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Putin sends a shiver through Europe

Discussion in 'Legal' started by fedlaw, Jan 2, 2006.

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  1. fedlaw

    fedlaw Member

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...ml&sSheet=/portal/2006/01/02/ixportaltop.html


    As LBJ so nicely put it: "When you have'em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."


    Putin sends a shiver through Europe
    By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
    (Filed: 02/01/2006)

    Russia took Europe to the brink of a winter energy crisis yesterday when it carried out a Cold War-style threat and halted gas deliveries to Ukraine, the main conduit for exports to the West.

    With a quarter of its gas supplied by Russia, Europe is facing serious disruption and price rises for as long as the dispute rumbles on.

    Moscow turned off the tap at 10am after Ukraine refused to sign a new contract with the Russian state monopoly Gazprom quadrupling prices.

    Critics of the Kremlin say the rise was punishment for the Orange Revolution in 2004 which brought in a westward-leaning government that promised to remove Ukraine from the Kremlin's sphere of influence.

    The American State Department said that "such an abrupt stop creates insecurity in the energy sector in the region and raises serious questions about the use of energy to exert political pressure".

    The European Union has called an emergency meeting of energy ministers on Wednesday.

    Britain is less vulnerable than mainland Europe because it does not receive direct supplies from the former Soviet bloc.


    But as other countries seek to shore up their reserves, less gas is likely to be pumped through the pipeline that links the Continent with Britain. That could mean higher prices and, if there is no quick resolution, possible breaks in supplies.

    The European Commission says that most countries have between a week and two months' emergency reserves.

    Ukraine has upset Moscow by pushing to join the EU and Nato. However, Russia insists that the price rise merely brings Ukraine in line with the price that most of Europe pays: about $240 per 1,000 cubic metres.

    President Vladimir Putin adopted almost warlike terms when he spoke on television as the hours ticked by before the ultimatum expired.

    "If no clear response [from Kiev] follows, we will conclude that our proposal has been rejected," he said.

    If Ukraine's reserves run out, it could be tempted to siphon off gas intended for other countries. It claims the right to do so in lieu of transit fees.

    The cut-off coincided with Russia assuming the rotating presidency of the G8 leading industrialised nations.

    In Britain, millions of families started paying higher fuel prices yesterday.

    Scottish and Southern Energy raised prices by 13.6 per cent, adding approximately £50 to the average annual bill, while electricity charges will go up by 12 per cent, or about £30 a year.

    Npower puts its rises into effect today, adding 14.5 per cent for gas and 13.6 per cent for electricity.

    © Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2006.
     
  2. LAK

    LAK Member

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    Yes, but don't worry; our future planners in Washington told us the Cold War was over, and that we will never be engaged in a major war again. And of course Russia is in a pitiful state and can not be a military threat to anyone ;)

    Next thing you know China will be dumping dollars like so much trash, while it continues eating up oil, steel and other resources, and building up it's already substantial military might.

    But don't worry; China is no threat to us ;)
    --------------------------------------------

    http://ussliberty.org
    http://ssunitedstates.org
     
  3. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    While Russia isn' the power it was during the Cold War I wouldn't count them out.

    China is a much bigger threat. They have more then enough people to invade US or Europe and win.

    -Bill
     
  4. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    This is a contract dispute, they'll come around or Putin will send in the muscle.
     
  5. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Welcome to the concept of capitalism, my brothers! It looks like they're quick learners!
     
  6. Phantom Warrior

    Phantom Warrior Member

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    While I think China is an issue to be concerned about how exactly are they going to invade the continental US and win?
     
  7. Satch

    Satch Member

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    Putin

    I hope this sends shivvers through our "learned people in the Senate", that we better start doing something fast and now about developing our many oil and other energy resorses,"Alaska, the Gulf,and yes,even off the west coast of **********",but then I did use the term "learned",. With the people we deal with in the world for our oil,etc., watching how this plays outI look for us to be in trouble :uhoh: before summer,anyone want to bet?
     
  8. Marnoot

    Marnoot Member

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    +1. Their blue-water navy is a joke. Any attempts to transport troops to the US would end in lots of sunk Chinese troop transports not too far off mainland China.
     
  9. agricola

    agricola Member

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    Any chance to make the governments realise the massive dependence we have on fossil fuels and act accordingly to minimize it is welcome. If we weened ourselves off these things this dispute and a good many others would be happening and the Middle East would revert to the irrelevant backwater it was for the last five hundred years.

    As has been noted, this is a contractual dispute where the Ukranians were getting very cheap gas in exchange for allowing the Russians to build a pipeline across Ukraine. They now want market value for that gas and the Ukrainians dont want to pay it, and the only lever the Ukranians have is that they can shut off the pipeline and cost the Russians the money they have been earning from the West. The Russians do have a point but, of course, both the EU and US are trying to pally up to Ukraine and so its the Big Bad Bear that gets all the blame, just as they did when Yushenko got "poisoned" and won the "Orange Revolution" as a result.

    One would imagine that the pipeline dispute will be resolved once prices have gone up enough for the relevant people to make a lot of money as a result.
     
  10. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    Assuming no major technology breakthroughs (like fusion) the only long term solution for the US is to get back into the atomic power business. The environmental people need to really think about how much less pollution we would have from atomic plants. It's hard for me to believe that we can't get together some teams of top engineers and find a safe way to build them. It isn't 1970 anymore and we aren't going to build one without a containment building or something! Just come up with a design that won't do a meltdown even if every drop of coolant is withdrawn. Let's send some engineers over to China to see how their new designs work.

    And yes, you have to do fuel reprocessing as well. That reduces your nuclear waste problem a thousandfold.

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.09/china.html

     
  11. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    From page 3 of the Wired article I linked to above:

     
  12. JJpdxpinkpistols

    JJpdxpinkpistols Member

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    As an "environmental" person, lemme agree...but read on:

    The problem isn't that we *can't* build a safe nuclear power reactor. We *can*. Pebble bed reactors are very stable, and have an incredibly long lifespan. the problem stems from the lowest bidder system.

    Group A undercuts Group B in its bid to build ball valves. The American way is to accept Group A's bid based upon the bottom line. France and Japan chose to evaluate on quality, longevity of the ball valve, and the track records in terms of reliability for parts built by Groups A and B.

    Nuclear accidents are rare in those countries.

    I am not suggesting we nationalize the systems, but in truth, that might not be the worst way to go. Can you guarantee to me that the Group A isn't out to *just* make a buck? If Enron had happened at a nuke plant, just how many safeguards would have been skimped on?

    If we decide to forgo the least cost option on nuclear infrastructure, I think we could make a REALLY good case for using nuclear power.
     
  13. Firehand

    Firehand Member

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    Ref China, the big threat isn't an invasion of the U.S., it's damage to the Pacific fleet and domination of the Pacific Rim countries.

    They've been building their navy up for years, including buying subs from Russia; they're not nearly the joke they used to be.
     
  14. jnojr

    jnojr Member

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    China isn't going to "invade" the US. I suppose it is possible that they might, at some point, "invade" Europe... but they'd have to go through Russia and Asia to do it.

    But they don't need to. They're likely to win an economic war. Why go to the ruinous expense of fighting and beating someone militarily if you have an economic noose around their necks?

    I will not be surprised to see China as "the" economic, if not overall, superpower during my lifetime.
     
  15. atomchaser

    atomchaser Member

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    Any nuclear technology the Chinese have they either bought or stole from the US or Europe. Pebble bed reactors have been around for more then 20 years. They were developed as part of the strategic defense initiative. The South Africans have commericalized it as well. Nuclear power electric generation couple with Hydrolysis of water to make hydrogen for vehicles is the way forward. As far as someones comment about low bid components in US reactors -- that was the 70's. If you look at the standards for US plants today they are extreme. The proof is in the reliability factors for US plants over the last 10 years. Plants now routinely go 18-24 months between refueling outages.




     
  16. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    If you think US companies are the only ones that succomb to budget pressures, you are sadly mistaken. I work for a company that run industrial plants. I am in the maintenance group. We make decisions all the time to get equipment that will work better and longer rather than just cheaper. It is almost always cheaper in the long run to build something better rather than cheaper. The key in my mind is to make sure the people operating and maintaining the plant have a serious part in the design and construction.

    Our construction group does the same decision making, they just don't always have the experience of long term maintenance. It is all in using the right design standards and identifying where your vulnerabilities are. It take time and effort to get that right.
     
  17. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    We do have some illegal Chinese imgrentes here. All they have to do is sneak enough solders here as illegals.

    Come to think of Mexico could(or is) do the same thing.

    -Bill
     
  18. Medusa

    Medusa Member

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    Well, Russia is definite threat as we share the border and have had enough nags throughout centuries (a lot of them). Besides Russia has it's own issues with my country. You know, we have beaten the russians a lot of times and before WW2 we kicked their ass good (and invaded some of the soviet's land, which is now sadly back at them, along with a little piece of ours). That was a sad war, though, and cost dearly. And then with the collapse of soviet union we beat them again. Soviets wanted to send in tanks to keep things calm, but local soviet airforce commander (we had Tu-22M3-s with nuke cruise missiles (btw folks say that couple of those went left) and other strike aircraft) told the mother russia that if the soviet tanks are seen then he will launch every piece of equipment at them (we got the freedom by threatening the soviets and it worked). Russia tries every trick to get us back. This looks like a powerplay to put pressure on Europe to get upper hand in future negotiations.
     
  19. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    They have electricity in China ....?????? :p

    :D
     
  20. .41Dave

    .41Dave Member

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    The problem with nuclear power is that everyone is now recognizing this at the same time. Nuclear reactors are powered only by uranium and there is only a finite amount of uranium available; to put it mildly at current production there is not going to be enough uranium to power all the new plants that are going to come online in the next few years. In fact we could hit a brick wall as early as 2007.

    Russia understands this problem and has already cut back on the amount of Uranium it exports. Japan for their part has decided to stockpile up to five years worth of Uranium supplies and China's known uranium reserves stand at 77,000 tons. China has enough Uranium to power existing reactors for approximately 46 years however they are building so many new reactors that they will need substantially larger amount of uranium soon. It is interesting to note that they always seem to plan for the future and this can be seen by the amount of uranium they have put aside to power their current nuclear plants. If India, Russia and other nuclear nations decide to adapt the same strategy things could really get ugly as several dozen new plants are set to come online over the course of the next decade ;for all we know they might have already started to hoard supplies. What happens when every country in the world that has nuclear energy decides its time to hoard five years or more worth of uranium? In 2005 alone it is estimated that demand will outstrip supply by over 99 million pounds (the figures change from source to source, however the key thing to remember is that we are already experiencing a shortage without the additional 30-45 new plants that are set to be built all over the world in the next 10 years).



    Shortages of uranium could get so bad that it could precipitate a war between rivalling nations and then prices could hit unheard of levels. We are entering a new paradigm and the only real solution to avoid unimaginable prices in uranium and possible wars is for someone to come up with a new clean and cheap energy source or for nations to spend billions of dollars in exploration and for the development of new mines. Even if they start today there is still going to be about a lag period of over two years; currently no nation has embarked on such a program yet.
     
  21. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    Read the Wired article I linked to. It gives the history. The Germans tried to make it work. The South Africans have been trying since 1993. The Chinese "just did it." They are trying to make them fairly small and modular. So they are going to have a basic design and then they can be assembled anywhere in the country where they need more electricity.

    But the article talks about that. The thesis is that the US went with the "submarine" model of atomic power. It requires MUCH higher levels of maintenance. If you make a mistake, bad things happen. Everything has to be triple redundant. The pebbles model lets you have a reactor that can just be allowed to "run itself out" in an emergency even if 100% of the coolent is released/leaks/whatever.

    Which design of reactor would you want to have ten miles from your house?

    Do NOT kid yourself about the Chinese. They are acting nationally with a long range vision that is the total opposite of the way the US government works. If you think they are some kind of backward country or something, you haven't seen what their major cities look like now. They look a lot more like Tokyo than anything else! Russia WISHES they were developing with the long term vision that China is displaying. They are taking all that foreign money they are bringing in and putting it into their infrastructure rather than just wasting it on luxuries. They ARE going to be a top three economic superpower and it isn't going to take long.

    Gregg
     
  22. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Once again, the laws of supply and demand confound national "leaders" all over the world.
     
  23. Koobuh

    Koobuh Member

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    Wait, what?

     
  24. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    To these, should they successfully land a force, would be opposed a militia amounting to near a hundred million American citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular Chinese troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of our country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several despotic nations of Asia, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Asia would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.
     
  25. Burt Blade

    Burt Blade Member

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    Reactors only run on Uranium? Nonsense!

    Plutonium works just fine for reactors. It is a normal byproduct of Uranium fueled reactors. You can make more Plutonium fuel from U238 (the non-fissile isotope of Uranium) or from Thorium. This is done in a specially-designed reactor called a breeder reactor. The surplus neutrons from the core are allowed to bombard U238 or Thorium added around the core. The neutron bombardment induces a nuclear transmutation of the target materials into one of the useful Plutonium isotopes. The new fuel is separated out through a simple electrochemical process. This is _vastly_ easier and cheaper than the isotope separation required to remove the non-fissile U238 from the fissile U235 isotope.

    Plutonium is actually the fuel of choice in high power or small size applications. Once you make the initial investment in the first few Uranium reactors, you can switch to a Plutonium system and refuel via a couple of breeder piles. You then can use _all_ of the Uranium, not just the 1/2 of 1% that is U235, and plutonium becomes a consumable fuel, not a long term waste problem.

    Through efficient reprocessing of spent fuel, you end up "burning off" the most hazardous long-term isotopes in the cores of your reactors, and make reprocessing simple and potentially an on-site task. Careful design puts the whole process in one industrial complex, eliminating the need to move hazardous or weapons-useful stuff around in trucks.

    The system rewards efficiency. Every particle of Plutonium extracted from the waste end of the cycle is that much less fuel material one must purchase or make. Putting the phases of the cycle side-by-side drastically reduces the safety issues, by keeping all the hot stuff under a stable containment structure. There is a heck of an incentive to figure out how to use that neutron bombardment setup in the breeder core to zap the radwaste into more useful (fuel) or less hazardous (short half-life) isotopes.

    We have had this capability for 60 years, but the Luddites and "Greens" want you shivering in the dark.
     
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