Quick Nuclear News

Today’s nuclear news unsurprisingly involves Russia, both times.

First of all, Russia and Venezuela may sign a cooperation agreement leading Russia to construct nuclear power plants and supply the necessary fuel for them.

Putin greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on his second trip to Russia in just over two months, with offers to discuss further arms sales to Venezuela and possibly helping it to develop nuclear energy.[...] Putin did not mention any specifics of potential Russian-Venezuelan military cooperation in his opening remarks, but Russian news reports said that Venezuela could buy Russian air defense missiles and more Sukhoi fighter jets.
[...] Putin did not specify what kind of cooperation Russia could offer Venezuela in the nuclear field, but Russia is aggressively promoting itself as a builder of nuclear power plants and supplier of fuel to nations seeking nuclear energy.

Second today, is the news that Turkey received only one bid for its planned nuclear power plant near Mersin, and the sole bidder was…Russia, on whom they already rely for the majority of their gas imports. Embarassing for Turkey’s civilian nuclear aspirations and risky from a national security perspective. And keep in mind, the Russian company, Atomstroyexport, is the same one building Iran’s reactor at Bushehr. However, it is presently unclear whether the deal will actually go through.

“The reason Russia was interested in the project was because it is the largest supplier of natural gas to Turkey, which gives it extraordinary bargaining power,” noted columnist Metin Munir in the daily Milliyet. “One of the main reasons the other companies kept their distance was concern about payment for the electricity that they would produce. Russia has no such worries. It is confident that all it would have to do would be to give the government a kick in the backside by cutting off the gas for a couple of days in the middle of winter” (Milliyet, September 25).

Given Russia’s struggle to assert itself on the world stage and attempts to undermine American power and influence where ever possible, it should come as no surprise that Russia is resorting to its nuclear technology to spread influence into the third and developing world again. With little to offer the world except energy and weapons, Russia will push forward not only to gain influence in the target country, but also vis-a-vis the United States. While the U.S. for example agreed to assist Egypt in building nuclear power plants there, Russia is obviously willing to go where the West is not. This is currently playing out in Iran. The question is, where will it go next.

Readers, do you think Venezuela may intend to develop a clandestine nuclear weapons program? Given the ability of both Brazil and Argentina to develop weapons with a few months to a year, would this factor into Chavez’s thinking? Or is creating one more problem for the U.S. more important?

About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
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3 Responses to Quick Nuclear News

  1. ElamBend says:

    Chavez is paranoid and convinced the the U.S. thinks of nothing but invading Venezuela. I see it mostly as a defensive measure (same as Iran), the ultimate protection from invasion. Once, he achieves that, then he can screw with everyone else N and S America.

    As for Turkey, I see that as more a victim of capital markets. Turkey has a dynamic economy, they have other options, including a joint venture and sovereign financing of the project.

  2. dj says:

    Why do you think Argentina has that capability?

  3. Chirol says:

    DJ: Because Argentina had a clandestine nuclear weapons program for many years and still has advanced nuclear technology, infrastructure and scientists. Check