Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ Category

Report: Trump officials tried to fast-track nuclear tech transfer to Saudi Arabia

February 20th, 2019
President Donald Trump is intent on a deal that allows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's government to purchase nuclear technology built by US companies. There's a small problem with that: it's against the law.

Enlarge / President Donald Trump is intent on a deal that allows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's government to purchase nuclear technology built by US companies. There's a small problem with that: it's against the law. (credit: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

An interim report from the staff of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform shows evidence that members of the Trump transition team and administration attempted to push through a plan from a consortium advised by former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn to sell nuclear technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plan would have led to the construction of 40 nuclear power plants and facilities to enrich uranium fuel. The technology, while focused on civil nuclear power, could give the Saudis resources that could be used to build nuclear weapons. The plan would also have pumped billions into a number of US companies involved in the nuclear industry, including the bankrupt nuclear services company Westinghouse Electric—which would have build the reactors.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told NPR's Ari Shapiro in an interview that the details in the report were "bonker-balls…can't come up with a better word. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It's a half-baked, grandiose plan with all kinds of things that could go wrong in it and people screaming at them to stop. And they don't stop."

Despite repeated wave-offs by national security officials, members of the White House team and Trump confidants outside the White House—including Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Trump inauguration committee and a close friend of the president—continued to press forward on the scheme. Barrack, who urged Trump to take on Paul Manafort as his campaign manager, also tried to broker a secret meeting between Manafort and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to a New York Times report.

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Posted in nuclear energy, nuclear proliferation, nuclear technology, nuclear weapons technology, Policy, Saudi Arabia | Comments (0)

France wants Tesla to transform its old nuclear plant into an auto factory

April 6th, 2016

(credit: Florival fr )

Tesla has “no current plans to open a factory in Europe,” a spokesperson for the company told Ars. But that hasn’t stopped French Energy and Environment Minister Ségolène Royal from saying that her best idea for repurposing an old nuclear power plant in northeastern France is to try to convince Tesla to build a factory there for its electric vehicles.

The Fessenheim plant, which sits on the France/Germany border, went into operation in 1978 and is currently operated by French energy company EDF. Today, it’s the oldest working nuclear power plant in France, but after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the French government decided to close the facility by 2017 in the interest of safety. German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported earlier this week that in 2014, a water leak was discovered coming from one of the reactors, but jammed control rods forced EDF to shut the reactor down using unconventional methods. Deutsche Welle says that the incident was played down by EDF in 2014.

Still, many people oppose the closure of the power plant, with Royal noting in previous interviews that the nuclear plant supports some 2,000 jobs. France currently relies on nuclear power to supply 75 percent of its electricity nationwide, but the French government has said it wants to reduce this share to 50 percent by 2025, according to Deutsche Welle.

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Posted in auto manufacturing, cars, Cars Technica, electric, Energy, nuclear energy, Tesla | Comments (0)