On Ukraine, Russia, revolution, and nukes

Ukraine's six-unit Zaporizhia nuclear site, the largest in Europe and fifth largest in the world.

Ukraine’s six-unit Zaporizhia nuclear site, the largest in Europe and fifth largest in the world.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the Ukrainian crisis has been the failure of many, especially on the left, to understand the nature of the revolution that took place there over the winter that led to the literal departure of former President Victor Yanukovich from the country, established an interim–and rather weak–transitional government, and set the stage for new elections later this month.

It as if some on the left have become as reflexively dismissive of the Obama Administration as the Tea Party and simply reject whatever stand the Administration takes. In this case, however, the Administration has chosen the correct side. And that has led some on the left to parrot the worst of Putin’s propaganda machine, leading too many to believe that somehow fascists have taken over Ukraine and are trying to undermine the people of eastern Ukraine.

In fact, the opposite is the case. As we have pointed out in these pages, the Ukrainian revolution was led by people like us: anti-nukers and environmentalists generally played a major role in its success; so did other ordinary people fed up with the chronic corruption that has ruled Ukraine since its independence and that reached its peak under Yanukovich, who with his family and allies essentially looted the entire nation’s bank accounts.

Now you don’t have to take our word for it. In a sweeping article in the New Republic (not usually one of our favorite publications), Yale history professor Timothy Snyder takes a piercing look at the current situation in Ukraine while providing ample historical perspective.

Writes Snyder:

People who criticize only the Ukrainian right often fail to notice two very important things. The first is that the revolution in Ukraine came from the left. It was a mass movement of the kind Europeans and Americans now know only from the history books. Its enemy was an authoritarian kleptocrat, and its central program was social justice and the rule of law. It was initiated by a journalist of Afghan background, its first two mortal casualties were an Armenian and a Belarusian, and it was supported by the Muslim Crimean Tatar community as well as many Ukrainian Jews. A Jewish Red Army veteran was among those killed in the sniper massacre. Multiple Israel Defense Forces veterans fought for freedom in Ukraine.

Snyder also points out:

Of course, there is some basis for concern about the far right in Ukraine. Svoboda, which was Yanukovych’s house opposition, now holds three of 20 ministerial portfolios in the current government. This overstates its electoral support, which is down to about 2 percent. Some of the people who fought the police during the revolution, although by no means a majority, were from a new group called Right Sector, some of whose members are radical nationalists. Its presidential candidate is polling at below 1 percent, and the group itself has something like 300 members. There is support for the far right in Ukraine, although less than in most members of the European Union.

And adds:

This is the second thing that goes unnoticed: The authoritarian right in Russia is infinitely more dangerous than the authoritarian right in Ukraine. It is in power, for one thing. It has no meaningful rivals, for another. It does not have to accommodate itself to domestic elections or international expectations, for a third. And it is now pursuing a foreign policy that is based openly upon the ethnicization of the world. It does not matter who an individual is according to law or his own preferences: The fact that he speaks Russian makes him a Volksgenosse requiring Russian protection, which is to say invasion. The Russian parliament granted Putin the authority to invade the entirety of Ukraine and to transform its social and political structure, which is an extraordinarily radical goal. The Russian parliament also sent a missive to the Polish foreign ministry proposing a partition of Ukraine. On popular Russian television, Jews are blamed for the Holocaust; in the major newspaper Izvestiia, Hitler is rehabilitated as a reasonable statesman responding to unfair Western pressure; on May Day, Russian neo-Nazis march.

As we posted in these pages April 14, our NIRS/WISE colleague at Russia’s Ecodefense Vladimir Sliviak has been writing–at some personal peril we might add–on the quickly-changing nature of Russian society, especially efforts to quash civil society. Now Sliviak has expanded on his original post with an essay in The Lithuanian Tribune titled The “Russian Spring” and the politics of fear.

Writes Sliviak:

Since there is no freedom of press in Russia, we treat articles in main national newspapers as the point of view of authorities. One of main Russian newspapers – Izvestia – recently published an expert’s comment suggesting that Hitler was good politician before 1939 and the only problem was that he made many mistakes later.

You may wonder how it could be possible that Putin is criticizing Ukrainian authorities as ultra-right, almost fascists, at the same time [while an article like this is published]. I can tell you why. What is happening now in Russia is aimed to scare Russians, to make them afraid of protesting against government. To patriots, Putin is promoted as some sort of dictator who protects Russia’s national interests in confrontation with the West. This is almost war and there is no time for democracy, patriots must unite and help their Duce. To the opposition, Putin is portrayed as a very dangerous man, like Hitler, who will never stop. In both cases, the key word is “dictator” and key emotion is fear….

The atmosphere of fear is the goal of Putin. Russians must fear repression, Ukrainians must fear a war, Europeans must fear the supply of gas stopped, Americans must fear Russian nuclear weapons. Putin spreads the fear everywhere because he fears for himself. He is afraid of surrounding world, afraid that world will cheat him, degrade and leave in oblivion, unless he strikes in advance. He thought a lot of money and nuclear bomb will buy him respect and a seat at the world government forever. Somehow, it didn’t work. So he builds another Chinese Great Wall around Russia and spread as much fear as possible. Annexation of Crimea is just another act of this policy of fear.

Don’t be foolish, Putin is not savior for Russia or Slavic world. This is all just a mask and its propaganda rhetoric.

Driving force for Putin is the fear to lose everything, including money and influence. He was calm as long as there was no mass protest in Russia. This is not the case anymore. Around 50.000 protesters marched through Moscow demanding peace for Ukraine and saying to Putin “hands off”. Not afraid of repression. Putin bought the loyalty of patriots with a war against the country that historically was the closest in spirit to Russians. But for how long? Russian markets have paid hundreds of billions of Euro for this small war and will pay more. While Russian economy is too fragile to finance the world war. Patriotic war spirit will vanish away soon and Russia will finally face the consequences of economic fall.

It will be very hard time for Russian civil society. Many organizations will not survive, regardless of their status and resources. Civil groups are what Putin fears a lot, in his paranoid mind we are “foreign agents” who will help Americans to defeat him when Russia becomes weak. But what else could we expect from old KGB colonel? There is the thing that can help Russian civil society – international solidarity at the time of repression. This may help to save not only some civil organizations but even lives.

“Russian Spring” is the sign of weak Putin who cannot achieve economic and political stabilization in the country without war and wide-spread repression. And he may well be close to a fall.

None of this means that everything in Ukraine is moving ahead swimmingly, in any sector. Nor is there any guarantee that the May 25 elections will end the endemic corruption in the country–but it is probably the only means of making a serious attempt at doing so.

Today, our colleagues at BankWatch and Ukraine’s National Ecological Union issued a statement pointing out that the longstanding and ongoing lack of transparency by the Ukrainian government on nuclear power issues is at the same time threatening a 300 Billion Euro loan for necessary safety improvements of the country’s Soviet-era reactors from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and perhaps pushing EBRD to issue the loan anyway because of its dire need despite the lack of transparency in how it would be used. Wrote Bankwatch, “These project uncertainties come on top of the long-held contention by Ukrainian environment groups that this EBRD ‘safety’ loan will enable implementation of the country’s heavily-criticized long-term energy strategy that is dominated by nuclear and coal power….At the same time, some of the conditions attached to the safety loan (as set by the EBRD) are welcome ones – for example, the establishment of a national policy and framework for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management, and the setting up of an independent body to ensure sufficient funding for a decommissioning fund.”

In Ukraine, nothing is easy, especially progress. But at least there is some headway going on–if Russia does not succeed in its attempt to split the country apart and return to Putin’s dream of a new, far-right Soviet Union.

Michael Mariotte

May 14, 2014

Permalink:  https://safeenergy.org/2014/05/14/on-ukraine-russia-revolution-and-nukes/

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30 thoughts on “On Ukraine, Russia, revolution, and nukes

  1. Natasha

    Michael, thank you so much. It is the article I have been wanting to write, thinking about it for a long time, but could not have said it so eloquently.

    Reply
  2. Don Richardson

    We are getting a barrage of conflicting reports on Ukraine. Credible sources point to the US’s support of neo-Nazis. We rarely if ever support democratic governments. We like authoritarian regimes we can control. No wonder we are confused about world affairs; our own corporate media like it that way—they serve the imperialists. Don Richardson gaia@comporium.net Amerika! The coup d’etat was not televised. You didn’t notice?

    Reply
    1. Michael Mariotte Post author

      We are not the corporate media, there are no credible sources that point to support for neo-Nazis that barely even exist in Ukraine–certainly not in anywhere near the numbers, or popular support, that our own Tea Party has here.

      Reply
  3. Joanna Kirkpatrick

    Michael, You wrote : “…But at least there is some headway going on–if Russia does not succeed in its attempt to split the country apart and return to Putin’s dream of a new, far-right Soviet Union.”
    A longer view IMO is necessary. Russia, the USSR, again Russia was always a far-right nation. Centuries of oppression have characterized their political cultures. The world nuke industries suffered a big blow with the Chernobyl fiasco but nobody did anything about it–nuke was still THE Energy source ueber alles. Occasionally we heard that Germany, or Sweden, was closing their nukes down, while our “precious” ally, the UK, was busy building ever more of them and polluting the Irish Sea with the Sellafield installation. While the West was busy selling nuke to the world.
    Russia is Russia. Only the Russians can do anything about their problems, not us.

    The Ukrainian elite allowed Yancovich to get away with it all and probably participated. I hope that the US continues not to participate in this latest international political mess. We have meddled enough. We need to focus on our OWN country, for a change, before our deteriorating infrastructure and economy totally go down the tubes. This is not nationalism a la Putin, Hitler, or any other duce: it is common snese pragmatism that, for once, tells us to mend our own problems before we meddle in others’.

    Reply
    1. Michael Mariotte Post author

      The point I was trying to make was not about US involvement in Ukraine, it is about the failure of too many in the U.S. to recognize that the Ukrainian revolution was a popular one, led by the left–not by some group of fascists as Putin’s propaganda machine continues to falsely pour out. U.S. involvement in Ukraine is an entirely different issue and beyond the scope of anything I’ve written on the issue. Personally, I would like to see popular revolutions, aimed at increasing democracy, supported; but there are obviously many different possible levels of support. That’s a discussion for another time, and probably different venue.

      Reply
    2. miningawareness

      Reading this comment, I better understand your position and frustration and am sorry, so will overlook your sarcasm or insult in your reply below (I answer that separately). Obviously with your high level of education and inquiring mind, your frustration with the state of your country and of the world is greater still. Ukraine is not Russia and was only Russia for a short time in history, if you look. However, Alaska IS on the other side of Russia and used to belong to Russia, though I imagine most Americans wouldn’t notice or care if Putin took it. The issue in Ukraine was never US vs. Russia in Ukraine but rather Europe vs. Russia. And, Europe is very capable of monitoring its own borders, but if the US taxpayer will do it for them, why should they? Wealthy Danes whined about US fighter jets over the Baltic a few decades back, which were being flown by their own pilots to protect from the USSR. Now finally they have bought their own, thus saving America money and they can whine to themselves. However, everyone has let Putin go too far because they want to do business and BP and Shell still are. I answer the rest separately. Worrying about Putin rolling over Ukraine however is a whole different ball-game than the US and Europe rolling over a tin-pot dictator in Iraq, which I actively opposed. Take out a map and look at the distances between Europe and Ukraine. Look at Alaska and Russia too. If war in Ukraine causes another Chernobyl, it will be costly for the entire world.

      Reply
  4. miningawareness

    Thank you so much for your post. Thanks for bringing in an alternative view from in the field. I have been appalled by the fact that commentators who are critical of US and other western policies feel that they must embrace Putin and Russia. This is a sad and ridiculous state of affairs. What happened to people like C. Wright Mills who criticized the US and other Power Elites but had no tolerance for Stalinists either? Why would anyone believe that Putin has changed? If Putin was so great why do we still have the Rosatom menace? There is something particularly wrong about Rosatom and Areva who are both state owned and both willing and able to field military to protect their interests. RT news has been too effective and of course, western actions and lack of investigative reporters have opened themselves up. Doesn’t anyone wonder why RT changed its name from Russia Today to Ruptly? BBC has not changed its name. Nor has Voice of America. The USSR had a field day over US racism too. And, yet, former? Klansman David Duke found his greatest following in Russia. One can wonder as well if some of the pro-Putin bloggers are also paid by Moscow. One commentator embracing Putin and criticizing the west on Counter-Punch is a well-known Islamic extremist who was barred from entry to the US, though he has appeared on Swiss news. The sort of person who wants to force Sharia law upon Europe. Are you doing anything for the June 4 deadline re US EPA nuclear standards? This is critically important and dealing with the Putin menace has taken us away from it.

    Reply
    1. Joanna Kirkpatrick

      My reply to Michael made it very clear that I, for one, do not approve of what ANY of the parties in the Ukraine crisis are doing. The US media–especially TV–follow our leader, the Administration in DC. There are many citizens who agree with what I wrote and who are disgusted with the eternal meddling characteristic of US foreign policy,
      I hope this blog returns to nuke issues instead of straying toward the corruption-dominated Ukraine and Russia. NPR this morning had a good bit on everyday corruption in Ukraine, especially how people with HIV can’t get treatment–why? Bribes upon bribes.

      Reply
      1. Michael Mariotte Post author

        We follow this issue for many reasons, not least of which is that NIRS has strong ties to Ukraine; we have a NIRS/WISE office there and have worked extensively in the country for many years. We also have a NIRS/WISE office in Russia, which is strongly supportive of our position on Ukraine. How this situation evolves will affect not only our friends and colleagues, but the nuclear and energy future of Ukraine as well.

  5. miningawareness

    I apparently responded to Joanna Kirkpatrick by accident, which is why I returned. My response was meant for Mr. Mariotte. Thanks again to Michael Mariotte for your post and for letting us know what your colleagues, with whom you have worked for decades against nuclear, think about the situation. Also I need to point out for everyone that Ukraine’s corruption predates the current situation and that the former president who was removed by parliament was a former Soviet Communist Party member, making him a likely Putin buddy. Removal by parliament sounds like impeachment to me. Russia-BP are partnered as a petroleum consortium, which speaks volumes. Russian gov owned Rosatom says the rest.

    It is a very ethnocentric view to suppose that only the USA has national or imperial interests, as so many Americans do. Russia was an Empire under the Czar, Germany was an Empire, UK, Turkey (Ottoman), etc. were Empires. France invades Africa multiple times of late, apparently to defend Areva’s uranium mines and no one cares.

    Unfortunately, Ukraine matters all too much, from the nuclear viewpoint. I wish it didn’t. There is the Chernobyl sarcophagus at stake; there are many aging nuclear power plants, there is the risk of nuclear war, and Russia’s threats by tweet of bombing Romania don’t bring comfort. For those on the European continent it is way too close and especially for those who experienced the 1956 Russian invasion of Hungary which sounds remarkably like Ukraine today, for Poland, for Romania, etc. Considering that the USA bought Alaska from Russia, Americans need to realize that Russia is not so far away as they think.

    Russia appears the biggest pusher of nuclear everything today. I think they are exporting more nuclear power plants than anyone. They have their waste in temporary storage but offer to take the waste from elsewhere. Russia government owned Rosatom says: “Development of the nuclear industry is seen as a top national priority. It is perceived to be a key sector of the Russian economy, essential for national energy security.” They are or have constructed new nuclear plants Novovoronezh NPP-2, Leningrad NPP-2, Baltic NPP, and the world’s first floating Nuclear Power Plant, an additional fourth power unit at Beloyarsk NPP, and a new nuclear icebreaker flagship. ROSATOM, is now engaged in the construction of nuclear power plants in Kudankulam (India), Bushehr (Iran), Akkuyu (Turkey), Belarus and Tianwan (Jiangsu province, China). They have signed agreements to construct the Paks II in Hungary and probably elsewhere. They own huge uranium mines in the USA and in Australia through Uranium One. They are the only country floating nuclear icebreakers in the Arctic and building more, they even have floating nuclear reactors now. To all of this Rosatom menace everyone remains silent even though it is state-owned and controlled, i.e. Putin et. al.

    Reply
    1. Joanna Kirkpatrick

      Thanks for details on Russian nuke ownership and policies. I don’t see how Russia can be opposed on these because the US government is also every bit in favor of nuclear energy and promotion as is Russia. We in NIRS might be successful in doing something about our policies–but not Russia’s. What do you suggest? World War III?

      Reply
      1. Michael Mariotte Post author

        We’re an international organization; the Russians deal with Russia–and they’ve had quite a lot of success in blocking new reactors over the past decade. WWIII? Hardly…..that’s not the only option.

      2. miningawareness

        Where do you see the US exporting nuclear power plants? I haven’t found it. Former US Westinghouse is now Japanese Toshiba; GE is Hitachi. A Japanese nuclear power plant (Vogtle) in the US does not constitute US nuclear export. I see the Germans exporting their high and low level waste upon the US (and also upon Italy). I see Areva apparently bribing a Mississippi governor to build a reprocessing center-dump in Mississippi. It seems that America will sell their own grandmother for a dime if there are any buyers. In this context nothing is local. Rosatom is 100% Russian government owned and actively exporting nuclear power around the world, as are the Japanese business conglomerates Hitachi and Toshiba, as is French gov owned Areva. By a lay definition all of this is already unfair business practices, which should be in court. Areva and Rosatom are able to field armies to protect their interests. France has done so of late in Africa and no one says anything. Putin is doing more than any other single person to spread nuclear around the world both directly and now indirectly. Once again, no one discusses it. The US is not doing this but rather foisting a Japanese and French plant upon Americans, probably due to bribes both legal (campaign funding) and illegal. Third place for world exports is probably Areva-EDF 84% to 90% owned by the French gov. Toshiba and Hitachi are Japanese keiretsu conglomerates centered around banks. Rosatom and Areva get all of the government funding they want. If someone in France complains about Areva, the French gov fines them for defamation. Vogtle is Japanese Hitachi, albeit constructed by Shaw (who has funded Senator Mary Landrieu). The nuclear reprocessing plant was an Areva project. I do not see any US exporters and even if there were they could never have the power of state owned and funded corporations like Areva and Rosatom; nor the power of banking conglomerates like Hitachi and Toshiba. It is pretty obvious why Vogtle got the bailout – Mary Landrieu serves on both the Senate Energy committee and the appropriations committee. Look at her campaign funding. She is major funded by Shaw and Entergy. Components of Vogtle are made by Shaw in her state of Louisiana. Obama received close to half a million in funding from Exelon. However, I suspect that the Exelon-Entergy donations are to keep the old leaky nukes going another 30 years. It’s better economics for them. This legal bribery is bad enough, but silence on the bribery is worse. I guess silence comes from the fact that Obama is 95% bad and Republicans will be 120% bad for the environment.

        US corps that do need investigation by anti-nuclear groups are URS and Energy Solutions, dealing in nuclear waste. One or both are Mormon (I think Energy solutions)and the former CEO did a fund-raiser for Harry Reed who is also Mormon. It is obvious that the US Dems need to clean house or field alternative candidates. If the Republicans also field alternatives there will be a 4 way split and good candidates can come in. Energy Solutions and Areva are amongst those messing up at Fukushima but under the protection of Hitachi or Toshiba or both (I forget, sorry).

        Americans could complain about funding to Mary Landrieu and UK citizens could complain about their environmental minister’s (DECC), Ed Davey’s brother’s ties to EDF which is bringing new nuclear to the UK. But, no one’s doing it. Instead of bashing Congress(wo)men and a President funded by the nuclear industry; instead of wondering why state-owned corporations from other countries are running a mock in the US (Areva is even at the dumps – WIPP, Hanford, probably more); many Americans content themselves with blaming the US gov for Ukraine, whereas it was never a question of US vs. Russia but rather ties with Europe vs. Russia. And, ties with Europe for Ukraine would have been a good deal for Ukraine – less so for Europe, unless radioactive Ukrainian wheat is a good deal, though I guess a good deal for EU heating. The EU is actually a sort of interface between Russia and the US. Europe doesn’t invade and search the homes of those who criticize them like Russia does. If you are expected of Islamic extremism they might. Europe doles out lots of subsidies to their new members. There is the option to move from country to country for work, which is lacking to Americans, to Russians, to Ukrainians. Americans and British claim they are harassed and spied upon because their server crashes. It’s not kids whining but middle age people. Governments have always spied and sometimes harass but this is a world of away from poisoning dissidents as Haiti and Russia appear to do or from invading homes of bloggers who protest the government or throwing critics in jail and making bloggers register, as in Russia. This is why we are anonymous – we started out as critics of Haiti, and we know how Haiti treats its critics, it seeks them out even in foreign countries, as has apparently Russia. The Russia gov has watched our site from since when we took up for the Greenpeace captives. Which do you prefer? Government spying or spying and assassination. All governments spy and have since there was governments.

        Also, why does the Russian government own a US uranium mine and why is no one talking about it?

        I’m not suggesting World War III though I would suggest that it will be here if Putin is not properly sanctioned. It may well be inevitable. People have turned a blind eye for about 10 years to what Putin was because they wanted to do business. (I find it interesting that the Koch brothers were in Russia under Stalin and one of Bush’s cousins travelled all around Russia in the 1950s, too). What are you going to do if Putin wants Alaska back? Show your receipt of purchase? How will you stop him? Do you care? Russia has said that if they feel threatened by conventional war they will nuke their opponent. They will invade to protect Russian minorities anywhere. What if Germany wants to invade the US because 15% of Americans declare German ancestry? Putin’s Russia really looks strikingly like Hitler’s Germany, where Americans kept doing business and even praised Hitler until Pearl Harbour. Except it is Hitler with nuclear weapons. Swiss industry and banks stayed with Hitler to the end and past the end or he wouldn’t have lasted but a few months. They continue to trade Russia’s oil – the majority of it. BP continues to do business with Russia as do many of the same German companies who worked with Hitler. Maybe they don’t want to be poisoned by polonium, as Putin allegedly does to his enemies? The refusal by corporations in the US, Germany etc. and by Switzerland to impose trading and banking sanctions on Putin may well lead to World War III. Unless everyone is willing to be rolled over by him. Neither is good. Worse is the many Americans online dissing their own country while singing Putin’s praises which may egg him on to. Those same Putin praise singers are somewhat protected from Putin under a missile shield lacking to many in Europe. The head of the Russian defense industry threatened to come back to Romania in a bomber. This is serious! It is perfectly possible that the US can do bad things and Putin be worse. I think everyone recognizes that Hitler was worse than FDR don’t they? By taking Crimea Ukraine lost major solar plants to Russia. Those solar plants could have started Ukraine down a path away from nuclear – they could have that option as a non-nuclear weapons state. Under Russia Ukraine will have no options to go nuclear free. All of the problems of the Indian subcontinent, your area of interest, came from the UK, btw, not the USA. And, Russia’s elites and the UK elites were cousins. What to do? Well, purchase bottled water and canned food and say your prayers. If Putin stops where he’s at it will be because either he wanted to or because Switzerland and others threaten to sanction him more and rein him on in. And, get to work on the US EPA regulations re nuclear, rather than hanging out here. This is more time than I can spare to write, so I hope it’s enough. Not really more I can say. If not I will respond on June 5th, unless it’s short. If the regulations can’t keep you busy vent your frustrations on Obama. Ask him to do something good for his country for a change. He’s a lame duck, he could do something good. Pretty sad state when some Americans and British think that RT news is objective and prefer Putin. But, I don’t see the massive migration to Russia either. And, if you are anti-nuclear and anti-imperialist as you claim, you are preaching to the choir anyhow.

  6. Joanna Kirkpatrick

    My reply was to miningawareness, not to NIRS. ‘ma’ provided details on Russian nuke policies and promotions with the astounding revelation (to me) that, “They are the only country floating nuclear icebreakers in the Arctic and building more, they even have floating nuclear reactors now. To all of this Rosatom menace everyone remains silent even though it is state-owned and controlled, i.e. Putin et. al.”
    We can go on and on over other countries’ nuclear involvements, but I repeat, the only evidence that we are able to influence official nuke policies/programs so far is here in the USA today. I haven’t seen any evidence that NIRS/WISE has succeeded in influencing nuke policies outside the US, especially in Russia and Ukraine. If such evidence has been published, let’s see some links.

    Meanwhile, is there any evidence that the Fukushima fiasco has wised-up national policies outside the US. (It certainly hasn’t had any official effects here!)

    Reply
    1. Michael Mariotte Post author

      As we said earlier, Ecodefense in Russia (the NIRS/WISE network group there) has been quite successful in stopping new reactors there, most recently the Kaliningrad project. We (working with many other groups) also have had success in Ukraine, so far stopping proposed new reactors at the Rivne and Khelminitsky sites (popularly known as K2/R4).

      Reply
    2. Joanna Kirkpatrick

      1) Earlier you asked: “Where do you see the US exporting nuclear power plants?”
      How about Vietnam, for a start.
      2) ” insult in your reply below (I answer that separately). ”
      What reply below?
      The formatting on this blog doesn’t support your type of aggressive writing style.

      Reply
  7. miningawareness

    Correction re Areva- actually it is eighty-something percent French gov owned Areva which sued a tiny NGO-minimum wage French blogger for defamation because he questioned the ethics of Areva’s payments to the Niger gov (apparently for a presidential airplane) where Areva has a uranium mine. And, the French courts are supporting Areva. But it’s still essentially the French gov suing its own citizen who questions its policies. This makes clear the warnings we have heard of the risks of everything being state-owned. Meanwhile, Areva demands that its suppliers give them products at cost or less, using the fact that they are state-owned as an excuse. Yet, they still always are late with huge cost overruns at their sites, in the US, in Finland, in France. They are involved in the failed water clean-up at Fukushima. Areva is hugely in debt. This shows the outrageous costs of nuclear and suggests possible widespread theft and/or bribery. Rosatom is clearly the same or worse. Areva AND Rosatom are active corporations in the US!

    Reply
      1. Michael Mariotte Post author

        Nope, we don’t have offices there; but both countries have large, active anti-nuclear movements and we’re in frequent contact with groups in both nations.

    1. Joanna Kirkpatrick

      Speaking of facts: http://www.thanhniennews.com/politics/obama-approves-civilian-nuke-pact-with-vietnam-24207.html .
      “Obama approves civilian nuke pact with Vietnam,
      February 26, 2014
      US President Barack Obama approved a civilian nuclear pact with Vietnam Monday that could lead to the sale of US reactors to the energy-hungry country, AFP reported.
      The US Congress has 90 days to review the pact. If there is no contravening, it will then come into force.
      Under the accord, Vietnam committed not to produce radioactive ingredients for nuclear weapons and signed up to “US nonproliferation standards.”
      Vietnam agreed not to enrich or reprocess uranium, key steps in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, in the deal signed on the sidelines of an East Asia summit in Brunei in October.
      It also pledged to seek components for its fuel cycle on the open, international market.
      The country is pursuing nuclear energy in order to deal with its present shortage of energy, aiming to meet over 10 percent of national power demand by 2030.
      Vietnam’s nuclear power market is estimated to rank second in Southeast Asia, after only China, with an estimated turnover of US$50 billion in the next two decades.

      Reply
      1. Michael Mariotte Post author

        While technically the pact would allow Westinghouse to compete for a new reactor in Vietnam (GE isn’t competitive at all/and Westinghouse is actually a Japanese company owned by Toshiba in any case), the pact is mainly to allow the sale of U.S.-origin reactor fuel to Vietnam, in the highly unlikely event it actually ever gets a reactor built and operating….

      2. Michael Mariotte Post author

        Because new nuclear is simply too expensive everywhere, especially for a small country like Vietnam. At this point, the only countries likely to see any meaningful increase in new reactors are China and perhaps India (and in China, the nuclear additions will be dwarfed by its renewable additions, but more on that in tomorrow’s GreenWorld….).

      3. Joanna Kirkpatrick

        That being the case, why is the US officially still pushing nuke? last I heard/read the US was also officially about to get involved building reactors with the Saudi government?

      4. Michael Mariotte Post author

        I talked in an earlier comment about the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy, so won’t repeat that here. The Administration also supports U.S. nuclear companies in their efforts to build reactors overseas (which means GE and Westinghouse, even though Westinghouse Nuclear is actually owned by Toshiba). But the reality is that five years ago, there were license applications or plans for 30+ new reactors in the U.S.; that has dwindled to four. Worldwide the situation is similar; only in countries where the government is paying the costs does nuclear have any future at all, and in smaller countries where the government can’t pay the cost, they will either go deep into debt or give up on their nuclear ideas.

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