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b1g_brothr 12 posts  |  Last Activity: Mar 15, 2014 10:37 AM Member since: Jan 28, 1999
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  • TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities have prevented attempted sabotage at the country's heavy water nuclear reactor, a senior official said Saturday without giving specifics as to the nature of the attempted disruption or its suspected initiator.

    Iran has also said that it discovered tiny timed explosives planted on centrifuges but disabled them before they could go off. Authorities now claim the Islamic Republic is immune to cyberattacks.

    The country has also reported computer virus attacks on its oil facilities, including one in 2012 that disabled Internet connections between the Oil Ministry, oil rigs and a major export facility.

    The U.S. and its allies fear Iran may be able to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charges, saying its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity and producing medical radio isotopes to treat cancer patients.

  • b1g_brothr b1g_brothr Mar 12, 2014 9:45 AM Flag

    Highly sensitive areas of the electrical grid were found to be lightly monitored, leaving them vulnerable to attack, according to the report.

    “The electrical grid—a network of power generating plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution lines—is inherently vulnerable,” the report said.

    “Transmission substations are critical links in the electrical grid, making it possible for electricity to move long distances and serving as hubs for intersecting power lines,” according to the report. “Many of the grid’s important components sit out in the open, often in remote locations, protected by little more than cameras and chain-link fences.”

    While the incidents are greatly concerning to security officials—and remain mostly unsolved—the ROIC “currently does not have enough information to classify the New Jersey incidents listed [in the report] as indicative of pre-operational activity or connect them to a pattern,” according to the report, which does not discount this possibility.

    However, the incidents of grid tampering are not isolated to New Jersey.

    An unidentified individual in Tucson, Ariz., in January, “removed multiple bolts from an electric tower’s support structure, increasing the potential for collapse and electrical service interruption.”

    Authorities suspect that the goal was “sabotage rather than vandalism” due to the “deliberate manner of the bolt removal, including probable acquisition of the requisite tools,” the report said.

    In April 2013, “unknown subject(s) fired multiple shots at an electrical transmission substation” in San Jose, Calif., “damaging several transformers,” the report notes.

    Surveillance video of the incident shows sparks flying across the compound as bullets strike the substation.

    “Authorities subsequently discovered intentionally cut fiber optic cables in a manhole,” according to the report. “No motive or suspects have been identified.”

  • USEC might have lost out on the loan guarentee for the ACP because of the damage sustained during a blackout, so this is interesting...
    Electric grid compounds across the country have faced an uptick in unauthorized intrusions by unknown individuals, causing concern that the U.S. grid is “inherently vulnerable” to widespread sabotage, according to a recent oversight report issued by New Jersey’s Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), which monitors the threat level.

    Following at least eight “reports of intrusions at electrical grid facilities in New Jersey” from October 2013 until January 2014, the ROIC’s Intelligence & Analysis Threat Unit issued a report warning that the U.S. electrical grid is “inherently vulnerable” to attacks that could wipe out power across large swaths of the country.

    The ROIC report, released in late February, is marked as “unclassified” but designated “for official use only.” New Jersey State Police Spokesman Trooper Jeff Flynn confirmed that a report of this nature had been commissioned by ROIC when contacted by the Washington Free Beacon.

    The multiple incidents of “sabotage” and crime outlined in the report “highlight the grid’s vulnerabilities to potential threats,” according to a copy of the report obtained by the Free Beacon.

    U.S. officials and experts have increasingly warned over the years that the electrical grid could be a prime target for terrorists or others seeking to damage the country’s infrastructure and disrupt daily life.

    The concern is that many of the incidents outlined in the ROIC report could be a sign that preparations are under away for a larger, coordinated attack on the grid.

    Highly sensitive areas of the electrical grid were found to be lightly monitored, leaving them vulnerable to attack, according to the report.

    “The electrical grid—a network of power generating plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution lines—is inherently vulnerable,” the report said.

  • b1g_brothr b1g_brothr Mar 3, 2014 7:46 PM Flag

    Walter Russel Mead
    Here’s the rub. When Ukraine escaped from the Soviet Union in 1990, Soviet nukes from the Cold War were still stationed on Ukrainian territory. After a lot of negotiation, Ukraine agreed to return those nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for what (perhaps naively) its leaders at the time thought would be solid security guarantees from the United States and the United Kingdom. The “Budapest Memorandum” as this agreement is called, does not in fact require the United States to do very much. We can leave Ukraine twisting in the wind without breaking our limited formal obligations under the pact.

    If President Obama does this, however, and Ukraine ends up losing chunks of territory to Russia, it is pretty much the end of a rational case for non-proliferation in many countries around the world. If Ukraine still had its nukes, it would probably still have Crimea. It gave up its nukes, got worthless paper guarantees, and also got an invasion from a more powerful and nuclear neighbor.

    The choice here could not be more stark. Keep your nukes and keep your land. Give up your nukes and get raped. This will be the second time that Obama administration policy has taught the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are important things to have. The Great Loon of Libya gave up his nuclear program and the west, as other leaders see it, came in and wasted himThe Great Loon of Libya gave up his nuclear program and the west, as other leaders see it, came in and wasted him.

    It is almost unimaginable after these two powerful demonstrations of the importance of nuclear weapons that a country like Iran will give up its nuclear ambitions. Its heavily armed, #$%$-persecuting neighbor Pakistan has a hefty nuclear arsenal and Pakistan’s links with Iran’s nemesis and arch-rival Saudi Arabia grow closer with every passing day. What piece of paper could Obama possibly sign that would replace the security that Iran can derive from nuclear weapons?

  • b1g_brothr by b1g_brothr Feb 26, 2014 3:41 PM Flag

    Washington Examiner Op-Ed:
    In the weeks since the November accord was announced, we have seen troubling signs that this deal -- which effectively recognizes Iran as a threshold nuclear state -- will not bring the peace everyone wants. Rather, it leads us down the path to a nuclear-armed Iran.

    Iran continues its research and development on advanced centrifuges and its ballistic missiles system, with the bulk of its nuclear infrastructure intact. With its economy on the mend, Iran has announced it is building a new generation of advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment, as its research and development on future centrifuges continues unabated.

    Just days before talks were set to resume, Iran this past week successfully test fired two missiles, including a long-range ballistic weapon. Iran is now threatening to send warships to the Atlantic Ocean, and will travel close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time.

    Let us be clear: The interim agreement did not suspend Iran’s uranium enrichment. Its most enriched uranium is being turned into uranium oxide – a chemical process that is completely and easily reversible. (One commentator said it was like putting it in a safe where Iran has the key.) Significantly, the accord also does not dismantle a single one of Iran’s nearly 20,000 centrifuges. And Iran’s leadership says they have no intention of ever doing so.

    “The iceberg of sanctions is melting while our centrifuges are also spinning,” Iran’s nuclear chief boasts, calling it “our country’s greatest achievement.”

    In the meantime, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's message is that Iran is open for business.

    After years of sanctions, there are now initial indications of an Iranian economic recovery as a result of changing market expectations and a shifting market psychology. Indeed, the economic sanctions against Iran – which were the West’s strongest leverage and were what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place -- are dead.

  • Performance
    U.S. reactors' 2013 capacity factor increased 4.5 percentage points over the previous year to 90.9 percent. That includes two units at San Onofre that did not operate at all, as well as the Fort Calhoun plant that was shut down for most of the year. Excluding those units, the capacity factor was 92.1 percent in 2013, which saw 51 refueling outages.
    The NEI also broke down generating costs for 2012. Across the U.S. reactor fleet, excluding Kewaunee and the units offline for major repairs, costs averaged $44.17 per megawatt hour. Multi-unit plants enjoyed a significant advantage, with costs averaging $39.44 per MWh, compared to $50.54 at single-unit plants. Average costs have grown steadily and outpaced inflation in the last decade. They increased from 39.69 per MWh in 2010 and 41.85 in 2011. Nonetheless, the NEI was quick to point out that among capital costs, more than half of the expense in 2012 went to power uprates and license renewals that add value to the plants.
    Three reactors closed last year at San Onofre and Crystal River because of costly mechanical problems. But a fourth reactor at Kewaunee was closed solely for market reasons, as will the Vermont Yankee at the end of this year. According to the Energy Information Administration, natural gas prices reached a monthly low for 2013 at $4.03 per thousand cubic feet. Last year's prices were well above 2012's low of $2.81 but still made natural gas generation a cheaper alternative to some single-unit nuclear plants. By NEI's estimates, a new combined-cycle gas plant can generate power at $50.10 per MWh when gas costs $4.
    NEI CEO Marvin Fertel, though, argued that recent years' power pricing in unregulated markets did not factor in the long-term benefits of grid stability or the smaller carbon footprint nuclear plants offer.
    “The decisions to close Kewaunee and Vermont Yankee were perfectly rational business decisions for the companies operating the plants in those markets."

  • Reply to

    Update on Idaho Enrichment Plant

    by lewis_whokeyser Feb 24, 2014 5:40 PM
    b1g_brothr b1g_brothr Feb 24, 2014 6:08 PM Flag

    The loan guarantee only goes into effect if the company defaults. I'm guessing Areva never took out the loan because it never built the promised plant. DOE could officially cancel the Areva loan and reallocate the money to USEC, but I haven't heard anybody pushing for that.

  • BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday it was "extremely concerned" by a report that Japan has resisted returning to the United States more than 300 kg (660 lb) of mostly weapons-grade plutonium, the latest dispute between the two Asian neighbors.

    Japan's Kyodo news agency said that Washington had pressed Japan to give back the nuclear material which could be used to make up to 50 nuclear bombs. Japan had resisted, but finally given in to U.S. demands, it added.

    The material was bought for research purposes during the 1960s and the two governments will likely reach an official agreement on its return at the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague in March, an official at Japan's Education Ministry said.

    China is involved in a bitter territorial dispute with Japan and has warned Japan is trying to re-arm.

    "China believes that Japan, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, ought to rigorously respect its international commitments to nuclear safety and non-proliferation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

    Note: Japan should learn from Israel's experience and refuse to turn the material over to the Obama Administration. China is building up there arsenal and threatening its neighbors and Obama responds by easing sanctions on Iran.

  • Iranian oil exports soared in January, hitting new highs just months after the United States consented to billions of dollars in economic sanctions relief under the interim nuclear deal.

    Exports of Iranian crude oil jumped to 1.32 million barrels, up from December's high of 1.06 million barrels, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

    The spike in exports-mainly to Japan, China, and India-has helped Iran's once-ailing economy stabilize and decrease inflation.

    Iranian oil exports have steadily risen since negotiations with the West restored confidence in Tehran's economy. The increase runs counter to a promise by the Obama administration that "Iran's oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day."

    The significant rise in oil exports has led some experts to accuse the Obama administration of misleading the public about the amount of sanctions relief provided under the interim nuclear deal.

    While the White House said Iran would receive no more than $7 billion in relief, these experts say that the rise in oil exports and other economic spikes will give Iran "well more than $20 billion."

    "These numbers ... cast doubt on the accuracy of the administration's estimates for sanctions relief," former Ambassador Mark Wallace, CEO of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, said in a statement. "The $6 or $7 billion estimate does not take into account the tens of billions of dollars Iran will reap from increased oil sales."

    "It is becoming more and more evident that the Geneva deal provided Iran with disproportionate sanctions relief, in exchange for far less significant concessions regarding its nuclear program," Wallace said.

  • Reply to

    I am Not Happy with the earning why?

    by alicante_2001us Feb 11, 2014 8:20 AM
    b1g_brothr b1g_brothr Feb 11, 2014 2:15 PM Flag

    You are mistaken. Revenue has increased in each quarter.
    Check the Income Statement and click on Quarterly Data.

    Period Ending Sep 30, 2013 Jun 30, 2013 Mar 31, 2013 Dec 31, 2012
    Total Revenue 42,008 39,749 37,313 33,616

  • Reply to

    Attack on electric grid raises alarm

    by b1g_brothr Feb 7, 2014 2:30 PM
    b1g_brothr b1g_brothr Feb 9, 2014 6:47 AM Flag

    From WA Times:
    This underreported story deserved national attention when it happened nearly a year ago owing to major implications for electric-power grid vulnerability to terrorist attack.

    The FBI must have read the White House memo that the war on terrorism is over. It says there is “no evidence” the attack was by terrorists. Never mind that a U.S. Navy SEAL team that investigated found it was highly professional, like a military operation.

    Never mind that the attackers also knew how to cut telephone cables, understood the importance and vulnerability of transformers, and sprayed them with AK-47 fire, the favorite assault rifle of rogue states and terrorists.

    The perpetrators, whoever they were, got away clean, and nearly a year later they have not been apprehended by the FBI.

    Whoever attempted to sabotage the San Jose electric substation, whether or not they were terrorists, the incident should be a wake-up call to federal and state governments, and to the electric-power industry, that much more needs to be done to protect the grid.

    Six months after the San Jose attack, on Oct. 29, a terrorist drug cartel called the Knights Templar, sabotaged the power grid in Mexico’s Michoacan state, plunging 420,000 people into blackout, cutting off communications and help from federal authorities. They took advantage of the isolation to publicly execute town and village leaders opposed to the drug trade.

    The bad guys are learning that the electric grid is a key societal vulnerability.

    Those of us who want to protect the national grid need to make common cause and not get distracted over whether our efforts should focus primarily on kinetic attacks or cyberattacks, or on an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the sun, or from nuclear or non-nuclear weapons. We need to protect the grid from all the above.

    A former director of the CIA in May 2013, warned that military plans by Iran, North Korea, China and Russia would not be limited to cyberattacks.

  • Shooters armed with assault rifles and some knowledge of electrical utilities have prompted new worries on the vulnerability of California's vast power grid.

    A 2013 attack on an electric substation near San Jose that nearly knocked out Silicon Valley's power supply was initially downplayed as vandalism by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the facility's owner. Gunfire from semiautomatic weapons did extensive damage to 17 transformers that sent grid operators scrambling to avoid a blackout.

    But this week, a former top power regulator offered a far more ominous interpretation: The attack was terrorism, he said, and if circumstances had been just a little different, it could have been disastrous.

    Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission when the shooting took place, said that attack was clearly executed by well-trained individuals seeking to do significant damage to the area, and he fears it was a test run for an even larger assault.

    "It would not be that hard to bring down the entire region west of the Rockies if you, in fact, had a coordinated attack like this against a number of substations," Wellinghoff said Thursday. "This [shooting] event shows there are people out there capable of such an attack."

    Wellinghoff's warning about the incident at PG&E's Metcalf substation was reported this week by the Wall Street Journal, expanding on a December report by Foreign Policy magazine.

    FBI officials said they are taking the shooting very seriously.

    "Based on the information we have right now, we don't believe it's related to terrorism," said Peter Lee, an FBI spokesman in San Francisco. But, he added, "Until we understand the motives, we won't be 100% sure it's not terrorism."

    Months after the shooting, the bureau has named no suspects.

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