Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, March 13, 2010

India Embraces Russian Weapons And Nuclear Reactors

India Embraces Russian Weapons And Nuclear Reactors
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin address the media and release the joint statement after their meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi, capital of India, March 12, 2010.(Xinhua/Stringer)

India Embraces Russia Arms -- L.A. Times

New Delhi signs five deals, buying fighter jets, an aircraft carrier and nuclear reactors.

India signed five deals Friday to purchase more than $7 billion in hardware and expertise from Russia, including an aircraft carrier, a fleet of MIG-29 fighters, defense and space technology and at least 12 civilian nuclear reactors.

On the minds of both parties, analysts said, was a nation not present at the signing. "China will be the ghost in the room," wrote analyst C. Raja Mohan in an opinion piece this week in the Indian Express.

Read more ....
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-russia-india13-2010mar13,0,7959861.story

More News On The India - Russian Relationship

Russia and India sign major military, nuclear deals -- RIA Novosti
http://en.rian.ru/world/20100312/158177812.html

India and Russia Build Ties With Pacts -- New York Times
Russia signs India nuclear reactor deal -- BBC
Putin visit seals arms, nuke deals with India -- AFP
Nuclear cooperation will cover all areas: Putin -- The Hindu
India, Russia ink 19 pacts on defense, nuclear energy and space cooperation -- Xinhuanet

Al-Qaeda Suspect From NJ Worked At 6 Nuke Plants

Just what the industry needs now:
Al-Qaeda Suspect From NJ Worked At 6 Nuke Plants
HADDONFIELD, N.J. (AP) ―

Sharif Mobley, seen in this undated photo, is being held in Yemen and accused of being an al Qaeda member. The FBI is investigating the 26-year-old New Jersey man's case.

An American seized in Yemen in a sweep of suspected al-Qaida members had been a laborer at six U.S. nuclear power plants, and authorities are investigating whether he had access to sensitive information or materials that would be useful to terrorists.

Sharif Mobley, 26, worked for contractors at plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland from 2002 to 2008, mostly hauling materials and setting up scaffolding, plant officials said.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said Friday that investigations are under way into which areas Mobley entered. But he noted that areas containing nuclear fuel are tightly controlled, and that a laborer typically would not have access to security information or other sensitive matters.

The plants are also checking areas where Mobley worked to ensure everything is in order, said NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci.

Mobley, a U.S. citizen of Somali descent, has not been linked to any wrongdoing at any of the plants. And officials said nothing he did when he worked there aroused any suspicion.

Officials said Mobley passed the necessary screenings, which include criminal background checks, drug testing, psychological assessments and identity verification.

Nevertheless, Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an industry watchdog, said the case raises questions about security at the nation's nuclear plants.

"The real question is: Was there information that the NRC or utilities could have seen that would have led to his disqualification?" Lyman said.

Mobley, a Muslim who grew up in Buena, N.J., was among 11 al-Qaida suspects rounded up earlier this month in Yemen. He was taken to a hospital there over the weekend after he complained of feeling ill. Yemeni officials said he snatched a gun and shot a security guard to death in an attempt to escape from the hospital.

He has not been accused by authorities in the U.S. or Yemen of attempting to make a bomb or attack a nuclear plant.

His parents have said he is not a terrorist, though former friend Roman Castro said Mobley was becoming increasingly radical in his Muslim beliefs before he moved to Yemen about two years ago.

Mobley worked for contractors at the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants in New Jersey from 2002 to 2008; the Peach Bottom, Limerick and Three Mile Island plants in Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2007; and Calvert Cliffs in Maryland for two weeks in 2006, operators said.

Company officials said most of his work came during periodic refueling outages, when hundreds of contract employees descend on the plants. The workers do a variety of jobs, but "nothing technical," said Curt Jenkins, business manager at Mobley's union, Local 222 of the New Jersey Laborers Council.

Mobley had "vital access" that allowed him into any area of the plants where he worked in New Jersey, Jenkins said. But guards were posted in the most sensitive places, and "anywhere that you might be able to do anything, they pretty well got that pretty secure."

Every worker entering a plant has to clear security, explosives and radiation checkpoints, and that information is recorded, the NRC's Sheehan said. The plants also teach employees to recognize and report suspicious behavior.

Jenkins said that he never saw any sign of trouble from Mobley and that he was a union member in good standing. "He always treated us with respect," he said. "Very well-mannered."

Mobley's work came during a period in which nuclear plant security was increased in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the industry group the Nuclear Energy Institute, said that before regulations changed in 2003, workers could gain temporary access to plants before their screening was complete. It was not immediately clear whether Mobley had access before he was completely cleared.

"To the best of our knowledge, with the regard to this individual, there was nothing to suggest any kind of problem with him," Kerekes said. "We have a personnel database that's in place that lets all our companies across the industry know instantaneously if someone is for some reason denied access or flagged for some other kind of reason related to their behavior."

However, the information shared between nuclear power companies is sometimes incomplete, said Lyman, of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A law enforcement official says Mobley traveled to Yemen with the goal of joining a terrorist group. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on.

A second official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, says the U.S. government was aware of Mobley's potential extremist ties long before his arrest. The official did not say how long the government had been paying attention to him.
http://cbs3.com/local/sharif.mobley.yemen.2.1556982.html

* NRC to look closer at long-term storage at reactor sites

Agency needs new plan after Yucca decision

Long-term storage of nuclear waste still an issue

* NRC to look closer at long-term storage at reactor sites
Because the White House has indicated that it does not want to continue with the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will need to turn its attention to determining whether used fuel can remain stored for long periods at reactor sites around the country, said Jack Davis, an NRC official. The agency's safety regulations are "not really optimized for long-term storage," he added. Las Vegas Review-Journal/Stephens Washington News Bureau

http://www.lvrj.com/news/agency-needs-new-plan-after-yucca-decision-87321152.html

Obama adviser pushes multi-pronged energy policy By MONICA HATCHER HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Obama adviser pushes multi-pronged energy policy
By MONICA HATCHER HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Investments in renewable power, as well as in nuclear energy and fossil fuels, must be part of plans to revise the country's energy policy, White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said. "If ever there was an issue where we should move from 'either or' to 'both and,' I would suggest it is with energy," he said during an energy conference in Houston. Houston Chronicle

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6909517.html

EnergySolutions lands waste-processing contract for Chinese reactors

EnergySolutions lands waste-processing contract for Chinese reactors
EnergySolutions has secured a contract to provide waste-management systems for two CPR-1000 reactors under construction in Yangjiang, China. The company will design and supply the processing systems for liquid and solid wastes for the reactors, which are being built by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding. Nuclear Engineering International

http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=132&storyCode=2055700

FPL reconsiders applying for nuclear loan guarantee, exec says

FPL reconsiders applying for nuclear loan guarantee, exec says
Florida Power & Light seeks to push back its project to build two nuclear reactors in the state and may apply for a federal loan guarantee, company executive Moray Dewhurst said. The company will also continue efforts to secure a license for construction and operation for the project from federal regulators, he added. Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1123143220100311

Friday, March 12, 2010

China's Nuclear Forces And The Development Of A Conventional Warhead Missile

China's Nuclear Forces And The Development Of A Conventional Warhead Missile Visitors walk past China's second nuclear missile on display as they visit
the Military Museum in Beijing Photo: GETTY

China Nuclear Arms -- Washington Times

China's strategic nuclear forces remain shrouded in secrecy, but a new report this week identified the key location of Beijing's tightly guarded underground nuclear-weapons storage base.

The report by the Project 2049 Institute, a private China affairs research group, also suggests the Chinese military is working on a long-range conventional warhead missile capability. The conclusion is based on indicators that China is not building nuclear warheads as fast as it is deploying large numbers of long-range missiles.

Read more ....
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/11/inside-the-ring-76465603/

Senior Lawmakers Question Obama’s Nuclear Security Goal -- Global Security Newswire

Senior Lawmakers Question Obama’s Nuclear Security Goal -- Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- Leaders of a key congressional panel yesterday expressed skepticism that the U.S. government would be able to met President Barack Obama's goal of securing all of the world's loose nuclear material within four years (see GSN, Feb. 26).

"Securing all vulnerable nuclear material is a laudable goal that this committee supports," House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Vice Chairman Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) said in his opening statement during a hearing on the administration's nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

Read more ....
http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100311_7671.php

More On President Obama's Nuclear Security Goals

Obama Faces Decision on Nuke Policy -- Global Security Newswire
http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100308_2195.php

President Obama, Robert Gates nuke war brewing? -- Politico
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34010.html

President Obama Reaffirms Committment to Nonproliferation -- FOX News
http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/05/president-obama-reaffirms-committment-to-nonproliferation/

Obama must decide degree to which U.S. swears off nuclear weapons -- Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/05/AR2010030502260.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Obama calls for global fuel bank -- The Hindu
http://beta.thehindu.com/news/international/article201554.ece

Nuclear Policy in a Changed World -- Sen. James Inhofe, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/opinion/l07nuclear.html

The Obama bid to rid the world of nuclear weapons boosts US security -- minus the threat of Armageddon -- Robert Dujarric, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0304/The-Obama-bid-to-rid-the-world-of-nuclear-weapons-boosts-US-security-minus-the-threat-of-Armageddon

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NRC says Indian Point "preserved public health and safety"

NRC says Indian Point "preserved public health and safety"
from NEI SmartBrief
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York met all safety standards in 2009; -More-

http://www.smartbrief.com/news/nei/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=46F94A74-0098-4A27-B0A9-EBE090AA3137©id=232FC837-F047-4D08-BFD6-9CD5FA4F6A59&brief=NEI&sb_code=rss&&campaign=rss

Sources: Turkey, South Korea to forge nuclear-cooperation pact

Sources: Turkey, South Korea to forge nuclear-cooperation pact
Turkey's Elektrik Uretim will reportedly sign a nuclear energy deal with South Korea's Kepco. Work on the nuclear project could begin in the near term, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Young Hak Kim said. Reuters

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE6290HI20100310

Russia plans construction of more nuclear plants in India

Russia plans construction of more nuclear plants in India
Russia is prepared to construct more nuclear-power facilities in India over the next decade, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said. Russia also plans to increase capacity at the Kudankulam nuclear plant, which it is building for Nuclear Power Corp. of India. EasyBourse/Dow Jones Newswires

http://www.easybourse.com/bourse/actualite/russia-official-willing-to-build-up-to-15000mw-nuclear-plants-in-india-808435

Report: Development of nuclear plants needed to meet emissions target

Report: Development of nuclear plants needed to meet emissions target
Though the abundance of North America's unconventional gas supplies will likely alter the continent's energy landscape, that would not be enough to meet a goal to cut carbon emissions by 80% in 2050, according to report by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. To achieve that target, more nuclear and renewable-energy facilities must be built, the report added. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100310-711383.html?mod=dist_smartbrief

Administration not honoring pledge to promote nuclear, offshore drilling

Administration not honoring pledge to promote nuclear, offshore drilling
The administration has yet to make good on the President Obama's January promise to find local sources of oil and gas and promote nuclear power plants, says this editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been stonewalling the leasing of oil-rich areas for offshore drilling, the editorial argues, while Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stalling on naming a permanent nuclear repository by convening another blue-ribbon panel. "The president says he wants new supplies of home-grown energy, but the government's actions suggest continuing hostility to oil drilling and nuclear power," the editorial adds. The Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704784904575112144130306052.html?KEYWORDS=energy+head+fake

South Korea Eyes Nuclear Push in Turkey

South Korea Eyes Nuclear Push in Turkey
Delphine Strauss and Funja Guler, Financial Times
South Korea's plans to become a global player in the nuclear industry were boosted on Wednesday by the signing of a co-operation agreement between Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) and Turkey's Elektrik √úretim (EUAS), the two countries' state power companies.
Full Article http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b94f512e-2c97-11df-8abb-00144feabdc0.html

India May Join Russia in Establishing Angarsk Nuclear Fuel Bank

India May Join Russia in Establishing Angarsk Nuclear Fuel Bank
RIA Novosti
Editor's Note: This article appears to conflate two Russian projects, both of which are being undertaken at Angarsk: the low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel reserve (a fuel bank of last resort) and the International Uranium Enrichment Center (IUEC) (a multinationally-owned commercial supplier of enriched uranium). Indian interest is presumably in the IUEC, although this is unclear from the article.
Full Article

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100310/158147430.html

Brazil, Germany Clash on Iran Nuclear Sanctions

Brazil, Germany Clash on Iran Nuclear Sanctions
Deborah Cole, Agence France-Presse
Brazil and Germany differed sharply Wednesday on whether to threaten Iran with fresh United Nations sanctions in a bid to rein in its disputed nuclear program.
Full Article

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g2kb3E9JqYyb59mx1mNbf_kTMbog

Delay on Arms Pact Slows Reset of U.S.-Russia Ties

Delay on Arms Pact Slows Reset of U.S.-Russia Ties
Peter Baker and Mark Landler, The New York Times
STARTWhen President Obama got on the telephone with President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia last month, he was under the impression that they were finally close to wrapping up a long-delayed arms control treaty that he had originally expected to sign in December.

But to Mr. Obama's surprise, Mr. Medvedev was not ready to sign off on a deal and raised issues that required more discussion, American officials said. As he hung up, the officials said, a frustrated Mr. Obama realized that the two sides were not as close as he had thought and sent negotiators back to the table.
Full Article


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/world/europe/10start.html

NRC commissioner questions decision to withdraw Yucca licensing bid

NRC commissioner questions decision to withdraw Yucca licensing bid
Dale Klein of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission challenged the U.S. government's decision to revoke the license application for the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, stating that politics fueled the move. "The administration's stated rationale for changing course does not seem to rest on factual findings and thus does not bolster the credibility of our government to handle this matter competently," he said. The Heritage Foundation/The Foundry blog

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/10/nrc-commissioner-takes-a-stand-on-obama%E2%80%99s-yucca-decision/

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

U.S. May Circumvent START Restrictions With Britain's Help - Analyst - 2010-03-10

U.S. May Circumvent START Restrictions With Britain's Help - Analyst
- 2010-03-10

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18040

Global Geopolitical Crisis to Hit Within Next Decade - 2010-03-10

Global Geopolitical Crisis to Hit Within Next Decade
- 2010-03-10

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18041

Iranian Missiles Pose no Threat to U.S. and Europe - Lavrov - 2010-03-10

Iranian Missiles Pose no Threat to U.S. and Europe - Lavrov
- 2010-03-10

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18039

Japan Confirms Secret Nuclear Pacts With U.S. During Cold War - 2010-03-09

Japan Confirms Secret Nuclear Pacts With U.S. During Cold War
- 2010-03-09

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18024

Syria eyes nuclear to meet rising demand for energy

Syria eyes nuclear to meet rising demand for energy
Syria is seeking alternative energy sources, including nuclear power, to meet growing demand, Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad said during a conference in Paris. While the country's goal seems distant, it reflects increasing regional interest in the power source. Google/The Associated Press

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5giyNlhzvHO3iOjo5LYc1gL7eFRxgD9EBEHM03

Living with the bomb Israel will need new security doctrine to cope with Iranian nukes Eitan Haber

Living with the bomb
Israel will need new security doctrine to cope with Iranian nukes
Eitan Haber

Towards the end of the War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt, in the summer of 1970, a Sagger missile was fired at an Israeli tank on the banks of the Suez Canal. I don’t remember whether the missile hit its target or not, yet back then some IDF commanders were already taking note.

The Sagger was more accurate than the missiles of that time and possessed a longer range; it was clear that a new era in anti-tank combat was underway, yet as only one missile was fired until the ceasefire in August of that year, it did not prompt a commotion. The armored corps issued a guide, but it collected dust.

On that cursed Yom Kippur in 1973, the surprise was great: Hundreds and some say thousands of Egyptian teams armed with Saggers stopped the IDF’s tanks and pulverized them. They learned something in the wake of the armored corps’ rush forward in the Six-Day War.

After every war, the other side learns the lessons and seeks ways to overcome the IDF’s advantages. And so, for example, the missile arsenals across the border grew exponentially in order to overcome the Israeli Air Force’s clear advantage.

The Iranian nuclear bomb, which is expected to be produced in our region in the coming months or years, is the direct result of drawing lessons, and it is of course unlike any other weapon currently found in the Islamic world. The view that we are too late in preventing the production of such bomb is increasingly taking root, and not only among Israel’s leaders. Some people say the point-of-no-return passed two years ago.

One way or another, all the zealous supporters of a strike who see in their mind’s eye the ruins of Iran’s nuclear sites should know that even a massive operation would only serve to delay the project by two or three years. And then what? In other words, Israel’s leaders must put their heads together, and maybe they already did, in order to determine the policy and possibly even Israel’s way of life in respect to the new situation: Life under the shadow of the bomb.

New era approaching

There is no reason to panic. A large part of the world, and certainly the United States, Russia, and all European nations lived under the shadow of atomic bombs for almost 40 years – a period that political scientists and journalists characterized as the balance of terror. Nonetheless, in most areas of life the citizens did not feel it and continued to live their lives normally.

However, and for us this is a big “however,” the policies and security doctrines changed. Nothing remained as it was. In our case, we can already see the buds of an alliance (not just yet, not just yet) being formed among Iran, Syria, and Turkey (some generals apparently noticed it in Ankara too, and when they wanted to do something about it they were immediately transferred to a vacation in prison.) Such alliance, if it indeed materialized, will completely change the balance of power in the Mediterranean region, and not in Israel’s favor.

Life under the shadow of the bomb will require us to listen more closely to (and in fact, accept) America’s words of advice, and we should be quick to sign (if it agrees) a defense pact with it. Thus far, our leaders refrained from signing such pact for fear that it would limit our freedom to maneuver. Yet now there will apparently be no other choice.

With life under the bomb, the Americans and Europeans will likely make demands – which are being presented at this time already – in respect to Israel’s presence in what they refer to as the occupied territories, and there is no need to say much here. Life under the bomb’s shadow will also have implications on the daily life here, yet these deserve a separate discussion.

As noted, there is no reason to panic. There is hope, yet our government would do well to shift to an up-to-date and upgraded doctrine. A new era in Israel’s history is apparently approaching. We will still remain unique and the chosen people in the view of some of us, yet we’ll be talking about it in a lower voice.

It Will Take Years For US to Get off Fossil Fuels: Chu

It Will Take Years For US to Get off Fossil Fuels: Chu

Feds are working to develop safer nuclear technologies, Chu says
The country is continuing to work on a long-term strategy to develop safer nuclear technology, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. In February, the department began a loan guarantee program to help finance the construction of the nation's first new nuclear plant in three decades. "We are doing this to get the nuclear industry going and hope the private sector picks up and runs with it," he said. CNBC

http://www.cnbc.com/id/35783780

President Obama wants lawmakers to act on climate-and-energy bill

President Obama wants lawmakers to act on climate-and-energy bill
President Barack Obama met with top White House officials and senior lawmakers to reiterate his commitment to a climate-and-energy bill. Obama reportedly expressed support in the meeting for "clean-energy incentives" that would lead to jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil, a source said. The Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...dist_smartbrief

Search for permanent waste repository could last a long time

Debating the Nuclear Waste Problem
By MATTHEW L. WALD

earch for permanent waste repository could last a long time
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is examining how long nuclear waste can be stored in the interim before a permanent repository is selected, said Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jaczko did not think a new policy should predict when a new repository would become available, only determine "the limits of safe and secure storage of fuel." The New York Times/Green Inc. blog

GE Hitachi eyes sale of up to 15 reactors in Europe

GE Hitachi eyes sale of up to 15 reactors in Europe
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy intends to sell up to 15 of its ESBWR reactors in Europe over the next decade, company executive Daniel Roderick said. The reactor "resonates very well in Europe because it has the lowest core-damage frequency of any plant design in the world," he added during a nuclear conference. The company also forged a nuclear-cooperation deal with Italy's EnergyLab Foundation. ForexYard/Reuters

http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/GE-Hitachi-wants-to-sell-reactors-to-Europe-2010-03-09T171855Z-INTERVIEW-UPDATE-1

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Panel Confirms Japan-U.S. Secret Pacts, Leads to Gov't Policy Shift

Panel Confirms Japan-U.S. Secret Pacts, Leads to Gov't Policy Shift
Kyodo News
A Foreign Ministry panel concluded Tuesday that secret pacts on nuclear arms and other issues were reached by Japan and the United States in the Cold War era, leading the Japanese government to end its decades-long official denial that any such agreements existed.
Full Article

http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=489664

Nuclear Liability Law Has Sting in Tail for the U.S. Too

Nuclear Liability Law Has Sting in Tail for the U.S. Too
Siddharth Varadarajan, The Hindu
The Manmohan Singh government may be courting trouble at home by pushing a controversial new law to limit the financial exposure of nuclear companies in the event of a nuclear accident.
Full Article

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article202534.ece

E.U. to Begin Press on Nuclear Standards

E.U. to Begin Press on Nuclear Standards
James Kanter, The New York Times
The head of the European Commission was to begin a push Monday for European safety standards for nuclear power plants to become binding worldwide, a development that might benefit France as it competes to sell its expensive technology and expertise against countries offering cheaper alternatives.
Full Article

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/business/global/08nuclear.html

Israel, Syria Announce Nuclear Energy Ambitions

Israel, Syria Announce Nuclear Energy Ambitions
Angela Charlton, Associated Press
Mideast rivals Israel and Syria on Tuesday each announced ambitions to develop nuclear energy, with Israel facing the prospect that its plan could bring new attention to its secretive nuclear activities.
Full Article
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5giyNlhzvHO3iOjo5LYc1gL7eFRxgD9EB2I680

U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran

U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran
Jo Becker and Ron Nixon, The New York Times
The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington's efforts to discourage investment there, records show.
Full Article
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/world/middleeast/07sanctions.html

Obama Must Decide Degree to Which U.S. Swears Off Nuclear Weapons

Obama Must Decide Degree to Which U.S. Swears Off Nuclear Weapons
Mary Beth Sheridan and Walter Pincus, The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/05/AR2010030502260.html

Obama President Obama's top national security advisers will within days present him with an agonizing choice on how to guide U.S. nuclear weapons policy for the rest of his term.

Does he substantially advance his bold pledge to seek a world free of nuclear weapons by declaring that the "sole purpose" of the U.S. arsenal is to deter other nations from using them? Or does he embrace a more modest option, supported by some senior military officials, that deterrence is the "primary purpose"?
Full Article

* Statement by President Obama on the 40th Anniversary of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/statement-president-obama-40th-anniversary-nuclear-nonproliferation-treaty

Sarkozy urges international banks to help finance nuclear projects

Sarkozy urges international banks to help finance nuclear projects
Global financial institutions should make a "wholehearted commitment" to fund civilian nuclear projects to help countries construct energy plants, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said. "I do not understand and I do not accept the ostracization of nuclear projects by international financing," he said during a nuclear energy summit. Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6273D920100308

Official: Israel is seeking a partner in nuclear energy project

Official: Israel is seeking a partner in nuclear energy project
Uzi Landau, Israel's infrastructure minister, will announce today that the country is studying the construction of a nuclear-power facility to diversify its energy industry. The country has the capability to build a reactor, but its preference is to collaborate with other countries, he said. The Washington Post/Reuters

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/08/AR2010030802100.html

GAO urged to review permit process for nuclear plants

GAO urged to review permit process for nuclear plants
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is calling on the Government Accountability Office to review the policies and procedures in the permitting process for nuclear projects. In a letter to the acting comptroller general, Markey wrote that he wants the GAO to examine whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has adequately weighed the safety and financial aspects of nuclear power plants. The Hill/E2 Wire blog

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/85463-house-democrat-asks-gao-to-investigate-nuclear-licensing-process

Calif. county considering delay in license renewal for nuclear plant

Calif. county considering delay in license renewal for nuclear plant
The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors may ask federal regulators to push back the relicensing process for the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility until its owner completes additional high-tech seismic studies. The board will also vote whether to ask the California Public Utilities Commission to clear Pacific Gas and Electric's plan to have ratepayers cover the $16.73 million cost of such studies. The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/03/07/1058240/diablo-license-renewal-may-be.html

Energy Dept. awards $40M for development of advanced reactor

Energy Dept. awards $40M for development of advanced reactor
The Energy Department has granted $20 million each to Westinghouse Electric and General Atomics for the development of the department's Next Generation Nuclear Plant project. The designs from the two teams will help the department choose whether to move forward with a demonstration reactor that can generate power and process heat for industrial purposes. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100308-709846.html?mod=dist_smartbrief

Obama Faces Decision on Nuke Policy -- Global Security Newswire

Obama Faces Decision on Nuke Policy -- Global Security Newswire

U.S. President Barack Obama has to make a choice shortly on the exact role of U.S. nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reported Saturday (see GSN, March 3).

In the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review, Obama could adopt a policy that says the "primary purpose" of the U.S. nuclear stockpile is to deter a nuclear attack. That stance has the support of some ranking military officials.

Read more ....
http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100308_2195.php

The 'Peace President' Wants To Keep America's Nukes by Eric Margolis

The 'Peace President' Wants To Keep America's Nukes
by Eric Margolis

http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis182.html

NEW YORK – As if President Barack Obama did not have enough on his plate, he will shortly issue a Nuclear Posture Review – which is, in fact, a month overdue.

Each new American president must by law review his nation's nuclear weapons and strategy.

Accordingly, Nobel Peace Laureate Obama will decide what to do with America's 5,500 strategic nuclear weapons – that possess enough destructive power to destroy the planet at least five times over. Some experts say it's 50 times over.

Obama, strongly influenced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is expected to decide to spend US $7 billion modernizing US nuclear weapons and plants. Maintaining US nuclear weapons cost some $52 billion annually. Nuclear weapons deteriorate over time, so require regular maintenance and refurbishment.

Still, this is a huge amount at a time when the nation is bankrupt and running on borrowed money. President Obama just can't seem to escape the shadow of his bellicose predecessor.

The president is also expected to reject a "no first use" policy demanded by senior Democrats, led by California senator Diane Feinstein. Such a pledge would reaffirm the sole purpose of the US arsenal is deterring nuclear attack. Offensive use of US nuclear weapons would be banned under a "no first use" doctrine.

Russia made such a declaration in the 1990's, but today its position is ambiguous. China, Pakistan, India, and North Korea have made no first use declarations. The NATO powers appear to favor a first strike policy. Israel denies having nuclear weapons, but promises not to be the first to introduce them into the Mideast – which it did decades ago.


Deeply disturbing many liberals, President Obama will likely assert the option to use nuclear weapons against other non-nuclear nations or anti-American groups – particularly so if the US is attacked by chemical or biological weapons. He is following the policy of preemption established by President George W. Bush.

The US and Russia are nearing agreement to cut their deployed strategic warheads by a 1,000 units down to 1,500–1,675 each. But much of these reductions would come by storing rather than dismantling active warheads.

Thousands more tactical nuclear warheads will remain, though Washington hints it might remove some from Western Europe and Asia. Tactical nuclear weapons would play a key role in halting a North Korean attack on South Korea.

Nuclear weapons are widely accepted in the West as a legitimate defense against nuclear attack.

But since the Bush administration, the hard right has been pushing for using small nuclear weapons against deeply buried targets – like Iranian nuclear plants – or guerilla groups.

A new, small tactical nuclear warhead, aka "Muslim-buster" – was evaluated and almost went into production before it was stopped by the US Congress.

Republicans are again beating the war drums over the supposed nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran. They accuse Obama of near treason for having even considered scrapping part or all of America's huge nuclear arsenal, as he once promised to do.

These low-IQ Republican scaremongers don't know, or don't care that North Korea has no long-ranged nuclear capability, or wants nukes for defense against possible US nuclear attack – and as a way of extorting funds from the US, Japan and South Korea. Or that Iran has no nuclear weapons as of now, and poses no threat to the distant US.

Retired US generals and admirals have repeatedly advocated junking all nuclear weapons, calling them ruinously expensive and of no military value.

The 1970 UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty mandated all signatories to quickly dismantle their nuclear weapons. The US, Britain, France, Russia, China are in treaty violation. Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, and India refused to sign and secretly built their own nuclear arsenals.

In the 1980's, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev made sweeping proposals for total nuclear disarmament, but President Ronald Reagan foolishly refused to scrap the US nuclear arsenal or his beloved Star Wars antimissile system. The Soviet military-industrial complex was no happier than its American counterpart to see nuclear arsenals dismantled.

"Peace president" Barack Obama has the chance to get rid of America's largely useless nukes, or at least reduce them to a dozen or so strategic missiles. But while Obama may slightly narrow nuclear doctrine, it appears America's increasingly potent national security complex and angry Republicans have pushed him into retaining and even expanding the nation's nuclear capability.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is promoting its new "Prompt Global Response" system: US-based missiles with conventional warheads that can rapidly strike anywhere on the planet.

When one of these missiles is fired at some Muslim malefactors in, say Pakistan or Afghanistan, one hopes Russia or China will not confuse it for a nuclear strike aimed at them.

In 1995, Russian air defenses mistook a Norwegian scientific missile for a US nuclear strike. Russian nuclear missiles came within minutes of being fired at North America. The Cold War was filled with such terrifying nuclear false alarms and close calls.

Global nuclear disarmament means intensive inspections of all nuclear-capable powers, including Brazil, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, both Koreas, and Taiwan as well as the nuclear great powers. Even Switzerland and Japan could produce nuclear weapons within 90 days.

President Obama should have led the way by sharply reducing, then scrapping America's nuclear arsenal. What thwarts this sensible policy is not verification, but political willpower and courage.

The only nation to ever use horrific nuclear weapons should take the lead in freeing humanity from their curse and setting an example for others.
March 9, 2010

Eric Margolis [send him mail] is contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media Canada. He is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

Copyright © 2010 Eric Margolis

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Iran begins cruise-missile production

Iran begins cruise-missile production
from The Washington Times stories: News by Nasser Karimi ASSOCIATED PRESS
TEHRAN -- Iran announced Sunday it has started a new production line of highly accurate short-range cruise missiles, which would add a new element to the country's already imposing arsenal. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran's defense minister, told Iranian state TV that the cruise missile, called Nasr 1, would be capable of destroying targets up to 3,000 tons in size. The minister said the missile can be fired from ground-based launchers as well as ships but eventually would be modified to be fired from helicopters and submarines. Western powers already are concerned about Iran's military capabilities, especially the implications of its ...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/07/iran-begins-cruise-missile-production/

Iran unveils first cruise missile before Ahmadinejad trip to Kabul from DEBKAfile

Iran unveils first cruise missile before Ahmadinejad trip to Kabul
from DEBKAfile

The short-range Nasr 1 (Victory 1) was claimed to be capable of destroying warships of up to 3,000 tons when launched from the ground or sea. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced a visit Monday, March 8, to Kabul, after a provocative statement calling 9/11 "a big fabrication" to justify the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.


http://www.debka.com/article/8635/

The $62M Pickens Project: Natural Gas Legislation by Memorial Day?

The $62M Pickens Project: Natural Gas Legislation by Memorial Day?
from SeekingAlpha.com: Home Page by Greentech Media
Greentech Media submits:

By Eric Wesoff

T. Boone Pickens, the Chairman of BP Capital Management, spoke at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics event on Thursday afternoon. The 81-year-old oilman and geologist is on a mission to get the U.S. off of OPEC oil and on to natural gas -- and he doesn't have a lot of time. He insists he doesn't have time for Research and Development. In his words, he doesn't "have ten years for R or ten years for D." Despite that claim, at his current level of feisty -- I have little doubt he'll live to 101.

Complete Story

http://seekingalpha.com/article/192284-the-62m-pickens-project-natural-gas-legislation-by-memorial-day?source=feed

AEP, FPL: U.S. Utilities Agree on Nukes, CCS and CO2

AEP, FPL: U.S. Utilities Agree on Nukes, CCS and CO2

from SeekingAlpha.com: Home Page by Greentech Media
Greentech Media submits:

The CEOs and Chairmen of two of the largest utilities in the United States were brought together on stage Friday morning in Southern California at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics event. Although there are large differences in where and how they source their respective fuels and feedstocks, when it comes to the subject of nuclear power, clean coal, carbon capture, carbon and government sloth -- they tended to be in violent agreement.

American Electric Power (AEP) gets about 80% of their electricity from coal while FPL gets only 4% of their energy from coal. FPL Group (FPL) is the biggest U.S. producer of wind power, operates in 27 states and generates about $16 billion in annual revenue.

Complete Story
http://seekingalpha.com/article/192286-aep-fpl-u-s-utilities-agree-on-nukes-ccs-and-co2?source=feed