We are sending a message to Putin and that it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact,” Vice President Joe Biden reportedly said.

Tensions rose further following speculation that Washington was planning to launch aerial strikes against the forces of President Bashar Al-Assad in an attempt to stop ongoing assault against Aleppo and force the Syrian government to consider resuming negotiations.

Russia reacted to the speculation, warning sternly that the U.S. should consider “the possible consequences” of launching airstrikes against government forces in Syria. The Russian defense ministry threatened that it would shoot down U.S. and coalition jets attempting to launch attacks against forces of Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Russians warned that they had deployed S-300 VM air defense systems in Syria that have the capability to shoot down U.S. fighter jets. They warned that any airstrikes against Syrian government forces would be construed as an attack against Russian forces on the ground.
Russian S-300VM Antey-2500 missile system [Image by Vitaly V. Kuzmin/CC BY-SA 4.0/Resized/Wikimedia]

“Today, the Syrian army has effective S-200, BUK and other air defense systems, which have undergone technical renovation in the past year,” Major General Igor Konashenkov said. “I [also] remind US strategists that air cover for the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeymim includes S-400 and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects.”

The Russian government followed up the stern warnings by stepping up preparations for war and issuing instructions to civilians about how to prepare for a nuclear attack, including what to do in the event of direct attack against the “Fatherland.”

“If that [nuclear attack] should one day happen, each of you must know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” the government instructed civilians in a broadcast by the state-controlled NTV.

The broadcast also took Russians on a familiarization tour of nuclear bunkers in Moscow and advised civilians to have their gas masks ready.

Earlier in the month the authorities had held a large-scale civil defense drill involving 40 million citizens. The authorities issued information about how government would operate in the event of a war and which government bodies would be in charge of different areas of public affairs.

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Putin’s government has warned the U.S. that it will shoot down U.S. jets attempting to attack government forces in Syria [Image by Plavevski/Shutterstock]

In the midst of the drills, the authorities deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, close to the Lithuanian and Polish borders. The move, which rattled the Polish authorities, brought major Western European cities, including Berlin, within reach of Russian nuclear strike.

The Defense Minister of Poland Antoni Macierewicz said the Polish authorities were highly concerned about the development and were monitoring the situation.

The Russians had earlier conducted a series of ICBM tests in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Barents Sea, RIA Novosti reported.

The tensions escalated even further when Putin suddenly canceled a planned visit to France scheduled for October 19, following a row that flared after President Francois Hollande lashed out at Moscow over its role in Syria, the Inquisitr reported.

The French government reportedly said it was considering requesting that prosecutors with the International Criminal Court investigate alleged war crimes by Russia and the Syrian government in rebel-held parts of Aleppo.

There was widespread bemusement in Russia when news broke soon after the row with France that the Kremlin had issued a directive to state officials to bring home all relatives living abroad.

The authorities warned that officials who failed to heed the warning could be overlooked for promotion, the Inquisitr reported.

According to analysts, Moscow’s posturing to the rest of the world that it is preparing for war is designed to boost popular support for Putin at home as tensions rise and to signal to the West that Russia will stand its ground in Syria in the event of U.S. intervention.

Kremlin strategists apparently believe that sending a strong message that Russia will not back down with regard to its perceived geopolitical interests will dissuade the U.S. and its allies from trying to stop Russian bombing in Syria.

Other analysts believe that Russia’s apparent preparation for war, less than four weeks away from the U.S. presidential election, is not a coincidence.

It streamlines with the Kremlin’s overall subtle message to Americans to vote for change by electing the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump rather than the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Kremlin intends to get the message across to American voters that “a vote for Clinton is a vote for war with Russia,” because Clinton is expected to continue and possibly even intensify the foreign policy drives of the Obama administration that Moscow is bitterly opposed to.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Modi and Putin revive Cold War bond with lucrative agreements between two nations

Russian-Bearflag-indiaIndia-Russia ties boosted by defence, energy deals, Straits Times, OCT 16, 2016, Modi and Putin revive Cold War bond with lucrative agreements between two nations  BENAULIM (India) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a raft of lucrative defence and energy pacts yesterday following talks aimed at reinvigorating ties between the former Cold War allies.

Mr Modi hailed Mr Putin as an “old friend” after their meeting in the Indian state of Goa, where leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) were gathering for a summit.

“Your leadership has provided stability and substance to our strategic partnership,” Mr Modi said alongside Mr Putin at a beachside resort, after officials signed up to 20 agreements between the two nations……..

They also signed an initial agreement on India’s purchase of Russia’s state-of-the-art S400 missile defence system, capable of shooting down multiple incoming missiles, although there were no details on a timeframe for delivery. The system would strengthen India’s defences along its borders with China and Pakistan……..

The leaders also signed a framework agreement to supply more reactors to a nuclear plant in Kudankulam in southern India, which is attempting to reduce its reliance on highly polluting coal for power. Mr Putin said that Russia would be able to build a dozen nuclear reactors in India over the next 20 years to back Mr Modi’s growth strategy for Asia’s third-largest economy, which continues to suffer power shortages………

Mr Modi was expected to hold talks with China’s President Xi Jinping late yesterday, also in the hope of boosting investment and trade. Relations, however, have been frustrated by Beijing’s decision so far to block New Delhi’s entry to a nuclear trade group, among other issues.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Establishment of a no-fly zone (NFZ) in Syria? A step towards allout war?

Going Beyond Propaganda. Nuclear Conflict, Deception or Real Threat? Pentagon: A “Preemptive” Nuclear Strike against Russia is still Valid  By Federico Pieraccini  Global Research, October 16, 2016 The events in the Middle East, Syria and Aleppo are the focus of global attention. Rarely has a battle been so decisive to the outcome of a war and the fate of hundreds of millions of people around the world

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Russia, Syria, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The rise and political rise of Russia’s secretive nuclear tsar Sergey Kirienko

Russian media tell us that Kirienko and his PR team are off to the Kremlin to prepare Putin’s next election campaign. Looking at Kirienko’s 11 years as head of Russia’s nuclear power industry, we can say that in terms of spending and achievements on paper, Rosatom’s former head has few equals. Kirienko’s team are experts at working with the media, putting pressure on dissenters and forging loyalty

Kiriyenko--tsarSergey Kirienko, from nuclear to political power, Open Democracy VLADIMIR SLIVYAK 11 October 2016  After ten years as head of Rosatom, Sergey Kirienko is now deputy head of Russia’s Presidential Administration. What will he bring to the job? “…….

Information and secrecy

News of these two appointments came out rather oddly. Prior to 24 September, when RBC broke the story of Kirienko’s appointment, there had been no rumours at all about Kirienko’s move, and another two weeks passed before he was officially given his new job…….

This fact illustrates the effectiveness of Kirienko’s PR team. All of Rosatom’s information channels are hermetically sealed, and if any important news appears, it is only by the grace of the residents of the agency’s enormous headquarters building on Moscow’s Bolshaya Ordynka street. There has been the odd information leak, but usually involving foreign media, which Rosatom has little control over.

The way Kirienko’s appointment has developed as a story demonstrates the level of openness, or rather lack of it, which Kirienko’s team has created in recent years. If a major accident had occurred at a nuclear power plant in Russia during Kirienko’s time at Rosatom, it is unlikely that anyone would have heard about it for some time. Instead, there would have been a scenario reminiscent of 1986, when the Soviet government tried to hush up the scale of the Chernobyl disaster for as long as possible.

This lack of transparency is dangerous precisely because in the case of another nuclear accident, it could be a matter of life and death. And this is not a question of official secrets or nuclear weapons. Rosatom is funded by Russia’s taxpayers and has to be accountable to them — not in terms of reporting how many “mini-Olympics” have taken place at nuclear power plants, but in terms of public safety.

Paper power plants

Kirienko’s legacy at Rosatom is a separate issue. Given this recent appointment, he is, it seems, highly regarded by the Kremlin.

There may have been two to three times fewer nuclear power plants built on his watch than were planned. There may have been plenty of corruption scandals involving the arrest of senior staff, including Kirienko’s deputies, on embezzlement charges. But the corporation’s “portfolio” for power plants to be built abroad is worth an astronomical $100bn. And for the Kremlin, which periodically uses energy supply threats to put pressure on countries it is displeased with, nuclear power is not just a question of prestige and money.

To assess Kirienko’s effectiveness as a manager, however, we need to look inside Rosatom’s commission portfolio. These “orders” are not contracts specifying delivery dates, costs and a clear timescale for loan repayments (in most cases the money lent by Russia for power plant construction comes with a repayment date). Eighty to ninety per cent of these reported arrangements are agreements in principle that are vague on details, and in the overwhelming majority of cases the contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Russian media frequently give the impression that Rosatom is building reactors all over the world. It is true that there have been orders from over 20 countries, but they are actually being built in only three places — China, India and Belarus. And in the case of the first two, international cooperation began long before Kirienko joined the nuclear energy sector.

So it is clear that Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing papers, and providing an information blockade for the industry. Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.

But only abroad…

October 15, 2016 Posted by | politics, Reference, Russia | Leave a comment

Putin orders overseas Russian officials to bring family members home

WORLD WAR 3 THREATS LOOM AS PUTIN ORDERS ALL RUSSIAN OFFICIALS TO BRING FAMILY MEMBERS LIVING ABROAD BACK HOME, INQUISITR, 13 Oct 16  As threats of a global war rise, Russia is apparently ordering all its officials to bring their family members living abroad back home. According to local media in Russia, Several high-ranking officials and politicians have received a warning message from Vladimir Putin, urging them to bring their family members back to the “Fatherland.”

This news comes after Putin cancelled his previously planned visit to France following disagreements over Russia’s involvement in Syria.

And according to local media, all high ranking officials are now being told that it would be wise to bring their family members living abroad back home. The “recommendation” has been imposed upon officials of every level, including administration staff, regional administrators, lawmakers and even employees of public corporations. It has also been said that those that ignore this recommendation may lose their chance of being promoted in the public sector……..

October 14, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia moves nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad , but says this is not significant

flag_RussiaRussia downplays moving nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad  Deployment of Iskander missiles to Baltic outpost alarms neighbours but Russia says move is part of regular drill, Guardian, , 9 Oct 16  Russia has played down the significance of the deployment of nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to the Russian outpost of Kaliningrad after the move led to protests from Estonia, Poland and Lithuania, underlining tensions about Russian intentions.

The deployment of the missiles was part of regular drills and was not a secret, the Russian defence ministry insisted.

“First of all, the authors behind the fuss should know that the Iskander missile system is a mobile one,” said a ministry spokesman, Gen Igor Konashenkov.

“As part of the combat training plan, units of the missile forces throughout the year improve their marching capabilities by covering great distances across the territory of the Russian Federation in various ways: by air, sea and on their own.”

Konashenkov said that Kaliningrad “is no exemption here” and that the system would be relocated to the exclave in the future “as part of the military training of the Russian armed forces.”

The Iskander-M, first introduced to the Russian military in 2013, is designed to target missile systems, rocket launchers, long-range artillery and command posts as well as aircraft and helicopters. It has a range of 500km (310 miles) and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and its deployment led to deep concern in Estonia.

Poland also voiced its concerns over the relocation of the weapons………

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s ceremony to mark start of construction of floating nuclear power station

Work starts on on-shore infrastructure for Russian floating plant, World Nuclear News  07 October 2016
A ceremony was held on 4 October in Pevek, Russia, to mark the start of construction of the coastal infrastructure for the first-of-a-kind floating nuclear power plant. The floating power and heat plant is set to be commissioned there in 2019.
The event in Pevek in the Chukotka Autonomous Region – the northern most city of Russia – was attended by, among others, the regional governor Roman Kopin; Rosenergoatom deputy CEO and director of special projects and initiatives Pavel Ipatov; and head of the floating nuclear power plant construction administration Sergey Zavyalov.

During the ceremony, the first sheet pile driving into the foundation of the on-shore infrastructure was carried out. A memorial plaque and a time capsule were then installed to mark the start of construction of the infrastructure…….

Zavyalov said, “We expect that the works on elaborating the technical conditions for the floating plant’s power delivery we carry out jointly with the Department of Energy, Chukotenergo, and RAO EES Vostok will be completed by October-November 2016.” He added, “In December, we plan to be ready to submit operational documents and to order the electric technical equipment to be installed on our site.”……

The Akademik Lomonosov is undergoing trials at the Baltic Shipyard. These trials are expected to be completed by late October 2017 and it should be ready to be transported to Pevek later that year. Rosenergoatom plans to start installation of the plant in September 2019, followed by trials and operational launch.

October 8, 2016 Posted by | Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Russia has suspended its nuclear and energy research agreement with the United States

Russia suspends its nuclear agreement with the United States Lidia Kelly 

Moscow: Russia has suspended its nuclear and energy research agreement with the United States as a countermeasure against Washington for imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

The Russian government also said on Wednesday it was terminating an agreement between its nuclear corporation Rosatom and the US Department of Energy on feasibility studies into conversion of Russian research reactors to low enriched uranium.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium, signalling he was willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.

“The regular renewal of sanctions against Russia, which include the suspension of Russian-American cooperation in the field of nuclear energy demands the adoption of countermeasures against the US side,” the Russian government said on its website.

The agreement on co-operation in nuclear- and energy-related scientific research, signed in 2013, provided the legal framework necessary to expand work between US and Russian nuclear research laboratories and institutes in nuclear technology and nonproliferation, among others.

The uranium agreement, signed in 2010, provided for feasibility studies into the conversion of six Russian research reactors from dangerous highly enriched uranium to more secure low enriched uranium.

The West imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, followed by a pro-Russian insurrection in the east of the country. The breakdown of a ceasefire in Syria, where Russia backs government forces and the West supports rebel groups, has added to tensions.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

With a list of grievances, Putin suspends nuclear pact with USA

Putin suspends nuclear pact, raising stakes in row with Washington 

 Starting in the last years of the Cold War, Russia and the United States signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals, agreements that have so far survived intact despite a souring of U.S.-Russian relations under Putin.

But on Monday, Putin issued a decree suspending an agreement, concluded in 2000, which bound the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin said it was taking that action in response to unfriendly acts by Washington. It made the announcement shortly before Washington said it was suspending talks with Russia on trying to end the violence in Syria.

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post-Cold War U.S.-Russia disarmament, and the practical implications from the suspension will be limited. But the suspension, and the linkage to disagreements on other issues, carries powerful symbolism.

“Putin’s decree could signal that other nuclear disarmament cooperation deals between the United States and Russia are at risk of being undermined,” Stratfor, a U.S.-based consultancy, said in a commentary.

“The decision is likely an attempt to convey to Washington the price of cutting off dialogue on Syria and other issues.”

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Monday that bilateral contacts with Moscow over Syria were being suspended. Kirby said Russia had failed to live up to its commitments under a ceasefire agreement.

Western diplomats say an end to the Syria talks leaves Moscow free to pursue its military operation in support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, but without a way to disentangle itself from a conflict which shows no sign of ending.

Russia and the United States are also at loggerheads over Ukraine. Washington, along with Europe, imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and backed pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

List of grievances

Putin submitted a draft law to parliament setting out under what conditions work under the plutonium accord could be resumed. Those conditions were a laundry list of Russian grievances towards the United States.

They included Washington lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, paying compensation to Moscow for the sanctions, and reducing the U.S. military presence in NATO member state in eastern Europe to the levels they were 16 years ago.

Any of those steps would involve a complete U-turn in long-standing U.S. policy.

“The Obama administration has done everything in its power to destroy the atmosphere of trust which could have encouraged cooperation,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on the treaty’s suspension.

“The step Russia has been forced to take is not intended to worsen relations with the United States. We want Washington to understand that you cannot, with one hand, introduce sanctions against us where it can be done fairly painlessly for the Americans, and with the other hand continue selective cooperation in areas where it suits them.”

The 2010 agreement, signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called on each side to dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning it in nuclear reactors.

Clinton said at the time that there was enough of the material to make almost 17,000 nuclear weapons. Both sides back then viewed the deal as a sign of increased cooperation between the two former Cold War adversaries.

Russian officials alleged on Monday that Washington had failed to honor its side of the agreement. The Kremlin decree stated that, despite the suspension, Russia’s surplus weapons-grade plutonium would not be put to military use.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia spreading its influence, seeking lithium deal with Chile

Russian-BearRussian nuclear firm Rosatom eyes Chilean lithium By Rosalba O’Brien | SANTIAGO 2 Oct 16 Russian state nuclear power plant giant Rosatom sent lobbyists to meet with the Chilean government and discuss “collaboration in possible lithium projects,” a government website revealed at the weekend.

Four representatives of the company met with Mining Deputy Minister Igancio Moreno in September, according to information published on the government’s lobbying transparent website.

Rosatom has signed billions of dollars worth of overseas contracts and is seen as a tool for Russia to wield political influence abroad.

This year, it signed a contract to build a nuclear research center in Chile’s neighbor Bolivia. It also has interests in several other Latin American countries.

Chile itself has no nuclear power plants and is not expected to build any, as it is one of the world’s most seismically active countries and is regularly shaken by strong earthquakes.

But Chile does have one of the world’s most plentiful supplies of lithium, a mineral used in rechargeable batteries and electronics that has seen rocketing interest and a sharp price rise in recent months on hopes of an electric vehicle boom.

Lithium also has applications for the nuclear industry. As a consequence, the Chilean government considers lithium a “strategic mineral,” leasing out rights and limiting its production.

Most lithium extraction projects involve partnership with the government and state copper miner Codelco [COBRE.UL] is expected to decide on a partner to develop its own lithium assets in the first quarter of next year.

October 3, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan both looking to an alliance with Russia

Nuclear War: Pakistan, China, Russia Vs India, America Nuclear Warheads USA Morning News 1 Oct 16 “……… Nuclear Warhead Assessment

So if it comes down to an all-out nuclear war between the US-India on one side and China-Russia-Pakistan on the other, here is an assessment of which side is likely to have an upper hand in the war:

  • It has been estimated that China, India, and Pakistan all possess ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear weapons.
  • Even though China, Russia, and the U.S. possess nuclear weaponry, according to the NPT, they have been banned from building and maintaining such weapons in perpetuity.
  • China has 260 approximate warheads, Russia has roughly 7300 and Pakistan has 120.
  • The USA is lagging slightly behind Russia with 7100 warheads and India currently has 110.

Hence, with Russia currently ahead than all the rest in the nuclear race, both India and Pakistan are looking to Russia to build an alliance with.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Both Russia and America Prepare for Nuclear War? (and this is ‘good for business’)

Dangerous Crossroads: Both Russia and America Prepare for Nuclear War?  By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, September 27, 2016 Barely acknowledged by the Western media. both Russia and America are “rearming” their nuclear weapons systems. While the US is committed to a multibillion dollar modernization project, Russia is largely involved in a “cost-effective” restructuring process which consists in decommissioning parts of its land-based ICBM arsenal (Topol) and replacing it with the more advanced Yars RS-24 system, developed in 2007. 

While a new arms race has “unofficially” been launched, the US modernization process pertains to the all three legs of the triad system, -i.e land based  airborne and submarine launched atomic missiles. It is also coupled with the development of the B61-12 tactical bomb to be deployed in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey.

Rest assured, the B61-12 is a “mini-nuke” with an explosive capacity of up to four Hiroshima bombs. It is   categorized as a “defensive” (peace-making) weapon for use in the conventional war theater. According to scientists on contract to the Pentagon, the B61-11 and 12 (bunker buster bombs with nuclear warheads) are “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”. 

The nuclear triad modernization project is at the expense of US tax payers. It requires the redirection of federal revenues from the financing of “civilian” expenditure categories (including health, education, infrastructure etc) to the “war economy”.  It’s all for a good cause: “peace and security”. 

missile-moneyWar is “Good for Business”

The multibillion dollar project is a financial bonanza for America’s major defense contractors including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, which are also firm supporters of Hillary Clinton’s stance regarding a possible first strike nuclear attack against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Reported by Defense News, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on September 26 called for the “need to modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad.” The project would require a major boost in defense expenditure.

Underscoring today’s “volatile security environment”, the multibillion dollar project is required, according to Carter, in view of threats largely emanating from Russia, China as well as North Korea:

Carter’s comments came during a visit to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, … Under the fiscal year 2017 budget request, Carter said, the department pledged $19 billion to the nuclear enterprise, part of $108 billion planned over the next five years. The department has also spent around $10 billion over the last two years, the secretary said in prepared comments. The “nuclear triad” references the three arms of the US strategic posture — land-based ICBMs, airborne weapons carried by bombers, and submarine-launched atomic missiles. All of those programs are entering an age where they need to be modernized.

Pentagon estimates have pegged the cost of modernizing the triad and all its accompanying requirements at the range of $350 to $450 billion over the next 10 years, with a large chunk of costs hitting in the mid-2020s, just as competing major modernization projects for both the Air Force and Navy come due.

Critics of both America’s nuclear strategy and Pentagon spending have attempted to find ways to change the modernization plan, perhaps by cancelling one leg of the triad entirely.But Carter made it clear in his speech that he feels such plans would put America at risk at a time when Russia, China and North Korea, among others, are looking to modernize their arsenals. (Defense News, September 26, 2016)

Carter casually dismissed the dangers of a no-win global war, which could evolve towards a “nuclear holocaust”, Ironically  ”… He also hit at critics of the nuclear program — which include former Secretary of Defense William Perry, [who ironically is] widely seen as a mentor for Carter — who argue that investing further into nuclear weapons will increase the risk of atomic catastrophe in the future. (Defense News, September 26, 2016)

Carter expressed his concern regarding Russia’s alleged “nuclear saber-rattling”.

Russia’s  ICBM System

Were Carter’s timely statements in response to Russia redeployment and restructuring of its ICBM system on its Western frontier,  which were announced on September 20?

Last week, the Russian news agency Tass confirmed that “The westernmost strategic missile force division in the Tver region will soon begin to be rearmed with the missile system Yars.”

It will be a sixth strategic missile division where the newest mobile ground-based missile complexes will replace the intercontinental ballistic missile Topol,” the press-service of the Strategic Missile Force quotes its commander Sergey Karakayev as saying.

According to the official, this year regiments in the Irktusk and Yoshkar-Ola divisions began to be rearmed. The re-armament of the Novosibirsk and Tagil divisions is nearing completion. Earlier, the Teikovo division was fully rearmed.

The final decision to rearm the strategic missile division in the Tver Region will be made after a command staff exercise there. The press-service said the exercises will be devoted to maneuvering along combat patrol routes.

In the near future the ICBM RS-24 Yars, alongside the previously commissioned monoblock warhead ballistic missile RS-12M2 Topol-M, will constitute the backbone of Russia’s strategic missile force.

The Yars ICBM RS-24 was developed in 2007 in response to the US Missile Shield. It is nothing new in Russia’s military arsenal. It is a high performance system equipped with thermonuclear capabilities.

What this report suggests is the restructuring of Russia’s strategic missile force and the replacement of the Topol system (which Moscow considers obsolete) with the Yars ICBM RS-24.

September 28, 2016 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear marketing: sell nukes, then sell the clean-up, too!

Russian-BearMaking nuclear power plants safe after they shut down RBTH, September 24, 2016 ANDREI RETINGER,  The problems of dealing with spent nuclear fuel, radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities (experts call it “back end”) did not immediately become apparent to the countries developing their nuclear industries. But now the world market for back end services is booming and its value is estimated to total about $347 billion until 2030.


A number of nuclear facilities in the UK are scheduled for decommissioning, and all the 17 nuclear power plants that are still operating in Germany are due to close down by 2020. Japan must rehabilitate the areas after the accident at Fukushima, and the United States and Russia need to solve the problems of radioactive waste storage and reprocessing. Not all countries have the ability to solve these problems, but Russian technologies and facilities can come to their aid…..

in 2008, Russia was faced with a catastrophic situation because of the accumulation of radioactive waste and spent fuel remaining from the time of the creation of nuclear weapons and the Cold War. Storage sites were almost full and had not been provided with reliable insulation, creating a threat to people and the environment.

In this situation, Russia had no choice but to tackle the problem urgently. In 2007, it adopted a state program on nuclear and radiation safety, which was developed by the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation. Then it approved a law on radioactive waste management, taking into account the latest standards and requirements………

September 26, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment