Radioactive material said stolen from Egypt plant

January 19, 2012

( h/t @ChallahHuAkbar) CAIRO Jan 19 – Radioactive material has been stolen from a nuclear power station on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast that was the site of violent protests last week, state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday.

A safe containing radioactive material at the Dabaa nuclear power plant was seized while another safe containing radioactive material was broken open and part of its contents taken, the newspaper said.

The government has alerted security authorities and asked that specialised teams help in the search for the stolen material, al-Ahram reported.

More than a dozen people were wounded last week when military police tried to disperse hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding the relocation of the Dabaa plant, which is still under construction.

Plant staff have refused to go to the site because of the deterioration in the security situation there, al-Ahram said.

About 500 Egyptians rallied in front of the plant last week to demand that the project be terminated, with some saying they had lost their land on the plant’s site.

Soldiers and the protesters hurled stones at each other and exchanged gunfire after the protesters demolished a wall surrounding the site, a security source and witnesses said. (Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

uh oh


US, Russia work to expand cyberspace cooperation #JIDF #JPost

December 10, 2011
Media_http1bpblogspot_lphqg( via H/T @TheJewess) – Russia and the United States are planning a regular exchange on “technical threats” that appear to come from computers in each other’s territories, a White House spokeswoman said on Friday, even as bilateral ties have come under growing strains.

A range of mechanisms aimed at confidence building and crisis prevention are being planned to cope with alarming events in cyberspace, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
These include “regular exchanges on technical threats that appear to emanate from one another’s territory” as well as “no-fail communications mechanisms to help prevent crisis escalation and build confidence,” she said in an emailed reply to a query.
Some such links have existed for years, including the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, but others are “cyber-specific and would begin working with Moscow for the first time,” Hayden said, without giving a projected start date.
A representative of the Russian Embassy in Washington did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Vice President Joe Biden said last month the United States was working with Moscow to link computer emergency response teams and the nuclear risk reduction centres and setting up lines of communication in case of “an alarming incident.”
“It’s a great deal harder to assess another nation’s cyber-capabilities than to count their tanks,” he told the London Conference on Cyberspace on November 1 by videocast.
Howard Schmidt, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, said in a July 12 blog that the United States and Russia planned to have three types of cybersecurity-related cooperative mechanisms in place by the end of this month, including special “24/7” communications links.
Hayden, the spokeswoman, declined to spell out the status of the talks with Russia, referring only to “ongoing diplomatic discussions.” No such links were being announced for now with China or any other country, she said.
Strains between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s disputed parliamentary elections are threatening U.S. President Barack Obama’s “reset” policy, and the two countries remain at odds over NATO missile defence plans in Europe.
In another sore point, a U.S. intelligence report to Congress in October said Russia’s intelligence services “are conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from U.S. targets.”
“We judge that the governments of China and Russia will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace,” the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, a U.S. intelligence arm, said.
Schmidt, in his blog, did not speak of any attempt to reduce the risk of spying but rather of heading off threats to both sides such as “botnets,” a collection of computers that can be used to swamp a web site with incoming traffic or other malicious action.
Another goal, he said at the time, was to better understand each other’s military view on operating in cyberspace.
“It’s a prime example of the ‘reset’ in relations taking on a new and important dimension,” Schmidt wrote then.
(With additional reporting by Diane Bartz)
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; editing by Todd Eastham)

Bill Gates developing nuclear reactor with China

December 8, 2011

( BEIJING (AP) — Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates says he is in discussions with China to jointly develop a new kind of nuclear reactor.
During a talk at China’s Ministry of Science & Technology Wednesday, the billionaire said: “The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste.”
Gates backs Washington-based TerraPower, which is developing a nuclear reactor that can run on depleted uranium.
He says TerraPower is having “very good discussions” with state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation.
Gates says perhaps as much as a billion dollars will be put into research and development over the next five years.

Nuclear Power running like a Microsoft product doesn’t sound like a great idea considering present current events in Asia.

Human shields surround Iranian nuke plant

November 18, 2011

(EOZ) Hundreds of students on Tuesday formed a human chain around the uranium conversion plant in central Iran, in a demonstration staged by students to show that Iranians were ready to sacrifice their lives if the nuclear sites were attacked by Israel.

After holding a noon prayer session in front of the plant’s main gate, students from Isfahan universities shouted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” They vowed to resist in the event of an attack.

There is a small body of literature on the legal status of voluntary human shields. If they are protecting an unquestioned military installation or target, according to most (except HRW) they forfeit their status as civilians and become considered combatants under international law. If they are shielding a dual-use facility, which would include nuclear research and nuclear material refining, it appears that they would maintain their status as civilians.

Global Energy Use to Jump 53%

September 20, 2011

Global energy use is expected to jump 53% by 2035, largely driven by strong demand from places like India and China, according to a report Monday.
Combined, developing nations currently use slightly more energy than those in the developed world, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration. By 2035, they are expected to use double.
“Concerns about fiscal sustainability and financial turbulence suggest that economic recovery in the [developed] countries will not be accompanied by the higher growth rates associated with past recoveries,” the report said. “In contrast, growth remains high in many emerging economies, in part driven by strong capital inflows and high commodity prices.”
The 53% rise is slightly more than the 49% increase the agency predicted in last year’s report.
Accompanying the surge in energy use is a correspondingly large jump in greenhouse gas emissions. EIA sees energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rising 43% by 2035.
The projections, in the agency’s 2011 International Energy Outlook, are based on current policies. They could change substantially if countries like the United States and China passed stronger laws restricting carbon dioxide emissions.
Higher or lower energy price projections can also influence the report’s findings.
EIA assumed slightly lower oil prices in calculating this year’s report. The agency predicts oil prices to reach $108 per barrel in 2020 and $125 per barrel in 2035.
Last year EIA thought oil would be at $133 a barrel by 2035. EIA’s numbers do not include price increases attributed to the normal rise in inflation.
Fossil fuels will continue to be the dominant fuel choice in 2035, the agency predicts, with renewables constituting just 14% to the world’s overall energy consumption.
But that’s a substantial jump from renewable energy consumption in 2008, which stood at 10%. That growth rate makes renewables the fastest growing of all the energy sources, the report said.
The agency noted that most future renewable energy supply will continue to come from wind and hydropower. It did not include biofuels like ethanol as part of its renewable catalog, instead lumping it in with liquid fuels like oil.
EIA does not expect solar power to become a significant energy source by 2035. That runs counter to the opinion of solar power supporters who foresee rapidly declining prices for solar panels in the coming years.
The agency predicts nuclear power will go from about 5% of overall energy consumption in 2008 to about 7% in 2035. The vast majority of new nuclear plants are expected to be built in China. EIA did not factor in how last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan might impact nuclear power plant construction.
Natural gas continues to make up nearly a quarter of the world’s energy consumption, driven by increasing development of shale gas.
EIA projections for natural gas use by 2035 are 8% higher in this year’s report compared to last year’s, largely due to shale gas development.
Natural gas from shale, which is found in a different type of rock than most previous natural gas developments, has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to new drilling and extracting technology.
The technology involves cracking the shale rock with pressurized, water, sand and chemicals — a process knows as hydraulic fracturing, for “fracking” for short.
But the process has many people concerned over its effects on the groundwater, and shale gas development has been put on hold or stopped in some locations.
Despite the concerns, EIA predicts shale gas and other unconventional forms of natural gas will make up three quarters of U.S. natural gas production by 2035, up from about half today. Similar patterns are expected in China and Canada.
{CNN Money/ }

Obama Pushing Nuclear Pact With Saudi Arabia

August 2, 2011

The US plans to hold what State Department officials are calling “exploratory talks” in Riyadh this week to gauge Saudi objectives behind their interest in a civilian nuclear deal. The US also wants to explore whether the Saudi government would accept restrictions to ensure its nuclear fuel is used purely for civilian purposes, according to congressional sources. via

this is actually a policy of Obama’s I endorse… though I would probably be a harder negotiator for keeping the control. The Saudis will be nuclear with or without the U.S.. Should the U.S be a supervisor… if it is possible (perhaps not… but it is worth a try)… then I would say this is the best policy.

IAEA worried over Iran plans to triple uranium production. UN nuclear chief Amano to meet Iranian FM Salehi, says "further cooperation is needed to restore confidence of int’l community."

July 7, 2011
Iran announced last month it would shift its production of higher-grade uranium to an underground bunker and triple output capacity in a defiant move that further fueled Western unease about Tehran’s intentions.
The UN nuclear chief said on Wednesday that he planned to meet with Iran’s foreign minister next week and that he was “quite concerned” over plans by Tehran to triple uranium production capacity.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told Reuters in the Colombian capital, Bogota, that he planned to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi next week, but had no firm details.