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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia positions itself as mediator on North Korean nuclear crisis

Russia steps up as go-between on North Korea
Moscow sees rogue state as key to mending fences with Washington, Nikkei Asian Review, 17 Oct 17 

TOMOYO OGAWA, Nikkei staff writer MOSCOW — Russia has been setting up a number of high-profile meetings with North Korean officials, positioning itself as an intermediary for negotiations with the isolated state in a bid to improve Moscow’s strained relations with the U.S.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house, met separately with North and South Korean representatives on Monday on the sidelines of an international meeting in St. Petersburg. Matviyenko had called for a direct dialogue between the two Koreas, but Pyongyang rejected the idea in protest of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills.

The vice chair of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly is believed to have given Matviyenko a statement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while arguing that nuclear weapons were the only way for the country to defend itself. Matviyenko’s meeting with the North Korean official lasted about an hour and a half, compared with just 30 minutes or so with the South Korean envoy.

The Russian speaker later called for the resumption of six-party talks on the North Korean issue, and stressed that she will continue making every effort to foster dialogue.

Russia is also hosting an international conference on nuclear nonproliferation starting Thursday, to be attended by Choe Son Hui, director of North American affairs at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, and Wendy Sherman, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs. Some expect the two countries to have some type of contact during the event…….. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Russia-steps-up-as-go-between-on-North-Korea?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBB%2010.17.2017&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

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October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Russian bribery plot in advance of USA-Russia nuclear deal

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before controversial nuclear deal http://nypost.com/2017/10/17/fbi-uncovered-russian-bribery-plot-before-controversial-nuclear-deal/By Bob Fredericks  The FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s energy business in the US before the Obama administration approved a deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, a new report said Tuesday.

The feds used a confidential US witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks, The Hill reported.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill.

Russian nuclear officials also sent millions of dollars to the US designed to benefit the Clinton Foundation while then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that smoothed the way for the sale of the US uranium interests.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s new high tech soldier’s clothing – claimed to be resistant to nuclear blasts

The future is now: Russian military unveils next-generation combat suit

Russia’s Next-Gen Combat Suit is Getting Tech That’s Resistant to Nuclear Blasts https://futurism.com/russias-next-gen-combat-suit-is-getting-tech-thats-resistant-to-nuclear-blasts/

IN BRIEF

Russia’s high-tech combat suit, the Ratnik 3 has received an upgrade of a nuclear blast resistant watch. The suit reportedly includes 59 other high-tech features to create the most advanced body armor ever.

STORMTROOPER CHICRussia has a new battle suit that seems to be visually inspired by Star Wars’s Imperial Shadow Stormtroopers. While Russia’s version likely doesn’t come with a cloaking device, the high-tech armor does have a few tricks up its sleeves, including nuclear blast resistant tech.

The suit was developed by Rostec and is called the Ratnik-3. The latest upgrade to the new armor includes a reportedly nuclear blast resistant watch. According to a statement released by the press office, the Chief Designer for the Life Support System of the Soldier Combat Outfit at the Central Scientific Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering, Oleg Faustov, says “The watch, which we have included in the Ratnik outfit, retains its properties upon the impact of radiation and electromagnetic impulses, for example, upon a nuclear blast.”

The watch also features a self-winding mechanism and operates under water.

Other perks of the 59 items Rostec has included in the suit include a powered exoskeleton, which is said to give soldiers greater strength and stamina; the latest in bulletproof body armor tech; and a full face-covering visor and helmet equipped with a video game-esque heads-up display (HUD). According to Russian state-owned media outlet Tass, the weight of the completed combat gear will be reduced by 30% when it is released for use in the field.

The Ratnik 3 is expected to be ready for use by 2022.

IN BRIEF

Russia’s high-tech combat suit, the Ratnik 3 has received an upgrade of a nuclear blast resistant watch. The suit reportedly includes 59 other high-tech features to create the most advanced body armor ever.

STORMTROOPER CHIC

Russia has a new battle suit that seems to be visually inspired by Star Wars’s Imperial Shadow Stormtroopers. While Russia’s version likely doesn’t come with a cloaking device, the high-tech armor does have a few tricks up its sleeves, including nuclear blast resistant tech.

The suit was developed by Rostec and is called the Ratnik-3. The latest upgrade to the new armor includes a reportedly nuclear blast resistant watch. According to a statement released by the press office, the Chief Designer for the Life Support System of the Soldier Combat Outfit at the Central Scientific Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering, Oleg Faustov, says “The watch, which we have included in the Ratnik outfit, retains its properties upon the impact of radiation and electromagnetic impulses, for example, upon a nuclear blast.”

 The watch also features a self-winding mechanism and operates under water.

Other perks of the 59 items Rostec has included in the suit include a powered exoskeleton, which is said to give soldiers greater strength and stamina; the latest in bulletproof body armor tech; and a full face-covering visor and helmet equipped with a video game-esque heads-up display (HUD). According to Russian state-owned media outlet Tass, the weight of the completed combat gear will be reduced by 30% when it is released for use in the field.

The Ratnik 3 is expected to be ready for use by 2022.

NEXT-GEN WARThe future of how we will one day wage war is being developed now. The United States is also working on a high-tech combat suit of its own. The suit, inspired by pop culture, has been dubbed the Iron Man.

Weapons are also getting next-gen upgrades  with laser weapons currently being deployed in various forms around the world. The United States Navy has the Laser Weapons System (LaWS) mounted on the USS Ponce, an amphibious naval transport dock, to defend against drone strikes and eventually incoming missiles. China has also previously given its soldiers laser weapons designed to blind opponents.

In the sky, killer drones the size of a quadcopter have been developed to carry weapons. The Air Force is even training soldiers to get the military ready for combat in space with extraterrestrials or other hostile interests.

Of course, with all these developments, it maybe good to be reminded what a nuclear showdown would do to the planet—and hope that these future technologies rarely have to be put to use.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia enthusiastic at the idea of selling nuclear technology to the Algerian nation

Russia Ready to Offer Nuclear Technologies to AlgeriaRussian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia is ready to offer Algeria its technologies and technical solutions if a decision is made to establish a national nuclear industry as well as to develop cooperation in other spheres.MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia is ready to offer Algeria its technologies and technical solutions if a decision is made to establish a national nuclear industry, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Algerian news agency APS ahead of his visit to the country.

Russia is already preparing nuclear industry specialists for Algeria, the prime minister noted.

“At the same time, we are willing to discuss clean energy projects, namely wind and solar farms,” Medvedev added….. https://sputniknews.com/africa/201710091058060153-russia-offer-nuclear-algeria/

October 11, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia | 1 Comment

Urals nuclear disaster 1957

NUCLEAR DISASTER IN THE URALS. KYSHTYM ACCIDENT  https://sherbrooktimes.com/nuclear-disaster-in-the-urals-kyshtym-accident/12112   

On 29 September 1957 at 16 o’clock on the territory of the chemical plant “Mayak”, which was in the closed city of Chelyabinsk-40 (now Ozersk), was the first in the USSR radiation accident — an explosion of capacity to store radioactive waste. The catastrophe was called the Kyshtym accident — the name closest to Chelyabinsk-40 by city.

The blast occurred in containers, of a capacity of 300 m? because of the failure of the cooling system. In the tank contained a total of about 80 m? highly radioactive nuclear waste. At the time of construction in 1950-ies the strength of the structure is not in doubt. She was in the pit, in a concrete shirt thickness meter.

Cover the container weighed 560 tons, over it was laid a two-meter layer of earth. However, even this failed to contain the explosion.

According to another, unofficial version, the accident occurred due to human error of the plant that in the tank-evaporator with hot plutonium nitrate solution by mistake added a solution of plutonium oxalate. The oxidation of oxalate nitrate allocating a large amount of energy, leading to overheating and explosion of the tank.

During the explosion in the atmosphere were about 20 million curies of radioactive substances, some of which rose to a height of up to two miles, and formed an aerosol cloud.

Over the next 11-12 hours of radioactive fallout on the territory with a length of 300-350 km on northeast from the explosion.

In the area of radioactive contamination got 23 thousand km2 with a population of 270 thousand people in 217 settlements of the Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk and Tyumen regions. During the liquidation of consequences of the accident were required to relocate 23 villages with a population of 10-12 thousand a man, all the buildings, property and livestock were destroyed.

Liquidators were hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians

Only in the first ten days the number of deaths from radiation have gone on hundreds, during the works in varying degrees, suffered 250 thousand liquidators.

According to the international scale of nuclear testing accident was estimated at six points. For comparison, the seventh level, the maximum was rated accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima-1.

To avoid scattering of radiation by government decision was established the sanitary-protective zone in which economic activity was banned. In 1968 this territory was formed of the Eastern Ural state reserve.

It is forbidden to visit — the level of radioactivity is still too dangerous for humans.

October 6, 1957 in the newspaper “Chelyabinsk worker” appeared devoted to his note, in which, however, about the accident not a word was said:

On Sunday night… many residents of Chelyabinsk watched the special glow of a starry sky. It’s pretty rare in our latitudes, the glow had all the signs of the Aurora. Intense red, time moves to slightly pink and light blue glow first covered a large part of the South-Western and North-Eastern surface of the firmament. About 11 o’clock it was possible to observe in the North-Western direction… In the sky appeared a relatively large colored area and the quiet lanes that had at the last stage of lights North-South direction. The study of the nature of the Aurora, has begun Lomonosov continues in our days. Modern science has confirmed the basic idea of the University, that the Aurora occurs in the upper layers of the atmosphere by electrical discharges of the Aurora…… can be observed in the future at the latitudes of the southern Urals”.

Kyshtym accident has long been a state secret. For the first time openly about her was said in a shot at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, the film Director and biologist Elena Sakanyan, dedicated to the fate of Soviet genetics and biologist Nikolai Timofeev-Ressovsky.

The films were shown on television only after Sakanyan directly asked about the show to Boris Yeltsin.

But in the foreign press leaked the information in April 1958. For the first time about the accident said one of the Copenhagen Newspapers. Subsequently, information about the accident appeared in the report of the National laboratory, USA, biologist Zhores Medvedev dedicated incident book entitled “Nuclear disaster in the Urals”, published in the US, an analysis of the causes of the accident and its causes held by a group of American scientists from the atomic center at oak ridge.

“About the explosion at the “Mayak” for long periods of time, the public knew almost nothing. Later, for some reason, the accident was replicated in the media as the “Kyshtym accident”.

In Kyshtym on this occasion, even recently, was the obelisk, although the city to this event is irrelevant.

And the East-Ural radioactive trail, formed after 1957, did not affect Cistema and its residents,” — said in an interview in 2009, one of its liquidators.

Only the “Lighthouse” there were more than 30 incidents of radioactive emissions and human victims.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | history, Reference, Russia | Leave a comment

Russai marketing nuclear power to Latin America

Russian Nuclear Company Sees Success in Latin America, 1 October 2017New branches of the company will be constructed in El Alto, Bolivia and should be in operation by 2020.

Two years since its move to Latin America, Rosatom, Russia’s main nuclear power company, has seen great success, the company’s Latin American representative, Ivan Dybov, said.

“Rosatom has several projects in Latin America, but the main one is in Bolivia. Last September 19 we signed the contract for the construction of the Center for Research and Development in Nuclear Technology,” Dybov said.

The new branches will be constructed in El Alto and should be in operation by 2020…..https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Russian-Nuclear-Company-Sees-Success-in-Latin-America-20171001-0005.html

October 2, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Russia’s Mayak, where “People have become a sort of radioactive waste.” 

Those words were spoken to me by the Russian human rights lawyer, Nadezhda Kutepova. For years she, with her NGO, Planet of Hopes, defended people who suffer in one of the most radioactively polluted places on this planet: the area surrounding the nuclear waste and reprocessing complex, Mayak, in Russia’s Southern Urals. Kutepova continues to stand up for her people from Paris where she has been exiled to because she was no longer safe in her home town. She made the comment when we were discussing the latest radiation measurement findings that Greenpeace published this week.

The people around Mayak are suffering from the third biggest nuclear catastrophe in history: The Kyshtym disaster that happened 60 years ago today. The radioactive pollution from Mayak continues to this day.

The Kyshtym Disaster is named after the nearest known town on the map. In 1957 a mistake in the reprocessing plant led to an explosion that contaminated 20,000 square kilometres – an area that did not appear on any map. Nor did the nearby town of Chelyabinsk, which was a so-called “secret” or “closed town” for Mayak nuclear complex workers. It is also Kutepova’s birth place. Around 270,000 people were directly affected by the disaster.

Only in the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, did the true impact of the accident become apparent. Only then did the Russian nuclear industry, now known as Rosatom, take some responsibility. Only after Kutepova started supporting local victims and photographer, Robert Knoth, who recorded the the lives of those affected, did Rosatom concede to evacuating those who suffered most.

Well, kind of.

First of all, not everyone in the village was moved. Some of the people’s documents were not in order. They had to stay in a ghost town without services. And five other villages were not evacuated at all.

The pollution from Mayak never really stopped, either. Radioactive waste-water continues to be dumped in ponds around and connected to the Techa river. In all the local villages Greenpeace Russia found highly elevated strontium-90 levels. The same levels as found in the evacuated village of Muslyumovo.

Rosatom already acknowledged several times that water is seeping out of the ponds into the Techa river system. And the people of Muslyumovo and it’s surroundings are still depending on that water for their gardens. Still, Rosatom continues to dump its waste into the ponds. But, they are not called “ponds” anymore. They are now called “special industrial ponds”, “objects of nuclear energy use”, and the dumping is called “inserting liquid radioactive waste for storage”.

Mayak is everywhere. Rosatom may be polluting a Mayak near you: by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel from your nearby nuclear power station, by building a nuclear power station that will later send its spent fuel to Russia for reprocessing, or by loading your neighbouring nuclear plant with reprocessed uranium fuel from Mayak.

Rosatom’s operation in Mayak illustrates that the nuclear industry is not interested in people. After all, 60 years since the disaster the people around Mayak are “a sort of radioactive waste”.

Jan Haverkamp is an expert consultant nuclear energy and energy policy for GreenpeaceCentral and Eastern Europe and part of Greenpeace’s Radiation Protection Advisors team.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | environment, Russia, social effects | Leave a comment

Pictures show the tragedy of Russian villages contaminated by 1957 nuclear explosion

‘Left To Die As Guinea Pigs’: Tatar Village Struggles On, 60 Years After Nuclear Catastrophe https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-nuclear-mayak/28755780.html, September 28, 2017  An explosion at a Soviet nuclear plant 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow remains the world’s third-largest nuclear disaster, after Chernobyl and Fukushima. At the time, in 1957, it was the worst ever. Sixty years on, nearby Tatar villagers are still struggling for official recognition of their plight. (RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service) TEXTS BELOW DESCRIBE EACH OF THE EXCELLENT PICTURES ON THE ORIGINAL

The sign says “Danger Zone.” An explosion on September 29, 1957, contaminated an area of 23,000 square kilometers and exposed more than 270,000 people to significant levels of radiation.

The village of Karabolka is 30 kilometers from the Mayak nuclear plant, where the explosion occurred. For decades afterwards, it did not appear on maps, only reappearing 20 years ago. But life there continued.

Gulshara Ismagilova has lived in Karabolka all her life. She is campaigning for official recognition for the suffering of the villagers. Rates of cancer and genetic abnormalities here are significantly higher than the national average. “We are all handicapped here,” she says.

These are Ismagilova’s relatives who have died over the last 60 years. It includes an aunt, her mother, and her brother, who all died of cancer. Ismagilova herself has liver cancer.

In 1957, the village had about 4,000 residents; in 2010, just 423. The village had two distinct parts: a mostly Tatar part, which was not evacuated, and a mostly Russian part, which was. Some locals say they were used in an experiment on the effects of radiation.

The village has eight cemeteries. Seven of them are a resting place for residents who died of cancer. Children here are often born with cancer and die before reaching adulthood.

Only Muslims are buried here. Following their beliefs, some relatives prevent autopsies being performed. This can prevent some deaths being classified as cancer-related.

A pile of coffins at the ready. Families usually bury their dead by noon of the day following their death. “People don’t know what to eat and how to survive,” Ismagilova says. “They have been left here to die as guinea pigs.”

This house has a pile of firewood outside. In the 1990s, local people were warned that wood stored radiation and should not be used for burning. But the village was not connected to a gas supply until 2016.

A water pump outside a house. “The authorities prohibited drinking water from local wells but couldn’t arrange supplies of clean water. A couple of months later, they took samples and said the local water was good enough to drink,” says Ismagilova.

A Greenpeace report 10 years ago said the Mayak site was “one of the most radioactive places on Earth.” It added that thousands of people in surrounding towns and villages still lived on contaminated land

September 29, 2017 Posted by | environment, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Russia’s mysterious move to wind energy production in Africa, despite its claims about nuclear power

Nuclear agenda in Africa under spotlight, as Rosatom launches wind energy firm, fin 24,Sep 22 2017   Matthew le Cordeur Cape Town – Russia’s nuclear agenda in Africa came under the spotlight this week, after Rosatom announced the launch of a major wind energy subsidiary.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm this month announced the formation a new wind energy subsidiary to manage 970 MW of new capacity being developed, but assured Fin24 this week that nuclear energy is still its core business. The firm, NovaWind, will start with a capital backing of about R255bn, according to Wind Power Monthly.

Rosatom is a frontrunner in South Africa’s stalled 9.6 GW nuclear new build programme, which many expect it will win. Various other countries in Africa have shown interest or signed deals for Rosatom’s nuclear reactors. Showing how serious it is about turning Africa into a nuclear energy powerhouse, the firm has an established office in Johannesburg.

With its focus on selling nuclear reactors in Africa, it is curious that the firm is moving into the wind sector, according to Russian environmental policy expert Vladimir Slivyak.

Slivyak, addressing a gathering in Cape Town this week, said he believes Rosatom is looking to increase its focus on the lucrative wind sector. His reasoning was the lack of money in Russia and the need to develop projects outside the country to bring in much-need revenue. With the West moving to wind energy, it made sense to develop this industry, Slivyak explained.

He said it was therefore concerning that Rosatom is pushing its “expensive” reactors to poor countries, which are sold on the notion that they will transform their economies, “like it did for the West”, Slivyak explained. “Why are those same Western countries now ditching nuclear?” he asked.

Slivyak, an anti-nuclear activist based in Moscow, is well known in South Africa for leaking Russia’s agreement with South Africa in 2014.

“It makes sense to move into the renewable energy field,” he said. “We can see that even the nuclear energy market is saying nuclear is bad. The Russian energy industry has started to advertise itself to fight climate change.

“Nuclear power cannot really save this climate change crisis,” he said. “You have to invest a lot of money and even if you do this, you get a small result. There are currently 450 nuclear reactors operating around the world and these were built in the last 50 to 60 years.

“If you take all the money in the world and build another 450 reactors, you would have to spend $4.5trn. This would only see an emission reduction of 6%, while solar and wind energy would see the emissions reduce to 0%,” he said.

“It takes 10 years to build one reactor and several months to build a solar or wind plant,” he said. “With nuclear, you have to invest today and wait 10 to 30 years. With renewables, you invest today, and in half a year you may already get your energy.

Slivyak, an anti-nuclear activist based in Moscow, is well known in South Africa for leaking Russia’s agreement with South Africa in 2014.

.“There is not much money going into nuclear,” he said. “This has been happening for last 15 years, so you can’t blame nuclear’s decline on accidents like Fukushima. It has been because of bad economics and a waste problem it can’t solve.

“If you pump all the money into nuclear, there will be no money for healthcare or education. Then maybe you will wait a few decades before the power station works. If you country goes for nuclear, you will be stuck with it for 100 years.”………

“There is not much money going into nuclear,” he said. “This has been happening for last 15 years, so you can’t blame nuclear’s decline on accidents like Fukushima. It has been because of bad economics and a waste problem it can’t solve.

“If you pump all the money into nuclear, there will be no money for healthcare or education. Then maybe you will wait a few decades before the power station works. If you country goes for nuclear, you will be stuck with it for 100 years.”

September 23, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia launches ‘world’s biggest & most powerful’ nuclear icebreaker

September 23, 2017 Posted by | Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Russia to advise USA to stay in the Iran nuclear agreement

Russia to the United States: Stay in Iran Nuclear Deal https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-09-15/russia-to-the-united-states-stay-in-iran-nuclear-dealSept. 15, 2017UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said Moscow’s message to the United States during a likely meeting of the parties to the Iran nuclear deal next week on the sidelines to the United Nations General Assembly was to stay in the deal.

“That is not only our message, but the rest of the participants and those that are outside are trying to send this message across,” Nebenzia told reporters on Friday.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Leslie Adler)

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Abandoned radioactive generators and other nuclear junk sunk in oceans by Russia

Feisty mayor in Russia’s Far East wants his nuclear trash collected http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2017-09-feisty-mayor-in-russia-far-east-wants-his-nuclear-trash-collected

While lighthouses run on atomic batteries in Russia have become rare, especially along the coasts of the Baltic and Barents Seas, they still have their adherents in the country’s Far East.  by Charles Digges   charles@bellona.no  While lighthouses run on atomic batteries in Russia have become rare, especially along the coasts of the Baltic and Barents Seas, they still have their adherents in the country’s Far East.

A group of radioactivity tracking sleuths on Sakhalin Island in the Pacific say they have hunted down an abandoned generator that ran on strontium-90 sunk off the shores of one of its premier beach resorts.

But that, they say, is just the tip of the iceberg: The discovery lies in the middle of a radioactive graveyard that includes no fewer than 38 sunken vessels containing nuclear waste, and two nuclear warheads that went down when a Soviet bomber crashed near the island’s southern tip in 1976.

Though the Russian Ministry of Defense recently began acknowledging the lost bomber, tracing the origins of the other nuclear cast offs is not so easy.

But at least, says Nikolai Sidirov, mayor of the coastal town of Makarov on Sakhalin’s Bay of Patience, his town knows what this new discovery is – and they want it raised from the depths with the rest of the glowing junk.

Speaking to Novaya Izvestiya, a popular tabloid that morphed out of the official Soviet-era mouthpiece Izvestiya, Sidirov said satellite photos tracking the location of the crashed bomber have turned up something else lurking under the waves: An RTG.

That’s short for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, a small radioactive energy source that for decades powered thousands of Soviet lighthouses and other navigational beacons along Russia’s Baltic, Arctic and Pacific coasts.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and the crash of the Russian economy, officials lost track of many of the RTGs as bureaucracies collapsed and records went missing. Thieves pillaged them for their valuable metal, exposing their strontium innards. Hikers and shepherds, drawn to their atomic heat, would stagger out of the woods sick with radiation poisoning.

Around Murmansk and on the Pacific coast, frightful reports about strontium elements turning up on beaches proliferated in local media. Some newly independent Soviet republics telegraphed anxieties about their inherited RTGs back to Moscow – along with requests to come take them away.

And then there was the biggest fear of all: What if strontium 90 from these virtually unguarded, remotely radiological sources ended up in the hands of terrorists who wanted to make a dirty bomb?

So far, that hasn’t happened – anybody trying to make off with a strontium battery would likely end up very ill or dead. But when three woodsmen in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia turned up in a hospital with radiation burns and caught the attention of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the dangers of orphaned Soviet RTGs were finally on everyone’s mind.

A colossal effort spearheaded by the Norwegian government entirely rid the coasts of the Barents, Kara and White Seas of more than 180 RTGs. By infusing €20 million into the push, Norway helped Russia replace the strontium 90 batteries on these lighthouses and beacons with solar power over a six year period ending in 2015.

In all, Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, says it has decommission more than 1000 RTGs throughout the country, adding that it has mostly eliminated the hazard of these stray radioactive sources from its coastlines.

But some areas have not been so lucky, at least according to the mayor of Makarov out on Sakhalin Island, six times zones east of Moscow. Sidirov, a feisty campaigner who had been publicly heckling the capital about the nuclear trash in the seas near his town for years, says divers have located the RTG, and that he now has the coordinates of where it lies. He told Novaya Izvestiya he will pass on the RTGs location to what he calls “competent authorities” lest it end up in scheming hands.

How the RTG, which lies in 14 meters of water, came to be there is still anyone’s guess. The Russian Navy sent a statement to the newspaper insisting that all RTGs under the purview of the Pacific Fleet have been hunted down and destroyed.

But Russia’s environmental oversight agency confirmed that there were numerous radioactive foundlings in the oceans off Sakhalin Island, though they didn’t identify Sidirov’s RTG specifically.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone screwed up with an RTG in the area, however. Twenty years ago, in 1997, a helicopter from Russia’s Emergency Services Ministry accidentally dropped a strontium-powered RTG into Sakhalin’s waters. It was later retrieved by the navy.

So far, Rosatom has remained mum on the veracity of Sidirov’s claim about the RTG. But since the history of the downed bomber and the other hazards in his area has been confirmed, there’s every reason to believe him about the RTG. And he wants it gone.

“The ecological authorities and the military, they’re being very stubborn about coming to collect it,” Sidorov told Novaya Izvestiya. “It’s there job to collect it – if they’re ever interested, I’ll be here to show them exactly where it is.”

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Finland, oceans, Reference, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia holds the world’s largest stockpile of highly enriched uranium

Phys.org 13th Sept 2017, Russia currently holds the world’s largest stockpile of highly enriched
uranium, a nuclear weapon-usable material, posing significant nuclear
security risks, according to a recent report issued by the International
Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), a group based at Princeton University
and made up of nuclear experts from 16 countries.

The report, “The Use of Highly Enriched Uranium as Fuel in Russia,” provides unprecedented details
of the military and civilian use of highly enriched uranium in Russia—the
only country to produce highly enriched uranium as an export. Russia’s
stockpile of highly enriched uranium is estimated to be about 680 tons, and
as of 2017, Russia is estimated to use about 8.5 tons of highly enriched
uranium annually, a large fraction of which is weapon-grade material.
Likewise, Russia currently operates more highly enriched uranium facilities
than the rest of the world combined, creating substantial nuclear security
risks.
https://phys.org/news/2017-09-russia-stockpiles-highly-enriched-uranium.html

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Russia, Uranium | Leave a comment

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, warns against escalating nuclear crisis: more sanctions on North Korea are useless,

North Korea nuclear crisis: Putin warns of planetary catastrophe  As Kim Jong-un reportedly prepares further missile launch, Russian president says further sanctions would be ‘useless’, Guardian, Justin McCurry in Tokyo and Tom Phillips in Beijing, 6 Sept 17, The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has warned that the escalating North Korean crisis could cause a “planetary catastrophe” and huge loss of life, and described US proposals for further sanctions on Pyongyang as “useless”.

“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” he told reporters in China. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”

On Sunday, North Korea carried out its sixth and by far its most powerful nuclear test to date. The underground blast triggered a magnitude-6.3 earthquake and was more powerful than the bombs dropped by the US on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the second world war.

Putin was attending the Brics summit, bringing together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Speaking on Tuesday, the final day of the summit in Xiamen, China, he said Russia condemned North Korea’s provocations but said further sanctions would be useless and ineffective, describing the measures as a “road to nowhere”.

Foreign interventions in Iraq and Libya had convinced the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, that he needed nuclear weapons to survive, Putin said.

“We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged … We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq.

“They will eat grass but will not stop their [nuclear] programme as long as they do not feel safe.” …….https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/05/south-korea-minister-redeploying-us-nuclear-weapons-tensions-with-north

September 6, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia | 1 Comment

As USA and South Korea run mock bombing drill, Putin warns on futility of pressuring North Korea

Putin says putting pressure on North Korea is a ‘dead-end road’, By James Griffiths, CNN , 1 Sept 17 

September 2, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment