Iran's First Nuclear Power Plant Comes Online
In spite of the Western mainstream media’s continual provocation of the idea that there’s a looming war with Iran over its nuclear energy program, the country has gone ahead and brought its first nuclear reactor online. The Bushehr nuclear power plant started feeding energy into the Iranian power grid on September 12, 2011. The 1,000 megawatt plant is generating electricity at only 40 percent of its total capacity, but will reach full capacity by the end of the year pending further tests.
It was not so long ago that former U.S. president George W. Bush condemned Iran as a part of the “Axis of Evil,” a term that should frankly have never been coined and used so liberally in political discourse. Iran’s pursuit of a peaceful civilian nuclear energy program is compliant under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Iran is a signatory. The country has also been forthcoming with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in allowing inspectors to comb the nuclear facilities for safety hazards and weapons threats. The IAEA has reported that no evidence of weapons development is apparent at the facilities.
In 1995, Russia signed a $1 billion contract for the development of the Bushehr nuclear plant. Last month the country supplied the enriched uranium fuel necessary to start the reactor. The U.S. urged Russia not to provide the fuel until the country proved it was not developing nuclear weapons; however, Moscow cited Iran’s compliance with the IAEA as all the proof they needed to support the country’s nuclear ambitions.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK
Iran has signed a pledge to ship all spent nuclear fuel back to Russia for reprocessing, further reducing the chances of it being used to make nuclear weapons.
So does the world, particularly the U.S. and Israel, have anything to really fear? Sure, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated in the past that Israel has no right to exist and should be “wiped off the map,” which may lead the country to suspect an imminent attack. However, the now infamous quote alludes to the fact that Israel was established post WWII under what were at the time illegal pretences under international law. Ahmadinejad even explained this in a candid interview with Larry King in 2008. Furthermore, Israel’s own nuclear program was developed in secrecy, against international law, in the 1950s and 1960s. Israel’s Dimona reactor was brought online by deceiving the IAEA, a fact revealed by Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu in 1986. For leaking the information to the U.K.’s Sunday Times, Vanunu was kidnapped by Israeli forces, sent back to Israel, charged with treason and espionage, and served an 18-year prison sentence.
The reason this should all be of concern is because Western media has been shoving the idea of a war with Iran down our throats for the last several years now. And why? The country is being as forthcoming and compliant as international law requires and is fully entitled under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue peaceful civilian nuclear energy. On the other hand, the United States has broken several international laws and agreements in its actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and the NATO-led strike in Libya is a complete farce when examining international laws on how to properly address a civilian-headed regime change. Essentially, something fishy is going on, and unfortunately I fear that the opening of this nuclear power plant will only fuel a U.S.-led invasion and/or bombing campaign in Iran. It’s unfortunate. Around 1,500 Russians are currently working at the Bushehr plant, and any sort of attack on the facility, similar to the U.S. and Israel-led attacks on an attempted Syrian nuclear power plant just a few years ago, would likely trigger World War III. The war profiteers of the world must be salivating at the very notion. Oil companies too are likely eager to get their hands on Iranian reserves, just as we have seen in Iraq with its once off-limits oil fields now open to bids from multination oil firms. But remember folks, it wasn’t a war for oil… right? Libya doesn’t have oil do they? Oh wait… yes… yes they do. Sigh… World War III here we come!
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly