Russian Roulette: Look Who Is Supplying US With Uranium


Kazakhstan becomes top uranium supplier to US nuclear reactors

Written by Phil Allan – 05/10/2015 2:26 pm

Kazakhstan became the leading supplier of uranium for the 100 operating US nuclear power reactors in 2014, according to US Energy Information Administration.

The former Soviet republic supplied 12 million pounds, or 23%, of the 53.3 million pounds of uranium purchased by owners and operators of American reactors – nearly double the 6.5 million pounds of Kazakh-origin uranium purchased in 2013.

In previous years, Australia, Canada, and Russia have been leading suppliers of uranium to the United States. The amount of US-origin uranium purchased in 2014 decreased 65% compared with 2013.
The EIA said average Kazakh uranium prices have been lower than other major supplying countries’ prices for the past two years.

Uranium from Kazakhstan was $44.47 per pound in 2014, compared with the overall weighted-average price of $46.65 per pound for the 41.3 million pounds of uranium purchased from producers outside Kazakhstan in 2014.

Kazakhstan became the world’s leading producer of uranium in 2009 when it surpassed Canada.
Uranium production in Kazakhstan has more than tripled since 2007, while production in Canada has been relatively constant, and production in Australia decreased 42%.

Uranium production and exports are controlled by Kazatomprom, a national atomic company created in 1997 by the Kazakhstan government in an effort to revive the country’s nuclear industry.
Kazatomprom has attempted to increase domestic uranium production capacity by working with international companies to encourage investment in uranium mining projects in Kazakhstan.
The company also worked to expand Kazakhstan’s uranium export markets, as the country’s sole nuclear power reactor, which began operation in 1972, was shut down in 1999.

Kazakhstan’s ability to export uranium increased after the US International Trade Administration terminated the 1992 anti-dumping investigation on uranium from Kazakhstan and lifted restrictions on the sale of uranium from Kazakhstan to the United States in 1999.

The China Nuclear Sun (Daniel 7:7)

  

China’s Rising Military: Now for the Hard Part

JUN 5, 2015 10:12 AM EDT
By Thomas J. Christensen

China isn’t an enemy of the U.S. But coercive diplomacy with China today is arguably more complicated than it was with the Soviet Union in the Cold War, at least after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

One reason for this is that no consensus exists in East Asia on the territorial status quo, as there did between the two Cold War camps in most regions of the world. The People’s Republic of China, in the center of a region of great importance, has maritime sovereignty disputes with several of its neighbors, including two formal U.S. allies (Japan and the Philippines) and one security partner (Taiwan).

Laboratory research on prospect theory, a psychological exploration of risk-based decision-making, demonstrates that most actors accept much bigger risks and are willing to pay larger costs to defend what they believe is rightfully theirs than to obtain new gains at others’ expense. In a world in which conventional conflict could conceivably escalate to nuclear war, this human tendency is a force for stability; attacks across recognized boundaries by either side would be risky, and deterrence against such attacks is relatively credible.

But in East Asia today, governments draw competing maps about the maritime domain. There are significant differences between mainland China and Taiwan about the sovereign status of the government on the island, and between China and Japan over who owns the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. There is also disagreement among China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia over ownership of islands, rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.

We should take no comfort in the apparent sincerity of all the claimants. If all actors truly feel they are defending rightful claims against the revisionism of others, the chicken game of international security politics is more likely to lead to a deadly collision.

These disputes are fueled by historical victimhood narratives and postcolonial nationalism. For the countries involved, defending sovereignty claims and recovering allegedly stolen territories are core missions. China is no exception.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, China has been more confident abroad and more afraid at home. The country’s elite and its citizens feel that its power position on the international stage has improved drastically. But the foundations of its export-led and investment-fueled growth model were shaken at the same time. Top leaders worry about rising social discontent. It isn’t a good time for Chinese leaders to look weak on defense.

And China doesn’t have to be the actor that sparks a dispute for tensions to escalate. In 2010, for example, China often reacted sharply to events initiated by others, such as Japan’s arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain and crew near the Senkaku Islands. Since then we have seen a mix of Chinese assertiveness — such as its placement and then removal last year of an oil rig in waters disputed with Vietnam and its continuing land reclamation projects on South China Sea reefs — and its abrasive reactions to others’ actions, such as an upgraded Chinese maritime presence near the Senkakus since the Japanese central government purchased some of the islands from a private Japanese family in 2012.

The Chinese leadership could use its conventional military power to threaten U.S. partners and to impose high costs on U.S. forces if they intervened to assist their allies. The ability to conduct such asymmetric warfare against the U.S. can potentially affect how disputes are managed in peacetime and who might prevail politically if a fight were to occur.

The U.S. has ways to reduce a threat posed by China’s ability to wage asymmetric warfare. But a future U.S. president might be reluctant to use some of the more effective methods the American military has at its disposal — such as destroying or disabling military targets on the Chinese mainland — especially early in a conflict when such measures would be most effective.

For example, attacking China’s potent ballistic missiles, their launchers and their command-and-control systems before the missiles strike U.S. bases and surface ships would be an efficient way to reduce the threat. Chinese submarines, which can fire torpedoes and cruise missiles or lay sea mines, pose another potential threat. The U.S., all things being equal, might be tempted to attack submarine ports and naval command-and-control systems on Chinese soil.

But all things are not equal. No U.S. president has ever launched robust conventional attacks against the homeland of a nation with nuclear retaliatory capability. Moreover, the conventional mobile ballistic missiles and submarines China has developed to counter superior U.S. forces overlap dangerously with the land-based missiles and submarines that China is developing to provide a secure nuclear retaliatory capability.

If the U.S. were to attack missile systems and submarines for the purpose of protecting against conventional attack early in a conflict, Washington could unintentionally compromise portions of China’s nuclear arsenal as well. Chinese leaders could mistakenly view this as an attempt to eliminate China’s nuclear deterrent, risking escalation.

China adheres publicly to a no-first-use doctrine on nuclear weapons, a position that would seem to mean that no amount of conventional firepower leveled against it would cause it to resort to a nuclear response. But internal Chinese military writings suggest that no-first-use is more of a guideline than a rule and doesn’t necessarily apply under conditions in which a technologically superior foe attacks crucial targets with conventional weapons.

Even without this risk, the regional partners the U.S. relies on would likely oppose provocative early conventional strikes against the Chinese mainland. Those countries are in range of China’s conventional weapons and economically dependent on the transnational production system that has China as its fulcrum.

If the situation sounds hopeless, it’s not. It helps mightily that China and the U.S. aren’t enemies and that both would be severely harmed by a conflict across the Pacific.

For Americans, it is important to fixate less on China’s potential to catch up to the U.S. in total military power and more on analyzing which U.S. and allied strategies since the end of the Cold War have been effective in specific geographic and political contexts.

For example, the George W. Bush administration successfully mixed the credibility of the American commitment to the security of Taiwan (by selling it large tranches of weapons and warning mainland China against aggression across the Taiwan Strait) with reassurances to Beijing that the purpose of the U.S. defense relationship with the island was not to support permanent Taiwan independence from the Chinese nation. (For example, the U.S. publicly opposed a 2008 referendum that called for seeking United Nations membership for the island under the name Taiwan.)

The Obama administration has successfully signaled to the Chinese that the U.S. supports Japan’s administrative control of the Senkaku Islands (for example, when the president reiterated in Tokyo in 2014 that the U.S. defense treaty with Japan covers the disputed islands). But his administration also has reportedly called for restraint from Japan as well, and even criticized Tokyo publicly for actions that seem to whitewash Imperial Japan’s actions in World War II.

Both of these examples show how a combination of U.S. power and resolve on the one hand, and diplomatic assurances on the other, can calm potentially volatile situations involving emotional sovereignty claims and a rising China. These episodes also demonstrate that U.S.-China relations are not a zero-sum game — and that it’s dangerous to act as if they are.

The China Nuclear Horn Aims For Babylon (Dan 7)

  

China has outfitted missiles capable of reaching the US with multiple nuclear warheads

JEREMY BENDER MAY 18, 2015, 2:08 PM

In a break from decades of cautious nuclear policy, China has started a process of upgrading its ballistic missile capabilities into a more potentially dangerous form.

Foregoing a longstanding policy of maintaining a small nuclear force, Beijing has begun to place multiple miniaturized nuclear warheads atop ballistic missiles, The New York Times reports citing a report from the Department of Defense. Missiles with multiple warheads are harder to intercept as each warhead could break off from its delivery system and aim for a separate target.

China has had the capability of miniaturizing nuclear weapons since at least the 1990s, but has avoided the move so as to prevent a potential arms race. The new direction of Beijing’s nuclear weapons stance comes under the direction of President Xi Jinping, who has made a series of bold moves to increase Chinese power both regionally and globally.

According to the Pentagon’s report, Beijing has re-engineered the DF-5, a variation of the CSS-4 intercontinental ballistic missile shown below, to be outfitted with multiple warheads. China has approximately 20 DF-5s currently in silos across the country, each of which could target almost the entirety of the US.

Altogether, the modified DF-5s could launch upwards of 40 warheads at North America, according to the Times. This modification is intended to produce maximum destruction while increasing the chances that a Chinese warhead could get past US missile interceptors.

“They’re doing it,” Hans M. Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists told the Times, “to make sure they could get through the ballistic missile defenses.”

The US has placed missile defenses in California and Alaska with the intention of defending against a possible North Korean strike. The US also operates joint Aegis and Patriot missile systems in South Korea, and is aiming at deploying the highly advanced THAAD missile interceptor to the peninsula as well.

Although these missile shields are aimed against North Korea, they could also block a Chinese strike.
The sudden modifications come at a time of increased tension throughout Asia. Japan and the US have strengthened and reaffirmed military ties, and the US is increasingly playing a large role in the South China Sea in the support of the Philippines. Both countries are involved in disputes with China over the South China Sea.

The timing of the DF-5 upgrades is likely a signal to the US that China is a quickly rising power in the region with only a limited tolerance for meddling in its backyard.

“This is obviously part of an effort to prepare for long-term competition with the United States,” Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Times. “The Chinese are always fearful of American nuclear advantage.”

China nuclear horn growing (Daniel 7)

 
China rapidly upgrading nuclear arsenal with MIRVed missiles

Published time: May 17, 2015 14:50
RT

China is fast refurbishing its arsenal of silo-based long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple independently targetable warheads, defense experts say. The move comes decades after Beijing acquired the technology, indicating a strategy change.

It has been speculated on for years that the Chinese military is upgrading some of its bigger ICBMs with Multiple Independently-targeted Reentry Vehicle technology (MIRV), which allows a single missile to carry multiple warhead across the globe and deploy them to aim at individual targets.

The assessment was endorsed by the US government in the latest Pentagon report on Chinese military might, which marked Dongfeng-5 missiles, China’s large liquid-propellant rocket capable of reaching the US, as MIRV-capable. The same report said Dongfeng-41, smaller solid-propellant road-mobile ICBMs were “possibly capable of carrying MIRVs.”

According to The New York Times, as many as half of China’s 20 DF-5 missiles may have been upgraded by now. With a conservative estimate that each missile would carry three individual warheads, it increased the number of warheads that Beijing may fire at an enemy to 40, up from 20, the newspaper said, citing a number of defense experts.

“China’s little force is slowly getting a little bigger, and its limited capabilities are slowly getting a little better,” Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told NYT.

In an earlier report on the development, Kristensen said China is probably upgrading its arsenal in response to the buildup of the global antiballistic missile system by the US. Washington says it needs the system to protect itself and its allies from an attack by nations such as Iran and North Korea. But strategists in Moscow and Beijing see it as threat to the national security of their respective countries.

“If so, how ironic that the US missile defense system – intended to reduce the threat to the United States – instead would seem to have increased the threat by triggering development of MIRV on Chinese ballistic missiles that could destroy more US cities in a potential war,” Kristensen said.

The Pentagon report says China is developing a number of technologies to penetrate antimissile shields.

“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter US and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), MIRVs, decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” it said.

China reportedly had technology needed to miniaturize nuclear warheads enough to fit several of them on a missile for decades, but chose not to upgrade its arsenal. Beijing’s nuclear deterrence strategy is to have just enough weapons that they could survive a nuclear attack and deliver monumental damage to the aggressor.

“This is obviously part of an effort to prepare for long-term competition with the United States,” Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a senior national security official in the George W. Bush administration, told NYT. “The Chinese are always fearful of American nuclear advantage.”

The beef-up of China’s small but punchy nuclear arsenal may trigger similar efforts from other nuclear powers in the region – India and Pakistan. So far only the US, Russia, Britain and France have deployed MIRVed ICBMs.

US make nuclear reduction senseless

Moscow indicated it may see fit to stockpile more nuclear weapons depending on US foreign policies. The warning came from Mikhail Ulyanov, chief of the non-proliferation department in the Russian foreign ministry, who is attending a UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Russian diplomat was speaking about the New-START nuclear reduction treaty signed by the US and Russia in 2010, saying Moscow is sticking to its commitments, but would not go any further due to US behavior.

“As of now there are no factors that would make our continued participation in the [New START] treaty counter to Russia’s interest, but hypothetically such a situation may arise from US actions, which we would not want to see,” he added.

The US and Russia have parity in nuclear weapons, but America has far more conventional forces. With Russia relying on its nuclear arsenal to safeguard it from a massive US attack, the development of the US anti-missile system is viewed as a dangerous threat to national security in Moscow.

Obama promoting China nukes (Ezekiel 17)

image
Obama administration urges approval of US-China nuclear pact

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press | May 12, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Tuesday urged senators to support a new 30-year agreement with China on civilian nuclear cooperation but faced a barrage of concern from both parties that Chinese companies are exporting sensitive technology to Iran and North Korea.
Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that China’s nonproliferation record has “improved markedly” since the last agreement was signed in 1985, “though it can still do better.” He said he could not confirm that Chinese firms have stopped selling such technology.

The current agreement expires at the end of the year. President Barack Obama submitted the new agreement to lawmakers April 21 for a period of review lasting 90 days when Congress is in session. If unopposed by legislation, the agreement goes into force.

Frank Klotz, under secretary for nuclear security at the Department of Energy, said the agreement will “enhance our ability to manage and mitigate the risk of China diverting sensitive nuclear technology to its military programs or re-exporting it without U.S. permission.”

Republicans and Democrats acknowledged economic benefits for the U.S. nuclear industry from cooperation with China, but voiced wide-ranging concerns over Beijing’s sticking to its international obligations.

Republican committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker said China has committed not to assist any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons. But he added, “concerns persist about Chinese willingness and ability to detect and prevent illicit transfers.”

Top-ranking Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin said multiple State Department reports document that Chinese companies and individuals continue to export dual-use goods relevant to nuclear and chemical weapons and ballistic missile programs in Iran and North Korea.

“To me, this agreement presents us with a golden opportunity to place pressure on China to halt these dangerous activities,” Cardin said.

The original agreement signed in 1985 was delayed for 13 years because of questions over China’s proliferation to countries including Pakistan.

Since then, China has entered various international accords, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group. But it has decided to build more power reactors in Pakistan, although its facilities are not under international safeguards.

Countryman, who heads the State Department’s bureau of international security and nonproliferation, acknowledged that was inconsistent with China’s commitment as a Nuclear Suppliers Group member.
Democratic Sen. Edward Markey voiced the strongest opposition to the new agreement.

He said China has failed to take enforcement action against Li Fangwei, also known as Karl Lee, a Chinese man who has been indicted in the U.S. for allegedly contributing to Iran’s ballistic missile program and making millions of dollars in illegal financial transactions to avoid economic sanctions.

“It’s quite clear that there are entities within China who continue to sell materials that could have dual use application into this international nuclear weapon and ballistic missile marketplace in the same way A.Q. Khan was doing it out of Pakistan,” Markey said.

“I think it’s preposterous to conclude that the Chinese government is incapable of shutting this down,” he said.

Khan is a Pakistani scientist who operated an illicit network that sold nuclear weapons technology to countries such as Iran, North Korea and Libya.

Corker said the committee faces a “difficult task” in reviewing the China agreement. He said if the economic benefits of the agreement outweigh the concerns, it should be approved without delay. If not, and the concerns can’t be mitigated, he said the agreement should not be approved.

Countryman said it would be “devastating” to the U.S. nuclear industry to lose access to China’s fast-growing nuclear energy program, where a third of the world’s atomic power plants currently under construction are located.

U.S.-headquartered company Westinghouse is constructing four reactors in China, under a deal reached in 2005, and six more are planned, which it values at $25 billion.

Countryman said that ending cooperation would allow suppliers from Russia and France to gain a greater foothold in the Chinese market. It would also “create new difficulties” in the administration’s efforts to manage the complex U.S.-China relationship, he said.

The Australian and Kazakhstan Nuclear Horns (Daniel 8:8)

Australia and Kazakhstan report uranium production

27 January 2015
Last year saw Australia’s uranium production reach its lowest point since 1998 while Kazakhstan maintained its position as the world’s largest uranium producer.

Olympic_Dam_uranium_(BHP_Billiton)_460
Olympic Dam produced two-thirds of Australia’s uranium output in 2014 (Image: BHP Billiton)

Australian production of 5897 tonnes U3O8 (5000 tU) was down from 2013 production of 7488 tonnes U3O8 (6350 tU) despite the start of operations at the Four Mile in situ leach uranium project in South Australia, and was the lowest for the country in 16 years.

The figures reflect the loss of production at Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA) Ranger mine, out of action until June 2014 following the rupture of a leach tank in December 2013. The mine had ramped up to full throughput by the end of September and by year end, Ranger had produced 988 tU.

Four Mile also started operations in June and by the end of the year a total of 640 tU had been produced. Uranium from Four Mile is processed at the Beverley plant. Beverley’s own wellfields contributed 21 tU to the annual total, although production has been suspended since early in the year.
The lion’s share of Australia’s 2014 production – 3351 tU – came from BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam, where uranium is produced as a by-product of copper.

Kazakhstan tops table

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan remains the world’s largest uranium producer with 2014 total production of 22,829 tU, according to state nuclear company KazAtomProm. The company’s own share of production accounted for 13,156 tU of the total. The figure is slightly up from the 22,548 tU recorded for 2013, and Kazatomprom says it is in line with its expectations for the year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

The China Nuclear Horn Got A Whole Lot Bigger (Daniel 7:7)

Kazakhstan, China Sign Deals Worth $14 Billion

 Kazakhstan Nuclear Sites
By RFE/RL
The Kazakh and Chinese prime ministers met in the Kazakh capital Astana on December 14 as new deals worth some $14 billion were signed.

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang presided over the signing of some 30 agreements.

The most notable was a deal for China to invest $3.8 billion in the development of potash production in Kazakhstan’s western Aktobinsk and West Kazakhstan provinces.

Other deals were for joint development of electrical power facilities — including thermal plants and renewable technology — to enable Kazakhstan to export electricity to China and an agreement for the formation of a joint venture for the production of nuclear fuel and the development of uranium mines.
Kazakhstan is the world’s leading producer of uranium and is exporting uranium to China as part of previous deals.

China has 22 nuclear reactors in operation and 26 more under construction.

Cooperation agreements were also signed between the two national railway companies and between state energy companies KazMunaiGaz and China National Petroleum Corp.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev also met with Li, praising cooperation with China and noting, “Today, a significant amount of Kazakh oil is being produced with the participation of Chinese companies.”

Li said ahead of his visit to Kazakhstan, “Sino-Kazakh cooperation is developing rapidly. The volume of trade between the two countries is increasing annually by 20 percent.”

Eurasian Economic Union

Masimov and Nazarbaev’s meetings with Li come after the Kazakh prime minister met in Almaty on December 13 with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, during which the two discussed the impending inauguration of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the affect reduced oil prices have on the countries’ economies.

Medvedev noted the importance of oil since both countries are large exporters and “events are taking place on the oil market, which definitely affects the economic situation.”

Masimov recalled that his country is bidding to hold the Winter Olympic Games and said advice from Russia, where the last Winter Games were held earlier this year, would be very useful for Kazakhstan.

Medvedev met with President Nazarbaev on December 14 to discuss the EEU, which officially comes into existence on January 1 and will group Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Kyrgyzstan is expected to join shortly after.

Nazarbaev expressed confidence trade between the EEU members would expand. The Kazakh president said, in fact, that while trade between the countries had recently decreased in terms of money, it had actually increased in terms of volume.

Medvedev and Li are in Kazakhstan ahead of a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members on December 15.

SCO members are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.