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Le Creusot red
Power and Symbolism for Putin? Symbolic Power? The old Creusot Forge. There was an attempt to set up a “Le Creusot Commune”, along with the Paris Commune, which inspired Karl Marx: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune Lenin used the aftermath of the Paris Commune to justify harsh treatment of enemies. Rosatom answers to Putin. Putin is a product of Communist Russia and its KGB.

If you thought things couldn’t get worse: Russia State owned Rosatom wants to help bail-out French State owned Areva warns Reuters: “Rosatom says could consider equity stake in Areva“. Posted:Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:09:48 -0500. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/utilitiesNews/~3/yx0n95iavPQ/rosatom-areva-idUSL5N1EM211. Rosatom answers more directly to Putin, than some Russian state owned entities: “State Corporations are not obliged to submit to public authorities documents accounting for activities (except for a number of documents submitted to the Russian government) and, as a rule, are subordinate not to the government, but to the Russian president,…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-owned_enterprise#RussiaRosatom is the only vendor in the world able to offer the nuclear industry’s entire range of products and services. It runs all nuclear assets of the Russian Federation, both civil and weapons.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosatom

French State owned Areva is very active in the US and throughout the world, and is plagued by potentially defective nuclear parts and related liability. (A lot on this topic may be found by doing a search on our blog for Areva.)

As succinctly explained by the Financial Times: “Areva is preparing to split off its uranium mining and nuclear fuel activities into NewCo as part of a government-backed rescue after the group was forced to the brink of collapse under the weight of its own debt this year.“. (Ft. com, 15 Dec 16). https://nuclear-news.net/category/2-world/europe/france-europe-2-world-area

NuClear News neatly summarizes Areva-Le Creusot Forge’s dangerous nuclear woes: “… investigators discovered files suggesting Le Creusot employees had concealed for decades manufacturing problems involving hundreds of components sold to customers around the world,…“. And so “the French regulator, ASN, ordered Areva to check 6,000 manufacturing files by hand, covering every nuclear part made at Le Creusot since the 1960s.” In addition: “Finnish inspectors visiting Le Creusot said they learned of potential flaws in a component slated for the reactor at Olkiluoto. In the U.S., the NRC has identified at least nine nuclear plants that use large components from Le Creusot.“NuClear News No 91, Jan 2017 https://nuclear-news.net/category/2-world/europe/france-europe-2-world-area/

Meanwhile, a longtime Greenpeace activist recently had his house raided by the French State and they even took family photos: “State Repression Against Greenpeace Antinuclear French Activist Yannick Rousselet“. https://nuclear-news.net/2016/12/19/state-repression-against-greenpeace-antinuclear-french-activist-yannick-rousselet/

And, just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse, it may. In step the Russians who have always been weirdly close to the French. It appears that Russian aristocrats found haven in France, and then there were the ties between the French Communist Party and Russia, which apparently didn’t wane, despite Stalin’s atrocities. One cannot, and one must not, forget that President Putin is a product of the Soviet Union. Putin was around forty years old when the Soviet Union officially ended. His grandfather was allegedly cook for Lenin and Stalin. The USSR was a totalitarian, state capitalist, system – Russia apparently hasn’t changed so much.

Russian State owned Rosatom is probably the biggest nuclear pusher, certainly only second to French State owned Areva and then there is Japan’s Toshiba. Those are the big three. Apparently even some anti-nuclear activists have fallen prey to Putin’s charm, and PR schemes, forgetting Rosatom and forgetting Putin’s years as a KGB officer where he probably has a cultivated a gentle grandfather look. Even when looking at people he despises he has that looking at a cute puppy look.

Luckily the late Michael Mariotte wasn’t fooled and stood up for Russian activists: “Ecodefense was instrumental in stopping construction of the Baltic Nuclear Plant near Kaliningrad, Russia. Now, the Russian government wants to shut down Ecodefense… Ecodefense and its leader Vladimir Slivyak have consistently refused to accept the “foreign agent” label and have refused to pay fines associated with its unwillingness to accept that label“. as explained by the very much missed late Michael Mariotte of NIRS: https://safeenergy.org/2015/07/23/russias-ecodefense-ignores-russian

From OpenDemocracy.net:
Atomic energy and political power in Russia
In Russia, the space for environmental activism and advocacy is changing under increasing state pressure. An interview with one of Russia’s leading ecological organisations about the prospects for anti-nuclear activism today. Русский

In the coming days, much of the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia is likely to focus on the 30-year anniversary and commemorations of it. The same may be said of reporting in Ukraine and Belarus, countries directly affected by the ramifications of Chernobyl.

Fewer are likely to examine the current state of nuclear energy in these countries or their industries’ enduring weaknesses and defects — let alone advancements in terms of safety. Several decades after a disaster as critical as this one, it is important to question why a viable narrative for a post-nuclear Russia, let alone a post-nuclear Ukraine or Belarus, has failed to gain traction and support in a region blighted by its nuclear heritage.

Never has challenging the nuclear industry and societal consensus in Russia been so difficult or dangerous

Most of the commemorations and coverage surrounding the Chernobyl anniversary are likely to overlook those in Russia advocating and fighting for such a narrative to win acceptance in society, as well as the difficulties and dangers they must endure in doing so. Indeed, never has challenging the nuclear industry and societal consensus in Russia been so difficult or dangerous: activists find themselves squeezed within a political environment heavily supportive of nuclear energy, while also operating amid escalating anti-NGO repression and rhetoric.

Ecodefence! is one such organisation. Founded in 1989, Ecodefence! is known for its successful campaigns to end the import of radioactive waste to Russia and the construction of nuclear reactors in Kaliningrad among other regions.

In 2014, Ecodefence became the first ecological organisation in Russia entered into the register of “foreign agents”. This was done at the order of Russia’s Ministry of Justice due to the organisation’s “opposition to the construction of nuclear power plants”.

As part of oDR’s coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we contacted Vladimir Slivyak and Nailya Ibragimova, two prominent anti-nuclear activists with Ecodefence!, to talk about their perspectives in the age of post-Chernobyl anti-nuclear activism, and particularly their Chernobyl+30 campaign, a new plan to raise awareness among young people in Russia.

oDR: What challenges are faced by today’s generation of anti-nuclear activists in Russia? How has anti-nuclear activism changed since the 1990s?

Vladimir Slivyak: It’s quite a large difference. At the start of the 1990s, there were many more people involved in a wider variety of activities. The government and nuclear industry were in crisis, they weren’t building new power plants. By the 2000s, the movement had shrunk and become less active, though possibly more successful.

Regardless of its decline, the ecological movement played a significant role in halting the construction of at least two large power plants — one near Murom in central Russia, and another in the Kaliningrad region.

“Atomic energy has practically become an instrument of political power for the Russian authorities”

As these projects would have cost approximately 15 billion dollars, this was a serious blow to the nuclear industry. They also stopped the import of radioactive waste from western Europe by several Russian firms.

Nailya Ibragimova: The Russian government’s pressure on ecological movements has increased over the past ten years. In 2012, a law was passed on “foreign agents”, a category which included practically all organisations that criticised atomic energy.

Today, ecological movements are under serious threat from the government, which has a strong interest in the development of atomic industry and the construction of new nuclear power plants in Russia and abroad.

Slivyak: Atomic energy has practically become an instrument of political power for the Russian authorities. It is used in expanding Russia’s international influence and in the fight against international sanctions. 

So, despite sanctions, the Russian government has offered a number of European states to construct new nuclear power plants, promising to pay for these projects from Russia’s state budget. 

When it’s said that atomic energy is not a political issue, that’s complete nonsense. As ecological groups interfere with these plans, they come under serious pressure from the state.

We recently published a report, The Imitation of Success, which details the activities of the state energy company Rosatom. It also deals with many of these questions. 

oDR: What civil initiatives could be the most effective for drawing attention to issues surrounding nuclear energy? What key questions are most likely to raise interest among the public and politicians, and to what extent?

Slivyak: There is quite a clash in positions on atomic energy — on the one hand, activists believe that nuclear power plants are unacceptably dangerous, that they simply should not be built and that the money would be better spent on developing renewable energy.

The authorities, on the other hand, want to develop nuclear energy whatever the conditions. There cannot be any cooperation; these positions are too well-entrenched and cannot be changed.

However, the position of the authorities can gradually change — due to rising costs and opposition from the population, they will eventually have to decommission old nuclear plants

Activists are defending the public interest, and as such cannot change their position, as that would be a betrayal of Russian citizens. However, the position of the authorities can gradually change — due to rising costs and opposition from the population, they will eventually have to decommission old nuclear plants. And when that happens, questions about the disposal of nuclear waste — and about nuclear power in general — will arise.

Both options are very costly, and will be paid for by the taxpayer. The technology to safely isolate nuclear waste while it remains dangerous does not yet exist.“. https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/editors-of-opendemocracy-russia-vladimir-slivyak-nailya-ibragimova/atomic-energy-and-polit (Emphasis our own; See original pictures and more at link).

UPDATE 1-Rosatom says could consider equity stake in Areva
Posted:Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:09:48 -0500
PARIS, Dec 27 (Reuters) – Russian nuclear group Rosatom would be interested in taking an equity stake in French peer Areva if the French government allows it, a top Rosatom executive said on Tuesday.