Tag Archive | "Russia"

Greenpeace activists charged for protesting Arctic drill

Russia is moving the 30 Greenpeacers who tried to scale a Gazprom drilling platform in the Barents Sea from the Arctic port of Murmansk to St. Petersburg. Despite global demonstrations of support for the “Arctic 30,” Russia has piled charges of hooliganism and vandalism on top of piracy charges and shows no signs of leniency towards what Greenpeace calls “a peaceful protest.”

Greenpeace says this location makes the arrest of the Arctic 30 and seizure of their Dutch-flagged ship, the Arctic Sunrise, illegal because the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea guarantees foreign vessels the freedom to navigate in the Exclusive Economic Zone of another country without interference.

The Prirazlomnaya platform targeted by the Greenpeace protest was being used by Gazprom, the world’s largest extractor of natural gas. The Russian government controls most of the Gazprom shares and private parties hold the rest.

Greenpeace warns that production from this platform raises the risk of an oil spill in an area that contains three nature reserves protected by Russian law. But this warning has not affected Gazprom’s plans for development of the area.

The 30 detainees were brought before the Committee over the course of the past week, the piracy charge was not withdrawn. Instead each of them was  served with the additional charge of hooliganism, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years. They now stand accused of both offenses.

Greenpeace rejects all charges and argues that the activists protested peacefully.

Greenpeace spokesman Ben Ayliffe said in September, “Make no mistake, the real threat to the Arctic comes not from Greenpeace International but from oil companies like Gazprom that are determined to ignore both science and good sense to drill in remote, frozen seas.”


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Turkey goes nuclear

More than 30 countries have nuclear reactors, which produce 13.5% of the electricity distributed worldwide. Turkey is building its first nuclear power plant with the help of the Russian government. Lorraine Bangera reports

Turkey has agreed to build it first nuclear power station called Akkuyu at a cost of $20 billion. Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Taner Yıldız, says the project is part of a determined effort by the country to cut reliance on foreign imports for energy. Turkey currently imports 72% oil and gas and has been considering nuclear energy for more than four decades. The nuclear power plant will be built in the Büyükeceli region around the Mersin province, and will generate 4,800 MW– enough to supply the electrical demands of more than one million people. The agreement with Russia includes future cooperating in other areas like the treatment of used nuclear fuel, radioactive waste, and decommissioning. Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation will build, own and operate the plant. Rosatom will provide finances with 100% equity in the Akkuyu project and once complete it will sell up to 49% back to the Turkish government. Funding is expected to take 15 years to pay off at which stage the Turkish government will receive 20% of the plant’s profits. The power generation licence and environmental approval are expected by the end of 2013, and the construction licence is expected in mid-2014, enabling full construction to start in 2015 or January 2016.

Other nuclear projects
Turkey’s second nuclear plant will be constructed in Sinop, a region around the Black Sea. The Franco-Japanese consortium has been planned to be built since February 2008, along with a $2.3 billion nuclear technology centre. There are also proposals to build a third plant in an effort to meet the nation’s predicted 100 GWe requirment by 2030. Reports suggest that Turkish Atomic Energy Authority has identified Igneada on the Black Sea, 12km from the Bulgarian border. Last month Rosatom presented its technological proposals for the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. Rosatom is one of five candidates that meet the tender specifications for expansion. The company’s AES-2006 design for Russian power plants combines active and passive systems and Rosatom’s bid for the expansion of the Paks plant will be based on that technology. The $13.6 billion investment could be recovered in 15 years and Hungarian suppliers could get 20-30% of the contracts. Rusatom Overseas Magyarország, the Hungarian branch of the Russian company, is set to hold a conference with suppliers.

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Current Issue October 2013