nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Pompeo avoids questions on ending waivers permitting Iran’s ongoing nuclear work

Advertisements

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Satellite images reveal that Saudi Arabia has almost completed its first nuclear reactor site

Saudi Arabia has almost completed its first nuclear reactor site, satellite images reveal

Saudi Arabia’s latest construction is raising eyebrows in the West, with these new satellite images sparking fears about the kingdom’s quest for power. News.com.au, Gavin Fernando, @gavindfernando, 8 Apr 19

Saudi Arabia has nearly completed construction of its first nuclear reactor, sparking fears about the country’s quest for nuclear power.

New satellite images, first published by Bloomberg, show construction on the building site has made significant process over the past three months.

The three images below [on original] show the rapid developments on the site between April 2017 and today.

The images show the construction of a 10-metre high steel vessel, which would contain nuclear fuel, and construction work on the surrounding concrete building.

The facility is located in the southwest corner of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh.

………Robert Kelley, a nuclear expert and veteran of the US Department of Energy, said the reactor could be completed in “nine months to a year”.

He said the construction appears to be small in size and intended for research and training purposes.

Mr Kelley also said that, before the kingdom can insert nuclear fuel into the reactor, it would have to abide by international agreements.

He said it had been surprising to him “how non-transparent” the kingdom had been in the process of building the reactor and “how they seem very cavalier about modifying their arrangements with the IAEA”.

Mr Kelley was referring to agreements the kingdom has signed. The kingdom agreed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty three decades ago. In 2005, it signed an agreement with the IAEA known as the “small quantities protocol” that allowed countries with negligible nuclear programs to be exempt from regular inspections or nuclear monitoring.

However, once nuclear fuel was brought into the country to operate this small reactor, inspections by the IAEA would be required, Mr Kelley added.

…….. He said the Saudi reactor was being built by the Argentinian government-owned company INVAP. Before Argentina brings nuclear fuel to Saudi Arabia for the reactor, the IAEA agreement in place that exempts Saudi Arabia from inspections would need to be rescinded, Mr Kelley said.

“I think it’s a 100 per cent certainty that Argentina is not going to supply uranium fuel to a country that doesn’t have a safeguards agreement in force,” he added.

……….  the kingdom has previously pushed back against agreeing to US standards that would block two paths to potentially making fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was adamant that it was unacceptable for Saudi Arabia to become a nuclear power.

“We will not permit that to happen. We will not permit that to happen anywhere in the world,” he told CBS. “The President understands the threat of proliferation. We will never write a $150 million check to the Saudis and hand them over the capacity to threaten Israel and the United States with nuclear weapons, never.”

The publication of the satellite images follows a struggle between the Trump administration and Congress over the sale of nuclear technology to Riyadh.

Last month, The Daily Beast revealed the US Department of Energy had approved six authorisations for US companies that were looking to conduct nuclear-related work in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The approvals, known as Part 810 authorisations, would allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant………https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/saudi-arabia-has-almost-completed-its-first-nuclear-reactor-site-satellite-images-reveal/news-story/64346c4fbf0906ee7c2ddb3b95541c4d

 

April 9, 2019 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia moves forward on developing a nuclear industry

Saudi plans to invite bids for nuclear power project in 2020  https://gulfbusiness.com/saudi-plans-invite-bids-nuclear-power-project-2020/ 7 Apr 19, The world’s top oil exporter wants to diversify its energy mix Saudi Arabia plans to issue a multi-billion-dollar tender in 2020 to construct its first two nuclear power reactors and is discussing the project with U.S. and other potential suppliers, three sources familiar with the plans said.The world’s top oil exporter wants to diversify its energy mix, adding nuclear power so it can free up more crude for export. But the plans are facing Washington’s scrutiny because of potential military uses for the technology.

Saudi Arabia, which aims to mine for uranium, says its plans are peaceful. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in 2018 the kingdom would develop nuclear arms if Iran did.

U.S., Russian, South Korean, Chinese and French firms are in talks with Riyadh to supply reactors, a promising deal for an industry recovering from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“Saudi Arabia is continuing to make very deliberate steps forward although at a slower pace than originally expected,” one of the sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.

Saudi officials previously said they aimed to select a vendor in late 2018, which then slipped to 2019. The sources said the tender would now be issued in 2020.

Two sources said the project was proceeding slowly partly because the kingdom was still in discussions with all potential suppliers rather than narrowing them down to a short list.

The plans have also been delayed by strained ties with Washington, which criticised Riyadh after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October, a source familiar with the talks said.

Riyadh needs to sign an accord on the peaceful use of nuclear technology with Washington to secure the transfer of U.S. nuclear equipment and expertise, under the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said last week that the negotiations which began in 2012 were continuing.

The source said Washington has also been seeking to convince Riyadh to sign the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol on extra safeguards for verifying nuclear technology is used for peaceful applications. The kingdom has so far resisted, the source added.

The fate of these negotiations could determine whether Riyadh reaches a deal with U.S. firms, the source said.

WORKSHOPS

Saudi Arabia, which sent a “request for information” (RFI) to nuclear vendors in 2017, is holding workshops with vendors from five nations as part of the pre-tender process, one source said, adding that this was expected to last 12 to 15 months.

The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), tasked with developing the nuclear programme, has brought in an executive from oil giant Saudi Aramco to help manage the pre-tender consultancy process, two sources said.

The Energy Ministry, overseeing the project, and the kingdom’s international press office did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

KACARE has in the past said the kingdom was considering building 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, requiring about 16 reactors. But the sources said the focus for now was on the first two reactors and a potentially smaller programme.

Neighbouring UAE is building a nuclear power plant, the first in a Gulf Arab state. Iran, across the Gulf, has a nuclear plant in operation and has been locked in a row over its nuclear ambitions with the United States.

Saudi Arabia, which has long vied with Iran for regional influence, has said it will not sign any deal with the United States that deprives the kingdom of the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel in the future, both potential paths to a bomb.

South Korea’s state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), Russian state nuclear group Rosatom, French utility EDF, state-run China National Nuclear Corp and U.S. Westinghouse have expressed interest in the Saudi project.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | marketing, politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard slams decision to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons tech 

‘How does this serve US interests?’ Gabbard slams decision to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons tech  https://www.rt.com/usa/455279-gabbard-saudi-arabia-extremism-isis/  2 Apr, 2019 Tulsi Gabbard has slammed the US for allowing firms to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear tech despite its history of exporting extremism which inspires Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, which she says the Kingdom supports.

The Hawaiian congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate took aim at the Kingdom’s history of extremism in a Twitter video that criticized Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s secret authorizations, to six US companies, allowing for the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, as Reuters revealed last week. Gabbard said the move is “both mind-blowing and inexplicable.”

Saudi Arabia is the “primary exporter of jihadist ideology, Wahhabi Salafist ideology that is the motivation and inspiration for terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda – groups that the Saudis both directly and indirectly support,” Gabbard said.

The kingdom has been tied to Al-Qaeda and extremism in the past, with 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers coming from Saudi Arabia, according to the CIA. In 2015, one of the alleged hijackers, Zacarias Moussaoui, claimed several members of the Saudi royal family had been listed as Al-Qaeda donors in the database he worked on under orders of Osama bin Laden, US media reported.

WikiLeaks cables from the US State Department from 2009 revealed“donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” In a 2014 email, published by WikiLeaks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saudi Arabia was “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” It has also supplied weapons to IS in Syria.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to create at least two nuclear power plants, but many are concerned that’s a precursor to developing nuclear weapons, which would further destabilize the region. It was also reported, last year, that Israel was selling Saudi Arabia nuclear secrets.

 

April 8, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Tensions in volatile Middle East region, as Saudi nuclear program accelerates

Saudi nuclear program accelerates, raising tensions in volatile region, Country building experimental reactor

Click Orlando , April 06, 2019 On the outskirts of Riyadh, a building site is quickly being transformed into the birthplace of Saudi Arabia’s quest for nuclear power, a bid that has sparked concern in the US Congress and fury in Tehran.

New satellite imagery shows that construction on an experimental reactor is making “expeditious” progress — just three months after the Kingdom announced plans to build it, according to former director for nuclear inspections at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Robert Kelley.

Kelley estimated that the reactor could be completed in “nine months to a year.”

The Kingdom has been open about its nuclear program with the IAEA, which sent a team to Saudi Arabia last July to check on building plans. It has repeatedly pledged that the program is peaceful. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year that “without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Also raising concern among industry experts and some in Congress is the Saudi insistence that it should be allowed to produce its own nuclear fuel, rather than import it under strict conditions.

In an interview last year, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih said: “It’s not natural for us to bring enriched uranium from a foreign country to fuel our reactors,” citing the country’s uranium reserves.

Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia went public with its nuclear ambitions nine years ago, but the plans have gone into overdrive as part of the Crown Prince’s “Vision 2030” — a strategy to wean Saudi Arabia off its reliance on oil and diversify both the economy and its energy mix……….

The IAEA sent a team to Saudi Arabia in July last year to review the development of its nuclear power infrastructure. That mission concluded that the Kingdom is “well placed to finalize its plans for construction of its first nuclear power plant” through partnerships with countries that have nuclear power industries.

In a visit to Riyadh in January, Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General, confirmed Saudi Arabia had “made significant progress in the development of its nuclear power infrastructure.”

But when the Saudis want to move to the next stage — fueling the reactor at King Abdulaziz City and any commercial plants — they will have to submit to more intrusive IAEA involvement.

“They’ve been exempt for 30 years since they signed a non-proliferation treaty,” said Kelley. “Now they’re going to have to make some serious paperwork and agree to inspections,” if they want to acquire nuclear fuel.

US concerns

Skepticism in the US Congress over whether Saudi Arabia can be a trusted partner has grown since the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year. That’s now manifested itself in critical scrutiny of the Saudi nuclear program — and especially whether the Trump Administration is doing enough to ensure non-proliferation…….

US concerns

Skepticism in the US Congress over whether Saudi Arabia can be a trusted partner has grown since the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year. That’s now manifested itself in critical scrutiny of the Saudi nuclear program — and especially whether the Trump Administration is doing enough to ensure non-proliferation.

Asked whether it was acceptable for Saudi Arabia to become a nuclear power, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unequivocal in a TV interview on Friday.

“We will not permit that to happen. We will not permit that to happen anywhere in the world,” Pompeo told CBS. “The President understands the threat of proliferation. We will never write a $150 million check to the Saudis and hand them over the capacity to threaten Israel and the United States with nuclear weapons, never.”

A bipartisan resolution introduced in the Senate in February demanded that the use of any US nuclear power technology in Saudi Arabia must be accompanied by safeguards to ensure Saudi Arabia cannot enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel.

“The last thing America should do is inadvertently help develop nuclear weapons for a bad actor on the world stage,” said Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, one of the resolution’s sponsors………

Iran claims that the Trump Administration plans to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear technology without sufficient safeguards. “First a dismembered journalist; now illicit sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia fully expose #USHypocrisy,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted in February.

And in March, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, accused unnamed regional states of developing “suspicious nuclear projects,” which would force Tehran to revise its defense strategy. Quoted by Iranian news agencies, Shamkhani said such plans would “force us to revise our strategy.”

Whatever Saudi Arabia’s energy strategy, and however sincere its pledge that it has no wish to develop nuclear weapons, the mere existence of a nuclear program is bound to inflame tensions across the Gulf. https://www.clickorlando.com/news/international/saudi-nuclear-program-accelerates-raising-tensions-in-volatile-region

April 8, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia resists IAEA’s inspection regime, as it completes its first nuclear reactor

Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear reactor nearly finished, sparking fears over safeguards, Riyadh has so far resisted international watchdog’s requests to accept a strict inspection regime, Guardian, Julian Borger in Washington 4 Apr 2019 

Saudi Arabia is within months of completing its first nuclear reactor, new satellite images show, but it has yet to show any readiness to abide by safeguards that would prevent it making a bomb.

The reactor site is in the King Abdulaziz city for science and technology on the outskirts of Riyadh. The site was identified by Robert Kelley, a former director for nuclear inspections at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who said it was very small 30-kilowatt research reactor, not far from completion.

“I would guess they could have it all done, with the roof in place and the electricity turned on, within a year,” said Kelley, who worked for more than three decades in research and engineering in the US nuclear weapons complex………

Before inserting nuclear fuel into the reactor, Saudi Arabia would have to implement a comprehensive set of rules and procedures, including IAEA inspections, designed to ensure no fissile material was diverted for use in weapons – something it has so far avoided

The reactor has been designed by an Argentinian state-owned company, Invap SE……..Saudi Arabia joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1988 but signed a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA only in 2005, and at the same time exempted itself from regular inspections, by signing a “small quantities protocol” (SQP), designed for countries with negligible quantities of nuclear material.

Largely because of controversy over Riyadh being shielded from scrutiny under these rules, the IAEA made the SQP more rigorous, but the Saudis resisted making changes…….. https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/04/saudi-arabias-first-nuclear-reactor-nearly-finished-sparking-fears-over-safeguards?CMP=share_btn_tw&__twitter_impression=tru

April 6, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

IAEA head UN nuclear inspector asks Saudi Arabia to agree to safeguards on nuclear material

IAEA asks Saudis for safeguards on first nuclear reactor  France 24,  Washington (AFP), 5 Apr 19, The head UN nuclear inspector said Friday that his agency is asking Saudi Arabia to agree to safeguards on nuclear material for its first atomic reactor that could arrive by the end of the year.Satellite imagery recently emerged of the project on the outskirts of Riyadh, which comes amid controversy in Washington over what Democrats say is President Donald Trump’s rush to approve nuclear projects with the oil-rich kingdom.

But Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said there was nothing secret about the reactor and that Saudi Arabia informed the Vienna-based UN body about its plans in 2014.

He said the IAEA has encouraged Saudi Arabia to sign a comprehensive safeguards agreement, under which the agency ensures that nuclear material is not being diverted to weapons use……… https://www.france24.com/en/20190405-iaea-asks-saudis-safeguards-first-nuclear-reactor

April 6, 2019 Posted by | safety, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

“Deadly Dust – Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World”

Deadly Dust: US Spreading Radiation and No One Wants to Raise the Issue – Author   https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201904031073767110-us-radiation-spread/   In a new book named “Deadly Dust – Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” German author Frieder Wagner gives a detailed account of how the US has contaminated vast territories using depleted uranium (DU) ammunition and the cover-up strategy of the military, industry and governments, as well as those in the media and politics.

Sputnik: Mr Wagner, in your book “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” you talk about the use of uranium ammunition. What is especially dangerous about these weapons?

Frieder Wagner: Weapons containing uranium are produced from nuclear industry’s waste (byproducts of uranium enrichment). If, for example, you want to produce a ton of natural uranium fuel rods for nuclear power plants, you get about eight tons of depleted uranium. It is a source of alpha radiation — radioactive and, moreover, very poisonous. It needs to be stored somewhere, and it is not very cheap.

Sputnik: How can it be used in weapons?

Frieder Wagner: About 30-40 years ago, military scientists made a discovery: uranium is almost twice as dense as lead. If you turn depleted uranium into a projectile and give it proper acceleration, then within a fraction of a second it will pierce through tank armor, concrete or cement.This, of course, was an important discovery. Furthermore, when a shell hits an armored tank the impact produces dust caused by the detonation and the subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite and it explodes at a temperature of 3000 to 5000 degrees — incinerating the tank’s interior and destroying it.

Sputnik: But what happens afterwards is also a problem — after the use of DU ammunition, isn’t it?

Frieder Wagner: Yes! After its use depleted uranium, which, as I have already said, is a source of alpha radiation (that is, a radioactive and very toxic substance), burns down to nano-particles that are a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell.

This way, I would say, a sort of metallic gas forms that people can inhale, and which is released in the atmosphere and can be carried anywhere by wind. People who inhale it are at risk for developing cancer.These nano-particles can also penetrate the body of a pregnant woman, overcoming the barrier between a child and a mother, and affect the health of an unborn baby, can infiltrate the brain and by travelling through the bloodstream end up in any human or animal organ. Everything that goes around the planet, sooner or later settles and, of course, contaminates, in particular, drinking water and everything else.

Sputnik: In what wars have DU weapons been used so far?

Frieder Wagner: It was actively used during the first Gulf war in 1991 against Iraq. The military has admitted that about 320 tons were used. Then in the second war in Iraq in 2003 over 2,000 tons were used. In between, it was used during the war in Kosovo, in Yugoslavia (1999), and in Bosnia in 1995, and after 2001 in Afghanistan, where it still used today.

Sputnik: Your book title says Made in the USA, were these weapons only used by the United States? 

Frieder Wagner: They were being developed in several countries at the same time. In Germany, they were also working on these weapons, as, of course, in Russia. However, it was used and on such a large scale, only by the US. They were reckless and they did not pay attention to any possible side effects — just as it was back when the first atomic bombs were used. That’s why I called the book: “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA”.

Sputnik: How did you manage to prove the use of these ammunitions in the course of your research?

Frieder Wagner: For example, the Serbs gave us maps where they showed the locations where depleted uranium was used. When we were in Iraq, we talked to the locals. We traveled to places where large tank battles took place and took soil samples there, as well as dust samples from tanks. Looking at the tank, you can see whether it was hit by an ordinary projectile or a uranium munition.

Uranium munition leaves dust that burns everything around the hole made by the projectile. So you can determine the use of uranium ammunition. In all soil samples, we found depleted uranium. Unfortunately, uranium-236 was also found in most of the soil and dust samples — it is even more intense and poisonous. Its radiation is even stronger and does not occur in nature. It can only be produced artificially during reprocessing of fuel rods. This means that we were able to prove that the military, the United States and its coalition allies used uranium munitions made from spent uranium fuel rods.

Sputnik: Your book is based on the films The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children of Basra (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra, 2004) and Deadly Dust (Todesstaub, 2007). What did you see in Basra during your work on the documentary?

Frieder Wagner: It was horrific and still sometimes haunts me in my dreams. These were children with deformities, which we saw in orphanages in Basra and Baghdad. Some of them had such deformities that they had almost nothing human anymore.

There were children without a head or a nose, either with one eye or without eyes at all, with internal organs in a kind of “sack” outside their body. These ‘creatures’ can live only for a few hours, experiencing terrible pain, and then die.

putnik: The film “Deadly Dust” is linked to the book, but it is no longer distributed. WDR channel after this film did not make any more orders? Why is that?

Frieder Wagner: My exposes which I sent to WDR, as well as to the ZDF channels were rejected. Then I contacted an editor at WDR, for which I always made good films and with which I always had good relations with, because these films had doubled or trippled their ratings, and asked him: “What’s going on here?”” And after some hesitation he said: “Yes, Frieder Wagner, someone must tell you this. WDR considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you.” And that when I understood everything. It was in 2005.

I can also tell you the story of how, for example, a female editor at ZDF offered the TV channel a story on the use of these weapons during the war in Yugoslavia and also in Croatia. She wanted to talk about it with me prior so I could share my experiences. But when her boss found out that she wanted to talk to Frieder Wagner, he refused to pay for her trip — without any further explanation.

Sputnik: The so-called “deadly dust” is, as you have already described it, is spread by the wind. So should the use of uranium ammunition, in fact, be considered a war crime and banned?

Frieder Wagner: This is definitely a war crime. The dust from southern Iraq is carried to the north by the constant storms, the so-called desert storms — for example, to Erbil, where it meets the mountains and can’t travel further as the mountains make it difficult for it to go past towards Turkey. So this huge mass of dust settles in Erbil.We, for example, took samples of beef from around Erbil, and this is what we found out: depleted uranium used in ammunition has a characteristic atomic “fingerprint”. In northern Iraq we found the same “uranium fingerprint” as in the south. This means that the uranium dust that had originally settled in the south of Iraq is now also in the north, and children are now getting sick there and are born with deformities. It is now spreading all over the world.

Sputnik: Have the victims of uranium munition use in Kosovo or, for example, in Iraq, tried to go to court?

Frieder Wagner: So far no such attempts have been made in Kosovo or Iraq. Now in Kosovo, a whole group of lawyers are working on a lawsuit against NATO, because after the war they unleashed, people were injured, fell ill and died. The morbidity rate has increased by 20 to 30 percent, and there are more effected each year. So there will be an attempt to file a lawsuit.

Out of the approximately two thousand Italian soldiers stationed in Iraq and Kosovo, 109 have later developed cancer and died — this is proven information. 16 families, out of the 109 dead, filed lawsuits and won their cases. The courts ordered the Italian state or the country’s Ministry of Defence to pay them compensation. Since each cancer was of a different type, the payout amounts differed. But they ranged between 200,000 and 1,4 million euros.

Sputnik: How are things in Germany? Have there been lawsuits filed by the soldiers of the Bundeswehr?

Frieder Wagner: The German Ministry of Defense constantly denies any connection to this. Our soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. About 100,000 soldiers served in Afghanistan, and we found out that about 30% of those who returned got sick, although at first, of course, they do not notice this. If they subsequently marry and have children, then there’s a great risk that their children will have disabilities.

These children will have the same toxic substances in their DNA as their parents. And this will be passed on for several generations — from children to grandchildren and to great-grandchildren.

Sputnik: But none of these people ever filed a lawsuit?

Frieder Wagner: In Germany there were no such precedents. About 600 servicemen went to court in the United States who could not appeal on their own behalf, but they filed lawsuits on behalf of their children who were born with developmental disabilities. And we’re not talking about a mere 90 or even 900 million pay out, but about billions of dollars now. The United States, of course, will try to delay the adoption of a ruling as much as it is possible and hope for a “biological” resolution of the situation — that is, that the plaintiffs will simply die.  

April 4, 2019 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iraq, USA | Leave a comment

Senators from both parties want details on USA nuclear co-operation with Daudi Arabia

US Senators Seek Details on Nuclear Power Cooperation with Saudi Arabia  VOA News,    https://www.voanews.com/a/us-senators-seek-details-on-nuclear-power-cooperation-with-saudi-arabia-/4859672.html 3 Apr 19, U.S. senators from both parties on Tuesday asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry for details about recent approvals for companies to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia, with the lawmakers expressing concern about possible development of atomic weapons.

Saudi Arabia has engaged in “many deeply troubling actions and statements that have provoked alarm in Congress,” Senators Bob Menendez, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, told Perry in a letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

The senators said Congress was beginning to re-evaluate the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and they believe Washington should not be providing nuclear technology or information to Saudi Arabia now.

The Trump administration has been quietly negotiating a deal that would potentially help Saudi Arabia build two reactors.

Last week news reports revealed that since November 2017, Perry has authorized so-called Part 810 approvals allowing U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclear information with the kingdom. The approvals were kept from the public and from Congress.

The senators asked Perry to provide them by April 10 with the names of the companies that got the 810 approvals, what was in the authorizations, and why the companies asked that the approvals be kept secret. U.S. Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat, also asked the Energy Department in a separate letter what was in the approvals.

While 810 agreements are routine, the Obama administration made them available for the public to read at Energy Department headquarters. Lawmakers say the department is legally required to inform Congress about the approvals.

Perry approved the seven recent authorizations as the administration has tried to hash out nonproliferation standards with Saudi Arabia. Such a pact, known as a 123 agreement, would have to be agreed before U.S. companies can share physical exports of materials and equipment to build reactors.

The kingdom has resisted standards on reprocessing spent fuel and enriching uranium, two potential paths to making nuclear weapons.

The United States has been competing with South Korea, France, Russia and China on a potential deal to help build reactors in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is expected to announce the winner this year.

Lawmakers from both parties have been concerned about Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaigns in Yemen, which is on the brink of famine, and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, last October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Concern in Congress grew last year after the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Perry has said the 810 approvals were kept from the public for corporate proprietary reasons……….

At another Senate hearing, the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, including Chairman Kristine Svinicki, would not say whether the NRC raised any concerns over the 810 approvals in a required consultation with the Energy Department.

Svinicki said the NRC’s consulting role on the approvals is narrow and delegated to staff.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who asked the question of the NRC at the hearing, told Reuters in an interview that the commissioners’ lack of knowledge about the approvals was “stunning.”

“It’s kind of scary because we do rely on them to provide input into this process and not a single commissioner knew anything about what input they may or may not have provided.”  https://www.voanews.com/a/us-senators-seek-details-on-nuclear-power-cooperation-with-saudi-arabia-/4859672.html

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration and Israel helping Saudi Arabia towards getting nuclear weapons

 

Concerns over Saudi plan to build nuclear plants after US deal | Al Jazeera English

Trump Admin Complementing Israeli Effort to Give Nuclear Weapons to Saudi Arabia   https://www.mintpressnews.com/israel-saudi-arabia-nuclear-weapons-2/256761/  

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.  March 29th, 2019, By Alan Macleod

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reuters revealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.

While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark anuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high.

In reality, Iran does not have, nor is it trying to acquire, nuclear weapons technology (something quietly conceded by both the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and the CIA), and has lived up to its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, any such move from Saudi Arabia might provoke a response in kind from Iran, its chief adversary in the region and would sound a death knell for the hopes of the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. The United States has long accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons technology and has placed sanctions on the country.

The Israeli connection

An important nuclear player in the region is Israel, one of the few nations in the world that has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Israel is estimated to possess 100 to 200 nuclear weapons and has taken a strongly adversarial position towards Iran. In 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared before a joint session of Congress with a cartoon image of a bomb to give a speech denouncing Iran and warning of an Iranian military threat. Israel has been key in pushing the United States into a more confrontational stance on Iran through a continuous public-relations drive to present the country as a menace.

Last year Mint Press News reported that the Israeli government had begun selling Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons secrets. Ami Dor-on, a senior official and nuclear specialist at the organization Israel’s Homeland Security, blew the whistle on the clandestine practice. The Israeli actions were the latest evidence of a growing cooperation between the two nations. However, the prospect of a nuclear Saudi Arabia has many concerned.

The threat of a nuclear Saudi Arabia

For some time, Saudi Arabia has been making its presence felt in the Middle East, leading to the destabilization of the entire region. In 2011 Saudi tanks rolled into Bahrain to crush the Arab Spring uprising in the island country, and it continues to be a primary driver of the war in Yemen, labeled by some as genocide. At least 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the Saudi bombardment of the country.

Riyadh also continues to fund various jihadist groups in Syria and is one of the largest financiers of terrorism in the world. Before his election, Trump claimed Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks and the White House more recently insisted it would hold the kingdom responsible for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. However, as with unabated American support for the Saudi war in Yemen, these proclamations have fallen short.

The Saudi armed services are already a formidable force. Saudi Arabia spends the third most of any country in the world on the military, behind only the U.S. and China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The Saudi military’s size is estimated at nearly a quarter-million active personnel, who are equipped with the most advanced weapons available.

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military burden are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.

Top Photo | U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for Israe from Saudi Arabial, the next stop in his international tour, at King Khalid International Airport, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Alan MacLeod is an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Israel, politics international, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, approved 6 secret nuclear technology companies’ sales to Saudi Arabia

March 30, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA Government Accountability Office to probe Saudi nuclear power talks

Congressional watchdog to probe Saudi nuclear power talks
Investigation will examine Trump administration’s plans to share technology with kingdom, Ft.com   and  in Washington.

A congressional watchdog has agreed to investigate the Trump administration’s discussions about sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, according to people familiar with the matter. The Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan agency that conducts investigations on behalf of Congress, is in talks with lawmakers over the scope of a probe into the nuclear power talks that the Trump administration has held with Saudi Arabia. One person familiar with the discussions between the GAO and lawmakers said they were in their “initial phase”. In February, lawmakers accused White House officials of pushing a plan to sell US nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia in potential defiance of legal restrictions. A report prepared for the oversight committee of the Democratic-led House of Representatives said Trump aides were attempting “to rush the transfer of highly sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia”, which may have violated the Atomic Energy Act.

The US and Saudi Arabia do not have a nuclear co-operation agreement under section 123 of the act — which governs civil nuclear agreements — but the two countries have been in the process of negotiating one since 2012. The GAO is responding to a recent request from Marco Rubio, a senior Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the panel. In making their request, Mr Rubio and Mr Menendez said they were concerned about reports that the administration had been negotiating a nuclear co-operation deal — a so-called 123 agreement — with Riyadh without keeping Congress apprised of the situation. The two senators added that they were “especially concerned that negotiations or discussions of nuclear co-operation are happening in a very opaque manner”.
According to the state department, it is the lead negotiator for all international civil nuclear co-operation agreements. Under section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act, any talks are to be led by the secretary of state and with “technical assistance” from the energy secretary. Senators Menendez and Rubio said they believed the energy department was leading the negotiations with Saudi, however, adding that they were “concerned” the inter-agency process was not being followed……https://www.ft.com/content/a43577c0-5003-11e9-b401-8d9ef1626294

March 27, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

In the Middle East, world’s most volatile region, nuclear power is taking off – what could possibly go wrong?

Above all, nuclear power needs stability and systems where everyone works together. The Middle East is one of the world’s most volatile regions, full of rivalries between states and internal divisions. 

Israel has never disclosed the full extent of its nuclear programme and, in the past, has launched air strikes on nuclear facilities in both Iraq and Syria.

Spectre of Chernobyl hangs over Middle East’s nuclear ambitions, Middle East Eye , Kieran Cooke

To avoid a potential disaster, nuclear power needs stability and systems where everyone works together    The Middle East is going nuclear.The United Arab Emirates is home to the Barakah nuclear power station, the Arab world’s first such facility and the biggest nuclear power plant currently under construction.

Saudi Arabia has plans for two large nuclear plants to cope with national energy demands, increasing by more than eight percent annually.

Initial land-clearing work has also begun for a nuclear facility at Akkuyu, on Turkey’s southern coast, while Egypt is due to start building a nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, west of Alexandria, next year. Jordan has plans for a number of smaller nuclear facilities. …..

The Barakah facility, expected to supply a quarter of the UAE’s energy needs, will cost upwards of $30bn.

Equally expensive is the cost of decommissioning a nuclear plant at the end of its working life. Nuclear power has been around for more than 60 years, but no one has really come to grips with how to dispose of spent but still highly dangerous nuclear waste, handing a poisoned legacy to future generations.

And then there is the safety factor. On the morning of 26 April 1986, engineers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine were carrying out routine turbine and reactor tests when they heard a sudden roar, followed by a loud blast.

Some thought there had been an earthquake. In a recently published book on Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy – now a history professor at Harvard but in 1986 a Ukraine resident – said the idea of a nuclear accident was inconceivable. “As far as they [the engineers] were concerned, the reactor and its panoply of safety systems were idiot proof. No textbook they had ever read suggested that reactors could explode.”

Obsessed with secrecy

The nuclear industry today – whether in Russia, Europe, China, the US or the Middle East – is similarly confident of its safety.

Chernobyl’s reactor exploded, throwing vast clouds of radiation up into the atmosphere that were blown by winds over Scandinavia, much of Europe and Ukraine itself. Plokhy’s book – billed as the most extensively researched work yet on the Chernobyl disaster – should be required reading for any government official contemplating a nuclear-driven future………

Safety concerns

Plokhy says a combination of factors was to blame for events at Chernobyl, which beyond the immediate deaths, is believed to be responsible for tens of thousands of cases of fatal diseases, such as cancer. There were shortcuts in construction and pressure to increase energy quotas. Testing procedures were not followed. There were serious design faults, yet staff who foresaw dangers were afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.

Plokhy foresees similar consequences in modern-day nuclear power programmes, wondering whether safety measures will be followed scrupulously in countries such as Egypt, the UAE and Pakistan.

“Are we sure that all these reactors are sound, that safety measures will be followed to the letter, and that the autocratic regimes running most of these countries will not sacrifice the safety of their people and the world as a whole to get extra energy and cash to build up their military, ensure rapid economic development, and try to head off public discontent?” he said. “That is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union back in 1986.”

Of course, these are early days in the nuclear power industry in the Middle East,  but already there are problems. The first reactor unit of the four being built at the Barakah plant in Abu Dhabi was supposed to have come on-stream in 2017, but there is reportedly evidence of cracks in some of the containment walls and delays due to shortages of trained staff.

On Wednesday, Qatar asked the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to intervene in a dispute over a a nuclear power plant that is under construction in the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reported.

Citing a letter Qatar sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the news agency said that Doha argued that Barakah, a nuclear plant being built near its border with the UAE, threatens the stability of the region and the environment.

Qatar said that a radioactive plume from an accidental discharge could reach its capital Doha in five to 13 hours, while a radiation leak would have a devastating effect on the region’s water supply because of its reliance on desalination plants.

The biggest prize

Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, is developing Egypt’s 4.8GW nuclear power plant, with work due to start next year. But there have been a number of protests at the site of the proposed plant, just as there have been demonstrationsas building work gets underway at Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear facility, also being built by Rosatom.

In Jordan, the government seems to have abandoned plans for a $10bn nuclear plant to be built by Rosatom due to worries over costs. Instead, Amman is planning to build a number of much smaller reactors.

At the same time, the nuclear industry is falling over itself for what’s considered the biggest prize of all: Saudi Arabia. Competition for building the first two reactors in the kingdom’s ambitious nuclear power programme is intense, with US, Chinese, South Korean and French companies, along with Rosatom, involved in the process.

The US Congress is investigating reports that the White House has been transferring sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia so that US firms allegedly linked to President Donald Trump could win multibillion-dollar nuclear contracts……….

Regional volatility

Above all, nuclear power needs stability and systems where everyone works together. The Middle East is one of the world’s most volatile regions, full of rivalries between states and internal divisions.

Israel has never disclosed the full extent of its nuclear programme and, in the past, has launched air strikes on nuclear facilities in both Iraq and Syria. There are ongoing arguments over the status of Iran’s nuclear industry. ……..https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/spectre-chernobyl-hangs-over-middle-easts-nuclear-ambitions

March 25, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, safety | Leave a comment

U.S. accuses Iran of plotting to restart nuclear weapons program

  https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/22/sanctions-iran-weapons-program-1232221, By KATIE GALIOTO, 03/22/2019
U.S. officials on Friday accused Iran of plotting to restart work on its nuclear weapons program, despite Tehran agreeing in a 2015 accord to not pursue such weapons.The charges were made as the Treasury and State Departments announced a new round of sanctions against 14 individuals and 17 entities linked to the Iranian Ministry of Defense unit responsible for nuclear weapons development, senior administration officials said Friday.

Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, also referred to by the acronym SPND, maintains technical experts and critical ties to Iran’s previous nuclear efforts — notably to Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear weapons program, officials said.

They added that Tehran-based SPND may not currently be working to develop nuclear weapons, but that the connections to Iran’s previous nuclear programs increase the threat of the country developing weapons of mass destruction. Iran has long claimed to have no interest in developing nuclear weapons, but the United Nations in 2015 uncovered a secret program that lasted until at least 2009.

The sanctions are the latest step the U.S. has taken to ramp up economic pressure on Iran after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear pact, in which the country’s Islamist regime agreed to abandon any nuclear ambitions in exchange for economic sanctions relief. The other parties in the agreement — including several European countries, China and Russia — have all remained in the deal, and international organizations say Tehran

has complied with the agreement.

Trump has bashed the the international pact for not doing enough to stop Iranian efforts to build nuclear bombs. Since leaving the accord, his administration has leaned on other countries to cut off their interactions with Iran.

“Anyone considering dealing with the Iranian defense industry in general, and SPND in particular, risks professional, personal, and financial isolation,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Friday.

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

UN raps Israel’s use of ‘unlawful force’ against Gazans 

  Press TV, 23 Mar 19, The United Nations (UN)’s Human Rights Council has denounced Israel’s use of “unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against unarmed Palestinian protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gazans started protesting along a fence that separates the Gaza Strip from the Israeli-occupied territories on March 30, 2018 demanding the right to return for those Palestinians driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression and calling for a halt to Israel’s inhumane blockade of the enclave.

Israeli forces deployed to the area have used force from across the fence against the protesters, killing over 260 Palestinians and injuring thousands since the protests started.

On Friday, the Humans Rights Council adopted a resolution on accountability tabled by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The resolution was adopted with 23 votes in favor, eight against, and 15 abstentions. The delegation of one member state was absent.

The text also called for cooperation by the Israeli regime with a preliminary examination that was launched by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2015 into Israeli human rights violations.

The resolution was based on a UN Independent Commission of Inquiry report that found that Israeli forces had committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that “may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity” in killing 189 Palestinians and injuring thousands between March 30 and December 31, 2018……..https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/22/591676/UN-Human-Rights-Council-Israel-lethal-excessive-force-Gaza

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Gaza, Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment