Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Friday, March 5, 2010

Armenian Genocide Vote Threatens US-Turkish Ties at Key Moment

Armenian Genocide Vote Threatens US-Turkish Ties at Key Moment
from Antiwar.com Original by Jim Lobe
Thursday’s vote by a Congressional committee condemning the deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War I as "genocide" is almost certain to complicate U.S. ties with Turkey, a long-time strategic ally and increasingly influential player in the Middle East and central and southwest Asia.The 23-22 vote by [...]

http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2010/03/05/armenian-genocide-vote-threatens-us-turkish-ties-at-key-moment/

Why This Sunday's Election Will Create Major Problems For Iraqi Oil from Green Sheet by Oilprice.com

Why This Sunday's Election Will Create Major Problems For Iraqi Oil
from Green Sheet by Oilprice.com

(This guest post originally appeared at OilPrice.com)

The elections in Iraq on March 7, 2010, are likely to serve as an important indicator of the prospects for a resolution of the long-running dispute over the administration of the ethnically mixed and resource-rich province of Kirkuk in the north of the country.

The Iraqi Kurds have repeatedly called for Kirkuk to be transferred to the control of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which already administers three provinces in the predominantly Kurdish north of Iraq. The other ethnic groups in Iraq – including the Arab-dominated government in Baghdad – are equally insistent that Kirkuk should remain under central control and that any oil or gas revenues should be divided between the entire population of the country rather than all going to the KRG.

The failure to resolve the issue of the eventual status of Kirkuk threatens not only prospects for permanent political stability in Iraq but also hopes of extracting the province’s huge reserves and building new oil and gas pipelines from Kirkuk to Turkey, and from there to energy-hungry Western markets.

“We are very interested in the oil and gas reserves in Kirkuk. Who wouldn’t be?” said one executive from a leading European energy company. “We would like to invest in the region, perhaps even become involved in building one of the pipelines. But we can’t do anything unless this issue is resolved. At the moment, the risk of political instability is just too great.”

The Iraqi Kurds have long maintained that, historically, Kirkuk is a Kurdish province but that it was subjected to a process of Arabization under former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who deported a significant proportion of its indigenous Kurds and replaced them with ethnic Arabs. No one doubts that such a campaign was launched, although the scale of the deportations is hotly disputed.

Since the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the KRG has assumed de facto control of education and security in Kirkuk. Other ethnic groups have accused the KRG of resettling hundreds of thousands of ethnic Kurds in the province, including not only those who were originally from Kirkuk but also a large number of Kurds from other areas. They claim that the KRG’s ultimate aim is to change the demographic balance in the province in the run-up to a constitutionally required – but long overdue – referendum on the status of Kirkuk. They fear that, if a referendum results in a vote for union with the KRG, the Iraqi Kurds will attempt to use the revenue from the province’s oil and gas reserves as the economic foundations for their long-held dream of an independent Kurdish state. It is a prospect which alarms not only the Iraqi government in Baghdad but also several of the country’s neighbors. Syria, Iran and – particularly – Turkey all worry that the creation of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq will further fuel secessionist tendencies amongst their own already restive Kurdish minorities.

The evidence on the ground in Kirkuk suggests that there is some truth to the allegations of demographic manipulation. In September 2009, local officials in Kirkuk estimated that the population of the province stood at 1.4 million, up from 850,000 at the time of the US invasion in March 2003. More significantly, the voter registry in Kirkuk has increased from 400,000 in 2004 to 900,000 for the March 7 elections. A dispute between Kurds and other ethnic groups over how many seats to allocate to Kirkuk to accommodate this huge increase in voters resulted in the entire election being put back two months after originally being scheduled for January 2010.

Although a compromise was eventually agreed, the real test is likely to come after the election itself. As happened at the last Iraqi general election, the two main Kurdish parties – the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – are running on a joint ticket, the so-called Kurdistani Alliance, together with five minor parties. However, this time they will face a challenge from a new party called “Goran” (meaning “Change”), which is dominated by former members of the PUK who had become exasperated by the widespread corruption and misuse of resources in the three provinces under the KRG’s control.

In the July 2009 elections for the KRG, Goran picked up 23.5 percent of the vote. It is also expected to perform well in Kirkuk on March 7, 2010. But Goran has already declared that, however much it may be opposed to the KDP/PUK in other areas, it is in complete agreement with them on iconic issues such as the transfer or Kirkuk to KRG control. As a result, the predominance of ethnic Kurds in Kirkuk means that the main hope for those opposed to the transfer of Kirkuk to the KRG is that voters break with the pattern of previous elections in Iraq and vote across ethnic lines. If the Kurdish parties fail to win an overwhelming majority in the province, then it will be much more difficult for them to push for the inclusion of Kirkuk in the territory administered by the KRG and they may be more prepared to reach a compromise with other ethnic groups on the division of revenue from Kirkuk’s oil and gas. But, for the moment at least, the signs are that the Kurds of Kirkuk will again vote along ethnic lines – which is likely to encourage the Iraq Kurds to renew their calls for a referendum and the eventual transfer of both the province and its oil and gas to the KRG.

Even if the Kurdish parties sweep Kirkuk, there is still no indication that any of the other ethnic groups in Iraq or the central government in Baghdad is prepared to allow the KRG to take over Kirkuk. Consequently, the most likely outcome of the March 7 general election in Kirkuk appears to be an increase in political tensions; and, as long as the standoff remains unresolved, energy companies are likely to continue to be reluctant to make substantial investments in extracting the province’s hydrocarbons and transferring them to Western markets.

This article written by Gareth Jenkins for Oilprice.com

Yucca Mountain shutdown brings legal blowback

Yucca Mountain shutdown brings legal blowback
from National Law Journal
For more than 20 years, the state of Nevada, environmental groups and residents living near the planned nuclear waste storage site known as Yucca Mountain battled the federal government in courts and in Congress to halt the project. But now that the Obama Administration has abandoned the Yucca Mountain plan, it faces legal action aimed at forcing it to go ahead at the site.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202445690022&rss=nlj&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

"Provocative" Iran Invites More Sanctions Mark Heinrich, Reuters

"Provocative" Iran Invites More Sanctions
Mark Heinrich, Reuters
KhameneiThe United States and European Union accused Iran of breaking nuclear transparency rules by escalating uranium enrichment without proper U.N. surveillance and said its "provocative" behaviour invited tougher sanctions. They spoke at a tense meeting Wednesday of governors of the United Nations nuclear agency, a day after the U.N. Security Council said it was ready to tackle Western powers' proposals for new sanctions on Iran, which China has so far resisted.
Full Article

http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE6223PW20100303?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

* EPA to raise threshold for major GHG sources in initial regulations

* EPA to raise threshold for major GHG sources in initial regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency will raise the reporting threshold to at least 75,000 tons annually and maybe more than 100,000 tons annually for stationary sources of greenhouse gases during the first stage of regulations between 2011 and 2012, according to Administrator Lisa Jackson. Speaking before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Jackson said that "it will probably be at least two years before we would look at something like, say, a 50,000 [tons-per-year] threshold." The Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703862704575099571772922744.html?mod=dist_smartbrief

ntergy modifies nuclear spinoff plan for N.Y. clearance

ntergy modifies nuclear spinoff plan for N.Y. clearance
Entergy is revising its nuclear spinoff plan in an effort to secure approval from New York regulators. Entergy said it will further cut the planned debt of the new company by $500 million, place limitations on dividend payments and hand over as much as $300 million to state efficiency funds if certain conditions are met. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (3/3)

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100303-712415.html?mod=dist_smartbrief

NEI to protest Yucca Mountain permit withdrawal

NEI to protest Yucca Mountain permit withdrawal
Attorneys for the Energy Department on Wednesday filed a motion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to withdraw the license application for a nuclear-waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. Nuclear Energy Institute senior director Steve Kraft said the department failed to provide a reason for ending the program, and he promised that NEI will formally object. Experts say the nuclear industry could make a case that utilities, ratepayers and taxpayers will be deprived of their rights if the Yucca Mountain plans are withdrawn and not permitted to be resubmitted. Las Vegas Review-Journal/Stephens Washington News Bureau (

http://www.lvrj.com/news/nuclear-waste-blue-ribbon-panel-to-start-work-86253967.html

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The U.S. Needs A Nuke/"Dirty Bomb" Recovery Plan

The U.S. Needs A Nuke/"Dirty Bomb" Recovery Plan
U.S. Needs to Develop Nuke, "Dirty Bomb" Recovery Plan, GAO Finds -- Global Security Newswire

The U.S. Homeland Security Department has not met an executive mandate to produce a national recovery plan to deal with the lingering effects of a terrorist assault involving a radiological "dirty bomb" or a crude nuclear device, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Friday (see GSN, Jan. 25).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, "the DHS agency responsible for developing a comprehensive emergency management system, has not developed a national disaster recovery strategy, as required by law, or issued specific guidance to coordinate federal, state, and local government recovery planning for" radiological dispersal device or improvised nuclear device events, "as directed by executive guidance," the report finds.

Read more ....
You would think that after all of this time .... there would be a basic plan to confront such a nuclear disaster.

I guess our leaders do not want to spend time on the unimaginable.

http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100301_9173.php

Japan, Kazakhstan forge nuclear-cooperation deal

Japan, Kazakhstan forge nuclear-cooperation deal
Japan can now acquire stable uranium supplies from Kazakhstan in exchange for nuclear technology after the countries signed a nuclear-cooperation deal. A similar agreement was reached between Japan and Russia last year that allowed trading in technology and uranium. Reuters

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTOE62107I20100302

India to tackle bill needed to advance nuclear deal with U.S.

India to tackle bill needed to advance nuclear deal with U.S.
from NEI SmartBrief
India during the next month will discuss legislation to reduce the liability of nuclear companies during industrial accidents -More-

http://www.smartbrief.com/news/nei/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=EBC3F02E-69D5-41A2-A5C6-43EB5959AE60©id=50D7F189-3C7B-45A9-9631-9CD4602F2CBD&brief=nei&sb_code=rss&&campaign=rss

Obama decision on Yucca Mountain in Nevada is "bad news"

Obama decision on Yucca Mountain in Nevada is "bad news"
from NEI SmartBrief
President Barack Obama's move to withdraw the application for a nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain is bad news for the rest -More-

http://www.smartbrief.com/news/nei/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=EBC3F02E-69D5-41A2-A5C6-43EB5959AE60©id=85A73F3A-DA59-4021-B613-6A1AEDB4EAA7&brief=NEI&sb_code=rss&&campaign=rss

Minn. Senate panel to vote on bill to repeal nuclear ban

Minn. Senate panel to vote on bill to repeal nuclear ban
from NEI SmartBrief
A Minnesota Senate panel Tuesday heard testimony on a bill authored by Sen. -More-

http://www.smartbrief.com/news/nei/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=EBC3F02E-69D5-41A2-A5C6-43EB5959AE60©id=F415EF35-1EEE-4CD8-B5F1-04D70170D0C7&brief=NEI&sb_code=rss&&campaign=rss

Uranium in the Grand Canyon: 1 Million Acres that Could Help Fuel a U.S. Nuclear Energy Revival

Uranium in the Grand Canyon: 1 Million Acres that Could Help Fuel a U.S. Nuclear Energy Revival
from AlterNet.org by David Levitan, SolveClimate

The United States imports the bulk of its nuclear fuel, but there are large deposits of uranium, mostly in the western part of the country, that could be mined.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/145880/uranium_in_the_grand_canyon:_1_million_acres_that_could_help_fuel_a_u.s._nuclear_energy_revival_?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=alternet

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do Not Even Think about Bombing Iran Michael O'Hanlon and Bruce Riedel, Financial Times

Do Not Even Think about Bombing Iran
Michael O'Hanlon and Bruce Riedel, Financial Times
For years, the US has retained the option of a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Not preferred by either George W. Bush or Barack Obama, it has nonetheless survived the US presidential transition as a last resort should diplomacy and economic sanctions fail to persuade Tehran to put its nuclear programme back under proper restrictions and inspections.
Full Article

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a5af1b8-24a3-11df-8be0-00144feab49a.html

N. Korea Provided Raw Uranium to Syria in 2007: Sources Kyodo News

N. Korea Provided Raw Uranium to Syria in 2007: Sources
Kyodo News
North Korea provided about 45 tons of "yellowcake" uranium to Syria in September 2007 for production of fuel for an undeclared nuclear reactor, diplomatic and military sources knowledgeable on North Korean issues said Saturday.
Full Article
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/international/news/20100228p2g00m0in001000c.html

India Moves on U.S. Nuclear Deal with New Law Krittivas Mukherjee, Reuters

India Moves on U.S. Nuclear Deal with New Law
Krittivas Mukherjee, Reuters
India's parliament will debate over the next month a new law to limit nuclear firms' liability in the case of industrial accidents, a move crucial for U.S. firms to tap into India's estimated $150 billion nuclear market.
Full Article

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSGE61B05820100302?type=marketsNews

Two U.S. Power Plants Could Use Converted Weapons Plutonium Global Security Newswire

Two U.S. Power Plants Could Use Converted Weapons Plutonium
Global Security Newswire
The United States plans to study the possibility of using mixed-oxide fuel converted from nuclear-weapon material to operate two nuclear power plants, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration announced yesterday.
Full Article

http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100226_9685.php

White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, The New York Times

White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy
David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, The New York Times
As President Obama begins making final decisions on a broad new nuclear strategy for the United States, senior aides say he will permanently reduce America's arsenal by thousands of weapons. But the administration has rejected proposals that the United States declare it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons, aides said.
Full Article

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/us/politics/01nuke.html

Managing Vulnerability James M. Acton, Foreign Affairs

Managing Vulnerability
James M. Acton, Foreign Affairs
DF-31Editor's Note: In the November/December 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs, Keir Lieber and Daryl Press make the case for the United States developing a new generation of low-yield, high-accuracy nuclear weapons to maintain deterrence against current and future nuclear-armed states. In response, James M. Acton contends that adversaries' increasingly mobile forces make such a strategy ineffective and that instead the United States should reduce nuclear dangers by giving potential adversaries' strong incentives for restraint in a crisis and by devaluing nuclear weapons. This article appears in the March/April 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs.

http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=40264

Feds seek input from Vt. nuclear plant operator

Feds seek input from Vt. nuclear plant operator
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given Entergy 30 days to provide input on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, a week after Vermont's Senate voted to shut down the facility. The agency noted that it has not come across instances of the plant's personnel supplying incomplete or inaccurate data. Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0110955720100301?type=marketsNews

Monday, March 1, 2010

Read the IAEA Reports on Iran They don't jibe with media reports, says Peter Casey

Read the IAEA Reports on Iran

They don't jibe with media reports, says Peter Casey

http://original.antiwar.com/peter-casey/2010/02/28/read-the-iaea-reports-on-iran/

UAE considers relocation of planned nuclear facilities

UAE considers relocation of planned nuclear facilities
The United Arab Emirates is expected to move the construction site for its proposed nuclear facilities after at the request of Saudi Arabia, South Korean authorities said. A Korean group last year secured a $40 billion contract to construct four reactors in Sila, which is near the border of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Korea Herald (Seoul)

http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2010/02/27/201002270035.asp

White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy

White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy
by By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER

Aides to President Obama say he will permanently reduce America’s arsenal by thousands of weapons.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/us/politics/01nuke.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Mordechai Vanunu: The Sunday Times articles

Mordechai Vanunu: The Sunday Times articles

The Sunday Times' Insight Team was the first to reveal Israel's nuclear secrets to the world after the paper published leaks from Morechai Vanunu. Here is how the newspaper chronicled the story, from Vanunu's original claims, to how he was captured.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article830147.ece

Israeli Nobel candidate rejects nomination‎

Israeli Nobel candidate rejects nomination‎
FILE - This April 21, 2004 file photo shows Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu following his release outside Shikma Prison in the coastal city ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022401730.html