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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Solar power to take over, on Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland

Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland primed for solar power explosionBellona,  by Charles Digges, Some would be rightly spooked by the idea of electricity produced by a glowing source emanating from Chernobyl, but thanks to a €100 million investment plan, that’s exactly what’s could happen.

It’s not, however, what you think. The electricity will come from a solar park sprouting in the middle of the carcinogenic wastelands surrounding the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster as part of a joint project between a Kiev engineering firm called Rodina Energy Group and Enerparc, a clean energy company based in Hamburg, Germany.

Ukraine’s minister of ecology, Ostap Semerak, announced a plan last July to revitalize the nearly 2000-kilometer swathe of land encircling the plant that gave nuclear disaster its name.

Long lasting radiation in the area makes farming, forestry, hunting, and just about anything else too dangerous, so renewable energy is seen as something productive to do with the huge empty area.

Luckily, all of the transmission lines that were laid to carry electrons from the notorious plant to Ukraine’s major cities – and that helped feed what is now the country’s 50 percent reliance on nuclear energy – remain largely intact.

When it’s done, the solar park could provide half the energy that originally flowed from Chernobyl, marking an inspiring comeback for an area inhabited by dystopian radioactive wild boar……..

the Chernobyl area could end up producing 2.5 gigawatts of solar produced electricity, pumping out half of what Chernobyl uses to produce before it melted down and exploded – with absolutely none of the danger……..

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ­– which financed Chernobyl’s New Containment Structure – is understandably wary of bankrolling projects in a radioactive exclusion zone. The solar farms, after all, are installed and maintained by people.

This poses some very real difficulties. Workers can only spend a limited amount of time in the exclusion zone, so their shifts are short, which means a bigger workforce is required – as is more money to pay them.

Yet they are challenges worth grappling with. If Ukraine manages to create a renewable energy rebirth on the site of the nuclear disaster that helped fell the Soviet Union, it would be a revolution of an altogether different kind.

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December 7, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Risk of Chernobyl sarcophagus collapsing – radiation danger to workers now sealing it

Vice News 5th Dec 2017, Workers at the Chernobyl Power Plant are now facing some of the highest
radiation levels ever while they put the finishing touches on a new
decontamination structure for the world’s worst nuclear disaster. After
the fallout in 1986, workers at the plant built a sarcophagus to contain
the radiation in just three months.

But it was just a quick fix, designed
without future decontamination in mind. And now, after more than 30 years,
it’s at risk of collapse. Workers are sealing the old structure with a
new one they finished building a year ago, called the New Safe Confinement.
They hope it will hold for the next 100 years.
https://news.vice.com/story/inside-the-clean-up-of-chernobyl-the-worlds-worst-nuclear-disaster

December 7, 2017 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

£1.3bn Chernobyl New Safe Confinement planned for completion this year

BBC 17th Oct 2017, A manufacturer from Torfaen is helping to dismantle the remains of the
Chernobyl nuclear power station. A concrete and steel arch will cover the
reactor which was destroyed in the 1986 disaster. Pontypool-based
manufacturer Flamgard Calidair has developed fire and shut off dampers for
the project, known as the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement. The £1.3bn
(€1.5bn) building is set to be completed before Christmas 2017.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-41654257

October 20, 2017 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017

Small modular reactors won’t be able to compete with natural gas plants combined with renewables unless and until they get enough orders to justify building factories to manufacture them in a mass production environment.

Holtec Opens SMR Manufacturing Center in New Jersey

In September Holtec announced the grand opening of a $360M, 50 acre SMR manufacturing center in Camden, N.J. The firm was incentivized by the State of New Jersey to locate there with $260M in tax breaks.  According to Holtec the Camden plant will eventually employ up to 1,000 people……….

Dr. Singh, Holtec’s President and CEO, declared the factory to be “Ground Zero” for the renaissance of nuclear energy and heavy manufacturing in America.

“It will serve as the launching pad for the regeneration of manufacturing in the United States.”

He added, “We will build nuclear reactors here, and they will sail from the port of Camden to hundreds of places around the world.”

Is Holtec Headed for Ukraine to Manufacture SMRs for Europe & Asia?

The maturing of an American supply chain to support mass production of components for SMRs might develop, but not all of it may be in the U.S. Holtec International, is reportedto be in talks about planning to arrange the production of small modular reactors (SMRs) for nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and for export to Europe and Asia.

The Interfax wire service report, which was not confirmed by Holtec, comes on the heels of the firm’s grand opening of a $360M nuclear energy component manufacturing center in Camden, NJ. It is the second report in three months providing details of Holtec International’s discussions with Energoatom. However, a spokesperson for Holtec declined to comment on these discussions as reported by Interfax.

The Intefax report quotes Energoatom National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine President Yuriy Nedashkovsky who said,

“There is a very interesting offer made by Holtec International CEO Kris Singh to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko  – to create a hub in Ukraine, distributing small modular reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the localization of production and a large number of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.”

According to Nedashkovsky, Ukraine’s Turboatom has already been involved in the project, as it has the required turbines in its production line.

“This project has already been developed conceptually. The launch of licensing procedures (in the U.S.) is expected next year, and an active phase of construction – approximately in 2023.”  Nedashkovsky added.

Talking of the long-term prospects, Nedashkovsky noted that the demand for small modular reactors after 2025 was estimated to grow over time.

Is the Ukraine SMR Story Ahead of Holtec’s Headlights?

What’s unclear is whether Nedashkovsky was speaking off-the-top-of-his-head, commenting officially on behalf of Holtec International, Continue reading

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Holtec planning to build small nuclear reactors in Ukraine

HOLTEC TO START ACTIVE PHASE OF BUILDING SMALL REACTORS SMR-160 IN 2023 WITH POSSIBILITY OF LOCALIZATION IN UKRAINE http://open4business.com.ua/holtec-start-active-phase-building-small-reactors-smr-160-2023-possibility-localization-ukraine/  11 SEP , 2017

KYIV. Sept 11 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Holtec International (the United States) in 2023 will start the active phase of building small module reactors SMR-160, President of Ukrainian National Nuclear Generating Company Yuriy Nedashkovsky said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new plant of the company in New Jersey (the United States).
According to a posting on the website of Energoatom, Nedashkovsky said that earlier President of Holtec International Chris Singh made a proposal to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to create a hub in Ukraine to sell small module reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa with localization of production facilities and the large amount of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.
Nedashkovsky said that Kharkiv-based Turboatom has turbines suiting SMR-160. There is a chance of attracting other Ukrainian enterprises to the project.
He said that the start of licensing of SMR-160 could start in 2018.
He said that SMR-160 reactors are rather cheap compared to more powerful reactors. They can be installed in small areas and do not require powerful lines. Nedashkovsky said that the need in SMR-160 after 2025 is estimated at $1 trillion.
“These reactors have an increased level of safety due to the fact that they use passive safety systems: that is it has no pumping equipment, reinforcement and other things which require external power supply,” the president of Energoatom said.
The plant, built by Holtec in New Jersey, is mainly focused on two spheres: production of container fleet for spent nuclear fuel, as well as vessels for small modular reactors of the SMR-160 project.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Looking after Chernobyl’s radioactive puppies

The Puppies of Chernobyl

 

HUNDREDS OF RADIOACTIVE PUPPIES JUST GOT SPAYED, NEUTERED AT CHERNOBYL DISASTER SITE http://www.newsweek.com/hundreds-puppies-got-spayed-and-neutered-chernobyl-year-669093, BY KATE SHERIDAN An American nonprofit organization, Clean Futures Fund, has started a spay and neuter clinic for the four-legged descendants of survivors of one of history’s worst nuclear disasters.

After the Chernobyl nuclear reactor melted down on April 26, 1986, some dogs and cats left behind survived and began to breed. More than 400 animals were spayed and neutered in the first year of the clinic’s operation at the former reactor, which ended earlier this month.

The laws governing the exclusion zone around Chernobyl strongly advise people to avoid feeding or touching the dogs, due to the risk of contamination. Not only is the dogs’ fur potentially loaded with radioactive particles, but their food and water is contaminated. The radioactive molecules they ingest may also linger in their bodies.

“We could find areas in their bones where radioisotopes had accumulated. We could survey the bones and we could see the radioactivity in them,” a Clean Futures Fund co-founder, Lucas Hixson, told Newsweek. The program funds medical treatment for locals in addition to running the spay and neuter program at the power plant and in the neighboring city.

“These dogs run through [contaminated areas] and it gets stuck on their coat and on the end of their noses and their feet.”

There are nearly 1,000 dogs in the area around the power plant. Only a few dozen cats live in the highly contaminated areas that the dogs frequent.

Hixson has been traveling to Chernobyl for about five years, initially as a radiation specialist. “I go over there expecting to do my work, and I step off the train at the power plant and there’s a dog in my face. Honestly, it was one of the last things I expected to see at Chernobyl,” he said.

To keep the veterinary hospital as free from radioactive contamination as possible, dogs that come to the facility are examined and washed down until their levels of radioactivity are deemed safe.

Despite the potential risk, Hixson said he’s continued to interact with the dogs. “There is a fair amount of handling that happens. This is a natural reaction between humans and dogs,” he said. “You can’t help yourself.”

“They’re not hazardous to your immediate health and wellbeing. But anytime you go pet the dogs, go wash your hands afterwards before you eat.”

Clean Futures Fund got approval from the Ukranian government for its operations. Other partners include SPCA International, Dogs Trust and two U.S. universities, including Worchester Polytechnic Institute and the University of South Carolina.

Hixson also noted the local workers have welcomed the team. “I remember there was a lot of skepticism when we showed up,” he said. “But after about two or three days of us catching dogs, processing them, releasing them, the attitude immediately changed,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for everything they did.”

Even if every dog and cat in Chernobyl is sterilized and vaccinated, the wider stray dog issue in Ukraine means that more dogs could move into the contaminated area and Clean Futures Fund’s efforts could be somewhat for naught. Ultimately, Hixson would like to work with the Ukranian government on a wider rescue program to get the dogs out of the area and into homes.

He will be returning in November to measure the impact of the program, which is expected to run for five years. The next spay and neuter clinic will happen next summer.

September 23, 2017 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Radioactive tourism in Ukraine

HOW RADIOACTIVE UKRAINE IS BRINGING IN THE TOURISTS, FINANCIAL REVIEW  AUG 4 2017 A
by Cheryl L. Reed

The button that could have started a nuclear holocaust is grey – not red.

I learned this after climbing into a nuclear rocket command silo, 12 floors below ground, and sitting in the same green chair at the same yellow metal console at which former Soviet officers once presided.

Here, they practised entering secret codes into their grey keyboards, pushing the launch button and turning a key – all within seven seconds – to fire up to 10 ballistic missiles. The officers never knew what day their practice codes might become real, nor did they know their targets.

This base in Pervomaysk, Ukraine – about a four-hour drive from Kiev – once had 86 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of destroying cities in Europe and the United States. Though the nuclear warheads have been removed, the command silo with much of its equipment, giant trucks that carried the rockets to the base and an empty silo were preserved so that people could see what had been secretly going on at nuclear missile bases in the former Soviet Union.

Tourists go to Paris to marvel at the majesty of the Eiffel Tower, to Rome to stroll the cobbled streets of the Vatican, to Moscow to behold the magnificent domes of Red Square. And while Ukraine has its own plethora of domed cathedrals, including monasteries with underground caves, thousands of tourists are trekking to this country for a uniquely Soviet experience.

Here, they stand outside an exploded nuclear reactor at Chernobyl and rifle through the remains of a nearby abandoned city – Geiger counter in hand. In Chernobyl’s shadow, they marvel at the giant “Moscow Eye”, an anti-ballistic-missile detector that rises 50 storeys high and looks like a giant roller coaster.

Every day, a handful of travel companies ferry mostly foreigners to Chernobyl’s 30-kilometre “exclusion zone”. In 2016, Solo East Travel hauled 7500 people there, up from only one trip in 2000………

The museum tour guides are all former Soviet officers who once worked at the missile base. Ours, Gennadiy Fil’, once manned the nuclear controls. When American tourists dallied, snapping photos of the rockets above ground, he barked, “Ledz go!”

Then he darted through a heavy door of a squat building, down a series of winding stairs and through an underground tunnel, navigating by memory through the narrow, 150-metre-long passageway to the control centre in a silo. The narrow cylinder is suspended from the ground – theoretically, to withstand the shock of a counter-attack…….

No moral objections

Fil’, 55, said he never knew when he would be ordered to input real codes. It was his job, he said, shrugging. He said he had no moral objections to pushing the button. Launching nuclear missiles was a “political decision”, something that people on top of the ground decided, not him……..

In 1994, three years after Ukraine became independent, it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty and agreed to dismantle its 1900 Soviet missiles. At the time, Ukraine boasted the world’s third-largest stockpile of nuclear warheads after Russia and the United States. Ukraine shipped its nuclear warheads to Russia and dismantled its silos, often blowing them up or filling them with cement. The control silo at Pervomaysk was the only one spared – so it could become a museum. The 46th Rocket Division, part of the 43rd Rocket Army, was disbanded in 2001……..

Nuclear ghost town

The city of Pripyat was once a secret Soviet city, closed to anyone but workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor and their families. Now the city, an hour-and-a-half drive from Kiev, is a nuclear ghost town. Forty-nine thousand people were forced to evacuate the day after Chernobyl’s Reactor No.4 exploded on April 26, 1986.

Nearly all the first responders and soldiers died from radiation poisoning while trying to contain the graphite fire and the radioactive particles spewing from the destroyed reactor, explained Bodnarchuk, our tour guide. Officially, only 31 firemen and soldiers were killed. But some believe that the disaster claimed at least 10,000 lives as wind carried radioactive material into Belarus and Northern Europe.

Even though critics have said that the designs of Chernobyl are outmoded and inherently unsafe, Russia reportedly is still using 11 similar nuclear reactors.

Today, visitors can stand across the street from the damaged reactor at Chernobyl, which recently was covered by a huge, $US2.3 billion shield. But the highlight of the tour is, by far, the crumbling city of Pripyat. Though tour operators are warned to stay out of Pripyat’s buildings, tourists routinely stomp through the city, including the hospital where dying first responders were taken……..

driving through the red forest near the Chernobyl reactor – where the radiation burned up all the trees, which were then bulldozed and buried. Our Geiger counters went crazy as we drove through the new-growth forest, registering 26 sieverts per hour.

Our guide tried to calm fears about our exposure to radiation by assuring us that any high levels on our body would be detected by the machines we had to pass through on the way out of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. Those machines – old Soviet steel contraptions that look like retro airport metal detectors – hardly inspire confidence……..http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/travel/how-radioactive-ukraine-is-bringing-in-the-tourists-20170729-gxlk6k

August 5, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, marketing, Ukraine | Leave a comment

HBO announces five-part miniseries on Chernobyl accident

  https://www.apnews.com/70c22c24c7d343118dedd9cf82f94124BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — HBO says production will begin next year on a miniseries about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The five-part series will star Jared Harris as a Soviet scientist tapped by the Kremlin to investigate the accident.

The series will dramatize the events of the 1986 Ukrainian nuclear catastrophe that resulted in widespread radioactive fallout. Thirty people were killed and more than 100,000 had to be relocated.

HBO announced at the Television Critics Association’s summer meeting on Wednesday that production on “Chernobyl” is set to begin in Lithuania in spring of 2018.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s dangerous nuclear industry: theft of 100s of containers with radioactive materials

Specter of Chernobyl: Ukraine ‘Losing Control’ of Its Nuclear Facilities https://sputniknews.com/europe/201707191055679086-ukraine-radioactivity-theft/ 19.07.2017 Hundreds of containers with radioactive materials inside have been reportedly stolen from a nuclear storage facility in central Ukraine. An expert told Sputnik about the consequences this and other such cases could have for people in and outside the country.

According to 1+1 TV channel, the containers with Cesium-137-contaminated soil and metals, which had spent the past 30 years buried at an unguarded storage site near the city of Krapivnitsky in Kirovograd region, were supposed to stay there for at least 300 years more.After the unknown thieves dug up the containers, the radiation level in the area jumped 10 times above normal.

In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Valery Menshikov, a member of the Environmental Policy Center in Moscow, shared his fears about the dangerous situation in Ukraine.

“What is now happening is Ukraine is bedlam, period. The stringent Soviet-era controls are gone and not only there. All nuclear storage facilities in Ukraine pose a very serious radiation threat. It’s a very alarming situation we have there now,” Menshikov warned.

He underscored the need to place such nuclear storage sites under strict control.

“Such places must be fenced off, have adequate alarm systems, etc. However, it looks like [the Krapivnitsky facility] had none of these things. In addition to vials with Cesium, there was also metal there and this metal could now be used in construction or smelted, which means that radiation will keep spreading,” Valery Menshikov added.

He blamed the sorry state of Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector on the erratic policy of the Kiev government.

“There are regulations, both domestic and international, drawn up by the IAEA, but the problem is that the current political situation in Ukraine has made it possible to get rid of experienced managers and specialists  in the nuclear energy and other economic sectors and replace them (with incompetent ones),” Valery Menshikov emphasized.

“The loss of radiation safety is also evident at Ukrainian nuclear power plants, hence the strange things that keep happening there,” Menshikov concluded.

Ukraine’s nuclear industry has been in dire straits since Kiev ended nuclear energy cooperation with Russia in 2015 and specialists fear that the recurrent cases of thefts of radioactive materials and lax security at the country’s nuclear facilities are dangerously fraught with a repetition of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Solar park for Chernobyl nuclear site

Chernobyl nuclear reactor slated for billion-pound solar park despite radiation fears
Chernobyl was the scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, Independent, Fiona Keating, 10 July 17 Ukraine is in talks with one of France’s biggest energy businesses to construct a £969m solar facility at the derelict Chernobyl nuclear reactor plant and its surrounding area.

Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of ecology, said Engie is starting a pre-feasibility survey, bankrolled by the French government, next week. The results should be published by the end of the year.

“France’s experience in nuclear is one of the reasons that we wanted to work with them,” Mr Semerak told The Washington Post. “They approached us after we announced our intention to develop renewables in Chernobyl.”   An Engie spokesman verified that the company is in consultation with the Ukrainian government but refused to reveal any further details on the project.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Forest fire near Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Ukrainian Firefighters Battle Forest Fire Near Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, https://www.rferl.org/a/firefighters-battle-forest-fire-near-chernobyl/28588006.html   June 30, 2017   RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, Ukrainian firefighters are battling to contain a forest fire inside the irradiated exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, officials say.

The fire erupted around midday on June 29 during tree cutting works at the Lubyanskoye Forestry and spread to an area of some 25 hectares by early June 30, the emergency services said.

More than 100 firefighters and scores of trucks and aircraft were dispatched to the area, a statement said.

It is not the first wildfire to break out near the site of the 1986 reactor explosion and fire, the world’s worst civilian nuclear disaster. In 2015 alone, fires engulfed some 400 hectares of forests in the exclusion zone.

July 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Cyber attack knocks out the radiation monitoring system of Chernobyl nuclear plant

Chernobyl nuclear plant’s radiation monitoring hit by cyber attack: Officials http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/jun/28/chernobyl-nuclear-plants-radiation-monitoring-hit-by-cyber-attack-officials-1621663.html  By AFP  28th June 2017 UKRAINE: The radiation monitoring system at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear site has been taken offline after a massive cyber attack, forcing employees to use hand-held counters to measure levels, officials said on Tuesday.

“Due to the cyber attack, the website of the Chernobyl nuclear plant is not working,” said Ukraine’s exclusion zone agency which oversees the Soviet plant that exploded in 1986 and is now surrounded by an uninhabited contaminated zone.

“Due to the temporary shutdown of the Windows system, the radiation monitoring of the industrial area is being done manually,” the agency said on its website.

“That means that our measurers go out with hand-held meters on the Chernobyl plant like it was decades ago,” a spokeswoman for the agency, Olena Kovalchuk, told AFP.

The plant’s destroyed reactor was enclosed in a huge metal structure last year in a bid to stop radiation leaks at the site, where more than 200 tonnes of uranium remain.

 Ukraine, along with Russia and companies across Europe, was hit on Tuesday in a wave of cyberattacks which IT experts identified as a modified version of the Petya ransomware that struck last year.

Ukraine’s exclusion zone agency said that Chernobyl’s “technological systems are working as usual” and that radiation control is “without delays”.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Media coverage of Ukraine dictated by USA political interests?

It also remains a question why the U.S. mainstream media feels that it must protect the American people from alternative views even as the risks of nuclear confrontation escalate.

Why Don’t the U.S. Mainstream Media Report Vladimir Putin’s Take on the Ukraine Crisis? http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_doesnt_mainstream_media_report_putins_take_on_ukraine_20170614 By Robert Parry / ConsortiumnewsA prime example of how today’s mainstream media paradigm works in the U.S. is the case of Ukraine, where Americans have been shielded from evidence that the 2014 ouster of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych was a U.S.-supported coup d’etat spearheaded by violent neo-Nazi extremists.

As The New York Times has instructed us, there was no coup in Ukraine; there was no U.S. interference; and there weren’t even that many neo-Nazis. And, the ensuing civil conflict wasn’t a resistance among Yanukovych’s supporters to his illegal ouster; no, it was “Russian aggression” or a “Russian invasion.”

If you deviate from this groupthink – if you point out how U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland talked about the U.S. spending $5 billion on Ukraine; if you mention her pre-coup intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who the new leaders would be and how “to glue” or how “to “midwife this thing”; if you note how Nuland and Sen. John McCain urged on the violent anti-Yanukovych protesters; if you recognize that snipers firing from far-right-controlled buildings killed both police and protesters to provoke the climactic ouster of Yanukovych; and if you think all that indeed looks like a coup – you obviously are the victim of “Russian propaganda and disinformation.”

But most Americans probably haven’t heard any of that evidence revealing a coup, thanks to the mainstream U.S. media, which has essentially banned those deviant facts from the public discourse. If they are mentioned at all, they are lumped together with “fake news” amid the reassuring hope that soon there will be algorithms to purge such troublesome information from the Internet.

So, if Americans tune in to Part Three of Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews” on “Showtime” and hear Russian President Vladimir Putin explain his perspective on the Ukraine crisis, they may become alarmed that Putin, leader of a nuclear-armed country, is delusional.

A Nuanced Perspective

In reality, Putin’s account of the Ukraine crisis is fairly nuanced. He notes that there was genuine popular anger over the corruption that came to dominate Ukraine after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 and the selling off of the nation’s assets to well-connected “oligarchs.”

Putin recognizes that many Ukrainians felt that an association with the European Union could help solve their problems. But that created a problem for Russia because of the absence of tariffs between Russia and Ukraine and concerns about the future of bilateral trade that is especially important to Ukraine, which stood to lose some $160 billion.

When Yanukovych decided to postpone the E.U. agreement so he could iron out that problem, protests erupted, Putin said. But — from that point on — Putin’s narrative deviates from what the U.S. government and mainstream media tell the American people.

“Our European and American partners managed to mount this horse of discontent of the people and instead of trying to find out what was really happening, they decided to support the coup d’etat,” Putin said.

Contrary to the U.S. claims blaming Yanukovych for the violence in the Maidan protests, Putin said, “Yanukovych didn’t give an order to use weapons against civilians. And incidentally, our Western partners, including the United States, asked us to influence him so that he did not give any orders to use weapons. They told us, ‘We ask you to prevent President Yanukovych from using the armed forces.’ And they promised … they were going to do everything for the opposition to clear the squares and the administrative buildings.

“We said, ‘Very well, that is a good proposal. We are going to work on it.’ And, as you know, President Yanukovych didn’t resort to using the Armed Forces. And President Yanukovych said that he couldn’t imagine any other way of dealing with this situation. He couldn’t sign an order on the use of weapons.”

Though Putin did not specifically finger blame for the sniper fire on Feb. 20, 2014, which killed more than a dozen police and scores of protesters, he said, “Well, who could have placed these snipers? Interested parties, parties who wanted to escalate the situation. … We have information available to us that armed groups were trained in the western parts of Ukraine itself, in Poland, and in a number of other places.”

After the bloodshed of Feb. 20, Yanukovych and opposition leaders on Feb. 21 signed an accord, brokered and guaranteed by three European governments, for early elections and, in the meantime, a reduction of Yanukovych’s powers.

Ignoring a Political Deal

But the opposition, led by neo-Nazi and other extreme nationalist street fighters, brushed aside the agreement and escalated their seizing of government buildings, although The New York Times and other U.S. accounts would have the American people believe that Yanukovych simply abandoned his office.

“That’s the version used to justify the support granted to the coup,” Putin said. “Once the President left for Kharkov, the second largest city in the country to attend an internal political event, armed men seized the Presidential Residence. Imagine something like that in the U.S., if the White House was seized, what would you call that? A coup d’etat? Or say that they just came to sweep the floors?

“The Prosecutor General was shot at, one of the security officers was wounded. And the motorcade of President Yanukovych himself was shot at. So it’s nothing short of an armed seizure of power. Moreover, one day afterwards he used our support and relocated to Crimea (where he stayed for more than a week) thinking that there was still a chance that those who put their signatures on the (Feb. 21) agreement with the opposition would make an attempt to settle this conflict by civilized democratic legal means. But that never happened and it became clear that if he were taken he would be killed.

“Everything can be perverted and distorted, millions of people can be deceived, if you use the monopoly of the media. But in the end, I believe that for an impartial spectator it is clear what has happened – a coup d’etat had taken place.”

Putin noted how the new regime in Kiev immediately sought to limit use of the Russian language and allowed extreme nationalist elements to move against eastern provinces known as the Donbass where ethnic Russians were the vast majority of the population.

Putin continued, “First, there were attempts at arresting them [ethnic Russians] using the police, but the police defected to their side quite quickly. Then the central authorities started to use Special Forces and in the night, people were snatched and taken to prison. Certainly, people in Donbass, after that, they took up arms.

“But once this happened, hostilities started so instead of engaging in dialogue with people in the southeast part of Ukraine, they [Ukraine government officials] used Special Forces, and started to use weapons directly – tanks and even military aircraft. There were strikes from multiple rocket launchers against residential neighborhoods. … We repeatedly appealed to this new leadership asking them to abstain from extreme actions.”

However, the civil conflict only grew worse with thousands of people killed in some of the worst violence that Europe has seen since World War II. In the U.S. mainstream media, however, the crisis was blamed entirely on Putin and Russia.

The Crimea Case

As for the so-called “annexation” of Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea that was historically part of Russia and that even after the Soviet break-up hosted a major Russian naval base at Sevastopol, Putin’s account also deviated sharply from what Americans have been told.

When Stone asked about the “annexation,” Putin responded: “We were not the ones to annex Crimea. The citizens of Crimea decided to join Russia. The legitimate parliament of Crimea, which was elected based on the Ukrainian legislation, announced a referendum. The Parliament, by an overwhelming majority, voted to join Russia.

“The coup d’etat in Ukraine was accompanied by a surge in violence. And there was even the threat that violence would be perpetrated by nationalists against Crimea, against those who consider themselves to be Russian and who think Russian is their mother language. And people got concerned — they were preoccupied by their own safety.

“According to the corresponding international agreement [with Ukraine], we had a right to have 20,000 people at our military base in the Crimea. We had to facilitate the work of the Parliament of Crimea, the representative government body, in order for this Parliament to be able to assemble and affect actions in accordance with the law.

“The people had to feel they were safe. Yes, we created conditions for people to go to polling stations, but we did not engage in any hostilities. More than 90 percent of the Crimean population turned out, they voted, and once the ballot was cast, the [Crimean] Parliament, based on the outcome of the referendum, addressed the Russian parliament, asking to incorporate it into the Russian Federation.

“Moreover, Ukraine lost the territory, not due to Russia’s position, but due to the position assumed by those who are living in Crimea. These people didn’t want to live under the banner of nationalists.”

Stone challenged some of Putin’s concerns that Ukraine might have turned the Russian naval base over to NATO. “Even if NATO made an agreement with Ukraine, I still don’t see a threat to Russia with the new weaponry,” Stone said.

Putin responded: “I see a threat. The threat consists in the fact that once NATO comes to this or that country, the political leadership of that country as a whole, along with its population, cannot influence the decisions NATO takes, including the decisions related to stationing the military infrastructure. Even very sensitive weapons systems can be deployed. I’m also talking about the anti-ballistic missile systems.”

Putin also argued that the U.S. government exploited the situation in Ukraine to spread hostile propaganda against Russia, saying:

”Through initiating the crisis in Ukraine, they’ve [American officials] managed to stimulate such an attitude towards Russia, viewing Russia as an enemy, a possible potential aggressor. But very soon everyone is going to understand, that there is no threat whatsoever emanating from Russia, either to the Baltic countries, or to Eastern Europe, or to Western Europe.”

A Dangerous Standoff

Putin shed light, too, on a little-noticed confrontation involving a U.S. destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, that steamed through the Black Sea toward Crimea in the middle of the crisis but turned back when Russian aircraft buzzed the ship and Russia activated its shoreline defense systems.

Stone compared the situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis when a Soviet ship turned back rather than challenge the blockade that President John Kennedy had established around the island. But Putin didn’t see the confrontation with the U.S. destroyers as grave as that.

Putin said, “Once Crimea became a full-fledged part of the Russian Federation, our attitude toward this territory changed dramatically. If we see a threat to our territory, and Crimea is now part of Russia, just as any other country, we will have to protect our territory by all means at our disposal. …

“I wouldn’t draw an analogy with the Cuban Missile Crisis, because back then the world was on the brink of a nuclear apocalypse. Luckily, the situation didn’t go so far this time. Even though we did indeed deploy our most sophisticated, our cutting-edge systems for the coastal defense,” known as the Bastion.

“Certainly – against such missiles as the ones we’ve deployed in Crimea – such a ship as the Destroyer Donald Cook is simply defenseless. … Our Commanders always have the authorization to use any means for the defense of the Russian Federation. … Yes , certainly it would have been very bad. What was the Donald Cook doing so close to our land? Who was trying to provoke whom? And we are determined to protect our territory. …

“Once the destroyer was located and detected, they [the U.S. crew] saw that there was a threat, and the ship itself saw that it was the target of the missile systems. I don’t know who the Captain was, but he showed much restraint, I think he is a responsible man, and a courageous officer to boot. I think it was the right decision that he took. He decided not to escalate the situation. He decided not to proceed. It doesn’t at all mean that it would have been attacked by our missiles, but we had to show them that our coast was protected by the missile systems.

“The Captain sees right away that his ship has become the target of missile systems – he has special equipment to detect such kinds of situations. … But indeed we were brought to the brink, so to speak. … Yes, certainly. We had to respond somehow. Yes, we were open to positive dialogue. We did everything to achieve a political settlement. But they [U.S. officials] had to give their support to this unconstitutional seizure of power. I still wonder why they had to do that?”

It also remains a question why the U.S. mainstream media feels that it must protect the American people from alternative views even as the risks of nuclear confrontation escalate.

Regarding other issues discussed by Putin, click here. For more on Stone’s style in interviewing Putin, click here.

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).

June 19, 2017 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear station – smoke detected at crippled Unit 3

Smoke detected at crippled Chernobyl power plant – Ukraine nuclear watchdog, Rt.com  13 Jun, 2017 Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory body reported smoke at one of the rooms at Unit 3 in Chernobyl, adding that it was briefly “liquidated” by the state emergency personnel and the radiological situation at the site has not changed following the incident.
“At 15:57 pm we’ve received information from Chernobyl nuclear power plant about smoke in room 509 of Power Unit Three. At 16:00 the smoke was liquidated by the State Emergency Service staff,” a statement issued by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine reads.

“The radiological situation in the third power unit and the station’s territory has not changed,” it added.

No further details were immediately available……..https://www.rt.com/news/392114-smoke-chernobyl-nuclear-plant/

June 14, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

2,397,863 registered Chernobyl-related health victims. 453,391 ARE CHILDREN

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/04/17/clinic-ukraine-chernobyl-30th-anniversary-health-impact/82892592/  THERE ARE 2,397,863 PEOPLE REGISTERED WITH UKRAINE’S HEALTH MINISTRY TO RECEIVE ONGOING CHERNOBYL-RELATED HEALTH TREATMENT. OF THESE, 453,391 ARE CHILDREN.  Kim Hjelmgaard , USA TODAY There are 2,397,863 people registered with Ukraine’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children — none born at the time of the accident. Their parents were children in 1986. These children have a range of illnesses: respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, eye diseases, blood diseases, cancer, congenital malformations, genetic abnormalities, trauma. 

KIEV, Ukraine — Daryna Bizilya, 10, wants to be a singer. During a visit with her and about a dozen other children at Ukraine’s largest medical clinic for people living with the consequences of Chernobyl, that’s what she did: She sang.

Bizilya walked directly into the middle of the room, signaled to her friend in the corner holding a cellphone to crank up its digital beatbox, and just went for it. She sang with feeling, dramatic facial expressions and large, sweeping arm gestures that occasionally ended with a clenched fist.

This clinic had an elaborate name, even by former Communist-bloc standards — the Institute of Specialized Radiation Protection of the Ukraine Population. It was full of sick children whose entire lives had only known illness.

The halls were long and dark and seemed, however improbably, to be lit chiefly by fading avocado-colored paint. The children’s bedrooms were neat but gloomy. Textbook orphanage-interior. Not every room was heated, and it was cold outside.

The number she performed was by Ukrainian artist Ani Lorak, a hero of Bizilya’s. On her website, Lorak describes herself as the “singer who became the idol of Ukrainians.”

Bizilya, whose favorite subjects are math and English, said she admired Lorak mostly because she “sings from her heart, and she feels her songs with her heart.”

Bizilya has a heart condition brought on by eating contaminated food, her doctors said. Too much physical exercise makes her condition worse.

“They told us at school that some children were left without a home, and that they were very ill,” she said when asked to explain what she knew about Chernobyl. “I would like to help those children who are without parents. There are children in our village like this,” she added.

Daryna does not think of herself as especially ill.

Artemchuk also has ambitions to be a singer.

“Probably a pop singer, like Michael Jackson,” he said.

He had some other things to say: Favorite food (meatballs), soccer team (Dynamo Kiev) and player (Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo).

“The doctor says I have very bad blood circulation,” he suddenly volunteered. “My parents say that Chernobyl was a big disaster and many people perished because of it.”

A girl named Alina Aponchuk, also 14, was too nervous to speak and fiddled with the sleeves of her dress. There was something on her mind. After a few minutes, she said she was going home the next day.

Aponchuk’s doctor said she had two left kidneys, both twice the normal size. She had chronic gastroduodenitis, which produces sharp stomach pains, lethargy and headaches. She also had “vegetative dysfunction,” a nervous system syndrome that causes anxiety, depression and other emotional stresses.

Vadim Bozhenko, the doctor who runs the clinic, said children stay at the institute from a few days to several weeks and all come from areas located on radioactive land.

“The (children) eat and drink contaminated milk products because cattle that live there eat that grass,” he said, adding that the clinic was underfunded by at least 30%.

Looking around the grounds that evoked a disheveled college campus, it was hard to believe the shortfall was that modest.

“Tell them we need beds and blankets,” Bozhenko said. “Tell them the Institute of Specialized Radiation Protection of the Ukraine Population needs this and a lot more.”

May 5, 2017 Posted by | children, PERSONAL STORIES, Ukraine | Leave a comment