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Fusion: Successful Test in Superconducting Magnetic Confinement by ENI

Fusion: Successful Test in Superconducting Magnetic Confinement by ENI

Sept. 8, 2021 (EIRNS) — Italian energy company ENI announced a successful test in fusion magnetic confinement through high-temperature superconducting technology. The test was accomplished by CFS (Commonwealth Fusion Systems), a spin-off company of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, established in 2018, of which ENI is a shareholder.
            A statement on ENI’s webpage says that “CFS has successfully completed the test aiming to demonstrate the operation of the innovative magnet for plasma fusion confinement, for the first time made with HTS (High Temperature Superconductor) technology.
            “The test concerned the superconducting technologies and it showed the possibility of maintaining the magnet in the superconducting regime with a high stability of all the fundamental parameters for its use in a fusion power plant. The innovation will contribute to a significant reduction in plant costs, ignition and maintenance energy of the fusion process and in the general system complexity, nearing the time and reducing the effort to build a demonstration plant that will produce more energy than that required to maintain the fusion process (net energy production plant). This will subsequently allow constructing and conveniently deploying power plants throughout the world, connecting them to the electricity grid without expensive custom-made generation and transport infrastructures.
            “On the basis of this important achievement, CFS confirms its roadmap and intends to build the first experimental device with net energy production named SPARC by 2025, followed by the first demonstration plant, known as ARC , that could start feeding energy into the grid over the next decade, according to schedule.
            “SPARC will be built by assembling a total of 18 identical HTS magnet coils (similar to the one tested), in a toroidal configuration (a doughnut shape named “tokamak”) to generate a magnetic field with the strength and stability necessary to contain a plasma of hydrogen isotopes at temperatures of around 100 million degrees, at which the fusion of atomic nuclei can occur with the release of a very high quantity of energy.”


Hunger, Sanitation, COVID–Top Concerns in Haiti

Sept. 1 (EIRNS)—A focus of humanitarian aid to Haiti right now is to get food, water, tarps, tents and medical supplies into those remote rural areas in the mountainous Southern peninsula, only accessible by helicopter. Partnering with USAID or with other Haitian or foreign charities, eight military aircraft from the U.S. Southern Command are carrying supplies to these small communities to meet their immediate needs and stock them with supplies to face the months ahead. Multiple trips are made daily from the Port-au-Prince airport. Residents of these communities have lost everything– crops, livestock and even the ability to leave, as roads have been destroyed by the earthquake or mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Grace.

Food is urgently needed. According to the World Food Program, in the three most severely-affected departments, Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance has increased by one-third since the quake, from 138,000 to 215,000. A year ago, the UN had warned that 4.4 million Haitians (42% of the population) faced acute food insecurity; and the country ranked 104th out of 107 on the Global Hunger Index. Now, Lola Castro, WFP’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a statement that “the earthquake rattled people who were already struggling to feed their families. The compound effects of multiple crises are devastating communities in the south faced with some of the highest levels of food insecurity in the country,” News Americas reported her saying Aug. 30.

The WFP is committed to providing food, shelter and medical aid to 215,000 people in the three southern departments—although the need extends well beyond those three. The UN’s Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has launched an appeal for $187.3 million in order to reach 500,000 affected people, although the agency’s Aug. 31 report indicated that at least 650,000 are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. The World Bank’s sustainable development and infrastructure program did an initial damage assessment of $1 billion but this is expected to increase with more extensive assessments.

In its Aug. 31 report, OCHA also pointed to the growing risk of a major COVID-19 outbreak. Such preventative measures as mask wearing and social distancing are “compromised due to the current operational context,” OCHA notes, adding that less than 1% of Haiti’s 11 million inhabitants has been vaccinated. Nor are there vaccines! The country has received only 500,000 doses through the COVAX facility. PPE is scarce. Poverty, poor sanitation, lack of clean water and the fact that people are gathering in close quarters seeking food assistance and shelter are all risk factors. Argentina’s Telam news agency quoted OCHA warning that the possibility of “new and more contagious and dangerous variants reaching the island is particularly worrisome during the weeks and months following the earthquake as the country’s healthcare system lacks the ability to respond to a COVID outbreak.” Detailed OCHA fact sheet is here.


Rosatom To Build More Floating NPPs

Rosatom To Build More Floating NPPs

Aug. 7 (EIRNS)–Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is committed to building four new floating nuclear power stations over the next six years, in order to power mining ventures in Siberia’s far northeastern tip. The new waterborne facilities will be similar to the Akademik Lomonosov, the audacious floating nuclear plant that Rosatom connected to Pevek, a remote port in Chukotka in 2019 after spending more than a decade constructing it.

In the new projects, the four plants will be deployed to the nascent Baimsky copper mining project, also in Chukotka, by the end of 2026. Under the $2 billion plan, Rosatom would construct four floating plants at St. Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard, each centered on a pair of 55 MW RITM-200 reactors, the type featured in Russia’s new generation nuclear icebreakers. 

Three would supply power to the mining sites. The fourth plant would be kept in reserve and rotate in when any of the first three require refueling or maintenance, Rosatom’s CEO Aleskei Likhachev told TASS last week. He also said that this fourth plant could also act as a reserve unit for the Akademik Lomonosov, whose older KLT-40 reactors require refueling every 12 years.

The first two of new floating nuclear plants are due at their working location on Chaunskaya Bay in the East Siberian Sea by 2026. Once there, they will be connected to power lines spanning 400 km to the Baimskaya mine. The third unit is due to be connected at the end of 2027, increasing the total power supply to about 330 MW.


Central Asian Heads of State Meet in Turkmenistan on Energy, Transit Corridors and Fighting the Pandemic

Central Asian Heads of State Meet in Turkmenistan on Energy, Transit Corridors and Fighting the Pandemic

Aug. 6 (EIRNS)–Today the Third Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia was held in Turkmenistan, at the Caspian Sea resort town of Avaza, bringing together the presidents of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrghizstan, plus others including Natalia Gherman, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia. There were many parallel sessions, including the Economic Forum of the Central Asian Nations.

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said during his speech, “Based on UN documents, we are moving towards the formation in Central Asia of favorable political-legal and economic conditions for a safe, sustainable energy partnership focused on meeting regional energy demand and on accessing world markets through international transit corridors.” Another focus was collaboration against the COVID-19 pandemic. Including furthering joint research on mutations, as well as methods of treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. The heads of state issued a statement.


Kurchatov Institute To Create a Joint Russia-Belarus Scientific Research Center

Kurchatov Institute To Create a Joint Russia-Belarus Scientific Research Center–

July 28 (EIRNS)—The president of the Kurchatov Institute Scientific Research Center Mikhail Kovalchuk announced yesterday that his Institute and Belarus’s National Academy of Sciences had signed a roadmap to jointly establish “powerful projects related to new research infrastructure based on powerful installations—mega-sciences—[that] are now unfolding in front of us.”

Kovalchuk stated: “The program has also been launched in Russia and it is expected to become the world’s most accomplished research infrastructure in 5-7 years…. Importantly, both Belarus and Russia have the required tools. If we create this single infrastructural research space, we will become leaders in drawing other [Commonwealth of Independent States] CIS partners into this effort.”

He further said that “We have also proposed that a branch of the Kurchatov Institute be set up on the premises of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus to strengthen integration and cooperation. Also, we proposed that a branch of the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute be opened in Belarus in the field of new education.”

The TASS wire reporting on this announcement characterized the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center as “one of the leading research facilities in Russia and in the world. With its creation, Russia has set up a unique inter-disciplinary scientific and technical compound that comprises the Kurchatov specialized synchrotron radiation source (KISI-Kurchatov), the U-70 accelerator, the IR-8 and VVR-M neutron research reactors, the PIK high-flux research reactor, the T-10 and T-15 tokamak thermonuclear installations, plasma and other units.”


Bolivian President: A Fight for ‘Scientific Bolivia’ Is a Fight for the Future

Bolivian President: A Fight for ‘Scientific Bolivia’ Is a Fight for the Future —

July 27, 2021 (EIRNS)—Yesterday Bolivian President Luis Arce, together with other government officials and Rosatom’s deputy director general, Kirill Komarov, presided over the ceremony in the city of El Alto to inaugurate construction of a research reactor, which is the third component in the state-of-the-art Nuclear Technology Research and Development Center (CIDTN) being built in the city of El Alto, next to La Paz, by the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency and Rosatom Overseas. The other two components include a Radiopharmacology Cyclotron complex (CCRP), which will produce isotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients and a Multipurpose Irradiation Plant, the construction of which is already underway and scheduled to be completed by year’s end. The research reactor should be completed by 2024.

The project’s location in El Alto carries special significance. When the Project Democracy “Maidan” coup government took over in November of 2019, it immediately shut down the project, while military and police repressed the city’s largely indigenous population that had opposed the coup. When President Arce took power last November, he immediately restarted the project. At 4,000 meters above sea level, CIDTN is the largest Russian-sponsored project in Ibero-America and, as Komarov explained, is considered to be a top priority for Rosatom. “The project is unique, a technological marvel that will put Bolivia on a par with the major countries of the world,” RT reported him as saying. Arce has emphasized that this project is not just for Bolivians, but “for all of humanity,” and as he expressed it yesterday, quite beautifully, is also to ensure that young Bolivians have a future. Future generations, he said, “will inherit and harvest what we do today in terms of technological advancement; they shall be the standard-bearers of scientific Bolivia, because a millenarian people with advanced technology is invincible. So, I want to take this opportunity to assure you that as a national government, we have the firmest will and conviction to advance on the road to scientific development for Bolivians… Our country needs highly-trained human resources in nuclear engineering, chemical engineering and biotechnology to advance toward a change from the pattern of accumulation to the transformation of our country’s productive matrix, which is moreover, a challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean,” the President’s press office reported. The full press release is here.   


Egypt Prioritizes Nuclear in Future Energy Mix

July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)–Hesham Hegazy, head of the nuclear fuel sector at Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority NPPA, has recently revealed that the Egyptian nuclear program is not limited to the construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant, as the country seeks to build more nuclear power plants on the north coast, Al-Monitor reports.

Jamal al-Qalyubi, a professor of petroleum and energy engineering at the American University of Cairo, told Al-Monitor that the Egyptian state has been working since 2015 on a strategy to diversify its energy sources to address future challenges. He said that since the 1960s, Egypt has been heavily reliant on nonrenewable energy sources from hydrocarbons, such as petroleum, diesel and, more recently, natural gas. But the country is now looking to replace the plants that produce electricity via hydrocarbons with ones that rely on so-called renewable energy, in the framework of the Sustainable Development Strategy of Egypt Vision 2030, he said.

Qalyubi noted that nuclear energy is essential for Egypt, and that the state is seeking to have an educational and applied influence in this regard instead of only importing foreign technology. He added that nuclear reactors are beneficial not only in terms of power generation but also in terms of seawater desalination and the production of radioactive isotopes, which ultimately benefit Egypt’s industry.

He expects more Egyptian companies to contribute 20% to the construction of the new nuclear stations; local companies have already contributed 20% to the construction of the first unit of the Dabaa nuclear plant. These companies have managed to participate in the Dabaa project as they received training at the Dabaa Nuclear School in Matrouh governorate (west of Cairo), while educational missions are being sent to Russia, Qalyubi said, adding that such steps help promote Egypt’s local nuclear industry.

Former NPPA deputy head Ali Abdel Nabi told Al-Monitor over the phone, “The Egyptian government’s energy mix plan seeks to have the nuclear plants’ electricity generation to account for about 20% of the total production in Egypt by 2035.” He said, “Reaching this percentage requires the establishment of more nuclear plants, in addition to the Dabaa plant, which only produces 4,800 MW, or nearly 3% of the total electricity production.”

Abdel Nabi explained that one of the goals behind the establishment of nuclear plants in Egypt is the transfer and localization of the manufacturing technology into Egyptian factories, increasing their contribution to the manufacture of new plants to more than 50%.

“Nuclear plants provide electricity in much greater proportion than plants powered by gas or renewable energy such as wind, as these plants operate at 93% of the number of hours per year, compared to 27% for renewable energy plants and 56% for gas plants. In other words, nuclear plants serve the sustainable development goals better,” he noted.

Abdel Nabi pointed out that nuclear power plants are first-class investment projects, as they cover their costs within only 15 years of operation, and that their life span ranges from 60 to 100 years, which ensures greater benefit, unlike plants powered by gas, petroleum, and renewable energy, which operate for 25 years at most.


Amb. Antonov on U.S. Media Fake News about Russian Foreign Policy

Ambassador Antonov on U.S. Media Fake News about Russian Foreign Policy 

July 21 (EIRNS) – In an interview with RT’s Rich Sanchez yesterday, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov commented on his dismay at all the fake news in the U.S. media on Russian foreign policy. The entire interview is here.

Sanchez opened discussing Merkel and Biden’s decision to drop any opposition to Nord Stream 2, and then asked Antonov if he thought Biden’s insistence that Nord Stream 2 is “geopolitical” stemmed from his need to “save face” with respect to U.S. relations to Ukraine.

“I don’t understand what you are talking about. What kind of political interest United States administration has in Ukraine? Ukraine is too far.”  He went on. “I discussed this issue with many politicians and sometimes, frankly, I’m not kidding… but some of them don’t know where Ukraine is!  So I don’t understand why it’s so important for United States. It seems to me that some political figures, some politicians just only would like to use Ukraine as a tool to press on Russia, to change Russian independent foreign policy, or Russian economic policy. Or, as you, the United States call it, as ‘malign activities’ of Russian Federation on the international scene.”

Sanchez asked him about what Americans hear from the media, that Russia has expansionist ambitions, seizing Crimea, wanting to take over Ukraine, and what he thought about that?

Antonov replied:  “You have touched a very interesting issue. Every morning when I wake up, I open American newspapers, and I switch on my TV…. And sometimes I am shocked to get so much fake news, fake information about the Russian foreign policy,” he replied. “What I see today, we see a lack of confidence, a lack of trust between the United States and Russia. I am trying to find a day when Russia has become an enemy or a rival for the United States, and it’s rather difficult to say when it happened. It seems to me that maybe ten years ago, but not when the Ukrainian crisis started, it goes without saying.”

Sanchez’s last question, “Is there a way to put our relationship back together again?” drew the following reply from Antonov: “We have to fix it, the Russian government and American administration as well. Because, to have good relations between the United States and Russia is in the interests of the United States people, as well as Russian Federation. I could say, we are doomed for cooperation,” he said, and then echoing President Putin’s January 2020 call for the P5 summit, he went on: “We are the main nuclear states. We are permanent members of [the UN] Security Council. We bear special responsibility for peace. That’s why we have no time to quarrel. We have to fix many problems that we face today. For example, fighting against terrorism, climate change, and … we see what is going on now in Afghanistan after United States’ decision to withdraw their forces from this country.  I understand how much we have to do together.

“I would like to say, if anybody would like to create an island of security somewhere, in the United States, or in Europe, or in another continent, it will be a mistake. We can win together. When we are together, we can solve any issue, any problem that we face today,” Antonov concluded.


State Department Admits Sanctions Would Not Prevent Nord Stream 2

State Department Admits Sanctions Would Not Prevent Nord Stream 2

July 21 (EIRNS) –In comments to the press yesterday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated President Joe Biden’s recent statement that the United States suspended its sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project because they could hardly prevent the project’s completion. He explained that President Biden couldn’t have been any clearer when he met with Chancellor Merkel last week: “We continue to oppose Nord Stream 2. … We continue to believe it’s a bad deal for Germany, it’s a bad deal for Ukraine, it’s a bad deal for Europe and Europe’s broader energy security goals.” And, “of course in May we imposed sanctions on 19 entities and vessels, and at the same time … we have come to the conclusion … that it was not in our interest to significantly undermine … the relationship we have with our ally, Germany for a pipeline whose construction would continue, nonetheless.”

Price commented on reports by Bloomberg News that the U.S. and Germany were close to reaching an agreement on Nord Stream 2 that will reportedly include a provision that Germany will impose sanctions on Russia should Moscow use the pipeline to pressure Ukraine or engage in other “aggressive” behavior. “The Germans have put forward useful proposals…. That shared goal is ensuring that this pipeline cannot be weaponized against Ukraine, against any other European partner. That is our goal in doing so. I do expect we’ll be able to share more details on this today.”

State Department Counselor Derek Chollet arrived in Ukraine for discussions yesterday, and then headed for Poland which also opposes Nord Stream 2. According to Bloomberg, the draft agreement with Germany would seek to promote investments of as much as $1 billion in a so-called Green Fund to help Ukraine’s transition to cleaner sources of energy. Germany reportedly would commit to an initial $175 million investment in the fund, and would also appoint a special envoy—with $70 million of funding—to support bilateral energy projects with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in a posting to his website, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) denounced the reports of an administration agreement, growling that, “If the reports and details of a deal are accurate, this will be a generational geopolitical win for Putin and a catastrophe for the United States and our allies. President Biden is defying U.S. law and has utterly surrendered to Putin.”


China National Nuclear Has Started Construction of `SMR’

China National Nuclear Has Started Construction of `SMR’ —

July 18 (EIRNS) — China National Nuclear Corporation now has a small modular reactor “in the construction phase” after approval of its design by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to articles in OilPrice.com and Global Times. The reactor is rated at 125 MW of power. The start of the construction phase is reported by OilPrice.com to have been delayed by four years after originally being scheduled in 2017. There is scant information in either piece as to the mode of construction or location of a factor to build units – the planned first reactor (“Linglong 1”) is perhaps the only unit to be located at the site, which is in Chiangjiang in Hainan Province in the south of China, a center of CNNC nuclear power production.
            But the Global Times article contains an ambitious and accurate description of what fourth-generation small modular reactors will do: “Unlike 3rd-generation large reactors such as the Hualong 1, which has an electric power output of 1 million kilowatts, far greater than the power range of a small reactor, the Linglong 1 can realize the multi purposes of nuclear energy, such as heat supply for cities, industrial steam, seawater desalination, oil exploitation and other different needs, in addition to electricity generating. The energy generated by Linglong 1 can be applied to various scenarios such as industrial parks, islands, mining areas and energy supplied by high-energy consuming enterprises, meeting the development needs of Hainan.


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