HomeNews MediaBlogUkraine’s nuclear energy fixation puts its European financiers to a test http://bankwatch.org/news-media/blog/ukraines-nuclear-energy-fixation-puts-its-european-financiers-test
Ukraine’s nuclear energy fixation puts its European financiers to a test In a meeting today, the Espoo Convention’s Implementation Committee will again discuss Ukraine’s compliance with the Convention’s rules. A look back at the last months does not suggest a positive outcome.
Earlier this year Bankwatch approached the Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, and made a request for documents related to the EUR 300 million Euratom loan for the project. Specifically, we asked for the evidence used by the Commission in making the first EUR 100 million disbursement from the loan.
A decision in this case can take some time, but old nuclear power plants could soon see their lifetimes extended, not only in Ukraine but across the EU. Yet, as we argued in a recent letter to the Espoo Convention’s Implementation Committee, any decision on prolonging the operations of nuclear power units beyond their design lifespan should be subject to a transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) and transboundary public consultations.
The Committee is the only body with the power to rule on violations of the Espoo Convention. It is currently preparing a report for the June 2017 Meeting of the Parties on Ukraine’s adherence to the convention and will meet today, Monday, September 5, in Geneva to discuss the Ukrainian government’s progress (or lack thereof) with implementing the Committee’s requests.
And there is reason to worry. In April 2013 the Committee ruled that Ukraine’s decision to extend the lifetime of its two oldest nuclear units in the Rivne power plant was in breach of the convention and, as argued in our letter, this decision should be considered a precedent applicable to similar cases for the sake of legal certainty and equal treatment.
Unmet loan conditions
International treaties on their own are not the only reason Ukraine is expected to carry out transboundary EIAs before rewriting the expiry dates of its Soviet-era nuclear reactors. Each of the two EUR 300 million loans Ukraine’s nuclear safety upgrade program has received, from Euratom and from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is explicitly conditioned on full compliance with international environmental law, include the Espoo Convention that obliges the engagement with neighbouring countries in decisions on matters related to nuclear energy, such as nuclear units’ lifetime extensions. The European Commission has reiterated this obligation on several occasions.
Nevertheless, so far neither the Espoo Convention ruling in the Rivne case, nor the conditions to the European loans, have stopped Kiev from going ahead with lifetime extensions for two more nuclear units in the South Ukraine station without applying international requirements.
One other nuclear unit, in the Zaporizhia power plant, could see its lifetime extended as early as next week, and the state nuclear regulator contends these decisions fall outside the jurisdiction of the Espoo Convention.
In fact, Ukraine does not even have proper legislation on EIAs at national level. This has allowed Energoatom to release an “EIA report” for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant which ruled out any significant transboundary impacts from the plant’s operations.
Yet, Energoatom’s claims look even more invalid with the latest Espoo Implementation Committee’s ruling on the planned nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C in the UK, stating that a worst-case scenario should be taken into account when considering transboundary impacts.
Moreover, a recent incident in the 29 years old Khmelnitski nuclear power plant is but the latest reminder for the risks in Ukraine. Following a leak of radioactive water, the power station’s unit 1 was shut down for two months. This unit will reach the end of its projected lifetime next year.
According to the state nuclear regulator, the reason for the leak might have been a micro-crack in a tube in the heat exchanger. An expert report released in March 2015 by Bankwatch’s Ukrainian member group NECU has warned of the possible appearance of micro-cracks in the reactor vessel of unit 1 of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant which has been granted a lifetime extension earlier.
The dire financial troubles facing Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom raise additional questions about the government’s blind reliance on this source of energy, and should be another warning sign for Ukraine’s European allies in Brussels and across its borders.
US-Ukraine Coproduction of Weapons to Boost Risk of Nuclear War, http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160830/1044759268/us-ukraine-weapons-production.htmlUS and Ukraine joint production of weapons would seriously boost the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia, global peace campaigner Helen Caldicott told Sputnik. WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Last week, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly proposed that Kiev and Washington should cooperate in producing weapons on Ukraine soil.
When and Why Will Ukrainian Power Grid Collapse – UA Nuclear Reform Group Fort Russ, August 29th, 2016 Translated by Tatzhit Mihail Umanets, co-director of the reform committee for the atomic-industrial complex of Ukraine, and the former director of Chernobyl nuclear power plant:
US Westinghouse gives no confirmation of decision to build nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine,
Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Nasalik earlier announced that Westinghouse and Kiev had reached a deal on building a nuclear fuel factory in Ukraine.
KIEV, August 16. /TASS/. The US-based Westinghouse has not confirmed a decision to finance the construction of a nuclear fuel factory in Ukraine as was previously announced by Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Igor Nasalik.
As Westinghouse Vice-President and Managing Director for Northern and Eastern Europe Aziz Dag told Deutsche Welle publication, surplus capacities for nuclear fuel production can be observed in the world at present and, therefore, the construction of a new factory won’t bring any considerable economic benefits for the country….. http://tass.ru/en/economy/894536
The Danger of Excessive Trump Bashing http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/38405-the-danger-of-excessive-trump-bashing , Consortium News 04 August 16
The prospect of Donald Trump in the White House alarms many people but bashing him over his contrarian views on NATO and U.S.-Russian relations could set the stage for disasters under President Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry. Widespread disdain for Donald Trump and the fear of what his presidency might mean have led to an abandonment of any sense of objectivity by many Trump opponents and, most notably, the mainstream U.S. news media. If Trump is for something, it must be bad and must be transformed into one more club to use for hobbling his candidacy.
While that attitude may be understandable given Trump’s frequently feckless and often offensive behavior – he seems not to know basic facts and insults large swaths of the world’s population – this Trump bashing also has dangerous implications because some of his ideas deserve serious debate rather than blanket dismissal.
Amid his incoherence and insults, Trump has raised valid points on several important questions, such as the risks involved in the voracious expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders and the wisdom of demonizing Russia and its internally popular President Vladimir Putin.
Over the past several years, Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment has pushed a stunning policy of destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia in pursuit of a “regime change” in Moscow. This existentially risky strategy has taken shape with minimal substantive debate behind a “group think” driven by anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda. (All we hear is what’s wrong with Putin and Russia: He doesn’t wear a shirt! He’s the new Hitler! Putin and Trump have a bro-mance! Russian aggression! Their athletes cheat!)
Much as happened in the run-up to the disastrous Iraq War in 2002-2003, the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies bully from the public square anyone who doesn’t share these views. Any effort to put Russia’s behavior in context makes you a “Putin apologist,” just like questioning the Iraq-WMD certainty of last decade made you a “Saddam apologist.”
But this new mindlessness – now justified in part to block Trump’s path to the White House – could very well set the stage for a catastrophic escalation of big-power tensions under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Former Secretary of State Clinton has already surrounded herself with neocons and liberal hawks who favor expanding the war against Syria’s government, want to ratchet up tensions with Iran, and favor shipping arms to the right-wing and virulently anti-Russian regime in Ukraine, which came to power in a 2014 coup supported by U.S. policymakers and money.
By lumping Trump’s few reasonable points together with his nonsensical comments – and making anti-Russian propaganda the only basis for any public debate – Democrats and the anti-Trump press are pushing the United States toward a conflict with Russia.
And, for a U.S. press corps that prides itself on its “objectivity,” this blatantly biased approach toward a nominee of a major political party is remarkably unprofessional. But the principle of objectivity has been long since abandoned as the mainstream U.S. media transformed itself into little more than an outlet for U.S. government foreign-policy narratives, no matter how dishonest or implausible.
To conform with the neocon-driven narratives, much recent history has been lost. For instance, few Americans realize that some of President Barack Obama’s most notable foreign policy achievements resulted from cooperation with Putin and Russia, arguably more so than any other “friendly” leader or “allied” nation.
For instance, in summer 2013, Obama was under intense neocon/liberal-hawk pressure to bomb the Syrian military supposedly for crossing his “red line” against the use of chemical weapons after a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2103.
Yet, hearing doubts from the U.S. intelligence community about the Assad regime’s guilt, Obama balked at a military strike that – we now know – would have played into the hands of Syrian jihadists who some intelligence analysts believe were the ones behind the false-flag sarin attack to trick the United States into directly intervening in the civil war on their side.
But Obama still needed a path out of the corner that he had painted himself into and it was provided by Putin and Russia pressuring Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons, a clear victory for Obama regardless of who was behind the sarin attack.
Putin and Russia helped Obama again in convincing Iran to accept tight restraints on its nuclear program, an agreement that may mark Obama’s most significant foreign policy success. Those negotiations came to life in 2013 (not coincidentally after Secretary of State Clinton, who allied herself more with the bomb-bomb-bomb Iran faction led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had resigned and was replaced by John Kerry).
As the negotiating process evolved, Russia played a key role in bringing Iran along, offering ways for Iran to rid itself of its processed nuclear stockpiles and get the medical research materials it needed. Without the assistance of Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the landmark Iranian nuclear deal might never have happened.
Obama recognized the value of this Russian help but he also understood the political price that he would pay if he were closely associated with Putin, who was already undergoing a thorough demonization in the U.S. and European mainstream media. So, Obama mostly worked with Putin under the table while joining in the ostracism of Putin above the table.
But Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment – and its allied mainstream media – check-mated Obama’s double-talking game in 2013 by aggressively supporting a regime-change strategy in Ukraine where pro-Russian elected President Viktor Yanukovych was under mounting pressure from western Ukrainians who wanted closer ties to Europe and who hated Russia.
Leading neocon thinkers unveiled their new Ukraine strategy shortly after Putin helped scuttle their dreams for a major bombing campaign against Assad’s regime in Syria. Since the 1990s, the neocons had targeted the Assad dynasty – along with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq and the Shiite-controlled government in Iran – for “regime change.” The neocons got their way in Iraq in 2003 but their program stalled because of the disastrous Iraq War.
However, in 2013, the neocons saw their path forward open again in Syria, especially after the sarin attack, which killed hundreds of civilians and was blamed on Assad in a media-driven rush to judgment. Obama’s hesitancy to strike and then Putin’s assistance in giving Obama a way out left the neocons furious. They began to recognize the need to remove Putin if they were to proceed with their Mideast “regime change” dreams.
In late September 2013 – a month after Obama ditched the plans to bomb Syria – neocon National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman wrote in The Washington Post that Ukraine was now “the biggest prize” but also was a steppingstone toward the even bigger “regime change” prize in Moscow. Gershman, whose NED is funded by Congress, wrote:
“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
By late 2013 and early 2014, with Gershman’s NED financing Ukraine’s anti-government activists and journalists and with the open encouragement of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain, the prospects for “regime change” in Ukraine were brightening. With neo-Nazi and other Ukrainian ultra-nationalists firebombing police, the political crisis in Kiev deepened.
Meanwhile, Putin was focused on the Sochi Winter Olympics and the threat that the games could be disrupted by terrorism. So, with the Kremlin distracted, Ukraine’s Yanukovych tried to fend off his political crisis while limiting the violence.
However, on Feb. 20, 2014, snipers fired on both police and protesters in the Maidan square and the Western media jumped to the conclusion that Yanukovych was responsible (even though later investigations have indicated that the sniper attack was more likely carried out by neo-Nazi groups to provoke the chaos that followed).
A Successful Coup
On Feb. 21, a shaken Yanukovych agreed to a European-brokered deal in which he surrendered some of his powers and agreed to early elections. He also succumbed to Western pressure that he pull back his police. However, on Feb. 22, the neo-Nazis and other militants seized on that opening to take over government buildings and force Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives.
The U.S. State Department and its Western allies quickly recognized the coup regime as the “legitimate” government of Ukraine. But the coup provoked resistance from the ethnic Russian populations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, political uprisings that the new Kiev regime denounced as “terrorist” and countered with an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” or ATO.
When Russian troops – already in Crimea as part of the Sevastopol naval basing agreement – protected the people on the peninsula from attacks by the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, the intervention was denounced in the West as a “Russian invasion.” Crimean authorities also organized a referendum in which more than 80 percent of the voters participated and favored leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia by a 96 percent margin. When Moscow agreed, that became “Russian aggression.”
Although the Kremlin refused appeals from eastern Ukraine for a similar arrangement, Russia provided some assistance to the rebels resisting the new authorities in Ukraine. Those rebels then declared their own autonomous republics.
Although this historical reality – if understood by the American people – would put the Ukrainian crisis in a very different context, it has been effectively blacked out of what the American public is allowed to hear. All the mainstream media talks about is “Russian aggression” and how Putin provoked the Ukraine crisis as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer Europe.
Trump, in his bumbling way, tries to reference the real history to explain his contrarian views regarding Russia, Ukraine and NATO, but he is confronted by a solid wall of “group think” asserting only one acceptable way to see this complex crisis. Rather than allow a serious debate on these very serious issues, the mainstream U.S. media simply laughs at Trump’s supposed ignorance.
The grave danger from this media behavior is that it will empower the neocons and liberal hawks already nesting inside Hillary Clinton’s campaign to prepare for a new series of geopolitical provocations once Clinton takes office. By opportunistically buying into this neocon pro-war narrative now, Democrats may find themselves with buyer’s remorse as they become the war party of 2017.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Westinghouse To Build Nuclear Fuel Production Unit In Ukraine, Oil PriceBy Zainab Calcuttawala – Aug 04, 2016 The American firm Westinghouse will be building a nuclear fuel production unit in Ukraine in order to help the country reduce its reliance on Russia, according to officials who announced the project on Thursday.Ukraine, which was formerly a Soviet Republic, has been trying to sever ties with Russia since the February 2014 revolution that tore the country apart. The Kremlin-backed president is now in self-imposed exile in Russia, while pro-European Union forces rule the country…….
Nasalyk visited the United States two months ago in an effort to find new sources of fuel and new forms of energy. Towards the end of his visit, he told reporters that Westinghouse would build a nuclear production factory in Ukraine in the future.
Russia has argued in the past that American fuel would be unsafe for nuclear plants built by Soviet scientists who operated under their own guidelines and standards.
“We have agreed to diversify our sources of fuel delivery to nearly half of our nuclear blocks,” Nasalyk said. “And we agreed (for Westinghouse Electric Sweden) to construct a nuclear fuel production facility on the territory of Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s relationship with Russia has been falling apart further in recent days……http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Westinghouse-To-Build-Nuclear-Fuel-Production-Unit-In-Ukraine.html
The Ukrainian Greens Association, a non-profit environmentalist organization, listed the risks in a statement released on Monday.
“We are deeply concerned about plans to build a spent nuclear fuel storage in the upper reaches of the Dnepr River close to densely populated places,” the statement said, citing a speech made by the association’s spokeswoman, Anna Rak, at the first Nuclear Energy Policy Forum in Brussels on June 30.
Rak also emphasized that the government plans “to secretly fast-track the construction of a surface dry, spent nuclear fuel storage system… close to the Dnepr river,” ignoring basic safety standards and “creating the threat of a second Chernobyl.”
Ukraine’s Greens stressed that the decision to build the facility just 70 kilometers away from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone, was taken “without a proper environmental impact assessment and public consultation with the [local] residents.”
They also warned that the contractor for the project, Holtec International, actually lacks sufficient experience while the technology it plans to use in construction has never been tested or tried in any other country.
The association added that the procedure of choosing the contractor was “neither transparent nor open,” warning that Ukraine may once again become a subject to “unpredictable and dangerous nuclear experiments,” apparently referring to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The organization demanded that Ukrainian authorities “ensure that the project complies with all international rules and standards before the construction is launched” and emphasized that the residents of the Kiev region have “an unconditional right” to get all relevant information about the project and to take part in the discussion concerning its construction.
The Ukrainian Greens Association also urged the European Commission, the European Parliament and international environmental bodies to carry out an “independent environmental assessment of the project.”……..https://www.rt.com/news/349590-nuclear-fuel-ukraine-eu/
Nuclear waste stored in ‘shocking’ way 120 miles from Ukrainian front line, Guardian, Arthur Neslen, 13 May 2015, Experts raise concerns over waste stored in the open air at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, as the conflict increases Ukraine’s reliance on power from its ageing plants C
oncerns have been raised by environmentalists and atomic power experts over the way waste is being stored at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, in crisis-ridden Ukraine.
More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are kept inside metal casks within towering concrete containers in an open-air yard close to a perimeter fence at Zaporizhia, the Guardian discovered on a recent visit to the plant, which is 124 miles (200km) from the current front line.
“With a war around the corner, it is shocking that the spent fuel rod containers are standing under the open sky, with just a metal gate and some security guards waltzing up and down for protection,” said Patricia Lorenz, a Friends of the Earth nuclear spokeswoman who visited the plant on a fact-finding mission.
“I have never seen anything like it,” she added. “It is unheard of when, in Germany, interim storage operators have been ordered by the court to terror-proof their casks with roofs and reinforced walls.”
Industry experts said that ideally the waste store would have a secondary containment system such as a roof…….
Plant security at Zaporizhia is now at a ‘high readiness’ level, while air force protection and training exercises have been stepped up. Officials say that if fighting reaches the plant, there are plans for the closure of access roads and deployment of soldiers.
But they say that no containment design could take the stresses of military conflict into account. “Given the current state of warfare, I cannot say what could be done to completely protect installations from attack, except to build them on Mars,” Sergiy Bozhko, the chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) told the Guardian……
Antony Froggatt, a senior research fellow and European nuclear specialist at Chatham House agreed that a secondary containment system would offer greater protection from internal or external explosions.
“It is obvious that if you do not have an array of dry cast [interim] stores with secondary containment around it, then that will have a greater risk of release of radioactive material,” he said…..
Sources at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) told the Guardian that any funding request from Ukraine for such a structure would be seriously considered. The bank has already made €300m available for nuclear lifetime extension programmes in Ukraine, before the regulators have even signed off on them.
We know about the weak links in the plant [security]… But I doubt that that these should be disclosed
A pall was cast over security arrangements at Zaporizhia last May when the plant was the scene of an armed confrontation between security guards and paramilitaries from the ultra-nationalist ‘right sector’, which is allied with neo-Nazi groups. The gunmen reportedly wanted to ‘protect’ the plant from pro-Russian forces, but were stopped by guards at a checkpoint…….
Westinghouse has lobbied the Ukrainian government at ministerial level to commit to buying their fuel for at least five reactors. Plant managers say that it will be used in Zaporizhia by 2017.
But local people in the reactor’s shadow say they fear the consequences of a patched up Soviet-era plant cranking up to generate electricity into the 2020s.
“History teaches us that history doesn’t teach us anything,” Ivanovic said. “Another catastrophe could happen again.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/06/nuclear-waste-stored-in-shocking-way-120-miles-from-ukraine-front-line
Areva’s Incredible Fiasco in Chernobyl http://journaldelenergie.com/nucleaire/arevas-incredible-fiasco-in-chernobyl/
Le 17 février 2016 par Martin Leers INVESTIGATION. The EPR reactor is not Areva’s first failure in the field of nuclear engineering. The French nuclear company was involved in another disgraceful fiasco in Chernobyl, which the press has not wasted any time exposing.
In the heart of the exclusion zone, just 2.5 kilometers from the ruins of Chernobyl’s reactor no. 4, lies a strange pile of concrete boxes, and two horizontal beams with multiple oval holes drilled into them extending for hundreds of meters. This unusual assemblage is called ISF2, which stands for “Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility 2”. It is a nuclear waste storage facility, which Ukraine commissioned Areva to build. The French nuclear group made a major design error in the facility, which has rendered it inoperable. This facility, considered by the international community to be as vital to the nuclear safety of Chernobyl as the giant arch over the damaged reactor, is still not functioning to this day, largely because of Areva’s initial errors.
After the explosion of Chernobyl’s reactor no. 4, 29 years ago, the nuclear power plant, which housed three additional units, continued to operate for more than 14 years. The dismantling of these three reactors and the management of their nuclear waste is the other major project for Chernobyl’s nuclear safety, concurrent with the giant arch meant to cover the “sarcophagus” of the ruined reactor.
Areva pledged to produce a « turnkey » installation where spent nuclear fuel from Chernobyl’s reactors no. 1, 2 and 3 would be stored for at least 100 years
In 1999, Areva’s branch devoted to nuclear reactors and engineering (Areva NP then Framatome) signed a contract with the Ukrainian government corporation Energoatom to build ISF2, a center for dry cask storage where the spent nuclear fuel from Chernobyl’s reactors no. 1, 2 and 3 would be stored for at least 100 years. This marked a first for storing fuel from Soviet-designed RBMK nuclear reactors. Areva pledged to produce a « turnkey facility » by the Summer of 2005 and began construction in the Spring of 2000. This storage facility was financed mainly by 16 donor countries from a fund reserved for “urgent nuclear safety improvements” managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which also contributed to it. The European Union (EU) and nine EU member countries have been major contributors to this fund, which is separate from the fund earmarked for financing works on the containment of reactor no. 4. Continue reading
Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks to restart Russian nuclear fuel deliveries, Tass, June 07,
Energoatom is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked KIEV, June 7. /TASS/. Energoatom, the operator of Ukrainian nuclear power plants, is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked, Energoatom President Yuri Nedashkovsky said in reply to a TASS question on Tuesday.
“Our lawyers are working on possible alternative schemes of fuel deliveries,” he said in comments on the question about whether the company was considering the option of advance deliveries of Russian nuclear fuel with delayed payments for these supplies. The company head didn’t provide any further details, referring to the confidentiality of the information.
No breach of Russia contract with larger Westinghouse fuel load
The larger use of fuel from US Westinghouse Company at Ukrainian nuclear power plants does not breach Ukraine’s contractual obligations with Russia on fuel delivery by Russia’s TVEL Enterprise, President of Ukraine’s NPP operator Energoatom Yuri Nedashkovsky said on Tuesday.
According to the Energoatom president, the contractual obligation to load NPS with nuclear fuel of Russian assembly is relevant only if a nuclear fuel-producing facility is built in Ukraine jointly with Russia’s TVEL.
“The contract with Russia stipulates such a condition [on certain volumes of loading NPPs with Russian fuel assemblies] but only if a nuclear fuel factory is built,” the Energoatom head said.
A nuclear fuel plant that was planned for construction in partnership with Russia in the Kirovograd Region would have been the third source of fuel assembly fabrication for Ukrainian NPPs, Nedashkovsky said.
TVEL Fuel Company Vice-President Oleg Grigoryev earlier said Russia had not received any official notice from Ukraine on loading Westinghouse fuel into the reactors of the South Ukraine NPP. According to him, in case of receiving the notice, “measures of juridical nature will be taken as the load of the US nuclear fuel into Ukrainian reactors is a breach of the contract.”
Energoatom and Westinghouse have been cooperating since 2000 under the project of introducing US fuel at Ukrainian NPPs.
In April 2012, damages of US fuel cassettes were found at the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. A special inter-departmental commission found that the damage had been caused by design defects. In 2014, the Ukrainian leadership readdressed the issue of diversifying nuclear fuel deliveries and the contract with Westinghouse was extended to 2020.
Currently, Westinghouse fuel assemblies are loaded into the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. As Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulation Inspection earlier told TASS, the department “has no principled claims to the operation of Westinghouse fuel at this power unit.”
Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks options for restart of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries…….http://tass.ru/en/economy/880576
https://www.rt.com/business/344821-russia-halts-nuclear-waste-disposal/ 30 May, 2016 Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom has stopped removing spent nuclear fuel from Ukraine because bills have been unpaid, said nuclear decommissioning executive Oleg Kryukov. There are problems related to Ukraine’s payments,” he said, adding that the first shipment of nuclear waste for disposal has been postponed.
Kryukov affirmed the agency plans to continue disposing of nuclear waste already in Russia for processing.
“We have a contract with Ukraine on storing spent nuclear fuel and its recycling. We are going to continue with the contract, although the Ukrainian side plans to build its own warehouse for spent fuel without recycling,” he said on the sidelines of the Atomexpo-2016 forum.
Under the agreement signed between two countries in 1993, Russia supplies reactor fuel to Ukraine and takes spent fuel rods for storage and reprocessing.
A year ago, Ukraine said it planned to invest $25 million in a centralized spent nuclear fuel storage facility at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Kiev is currently trying to attract Western investors to kick-start the project.
“…….Though Chernobyl is in Ukraine, it’s estimated that the prevailing winds resulted in up to 70 per cent of the radioactivity being deposited on Belarus, much of it in the southern region of the country, close to the Ukrainian border.
Undeterred by the legacy of Chernobyl – many here still suffer from cancers and other diseases as a result of what ranks as the world’s worst nuclear accident – Belarus is now building its own nuclear power plant……
The government – for more than 20 years under the firm grip of president Alexander Lukashenko – claims that more than 60 per cent of the country’s 9.5 million approve of the nuclear facility, though no nationwide poll has ever been taken…..
Government critics say no proper public hearings have been held about the plant, and that those who dare to raise objections have been harassed or arrested……..
Critics point out that Belarus will still be reliant on Russia. A Russian state nuclear company has designed and is responsible for much of the construction. Russia will also supply the plant’s nuclear fuel – and deal with the waste.
Neighbouring Lithuania, always suspicious of a government in Minsk it sees as a remnant of the old Soviet order, is deeply concerned about what’s going on. It points out that the plant at Ostrovets is only 20km from the Lithuanian border and only 50km from Vilnius, the capital.
Officials in Vilnius say Belarus has not answered questions about the safety of Ostrovets and is in contravention of international agreements on nuclear facilities. The government in Minsk firmly denies the accusations.
Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarus author and winner of the 2015 Nobel prize for literature for her work on interviewing Chernobyl victims and other writings, has described the nuclear fallout from Chernobyl as an unimaginable disaster for her country.
Back at the new nuclear plant, due to become operational in two years, we are being bombarded with data. So many thousands of tons of concrete, so many tons of steel are being used in its construction.
“What happens if a missile is fired at the plant?” asks one journalist.
“Then we are all in trouble,” comes the reply. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/minsk-letter-belarus-goes-ahead-with-nuclear-power-1.2658040
How Washington Is Fighting For Russia’s Old Europe Energy Market, Forbes, Kenneth Rapoza , 17 May 16
Getting Ukraine to hop on the Westinghouse band wagon was particularly crafty. Either it was simply fantastic timing on the part of Westinghouse, or the U.S. government and the new, post-Euromaidan government of Ukraine colluded to kick Russia to the curb.
“I think that Westinghouse was somehow involved in getting the EC to push Ukraine away from Russia on this front,” says Tomas Vlcek, an nergy security expert based out of Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.
In March 2014, just two months after the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, a European environmentalist group called Bellona sent out stories saying that the Russian government was ready to punish Ukraine with an embargo on nuclear fuel supplies from TVEL.
When compared to what Gazprom has done with gas supplies, Putin ordering a stop on TVEL sales of nuclear fuel assemblies simply sounded like something he would propose. Only, it is not possible to ban nuclear fuel supply. Not only does the fuel rod stay in the reactor for years, someone else can make it for the reactor instead of the Russians. Like Westinghouse.
The Bellona coverage brandished Russia as a villain in the nuclear energy business too. Brussels called for “diversification” in Ukraine’s nuclear fuel market and gave Westinghouse’s European fuel division millions of euros in subsidies for the sake of “energy security”.
The whole shebang had nothing to do with Westinghouse in Pennsylvania. Their spokeswoman said she’s never heard of Bellona. Her colleagues in Europe, on the other hand-
Derek Taylor, the former E.U. civil servant who works at the Brussels branch of Bellona is also a Senior Advisor on energy at Burson-Marsteller which, in turn,is a public affairs firm working for Westinghouse worldwide.
Despite the civil war in East Ukraine, sanctions and Gazprom gas disputes, the Russians have never missed any scheduled nuclear fuel delivery to Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
Westinghouse is more than a brand name American power company. It’s a battering ram used by Washington to promote energy security.
In 2012, Ukraine’s nuclear regulator banned the use of Westinghouse fuel assemblies in the country pending an investigation. Two years later, according to sources in Ukraine, then-Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk consulted Westinghouse on picking a new nuclear safety regulator for his new government.
In 2015 during a scheduled outage at a reactor unit at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, two of the Westinghouse-made fuel assemblies were found to be leaking contrary to Westinghouse’s claims that those were of an ‘improved’ modification to fit the Rosatom VVER-1000 type nuclear reactors there.
Regardless, anti-Russia politics trumps technological problems. Westinghouse is currently planning to deliver five reloads of fuel to the South Ukraine and Zaporizhia nuclear power plants, the company said on April 28, meaning the new regulator has concluded its study and their VVER-1000 fuel assemblies are as good as those made in Russia. Capturing that market, as Toshiba says it will in corporate presentations, serves as a means to punish the Russians. It’s a political convenience the Russian’s are not willing to ignore.
“Our ability to make VVER fuel is not in question,” says Westinghouse Roderick. “We will continue to sell to VVER-1000s. I think it’s good to have competition in that market.”
It is good. Political pressure, whether Russian or American, is probably more harm than good. And it’s going to really irk countries, like Russia, who clearly see it as Washington poking them in the eye on purpose.
Energy security is therefore as much fact as it is fiction. It is as much a means to market Russian rivals as it is to limit the serious role energy politics plays in Russian-European relations.
But derailing nuclear projects while running into technical difficulties with Westinghouse fuel assemblies in Rosatom reactors is a dangerous way to promote energy security there. Paradoxically as it might seem, it plays into Russia’s hands when those projects to work according to plan. The Russians look reliable and solid by comparison.
“On the finance side too, I think Rosatom has Westinghouse beat,” says Jirusek about the Russian company’s ability to finance the construction of a new power plant and long term fuel supply deals.
Apart from Ukraine, where diversification was imposed for political reasons, Rosatom’s TVEL still holds its market share. Japan’s Westinghouse, despite paying no corporate tax in the U.S., will continue applying the pressure with the help of Washington and the U.S. taxpayer.
For the Russia-United States nuclear stand off , once again it is a war of attrition.
On May 12, Toshiba said it is coming back from the brink. It will post an operating profit of $1.1 billion this year after losing $6.6 billion last year due to massive write downs associated with Westinghouse and restructuring costs in the wake of a damaging accounting scandal.
No one should bet that Washington will suddenly stop selling their Westinghouse nukes to the Europeans. They could promote another Japanese-American hybrid, like the General Electric/Hitachi boiled water reactors. Or Oregon-based NuScale, who make a smaller modular reactor that is less capital intensive and is designed to be integrated into a renewable energy grid. But they do not, obviously. It’s not because those are inferior products or even that Europe is currently a pressurized water reactor market. They do it because Westinghouse competes directly with the Russians. That’s what Washington is really after. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/05/17/washingtons-european-energy-security-boondoggle/#4247a5f362ef
The Medical Implications of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-medical-implications-of-the-1986-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster/5521671 Thirty Years Ago, April 1986 By Helen Caldicott Global Research, April 25, 2016 The following text by renowned scientist
and physician Dr. Helen Caldicott on the impacts of the 1986 Chernobyl will be followed in a subsequent article by an analysis of the medical implications of the Fukushima disaster
The only on-site medical and epidemiological data gathered after Chernobyl was released in a report published by the New York Academy of Medicine in 2009 titled “Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” which was gleaned from over 5000 papers published largely in Russian and translated into English.
These studies were gathered mainly from populations residing in the heavily irradiated zones in the Ukraine, Belarus and European Russia. However the Russian government classified all the relevant medical data for 3 years.
The Chernobyl 1986 catastrophe has turned into a new medical experiment conducted on millions of innocent people, much like the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Because, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Security Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and the World Health Organisation never collected data from real patients, instead to their discredit they estimated the number of potential diseases that they derived only from calculations of radioactive releases and extrapolated doses.
Hence it is vitally important to scientifically and epidemiologically document the many illnesses which arose after the accident so that the medical profession can learn from these shocking accidents. These papers presented in the Chernobyl report by the NY Academy of Sciences attempt to do so. Some people say that they are not adequately peer reviewed so they should be ignored, however they are the only on-the-ground documentations of the many illnesses afflicting the irradiated populations
In essence 28 years after the accident, 50% of thirteen European countries are still contaminated by a variety of long-lived radioactive elements and the medical effects are severe in some areas. Before Chernobyl, 80% of the children in Belarus were healthy and now only 20% remain in good health.
Millions of people initially were exposed to very high radiation doses from short-lived radioactive elements so the initial radiation doses were thousands of times higher than doses received 3 years later.
Types of radioactive elements Continue reading
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