Jordan seeking funds for first nuclear power plant — official, Jordan Times By Mohammad Ghazal – Aug 20,2016 – AMMAN — Jordan’s first nuclear power plant could be operational by 2025, if sufficient financing is secured, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) said on Thursday.
“Jordan is currently in talks with German, Czech, Chinese and Japanese companies among others to supply turbines and electrical systems for the power plant and things are going well,” said JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan.
Thirty per cent of the $10 billion project will be financed equally by Jordan and Russia, who are partners in the project. JAEC is engaged in discussions with companies to secure the remaining 70 per cent to pay for turbines and electrical systems, Toukan said.
“If we secure finance by the end of 2017, we will be able to operate the first reactor by 2025,” he noted.
Under an agreement with Russia, Jordan plans to build a power plant with two nuclear reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
Toukan was speaking at a press conference on Thursday to announce the results of a report on the programme by the International Advisory Group (IAG).
The IAG was formed in November 2015 to provide consultations on the strategy to deal with nuclear waste, and the best options and mechanisms to finance the plant.
The group includes former energy minister Khaled Shraideh and seven international industry experts. …….http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan-seeking-funds-first-nuclear-power-plant-%E2%80%94-official
President Reagan worked with Russia to defuse the nuclear arms race; time that President Obama did that, too
An Urgent History Lesson in Diplomacy with Russia, CounterPunch, 12 Aug 16 by RENEE PARSONS As prospects for peace appear dim in places like the Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan and now with a renewed bombing of Libya, the President of the United States (and his heiress apparent) continue to display an alarming lack of understanding of the responsibilities as the nation’s highest elected officer. As has been unsuccessfully litigated, Article II of the Constitution does not give the President right to start war; only Congress is granted that authority (See Article I, Section 8).
So for the nation’s Chief Executive Officer to willy-nilly arbitrarily decide to bomb here and bomb there and bomb everywhere in violation of the Constitution might be sufficient standard for that CEO to be regarded as a war criminal. Surely, consistently upping the stakes with a strong US/NATO military presence in the Baltics with the US Navy regularly cruising the Black and Baltic Seas, accompanied by a steady stream of confrontational language and picking a fight with a nuclear-armed Russia may not be the best way to achieve peace……
Reagan, who was ready to engage in extensive personal diplomacy, was an unlikely peacemaker yet he achieved an historic accomplishment in the nuclear arms race that is especially relevant today as NATO/US are reintroducing nuclear weapons into eastern Europe……
According to Jack Matlock who served as Reagan’s senior policy coordinator for Russia and later US Ambassador to Russia in his book, “Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended,” one of Reagan’s pre-meeting [with Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev] notes to himself read “avoid any demand for regime change.” From the beginning, one of Reagan’s goals was to establish a relationship that would be able to overcome whatever obstacles or conflicts may arise with the goal of preventing a thermonuclear war. …
After a lengthy personal, private conversation, it became obvious that the two men had struck a cord of mutual respect…. At the conclusion of Geneva, a shared trust necessary to begin sober negotiations to ban nuclear weapons had been established. Both were well aware that the consequences of nuclear war would be a devastation to mankind, the world’s greatest environmental disaster. At the end of their Geneva meeting, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed that “nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.”……
In December of 1987, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Washington DC to sign the bilateral Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (including Short Range Missiles) known as the INF Treaty. The Treaty eliminated 2,611 ground launched ballistic and cruise missile systems with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometers (310 -3,400 miles). Paris is 2,837 (1,762 miles) kilometers from Moscow.
In May 1988, the INF Treaty was ratified by the US Senate in a surprising vote of 93 – 5 (four Republicans and one Democrat opposed) and by May, 1991, all Pershing I missiles in Europe had been dismantled. Verification of Compliance of the INF Treaty, delayed because of the USSR breakup, was completed in December, 2001.
At an outdoor press briefing during their last meeting together and after the INF was implemented, Reagan put his arm around Gorbachev. A reporter asked if he still believed in the ‘evil empire’ and Reagan answered ‘no.” When asked why, he replied “I was talking about another time, another era.”……..
As the current US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner prepares to leave office with a record of a Tuesday morning kill list, unconscionable drone attacks on civilians, initiating bombing campaigns where there were none prior to his election and, of course, taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin with unsubstantiated allegations, the US-backed NATO has scheduled AEGIS anti ballistic missile shields to be constructed in Romania and Poland, challenging the integrity of INF Treaty for the first time in almost thirty years.
In what may shed new light on NATO/US build-up in eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov denied US charges in June, 2015 that Russia had violated the Treaty and that the US had “failed to provide evidence of Russian breaches.” Commenting on US plans to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged “Russian aggression” in the Ukraine, Lavrov warned that ‘‘building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.’ Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov suggested the United States was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.
In early August, the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration authorized the final development phase (prior to actual production in 2020) of the B61-21 nuclear bomb at a cost of $350 – $450 billion. A thermonuclear weapon with the capability of reaching Europe and Moscow, the B61-21 is part of President Obama’s $1 trillion request for modernizing the US aging and outdated nuclear weapon arsenal.
Isn’t it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize? http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/12/an-urgent-history-lesson-in-diplomacy-with-russia/
False nuclear hope, HIMAL South Asian BY M V RAMANA AND ZIA MIAN14 AUGUST 2016
“……Can Russia deliver?
The Russian deal for Rooppur has its specific set of challenges. There are at least two reasons to question Russia’s ability to deliver on its commitments. First, Russia has made so many nuclear deals in recent years that it may not be able to deliver on all of them. The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) claims to have orders for 30 nuclear power plant units in 12 different countries at a total value of over USD 300 billion.
The Russian Parliament’s independent Audit Chamber has documented delays and cost increases in reactors that Rosatom is building within Russia. It is likely that Russian reactor projects abroad will also experience delays and cost escalations. A second reason Russia may not be able to deliver on Rooppur is the collapse of its currency, the ruble. In the case of the reactor for Belarus, the Russians made a fixed price deal that was denominated in dollars. Because the ruble has fallen relative to the dollar, costs to Rosatom have reportedly gone up by 71 percent and Belarus has been asked to provide additional financial support to keep the project going.
Since the Rooppur contract, like most nuclear contracts, is not publicly available, one cannot be sure about the specifics of the deal. However, according to media reports, the contract with Bangladesh is not a “fixed price” but a “cost plus” one where “the vendor has the right to come up with any cost escalation (plus their profit margin) to be incorporated into the contract amount”. Russia seems to have prepared for the possibility that the Rooppur project will cost more than expected and to protect its profits.
Bottom line: the Rooppur reactors may be good for status-seeking project for Bangladeshi politicians; for the bureaucrats and technocrats of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission; and for the Russian nuclear complex and the middlemen who will likely profit from the many subcontracts that would be signed. But it does not look like a good bargain for the people of Bangladesh.
~ M V Ramana is with the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, and the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India. http://himalmag.com/false-nuclear-hope-bangladesh-russia/
False nuclear hope, HIMAL South Asian BY M V RAMANA AND ZIA MIAN14 AUGUST 2016 Plans to construct Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant are moving forward fast. On 26 July 2016, Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Department of Bangladesh, and Russia’s deputy finance minister, Sergei Anatolievich Storchak, signed an inter-governmental agreement in Moscow for the construction and commissioning of two 1200 megawatt (MW) VVER-1200 nuclear reactors at Rooppur (also spelt Ruppur) at an estimated cost of USD 12.65 billion, with Russia committing to loan 90 percent of the costs to Bangladesh. Earlier, in December 2015, when the two government Cabinet committees approved the proposal, the Bangladeshi Minister for Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman said, “I believe USD 12.65 billion is a good bargain”. But the question is: For whom?
Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant is not a good way to meet its energy needs. A brief history
The idea of building nuclear reactors at Rooppur is very old. It goes back to a 1963 plan by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to build one reactor in West Pakistan and one in East Pakistan. This fifty-year quest for constructing a reactor is blind to what has been learned over the same period about nuclear energy. This history suggests there are now good reasons to believe the people of Bangladesh will end up waiting a long time for nuclear electricity from Rooppur, be stuck with big bills, and be forced to live with the constant worry of a nuclear plant accident.
The main player in this quest to build a nuclear plant is the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), which was created in 1973. As spelt out by a senior official in the organisation, “BAEC has, since then, been trying to do the needful so as to make the country embark on NP [Nuclear Power] program”. Successive Bangladeshi governments have been attracted to the idea of a nuclear plant as a modern technological solution to energy shortages in the country, with officials thinking of the possession of a nuclear plant as an exclusive privilege. As Finance Minister Abdul Muhit put it in December 2015, “Now, we are on the verge of entering the elite club of the countries who have nuclear power plants.” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina even termed Rooppur “the nation’s dream”.
Encouraging the BAEC in this quest are the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose mandate calls for the agency to “seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”, and various nuclear reactor vendors who hope to profit from the sales of nuclear power plants. The IAEA began work in Bangladesh a while back. It carried out a planning study in 1974-75 and projected between approximately1200 and 3000 MW of nuclear capacity in Bangladesh by 1995, with nuclear power constituting 47 percent of the country’s electricity capacity; a high projection that emphasised nuclear power as single biggest source to meet energy needs.
Finally, there are countries like the US, Germany, France and China which have, over the decades, supported their nuclear industries’ efforts to sell reactors. France, for example, signed an agreement with Bangladesh for the “peaceful use of nuclear energy” in 1980 and offered to sell 125 and 300 MW reactors in the 1980s. But in the last few years, Russia has taken the lead, edging out other countries that could have sold Bangladesh a reactor.
What can we expect for the Russian reactors coming to Rooppur? The pace of contract signing and government approvals should not mislead one into thinking that the reactors will be ready anytime soon. At the time of signing of the general contract between the two countries in December 2015, the claim was that the two Rooppur reactors would start generating electricity within five or six years, by 2021 and 2022. Evidence suggests that it could be twice as long before the reactors actually start producing electricity.
Establishing nuclear power plants is a slow process. In developing countries that have just one or two reactors, the average construction time – between the first pouring of concrete and the reactor starting commercial operation – were 19, 16, 8.5, and 38 years respectively in the cases of Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Iran, as can be calculated from the dates given in the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System (PRIS). These time periods do not include the lengthy preparation period before the actual commencement of construction…….
A better alternative
The purported reason for Bangladesh to embark on this project is to meet its increasing energy demand. But a sustainable strategy for meeting the energy demand would prioritise economical sources of electricity generation that can be brought online quickly. Renewable sources such as solar energy meet the twin goals of lower cost and timeliness far better than nuclear power. Globally, there is already little doubt that solar energy and wind energy are more attractive investments than nuclear power plants. As the 2016 World Nuclear Industry Status Report points out, “global investment decisions on new nuclear power plants remained an order of magnitude below investments in renewables.”…….
Finally, unlike nuclear power plants, solar energy installations can be commissioned relatively quickly, in typically one to two years. This means that by choosing to put money into solar power, Bangladesh could start getting electricity many years earlier than if it built the Rooppur plant. Bangladesh is beginning the process of significant investment in renewables, setting a target of 3168 MW of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021. The technical potential of solar energy in Bangladesh has been estimated at 50,174 MW…..http://himalmag.com/false-nuclear-hope-bangladesh-russia/
Cairo, Moscow Agree on Egypt’s First Nuclear Power Plant Construction Terms http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160731/1043814467/egypt-russia-agree-plant-construction.html The Egyptian presidential office announced that Egypt and Russia have agreed on all the clauses of the commercial contract on construction of the first nuclear power plant in the country. The date of contract signing is expected to be announced right after its approval by the country’s supreme administrative court, the Council of State.
Russia and Egypt signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean Sea coast in November 2015. It is set to become the largest construction project carried out by Russia and Egypt since the Aswan Dam.
The contract for the construction of the nuclear power plant is estimated to be worth over $26 billion. The plant will include four units, each one with a capacity reaching 1200 megawatts. The complete offer of the state corporation Rosatom suggests assistance from Russia in the establishment of an entire nuclear industry in Egypt.
UK proposal to offer subsidy contracts to Russia, China and South Korea to build nuclear power stations!
Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said.
Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects.The Japanese-owned Horizon and Franco-Japanese NuGen consortia are both developing plans for reactors at sites in the UK and hope to secure approval for their technologies and subsidy deals from the Government.
Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”………..
He also advocated a new funding approach under which “most of the construction costs are funded by government borrowing throughout the construction period” to help cut financing costs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/23/russia-china-and-south-korea-should-be-invited-to-build-uk-nucle/
Around a 100km drive west of St. Petersburg, on the Gulf of Finland, sits Sosnovy Bor, home to state nuclear energy giant Rosatom’s waste disposal operations. Inside a controlled perimeter, subsidiary RosRAO, the facility’s manager, has created a prototype water decontamination plant for use at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings‘ Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station — the site of Japan’s largest nuclear disaster in March 2011.
The scrubbing facility, unveiled in June, is capable of removing tritium, or radioactive hydrogen, from nuclear-tainted water, something beyond the capabilities of the Fukushima plant’s current cleanup equipment. Distillation and electrolysis isolate and concentrate the isotope, which is then locked away in titanium. Experiments under conditions similar to those on the ground reportedly show the technology cutting wastewater’s radioactive material content to one-6,000th the initial level, making it safe for human consumption or release into the ocean.
Duplicating the facility near the Fukushima site and running it for the five years necessary to process 800,000 cu. meters of contaminated water would cost around $700 million in all. Companies in Japan and the U.S. are at work on their own facilities for tritium disposal, but the Russian plan’s cost and technological capability make it fully competitive, according to the project’s chief.
Rosatom has made other overtures to Japan. Executives from a mining and chemical unit have visited several times this year for talks with Japanese nuclear companies, aiming to cooperate on decommissioning the Fukushima plant and upgrading a reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture for spent nuclear fuel. Russia has amassed a wealth of expertise dealing with damaged nuclear reactors in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, and would like Japan to draw on that knowledge, the subsidiary’s chief executive said.
Revving up nuclear technology exports is essential to re-energizing Russia’s domestic industry and breaking free of dependence on the resource sector, Moscow has decided. The nuclear business, along with the space industry, is one of the few tech-intensive sectors where the country is internationally competitive. President Vladimir Putin has leaned more heavily on leaders in Europe and emerging countries in recent years to agree to deals with Russia’s nuclear companies………..http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Japan-nuclear-cleanup-next-target-in-Russian-economic-offensive
Russian wildfires put key climate change resource at risk, Japan Times, 22 July 16 AFP-JIJI, REUTERS JUL 22, 2016 MOSCOW – Russia’s practice of leaving massive wildfires to burn out of control in sprawling stretches of Siberia puts at risk a key global resource for absorbing climate-warming emissions: its trees.
The blazes are consuming millions of hectares of pristine Boreal forests in Russia, which are second only to the world’s tropical jungles in capturing planet-warming carbon emissions.
At the same time, the drier and harsher conditions associated with a warmer climate — June was the hottest ever recorded — are contributing to the fires becoming ever bigger and more common.
The World Meteorological Organization said Thursday that not only is the Earth on track for its hottest year on record, it is warming at a faster rate than expected.
Temperatures for the first six months of the year, coupled with an early and fast Arctic sea ice melt and “new highs” in heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels, point to quickening climate change, it said.
Russia’s forests annually absorb a net 500 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, said Anatoly Shvidenko, who spent decades in the Soviet forestry system and served as an expert for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).
That figure is the equivalent to the emissions put off over a year by 534 coal-burning power plants.
With expected climate change and current levels of forest protection in Russia, “forest fire danger and carbon emissions will double or triple by the end of the century,” added Shvidenko, saying authorities pay less attention to the problem now than in the 1990s or the Soviet era.
The thinning forests are most evident in northern Siberia, where fires can ravage plant life and shallow roots, making it impossible for trees to regrow for centuries.
Russian forest scientists call the process “green desertification,” said Shvidenko……
Scientists have been sounding the alarm over the fate of the planet’s boreal forests, also called taiga, which wrap around the northern hemisphere covering vast areas mainly in Canada and Russia, where they constitute 90 percent of all forest cover.
Wildfires in Canada this year have already amounted to the costliest disaster in the country’s history by causing $2.75 billion in damage, displacing about 100,000 people and sweeping through more than a million acres (405,000 hectares) of forest.
In Russia, 43 million hectares of forest managed by the national forest agency was lost between 2000 and 2011, mostly in the Far North, Shvidenko said, an area almost the size of Iraq.
This, combined with growing wildfires, could alter the role of Russia’s forests as a carbon sink, currently second only to the world’s tropical forests…….http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/world/science-health-world/russian-wildfires-put-key-climate-change-resource-risk/#.V5LjXdJ97Gi
the pact has had deadly consequences. For years, the Soviet Union’s political and scientific leadership withheld the effects of extreme exposure to radiation on the health of the city’s inhabitants, and their future offspring.
From the late 1940s, people here started to get sick and die: the victims of long-term exposure to radiation.
While accurate data is not available thanks to the authorities’ extreme secrecy and frequent denials, the gravestones of many young residents in Ozersk’s cemetery bear witness to the secret the Soviets tried to bury alongside victims of the Mayak plant.
It is difficult for outsiders to comprehend how the residents of City 40 can continue to live in a place they know is slowly killing them.
Hot Docs 2016 Trailers: CITY 40
The graveyard of the Earth’: inside City 40, Russia’s deadly nuclear secret https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/20/graveyard-earth-inside-city-40-ozersk-russia-deadly-secret-nuclear
Ozersk, codenamed City 40, was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme. Now it is one of the most contaminated places on the planet – so why do so many residents still view it as a fenced-inparadise? Samira Goetsche Continue reading
A.P. set to be country’s nuclear power hub http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ap-set-to-be-countrys-nuclear-power-hub/article8876943.ece SUHASINI HAIDAR
Govt. is pinning its mega plans for generating the ‘clean’ energy on coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Weeks after the government announced that U.S. company Westinghouse’s Nuclear Power Project (NPP), planned in Gujarat’s Mithi Virdi, is being moved to Andhra Pradesh, sources confirmed to The Hindu that Russian-owned Rosatom will build its next phase of six reactors in Andhra Pradesh as well.
With other States like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra facing local protests over NPPs, the government is now pinning its mega plans for generating the ‘clean’ energy on coastal Andhra Pradesh. In fact, if all the projects under consideration from Russia, the U.S. and NPCIL were to actually go through, NPPs in Andhra could account for more than 30,000 MW of the Modi government’s goal of 63,000 MW installed capacity by 2031. The site for the next set of six Russian reactors was discussed during A.P. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s recent visit to Russia, where he met Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev.
Sources told The Hindu the project site identified, believed to be Kavali in Nellore district, could be announced during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in October. “It’s huge,” said Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had led the delegation to Russia. “In Andhra Pradesh, six nuclear centres are going to be created, totalling thousands of megawatts in capacity. Of course, Andhra Pradesh will have both American and Russian participation in nuclear energy generation, but the Russians will be the first to “Make in India” in the nuclear sphere in Andhra,” Ms. Sitharaman told The Hindu.
The “American participation” referred to is the plan for Toshiba-Westinghouse to set up 6 AP1000 reactors of 1,100 megawatts each, a proposal that had run into trouble in Gujarat due to “stiff protests from farmers” during the land acquisition process for 777 hectares, a senior official in the Gujarat government said.
“In addition, Tata, Adani and Essar, which are the largest power producers in the State, were never comfortable with another giant plant being set up in the State,” the official said. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June 2016, NPCIL and Westinghouse had announced the move to Andhra Pradesh, with a commitment to complete the commercial agreement for 6 reactors by June 2017.
Meanwhile, another Russian project that has been hanging fire for years, to build 6 ‘VVER’ (Water-Water Energy) Reactors of 1000 MWe in West Bengal’s Haripur may also be moved to Andhra Pradesh due to local protests. “We are looking for a site in some coastal area of Andhra Pradesh where a similar reactor, which was meant for Haripur, will come up,” Dr. Sekhar Basu, now Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had told reporters last September, although West Bengal officials told The Hindua final decision has not been taken.
State officials hope Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal’s loss will soon be Andhra Pradesh’s gain, and the State already has the Kovvada nuclear park project for 6 1000MW reactors in Srikakulam under way. However, the coast isn’t completely clear. Kovvada has seen some protests of the kind seen at Kudankulam, Mithi Virdi and Haripur. While many local residents are unwilling to part with land, others have concerns over environmental hazards, especially given that some of the sites identified for nuclear projects are in a seismically sensitive zone, and have seen tremors in the past.
Confirming that several projects are only in “preliminary stages”, the Andhra Pradesh government’s media adviser Parkala Prabhakar told The Hindu: “The Central government has asked some more sites for other plants. We have asked the Collectors of Prakasam and Nellore to spot the sites. Once those sites are identified, the NPCIL will come for inspection to check the compatibility,” indicating that while Andhra’s nuclear power-hub dreams are in sight, they may take a while to come to fruition. (With Appaji Reddem in Vijayawada & Mahesh Langa in Ahmedabad)
Russia Offers India Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Vivek Raghuvanshi, Defense July 11, 2016 NEW DELHI — Russia has offered its nuclear aircraft carrier, dubbed “Storm,” to India for purchase, a senior Indian Navy official said. The offer comes as India and the US discuss the transfer of technology for India’s future nuclear aircraft carrier, the INS Vishal.
A diplomat with the Russian Embassy confirmed that a Russian team visiting India last week made the offer.
Krylov State Research Center (KSRC), a Russian shipbuilding research and development institute, is designing the carrier, also known as Shtorm or Project 23000E…….http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/navy/2016/07/11/russia-india-nuclear-aircraft-carrier-storm/86937106/
Work on Russian-assisted nuclear power plant in Vietnam to begin in 2023 https://rbth.com/news/2016/07/15/work-on-russian-assisted-nuclear-power-plant-in-vietnam-to-begin-in-2023_611821 TASS
“The schedule is still set for 2028,” Tuan said. Construction will begin in 2022 or 2023, he added.
Such a timeframe is indicated in the revised master plan of Vietnam’s energy sector development, the official said.
Russia’s Rosatom is acting as a partner in the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant in Vietnam.
Russia Is Building a Nuclear Space Bomber, The Daily Beast, DAVID AXE, 14 JULY 16 Kremlin claims about a spacecraft that could fire weapons anywhere on Earth within two hours may have just kick-started a nuclear arms race in space. The Russian military claims it’s making progress on a space plane similar to the U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B robotic mini-shuttle.
That in itself isn’t terribly surprising or even, for the United States, particularly worrisome. Lots of governments and even private companies are working on space planesthat can launch from rockets or runways, boost into orbit for a period of time then return to Earth for quick refurbishment and re-use.
The tech is pretty basic. But alone among space-plane developers, the Kremlin is proposing to arm its space plane. With nukes. That’s not only a gross violation of international law, it represents a fairly profound act of hypocrisy on Russia’s part. It wasn’t long ago that the Russian government accused the United States of weaponizing space by sending aloft the nimble, versatile X-37B, basically a quarter-size, remote-controlled version of the Space Shuttle that could, in theory, carry weapons—but does not.
To be clear, a nuclear-armed space plane would be dangerously destabilizing, as it would totally upset the current, tenuous balance of power between the United States and Russia. The Pentagon could respond to a Russian orbital nuke bomber by quickly deploying a space bomber of its own. In other words, an atomic arms race… in space—a development no one should welcome.
Lt. Col. Aleksei Solodovnikov, a rocketry instructor at the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Academy in St. Petersburg who is overseeing the space plane’s development, said the orbital bomber would be flight-ready by 2020. It’s unclear how much money the Kremlin is investing in the project, and how serious senior officers are about actually deploying the space plane, if and when Solodovnikov and his team finish it.
In any event, the military space plane could give Russia a potentially history-altering nuclear first-strike capability.
“The idea is that the bomber will take off from a normal home airfield to patrol Russian airspace,” Solodovnikov said, according to Sputnik, a government-owned news site. “Upon command, it will ascend into outer space, strike a target with nuclear warheads and then return to its home base.”
Thanks to its orbital capability, the bomber would be able to nuke any target on Earth no longer than two hours after taking off, Solodovnikov claimed.
The Russian craft could be closer to Virgin’s family of reusable space planes—the experimental SpaceShipOne and the larger SpaceShipTwo, which is designed to carry paying tourists to the edge of space……..
In 1967, the United States and Russia and 102 other countries signed the Outer Space Treaty, which bans the explicit militarization of space. “States parties to the treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner,” the treaty reads.
Forty-nine years later, the United States, Russia, and China between them operate hundreds of military satellites. A few have inherently aggressive design features, such as the ability to maneuver close to other spacecraft and potentially disable them by way of extendable claw arms.
But none are solely and strictly offensive weapons. And certainly none pack city-destroying nuclear weapons that can rain down just an hour or so after the command is given. Earth’s surface teems with weaponry, but the world has, so far, managed to keep Earth’s orbit pretty much arms-free.
After the U.S. Air Force launched the X-37B—for scientific purposes, officials claimed—for the first time in April 2010, Russian experts accused the Americans of possibly sneaking a weapon into orbit. The X-37B could “strike global blows on surface targets,” warned Konstantin Sivkov from the Academy for Geopolitical Problems.…….
But the Kremlin’s space-bomber would be a weapon—unambiguously so—and would shatter a half-century of mostly-peaceful space exploration, undoubtedly sparking a terrible diplomatic row and potentially driving the United States and Russia closer to open conflict… on Earth’s surface. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/14/russia-is-building-a-nuclear-space-bomber.html
Russian diplomat calls for returning nuclear weapons to producer countries http://tass.ru/en/politics/887597 July 11, 20:16 Barack Obama plans to use his final six months in office for putting forward a number of nuclear arms control initiatives, possibly offering Russia to extend the New Start Treaty for another 5 years MOSCOW, July 11 /TASS/. Return of all nuclear weapons to the territories of countries where they have been produced would be a vital contribution to world security, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said in an interview aired by the Rossiya 24 television news channel on Monday.
“It would be a contribution to international security if all nuclear charges were returned to the territories of countries, which possess them. This is exactly what Russia did,” Grushko said commenting the US authorities’ intention to offer Russia to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for another five years.
“It is necessary to bear in mind that as major nuclear players, including Russia and the United States, the role of nuclear potentials possessed by other countries will increase. Therefore, the approach will be totally different: it should be an integrated approach,” Grushko said.
According to the Washington Post electronic version, US President Barack Obama plans to use his final six months in office for putting forward a number of nuclear arms control initiatives, including, possibly, to offer Russia to extend the New Start Treaty for another five years. The publication said that the US National Security Council had discussed the topic at its meetings twice over the past two weeks.
Russia’s nuclear energy expansion – a geopolitical footprint?, New Eastern Europe News, , 28 June 2016 “…….As the low oil and gas prices globally have squeezed Russia’s fossil fuel export revenues, an integral part of the country’s income, the nuclear industry has been looking for a worldwide expansion. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear champion, has in the recent years set an ambitious course to deliver Russian nuclear power generating technology to both traditional partner countries as well as to new “developing“ economies…….
Over the past decade state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom and its network of subsidiaries have made direct or indirect commitments to build nuclear power plants in a number of countries around the world. As stated by a Rosatom official in a recent interview, Russia has signed intergovernmental agreements for the possible construction of 36 nuclear reactors overseas and is holding “active and consistent” tendering negotiations about 21 others. It is apparent that Russia seems to be looking away from Europe and its traditional markets in search of new business opportunities for its nuclear industry.
During the Russia – ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit held on 19 and 20 May in Sochi, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said his country is ready to provide a Generation III nuclear reactor technology to countries in Southeast Asia. Another Rosatom official called forAfrica to invest in nuclear energy during an annual energy forum in Johannesburg in February 2016.
The overall expansion agenda seems really impressive, but in fact only some of the projects are in an active construction phase – such as those in Belarus, China, Finland, India, and Slovakia. The projects in Egypt, Hungary, Iran and Vietnam are also likely to get the go-ahead in the near future. As for the rest, the picture has not been so rosy.
Turkey’s Akkuyu project is becoming increasingly bogged down after the relationship between Moscow and Ankara embittered last November. Ukraine has denounced an agreement with Russia on the construction of two units at the Khmelnitsky site as the two countries have become increasingly hostile due to the looming Donbas and Crimea crises. China appears to have taken over the project for the expansion of the Atucha plant in Argentina. And nuclear development on the African continent (except for South Africa and Egypt) is nowhere closer to reality in the near future.
Looking back at Europe, both Finland’s Hanhikivi and Hungary’s Paks 2 nuclear new build projects have come under scrutiny of the authorities. In the Finnish case, the main condition set by Helsinki to allow the project was for 60 per cent of the ownership of Fennovoima, the company building Hanhikivi, to be held by investors from the EU. This meant Rosatom could only be a minority owner with its 34 per cent. As with Hungary, the European Commission (EC) has launched two procedures against the government in Budapest looking into the legality of the state aid and public procurement conditions around the Paks 2 project. The EC has expressed its doubts on whether the deal with Russia fully meets EU regulations and has been concluded on market terms. The EC said it would assess if a private investor would have financed the project on similar terms or whether Hungary’s investment constitutes state aid.
Economics and geopolitics
From an economic point of view, nuclear projects are specific with their high upfront capital costs. This fact often creates major hurdles for countries or companies looking to build nuclear capacities………
Apart from the initial investment, which is undoubtedly good business for Rosatom, even more attractive is the possibility for nuclear fuel supplies the Russian-designed reactors will be using over their operational lifetime. As this is on average 30-50 years, it is a brilliant opportunity for continued revenue over a very long period of time. ……
Forced to play by the common rules, Russia has to accommodate to open competition on EU terms. Therefore, it is looking for an ambitious expansion of its nuclear exports around the world, striving to “conquer” market shares as a first mover, while major nuclear industries in Europe and Japan are plagued by shrinking business opportunities, financial problems, and negative public opinions. The real contenders to Russia’s nuclear expansion in the short and medium term will become China and the US. It only remains to be seen where the business ends and geopolitics begins. http://www.neweasterneurope.eu/articles-and-commentary/2040-russia-s-nuclear-energy-expansion-a-geopolitical-footprint
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