A Belgian nuclear power plant may have been the target of an aborted plot by the ISIS cell that carried out this week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, according to Belgian media.
If confirmed, the plot would explain why the country’s two nuclear power plants were all but locked down in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s bombings — without explanation, and despite being miles away from the Brussels facilities under attack.
Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure reported Thursday, based on a police source, that the brothers who died in suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and subway — Khalid and Ibrahim el Bakraoui — had been involved in secret video surveillance of a senior scientist who worked at the Tihange complex.
The newspaper first reported the discovery of the surveillance video in February, from a camera placed in bushes outside the researcher’s suburban home, and recovered under cover of darkness by two men driving without headlights. Fearing a plot to enter the nuclear complex, authorities ramped up security after the discovery, which a police source told the newspaper may have prompted the plotters to seek out softer targets, namely the airport and subway.
Prosecutors did not confirm the latest report, which would account for the extraordinary security measures that went into effect March 22 at Tihange and at Belgium’s other nuclear complex, Doel, outside Antwerp to the north of the capital.
Almost all employees at both facilities were abruptly sent home after the Brussels attacks, amid fears that an “insider” might offer access to terrorists, or, more likely, provide them with material suitable for a “dirty bomb” — a simple explosive used to disperse radioactive material across a wide area, sowing panic. The state broadcaster RTBF reported that 11 workers at Tihange were stripped of access badges since the alert began, four of them after the bombings.
Obama administration officials are declining to provide specific details about an unprecedented upcoming purchase of Iranian nuclear materials, an $8.6 million exchange that is likely to be funded using American taxpayer dollars, according to conversations with multiple administration officials and sources in Congress.
The administration is preparing to purchase from Iran 32 tons of heavy water, a key nuclear material, in a bid to keep Iran in compliance with last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement.
But administration officials have declined to provide specific details to Congress and reporters about how exactly it will pay for the purchase, as well as other information, until the deal has been completed.
The effort to withhold key information about the purchase, which is likely to be paid in some form using U.S. taxpayer dollars, is causing frustration on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources who disclosed to the Washington Free Beaconthat the administration is rebuffing congressional attempts to discern further information about the deal.
Experts further disclosed to the Free Beacon that the exchange is likely to legitimize Iran’s research into plutonium, knowledge that would provide the Islamic Republic with a secondary pathway to a nuclear weapon capability.
Officials from both the Treasury and Energy departments told the Free Beacon that details about the payment are being withheld until the purchase is complete. Iran is expected to deliver the heavy water to the United States in the “coming weeks,” officials confirmed.
“We cannot discuss details of the payment until after the purchase is complete,” a Treasury Department official who was not authorized to speak on record told the Free Beacon. “The Department of Energy’s Isotope Program plans to pay Iran approximately $8.6 million dollars for 32 metric tons of heavy water.”
The administration will use an offshore third party to facilitate the transfer of cash to Iran, according to officials in
I think it's simpler than that. Centrus and Converdyne work at different points in the process to produce nuclear fuel. There are cost synergies in them working together. Also, look at the locations of the Paducah and Metropolis plants. They're twenty minutes apart.
In January, two Chinese state-owned energy companies, China National Offshore Oil Corp. and China General Nuclear Power Corp., signed a strategic cooperation framework pact on offshore oil and nuclear power.
China General Nuclear has been developing a small modular nuclear reactor for maritime use, called the ACPR50S, to provide power for offshore oil and gas exploration and production. It expects to begin building a demonstration project in 2017.
Xu Dazhe, head of China’s atomic safety commission, told reporters in January the floating platforms were in the planning stage and must undergo “strict and scientific demonstrations.”
Chinese naval expert Li Jie told the Global Times the platforms could power lighthouses, defense facilities, airports and harbors in the South China Sea. “Normally we have to burn oil or coal for power,” Li said.
It was important to develop a maritime nuclear power platform as changing weather and ocean conditions presented a challenge in transporting fuel to the distant Spratlys, he added.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas, and is building islands on reefs to bolster its claims. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the waters, through which about $5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.
I saw an analyst yesterday who said Lear was the company most likely to beat Wall Street estimates.
Today Zach's spotlighted it.
It's been on my watchlist for a few weeks, so I bought Monday.
According to Yahoo, there are no institutional investors. Just speculators. Short squeezes are fun and exciting, but eventually it comes down to the fundamentals.Barring a government rescue, Centrus will probably never finish its new plant and get back into enriching uranium. Even if it does, the price of enrichment services has fallen to multi-year lows.
The sad thing is that the people who oppose fracking typically also oppose nuclear power as "dirty" and "polluting" and are typically true believers in man-made global warming. They think we must reduce CO2 or die and then attack the very technologies that could achieve a drop in CO2, while believing taxpayer subsidies to Tesla are good public policy!
BPresident Obama got it exactly wrong when he argued in a Washington Post op-ed that "as the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons, the United States has a moral obligation to continue to lead the way in eliminating them." What he should have written instead was "as the only nation ever to refrain from using nuclear weapons gratuitously when it had the monopoly on such weapons, the United States has the moral authority to lead the way in regulating them."
What gives the US moral authority is bias against a first strike, the improbability of it using nuclear weapons in time of peace. You can be sure the USAF won't nuke Chicago, or Brussels or Kampala tomorrow, even if it physically could, because of civilizational bias. The reason why Obama's unilateral reductions in the American nuclear arsenal as gestures to nuclear disarmament are meaningless is because he's not actually reducing any of the risk. All the danger is on the other side, where the bias goes the other way for aggression, conquest and world domination. That is what he seems unable to reduce.
Despite the large number of combatants involved, the Syrian civil war is quite predictable. (See the chart below showing the perpetrators of civilian deaths in Syria). What drives the system are not the "things" operated by the USAF or the Russian air force but the bias of the Syrian regime for killing people. Bias tells you Assad will kill people tomorrow just as surely as it tells you that the USAF won't bomb Paris.
As a practical matter Assad and Saddam, rather than the aluminum tubes, were the WMD programs. If one wants to control the WMD danger, the only chance is to control bias, not things. It is the toxic regimes of MENA and the proliferation of toxic ideologies which most menace the world.
The reason why statements like "Islam is the religion of peace" or "we will never be at war with Islam" are so dangerous is because they ignore bias.
Iranian officials on Monday accused the United States of violating the recent comprehensive nuclear agreement by working behind the scenes to stop American companies from conducting business with Iran, according to regional media reports.
Iran has been complaining for months that it is not being granted enough sanctions relief under the agreement. These complaints have reportedly pushed the Obama administration to consider offering Iran greater concessions, including access to the U.S. dollar and American financial markets.
However, Iranian officials continue to insist that the Obama administration is violating the deal.
Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Iran’s judiciary chief, “warned” the United States in remarks on Monday, claiming that the administration’s current actions violate the agreement.
“The Americans are now acting in violation of the nuclear agreement,” Larijani was quoted as saying on Monday before high-ranking Iranian officials.
Larijani accused the Obama administration of “pressuring companies which are interested in investment in Iran to withdraw from their decision,” according to reports carried in Iran’s state-controlled media.
“The Americans should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran would never compromise its interests and would never agree with investment of foreign firms in the country at any price, while it enjoys rich resources and abundant talents,” Larijani was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have launched an investigation into Obama administration claims about the deal.
Lawmakers accuse the Obama administration of lying to Congress about the range of concessions granted to Iran and of rewriting the deal in subsequent months to permit Iran to carry out ballistic missile tests.
In a press conference closing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Summit, President Obama claimed he had reduced Russian stockpiles and converted the weapons to nuclear fuel.
He also claimed he had prevented Iran from pursueing nuclear weapons by giving it $50 billion to spend however it sees fit.
The next president will have to clean up this mess.
Seven years ago, Barack Obama probably never imagined that he'd still be commanding American forces in Iraq during the last year of his second term. He certainly had no intention to. One of the decisions the reluctant commander in chief faces today, however, is whether to send more troops to Iraq ahead of a push to retake the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. For months, Obama has managed a stealth escalation in the country so as not to admit to having put "boots on the ground" there. No American troops were in Iraq thanks to Obama's stubborn and disastrous withdrawal in 2011. Now there are 5,000.
Furthermore, the escalation is so bureaucratically top-heavy, our forces there are in danger of being bogged down in the face of a brutal and fast-acting enemy. The Daily Beast headline says it all: "21 Generals Lead [Islamic State] War the U.S. Denies Fighting." The Obama administration has packed Baghdad full of top brass, just as the U.S. military did when it de-escalated World War II, Vietnam and the Cold War. Thus, Obama is trying to start a war while ending it. To fix this mushy and wasteful strategy, his administration needs some, shall we say, "inherent resolve."
On a final note, his re-entry in Iraq is modeled after the Kennedy/Johnson slow escalation in Vietnam. The incremental approach allows the enemy to prepare and counter the fight. After all, Democrats like to use the word "quagmire."
While Obama disarms America...
Russia is doubling the number of its strategic nuclear warheads on new missiles by deploying multiple reentry vehicles that have put Moscow over the limit set by the New START arms treaty, according to Pentagon officials.
A recent intelligence assessment of the Russian strategic warhead buildup shows that the increase is the result of the addition of multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, on recently deployed road-mobile SS-27 and submarine-launched SS-N-32 missiles, said officials familiar with reports of the buildup.
“The Russians are doubling their warhead output,” said one official. “They will be exceeding the New START [arms treaty] levels because of MIRVing these new systems.”
The 2010 treaty requires the United States and Russia to reduce deployed warheads to 1,550 warheads by February 2018.
The United States has cut its warhead stockpiles significantly in recent years. Moscow, however, has increased its numbers of deployed warheads and new weapons.
The State Department revealed in January that Russia currently has exceeded the New START warhead limit by 98 warheads, deploying a total number of 1,648 warheads. The U.S. level currently is below the treaty level at 1,538 warheads.
Officials said that in addition to adding warheads to the new missiles, Russian officials have sought to prevent U.S. weapons inspectors from checking warheads as part of the 2010 treaty.
The State Department, however, said it can inspect the new MIRVed missiles.
Disclosure of the doubling of Moscow’s warhead force comes as world leaders gather in Washington this week to discus nuclear security—but without Russian President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the conclave in an apparent snub of the United States.
The Nuclear Security Summit is the latest meeting of world leaders seeking to pursue President Obama’s 2009 declaration of a world without nuclear arms.
As every ten-year-old who ever got a sweater for a birthday present has been told, “It’s the thought that counts.” That seems to be the guiding principle at the Department of Energy and the California Public Utilities Commission when it comes to solar power.
The latest example is the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. (Note: Solar thermal plants do not use solar panels to directly convert sunshine to electricity, they use sunshine to boil water that then drives conventional turbines.)
Here’s the story so far, Ivanpah:
Is owned by Google, NRG Energy, and Brightsource, who have a market cap in excess of $500 billion
Received $1.6 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy
Is paid four to five times as much per megawatt-hour as natural-gas powered plants
Is paid two to three times as much per megawatt-hour as other solar power producers
Has burned thousands of birds to death
Has delayed loan repayments
Is seeking over $500 million in grants to help pay off the guaranteed loans
Burns natural gas for 4.5 hours each morning to get its mojo going
Brightsource, which is privately held, is owned by a virtual who’s who of those that don’t need subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers.
In spite of all this, Ivanpah has fallen woefully short of its production targets. The managers’ explanation for why production came up 32 percent below expected output was the weather. In addition to raising questions about planning for uncertainty, it is not all that clear how a nine percent drop in sunshine causes a 32 percent drop in production.
More bizarrely, the natural gas used to get the plant all warmed up and ready each day, would be enough to generate over one quarter of the power actually produced from the solar energy. Sorry, let’s not be haters.
"Dirty bombs will be enough to (drive) any big city in the world into panic," Amano said. "And the psychological, economic and political implications would be enormous."
This is thought to be well within the capabilities of extremists. The Islamic State group has already used chemical weapons, CIA director John Brennan told CBS News in February.
Since the mid-1990s, almost 2,800 incidents of illicit trafficking, "unauthorised possession" or loss of nuclear materials have been recorded in an IAEA database. One such incident occurred in Iraq last year.
Only a few involved substances that could be used to make a actual nuclear weapon, but some could be used to create a dirty bomb.
"It is very possible this is the tip of the iceberg," Amano told AFP.
A vital step, he said, would be the entry into force of the arcane-sounding but important 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM).
It is the only legally-binding international undertaking for the physical protection of nuclear material.
Amano said it will reduce the likelihood of a dirty bomb by making it legally binding for countries to protect nuclear facilities and to secure nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport.
Pakistan this week became the latest country to ratify the CPPNM, bringing to just eight the number of adherences still required.
"The weakest link (in nuclear security) is that this amendment. .. has not entered into force. This is a top priority," Amano said, expressing hope that this could happen "in the coming months".
From Alexander Maxwell
Most of the validity argument for Gilead is likely to center around the research that Pharmasset did independent of Merck (Pharmasset was acquired by Gilead in order to bring in Sarvoni and Harvoni). Prior art (in this case prior research) could potentially invalidate Merck's patent by arguing that Merck was not the first company to actually invent this compound.
With the timeline between Merck filing the patent and the research that Pharmasset was doing, this is likely the strongest argument for Gilead. Gilead should also rely upon any other research that may have been available into similar compounds at the time in order to argue that Merck was not the first company in order to invent this compound. The impact would be that if the patent is found invalid by the Court of Appeals, that Gilead would not have to pay any verdict because it has not infringed upon a valid patent.
The second main argument is slightly harder for Gilead to argue. It is very hard to convince a judge to toss out the decision of a jury regarding infringement, and it is very hard to prove that the jury improperly considered the evidence. It is likely that if there was insufficient evidence to at least justify a finding of infringement by the jury, that the case would have been tossed by this point.
GILD loses 10% of its Hep-C revenues but other drugs are unaffected. This means max hit would be 9% or less but GILD still sells at a P/E of 7 so it is already far below a market multiple based on fears of declining Sovaldi sales (market saturation) and increased competition,
Roll the 10% revenue hit into the existing.fears of sales declines and it looks to me like GILD is still ridiculously cheap
Mark Twain once observed "it ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." For years the Republican party projected a standard image of itself, as did the Democratic and their respective adherents confidently saw themselves to be signing up for organizations whose purposes they knew. The last few months have been rather cruel to each party's self-image.
Brussels (AFP) - Belgium security forces tightened security at nuclear plants across the country after deadly attacks in the capital city of Brussels, the Belga news agency said.
"Surveillance is stepped up with added security measures at nuclear plants," the agency reported.
"Vehicles are being checked with police and army on site," the agency added.
In February, investigators probing the Paris attacks found video footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official at the property of a key suspect.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed serious concern while in office in 2010 after learning that North Korea showed an American nuclear scientist a uranium enrichment plant in operation, according to newly released Clinton emails.
Clinton called the development "very disturbing," according to a Nov. 13, 2010, email sent to her deputy chief of staff after he forwarded to her a report that Stanford University professor Siegfried Hecker wrote about his trip to the North that included a visit to the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex.
Hecker said in an email report to Ambassador Sung Kim, special envoy to the six-party talks on the North's nuclear program, as well as to then-special representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth that the visit was a "shocker."
"They took us to Yongbyon and showed us a functioning 2,000 centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in operation and a small (light water reactor) under construction. The technical implications are significant and you understand the political implications better than I do," Hecker said.
Hecker's trip marked the first time that the North had publicly acknowledged the existence of the program and a facility for it, even though the communist nation had long been suspected of seeking a uranium-based nuclear weapons program.
The North has since bolstered its nuclear capabilities and conducted its fourth nuclear test last month, claiming that it successfully conducted its first hydrogen bomb test.