Blair under pressure over government links to Enron|
29 January 2002 -
-Four ministers met executives of US energy giant
-Key contacts between Enron and Downing Street
-Donald Macintyre: We won't escape the fallout from the Enron scandal
Tony Blair was under pressure last night to reveal his involvement in
decisions by the Government that helped the American energy giant
Enron before its collapse. Downing Street sought to head off
allegations of "cash for access" by admitting four government
ministers held a total of seven meetings with Enron bosses between
1998 and 2000.
Defending himself against criticism of his decision to publish confidential torture memos on Uzbekistan, former ambassador tot he sountry Craig Murray notes in his blog
"This was released with other Enron court documents. To anyone covering the Enron story, it meant very little. Now, however.... everyone should be aware of this document."
It's a "Dear George" letter from "Ken" about Uzbekistan....
In April 1997, Governor George Bush met with the Uzbek ambassador to the USA. The agenda? The endorsement of Enron's lucrative deal to exploit natural gas in Uzbekistan. Four years later the Uzbek dictator was miraculously transformed into a crucial partner in George Bush's "war on terror".
Here's a scan of the personal fax on the subject, from Enron CEO Kenneth Lay to his good friend George.
It seems like Bush and the Uzbeks go back a long way. No wonder the US government seems so reluctant to act over Karimov's brutal massacres of his own people.
Downing Street denied any impropriety, insisting that a series of meetings between Enron executives and
ministers since Labour came to power had been part of the normal business of government. But Tory and
Liberal Democrat MPs claimed that Enron contributed 36,000 to the Labour Party around the time the
Government took key decisions over energy policy and the decision not to refer Enron's 1998 purchase
of Wessex Water to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. -
"It appears the Enron Online Trading Agreement allowed buyers to finance purchases through Enron Credit.
Take a look at the contract they had to sign and the venue set out in the contract. That fits in with the
fact that all the offshore sites are British tax havens. This reminds me a lot of the Bernie Cornfeld
operation and the Nugan Hand and Castle Bank deals."
interesting discussion threadPower crash 2003
The UK is part of a G8 energy cartel which is playing us ALL via a mechanism of fear
Mr Putin was guest of honour
at a City banquet
BP signs historic Russian deal|
26 June, 2003 -
BP has signed a landmark 4bn deal with Russian oil firm TNK.
The agreement is the biggest foreign investment in Russia to date and strengthens trade ties between the two countries.
The signing, at a special energy conference in London, was witnessed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For its 50% stake in TNK, BP is paying a total of 4.17bn ($6.75bn) in cash and shares over the next four years.
flashback September 2004: Russia & US Uranium shenanigans...
Big News Network - The United States and Russia carried out a secret operation last week to remove weapons-grade uranium from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, whose government is facing growing Islamist unrest, the Energy Department announced.
But the removal also coincided with escalating criticism of President George W. Bush by his democratic rival, Senator John Kerry, who has accused the administration of being lax in confronting the spread of nuclear material around the world.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the one-day operation implemented last Thursday was crucial for enhancing international security.
"The recovery, return and eventual elimination of this highly enriched uranium are an important milestone in our campaign to reduce this dangerous material worldwide," he said in a brief statement.
The operation targeted 11 kilograms (24.2 pounds) of enriched uranium fuel, including highly enriched uranium that could be used for manufacturing nuclear weapons, that was brought to Uzbekistan during Soviet times, officials said.
The material was used in a Russian-designed 10-megawatt multi-purpose research reactor installed outside the Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent, the officials pointed out. But they did not disclose the nature of the research.
During the operation, the uranium was loaded into two specialized containers supplied by Russia, taken to a airport outside of Tashkent, and airlifted under guard to a secured nuclear facility in the Russian city of Dmitrovgrad.
- ap story source
what's it really all about?
There is a secret clause in the Trident submarine treaty that was signed by Mrs Thatcher in 1983.
The secret clause states that the British Prime Minister is required to go to war if he/she gets the order from the President of the United States. You will appreciate that this information explains a lot, notably why Blair has repeatedly gone to war, but only when required to by the Americans. It also explains why Blair is so different from his Labour predecessors, such as Harold Wilson, who refused to send our troops to Vietnam in 1968. The secret agreement was designed by Thatcher to secretly tie the hands of British Prime Ministers for many years to come. Without naming sources, I received this information from a British Army officer a couple of years ago. -cryptome
Strategic Defence Review 1998
Playground Bullies - Bush & Blairs hypocrisy -
In theory, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which began in 1968, was intended to halt efforts to acquire nuclear weapons technology and lead to eventual disarmament. In reality, it has served to cement a near monopoly on nukes for the imperialist powers permitted to have such weapons under the treaty - the US, France and Britain - and China and Russia.
Flashback May 2005 - Sellafield leaks psyops - Is this yet more spin???
This time to guarantee Blairs Nuclear powered Britain
by scaring the public into a Nationwide Power upgrade?
Sellafield leak rings alarms in Norway
09 May 2005,
Norwegian authorities and environmental activists reacted with concern Monday to news of a leak at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility in England. The facility has long posed a conflict between the two countries.
Norwegian officials have worried for years that emissions from Sellafield are polluting local fishing grounds, with winds sending radioactivity towards the country's west coast.
On Monday came news that 20 tons of highly radioactive fuel had leaked into a tank at the site on the northwest coast of England. The waste is said to contain both plutonium and uranium mixed with saltpetre. Norway's Minister for the Environment, Knut Arild Hareide, said he immediately ordered a report from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA, Statens strålevernet) regarding the leak. He told news bureau NTB that contact had been established between the radiation authority and its counterpart in the UK.
Hareide also said he would take up the matter with the British environmental protection minister, Elliot Morley, to ensure that it's followed up at a political level. "Such leaks reveal the risk of nuclear power," Hareide said.
Per Strand of the NRPA said the leak at Sellafield appeared to be a "local problem." Environmental activist Frederic Hauge of the Norwegian group Bellona called it "a serious situation."
Hauge stressed that it was difficult, however, to determine just how serious. "It all depends on how widespread the leak is, and whether it's been captured by Sellafield's security systems," he told Aftenposten's web site. "We don't have enough information yet."
The bin where the leaked fuel was collected was said to be so radioactive that no one could go near it. There were no indications, however, that any of the radioactive material had leaked into the ground. - aftenposten
Psyops article: Hot air Political silence on nuclear energy is indefensible
Scientist quells Sellafield disaster fear
AN accident at the Sellafield nuclear complex would contaminate Ireland's environment, but the country would not suffer deaths and devastation on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, says Ireland's top nuclear expert.
Dr Ann McGarry, chief of the Radiological Protection Institute, reassured members of a Dail parliament committee that the island would not be "wiped out" if dangerous radioactive material escaped from the Cumbrian plant. TDs said they feared a "doomsday scenario" in the event of explosions or a terrorist attack on Sellafield, which the Irish Government wants to be shut down.
But Dr McGarry told the committee in Dublin: "It's certainly not the case that we would have the devastation that's within the 30km exclusion zone around Chernobyl. "Even if there was a worst-case scenario, there is no doubt that our environment would become contaminated and that it would have very serious economic consequences for us. "We would certainly suffer into the longer term, but you would not have the kind of immediate devastation and deaths in the aftermath of a nuclear accident (like Chernobyl)."
Green TD Ciaran Cuffe predicted a possible "nightmare scenario" if a large aircraft crashed into huge tanks containing radioactive material. And last month Irish Environment Minister Dick Roche called on the British Government to shut Sellafield. 0- manchester online
...some have warned that the UK faces electricity and gas shortages, leading to steep price increases, unless action is taken to replace the UK's aging nuclear plants. Green MEP Dr. Caroline Lucas said, "Tony Blair has raised the spectre of building new nuclear power stations as a way of meeting the UK's international legal obligations to reduce CO2 emissions. Not only is this misguided - as this accident has amply demonstrated - it is based on a fallacious assumption that nuclear energy is carbon free."
"The reality is that over its full life cycle a nuclear power plant is responsible for significant CO2 emissions," said Lucas.
"If he is serious about safely reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Tony Blair must abandon the dirty and dangerous nuclear power industry in favor of renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar power - and invest heavily in energy conservation measures," she said.
"This incident has served to close the plant for the foreseeable future - the government must take the next step and keep it closed for good," said Lucas. "The government shouldn't even be talking about commissioning new nuclear plants while we remain stuck with the mess of the last 50 years," she said.
"The deadly by-products of the nuclear energy industry must in no way be used as a raw material for new industrial processes," said Lucas.
A decision on whether or not to build a new generation of nuclear power plants is among the most controversial which Prime Minister Tony Blair faces at the start of his third term.
Radioactive Leak Shuts Down UK Nuclear Reprocessing Plant
Blair Backs U.N. Intervention for Iran
May 12, 2005 - Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that Iran should be referred to the U.N. Security Council if it breaches its nuclear obligations, while Tehran vowed to resume some activities that can be part of the process of making nuclear weapons. Hasan Rowhani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, said negotiations with key European powers were not balanced and were costly for Tehran.
''Continuation of negotiations in their present format is not possible for us,'' Rowhani told Iranian state-run television. ''The basic point that the Islamic Republic of Iran will resume part of its nuclear activities in the near future is definite.''
Diplomats close to the International Atomic Energy Agency and familiar with Iran's nuclear dossier said Rowhani appeared to be creating some wiggle room for his country in negotiations as his statement appeared more vague than other recent Iranian pronouncements warning such a move would come in the next few days.
Blair stepped up the pressure, warning that he would support Iran being referred to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions, if it breached its nuclear obligations.
''We certainly will support referral to the U.N. Security Council if Iran breaches it undertaking and obligations,'' Blair said at the first news conference since his Labour Party won a historic third term in last week's elections. - guardian.
The Prime Minister has personally endorsed "keeping the nuclear option open" and is planning a government statement on a change of policy before the summer, in the face of opposition from cabinet ministers, including Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment. Mr Blair's decision to revive the nuclear agenda was revealed two weeks ago by The Independent which reported that Mr Blair's own strategy unit was working on it.
Yesterday, a leaked government briefing document disclosed that the nuclear option would be looked at soon after Parliament returns. A paper by departmental civil servants for Alan Johnson, the new Secretary of State for Productivity Energy and Industry, proposes that building more nuclear power plants or extending the lives of present ones should be a top priority for the first months of Labour's third term. It stresses the "need to act soon" and says there is a "case for looking at the nuclear question quickly".
The paper says: "This formula to 'keep the nuclear option open' was a compromise endorsed by the PM, between ministers for and against. The question is whether we need to decide now (bearing in mind that it is generally easier to push ahead on controversial issues early in a new Parliament).
It says nuclear should be looked at as an option for tackling climate change and protecting the energy supply. But it adds: "CO2 emissions have been rising in recent years. We look to be falling well short of the goal to cut them by 20 per cent by 2010."
The revival of nuclear power is bolstered by the Prime Minister's admission that he is opposed to asking people to make changes to their lifestyle - such as buying energy-efficient refrigerators or taking the Eurostar instead of flights to Europe - to reduce global warming. Mr Blair has said publicly there is no political will to force people to make lifestyle changes to less fuel-hungry cars or energy-efficient lightbulbs.
His remarks infuriated the Green movement: Stephen Tindale, director of Greenpeace, said: "He is implying that anyone who is against nuclear is in favour of making people go back and live in caves. It's absolutely ridiculous. He is saying he is not asking anyone to make any choices to protect the living standards of children in the future."
The move to build more nuclear power stations while discounting lifestyle changes is also opposed by Labour MPs and Whitehall officials. Civil servants say it could weaken the Government's case against nuclear proliferation involving states such as Iran and North Korea. They criticised Mr Blair for ruling out "lifestyle changes". - Independent via Rense
The Bottom line??? No Nuclear industry = No nuclear Weapons industry
|Blair to overhaul British nuclear deterrent system
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to equip Britain with a new generation of deterrent nuclear weapons, to replace those currently deployed on Trident submarines, The Independent reported.
"The decision (to replace Trident) has been taken in principle very recently," a senior defence source told the daily on condition of anonymity.
A new nuclear deterrent would cost some 10 billion pounds (14.4 billion euros, 18.5 billion dollars), the paper said.
Blair, who is currently campaigning hard for his Labour Party to win a third consecutive election this Thursday, last week said he not yet decided on a new deterrent.
"We have got to retain our nuclear deterrent. That decision is for another time," he told the BBC. "But I believe that is the right thing."
The defence source quoted by The Independent said it took an extremely long time to build new nuclear weapons, which is why the decision had to come far in advance of decommissioning the Tridents, expected in 2024.
Britain -- which the source said had to build its own bombs since US law forbade the Americans from constructing nuclear weapons for another country -- has four Trident submarines in service. They each have 16 multiple warhead nuclear missiles with a range of 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles).
channel news asia
UNITED STATES: Pentagon seeks funds for new nukes
On April 27 Rumsfeld, defending a US$22.5 million funding request over 2006 and 2007, told the Senate defence appropriations subcommittee that it made "all the sense in the world" to research the development of a "robust nuclear earth penetrator", a nuclear weapon capable of destroying deeply buried or otherwise well protected targets.
Rumsfeld told the committee that the "only thing we have is very large, very dirty nuclear weapons. So the choice is: Do we want to have nothing and only a large, dirty nuclear weapon, or would we rather have something in between? That is the issue."
The research into new nuclear weapons such as the proposed "earth penetrator" is part of the public rehabilitation of battlefield use of nuclear weapons by the US, even against non-nuclear enemies. The Pentagon's January 2002 Nuclear Posture Review called for the development of "mini-nukes", which could be more easily used in such a way than the mainstay of Washington's nuclear arsenal.
"The Bush administration wants to have nuclear weapons in the regular battlefield arsenal of its armed forces in order to use them in the same way that they'd use a conventional artillery shell piece, a conventional missile, an ordinary cannon", Richard Butler, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, told SBS's Dateline in May 2003. - greenleft.org *
No Nuclear industry = No nuclear Weapons industry
Revealed: Blair's nuclear bombshell
By Andy McSmith Published: 17 October 2005
Tony Blair is facing a political backlash over his decision to order a new generation of nuclear weapons to replace the ageing Trident fleet at a cost of billions of pounds.
Rebel Labour MPs will meet tomorrow to coordinate their fight against his plans, which seem set to provoke one of the biggest shows of opposition to Mr Blair from inside his own party since the start of the Iraq war. Opposition to an updated version of Trident goes far beyond MPs who object to nuclear weapons on principle. It includes senior figures in the military, who question whether this is the best way to spend a tight military budget.
A senior defence department source told The Independent that there was "a serious debate" going on "at all levels" over the long-term role of the armed forces and whether a nuclear deterrent was still needed. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, is believed to have privately queried the huge cost.
An indication of the sums involved was revealed last week when the Defence Secretary, John Reid, released updated figures showing that Britain's nuclear bomb factory at Aldermaston has been given a £2bn budget for the next three years.
The cost of running the Atomic Weapons Establishment has averaged £300m a year, at current prices, since 2000. Next year's costs will jump to £507m, rising still higher to about £1.5bn over the next two years.
Officially, the task of Aldermaston's scientists is to ensure that the Trident fleet is kept in working order. Their real task, according to military sources, is to make sure that the scientific know-how is in place to create a whole new generation of nuclear weapons as soon as a political decision has been made.
The Independent revealed in May that Mr Blair had decided to go ahead with a replacement for Trident, at a total cost likely to exceed £10bn, but that he was delaying the announcement until after the general election.
In June, the Prime Minister announced that he wanted to "listen" to the views of MPs before making a final decision. However, both he and Mr Reid have pointedly avoiding saying that MPs will be given an opportunity to vote on the nuclear issue. The "listening exercise" promised by Mr Blair began at the end of last week when Mr Reid's parliamentary private secretary, Siobhain McDonagh, sent an e-mail to all Labour MPs inviting anyone concerned about nuclear weapons to meet the Defence Secretary in groups of six at a time.
Although Trident's life could be extended for another 20 years, a decision on whether to replace it has to be made much sooner, because of the long "lead-in" time needed to develop and test new weapons. Mr Blair is thought to be determined to have the matter settled before he leaves 10 Downing Street. He believes that Britain owes it to the US to remain a member of the nuclear club.
Yesterday, Mr Blair and the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, held talks at Chequers with the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, about the worsening relations with Iran. The US government, backed by Britain, is intent on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Critics say Britain's case is weakened if Mr Blair insists on rebuilding Britain's nuclear arsenal.
Three Labour MPs - Gordon Prentice, Paul Flynn and John Austin - have drawn up a resolution questioning the cost of Trident, and have demanded a vote on it at one of the meetings which Labour MPs hold every Monday. Mr Flynn, a member of the Defence Committee of the Western European Union, said: "We haven't got any enemies that we could possibly want to aim nuclear weapons at now. The case that John Reid has given for these weapons is that we might possibly have the right sort of enemy in 15 years time, which doesn't seem like a good reason for spending billions of pounds. Our future role is going to be as peacekeepers, in which we perform better than anyone else.'"
Last week, Mr Prentice met the chairman of the parliamentary party, Ann Clwyd, who urged him to drop the idea of forcing a vote, fearing that it would give an impression of a divided Labour Party. She also warned them that they would probably be defeated, and that even if they won, they would not alter government policy.
"We said we were prepared to be reasonable. If she didn't want a vote in the Parliamentary Labour Party, then John Reid should come to come to the Commons so that we could have a vote there," Mr Prentice said.
If they are not promised a Commons vote, the rebels have marked 31 October as they day they will force a vote among MPs. Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, said: "This is at a time when they are going to cut down on both the navy and the air force. It requires a whole review of the nuclear stock and what it is for, when even the Americans are developing different types of nuclear weapons. "But there is also the politics and the macho posturing, and the issue of jobs, which we will hear a lot about."
Asked about the reason for the doubling of Aldermaston's budget, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The planned expenditure is aimed at maintaining key capabilities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment [AWE] to ensure that we can safely support the Trident warhead throughout its planned in-service life. In the absence of the ability to undertake live nuclear testing, given that the UK has signed and ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it is necessary to invest in the facilities at AWE which will provide continuing assurance that the existing Trident warhead stockpile is reliable and safe." - .independent
PM 'convinced' on nuclear future
Tuesday, 29 November 2005 -
Tony Blair is believed to be convinced over the need for nuclear power to tackle the UK energy crisis. The government is to announce a review of energy policy, including nuclear power, after being urged by business leaders to tackle the UK energy crisis.
Concerns have been growing over future power supplies and rising gas costs. The BBC's Nick Robinson said despite the prime minister's support, no decision has yet been made on Britain's nuclear future.
Tony Blair's spokesman said: "The prime minister's view is that we need to look at all the options and everybody knows that is what we are going to do." He said it was important to look at it in terms of the UK's energy security and also "in terms of climate change".
Government Chief Scientist Sir David King told the BBC that a "fresh look" was needed at the situation but denied that any firm decisions had been made ahead of the review. "My advice has been clear for some time, but I don't believe that decisions have been made, " he said. Earlier he had urged the government to "give the green light" to more power stations.
The CBI, the business lobby organisation, says energy requirements are now top of the business agenda as fuel costs rise and worries grow over gas supplies this winter.
Mr Blair is expected to use the CBI annual conference next week to announce the energy review and signal the government's change of direction.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson says that the Prime Minister has been convinced that building more nuclear power stations is the only way to meet the country's energy needs and stick to the targets on climate change.
The CBI has stressed a firm decision on a new generation of nuclear stations must be made urgently. It said one-third of the UK's generating capacity would have to be replaced by 2020 and called on the government to commission a study into the cost of nuclear energy compared with alternative sources of power.
"A decision on the future of nuclear power has been allowed to drift too long," said the CBI's director general Sir Digby Jones. "Potential investors and the British public both deserve certainty."
He told BBC Radio Five Live: "It is high time this nation had an integrated coherent energy policy."
And he warned that high-use large industrial outfits would have to "throw the switch" if the price of gas continued to rise. "This government is going to have to hold a proper constructive debate on nuclear power. We want them to have a public debate and stop prevaricating."
The call comes as the price of wholesale gas has almost doubled during the past week, prompting fears about winter supplies to industry in the UK. Experts believe tight supplies have triggered the rise. UK supplies are low as a pipeline from Europe is running at half capacity and shiploads of gas are being diverted to Spain and the US where prices are high.
UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks said the government was looking into why the gas interconnector was not working properly, but said it was operated by private companies and "is not something the government switches on and off". He admitted that the rundown in North Sea supplies and the delay in getting new pipelines from Norway up and running meant that some sectors of UK industry may experience a difficult winter or two. "We have got a tight equation between supply and demand of gas," he said.
Former Labour energy minister, Brian Wilson, told the Midday News on Radio Five Live he hoped the government would "give a clear steer in favour of nuclear power stations". He added: "Both in order to meet our environmental responsibilities but also to maintain security of supply and avoid this gross over-dependence on gas."
But former environment secretary Michael Meacher said that while the government had "to act quickly... I think we need nuclear like a hole in the head". - bbc.co.uk
There is one tiny detail missing from these Nuclear power PSYOPS.
Nuclear power stations need a constant water supply to help make all that steam to turn those turbines....so they will have to be built to deal with those rising sea levels / tidal flood waters that Blair created by building on flood plains and that he & the environmental lobby insist are going to happen with increasing frequency because of 'global warming'
- do we really just need this convuluted & dangerous process, which only serves to produce energy to heat water to produce steam to turn a turbine...?
Is it only dangerous because we can't trust corporations to pay their workers properly, keep their systems safe and not let contaminated [radioactive] water seep onto the Irish coast for YEARS...?
Whacky idea - the condensing 'combi' boiler system, which by UK law, everyone has to have, if they are to fit a gas central heating system, produces enourmous amounts of steam...Surely this system could be adapted on a larger scale to utilize methane gas that could be generated from our waste sewage processing plants...which would provide hot water for a community via heating and the resultant steam could be used for turbines...alternatively smaller 'home turbines' could be developed that feed from your boiler steam pipe and generate electricity. along with solar panels and multiples of small awning type roof based windmills, the accumalitive energy generated would be substantial.
|you could get yourself one of these nifty mini powerstations
|The CIA have! -
In-Q-Tel Announces Strategic Investment In Skybuilt Power To Develop Mobile, Renewable Energy Power Stations
Arlington, VA; October 18, 2005.SkyBuilt Power, an energy solutions company, announced today it has signed a strategic investment and development agreement with In-Q-Tel, a private venture group established by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to develop innovative, mobile, renewable energy power stations.
"SkyBuilt Power provides innovative energy solutions with the potential to help meet a wide variety of critical government and commercial power needs," said Gilman Louie, president and CEO of In-Q-Tel. "In-Q-Tel's portfolio is made up of innovative and critically important commercial technologies that can address the most difficult technology challenges faced by both commercial enterprises and the national security community. SkyBuilt Power's proprietary technology offers great promise for leading edge applications for customers in the government and private sector."
SkyBuilt has developed rugged, rapidly deployable, plug and play, low maintenance, and mobile, energy systems that can use any combination of commercial solar, wind, micro-hydro, diesel, and other energy sources. According to Bill Buck, SkyBuilt's chairman, "SkyBuilt's power systems can provide power with no fuel. They can be used for backup power, remote telecom power, an emergency operations center for disaster relief teams, water pumping, a mobile medical clinic to refrigerate medicines in developing countries, infrastructure security, village grids, border patrols or a classroom with internet service."
One of SkyBuilt's innovative systems is the Mobile Power Station TM (MPS), the world's first plug and play, modular, containerized, mobile power system, with over 100 patent claims filed for its revolutionary drop and operate design. "The PC revolutionized the computer industry and made computers mobile and plug and play. Now the MPS can do the same thing for renewable and other energy systems," according to David Muchow, President and CEO of SkyBuilt.
The MPS sets up in hours and is a complete power system prepackaged in a standard freight container that can be shipped easily worldwide by sea, air, truck and rail. SkyBuilt's vice president, Scott Sklar noted that, "the MPS operates in any climate, needs no fuel, is very low maintenance, rugged, and can be remotely controlled. It can provide power from 3.5kW to 150kW or more at much lower fuel and maintenance costs than traditional fuel-based systems. It can use any combination of off the shelf components and provides more reliable power than most other systems on or off the power grid - and, the MPS can run for decades with relatively little maintenance." skybuilt.com
|The Air force have got Hydrogen extraction Power cells:
Robins Air Force Base received ten 5kW fuel cells in October 2005 as part of the Robins Micro-grid Project. The fuel cells will provide 275,000 kilowatt hours of power to the base's power source until their departure in October 2006. New York-based manufacturer Plug Power Inc., Atlanta-based Logan Energy Corp., the Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center and others are involved.
The quiet fuell cells reform propane gas and extract hydrogen to produce electricity as part of Robins' Fuel Cell Micro-grid project, also known as the Common Core Power Production (C2P2) program. C2P2 a year-long demonstration-validation Department of Defense, Air Force program to ultimately seek alternative, environmentally-sound fuel sources for troops in deployed locations as part of BEAR (basic expeditionary airfield resources), or as backup power sources for stateside bases. So, how will this program work?
In addition to using propane as an alternative energy source, the fuel cells can also reform jet fuel, natural gas and any fuel source that contains hydrogen, even water, into power sources - a method that may prove to be more convenient for servicemembers already carrying jet fuel to power the mission, said Mike Mead, APTO chief
- defense industry daily
US Air force story
Common Core Power Production (C2P2)
Client: Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab
The Common Core Power Production (C2P2) Initiative was developed to reduce logistical requirements for the support of aircraft operations by introducing current technology into the Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) inventory. The C2P2 Initiative was conceived because the Air Force can no longer afford to devote intensive airlift operations to deliver single-use, stove-piped equipment to theaters of operations. The C2P2 Initiative demonstrated the feasibility of Common Core Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) technology as the primary, multiuse power source for flight line and nonflight line power production requirements. The primary goal of the project was to validate fuel cell technology as a viable energy source throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). A secondary goal was to introduce hydrogen as a fuel for AGE power production equipment.
Better still - just forget steam turbines and generate energy via dynamos that are linked to Keep fit clubs all over the country - nah too easy!|
Nearly a year ago to the day the BBC - instead of hyping up gas prices and cold weather fears for fuhrer Blairs Nuclear bomb factory - were reporting on another type of power:
involving plasma physics, called 'fusion reactors'
Yet bizarrely...No one has made mention of it in 2005...
ITER - NUCLEAR FUSION PROJECT
Project estimated to cost 10bn euros and will run for 35 years
It will produce the first sustained fusion reactions
Final stage before full prototype of commercial reactor is built
EU gets tough on fusion reactor
26 November, 2004 -
European research ministers say they are ready to press ahead with the Iter nuclear fusion project even if it means losing Japanese support. The multi-billion-euro reactor will produce energy from nuclear reactions like the ones that fuel the Sun. But the international project has been stalled because the parties involved cannot agree on a location to build it. Now, EU ministers say that if no deal is done soon, they will go it alone with a reactor at Cadarache in France.
"This is not an ultimatum, but we wish to reach a political agreement before the end of the year," French research minister Francois D'Aubert told reporters on Friday. He added: "If the negotiations do not come to a rapid conclusion, the commission has the possibility to choose a different path."
And the EU's research commissioner, Janez Potocnik, added: "I do not think that it is useful to put a deadline on this. We have not discussed that today. "As long as there is the slightest possibility of a positive outcome, I am committed to negotiate."
After the International Space Station, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) would be the largest global research and development collaboration. There are currently six parties involved. The EU has the support of China and Russia to build the reactor at Cadarache. Japan has the backing of the US and South Korea to construct Iter at Rokkasho in the north of its territory.
A decision on the location should have been made a year ago - but the parties are deadlocked. Europe would like Japan to stand down and accept a major support role - in what the EU calls a "genuine partnership". This would involve Japan getting a materials testing facility needed to push forward the Iter project.
The facility would also be well placed to win any contracts to supply the commercial reactors that could come after Iter. Japan, however, is adamant that it has the best candidate site and has been upset by the EU's attempt to force the issue by threatening to go it alone. Europe would build Iter on the French Mediterranean
"It is extremely regrettable. We hope that the EU will handle this matter appropriately and honestly," said Takahiro Hayashi, deputy director of the Office of Fusion Energy at Japan's energy ministry. "There is no deadline for the talks. We will continue until both sides reach an agreement," he told the AFP news agency.
And the office's director, Satoru Ohtake, told Reuters news agency: "The two sides have different ideas, and therefore we should take time to have good discussions." He added: "The fact that they are setting a deadline for their rival to make a concession is something like a declaration of war."
Unlike in fission reactions, in which atomic nuclei are split to release energy, fusion reactions release energy when nuclei are forced together.
The process is the same as the one that powers the Sun. Achieving stable and sustained reactions on Earth, however, present an immense challenge. The Iter design is for the reactions to take place inside a 100-million-degree gas (plasma) suspended in an intense doughnut-shaped magnetic field.
Several research facilities, such as the Joint European Torus (Jet) project at Culham, UK, have shown this is feasible; but none has so far been able to sustain the reactions for long periods. Iter will consolidate all that has been learnt over many decades of study. It is expected to produce 500MW of fusion power during pulses of at least 400 seconds. If it achieves this and its technologies are proven to be practical, the international community would then build a prototype commercial reactor, dubbed Demo.
Fusion could help fill the void as the world moves away from oil, coal and natural gas. The fusion fuels are plentiful and produce no greenhouse emissions when "burnt". The systems are said to be inherently safe because they shutdown in a malfunction; and although radioactive materials are produced, they are not of the high-level long-lived variety that has so burdened nuclear fission. - bbc.co.uk
Jet has shown the plasma (right) approach should succeed
And a year before this?
Ditchley Foundation Lecture notes: MEETING ENERGY NEEDS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY - 12-14 December 2003
We spent some time discussing the two most controversial aspects of nuclear power : waste and proliferation. On waste we were told that it was possible to reduce the amount of radioactive waste as a result of increased efficiency. One participant commented that fast-breeder technology had been tested and was about 60% more efficient than current fission plants. Nevertheless, it would continue to be necessary to store waste safely over very long periods. This provoked discussion over the possibility of full fuel cycle control and internationally approved storage areas. The Soviet Union used to require all spent fuel from the reactors in its satellites to be returned to it for storage. Currently the practice was for all countries to deal with their own waste which was a particular burden for smaller countries without adequate resources. In France there was a major reprocessing industry but there were difficulties over the return of reprocessed rods because of concerns about their safety in transit. The proposal was made that one or two international storage sites might be approved to which waste would be taken. If properly and securely run, such sites would probably attract investment and could become financially viable operations. Overall, it was suggested, public concerns would not be allayed by the nuclear industry adopting a defensive, reactive approach.
The Government and the industry should put forward the case for nuclear power, including waste disposal. The public should be engaged in the debate.
In looking at the Non-Proliferation aspects, it was proposed that a strengthened regime of international action was required to ensure that the NPT provisions were observed. For example, a regime of strong sanctions might be automatically applied to any state announcing its unilateral withdrawal from the NPT. Some thought would also need to be given to research reactors - the source it was claimed of the enriched uranium for India's nuclear weapons, and also to uranium used in medical procedures. A "dirty" bomb could be based on such uranium. It was pointed out that Canada, which supplied 90% of the uranium for medical purposes, required the return of all such material. Safety and efficiency were also considered. The advanced Candu reactor was mentioned as were the passive-safety pebble-bed reactors from South Africa which were designed with safety and a modular build in mind. Realistically, however, there was no absolutely safe option, but that applied equally to carbon based generation. The risks needed to be evaluated dispassionately and not on the basis of dogmatic opposition to the nuclear industry. Finally the possibility of a terrorist attack against a nuclear plant was considered. Modern plants which included double walls as a safety feature were considered resistant to such attacks. Attitudes to nuclear power appeared to divide between those developing countries where energy demand was growing rapidly, who were sanguine about its use, and developed countries which were unenthusiastic. A major problem was identified in the retention of the skills needed to build nuclear plants. Lack of investment in the 1990's had led to a sharp decline in qualified manpower. R & D spend was seen as essential to maintain the skills and interest in the industry. One participant suggested that future energy consumption might broadly divide between fission/fusion for developed countries and gas/oil for developing countries.
We moved on from fission to fusion where the fuels were lithium and a form of hydrogen with helium as the product which is not radioactive. Passive-safety in a fusion plant seems assured since there is very little fuel or energy in a fusion device at any one time and the radioactive hazard of the plant decays on a timescale of years to decades. We were informed that fusion power above 10 MW had been demonstrated and a decision was imminent on a site to build a power station scale device, ITER, on a world cooperative basis.
The main problems envisaged at this stage were thought to lie more in the metallurgy and other industrial aspects than in the fusion. However, fusion was unlikely to provide electricity to the grid in less than 25 years. However, China, we were told, was planning on access to fusion-delivered electricity from 2050. It was pointed that, on current estimates, if we wished to move from a carbon to a hydrogen economy (hydrogen being a vector for energy) we would need to doubt electricity supply.
Winter 2005: Gas Gas Gas! Cold winter makes fuel price rise...duh!
A coming cold snap is being used to fuel [sic!] Gas price hikes. The News Media have amplified this as a 'terrifying event' ...previously these times were referred to as 'the winter' - I seem to recall!
"The spot price of wholesale gas has risen 500 per cent in three weeks, to £1.70 a therm, already causing some of the UK's biggest power stations to reduce output. Businesses that use gas for fuel or as a raw material have warned that they could be forced to cut production or close, if bottlenecks in supply are not resolved. The Met Office says that the UK could be on the brink of the coldest winter in a decade. Experts warn that consumers will feel a knock-on effect, with utility bills soaring by an average of £85 a year by January." from a Times report
In 2003 Putin agreed a deal with Blair for the merger of TNK & BP ...These Russian Energy corporations are giants...It's no exaggeration to suggest that the Kremlin actually owns TNK/Rosneft/Sibneft/GAZPROM... Back in 2002 a Kremlin man took the helm at Gazprom. In Oct 2005 Gazprom bought out Abramoviches Sibneft for 13 billion dollars
" The gas monopoly is controlled by a group of Putin's closest associates, not by government institutions. What we are witnessing is the creation of a rather peculiar system of power whereby the nation's key economic assets are managed by a clan of especially trusted and close allies, with those assets being a guarantee that those people will retain political power. " - MOSNEWS
Perhaps all the trouble is being caused by the fact that Blair can't keep
his spies at BP in line from trying to peak at Russian/Chinese goodies in Eastern Siberia... In Russia fears are that the tightening of state policy may mean that soon foreign citizens will lose the right to work in the oil sphere altogether...
Spain & Italy help fix prices...
In spite of soaring British prices, the gas pipeline connecting the UK to the continent has only been running at half capacity, sparking calls from UK authorities for a Brussels probe into other member states' protectionism. Headlines like UK is threatened with an 'energy timebomb' surely only pour extra fuel on Blairs nuclear Power ambitions for the UK ...yet another smokescreen for the Trident Nuke corporate arms industry cash-cow these politicians all really work for
welcome to NEOUK powered by the
energy cartel...who do Putin, Blair & the rest of these cronies really work for?
Co-inkydink!!...During an April 2000 visit to England, Putin [ex KGB] reiterated his warning: "The West must wake up... war with Islam is coming."
remember the golden rule? He who has the gold makes the rules
|The G8 Energy Cartel is the NWO
- Schroeder joins Gazprom pipeline group - Bush Buddy Evans sidles up to the trough too
...the former German chancellor, is to be a director of a Russian-German pipeline consortium controlled by Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled gas group said on Friday. Anti-corruption activists said his appointment to the supervisory board of the $5.7bn (€4.8bn) North European Gas Pipeline would rekindle debate in Germany about possible conflicts of interest for retired politicians who move into business. FT news report 1
Rosneft has emerged alongside Gazprom as one of two state-controlled Russian energy champions. But it has a controversial reputation abroad following its acquisition of Yuganskneftegaz, the main production arm of Yukos, the oil company built up by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for $9.35bn (€7.8bn, £6.5bn) in a forced auction last December. Yuganskneftegaz was sold in part-payment of a $28bn back tax claim against Yukos, widely seen in Russia as part of a broader, politically motivated attack on Mr Khodorkovsky, who is serving a jail sentence in Siberia. The appointment of Mr Evans would be a coup for Rosneft, which has hired advisers, including the UK's Brunswick Group, to help it improve its profile in the US and Europe ahead of an expected flotation in London.FT news report 2
Update: US Bush Energy crony Evans declines top job at Russia's Rosneft
|Video broadcast by Al Jazeera
Blind eye surgeon says hit oil
Al-Qaeda, Mr Zawahri said, was a "popular organisation confronting a new Crusader Zionist Western and Israeli campaign, in defence of all violated Muslim lands". In Iraq, he said, the US-led coalition was "receiving blows each day", while the Iraqi government was "begging Americans not to leave because they know the day Americans leave is the day they are finished". He urged attacks on oil installations in Islamic countries "because most of the revenues of this oil go to the enemies of Islam". Ayman al-Zawahri, an eye surgeon by training, is seen as the chief ideologue of al-Qaeda.
How can this man not see that high oil prices only make the Cartel richer? Answer: he can, he's a puppet, a tool, an agent of the empire
The Video was broadcast by Al Jazeera - another cog in the operation...
The rebranding of Al Jazeera
The Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) is backed by Korean CIA agent, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, head of the cultish Unification Church. In June 2002, UPI chief John O'Sullivan spoke at an IIFWP symposium in Washington D.C. He opened his remarks by referring to Imad Musa, from the Washington Bureau of Al Jazeera -a previous speaker.
"I should say how much I appreciated the remarks of the gentleman from Al Jazeera. I'm sorry he told us the story about the BBC because I had hoped to refer to him as the only member of Al Jazeera who hadn't been a former employee of the World Service of the BBC, thus subtly hinting that Al Jazeera is really an MI6 operation," -
from a Break 4 News story
"Even if it seems to be an accident, it stokes fears of terrorist attacks on oil facilities. This is bullish for product prices in Europe,"
Oil rebounded to $60 a barrel on Monday after a sharp fall at the end of last week, with forecasts for another U.S. cold spell offsetting OPEC's plans to keep output at near full-throttle through the winter. U.S. crude rose 55 cents to $59.94 a barrel, recovering from a 2.1 percent slide on Friday, while London Brent crude was up 69 cents to $58.00 a barrel. Oil raced to its highest level in five weeks on Friday and natural gas set a second consecutive record-high above $15 per million British thermal units as icy weather gripped the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, driving up demand for heating fuels. Profit-taking reversed those gains by Friday's close, but prospects for another cold snap at the weekend -- after a period of more moderate weather -- kept the market supported
In Kuwait, OPEC President Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah said there was unanimous support to carry on pumping at the cartel's highest level for 25 years, about 30 million barrels daily. "All the delegates are willing to maintain our production levels,"
Sheikh Ahmad, who is also Kuwait's oil minister, told reporters on Sunday after a meeting of OPEC's monitoring committee, ahead of the cartel's full meeting on Monday. And on Monday, he said: "I believe we will have a late-January or early-February meeting to discuss the second quarter."
Analysts said the market was also on edge after Sunday's explosions at a fuel depot north of London, which has the capacity to hold 5 percent of Britain's oil supply, although police said the explosion was almost certainly an accident. "Even if it seems to be an accident, it stokes fears of terrorist attacks on oil facilities. This is bullish for product prices in Europe," said Tony Nunan of Mitsubishi Corp.'s risk management business. It was not clear how much oil the depot, which supplies petrol and fuel oils to a large part of southeast England, including Luton and Heathrow airports, was holding. An al Qaeda leader last week urged attacks on oil facilities in Muslim countries, fuelling gains in oil prices. - reuters story
||Buncefield gas explosion
NORTHGATE INFORMATION SOLUTIONS PLC
"...our Business Intelligence team enables customers to make timely, fact-based decisions that optimise their company's performance and unlock the value of their collective information for competitive advantage."
For further media enquiries, please contact: Brunswick Group LLP
0207 404 5959
On the Board - Sir Stephen Lander, aged 58, Non-Executive Director * Sir Stephen was appointed a Non-Executive Director on 29 January 2004. He was previously Director-General of the Security Service [Mi5 / Mi6] from 1996 until 2002. He also sits on the Board of HM Customs & Excise, and is an advisor to Detica Limited and De La Rue Limited.
In March 2004, the controversy over the exaggeration of the oil and gas reserves of Shell Oil resulted in the resignation of the then chairman, Philip Watts, and Walter van de Vijver, who was responsible for exploration and production. In an attempt to manage the crisis Shell hired the Brunswick Group to help it manage the crisis. "Brunswick has recently come on board, but we don't really say much more about what they do,"
Ukraine and Russia turn up heat in gas row, threatening Europe's supply
By : Ben Aris in Moscow December 04, 2005
WESTERN Europe may be cut off from Russia's gas supplies this winter if a dispute between Moscow and Kiev over the price of gas is not solved, Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom warned last week. Gazprom is threatening to more than treble the price of gas in Ukraine or turn the taps off if Kiev refuses to compromise at a meeting later this week, cutting off not only Ukraine but Western Europe as well.
"If we don't sign a contract, then the consequences could be most catastrophic," Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Ryazanov said. "[The Ukrainians] are not ready to work with us."
Western Europe depends on Russia for one-quarter of its gas, of which 80% travels through a pipeline that crosses the Ukraine. Gazprom wants to increase the price Ukraine pays for its gas by $50 per 1000 cubic metres to $160, still less than the $200 most Western European countries pay. The head of Ukraine's national gas company, Naftogas, rejected what he called Gazprom's "ultimatums" after Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov cancelled a trip to Kiev last week to discuss the problem.
Olexi Ivchenko, the chairman of state-owned Naftogaz, said: "We received the Russian proposals the day before the arrival of Prime Minister Fradkov … but it was formulated as an ultimatum: either you accept this agreement today or there is no reason for a visit."
Ukraine relies on Russia for about 90% of its annual oil consumption and 40% of its gas needs. Turkmenistan supplies Ukraine with another 40% of its gas, which all transits through Russia. The two sides are deadlocked and the rhetoric has become increasingly belligerent ahead of a last attempt to reach a compromise at this week's meeting.
The Rada, Ukraine's parliament, countered Gazprom's threats by hiking transit tariffs, paid in gas, for the third time this year and Ukrainian officials have vowed to "stand to the death" on its opposition to price hikes.
Gazprom has offered to more than double transit fees and bring them in line with world prices - if it can pay in cash and not in kind - an offer rejected by Kiev.
Adam Landes, an oil and gas analyst with Renaissance Capital, said: "Gazprom said it was ready to pay higher fees for transit so as to unblock the transit part of the negotiations. However, Ukraine promptly dismissed this unbundling of the talks. Not surprisingly, Ukraine is much more concerned about supplies and knows full well that Gazprom is aiming high.
"Gazprom is perfectly entitled to flex its muscles within the former Soviet Union markets, but the price that it is targeting in Ukraine looks dangerously high given the country's limited ability to pay."
Ukraine's fuel and energy minister, Ivan Plachkov, has played down the tensions and said he is willing to accept higher prices, but not before 2007.Analysts at Aton Capital expect Kiev to lose the fight and see its annual gas bill go up by $1bn. Kiev has suggested it pay the difference with arms deliveries to Russia. source
"Whatever the political or legal problems are, in the short term, these countries should pay for their energy at today's energy prices to improve the efficiency of their economies." Pascal Lamy, director of the World Trade Organization
*Gazprom / Ukraine / Moldova etc... Energy wars? or collusion in high places?
Russian Gazprom sets price hikes on Gas supplies to newly reformed Ukraine - raising the price of 1,000 cubic metres of gas from $50 to $230 ... Ukraine in turn... accused Russia of resorting to "blackmail" in order to undermine the country's economy. Update: Kremlins Gazprom cuts gas supply to Ukraine, accused of 'stealing' - BBC report "the case illustrates the new world we are entering - Moldova said they had also been cut off, after refusing to pay. remembering that Russia as new head of the G8 in 2006, & is also preparing to discuss counter-terrorism co-operation with NATO
All this talk of East Versus West, however is pure cold war bunkum...UK satirical rag 'private eye' reported in it's 'letter from Kiev' column that
those who went out clad in Orange to support Yushchenko were suprised to see him give a high position to the very man protesters had accused of 'election fixing' - Viktor Yanokuvyich, who went on to sign a decree granting amnesty to former Mafia goons under his [Russian] control. So ... Is this really a case of an international Corporate cartel politicising geo-strategic energy control to guarantee vast profits? Do bears [Russian or otherwise] shit in the woods?! or do they just lay an energy cable / pipeline and simply allow people access to 'steal' gas these days...?
so we see a DEAL has been arranged! Under a new five-year deal, Ukraine will buy Russian and Central Asian gas for $95 per 1,000 cubic metres on average. The European Union said it would have to "learn the lessons" and find ways of improving security of energy supplies. so that means Joint Russian & NATO forces being used to protect OIL & GAS pipelines & the many regions they are located...er... like IRAQ which has seen a 60 tanker strong fuel convoy attacked with 20 destroyed
Ukraine's political shift
What changed in the 'not changeable' Gazprom-Ukraine contract between August 2004 and January 2006, of course, was not Gazprom but rather the political complexion of Ukraine. The victory of the Washington-financed Yushchenko candidacy for President in December 2004, and his inauguration in early 2005 on a pledge to bring Ukraine into NATO, did not go down well in Moscow, which considers Ukraine historically and strategically a part of ancient Russia-Kiev Rus.
It was also clear to the Kremlin that Yushchenko's call to bring Ukraine into NATO was no mere election gimmick to distance his party from his pro-Moscow electoral opponent.
Yushchenko's wife, Kateryna Chumachenko Yushchenko, a Chicago-born Ukrainian-American, had previously served in the Reagan White House and State and Treasury departments, and did liaison work with Afghani and other anti-Soviet US-sponsored opposition groups, such as Bush neo-conservative Zalmay Khalilzad's Friends of Afghanistan. She also sat on the board of a pro-NATO neo-conservative US think-tank, New Atlantic Initiative, along with Radek Sikorski, Poland's effusively pro-Washington Defense Minister. Sikorski is a close friend and former American Enterprise Institute colleague of Richard Perle and the other neo-con hawks.
The New Atlantic Initiative was created in June 1996 following the Congress of Prague, where more than 300 conservative politicians , scholars, and investors discussed a 'new agenda for transatlantic relations.' The 'new agenda' they promoted was quite simply to encircle Russia by bringing the former Soviet satellite states into NATO and into a US-defined 'free market.'
NAI's central objective is to strengthen Atlantic cooperation in the post-cold war world by bringing together Americans and Europeans to work toward common goals, including: The reinvigoration of Atlantic institutions of political cooperation and consultation. The admission of Europe's fledgling democracies into the institutions of Atlantic defense and European economic cooperation, notably NATO and the European Union. The establishment of free trade between an enlarged European Union and the North American Free Trade Area as a complement to strengthening global free trade.
The New Atlantic Initiative has headquarters in the offices of the neo-conservative base of operations, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC, where Richard Perle, his co -author David Frum, Michael Ledeen, Lynne (wife of Dick) Cheney and Irving Kristol are based. A more hard-core nest of neo-conservative hawks would be hard to find on that side of the Atlantic.
The New Atlantic Initiative openly states it was set up to bring the countries of the former Soviet bloc into NATO and the European Union. Its original 'patrons' were Václav Havel, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Schmidt, Leszek Balcerowicz, Henry Kissinger, and Bechtel's George Schultz, Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan. Its executive director was current Polish Defense Minister, Radek Sikorski.
Kissinger chaired the NAI International Advisory Board, which was filled with neo-conservatives, including the authors of the Project on the New American Century people (the original group calling for 'regime change' in Iraq already back in September 2000).
The NAI board included PNAC former LockheedMartin executive, Bruce Jackson, now of the Project for Transitional Democracies. Also former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle; Michael Ledeen, one of the close neo-con advisers to Karl Rove; neo-con publisher William Kristol; now UN Ambassador and neo-conservative, John Bolton; Don Rumsfeld; Deputy State Department Secretary Robert Zoellick. - William Engdahl
NATO Means Business To Protect Pipelines
Two immediate and priority projects for NATO officials to develop with private industry are to secure the pipelines bringing Russian oil and gas to Europe against terrorist attacks and to secure ports and merchant shipping, the alliance Supreme Commander, Gen. James Jones of the U.S. Marine Corps said [...]
"We need a new alliance and a new awareness of the role of industry and business," Jones told the Program on Atlantic Security Studies in Prague at a conference held alongside former Czech President Vaclav Havel's annual Forum 2000 meetings.
"In the future, we will need heads of industry sitting down with NATO to talk about the security of the industrial base," Jones said, adding he intended to push for these changes at the next summit of the alliance in 2006.
Without specifying which new members may join, Jones told the conference "the future is that the alliance will continue to grow, beyond the current 26 members," and that they would face the complex new threats of the post-Sept. 11 world.
"Terrorism, narco-trafficking, illegal immigration are all closely connected, and you could say that all our NATO members are already under attack," he went on, adding NATO was being reconfigured from the Cold War's purely military machine to the new demands of peacekeeping, preventive and humanitarian operations. - spacewars
the changing face of NATO
Britain to import half of gas by 2010
www.chinaview.cn 2006-01-05 - LONDON, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Britain, once an energy exporter, will import about half of its gas needs by 2010, according to a BBC report on Wednesday.
By 2020, existing North Sea gas fields will be supplying only 10 percent of the gas needed in Britain, the report said. The existing pipeline to Belgium, which has been used to exportgas to continental Europe, is being upgraded to be able to deliver 15 percent of the UK's peak gas demand by the end of this year.
A new interconnector to be built between Holland and Bacton will supply a further 10 percent.
The biggest pipeline of all is due to be completed later this year. The Langeled pipe will link Britain directly to a huge gas field off the coast of Norway, which will be capable of supplying 16 percent of the UK's peak demand when it is fully operational.
A small amount of gas is also imported as liquefied natural gas(LNG) via a terminal on the Isle of Grain, in Medway, Kent, which was opened last year.
At the same time, new import terminals for LNG are being built at Milford Haven in Wales. Those terminals are due to start receiving gas in late 2007. When they are fully operational, they will be capable of handling about 20 percent of Britain's gas. The LNG for Milford Haven will be supplied under long-term contract from the Gulf state of Qatar. And by the end of the decade, Britain will have a reasonably diverse range of suppliers, including the Middle East and Norway.
But up to a quarter of the UK's gas will be coming from the continental network, whose biggest supplier is Russia. And the terms on which Russia supplies gas to the European network will be very important in determining the price Britain pays for gas in future. At present, 40 percent of Britain's electricity is generated from gas. That figure will rise in the coming years as the current generation of nuclear power stations are decommissioned.
source = xinhuanet.com
Oil prices jump on supply concerns
Fri Jan 6, 1:31 PM ET LONDON (AFP) - Crude prices spiked by over a dollar reaching three-month highs as funds poured into the market on supply fears amid tensions in the Middle East and following the Russia-Ukraine gas row.
Such concerns offset data revealing high inventories of US energy, as well as expectations of milder weather in the US northeast region, the biggest consumer of heating fuel, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, surged 1.11 dollars to 63.90 dollars per barrel in pit trading after hitting 64.15 dollars, the best level since October 18, 2005.
In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for February delivery soared 1.29 dollars to 62.42 dollars per barrel in electronic dealing. It earlier struck 62.68 dollars, the highest point since October 4.
"It is a strange market at the moment and frankly I am surprised that the rise we've seen earlier in the week from the Ukraine-Russia dispute is still there," Global Insight analyst Simon Wardell said. "People still feel a bit shaky about what happened in Russia and Ukraine, and with Sharon ill and some uncertainty in Israel."
Oil prices have risen more than 10 percent in a week, largely owing to a Russia-Ukraine gas price dispute that was resolved Wednesday. They have received additional support from concerns about peace in the oil-rich Middle East, with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon clinging to life on Friday after suffering new bleeding in his brain.There are concerns also about plans by oil producer Iran to resume atomic fuel research, with the United States fearing the country could produce nuclear weapons under the guise of developing a civilian nuclear energy program.
Crude futures had closed more than two dollars higher in New York and London on Tuesday as the Russia-Ukraine row fuelled concerns about Russian energy supplies in general.
Russia had Sunday cut gas supplies to Ukraine after the latter refused to pay substantial increases for its neighbour's energy. The move had affected supplies to Europe, which imports a quarter of its natural gas from Russia via Ukraine.
Crude futures rose Friday "as fund buying outweighed signs of adequate fuel stocks and forecasts of mild weather in the US", analysts at the Sucden brokerage firm said.
The weekly report by the US Department of Energy released Thursday highlighted healthy stocks of gasoline (petrol) and distillate products in the United States.
Elsewhere, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell said Friday that it has restored oil exports from its fields in southern Nigeria following a pipeline explosion that had initially cut production by 180,000 barrels per day.
Shell said in a statement that it had lifted its declaration of "force majeure", an earlier warning to crude oil importers that it would not be able to honour its supply contracts following a dynamite attack on one of its main Niger Delta pipelines on December 20 that killed eight people. - news.yahoo.com
Nuclear Energy Supported by as Much as 62% of U.K., Study Says
Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Nuclear energy development is supported by as much as 62 percent of the U.K. population as long as it's part of a government policy also expanding renewable power sources such as wind and solar, a Deloitte & Touche LLP survey showed. Support for the expansion of nuclear power alone falls to 36 percent of the U.K. public, Deloitte & Touche wrote today in an e- mailed report. Some 23 percent of the population expects the majority of British electricity to be nuclear generated in 15 years time, the study showed.
``Support for nuclear increases significantly when there is some reassurance that it would not be in place of renewable sources'' including wind, solar, wave and biomass-generated power, the report said. ``The U.K.'s future energy policy is likely to combine a diverse range of power generation sources. This doesn't seem to be widely understood at present.''
Prime Minister Tony Blair this week signaled his support for building a new generation of nuclear plants as energy demand increases and as the country seeks to reduce pollution from coal-, oil- and natural gas-fired stations. Renewable sources can fill some, though not all of the shortfall, Blair said.
Unlike fossil fuel-fired plants, nuclear reactors produce virtually no emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas responsible for global warming, according to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Aging nuclear and coal-fired stations that generate about a third of Britain's power will be closed by 2020.
A decision on whether to build a new generation of nuclear plants will be taken by mid-2006, U.K. Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said Nov. 29. Nuclear plants, such as British Energy Plc's Sizewell plant, today produce about 20 percent of Britain's power.
About 35 percent of the British population expects renewable sources will generate the majority of the country's electricity in 15 year's time, the survey reported.
``There is confusion and false expectation among the public in relation to future energy generation,'' the report said. ``The expectation for renewables is clearly unrealistic -- 15 years from now renewables might comprise up to 15 percent of the U.K. energy mix'' from about 4 percent today, the report said.
Some 18 percent of the population said fossil fuels would generate most of Britain's power in 15 years, the report said. Blair's support for new nuclear stations puts him on collision course with environmentalists, such as Greenpeace, who say nuclear power is unsafe, citing accidents such as the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986.
The online survey of 2,041 British adults was conducted between Nov. 15 and Nov. 17 by YouGov Plc, the report said - bloomberg.com
End of era as UK forced to rely on imported oil
By : Richard Orange January 08, 2006
BRITAIN will be forced to rely on imported oil to meet its energy needs this year for the first time in more than a decade and four years earlier than government predictions.
The warning comes from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world's leading energy forecaster. It says North Sea oil production will dip below 1.7m barrels per day this year - 100,000 barrels per day below expected demand. This will force the UK to rely on imported supplies. The forecast will add to existing concerns about energy supplies after Russia's recent threat to gas supplies to Europe which thrust energy security into the foreground and emphasised the extent of the British government's failure to secure the country's future energy requirements.
It also highlights the folly of Chancellor Gordon Brown's doubling of tax on North Sea profits in his November Pre-Budget report. As The Business recently reported, this led to Shell's decision to cut its UK exploration and production programme and prompted every oil company in the North Sea to review its activities.
[my note] now why would UK chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, tax the f**k out of UK's own energy industry?
could it possibly be to ensure vast profits for energy cronies cartel and eventually guarauntee a Nuclear power/ ICBM arms manufacture option gets taken...?
The IEA's supply analyst David Fyfe told The Business: "Given expected oil production this year of below 1.7m barrels per day, the UK faces the prospect of becoming a net crude importer again this year for the first time since 1992."
The IEA sees UK oil demand for 2006 at more than 1.8m barrels per day. It expects North Sea production will only be able to match that for the first three months of this year. Output is projected to fall to 1.65m barrels per day between March and June and to 1.55m barrels per day between July and September, before recovering to 1.66m barrels per day in the last three months.
The UK government's forecasts do not see the UK becoming a net crude oil importer until 2010.
Fyfe said: "In the past three years, production has declined every year by more than 200,000 barrels per day. We are looking at the slate of projects coming up and we are not factoring in any of the unexpected outages which have happened in the past few years."
The IEA's warning raises the prospect that the government's forecasts on the decline of UK oil production are as wrong as they were about the decline of UK gas - a failure that has put the UK on the brink of a gas supply crisis this winter.
A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry, which is responsible for the North Sea, said it was sticking to its forecasts: "We do on occasions become a net importer of oil for certain months, but for the year overall we are not net importers. We think that, by 2010, we will become net importers for the year as a whole."
Although the IEA has not completed its forecast for 2007, Fyfe said production may creep back above demand thanks to the Buzzard field coming on stream. But any recovery is unlikely to be prolonged.
He said: "The Buzzard field could enable a renewed rise in UK production again in 2007, although thereafter it is difficult to see total production being sustained in the absence of further significant discoveries."
The IEA forecast will also come as a surprise to UK oil producers, who share the government's more optimistic forecast. A spokeswoman for the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA), which represents North Sea producers, said: "We believe we will be self-sufficient in oil until the end of the decade, although we are in the process of updating our figures."
Peter Spencer, economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, which uses the same economic forecasting models as the Treasury, said the shift would be mainly symbolic for the UK economy.
He said: "What really matters for the UK economy isn't how much oil production we have, or even oil prices, but interest rates. I'm surprised that the DTI hasn't noticed the fact that we are running out of oil. We were in such a hurry to exploit all our oil and gas resources that we burnt it all off when prices were cheap and we are in a rather sticky situation now prices are rising."
The IEA's oil market report also says Chancellor Brown's tax increase will hasten a relative shift out of the North Sea by international companies. BP, due to publish its fourth-quarter trading update this week, has been reviewing its North Sea operations in light of Brown's hike, but has yet to reveal its decisions.
UKOOA is surveying changes to North Sea investment plans and has already discovered several cancelled projects, almost all of them in the economically marginal southern North Sea. It will announce the final results later this month. - thebusinessonline.com
Europe Debates Nuclear Energy
By Brandon Thurner Washington (UPI) Jan 11, 2006
European Union countries are starting to rethink their opposition to nuclear energy amid a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas supplies, but energy analysts say a switch still lacks a green light. The debate is between proponents of nuclear energy as a clean alternative to gas and coal and those who point to the dangers of radiation and radioactive waste.
But Russia's decision - now reversed -- on Jan. 1 to stop gas shipments to Ukraine, a move that reduced the flow to Italy by 25 percent and France by 30 percent, spurred debate on how to prepare for supply disruptions.
"People are saying, 'Let's take a second look' at nuclear power," William Ramsay, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, told the Christian Science Monitor. "Rising oil prices means nuclear is becoming more economically attractive, and gas prices are a second kick in the pants."
Talk of higher oil prices and supply shocks has spurred both new nuclear development plans and the restarting of long-dormant units. In Europe, five nations have either begun construction on new nuclear facilities, have given approval for updated plants or are expecting to award contracts to build new units.
Finland began constructing a third-generation pressurized water reactor last year to come on-line in 2009 while France has approved a similar plant and another pilot plant by 2020; Bulgaria is expected to award a contract later this month for construction of two plants; Romania has restarted work on a plant abandoned 15 years ago while the Czech Republic predicts the construction of two more by the end of the decade.
Similar moves are being considered in Britain, and in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to reconsider plans to cap or phase out nuclear energy by 2020 amid pressure from her Social Democrat coalition allies.
Many Europeans still disapprove of nuclear energy as an acceptable form of power. According to a Euro-barometer poll in June 2005 for the European Commission, 38 percent of Germans backed nuclear power; 55 percent opposed nuclear power across the EU.
But environmental concerns, which used to be nuclear power's biggest problem, is now seen as less of a problem thanks to fears of global warming. Nuclear power emits almost no carbon dioxide emissions and with 10 of 25 EU nations set to miss their Kyoto Protocol commitments on greenhouse gases, nuclear power gets a boost.
"Nuclear is the only game in town if you are serious about cutting greenhouse gases," Ian Hore-Lacy, spokesman for the World Nuclear Association, told the Christian Science Monitor.
But nuclear power brings its own problems beyond the fears of accidents like the Chernobyl disaster.
"Nuclear power produces tons of radioactive waste that costs billions to store and will pose a risk to humans for thousands of years after disposal," Norman Baker, the environment spokesman for Britain's Liberal-Democrat party, told BBC News.
Still, political considerations caused by Russia's decision earlier this month has given room to pause. The dispute between Moscow and Kiev is still not over. A negotiated deal between the two governments was thrown into confusion Tuesday when Ukraine's parliament passed a vote of no confidence in the prime minister who handled the negotiations.
Sergey Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom's chief executive officer, also announced Monday that each 1,000 cu. meters of gas exported to Europe will now cost an average of $250. This price increase has nations worried over how to pay for energy costs, which in many cases are doubling. Gazprom, for example, is now insisting Moldova buy Russian gas supplies for $160, double what the poorest nation in Europe now pays. That "is not a market price for Moldova where the joint Moldovan-Russian venture, Moldovagaz, operates and where the joint gas business enjoys a number of privileges," Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin argued in Russia's Kommersant newspaper.
These moves highlight the need for a diversified energy plan across Europe, which would include multiple suppliers of energy and alternative sources.
"This serves to illustrate the importance of a diverse energy portfolio to a nation's energy security," Steve Kerekes, a spokesman from the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, told United Press International.
The 1986 Chernobyl accident, which took place in Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union, frightened Europe into rejecting nuclear power.
Two of the four nuclear power plants at Chernobyl have been out of action since the disaster, 20 years ago in March. But Ukraine electricity supplies still depend on the two that are still in operation, despite efforts by the EU to persuade Ukraine to scrap the plants, built with controversial Soviet-era technology.
No new nuclear power station was built after Chernobyl and in Germany and Sweden governments pledged to close down their existing nuclear plants. These promises are now being reviewed as energy costs hit $60 a barrel for oil, and as fears of global warming from the burning of fossil fuels make "clean" nuclear energy seem more attractive.
Thrust into the energy wars brought by uncertain markets and supply shocks, a healthy debate must ensue across Europe as to the best way to prepare for future disruptions, experts say.
"I think folks have to realize there is a byproduct from nuclear generation," Kerekes told UPI. "It is very compact though from the amount of power it provides."
Kerekes went on to frame how he feels the debate over nuclear power, and a diverse energy supply in particular, should proceed. "The political and business leaders in those countries must advocate diverse energy so folks are not beholden to foreign sources of energy and the volatility of energy markets," he said. - .spacewar
Russia-Ukraine Gas Crisis "Wake Up Call' For EU Energy Sector
Russian gas remains key
The recent gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine is a "wake up call" for the EU, according to Giles Chichester MEP, Chairman of the Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee. Speaking in the wake of the crisis, he said the situation "has clear implications for EU energy markets and supplies... reminding us of our dependence on imported fuel."
The EU relies on Russia for 25% of its gas and 30% of its oil supplies. Some EU members, such as Slovakia and Finland, are totally reliant on Russian gas, while other states like Poland and Hungary are heavily dependent on Russian gas - 90% of which passes through Ukraine on its way to the EU.
According to Mr Chichester the dispute "illustrated the importance of a fully functioning market in gas and other energy sources and, in particular, the dangers of any price distortions from market levels."
Diversity is key
Echoing recent remarks by European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Mr Chichester said that "EU energy policy makers must aim for diversity of supplies and competitive markets as the best way to maintain stable security of supply."
The European Parliament approved proposed legislation on energy efficiency in December, pushing for EU countries to cut by 9% energy supplied to end-users over 9 years, slightly tougher than national governments who favoured a cut of 6% over 6 years.
One proposal floated by the Hungarian Economics Minister Janos Koka at an emergency meeting of EU energy experts last Wednesday, was the possibility of constructing a new gas pipeline on the Adriatic coast - where tankers would offload liquid gas from the Middle East and North Africa. This would reduce dependence on Russia natural gas. A study into the feasibility of this is due to concluded by March.
Global demand set to rise
The bitter dispute between Russia and Ukraine over pricing was eventually resolved on 4 January when a compromise was reached and the Russian gas taps were switched back on.
With global demand for gas due to grow by up to 3% a year for 15 years, the latest crisis has underlined the problems of gas pipelines. Unlike oil, which is traded globally and moved around widely, making it difficult to cut off supplies to a particular country, gas relies on pipelines crossing several countries that can be cut off at will. This makes neighbourly relations vital in for producers and consumers.
Parliament's delegation for relations with Ukraine is holding an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday 11 January to discuss the political consequences of this gas supply dispute. - europarl.eu.int
Russia gas row fires up nuclear debate in Europe
By Stuart Penson LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Nuclear power is winning new friends in Europe after Russia's fight with Ukraine over gas prices hit fuel supplies to the EU and triggered an energy policy re-think.
Twenty years after the world's worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, the controversial energy source is back on the agenda and gaining support after the Russia crisis at the turn of the year alerted governments to the need for diverse and stable energy supplies, analysts said on Friday.
"This was a wake up call for a number of European governments and some of them think that nuclear power is the answer," said Dieter Helm, Fellow in Economics at the University of Oxford.
Europe takes a quarter of its gas from Russia and its dependence on energy imports is rising as North Sea oil and gas production tails off.
The nuclear lobby's unexpected boost from Russia come as its credentials as a power producer that doesn't pump out greenhouse gases has already forced it back into the reckoning in Europe, despite huge opposition from the green lobby and elsewhere.
Britain, under pressure to fill a looming energy gap as its North Sea gas supplies dwindle, is widely tipped to put nuclear back at the heart of its energy policy in a strategy review due to be unveiled later this year.
Nuclear supplies about 20 percent of the UK's power. Most of the country's ageing reactors are due to start closing from 2010, leaving just one operating in 2023.
Russia's readiness to hit gas flows to Europe in a politically driven fight with Ukraine can only strengthen nuclear's hand as the UK and other governments shape long-term energy policy, analysts say.
Russian gas giant Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexei Miller was in Berlin on Friday, vowing it would ensure safe supply of gas to Germany and the European Union in future.
Analysts said worries, however, persist about Europe relying on Russian energy supplies.
"We used to say nuclear was ruled out -- the events of December mean the nuclear option Europe is ruled in," said Kelvin Beer, director of European gas and energy security at Ernst & Young in London. "The Ukraine events have strengthened the case, Europe needs to put the nuclear option back in the equation," he said.
Britain's ambitions to cut sharply its output of greenhouse gas emissions is also driving calls for nuclear, particularly as the government's bid to trigger a massive expansion of wind power has stalled amid problems gaining planning permission.
"The government accepts the reality that you can't survive without nuclear. You can't fill the gap with renewables," said Angelos Anastasiou of stockbrokers Williams de Broe.
In Germany, which gets about a third of its gas from Russia, the recent crisis has fired up the nuclear debate. Conservatives in the coalition government have urged a rethink of the country's plan to shut its 19 nuclear plants by 2020.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands has decided to extend the life of its only remaining nuclear plant to 2033, from 2013, in a move to curb the country's dependence on imported oil.
France, which launched an ambitious nuclear programme in the wake of the 1970s oil shocks and is the world's number two nuclear power producer, reaffirmed its commitment to the energy source last week with the launch of a fourth generation prototype reactor to be in use by 2020.
anyone who doesn't play ball - is a threat
|Booming nations 'threaten Earth'
China's economy could outstrip Earth's resources
Thu Jan 12, - Earth lacks the water, energy and agricultural land to allow China and India to attain Western living standards, a US think-tank has warned. The Worldwatch Institute said the booming economies of China and India are "planetary powers that are shaping the global biosphere".
Its State of the World 2006 report said the two countries' high economic growth hid a reality of severe pollution. It said the planet's resources could not keep pace with such growth.
"The world's ecological capacity is simply insufficient to satisfy the ambitions of China, India, Japan, Europe and the United States as well as the aspirations of the rest of the world in a sustainable way," the report added. It said that if China and India were to consume as much resources per capita as Japan in 2030 "together they would require a full planet Earth to meet their needs", it said.
The institute's report said that in the next few years the choices China and India made could lead to political and economic instability, or they could usher in an age of better stewardship of resources and more efficient technology.
The reports said the US - which continues to consume more of the Earth's resources than any other country - needed to cooperate with China and India to help develop more environmentally friendly practices and technologies.
"China and India are positioned to leapfrog today's industrial powers and become world leaders in sustainable energy and agriculture within a decade," Worldwatch Institute president Christopher Flavin said. "We were encouraged to find that a growing number of opinion leaders in China and India now recognise that the resource-intensive model for economic growth can't work in the 21st Century," he said.
China already has a solar-powered heating system which supplies hot water to 35 million homes, while India has pioneered a system bringing clean water from rainfall, the report said. - bbc
strategic alliances are sought
Indian oil minister begins energy cooperation talks in China
Thu Jan 12, 2006 BEIJING (AFP) - India's petroleum minister began meetings with Chinese officials here with negotiations focused on potential joint strategies to secure global energy assets. Mani Shankar Aiyar was due to sit down with China's economic planning chief Ma Kai, the minister of the National Development and Reform Commmission, Indian diplomats said on Thursday. He was also scheduled to meet Fu Chengyu, chairman of the China National Overseas Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the nation's leading upstream oil and gas supplier.
Aiyar will sign a memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation during his visit, which is due to end on Friday, according to the Indian diplomats. On Friday, he will give a public speech on the prospects of energy cooperation, while also meeting with the head of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Chen Gang, the diplomats said.
Aiyar's trip has raised expectations that China and India -- which rely heavily on energy imports to sustain their fast-growing economies -- might put aside their competing strategic interests to work together.
The impact of their rivalry and the potential on offer if they join forces have become more evident over the past six months.
In August last year, CNPC agreed to pay 4.18 billion dollars for the Canadian-listed company PetroKazakhstan, which exploits oil fields in the Central Asian country that borders China, outbidding India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) in the process.
However that duel set the political wheels turning in both capitals, resulting in a successful joint Sino-Indian bid last month to buy Petro-Canada's 37-percent stake in Syrian oil fields for 573 million dollars. The acquisition by India's ONGC and CNPC, also state-owned, was the first time the nations had bid together.
However India could again only consider what might have been when CNOOC this week agreed to buy a 45 percent stake in an oil block off the coast of Nigeria for almost 2.3 billion dollars. ONGC had initially considered buying that stake but was reportedly prevented doing so by its own government. - Yahoo
India - US Nuclear agreement
Mr Burns earlier today
US, India continuing work on civilian nuclear agreement
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | January 12, 2006 10:52 IST
Ahead of United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns' visit to India next week, Washington has said it is continuing to work with New Delhi on the civilian nuclear deal and that the Indian Government is currently formulating a plan which will see the separation of civilian and military nuclear programmes.
"...in terms of the US-India agreement we are in discussions with the Indian government. They are currently formulating a plan, which would separate the civilian and military nuclear programmes. We're going to be in contact with them because that's an important component of this deal, so it's an issue that we're continuing to work with them on," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Wednesday.
As a follow up to the recent visit of India's Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, Burns will be in New Delhi next week to follow up on the civilian nuclear deal issue as also discussing the visit of President George W Bush to India. Under the agreement reached between Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18 2005, the US would lift restrictions on the supply of reactors and fuel for India's civilian nuclear programme provided New Delhi fulfilled a series of obligations.
The spokesman did not respond to a related query of Pakistan also wanting the same kind of a civilian nuclear arrangement with the United States. In the past members of Congress have asked administration officials about this and the refrain has been along the lines that no other country other than India is being offered this arrangement.
Burns was the last senior administration official to specifically address this topic at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Bush administration has not discussed the status of the civilian nuclear energy cooperation talks that is currently taking place between the US and India.
Administration officials, knowing the sensitivities in both Washington and New Delhi are unwilling to discuss anything in detail on the civilian nuclear agreement other than discussing the subject only in very broad terms.
Recently Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked about the issue and she too refused to be dragged into a conversation about the status of specific nuclear reactors like the CIRUS. - rediff.com
Will Iran go nuclear at the energy cartels bidding?
Jan 27th - China and Iran have 'expressed support' for a Russian proposal to resolve Tehran's standoff with Western governments which suspect it of secretly planning to build a nuclear bomb. It contradicts the message China gave U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who left China on Wednesday after a three-day visit.
U.S. President George W. Bush described how the arrangement would work: "The material used to power the plant would be manufactured in Russia, delivered under IAEA inspectors to Iran, to be used in that plant, the waste of which will be picked up by the Russians and returned to Russia. "I think that is a good plan," Bush told a news conference. "The Russians came up with the idea and I support it." But he said Iran had shown by its actions that it wanted a nuclear weapon. "And it's not in the world's interests that they have a weapon,"
Russia and China wield veto power in the U.N. Security Council along with the three other permanent members -- the United States, Britain and France.
Will other nations have to get their nuclear fuel processed for a hefty price by the cartel? - as if by magic! Putin releases statement on peaceful use of nuclear energy
"We need to create the prototype of a global infrastructure that will give all interested countries equal access to nuclear energy, while stressing reliable compliance with the requirements of the non-proliferation regime, of course."
Meanwhile: People in Georgia are facing several more days without heating, despite a deal with Iran to provide gas supplies to ease the country's energy crisis.
Who will buy into Gazprom? The companies stock is now available to foreigners through special American Depository Receipts issued by the Bank of New York, but will soon go on sale through St. Petersburg and ultimately on international exchanges such as London.
Snake OIL! & GAS! & Nuclear!
The historic 1911 anti-trust decision broke up Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. into six main entities, Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso, now Exxon), Standard Oil of New York (Socony, now Mobil), Standard Oil of Ohio, and Standard Oil of Indiana (now Amoco, part of BP) and Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) - and opened the way for new entrants like Gulf and Texaco, which discovered oil in Texas.
Chevron acquired Gulf in 1984...Then, in the 1990s Exxon merged with Mobil, to form - BP Amoco, which also consists of two old Standard Oil companies (Amoco and Standard Oil of Ohio) The three big oil companies now control almost as much of the market as Rockefeller did.
Putin releases statement on peaceful use of nuclear energy
14:56 2006-01-27 "We view security as a multidimensional concept. It is an area that requires a carefully considered and complex approach. Based on this position, Russia We view security as a multidimensional concept is firmly committed to expanding cooperation on global energy security within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community. One of the priorities in this area is to develop cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Cooperation in this field opens up real new opportunities for all of us. Taking into consideration the agreements with the President of Kazakhstan, concrete plans are being drawn up for expanding cooperation between the nuclear energy sector enterprises in our countries.
Uzbekistan's accession to the Eurasian Economic Community creates additional new opportunities for building a nuclear-fuel component that will serve as a reliable element in the energy supply policy for the long term.
It is particularly important to develop our countries' full potential in this area today at a time when demand for quality energy supplies is growing constantly. Dwindling fossil fuel reserves and environmental issues have become questions of crucial importance on the international agenda.
We need to create the prototype of a global infrastructure that will give all interested countries equal access to nuclear energy, while stressing reliable compliance with the requirements of the non-proliferation regime, of course.
The creation of a system of international centres providing nuclear fuel cycle services, including enrichment, on a non-discriminatory basis and under the control of the IAEA, could become a key element in developing this new infrastructure.
Russia has already made just such a proposal and is prepared to establish an international centre of this kind on its territory.
Innovative new technologies will undoubtedly be required in this respect to create new generation reactors and their fuel cycles. These kinds of issues can be resolved only through broad-based international cooperation. This is the approach that we will present to the G8 countries during our presidency, and to all our partners in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.»
I.L. - news from russia
Bush to discuss nuclear energy in State of Union
WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush is expected to talk anew about how nuclear energy can reduce U.S. oil dependence when he delivers his State of the Union address next week, White House officials said on Friday.
Bush has long held the view that the country should resume construction of nuclear reactors as a source of power in order to reduce dependence on oil, whose price has been soaring.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan would not specifically say if Bush would promote nuclear energy in his big speech on Tuesday night, but other officials hinted that he was expected to do so.
"We've been talking with a number of countries about how to move forward on expanding nuclear energy to meet our global energy needs," McClellan told reporters. "It's an energy source that is clean, it helps us address economic and -- it helps us address our energy and national security need," he said. "The president is very focused on this matter and has talked about it previously."
At a White House briefing, McClellan was asked whether Bush would discuss nuclear energy in the speech. He began his answer by saying "yes," but the White House later said he was talking about energy in general.
Reports in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have said the Bush administration is considering proposals to expand civilian nuclear energy and is looking at initiatives to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. - alertnet
Russia to Build 40 Nuclear Reactors - Nuclear Chief
Mos News | Feb 1 2006 - Russia's nuclear agency chief said Wednesday that the nation needed to build dozens of nuclear reactors in a massive effort that would require restoring production links with nuclear-related industrial facilities in other ex-Soviet nations, news agencies reported.
Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said Russia needed to build about 40 new nuclear reactors in order to bring the share of nuclear energy in the nation's energy balance to 25%, the Irish Examiner said.
Nuclear power plants now account for 16-17 percent of Russia's energy generation.
"We need to build two nuclear reactors a year beginning in 2011-2012" to achieve the goal, Kiriyenko said in the Siberian city of Zheleznogorsk, home to a major nuclear waste storage facility.
Russia currently has 31 nuclear reactors and plans to launch three new commercial nuclear reactors over the next five years and upgrade existing ones to higher standards.
Kiriyenko said Russia would need to restore production ties with nuclear-related industries in other ex-Soviet nations, which were run by the obliquely-named Soviet Medium Machine-Building Ministry.MosNews
Opec issues warning on Bush oil pledge
By Carola Hoyos in Vienna and Christopher Swann in Washington - Published: February 1 2006
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday warned that President George W. Bush's proposal to reduce US dependence on Middle Eastern oil could badly jeopardise needed investment in Gulf oil production and refining capacity. Opec delegates and officials said the group planned to make this point in its as yet unpublished commentary in the cartel's January bulletin next week.
Meanwhile US crude oil prices staged a rebound on Thursday with March West Texas Intermediate rising 25 cents to $66.81 a barrel as tensions over Iran's nuclear programme continued to pre-occupy dealers Speaking after Mr Bush's Tuesday night State of the Union address, Edmund Daukoru, Nigeria's energy minister and president of Opec, said: "We do believe that energy issues cannot be handled in a unilateral way; we all have to work together towards global energy security."
Privately, Opec officials were more direct in warnings about Mr Bush's declared intention to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by 75 per cent by 2025. But they emphasised Opec would avoid a confrontational tone in its commentary.
An Opec delegate said: "Comments like that are unrealistic. Everyone knows the world will continue to depend on Middle East imports." The organisation would raise concerns about such statements damping investment at meetings with the European Union and other organisations "more aligned with Opec's view".
Opec's concern was shared widely across the industry. John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the US oil and gas industry, said: "If one of your big customers tells you they do not want to buy from you in the future, then of course this will impact how much you invest."
The International Energy Agency, the industrialised countries' energy watchdog, forecast the Middle East will have to invest heavily to ensure the world's energy thirst is satisfied.
On Wednesday Martin Bartenstein, economics minister of Austria, which holds the EU presidency, said the Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil reserves, would become more rather than less important. He told the FT: "As the person responsible for EU energy policies, I would not see myself in a position of talking about such a significant decrease in demand from a certain region. We know that the oil import dependency of the EU will ever increase, not decrease." He added: "Everyone . . . will have to deal with oil and gas, especially from the Middle East." Worries over the stability of Iran on Wednesday drove the oil price up 83 cents to $68.75 a barrel in midday trading in New York.
Opec delegates and Mr Bartenstein place responsibility for oil price volatility mainly on consuming countries that have failed adequately to invest in refineries and pipelines needed to get oil to their consumers.
Mr Felmy said shifting oil imports from the Middle East could be costly for America. "As long as America has a diversified range of oil suppliers it has a lot of security of supply. If you reduce this diversification it could be costly." About 20 per cent of oil sold to the US comes from the Middle East, with Canada and Mexico supplying more than 30 per cent of imports. Any decrease in the US dependence on oil from the Middle East could only really be achieved by a decrease in its dependence on all foreign oil - either by conservation, alternative energy or domestically produced oil and gas, analysts said. - ft.com
France to Turkey: Let's Cooperate in Nuclear Energy
By Foreign News Desk, Istanbul
Published: Friday, February 03, 2006 zaman.com
Making an official visit to Turkish capital Ankara, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste Blazy met with top government officials including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and State Minister for Economy Ali Babacan.
Accompanied by French business executives from Eurocopter, Arianescape, Suez, Veolia, Alstom, Arcelor, Laboratoires Fabre companies, Blazy participated in discussions ranging from the latest "cartoon crisis" to cooperation in nuclear energy studies.
The French minister offered their cooperation in nuclear energy plants that Turkey plans to build.
Other issues touched upon during the talks were Cyprus, the European Union, and Iran.
After meeting State Minister for Economy Ali Babacan, Blazy said, "In the near future France wants to work with Turkey in business areas such as intercommunication, transportation, and above all nuclear energy."
The French minister conveyed the related wishes of French companies when he met Gul and Erdogan, a French diplomat reported.
France is also closely interested in projects such as the Marmaray, the rocket destroyer system, and attack helicopters. - zaman.com
Bush calls for nuclear construction by 2010
Mon Feb 20, - US President George W. Bush warned that US dependency on oil left the country "hostage" to countries that may be hostile and urged new nuclear plant construction by 2010.
"Some of the nations we rely on for oil have unstable governments, or fundamental differences with the United States," he said during a trip here, without naming the countries to which he was referring. "These countries know we need their oil and that reduces influence. It creates a national security issue when we're held hostage for energy by foreign nations that may not like us," said Bush.
Drawing on the examples of France, China, and India, the president pushed a 1.1 billion dollar program to promote the construction of new nuclear power plants, something the United States has not done since the 1970s.
"We ought to start building nuclear power plants again. I think it makes sense to do so. Technology is such that we can do so and say to the American people, these are safe -- and they're important," he said.
The US leader, echoing remarks he made at his State of the Union speech last month, said the United States was "addicted" to oil and that some crude imports came from countries that have "unstable governments or fundamental differences with the United States."
In his speech to the US Congress on January 31, Bush called for research into ethanol, coal-fired plants, solar and wind technologies and nuclear energy so that 75 percent of oil imports from the Middle East can be replaced by 2025. - news.yahoo.com
Baltic states agree nuclear plant
By Laura Sheeter BBC Baltic correspondent, Riga
The three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have signed an agreement to build a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania.
Their prime ministers said they wanted the Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian state-owned energy companies each to take an equal share in the project.
At present the Soviet-built Ignalina nuclear power plant generates more than 70% of Lithuania's electricity. It also supplies Estonia and Latvia with power.
But as part of the deal which allowed Lithuania to join the European Union in 2004, Ignalina has to be closed down. That process will be complete by the end of 2009 - leaving the Baltic states reliant on Russian gas for almost all of their power.
For countries which only gained independence from the Soviet Union 15 years ago, that has never been a popular prospect. And since the row between Ukraine and Russia which disrupted gas supplies to several European countries, there has been increasing political pressure on the Baltic leaders to find alternative sources of power.
The agreement that the three prime ministers have signed also commits them to draw-up a pan-Baltic energy policy by the end of this year and to push for the development of a joint EU policy, which they hope would make them less vulnerable to any rise in the price of gas.
However, it is on a new, large nuclear power plant that most hopes are pinned.
But with few details as yet of how they will fund it, or even a firm decision on where it will be built, the Baltic states may face a gap between the closure of Ignalina and the opening of any new nuclear plant when they will have no choice but to rely on imported gas from Russia.
Story from BBC NEWS:
US and India strike nuclear deal
Thursday 02 March 2006 - George Bush and Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, have agreed a nuclear deal that effectively bypasses international conventions on proliferation.
The deal, announced on Thursday in New Delhi where the US president is on a visit, is expected to give India access to Western technology, as well as bilateral economic ties and co-operation in space travel, agriculture and health, officials on both sides said. Under the deal, India has agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes and place the civilian plants under international inspections. In return, the US is offering nuclear technology and fuel. That would end decades of nuclear isolation for India, which was placed under international sanctions after conducting nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998.
But India is reluctant to place some of its civilian reactors, such as the plutonium-based fast breeder system, under international scrutiny.
What critics say
The deal, approved in principle last July when Singh visited Washington, ran into trouble due to differences over India's plan to separate its military and civilian atomic plants. Critics say that the agreement undermines non-proliferation goals and is a U-turn for the US which for 30 years spearheaded a drive to deny India nuclear technology because New Delhi developed nuclear weapons in violation of international norms.
Some US experts feel that the deal rewards India for testing nuclear weapons in May 1998 and sets a bad example for countries such as Iran and North Korea, which have signed the nuclear 1972 Non-Proliferation Treaty, unlike New Delhi.
Pakistan, which also has atomic weapons, has also refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bush and his aides have said the deal is only one component of a wider strategic relationship.
The deal commits Washington to get approval from the US Congress and countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to lift restrictions on sharing nuclear technology with India put in place after its first nuclear tests in 1974.
Nuclear issues aside, Bush is scheduled to meet business leaders to improve investment and trade ties and will also visit the southern city of Hyderabad, known for its mix of cutting-edge industries and agricultural and pharmaceutical research, during his three-day trip.
US-India economic ties are growing rapidly. Last year, US exports to India jumped by more than 30%, compared with 20% growth in Indian exports to the US. Bilateral merchandise trade amounted to nearly $27 billion, seen by officials as way below the potential of the two economies.
Bush kicked off the official leg of his visit on Thursday by inspecting a ceremonial guard in New Delhi. The US president said: "I've never been to India before and I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time. I am looking forward to working with the president and prime minister to foster a very important relationship."
Meanwhile, thousands of Muslim and leftist protesters gathered in the Indian capital in protest against Bush's visit.
Dozens of politicians stood on the steps of the country's national parliament building chanting "Bush go back!" and "Down with Bush!"
Hannan Mollah, an MP from the Communist Party of India, said: "Our one slogan is: 'Bush go back!' We're saying this because he is the biggest killer of humanity in the 21st century. He has killed in Afghanistan, he has killed Iraqis and now he is bent on killing Iranians."
U.S. Plans to Modernize Nuclear Arsenal
By Walter Pincus - Washington Post Staff Writer - Saturday, March 4, 2006; A02
The Bush administration is developing plans to design and deploy refurbished or replacement warheads for the nuclear stockpile, and by 2030 to modernize the production complex so that, if required, it could produce new generations of weapons with different or modified capabilities.
Referring to goals established two years ago, Ambassador Linton F. Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), told the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces Wednesday that "we will revitalize our weapons design community to meet the challenge of being able to adapt an existing weapon within 18 months, and design, develop and begin production of a new design within three to four years of a decision to enter engineering development."
A study by NNSA for restructuring the aging weapons complex, which includes dealing with facilities that dismantle retired weapons, should be sent to Congress this spring, Brooks said. Although there is some updating and modernizing of the present complex, "full infrastructure changes . . . will take a couple of decades," Brooks said.
The first step in the long-range plan is focused around the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program that was approved last year. That program contemplates designing new components for previously tested nuclear packages that would make the resulting bombs and warheads safer and more reliable over the long term than older stockpiled weapons that are being refurbished.
The RRW warheads would create, Brooks said, a "reduced chance we will ever need to resort to nuclear testing." In addition, he said, "Once we demonstrate we can produce warheads on a time scale in which geopolitical threats could emerge, we would no longer need to retain extra warheads to hedge against unexpected geopolitical changes."
Under current plans, the number of deployed U.S. warheads on submarines, missiles and bombers would be reduced to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012. There would be an additional number, said to exceed 2,000, that would remain in a strategic reserve, and it would be the latter that could be further reduced under the RRW program.
However, Brooks told the subcommittee that he believes more funds will be needed to prepare for a new multibillion-dollar facility to produce "pits," plutonium triggers for thermonuclear weapons. There is controversy over how reliable the plutonium pits are as they age because of radioactive decay. Brooks told the panel the current belief is they are reliable for 45 to 60 years, but uncertainties have developed.
A small facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has been established to build pits, but its capacity will be 30 to 40 pits a year beginning in 2012, which Brooks described as "insufficient to meet our assessed long-term pit production needs" created by the RRW warheads.
Brooks's description of the U.S. plan for nuclear weapons production came one day before President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their agreement for sharing nuclear technology, while permitting India to continue production of weapons-grade materials at one-third of their reactors. It also came one day after testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee by Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, described how India and other nations are moving forward with their own nuclear programs.
"We believe that India and Pakistan . . . continue expanding and modernizing their nuclear weapon stockpiles," Maples said, adding, "Pakistan has also developed the capability to produce plutonium for potential weapons use."
He also reported that North Korea is continuing to produce plutonium for its nuclear program, and that China "is likely" to increase the number of its nuclear-armed theater and strategic weapons and "has sufficient fissile material to support this growth."
- W Post
Revealed: UK develops secret nuclear warhead
Michael Smith - The Sunday Times - March 12, 2006
- Full text of Trident report by Foreign Policy Centre
BRITAIN has been secretly designing a new nuclear warhead in conjunction with the Americans, provoking a legal row over the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The government has been pushing ahead with the programme while claiming that no decision has been made on a successor to Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent. Work on a new weapon by scientists at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire has been under way since Tony Blair was re-elected last May, and is now said to be ahead of similar US research.
The aim is to produce a simpler device using proven components to avoid breaching the ban on nuclear testing. Known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW), it is being designed so that it can be tested in a laboratory rather than by detonation.
"We've got to build something that we can never test and be absolutely confident that, when we use it, it will work," one senior British source said last week.
The secret programme to build a new warhead in close co-operation with the Americans will spark anger among Labour opponents of any replacement of the Trident programme, which is estimated to have cost nearly £10 billion.
Developing a new weapon would also, according to expert advice from Cherie Booth's Matrix chambers, be a material breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The office of Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, refused to comment on whether it had been asked for legal advice by No 10.
Both Labour backbenchers and the Liberal Democrats accused the government of introducing a replacement nuclear weapon by the back door without a parliamentary debate.
Paul Flynn, a Labour backbencher who has drafted parliamentary motions questioning the need for a Trident replacement, insisted there had to be a proper debate. "The Trident missiles will last for another 20 years," he said. "Who on earth are we going to take on with them anyway? Replacing them wrecks any standing we have when we preach non-proliferation to countries like Iran."
Michael Moore, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, called for a statement. "This work would appear to pre-empt the proper debate the prime minister has promised," he said.
The controversy is set to ignite this week with an embarrassing report by the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), set up under Blair's patronage, calling for Trident to be scrapped and not replaced. On Tuesday the defence select committee will take evidence from experts, most of whom are expected to say that there is no need for a new nuclear deterrent. The FPC report says that Britain's independent deterrent is an illusion. The missiles are stored in the United States and have to be collected by a British submarine before it goes on patrol. Aldermaston is run by a consortium headed by Lockheed Martin, a US company, and there are 92 Americans working there, including the managing director and four of his senior managers.
"The UK should cease to try to keep up appearances and adopt a policy based on the reality that it is not an independent nuclear power," the FPC report concludes. "Trident should not be replaced and should be phased out now."
Blair is said to want to decide on Trident's replacement before he steps down. "It is a huge decision for the country and it will probably be done in a far more open way than the decisions have been taken before," he said last month.
As he spoke, work was well advanced at Aldermaston on designs for the RRW. The US Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore nuclear laboratories began a competition to produce an RRW last May. But Washington sources say the British have been designing their own Reliable Replacement Warhead and "are now ahead of the Americans".
One possible way to avoid breaching the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is for Blair to announce that the new deterrent will have fewer warheads. We currently have about 200. - times
Putin Calls for Increase in Russia's Nuclear Power Output
Created: 14.03.2006 MosNews
The share of nuclear power in Russia's overall electricity output should be raised to the European standard of 20 percent or higher, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, March 14. Putin was speaking at a session which addressed the issue of the future of Russia's nuclear power sector.
Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov, Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko were also in attendance.
"Nuclear power plants will account for approximately 16 percent of Russia's total electricity production in 2006. If this trend in the sector continues, the share of nuclear power in the country's total electricity output will drop to 13 percent in a few years time," the President said. "We, however, have to not only preserve this share (of 16 percent), but to increase it, at least to the level of some European countries where it amounts to 20 and more percent." - mosnews
France and Libya sign nuclear deal
ISN SECURITY WATCH (Friday, 17 March: 13.24 CET) - France and Libya have signed a cooperation agreement on the development of nuclear energy for peaceful use. The agreement was sealed during a visit to Tripoli by French atomic energy officials.
In 2003, Libya abandoned efforts to build nuclear weapons. The deal with the French is the first of its kind since then.
Alain Bugat, head of France’s atomic energy commission, said France was hoping to become an active partner in the development of nuclear energy in Libya.
The Libyan government said it hopes to use nuclear energy to power desalination plants providing water to arid areas of the country, reports said.
The French-Libyan agreement includes nuclear technology applied to desalination, manufacture, and use of medical isotopic or industrial X-rays, reports said. It also includes training for nuclear specialists and technicians.
“This accord represents a qualitative leap in relations between the two countries and proves that Libya has transformed its weapons of mass destruction into constructive weapons,” public works minister Maatuk Maatuk told a press conference.
Maatuk said the agreement represented the beginning of Libya’s new future in terms of nuclear energy cooperation and could lead to other countries helping Libya to develop peaceful nuclear programs. - www.isn.ethz.ch
UK chosen as possible 'Star Wars' site
By By Guy Dinmore in Washington - 23rd March
Interceptor missiles could be placed in the UK as part of the US "Star Wars" missile defence system, according to plans revealed by the Pentagon. The moves are likely to attract more unwelcome attention for prime minister Tony Blair's government over the nature of the transatlantic relationship.
Lt Gen Trey Obering, head of the Missile Defense Agency, disclosed at a military conference in Washington this week that the US had formally selected Britain as possible site for the interceptors in Europe.
However, Bryan Whitman, Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday that negotiations had not taken place on basing interceptors in the UK. "[There has been] no planning, no approach, no request, and no invitation."
Poland and the Czech Republic were already known as candidates, while Hungary has apparently been dropped. The Bush administration wanted to make a single choice soon, analysts said.
The ballistic missile defence system, which involves putting interceptors in Europe by 2010, is intended to protect the US from missile attack with land, sea, air and space-based assets. The programme has cost $90bn since 1985 and the Pentagon plans to spend another $58bn in the next six years, according to a recent congressional report, which also highlighted test failures and criticised cost overruns and lack of transparency.
Britain already plays a crucial role in the defence of the US through the early-warning radar system at the Fylingdales base in northern England. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on ballistic missile defence in 2003. Rumours of secret deals to place interceptors in the UK have been around for some time. In October 2004, Geoff Hoon, then UK defence secretary, told parliament any such decision would "be open to scrutiny and debate in the normal way" but that specific parliamentary approval would not be required.
Lt Gen Obering said the mission was to develop an "integrated layered" system that would also protect US allies. The UK would be the "third site" for interceptors after Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Placing interceptors in the UK would raise the risk of Britain itself coming under attack, warns the British American Security Information Council (Basic), an independent defence watchdog.
Ian Davis, executive director of Basic, said it was inconceivable that the US would have announced the UK as a possible location without having discussed the issue with London. He thought eastern Europe was a more likely choice.
There was no immediate comment from UK officials.
Additional reporting by Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington - msnbc.msn.com
Chancellor plans big asset sale
Nuclear power group British Energy and the Tote bookmakers will be sold off as the government looks to raise billions of pounds from state-owned assets.
Its 65% stake in British Energy could be worth up to £10bn, especially if the firm gets the green light to operate new power stations in the UK.
The Tote is scheduled for sale by the end of the next financial year, and could raise an estimated £500m.
The privatisations will help fund Gordon Brown's budget spending plans.
"The Chancellor is looking at selling any assets he can find," said Justin Urquhart Stewart from Seven Investment Management. "He is looking to sell various state assets that can bring in a bit of lucre and prevent him having to borrow any more and break his Golden Rule."
The Government is already part of the way through a £30bn programme of boosting the Treasury's coffers by selling off state assets such as surplus property and land. British Energy generates more than 20% of Britain's energy through one coal-fired power station and eight nuclear ones. It was privatised in 1996, but nearly went bust in 2002 as it was hit by a fall in wholesale power prices. It was bailed out by the government, which took a stake before British Energy relisted on the Stock Exchange last year. Mr Brown said the decision to sell the stake in British Energy would not be taken until after a government study had reported its findings on whether Britain should commission a new series of nuclear power stations to replace its ageing ones.
Stuart Fraser from Brewin Dolphin stockbrokers said there would be plenty of private investor demand for a share sale. "It is a high risk stock, not one for widows and orphans, because it has already been bailed out once when energy prices fell. "But the market has a good appetite for risk at the moment."
The government has long had a plan to sell the Tote to a racing trust that would help pump back its profits into the horse racing industry. Founded by Winston Churchill in 1928, the Tote enjoys a monopoly of horse race pool-betting in exchange for a guarantee that money is pumped into the sport every year.
However, many in the gambling industry have complained that the Tote could be sold off too cheaply.
"The worst possible end result would be to sell it to a racing trust," said one industry spokesman. "There is insufficient business acumen in racing to use this asset, which is a potential gold mine, and give full benefit to the racing industry." - BBC
U.S. Rolls Out Nuclear Plan
The administration's proposal would modernize the nation's complex of laboratories and factories as well as produce new bombs.
By Ralph Vartabedian - Times Staff Writer - April 6, 2006
The Bush administration Wednesday unveiled a blueprint for rebuilding the nation's decrepit nuclear weapons complex, including restoration of a large-scale bomb manufacturing capacity. The plan calls for the most sweeping realignment and modernization of the nation's massive system of laboratories and factories for nuclear bombs since the end of the Cold War.
Until now, the nation has depended on carefully maintaining aging bombs produced during the Cold War arms race, some several decades old. The administration, however, wants the capability to turn out 125 new nuclear bombs per year by 2022, as the Pentagon retires older bombs that it says will no longer be reliable or safe.
Under the plan, all of the nation's plutonium would be consolidated into a single facility that could be more effectively and cheaply defended against possible terrorist attacks. The plan would remove the plutonium kept at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by 2014, though transfers of the material could start sooner. In recent years, concern has grown that Livermore, surrounded by residential neighborhoods in the Bay Area, could not repel a terrorist attack.
But the administration blueprint is facing sharp criticism, both from those who say it does not move fast enough to consolidate plutonium stores and from those who say restarting bomb production would encourage aspiring nuclear powers across the globe to develop weapons.
The plan was outlined to Congress on Wednesday by Thomas D'Agostino, head of nuclear weapons programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, a part of the Energy Department. Though the weapons proposal would restore the capacity to make new bombs, D'Agostino said it was part of a larger effort to accelerate the dismantling of aging bombs left from the Cold War.
D'Agostino acknowledged in an interview that the administration was walking a fine line by modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons program while assuring other nations that it was not seeking a new arms race. The credibility of the contention rests on the U.S. intent to sharply reduce its inventory of weapons.
The administration is also quickly moving ahead with a new nuclear bomb program known as the "reliable replacement warhead," which began last year. Originally described as an effort to update existing weapons and make them more reliable, it has been broadened and now includes the potential for new bomb designs. Weapons labs currently are engaged in a design competition.
The U.S. built its last nuclear weapon in 1989 and last tested a weapon underground in 1992. Since the Cold War, the nation has had massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons to deter potential attacks. By contrast, it would increasingly rely on the capability to build future bombs for deterrence, D'Agostino said.
The blueprint calls for a modern complex to design a new nuclear bomb and have it ready in less than four years, allowing the nation to respond to changing military requirements. Similar proposals in the past, such as for a nuclear bomb to attack underground bunkers, provoked concern that they undermined U.S. policy to stop nuclear proliferation.
The impetus for the plan is a growing belief that efforts to maintain older nuclear bombs and keep up a large nuclear weapons industrial complex are technically and financially unsustainable. Last year, a task force led by San Diego physicist David Overskei recommended that the Energy Department consolidate the system of eight existing weapons complexes into one site.
Overskei said Wednesday that the cost of security alone for the current infrastructure of plants over the next two decades was roughly $25 billion. Security costs have grown, because the Sept. 11 attacks have led the Energy Department to believe terrorists could mount a larger and better armed strike force.
Peter Stockton, a former Energy Department security consultant who is now an investigator for the Project on Government Oversight, criticized the plutonium consolidation plan in House testimony, saying it would delay the difficult work too far into the future. Stockton added in an interview that the plutonium transfer at Livermore could be accomplished in a few months.
Until now, Livermore lab officials have sharply disagreed with the idea of removing plutonium from their site, saying it was essential to their work. On Wednesday, a lab spokesman said the issue was "far less controversial" and the "decision rests in Washington."
The Bush plan, described at a hearing of the strategic subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, would consolidate much of the weapons capacity, but not as completely or quickly as outside critics would like.
The overall plan would not be fully implemented until 2030.
A crucial part of restarting U.S. nuclear bomb production involves so-called plutonium pits, hollow spheres surrounded by high explosives. The pits start nuclear fission and trigger the nuclear fusion in a bomb.
The plutonium pits were built at the Energy Department's former Rocky Flats site near Denver until the weapons plant was shut down in 1989 after it was found to have violated environmental regulations.
In recent years, Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has tried to start limited production of plutonium pits and hopes to build a certified pit that will enter the so-called war reserve next year. Los Alamos would be producing about 30 to 50 pits per year by 2012, but the Energy Department said that was not enough to sustain the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
In his testimony, D'Agostino estimated plutonium pits would last 45 to 60 years, after which they would be unreliable and might result in an explosion smaller than intended. Critics outside the government sharply dispute that conclusion, saying there is no evidence that pits degrade over time and that the nation can keep an adequate nuclear deterrent by maintaining its existing weapons.
- LA Times
Russian experts build Chernobyl disaster simulator
MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - A leading Russian nuclear research center has built a simulator to train personnel to deal with accidents like the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a researcher said Monday.
Viktor Sidorenko, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told a conference ahead of the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear-power disaster that the Kurchatov Institute's simulator would help operators run RBMK-type reactors and prepare for possible emergencies. Sidorenko said the situation at the Chernobyl NPP on April 26, 1986, was extremely complicated, and that the simulator reflected this.
"Although operators knew what would happen, they could only avert simulated accidents once in three attempts," Sidorenko said, adding that RBMK reactors had been modernized and their safety enhanced follow the catastrophe.
The explosion, which happened during testing on the night of April 25, 1986, spewed radioactive clouds not only across Western parts of the Soviet Union, but also some countries in northern and Western Europe.
About 135,000 people were evacuated from within a 30-kilometer (18-mile) zone, which has left the surrounding area looking like a ghost town to this day. Many people, however, stayed or have returned to live there, although radiation is still leaking from the site.
The catastrophe caused enormous economic damage to the former Soviet Union, and claimed the lives of many local people and unprofessional clean-up workers.
Experts blame reactor degradation, a poor security system, poorly qualified personnel and negligence for the accident. RMBK reactors are in use at three nuclear-power plants in Russia - en.rian.ru
Familiar Names line up for UK clean-up contracts
From 1 April 2006 - the Capita Group subsidiary will take over the management and recruitment of temporary workers at Sellafield, under a contract worth £150m over the next three years, with an option for an extension. [from BBC Special report #1]
[following an excerpt from BBC Special report #2 29 March 2006]
Vast, long-term contracts could soon be up for grabs if the government green-lights a proposal tabled by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The plan could create a new clean-up industry in the UK worth just short of £100bn, including waste from Britain's nuclear weapons industry. The clean-up bill from half a century of civilian nuclear activity accounts for about £72bn of that, with well over half expected to go towards cleaning up Sellafield, the latest figures from the NDA show.
In short, says one industry official: "There's going to be some big contracts, of which Sellafield is going to be the biggest."
Massive storage facility
Up to now, the bulk of Britain's nuclear waste has been stored above ground at 37 sites across the UK. When measured by volume, 65% of Britain's total waste mountain is stored at Sellafield. Unlike in many other countries, which tend to favour deep underground depositories, the nastiest high-level waste is kept in a somewhat tall yet ordinary-looking warehouse. The waste, left over from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods, has been converted from liquid to solid glass by temperatures of 1,100 degrees Celsius. It is so radioactive that it continues to generate heat for five decades.
The waste is stored in stacks of 10 small steel cylinders the size of milk churns, that are in turn sealed into place by two-metre deep yellow shielding plugs. The whole storage facility covers an area similar to that of a football pitch that is shielded by thick, solid concrete walls. By volume, it accounts for just a tenth of a per cent of total nuclear waste in the UK, though it accounts for 95% of the radioactivity.
"You're standing on one of the most concentrated sources of radioactivity anywhere in the world," says BNFL spokesman Neil Stagg.
The bulk of Britain's nuclear waste - 470,000 cubic metres in total - is classified as intermediate: nuclear fuel casings, transport containers, reactor cores and even the remains of torn-down buildings. Much of it is here at Sellafield, although in July, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management will publish recommendations for how to deal with it in the long term.
By comparison, the sprawling low-grade waste repository of Drigg, a few minutes drive from the main Sellafield site past the small Seascale fishing village, is "only slightly radioactive", says Mr Stagg.
There are rows upon rows of containers, stacked and sealed with cement, ready to be buried and grassed over. They contain a mixture of hospital waste, building materials, wrapping material that has been exposed to radioactivity, and even contaminated soil.
This flat and windswept beach landscape is about to become a battleground as companies begin to fight over clean-up contracts.
Next month, a £1bn contract to clean up Drigg is going out to tender. Current operator BNG is the expected favourite, and this should stand it in good stead when much larger clean-up contracts come up for grabs.
"If you're the first-tier contract, you run the site," observes one industry official.
But BNG may have to share the spoils with others. On one level, there is a string of UK firms like Serco, Carillion and WS Atkins lining up to provide services.
"It's a big market and the Americans are keen to get involved," the industry official says, pointing out that in most cases, they are vastly more experienced than their British rivals.
Among BNG's leading contenders are the experienced US clean-up firms Fluor and Shaw. But there are others too, most notably CH2M, which has teamed up with the UK engineering group Amec and with the government body UKAEA. Bechtel is also expected to bid for clean-up contracts, though it cannot do so during the early stages as it helped create the NDA, which will be awarding the contracts during the next five years.
Investors ranging from big institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies to smaller private equity firms are also eager to get in on the act. In part, this is because of the predictable long-term nature of the contracts the NDA is expected to award. As an added bonus, those involved in cleaning up the old waste might be first in line if the government decides to sanction the building of new nuclear power plants.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the nuclear industry's survival does not merely hinge on whether or not the public will stomach the proposed revival of nuclear power.
Power shortage risks 'overplayed'
16 April 2006 - Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks has accused a group of MPs of "over-egging" the risk of electricity shortages. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee said the UK could not wait for a new generation of nuclear power stations and needed gas-fired stations.
A government energy review this year is expected to request more nuclear power.
The committee raised fears over the safety of more atomic power plants from terrorist attack, and also over how to safely dispose of nuclear waste. Mr Wicks, who leads the review, said no decision had been taken but the extra cost of cleaner energy like nuclear was a price to pay for saving the planet.
'No one solution'
Speaking on BBC's Radio Five Live, he said there were concerns about what do with nuclear waste and the threat of terror attacks on nuclear stations. But he added: "I think in favour of nuclear - despite what the Lib Dems say - is the scientific evidence that nuclear is a cleaner form of energy. "It helps us with climate change, but we've got to look at the economics, and then we've got to weigh all these things before we make our recommendation to the prime minister and the government."
The report does not rule out future research on nuclear
Simon James, from the Nuclear Industry Association, said all methods of producing power needed to be considered. "There is no one solution to many of our energy problems, we need to use everything we have at our disposal, so from our point of view, the ideal electricity mix will include renewables, will include nuclear, gas, clean coal and indeed energy efficiency to try and reduce the increase in our energy demands."
Earlier the committee said the UK faced a "generation gap" which nuclear power could not bridge.
The first nuclear power plants would not come online until 2017, and the proposed network would not be generating at full capacity until as late as 2030. It said an "extensive" programme of gas-powered stations needed to be set up. The committee also said it was "scandalous" that not enough research was being carried out into alternative technologies such as carbon capture, which could limit the emissions from fossil fuels. It said renewable energy sources could provide 20% of the UK's electricity by the year 2020.
Roger Higman of Friends of the Earth said the group welcomed "the fact that the MPs are saying let's look at energy efficiency". "Nuclear power stations can't be built for 10 to 15 years and yet we need to start reducing the emissions causing climate change now if we are going to stand a reasonable chance of keeping climate change to tolerable levels," he said. - BBC
Smoke and mirrors surround sale plan
Labour is trying to sell a business for which there are no financial details
Ian Griffiths - Tuesday April 18, 2006 - The Guardian
In 1988 Tony Blair was taken to lunch by a City editor to discuss the Tory party's plans to privatise the electricity industry. It was put to the then shadow energy minister that if Labour wanted to scupper the proposal all he had to do was highlight the issue of nuclear liabilities, which was unappealing to the City. Mr Blair did not believe derailing the privatisation was his responsibility. "That's not my job," he said. "My job is to go into the house and score points off the other side."
The City did Mr Blair's job for him. Investors made it clear they were unwilling to take on the responsibility for open-ended, unquantified nuclear decommissioning costs. The Tories were forced to put the sell-off on hold before recrafting the plan to exclude nuclear power. Nearly two decades later Mr Blair's government is proposing, indirectly, to sell to the private sector a business based on the very nuclear assets the City found disagreeable in the 80s.
The privatisation of British Nuclear Group (BNG), announced recently, may be heralded as a by-product of the overhaul of the industry, but anyone seeking evidence from published details of the financial benefits of this restructuring will be disappointed. Nor is there any hard evidence that the cost of cleaning up nuclear stations has become any clearer. Although BNG's value is being touted as £1bn there is little detail to support that number. What the government is proposing to sell with BNG is a business for which there is no financial information in an industry that has been restructured. The restructuring took place on April 1 last year, the day after the accounting year for the component businesses of the old nuclear regime ended. So while accounts for the period from September 29 2004 to March 31 2005 are filed at Companies House for British Nuclear Group, these show the firm did not trade and had assets of £1. BNG's first full year of trading has ended but the results will not be made public until the summer. This restructuring means there is little to be gleaned by trying to construct the new-look BNG's finances based on the old corporate information. BNG's main business is a firm called British Nuclear Group Sellafield.
In that company's accounts for the year to March 31 2005, chairman Gordon Campbell articulates the changes in the following terms: "With the setting up of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to own certain assets and liabilities of the UK's nuclear heritage, BNFL is now a contractor rather than owner of these assets." The company does make a stab at setting out how the balance sheet would look under the new regime. Unfortunately, it was hampered by a European commission inquiry into whether the restructuring breached the rules on state aid. This week the EC said there had been no breach, removing a big uncertainty but rendering the pro-forma balance sheet for the new look British Nuclear Group Sellafield redundant.
That balance sheet only reflected the transitional arrangements while the EC inquiry took place. Those adjustments should address the near-£4bn deficit on the balance sheet but crucially the firm says: "There would be no net effect of nuclear liabilities on its balance sheet."
It was uncertainty over the extent of these liabilities that unnerved the City in the 80s. Little appears to have changed since. In its audit on the March 2005 accounts, Ernst & Young said: "In forming our opinion we have taken note of the fundamental uncertainty inherent in the estimation of nuclear liabilities." The company confirms the uncertainty over its estimate for nuclear provisions. "The group's procedures would normally require this estimate to include risk, which in this context means the financial implications of possible alternative outcomes associated with the treatment of these wastes. In this case the level of uncertainty associated with these alternatives is such that the board was unable to quantify this incremental impact with reasonable uncertainty."
The extent of the liabilities and where responsibility for meeting them lies is an important issue for any potential purchaser. The government is trying to make BNG more appealing to investors. On the day the sale was announced it said it was giving BNG a five-year, £5bn decommissioning contract for the Sellafield plant. Of more interest to any potential buyer is not the amount of the deal but how profitable it will be. One of the objectives of the NDA is to secure cost effective and safe decommissioning and cleaning of the country's 20 civil nuclear sites. It has been set up to help promote competition, not provide a financial safety net for nuclear site operators. The NDA's website makes clear it is the operators that bear primary responsibility for decommissioning liabilities. The government will step in when an operator is unable to do its job safely.
The NDA says: "Although private-sector nuclear sites remain the financial responsibility of the operator concerned, the Energy Act acknowledges the government bears ultimate responsibility for the decommissioning and clean-up. If the government decides a private operator is unable to meet its decommissioning obligations, the NDA can be asked to take responsibility for managing the clean-up of the site concerned. In such circumstances, the operator would meet the costs, ensuring the cost to the taxpayer is kept to a minimum."
This suggests if the cost of decommissioning is higher than the contract price, the shortfall must be met by the operator. Given the problems with estimating clean-up costs and nuclear liabilities, it is easy to see how, in a more competitive market, the tendering process attracts increased importance. BNG faces another restructuring of its balance sheet which is already scarred by liabilities of £20bn which no one can say with any certainty have been accurately estimated. As Mr Blair discovered in 1988, City financiers do not need him to identify the financial uncertainties associated with the nuclear industry.
Chernobyl and the nuclear lobby
27.04.2006 - 12:26 CET | By Grattan Healy
The fact that 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster, we have such widely varying reports on its impact just highlights how corrupt and corrupting nuclear power is.
The truth is still a victim in this propaganda war, where the nuclear lobby is trying to protect its hoped for revival, spurred by climate change. It is a disgrace that the UN has put its name to a whitewash report, suggesting an unbelievably low impact. That was an insult to those affected, the citizens of the world - its constituency.
For a proper analysis of the overall impact of Chernobyl, your readers might like to consult an international scientific study by the European Committee on Radiation Risk, which involves people who actually know what is happening on the ground and who consider wider effects, not just immediate deaths.
It also works around the inadequate radiation standards used today, which national radiation institutes are now starting to realize are based on blinkered science.
Nuclear continues to menace the world, as we see in Iran for example. Chernobyl showed that it could be described as 'stored violence'.
The sun delivers 15000 times humanity's total energy needs, and will do so safely for the next 3 billion years. Let's stop wasting time with nuclear, and harness nature's continuing gift, which cannot ever cause the kind of problem directly experienced by the unfortunate people of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
Blair's nuclear agenda branded 'a sham'
6.57AM, Wed May 17 2006 - itv.com
Prime Minister Tony Blair's plan to replace Britain's nuclear power stations has been branded a sham.
The Government's energy review is due to be published over the next few months and Mr Blair told the CBI that nuclear power is back on the agenda "with a vengeance". Otherwise, he claimed, the UK will be left dependant on foreign supplies of gas.
However, the Government's own advisers recently warned that new nuclear plants are not the answer to tackling climate change or securing an energy supply. The Sustainable Development Commission's chairman said the Government's credibility will be damaged if it pre-empts the review's outcome.
Greenpeace director Stephen Tindale said: "This is the latest act in a long-running farce that is the energy review. The review is a smokescreen for a decision that has already been taken. "We said at the start of the review that this would happen. It is tragic at a time when many groups are showing the way to a safer and cheaper energy future."
Speaking last night, Mr Blair said the twin pressures of climate change and energy security have put the issue at the top of the agenda in the UK and around the world.
He said: "The facts are stark. By 2025 if current policy is unchanged there will be a dramatic gap on our targets to reduce CO2 emissions, we will become heavily dependent on gas and at the same time move from being 80-90 per cent self-reliant in gas to 80-90 per cent dependent on foreign imports, mostly from the Middle East and Africa and Russia. "These facts put the replacement of nuclear power stations, a big push on renewables and a step-change on energy efficiency, engaging both business and consumers, back on the agenda with a vengeance. "If we don't take these long-term decisions now, we will be committing a serious dereliction of our duty to the future of this country."
But, Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper added: "It's clear that Tony Blair is fixated with nuclear power and is determined to oversee a new generation of nuclear reactors rather than investing in clean and sustainable options that already exist. "The UK could be leading the world in the development of a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy. But, rather than backing safe solutions for tackling climate change and meeting our energy needs, he seems intent on trying to waste yet more taxpayers' money on a discredited and dangerous nuclear dinosaur."
And Shadow trade and industry secretary Alan Duncan said the review is nothing more than a smokescreen. "What on earth is the point of an energy review, when all he (Mr Blair) ever wanted to do was to say that you will be having nuclear power whether you like it or not?" he said.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry's website, there are currently 14 nuclear power stations in the UK. Of these, 11 are due to close by 2015.