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Russia

Russia's Nuke Plants: A Disaster Waiting To Happen?

A new report by Russian atomic power agency Rosatam paints a grim picture of the country's aging nuclear power plants, which are ill-prepared for earthquakes and other natural phenomena.

Russia is hoping its nuke plants don't go the way of Chernobyl (above) disaster
Russia is hoping its nuke plants don't go the way of Chernobyl (above) disaster

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

Understaffed, poorly designed and in disrepair, Russia's nuclear power plants may well be ticking time bombs, a report acquired this week by Switzerland's Le Temps suggests.

The report, authored by the Russian nuclear agency, Rosatam, says the country's nuclear facilities suffer from 31 serious security flaws. Among other things, Russia's atomic energy plants are ill-prepared for the type of natural disasters that recently affected the Fukushima plant in Japan. Designers did not take into account the risk of earthquakes when planning the facilities in Russia, according to the Rosatam report.

What is even more worrying is that some of Russia's nuclear facilities were modeled on the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which exploded in April 1986 releasing large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere. In addition, most of the nuclear plants don't have automatic shutdown mechanisms, which are supposed to function whenever a natural catastrophe takes place. The cooling systems in several plants have many weaknesses, and overall, Russian nuclear plants lack safety inspectors and qualified maintenance and repair staff, the Rostama report revealed.

Le Temps received the scathing Rostama study fromBellona, a Norwegian environmental organization. The report has been sent to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. In commissioning the report, says Ole Harbitz, head of the crisis commission for the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (Statens strålevern), President Medvedev demonstrated that he is taking the risk of natural disasters more seriously following the Fukushima accident.

Read the full article in French by Antoine Jacob.

Photo - Timm Suess

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Overselling The Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal Is One More Putin Scam

Moscow and Kyiv reached a much hailed accord in July to allow transport of Ukrainian agricultural output from ports along the Black Sea. However, analysis from Germany's Die Welt and Ukraine's Livy Bereg shows that it has done little so far to solve the food crisis, and is instead being used by Putin to advance his own ambitions.

Vladimir Putin inspecting the wheat harvesting at the village of Vyselki, Krasnodar Territory in 2009.

Oleksandr Decyk, Christian Putsch

-Analysis-

Brokered by Turkey on July 22, the Grain Deal between Russia and Ukraine ensured the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the country's largest sea ports. Exports by sea of grains and oilseeds have been increasing. Optimistic reports, featuring photos of the first deliveries to Africa, are circulating about how the risk of a global food crisis has been averted.

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But a closer look shows a different story. The Black Sea ports are not fully opened, which will impact not only Ukraine. The rest of the world can expect knock-on effects, including potentially hunger for millions. Indeed, a large proportion of the deliveries are not going to Africa at all.

As with other reported "breakthroughs" in the war, Vladimir Putin has other objectives in mind — and is still holding on to all his cards.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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