South Korea signs $880 million nuclear reactor staffing deal in UAE http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2016/07/25/South-Korea-signs-880-million-nuclear-reactor-staffing-deal-in-UAE/9691469456937/ The reactors, still under construction, are Korean-designed and made. By Ed Adamczyk ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 25 (UPI) — South Korea will manage four nuclear reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates, a deal worth an estimated $880 million, officials said Monday.
Cho Seok, CEO of state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, signed an operation support services agreement in a ceremony Monday to run the four Korean-made reactors at Barakah, UAE.
Construction of the four reactors began in 2009, with the finish of the first scheduled for May 2017. All four are expected to be completed by 2020. At a signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Mohamed al-Hammadi, CEO of the UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., said, “Over the next decade and beyond, the agreement will continue to build on and enhance the existing long-term nuclear energy partnership between the UAE and South Korea.”
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has signed an operating support services deal with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power that will see the company dispatch personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant until 2030.
Under the agreement, the Korean firm will provide main control room operators and local operator to support ENEC’s recently launched local operating subsidiary Nawah Energy Company……http://gulfbusiness.com/korea-hydro-nuclear-power-staff-operate-abu-dhabis-barakah-plant/#.V5UxYtJ97Gg
Despite years of building and development, nuclear power is on the decline in many parts of the world with its share of global electricity decreasing from 18 percent in 1996 to around 11 percent today according to the International Energy Agency.
Nuclear has become unfashionable in several countries not just because of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters: New safety requirements mean the cost of building nuclear facilities has been rapidly mounting.
The cost of the UAE’s Barakah plant is estimated at between US$25 bn and $32 bn, most of it being paid out of state funds. The initial cost estimate of Saudi Arabia’s nuclear programme – involving French, Chinese, Argentinian and South Korean companies building facilities both for power generation and for desalination – is $80 bn.
Energy analysts say that rather than spending billions of dollars on prestige nuclear projects, subsidies should be eliminated to curtail usage and alternative energy sources should be developed.
The use of solar power is still minimal in many countries in the region yet it has enormous potential.
Following the disasters at the Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants, many countries either cancelled or put on hold projects for nuclear power facilities but in the Middle East region at least 25 plants are planned and many more are being talked about.
Some studies indicate that up to a total of 90 nuclear facilities, – both big and small – are in the pipeline………
Opponents of the plans say going nuclear in what is one of the world’s most volatile geopolitical regions poses serious safety and security issues. Among other concerns there are the eye watering costs involved in nuclear building programmes and unresolved problems over radioactive waste disposal.
The nuclear salespeople have been busy across the region in recent years: in the United Arab Emirates, the Barakah nuclear power facility in Abu Dhabi, built and operated by the South Koreans, is due to come on stream next year, aiming to supply up to 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity.
Saudi Arabia plans to have its first nuclear power plant on stream by 2022, with another 15 facilities of varying size in the pipeline. Jordan and Egypt have signed agreements with Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear conglomerate, to build and operate reactors.
Despite recent tensions between Turkey and Russia, Rosatom is continuing construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant on the country’s southern coast.
Tunisia and Algeria have also been in nuclear discussions with the Russians and other suppliers…….. Continue reading
One Year After Iran Nuclear Deal, Sides Remain Compliant but Wary, Voice of America, Chris Hannas July 14, 2016 WASHINGTON— One year ago, exhausted diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers emerged from a meeting at a luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria with what they had been seeking for nearly two years: a comprehensive agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting harsh economic sanctions.
Today, the pact is in effect with clear results on its major components, but there are lingering suspicions on both sides that the other may take advantage and not live up to its responsibilities.
“We need to continue to work and we will continue to work and we have a specially designated ambassador whose day-to-day effort is leading a team to make sure that this deal continues to be lived up to, that we continue to be able to resolve any problems,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.
President Barack Obama called the pact a success, saying, “All of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed.” He said the deal, implemented in January, has pushed the time frame for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon if it violated the agreement from two or three months to “about a year.”
But U.S. opponents of the deal a year ago have not changed their view, that it would not force to Iran to end its military activities in the Mideast or ultimately block it from developing a nuclear weapon………
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini praised the agreement as a path to “a new chapter in international relations” that uses diplomacy to overcome decades of tensions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that while the pact was not perfect, it was an important achievement and represented a foundation for a new diplomatic beginning.
Iran removed thousands of centrifuges that had been used to enrich uranium and shipped out the majority of its existing stockpile. World powers lifted their sanctions, unlocking billions of dollars for Iran and paving the way for new business opportunities there. Last month, U.S. aerospace giant Boeing announced a tentative deal to sell 100 jets to Iran’s state-owned airline.
Throughout the past 12 months, however, officials on both sides, particularly from Iran and the U.S., have spoken about the deal with comments that range from suspicion to outright rejection.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that if the world powers fail to meet their responsibilities, then Iran stands ready to restore its nuclear program. Meanwhile, some members of the U.S. Congress want to ban the United States from purchasing nuclear-related material from Iran, accuse the Obama administration of giving up too much too soon in the negotiations, and are wary about how Iran is spending its newly unlocked money.
Iran has complained that despite the lifting of sanctions that once barred financial institutions from doing business with the country, foreign banks remain reluctant to be involved in transactions…….http://www.voanews.com/content/one-year-after-iran-nuclear-deal-sides-remain-compliant-but-wary/3417840.html
Year after nuclear deal, Iran’s high expectations not met, Christian Science Monitor To sell Iranians on the nuclear deal, President Rouhani promised a new era. But the consensus is it has yet to materialize, and many blame the US. By Scott Peterson, Staff writer JULY 14, 2016 ISTANBUL, TURKEY — Joy erupted on the streets of Tehran a year ago Thursday, when Iran signed a landmark nuclear deal with six world powers hailed as a victory of diplomacy over war.
The deal was marketed by both sides as a “win-win”: Iran would dismantle the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program – minimizing the chance of acquiring a nuclear weapon for at least a decade – in exchange for the lifting of sanctions that crippled its economy.
As jubilant Iranians waved flags and heralded an easing of Iran’s isolation, President Hassan Rouhani promised that “a page has turned in the history of Iran.”
But one year later, the 159-page accord is a study in unmet high expectations for change, as hard-liners in both Iran and the US Congress fight to undermine the deal to ensure as little political benefit as possible for the architects of the accord – Mr. Rouhani and President Barack Obama – as well as for their long-term strategic foes, in Washington and Tehran.
Analysts say the Iranian president promised more than he could deliver.
“Rouhani had no choice other than leveraging pent-up public demands to rally elite support for diplomacy; the hype was as indispensable as its ensuing disillusionment was inevitable,” says Ali Vaez, the senior Iran analyst for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.
“The deal has not ushered in a new era. It is, at best, taking Iran back to where it was before the nuclear crisis,” says Mr. Vaez. “The establishment deemed ending economic isolation as an exigency for preserving its power. Now it fears rapid economic opening could loosen its grip on power.
All sides have strictly adhered to the letter of the deal: Iran has dramatically reduced the scale of its nuclear infrastructure – reconfiguring a heavy water nuclear reactor and a deeply buried uranium enrichment facility, for example – while keeping a limited capacity to produce fuel for nuclear energy. And non-nuclear sanctions have been lifted, partially ushering Iran back into the global economy.
But the deal has not yet enhanced Rouhani’s ability to fulfill his promise of expanding social freedoms, or of creating a less securitized atmosphere. In fact, the opposite may be true, after steady warnings from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, about “infiltration” and “soft war” from the United States and the West.
US and European banks also are proving reluctant to engage with Iran, fearful that non-nuclear US sanctions might bite, thereby depriving Iran of the full hoped-for benefits of the deal. The House is readying new measures this week that will impose further sanctions over terrorism and human rights abuses, or limit Iran’s use of the dollar, all of which the White House says it will veto………..http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2016/0714/Year-after-nuclear-deal-Iran-s-high-expectations-not-met
Iran Nuclear Deal Faces Triple Threat in Congress on Anniversary http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-12/iran-nuclear-deal-faces-triple-threat-in-congress-on-anniversary Kambiz Foroohar kambizf
Three measures seek to derail agreement signed a year ago
Iran says it still waiting for full benefits from the accord
Republican lawmakers are pushing three measures to roll back a nuclear agreement with Iran, while the Obama administration’s lead negotiator for the accord defended its implementation one year after the deal was struck.
Three bills dealing with the agreement, under which Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions, are scheduled for a vote this week in the House of Representatives, where Republicans have a majority. The measures would then go to the Senate, which may not take them up before September.
One of the proposals would impose new sanctions on Iran over any sponsorship of terrorism or human rights violations. Another would bar the purchase from the Islamic Republic of “heavy water,” a non-radioactive byproduct of both the manufacturing of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The third would block Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system, including the use of the dollar.
All three measures have been met with promises of a veto from the White House. Without the Iranian accord, “we would have been forced to confront the reality of how to address Iran’s nuclear program in a world where diplomacy had failed,” Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation, said Tuesday at a Bipartisan Policy Center conference in Washington.
‘No Better Deal’
“There was no better deal to be had,” Mull said. “If Iran continues to meet its obligation and we walk away, we walk away alone. ”
While the U.S. remains concerned about Iran’s missile program, support for terrorism and human rights violations, within the confines of the nuclear agreement, “this deal is working,” Mull added.
After a decade of isolation under U.S.-led international sanctions, Iran is now seeing greater interest from businesses and banks in its $370 billion economy. However, Iranian officials complain that six months after the economic sanctions were eased, the country has yet to witness the financial benefits many predicted.
“Iran has a lot of homework to do,” Mull said.The three bills expected to be voted on this week in the House are in addition to a measure introduced to derail Boeing Co.’s agreement last month to provide 109 aircraft to Iran’s national airline, a deal valued at more than $17.6 billion. That would be the biggest business transaction between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the U.S. hostage crisis.
In issuing its veto threat this week, the White House emphasized that the legislation would undermine the viability of the nuclear agreement.
The deal “is critical to ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain exclusively peaceful, which is profoundly in the national security interest of the U.S. and the international community,” according to the statement.
Germany says forces in Iran trying to torpedo nuclear deal, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-germany-idUSKCN0ZO1F9 8 July 16 Responding to German intelligence agency reports that Iran has been trying to acquire nuclear technology in Germany, Berlin said on Friday that certain forces in Iran may be trying to undermine its nuclear deal with the West.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), said in its annual report that Iranian efforts to illegally procure technology, especially in the nuclear area, had continued at a “high level” in 2015.
A separate report from the intelligence agency in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia this week said it had registered 141 attempts to acquire technology for proliferation purposes last year and that two-thirds of these attempts were linked to Iran.
Asked about the reports on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Germany expected Iran to stick to a United Nations Security Council resolution which sets restrictions on arms-related transfers.
But he also suggested that the procurement attempts may stem from forces in Iran that oppose last year’s nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of western economic sanctions.
“There are forces within Iran for which the policies of the country’s president and foreign minister are a thorn in the eye,” Schaefer said. “They may be trying, one way or another, to undermine or torpedo the nuclear deal and the normalization of relations between us and Iran. We are watching this closely.”But hardline allies of Khamenei, including the elite Revolutionary Guards, are wary of losing their grip in power by opening up to the West and have repeatedly criticized pragmatist President Rouhani’s foreign policy.
Schaefer said Germany had a “great deal of faith” in President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and had the impression that Tehran was doing its best to stick to the deal, which ended a 12-year standoff with the West over the nuclear program.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose power far outweighs that of Iran’s elected officials in parliament or the presidency, gave decisive support to the nuclear deal.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech to parliament on Thursday, said ballistic missile launches carried out by Iran earlier this year were inconsistent with the UN resolution, which calls on Iran to refrain from work on missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.
The NRW intelligence report said procurement efforts in 2015 had been focused on so-called “dual-use” technologies that can be used in both civil and military sectors. While nuclear-related procurement attempts fell slightly, those related to Iran’s missile program rose.
The report said documents had been falsified to suggest technologies were destined for the oil, gas and steel industries. In an apparent attempt to cover its tracks, Iran was seeking to acquire technologies via third countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China, the report said.
The danger of the agreement collapsing, to the detriment of U.S. interests, is now evident. Under the nuclear accord, Iran agreed to constrain its nuclear program in return for economic reprieve from U.S. sanctions. While Iran has so far lived up to its nuclear-related obligations — addressing U.S. concerns over its nuclear program by reducing its number of operating centrifuges, reconfiguring its heavy-water reactor, and permitting an unprecedented inspections regime — the United States has struggled to fulfill its end of the nuclear bargain.
Hard-liners in Iran are touting the sanctions issue as an example of why the United States cannot be trusted.That message is having an effect: Recent pollingindicates that the Iranian people are growing increasingly skeptical that Washington is acting in good faith in meeting its commitments. Iranian moderates who support the accord, meanwhile, risk being undermined by this development. Absent a turn in Iran’s economic fortunes, the hopes and aspirations of the Iranian people will continue to be denied and their political engagement — as evidenced by recent parliamentary elections, in which Iranian hard-liners were dealt a significant defeat — stymied.
To its credit, the Obama administration is actively seeking to resolve concerns over the sanctions-lifting. A few weeks ago, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting of the British Bankers Association to encourage major European banks to re-engage their Iranian counterparts. High-level U.S. officials have likewise been touring the world, seeking to provide practical guidance on what the lifting of sanctions means and the scope of remaining U.S. sanctions. More public written guidance will soon be forthcoming.
But such guidance has been insufficient — and is likely to remain so. Following their meeting with Kerry, most of the banks in attendance stated publicly that they would not engage in Iran-related business for the foreseeable future, due to persistent U.S. sanctions risks. Without major European banks willing to re-engage Iran, financing will be unavailable for some of Iran’s bigger trade and investment opportunities.
The Obama administration needs a new game plan.Just as it expended political capital to secure the deal, it must expend the political capital to sustain it. Otherwise, the administration risks snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory and upending this historic diplomatic achievement.
Such additional steps come in two parts. First, the Obama administration will need to provide detailed written guidance to foreign banks and companies explaining what steps are required to ensure that they do not risk exposure to U.S. sanctions. Absent such guidance, non-U.S. banks and companies will continue to lack the confidence to engage in Iran-related dealings.
The Obama administration reportedly has been reluctant to provide the level of detail necessary to instill confidence in companies that they can do business in Iran. For instance, companies have long sought to understand the necessary level of due diligence to avoid exposure to U.S. sanctions — perhaps through a checklist of sorts. But U.S. officials, unwilling to act outside their comfort zone, have rejected calls to provide such detailed guidance, thus failing to address many firms’ primary concern.
Second, the Obama administration will need to take action to ease market entry into Iran. Banks have been hesitant to facilitate trade with Iran so long as Iran remains cut off from the U.S. financial system, and large foreign enterprises have been reluctant to pursue trade and investment opportunities in Iran so long as the U.S. primary trade embargo remains intact.
The administration can resolve these persistent concerns through a broader licensing scheme. For instance, the United States could re-authorize the U-turn license, which permitted U.S. dollar transactions involving Iran to be cleared through a U.S. bank, or license American banks to provide dollars to foreign financial institutions so that dollar-clearing can take place offshore. Similarly, the administration could take a hard look at the sense of maintaining a unilateral trade embargo with Iran while it is encouraging foreign parties to engage in trade with Iran. In lieu of those more dramatic steps, the administration could also license U.S. persons to facilitate certain transactions with Iran, particularly if those U.S. persons are employed in non-U.S. companies.
The politics of such action may not prove appetizing. Uber-hawks in Congress are bent on denying the Obama administration this diplomatic success and will try to block any action aimed at resolving sanctions concerns. But the sustainability of the nuclear accord is dependent on the Obama administration taking these steps. Absent such measures, the Iran deal threatens to unravel with the United States being the scapegoat, as Iran will continue to be denied the benefit of its bargain.
Passing off current problems with the lifting of sanctions to the next administration is not an option. Obama has made a big investment in limiting Iran’s nuclear program — the time is now to secure that investment.
Many of Europe’s largest banks won’t do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement – but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors.
The Middle East is littered with missed opportunities, lost chances and dreams turned to dust. The Iranian nuclear deal is now heading in the same direction. President Hassan Rohani, hero of the hour and Iran’s new Mr Good Guy in America, even obtained the support of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, when he signed off on the agreement with six world powers last year to reduce the country’s nuclear activities in return for an end to Western sanctions. But he’s beginning to look like a patsy.
And all of the old Iranian revolutionaries, the sons of martyrs and the war veterans and the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the managers of its billion-dollar conglomerates are turning out to have been right all along. The sanctions have been lifted – but they haven’t been lifted. Western investments are not, despite all the promises, pouring into Iran because banks – especially European banks – are too frightened of breaching the rest of America’s sanctions laws to do business with the Islamic Republic. Washington both giveth and taketh away; it’s a slogan that every Iranian president should learn.
Mohamed Khatami was the only real statesman the Middle East produced in half a century and he was elected president of Iran in 1997. He wanted a “civil society”, the nearest you can get to a secular nation ruled by Shiite democracy-necrology-government for and by the dead. But the United States treated Khatami with scorn – and so the crackpot Mahoud Ahmedinejad became the next president, a man with whose ravings America’s right-wing felt far more comfortable.
Hadn’t they said all along that Iran’s leaders were anti-Semitic nuclear crazies, even – this from the Israelis – worse than Hitler? Now Rohani, the man-America-could-do-business-with, may lose next year’s presidential election because he, too, forgot the slogan which, at its simplest, reads: don’t trust America.
Iran has not been reintegrated into the global financial system – and it’s not going to be – though the Chinese will be happy to do business. Khamenei’s supporters are now suggesting that the Supreme Leader – not the shrewd but naïve president – is the great hero of modern Iranian history (after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, of course). The banks, he says, fear the Americans who “have not acted on their promises and [only] removed the sanctions on paper”. Worse still, he’s right. “Khamenei’s life is the one you should be writing about,” one of his believers announced last week. “He is the saviour.” Yes, thanks to America.
For many of Europe’s largest banks won’t do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement – but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors, hunting for evidence of Iranian money laundering, the financing of “terrorism” and monetary crime. The French BNP Paribas shelled out £6.3bn for its Iranian dealings a couple of years ago – over five years, along with StanChart and HSBC, the figure comes to a whopping £10.7bn.
So why should the UK’s Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, Credit Suisse or Deutsche Bank line up to pay more fines just because their governments want to do business in Tehran? Some American bankers – this from the Economist – won’t even hand over their business cards to Iranians. Now that’s what you call fear………
While Iran cannot break free of sanctions from which it thought it had been unshackled, its own paid militia in Lebanon – a nation which a Shiite prelate once described as “the lung through which Iran breathes” – is being caught up in the same financial net. So it’s not difficult for the Iranians to spot what they call in Persian the “dasisa” – and what the Hezbollah, in Arabic, refer to as the “muamara” – which means, quite simply: THE PLOT.
Decide for yourself if it’s true. But in Iran, the lifting of sanctions is a promise un-kept, the Revolutionary Guards are smiling and the nuclear deal is, surely, going downhill. A dream, in other words, fast turning into dust http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-our-nuclear-deal-with-iran-is-turning-to-dust-a7084981.html
The Iran Deal’s Building Blocks of a Better Nuclear Order, Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, GEORGE PERKOVICH June 9, 2016 The U.S. debate over the Iran nuclear deal focused primarily on whether the agreement’s terms were sufficient to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, whether Iran would cheat, and whether Iran would use gains from sanctions relief to fund aggression against its neighbors and Israel. Practically no attention was paid in the media or in Congress to the possibility that the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), could provide opportunities to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime. Of course, the potential to build on the agreement depends on its being successfully implemented; the deal’s collapse would create an international crisis that would subsume efforts to adopt its salutary provisions elsewhere.
It will take considerable time and patient give-and-take bargaining to persuade Russia and other influential players in nuclear diplomacy to build on the JCPOA, but there is no need to rush. Beyond the Republic of Korea, there are no other states on the near horizon that have the capability and intention to initiate a new fuel-cycle program.
The JCPOA innovatively fills in each of these lacunae in the NPT. While it does not settle or fully address these complex issues, it offers potentially important building blocks for doing so. For example, the JCPOA, in practice, establishes that the NPT does not a priori deny states the “right” to acquire and utilize capabilities to produce fissile materials for peaceful purposes. Critics have identified this as a major shortcoming. The agreement makes it easier for other states to insist that they, too, should be allowed to enrich uranium, which many observers fear could exacerbate proliferation risks. But the JCPOA also defines conditions, as well as monitoring and verification mechanisms, that would significantly bolster international confidence that a state’s fuel-cycle activities are exclusively peaceful.
Nuclear power key for UAE energy security, Khaleej Times Sarakshi Rai/moscow June 5, 2016 Nuclear power is the best way for the world and the UAE to meet its energy demands, according to top nuclear energy professionals at the recently concluded Rosatom Atomexpo 2016.
Atomexpo is the largest exhibition venue for meetings and negotiations between world leaders in the nuclear power sector. This year’s exhibition and conference focused on new players entering the nuclear energy sector.
Mohamed Shaker, minister of electricity and mineral resources, Egypt; Hassan Mahmoud Hassanein, first deputy minister of electricity and mineral resources, Egypt; Khaled Toukan, chairman of Jordan Atomic Energy Commission; and Hashem Yamani, president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, Saudi Arabia; featured in day two of the conference at a panel discussion highlighting the future of nuclear power and new players…….
UN Agency Reports Iran Has Complied With Nuclear Deal abc news, by GEORGE JAHN, ASSOCIATED PRESS VIENNA — May 27, 2016 Iran has corrected one violation of its landmark nuclear deal with six world powers and is honoring all other major obligations, the U.N. atomic energy agency reported Friday.
The U.N’s International Atomic Energy Agency is responsible for monitoring the agreement Iran signed last year with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany that reduces and limits Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief…….http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/agency-reports-iranian-violations-nuclear-deal-39423725
Could UAE solar push lead a trend for the Gulf? BY SAKET S. DUBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation), 23 May 16 – As the Gulf states take steps to expand their use of clean energy, a bold plan by the United Arab Emirates to boost its use of renewable electricity from less than 1 percent to 24 percent in the next five years could be a game-changer for the region, experts say.
Much of the world is moving away from oil for its electricity generation, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which says that globally the fossil fuel has dropped from a 25 percent share to 3.6 percent over the last four decades…….
dropping oil prices and growing concerns about climate change have exposed the downsides of relying on oil. As the Gulf’s demand for power continues to rise, the UAE is leading the way in shifting to greener energy resources.
“The implications of unmitigated climate change for the UAE make its cities unbearably hot, water even more scarce and the region more unstable,” Rachel Kyte, the CEO of the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Action alone and collectively to live in balance with the planet is fundamental for UAE’s future prosperity,” she said.
At the Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference in Kuwait last month, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – pledged to mobilize $100 billion into renewable energy projects over the next 20 years.
One of the projects in the UAE’s renewables push is the $13.6 billion Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, which aims to become the biggest solar power plant in the Middle East.
It is expected to generate 5 gigawatts of electricity – enough to power 1.5 million homes – by 2030.
Dubai also plans to install around 100 electric car charging stations as part of its Green Charger Initiative.
By 2050, Dubai wants to reduce its carbon emissions by 6.5 million tons every year, with the aim of becoming the city with the world’s lowest carbon footprint, according to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has said it wants to add another 9.5 GW of renewable energy capacity to its current capacity of 80 GW by 2030, And Oman’s power sector regulator, the Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman, has announced it will expand rooftop soar installations across residential homes, industrial and commercial buildings.
In Qatar, French energy giant Total SA has announced a joint venture worth $500 million with state-run petroleum, electricity and water companies to develop a solar-power project with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW).
And with a 70 MW solar project due to be operational by 2017, Kuwait plans to meet 15 percent of its energy needs with renewables by 2030, according to the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research…..
The region already has some of the infrastructure it needs to become a major clean-power hub. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries are linked by a 1,200-km electrical grid, built to help provide backup power in case of a blackout in one part of the system.
Expanded to other countries, that electricity highway could be the backbone of future power trading, experts say.
“The Gulf has an exportable resource in solar energy that could eventually be on a comparable level to oil and gas,” said Jonathan Walters, a former director at the World Bank……..(Reporting by Saket S.; editing by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering http://www.reuters.com/article/us-emirates-solar-electricity-idUSKCN0YE1SJ
The Middle East: Culprit for my nuclear security insomnia http://thebulletin.org/what-path-nuclear-security-beyond-2016-summit/middle-east-culprit-my-nuclear-security-insomnia Nilsu Goren, 24 May 16,
What keeps me up at night—US East Coast time—is reading Turkey’s morning news concerning Syria and Iraq. The insomnia is especially severe when my thoughts turn to nuclear security not just in Syria and Iraq but in countries throughout the Middle East.
All participants in this roundtable agree that, despite the achievements of the Nuclear Security Summits, the threat of nuclear terrorism is not necessarily diminishing. In the Middle East, nuclear terrorism seems a particularly immediate concern. True, the region lacks large quantities of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. But its political instability and its tendency toward violent extremism are conditions that can enable nuclear terrorism.
According to the 2016 Nuclear Security Index, published by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Middle Eastern nations rank poorly when it comes to safeguarding their nuclear materials from theft. Of the 24 countries that possess at least 1 kilogram of weapons-usable nuclear materials, two are Middle Eastern: Israel and Iran. The Index ranks these countries near the bottom of the theft-protection list. Israel comes in at number 20 and Iran at 23.
Among the 152 countries with less than 1 kilogram of weapons-usable nuclear materials, about a dozen are Middle Eastern. They are all over the lot in their vulnerability to theft—from the United Arab Emirates at number 24 to Syria at 151 (just above Somalia). Clearly, the region’s efforts to prevent nuclear theft are not strong enough.
Where vulnerability to nuclear sabotage is concerned, the Middle East does even worse. Of the 45 countries in NTI’s sabotage index, five are Middle Eastern. Israel—the highest-ranking of the five—comes in at number 36. Iran is tied with North Korea for last place.
And as my roundtable colleague Hubert Foy has discussed, concern about nuclear materials is not limited to fissile materials. Radiological sources are also an issue of pressing concern. The Middle East’s generally lax security environment, along with its political instability, makes the misuse of radiological sources more likely in this region than in many other places.
Civilian radiological sources are ubiquitous, particularly in medicine. They would be relatively easy to access in children’s hospitals, for example. Luckily, most radioactive sources are not easily dispersible. Their half-lives are short. They could contaminate only limited areas. Moreover, anyone attempting to steal an unshielded source might die from acute radiation exposure. Still, using a radiological source in a “dirty bomb” could create panic and terror in local populations. A dirty bomb would turn affected areas into no-go zones for a number of years, which would have profound economic repercussions.
Another reason to be concerned about Middle Eastern nuclear security is the planned expansion of nuclear power in the region. Some nations, pointing toward Iran’s limited right to enrich uranium under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, will also wish to enrich uranium domestically. To be sure, such nations have the right to pursue the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including uranium enrichment. But in order to alleviate international concerns about their enrichment capacity, these nations must develop robust laws regarding nuclear security. They must establish procedures for secure interim storage of nuclear materials. And they must make final disposition plans for spent fuel and radioactive waste.
The International Atomic Energy Agency can help with all of those tasks. It has the authority, resources, and expertise for the job. But a lot of work will nonetheless fall to state regulatory authorities. A key challenge will be for regulators to establish independence from political authorities. A key component of success, meanwhile, will be identifying nuclear security approaches appropriate to the region—via close cooperation between regulators and the nuclear industry. Here the Nuclear Security Summits can extend their legacy. The Nuclear Industry Summits that ran parallel to the Nuclear Security Summits offer a valuable model for including industry in the dialogue toward establishing good nuclear security practices in the Middle East.
Is the Iran deal unraveling? Think again. Brookings, Suzanne Maloney | May 20, 2016Are the wheels coming off the Iran deal? Less than a year after Iran, America, and five other world powers inked a comprehensive nuclear accord, a debate over its terms has erupted anew.
In Washington, the braggadocio of a prominent White House aide is fueling Republican accusations thatPresident Obama deliberately deceived the Congress and the country about Iran and the deal. And in Tehran, frustration over the residual impact of American sanctions has prompted increasingly resentful accusations from Iranian leaders that the United States has failed to live up to its end of the bargain. As a result, some are fretting that the deal is “at risk” and are laying blame on the White House doorstep.
Both claims are spurious, and deserve a more forceful rebuttal from the Obama administration. In the end, however, the ruckus over recent comments by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes is largely an inside-the-Beltway drama—one that provides endless entertainment for Washington insiders but has little real significance for deal or American diplomacy.
By contrast, Iran’s dissatisfaction presents a serious diplomatic dilemma for Washington. But it should not be interpreted as evidence that the deal is “unraveling.” Rather, the chorus of complaints from Tehran demonstrates the accord signed in July 2015 is working exactly as it was intended—forestalling Iranian nuclear ambitions while amplifying the incentives for further reintegration into the global economy. Continue reading
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- global warming
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual
- World Nuclear