Ukraine in full-blown collapse; nuclear reactors at extreme risk

And so the nightmare scenario for the Ukraine is a simple one. Temperature drops below freezing and stays there for a couple of weeks. Coal and natural gas supplies run down; thermal power plants shut down; the electric grid fails; circulator pumps at the 19 nuclear reactors (which, by the way, probably haven’t been overhauled as recently as they should have been) stop pumping; meltdown!
—–
 The U.S. leaves a ticking time bomb on the doorstep of Russia, and of course, Belarus, Poland, and all the surrounding countries. Is the milk from dairy farms in North Wales safe yet to drink post-Chernobyl? 
This is a dangerous game and a trap rigged for Russia. If Russia intervenes, the U.S. and the West will cry “Russian aggression” and attack. Yet Germany, one of the U.S.’s closest allies, has so much to lose, such a wealthy country that is unplugging from nuclear, yet has Ukraine just a hair breadth away.
Wake up, Poland! The anti-Russia slander shows only how bereft of sanity some Poles are. Your future hangs in the balance, and your well-paid officials will flee to their faraway lairs if nuclear disaster erupts. 
But where can one flee on this small Earth from nuclear fallout? And if all 19 reactors go….? What then?
Your “allies”, the U.S. and Canada, are broad oceans away. This is part of the “away game.” They leave others and even their own soldiers (who they repeatedly abandon) to be at Ground Zero, while they plot from a distance. Who is their next domino?
———————-
Global Research, December 27, 2016
ClubOrlov 22 December 2016

With all the action in Syria, the Ukraine is no longer a subject for discussion in the West. In Russia, where the Ukraine is still a major problem looming on the horizon, and where some 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees are settling in, with no intentions of going back to what’s left of the Ukraine, it is still actively discussed. But for the US, and for the EU, it is now yet another major foreign policy embarrassment, and the less said about it the better.

In the meantime, the Ukraine is in full-blown collapse—all five glorious stages of it—setting the stage for a Ukrainian Nightmare Before Christmas, or shortly after.

Phase 1. Financially, the Ukrainian government is in sovereign default as of a couple of days ago. The IMF was forced to break its own rules in order to keep it on life support even though it is clearly a deadbeat. In the process, the IMF stiffed Russia, which happens to be one of its major shareholders; what gives?

Phase 2. Industry and commerce are approaching a standstill and the country is rapidly deindustrializing. Formerly, most of the trade was with Russia; this is now over. The Ukraine does not make anything that the EU might want, except maybe prostitutes. Recently, the Ukraine has been selling off its dirt. This is illegal, but, given what’s been happening there, the term “illegal” has become the stuff of comedy.

Phase 3. Politically, the Ukrainian government is a total farce. Much of it has been turned over to fly-by-night foreigners, such as the former Georgian president Saakashvili, who is a wanted criminal in his own country, which has recently stripped him of his citizenship. The parliament is stocked with criminals who bought their seat to gain immunity from prosecution, and who spend their time brawling with each other. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was recently hauled off the podium by his crotch; how dignified is that? He seemed unfazed. Where are his testicles? Perhaps Victoria Nuland over at the US State Dept. is keeping them in a jar. This sort of action may be fun to watch on Youtube, but the reality is quite sad: those who “run” the Ukraine (if the term still applies) are only interested in one thing: stealing whatever is left.

Phase 4. Ukrainian society (if the term still applies) has been split into a number of warring factions. This was, to some extent, inevitable. What happens if you take bits of Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia, and stick them together willy-nilly? Well, results may vary; but if you also spend $5 billion US (as the Americans did) turning the Ukrainians against Russia (and, since they are mostly Russian, against themselves), then you get a complete disaster.

Phase 5. Cultural collapse is quite advanced. The Ukraine once had the same world-class educational system as Russia, but since independence they switched to teaching in Ukrainian (a made-up language) using nonexistent textbooks. The kids have been taught a bogus history hallucinated by rabid Ukrainian nationalists. They’ve been told that Russia is backward and keeping them back, and that they deserve to be happy in the EU. (Just like the Greeks? Yeah…) But now the population has been reduced to levels of poverty not commonly seen outside of Africa, and young people are fleeing, or turning to gangsterism and prostitution, to merely survive. This doesn’t make for a happy cultural narrative. What does it mean to be “a Ukrainian” now? Expletives deleted. Sorry I asked.

Now, here’s what it all really means. With so much going wrong, the Ukraine has been unable to secure enough natural gas or coal supplies to provide a supply cushion in case of a cold snap this winter. A few weeks of frosty weather will deplete the supply, and then pipes will freeze, rendering much of the urban areas unlivable from then on (because, recall, there is no longer any money, or any industry to speak of, to repair the damage). That seems bad enough, but we aren’t quite there yet.

You see, the Ukraine produces over half of its electricity using nuclear power plants. 19 nuclear reactors are in operation, with 2 more supposedly under construction. And this is in a country whose economy is in free-fall and is set to approach that of Mali or Burundi! The nuclear fuel for these reactors was being supplied by Russia. An effort to replace the Russian supplier with Westinghouse failed because of quality issues leading to an accident. What is a bankrupt Ukraine, which just stiffed Russia on billions of sovereign debt, going to do when the time comes to refuel those 19 reactors? Good question!

But an even better question is, Will they even make it that far? You see, it has become known that these nuclear installations have been skimping on preventive maintenance, due to lack of funds. Now, you are probably already aware of this, but let me spell it out just in case: a nuclear reactor is not one of those things that you run until it breaks, and then call a mechanic once it does. It’s not a “if it ain’t broke, I can’t fix it” sort of scenario. It’s more of a “you missed a tune-up so I ain’t going near it” scenario. And the way to keep it from breaking is to replace all the bits that are listed on the replacement schedule no later than the dates indicated on that schedule. It’s either that or the thing goes “Ka-boom!” and everyone’s hair falls out.

How close is Ukraine to a major nuclear accident? Well, it turns out, very close: just recently one was narrowly avoided when some Ukro-Nazis blew up electric transmission lines supplying Crimea, triggering a blackout that lasted many days. The Russians scrambled and ran a transmission line from the Russian mainland, so now Crimea is lit up again. But while that was happening, the Southern Ukrainian, with its 4 energy blocks, lost its connection to the grid, and it was only the very swift, expert actions taken by the staff there that averted a nuclear accident.

I hope that you know this already, but, just in case, let me spell it out again. One of the worst things that can happen to a nuclear reactor is loss of electricity supply. Yes, nuclear power stations make electricity—some of the time—but they must be supplied with electricity all the time to avoid a meltdown. This is what happened at Fukushima Daiichi, which dusted the ground with radionuclides as far as Tokyo and is still leaking radioactive juice into the Pacific.

And so the nightmare scenario for the Ukraine is a simple one. Temperature drops below freezing and stays there for a couple of weeks. Coal and natural gas supplies run down; thermal power plants shut down; the electric grid fails; circulator pumps at the 19 nuclear reactors (which, by the way, probably haven’t been overhauled as recently as they should have been) stop pumping; meltdown!

If this winter stays very, very warm, then the “19 Fukushimas” scenario just may be averted. This is not impossible: we’ve been seeing one freakishly warm winter after another, and each passing month is setting new records. The future is looking hot—as in very warm. Let us pray that it doesn’t also turn out to be hot—as in radioactive.

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What the West unleashed — possible nuclear blackmail from Ukraine against Europe, Russia, and U.S.

From Fort Russ

Zhuravko: Islyamov Could Engage in Nuclear Terrorism for the Sake of Blackmailing Russia

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

27th June, 2016

antifashist

The situation in Ukraine continues to be alarming, and, unfortunately, does not create hope and optimism. The state under the control of the coup is rapidly approaching collapse on all fronts. In this sense, unfortunately, the threat is not only to the State of the country or the welfare of its inhabitants, but also the lives of millions of people, and not only in Ukraine. The Kiev government largely does not control the situation in Ukraine, does not control its own militants, and cannot prevent many emergencies, among which the safety of Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant has special status.

This was discussed on the TV programme “Special Status” on the TV channel “Zvezda”, which the Ukrainian opposition politician Alexei Zhuravko participated in.

“I am receiving disturbing information from Ukraine almost every day. The threat of a terrible collapse and many deaths exists. We mustn’t joke on the topic of nuclear plants. In addition, experts seak about one other threat: it is Islyamov, it is “Azov” militants, fighters of “Dnepr”. And no one knows where the gun will turn. The worst thing is that the safety of nuclear power plants, which was ensured by the State, internal security, no longer exists. That is, there is no protection, there are no guns that were defending the stations before, all was stolen, money for major repairs of the stations was looted, very little resources were allocated. In Zaporozhye, according to my real information, there was already a shutdown of this station, and it is linked with experiments. (I still have connections, I used to work with “Energoatom”) In this situation, we need to unite, to connect media, to reach out to the Ukrainians, otherwise there will be a disaster,” he said.

Zhuravko doesn’t exclude that the fugitive Crimean Tatar terrorist Lenor Islyamov and his fighters, who have repeatedly threatened Russia with terrorist attacks, can bring his threats to life. Among those may be the explosion of nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants.

“It is simple. If some fool will get guns and mortars, after that it can explode. It’s scary! If today Islyamov wants to blackmail Russia, he has everything to do it. He can order the militants to close the stations and just to install terror. Nuclear terror. Because in Ukraine, the President does not control the country! And this process must be controlled by specialists,” said the politician.

“I ring all the bells around and I hope god will forbid those bastards from entering into nuclear power plant and chemical plant, and it’s just hard to imagine what the consequences and human toll would be,” adds Zhuravko.

“If today Russia will not interpose, we will have such a blast that it will not look like something small. And it will be Belarus, Russia, Europe, and other countries that will suffer the most! It is necessary to “rear up” Europe… it is necessary to inform Ukrainians, it is necessary to show and to tell the truth on this matter. And to prove to people that they need to rise because a catastrophe will whip up, and humanity will be no more. Think about it for the time being it’s not too late,” warns the politician.

At this time, in the South of Ukraine, armed militants that are massively deployed in the region, continue criminal terror. According to Zhuravko, robbery of the population gains the scope of this disaster.

“Kherson region. 50 people armed to the teeth took away the farmer’s tractor, covers, chemicals, and seed material to the amount of twelve million hryvnias.

Mykolaiv region, Bashtansky district, 25th June 2016, 40 people armed with machine guns and other machetes seized the entire crop from this year.

According to available information, in Ukraine, on the black market and near the area of the ATO, you can buy any kind of weapons, machine guns, grenades, machine guns, explosives, anti-tank mines, and more.

Private territorial battalions in Ukraine are growing like mushrooms after rain. The example of Isylamov’s battalions and their ISIS-isation of the Kherson region is already enough of a problem.

The President does not control the situation in Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine is not fighting against private territorial battalions with radical ideas, and are not fighting terrorism,” writes the ex-MP on a social network.

Alexei Zhuravko’s data was unexpectedly confirmed by the famous Ukrainian militant, leader of “Brotherhood” Dmitry Korchinskiy. Battalions under the leadership of businessman Lenur Islyamov, formed on the border with Crimea in Kherson region, are engaged in robbery, he said to the TV channel “112 Ukraine”.

“They have already proclaimed the necessity of national autonomy of the Crimean Tatars, without asking the Ukrainian people. Crimean Tatars, even in the times of Geray (dynasty of Kahn in the 15th Century – O.R), were not a majority in Crimea. And today they say that Crimea should be a national autonomy of Crimean Tatars!

Today in two districts in Kherson region… Tatars under the command of Lenur Islyamov, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the occupational government of Crimea, already have military formations that are very well armed, and are also engaged in robbery and all sorts of boorishness,” said Korchinskiy.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/06/zhuravko-islyamov-could-engage-in.html

Article on nuclear power in Ukraine:

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/Ukraine/

Europeans now have one choice: recognize Crimea or live without heating

Frightening statistics: 

more than 50 million people in the European Union are forced to choose between buying food and paying electricity bills…Bulgarians find themselves in the most critical such situation, where such a choice haunts 40% of the population. In such a civilized country as the United Kingdom, moreover, according to “Home and Renting” magazine, 2,700 people die every year from hypothermia, as heating homes with electricity is too expensive.

From Fort Russ

May 4, 2016 –
Boris Stepnov, PolitRussia – 
Translated by J. Arnoldski
 
 
 
As is well known, the contract on the transit of natural gas through Ukraine ends in 2019 and alternative supply routes to Europe are required to be built before this time. During recent discussions at the European Parliament, delegates from the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and Naftogaz called the “Nord Stream-2” a “gas-killer” and appealed to the mercy of Europeans.
Just the other day during the Central European Gas Forum in Bratislava, “Gazprom Exports” advisor Andrey Konoplyanik mentioned the possibility of resuming the “South Stream” project in a new version based out of Crimea. He stated: “Russia has the right to seek a route for gas exports with the lowest risk for the fulfillments of agreements.”
Such statements are far from groundless, and there is a serious probability that South Stream will be revived. Meanwhile, Nord Stream and its extension is all well and good, but guaranteeing an alternative and, most importantly, a reliable path for deliveries would be well advised. Therefore, according to Konoplyanik, Russia is developing routes which can bypass Ukraine and avoid Turkey’s participation. 
Moreover, it has been reported that the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, even hinted at the unofficial continuation of work on the project. 
Poor Bulgaria is being shoved around here and there. In December, Borisov pointed to the reason for the cancellation of the project as being Brussel’s orders. Borisov stated: “Today the Russian President confirmed the understand that the halt to the South Stream project has occurred not because Bulgaria is against Russia, but because, as a loyal member of the EU, Bulgaria must fulfill all demands [of the European Commission], comply with the sanctions regime, and fulfill provisions for a third energy packet and other requirements related to gas projects.” 
 
 
In January 2016, the news appeared that the South Stream project would be revived, but in February the Bulgarian Parliament once again, finally rejected the idea of the gas pipeline.
Why is Bulgaria so feverish? Or, more precisely, why is Brussels hampering its will? Or even more precisely: Why is Washington so nervous? 
Russia firmly intends to supply gas to Europe and, moreover, intends to strengthen its position in the energy market, something that the US  is not too comfortable with. In order to undermine the position of our country, at the very onset the US yanked Bulgaria into rejecting the South Stream, and then Turkey into rejecting the Turkish Stream. The US even began shipping its own liquified natural gas to Europe, something that our domestic experts even dared to call a “gas attack.”
But Nord Stream-2 has still managed to get off the launch pad since Germany still considers itself strong enough to have its own opinion despite Merkel’s apparent obedience to Washington. And, of course, it is clear that Germany is very aware of the benefits of the pipeline – it’s not a bad idea to be at the center of the distribution of Russian gas to the rest of Europe. 
Washington, in turn, is perfectly aware that such a course would significantly strengthen the position of Germany in Europe, and that then Berlin would become even less bendable to its will. Against this background, a few [US] tankers carrying liquified gas or shale gas pale in comparison [to the prospects of Russian gas]. Even more so if the South Stream is added to all of this.
At the same time, as the studies of “Energy Insight” show, more than 50 million people in the European Union are forced to choose between buying food and paying electricity bills. Impressive, is it not? Bulgarians find themselves in the most critical such situation, where such a choice haunts 40% of the population. In such a civilized country as the United Kingdom, moreover, according to “Home and Renting” magazine, 2,700 people die every year from hypothermia, as heating homes with electricity is too expensive. And, mind you, this is not Soviet central heating…
Germany is additionally motivated to obtain Russian gas because of the Green Party’s (with Merkel’s support) imposition of the necessity of destroying nuclear power plants. The result is the following:
“Germany is planning to abandon nuclear and conventional energy. This is a utopian plan that will never work. 85% of the population still support this idea, but this will change once it becomes clear just how much energy will actually start to cost. The laws of economics and physics are apparently being thrown out the window with this…Despite the fact that solar and wind generators are being actively constructed in Germany, they provide on average less than 3% of the energy consumed, and guarantee a minimum generation of only .4%…In order to reach 3% of the guaranteed energy generation and abandon Germany’s three nuclear power plants, the Germans will need the same amount of funds for which 85 new nuclear power plants could be built.”
The absurdity of such a path is clear, but Sweden is also phasing out nuclear power under “green” pressure. Alternative energy using renewable resources has become quite fashionable in today’s Europe even though it has a fairly narrow niche – using such energy is only logical in a specific climate and under particular conditions. In Germany, in the conditions of the Old World, “green” energy is doomed to fail.
Back in 2014, President Jerome Ferrier of the International Gas Union openly assessed the situation in the following way: 
“In the current situation of tension between Russia and Ukraine, some activists are trying to convince us that Europe can get along without Russian gas by seeking other supplies. This is a completely false conviction.” 
Although news is spreading of the possible resumption of negotiations on the South Stream project, there is yet another interesting point. Not a single European country officially recognizes Crimea as Russian.
As they say, however, hunger is not an aunt, especially not energy-related hunger. Europe and especially Bulgaria’s needs for gas could ultimately overcome all political factors. In fact, the carrot has already been hung in front of Bulgaria’s nose: if you want gas, then recognize Crimea. 
We will find out later what the final decision will be. In the meanwhile, Russia is already very successfully probing the soil. 

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/europeans-now-have-one-choice-recognize.html

The US and EU owe Iran over $100 billion in seized assets – the real reason behind stalled negotiations?

Global Research, July 02, 2015

Another deadline in the nuclear negotiation between Iran and the Permanent 5 +1 (or EU3 + 3) over the restrictions on the Iranian nuclear energy program was not reached on June 30, 2015. To some it may look like the United States and its allies have had a change of heart while others may think that Washington and its allies are trying to secure more concessions from the Iranians. The US and its European Union allies, however, are clearly trying to maintain the sanctions and trying to avoid returning Iranian financial assets and funds that they have withheld due to the sanctions regime against Iran. Could this be because Iran’s frozen financial assets and funds have been illegally channeled elsewhere by the US and the EU?

The Stonewalling of a Nuclear Agreement

Since the Lausanne Agreement was reached in Switzerland, the US team negotiating with Iran has, so to speak, changed the goal posts for the nuclear negotiations. In other words, Washington has ignored the framework of the Lausanne Agreement that it made with Iran on April 2, 2015. Instead US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama Administration have asked for new concessions from the Iranians on things that an understanding was already reached about. These demands appear to be excuses or pretexts.

During the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran a good and bad cop strategy has clearly been used by the US and France where either Washington has or Paris has stonewalled the negotiations. Even the split between the US Congress and the Obama Administration could be part of this two-track approach. Is the Republican Party faction in the US genuinely acting as a spoiler or does some level of establishment cooperation exist between it and the Obama Administration?

Are parallel foreign policies at work or not in the US? While the Obama Administration is engaged in a dialogue with Iran to get as much concessions from it as possible on its nuclear energy program, pressure is being exerted by the US Congress and the Republican Party, which are threatening to disrupt the nuclear negotiations and keep the sanctions regime against Iran. Regardless of what their strategy is or strategies are, the saber rattling definitely helps give an edge to the US negotiating team.

Obama Threatens to Walk Out While Sending Secret Messages

On the eve of the June 30 deadline, when the US Department of State confirmed that the negotiations with Tehran were being extended for another week, US President Barack Obama made the threat of “walking away” from the negotiating table with Iran on June 29. “I will walk away from the negotiations if in fact it’s a bad deal,” Obama told reporters during a press conference with his visiting Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff.

As a response to the fog of war that has deliberate been created around the nuclear negotiations, on the same day that Obama threatened to “walk away” from the negotiations, the Iranian parliamentarian Mehrdad Bazrpash told Fars News Agency that the US leader had sent Iran another secret letter. The letter is believed to have been delivered to the Iranian side by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi sometime during his visit to Tehran either on June 17 or 18, 2015. MP Bazrpash took the opportunity to point out that the contents of Obama’s letter where very different from the public position of Washington. The point is that Washington’s private messages to Iran are very different from what the Obama Administration is saying in public and that Washington’s public threats are meant to create the impression that it is negotiating from a position of strength.

In reality, it is the US that needs a nuclear deal with Iran. In the first place, the US only began negotiations with Iran when it saw that it had no means left to pressure Tehran. A war with Iran is too dangerous and unpredictable for the US. Moreover, it was becoming increasingly clear that the sanctions were going to crumble as the Chinese, Russians, and others began to show signs that they would normalize trade with Iran even if a nuclear agreement was not reached.

Washington needs a deal with Iran to deactivate tensions with Tehran. Deactivating or freezing tensions with Iran are important for Washington, because it will be able to focus more on Russia and China. An accommodation with Iran will allow the US and the EU to tighten sanctions on Russia. It will additionally help the European Union eventually substitute energy imports from Russia with energy imports from Iran. In this regard, one of Washington’s major objectives is to co-opt the Iranians against the Russians.

In Vienna the US Team Acted As If the US Never Signed the Lausanne Agreement

Although the nuclear negotiations for a final deal or what is called the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” were extended until July 7, 2015 under what the negotiating teams have dubbed the “Joint Plan of Action” (JPA), a major stumbling block has been the release of the immense holdings of Iranian financial assets and funds that have been frozen or seized under the justification of sanctions. Months before the June 30 deadline, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs that the Iranians had well over one hundred billion US dollars that were seized and frozen. In addition, he testified that since 2012 that the US has denied the Iranians access to two hundred billion US dollars in lost exports and funds held in restricted accounts.

The Lausanne Agreement was reached by Iran and the P5+1 on the basis of an understanding between Iran, the US, and the EU that there would be simultaneous gives-and-takes of equal substance. That means that sanctions would be dropped at the same time that Iran made nuclear concessions. Tehran has been very adamant about this point, refusing to make any concessions without having sanctions reciprocally dropped and having access to its appropriate financial assets.

During the negotiations at the Palais Coburg or Palais Saxe-Coburg Hotel in the Austrian capital of Vienna, the US government took backward steps and reversed its track. In Vienna, the US no longer recognized the terms of the Lausanne Agreement and the understanding that the US side had reached with the Iranians and committed itself to respecting. There was a return by the US team to arguing over the number of Iranian centrifuges that could be in operation, demands for restrictions on nuclear research and scientific development, demands for inspections of Iran’s military bases, and a refusal not to prolong the economic sanctions against the Iranians.

Siphoning Iran’s Money: Have Frozen Funds Been Funneled Elsewhere?

The US and the EU are no strangers to looting from others. When financial sanctions were imposed on Libya by the US and the EU, Libyan funds and the interest they accumulated were appropriated and even illegally used by these actors. In this regard there are important questions about why the US is trying to keep the sanctions on Iran or to end them in gradual phases.

Are Iranian financial assets and funds really frozen or are they also being utilized as loans or collateral? In other words, have Iran’s frozen funds been channeled elsewhere by the US and the EU to make up for their own economic problems and the economic war against Russia? Do the financial liabilities of those holding Iranian funds exceed their financial assets? More simply asked: can the countries that froze Iran’s money pay Tehran its money back or are they stalling, because they cannot return all the money that was frozen under sanctions?

The position of the US and France are excuses to avoid lifting the sanctions on Iran and to avoid returning Iranian funds. Their goal is to neutralize the Iranian nuclear energy program while keeping the sanctions and appropriating Iranian funds. This is why the frame of time for Washington’s promises to remove the sanctions have no guarantees. What the US is doing is trying to impose legal obligations on Iran without giving any guarantees on the removal of sanctions. Washington’s promises to remove the sanctions also gradually became longer, changing from six months to a year to over a year, and have had additionally conditions placed on them.

Aside from the strategic considerations and dimensions of the nuclear negotiations, it should come as no surprise if Washington is stonewalling a final agreement to help the US and the EU continue siphoning Iran’s earnings. After all the US is in the midst of an economic war and fighting to keep the US dollar’s position as the top currency of the world while the EU is experiencing economic decline. The EU, however, is in a predicament; even if it wanted to keep Iranian funds and continue the sanctions, it still needs to start large-scale trade with Iran to mitigate its economic decline and negative effects from the EU sanctions against Russia.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/is-a-nuclear-deal-with-iran-being-stalled-because-the-west-cant-pay-tehrans-money-back/5459994