Australia starts shipping uranium to China

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Australia’s minister of resources and energy, Martin Ferguson, has welcomed the first shipment of uranium to China, following the earlier signing of a bilateral safeguards agreement between the two countries.

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) announced sales contracts with China following the signing of bilateral treaties enabling exports. Details about the shipment to China – including the quantity and destination – were not disclosed. Uranium is currently mined at three locations in Australia: BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam and Heathgate Resources’ Beverley mine, both in South Australia; and ERA’s Ranger mine in Northern Territory.

In April 2006, Australia and China signed two bilateral safeguards agreements that would open the way for Australia to supply uranium to China’s growing nuclear energy industry. The Nuclear Material Transfer Agreement and Nuclear Cooperation Agreement put in place strict safeguards to ensure that Australian uranium supplied to China will be used solely to produce electricity. The Nuclear Transfer Agreement allows Australian uranium to be used in designated Chinese nuclear facilities, while the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement allows, among other things, for China to explore for uranium in Australia.


China tested nukes for Pakistan, gave design

WASHINGTON: China tested nukes for Pakistan, gave design

The whistleblower isn’t a think-tank academic or an unnamed official speaking on background. Thomas Reed, described as a former U.S ”nuclear weaponeer” and a Secretary of the Air Force (1976-77) writes in the latest issue of Physics Today that China’s transfers to Pakistan included blueprints for the ultrasimple CHIC-4 design using highly enriched uranium, first tested by China in 1966. A Pakistani derivative of CHIC-4 apparently was tested in China on 26 May 1990, he adds.

Reed makes an even more stunning disclosure, saying Deng not only authorized proliferation to Pakistan, but also, “in time, to other third world countries.” The countries are not named. He also says that during the 1990s, China conducted underground hydronuclear experiments—though not full-scale device tests—for France at Lop Nur.

Reed’s disclosures are based on his knowledge of and insights into the visits to China by Dan Stillman, a top US nuclear expert who went there several times in the late 1980s at Beijing invitation, in part because the Chinese wanted to both show-off and convey to the US the progress they had made in nuclear weaponisation.

One of Stillman’s visit to the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear Research (SINR), writes Reed, ”also produced his first insight into the extensive hospitality extended to Pakistani nuclear scientists during that same late-1980s time period,” which would eventually lead to the joint China-Pak nuclear test.

Chinese nuclear proliferation to Pakistan, including the supply of hi-tech items like ring magnets in the early 1990s, has always been known to the non-proliferation community (which largely slept on the reports). But this is the first time it has been confirmed by such a senior official.

In the late 1980s, both the Reagan and the George Bush Sr administration repeatedly fudged the issue to certify that Pakistan had not gone nuclear despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

In his assessment of the Chinese nuclear program based on Stillman’s visits, Reed writes admiringly about Beijing’s successes, saying ”Over a period of 15 years, an intellectually talented China achieved parity with the West and pre-eminence over its Asian peers in the design of nuclear weapons and in understanding underground nuclear testing.”

“China now stands in the first rank of nuclear powers,” he concludes.

In trenchant observation, Reed writes, ”Any nuclear nation should consider its nuclear tests to be giant physics experiments. The Chinese weaponeers understood that well; other proliferators do not. Many states have considered their early nuclear shots to be political demonstrations or simple proof tests. In China, however, extremely sophisticated instrumentation was used on even the first nuclear test.”

Chronicling the progress of China’s nuclear weapons program, Reed writes: Atop a tower on 16 October 1964, China’s first nuclear device, 596, was successfully fired. US intelligence analysts were astonished by the lack of plutonium in the fallout debris and by the speed with which China had broken into the nuclear club, but that was only the beginning.

Eighteen months later, in the spring of 1966, China entered the thermonuclear world with the detonation of a boosted-fission, airdropped device that used lithium-6, a primary source of tritium when bombarded with neutrons. That test, their third, achieved a yield of 200–300 kilotons. By the end of the year, they made the leap to multistage technology with a large two-stage experiment that yielded only 122 kilotons, but it again displayed 6Li in the bomb debris.

The Chinese then closed the circle on 17 June 1967, unambiguously marching into the H-bomb club with a 3.3-megaton burst from an aircraft-delivered weapon. On 27 December 1968, the Chinese bid the Johnson administration farewell with an improved, airdropped 3-megaton thermonuclear device that for the first time used plutonium in the primary.

It is clear from the reactor-to-bomb progression times that by 1968 China had unequivocally entered the European nuclear cartel on a par with the U, says Reed. Furthermore, China had become a thermonuclear power. It had achieved the leap from the initial A-bomb test to a 3.3-megaton thermonuclear blast in a record-breaking 32 months. It had taken the US more than seven years to accomplish that feat.

China calls for balance of nuclear nonproliferation, energy use

China calls for balance of nuclear nonproliferation, energy use 2008-09-02 19:33:38
BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — China’s Foreign Ministry said hereon Tuesday that the country hopes the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) can resolve the relationship between nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a balanced way.

“China hopes the NSG finds a way to strike a balance between nuclear nonproliferation and the peaceful use of energy,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a routine press conference.

Jiang’s remarks came before a new round of talks in Vienna scheduled for Thursday and Friday on nuclear cooperation between India and the United States.

Jiang said China has a consistent and clear stance on the issue of India-U.S. nuclear cooperation.

China has taken an active part in the NSG discussions, Jiang said.

“China believes that all countries have the right to peacefully use nuclear energy and conduct international cooperation in line with the nonproliferation obligation.”

Cooperation should be conducive to safeguarding the completeness and effectiveness of the international nonproliferation system, Jiang added.

The 45-member NSG ended a two-day conference in Vienna on August 22, with no agreement on whether to lift a ban on nuclear trade with India.

The NSG member countries decided to meet again on September 4-5 to try to resolve difference over whether to allow nuclear fuel and technology exports to India for civilian use.

Editor: Du

Opening Ceremony Beijing Olympics – Videos

Opening Ceremony Beijing Olympics – Videos

Fireworks at Beijing, China, 2008

Fireworks at Beijing, China, 2008

See all the opening ceremonies from Beijing, china for the 2008 Olympics, right here, right now…

Beijing 2008 Olympic flame lighting

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Lighting the Olympic cauldron – Beijing 2008
The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 8-24, 2008

See still photos at this WordPress Blog: from a man with borderline sanity

Security Threats Put China on Alert as Beijing Olympics Begin

Security Threats Put China on Alert as Beijing Olympics Begin
By VOA News
08 August 2008

China is on high alert as it deals with new security threats on the opening day of the Olympics.

An Air China plane that departed from Japan had to make an emergency return Friday after the airline received an e-mailed bomb threat.

Japanese authorities say the e-mail threatened to bring down the flight on the site of the Beijing Olympics. The flight was bound for the southwestern city of Chongqing when it was forced to return to Tokyo’s Narita airport.

In Hong Kong, local media reports say police cordoned off a busy train station to investigate a suspicious package near a giant screen set up to show the Olympics opening ceremony.

A convoy of armored personnel carriers and trucks carrying paramilitary officers patrol the streets of Yining, western China’s Xinjiang province, 08 Aug 2008
A convoy of armored personnel carriers and trucks carrying paramilitary officers patrol the streets of Yining, western China’s Xinjiang province, 08 Aug 2008
Chinese police tightened security in the remote region of Xinjiang, where an Islamic group threatened to attack buses, trains and planes during the Olympics.

Police shut down a popular bazaar in the region’s city of Kashgar and stepped up control on religious figures and alleged trouble makers.

The order by the Kashgar government followed an attack earlier this week that killed 16 police officers and a new video threat by separatists in Xinjiang to attack the Games.

Two U.S. groups that analyze extremist messages – SITE Intelligence group and the IntelCenter — say the Turkistan Islamic Party is responsible for the new video tape that was released on Thursday.

The video features graphics of a burning Olympics logo and an explosion over an Olympic venue. Chinese authorities have not commented on the validity of the tape or the threat.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

China readies artillery to avert rain at Olympics, but some think idea’s all wet

Rain will not be allowed to dampen this Olympic flame.

China is home to one of the oldest, largest and most costly weather modification programs in the world.

In a presentation to climate scientists in Japan, Dr. Zhanyu Yao of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences recently described the scale of his nation’s weather-changing effort: China has 37,000 people, 7,000 artillery guns and 4,700 rocket launchers in place, working in tandem with provincial leaders, meteorologists and radar stations throughout the country. It spends about $63 million a year on the program and claims a benefit worth $1.71 billion a year.

The weather modifiers slake thirsty crops, ward off damaging hail and weaken lightning storms through strategic cloud seeding, spraying dry ice, liquid nitrogen or silver iodide depending on the circumstances, he said.

The technology has been studied worldwide since the 1950s, from Russia to Saudi Arabia, and despite the difficulty of proving its effectiveness, it’s still employed, with some controversy, in western states such as North Dakota and California. The debate is always whether cloud seeding made the weather, or the whims of Mother Nature did. Daniel Breed, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, believes the technology can work in certain situations, but not with great precision.

“You can increase precipitation from one individual storm by as much as 50 percent,” Breed said. It’s also possible to affect the size of hailstones and break up fog banks, he said.

So why hasn’t Florida used it to fill up parched Lake Okeechobee or put out forest fires?

Local meteorologists say the technology is ill-suited to Florida’s warmer clouds. Plus, it’s expensive and fraught with liability potential.

It works best in places where the clouds lack a necessary ingredient for rain or snow: tiny particles that water molecules can grab onto.

“You can’t just go out and seed clear skies and make it rain. You have to seed specific clouds at a specific time in their life,” said Geoff Shaughnessy, a senior meteorologist with the South Florida Water Management District. “Most of the places where this works, there’s a lack of condensation nuclei. Here I would think there’s no shortage of aerosols, just from the salt spray and dust from Africa and pollution.”

For the Beijing Olympics, where villagers with mobile rocket launchers sit ready to shoot shells heavenward at a moment’s notice, the goal isn’t to increase rain, but to prevent it.

That has meteorologists and weather modifiers in the United States chuckling. The thought of being asked to seed clouds to prevent rain on Super Bowl Sunday, for example, makes them snort.

“Clouds, pesky critters that they are, you just can’t steer them where you want,” said Hans Ahlness, vice president of operations at Weather Modification Inc.

His Fargo, N.D., company is working on an $8.8 million research effort to increase Wyoming’s snow pack. It’s an attractive prospect for utility companies that rely on hydroelectric power.

He says his planes can help pull extra rain from a nimbus cloud, on the order of 10 percent more, but they can’t make a cloud appear out of thin air, nor can they stop the rain.

Breed, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, believes the Chinese scientists are in the unfortunate position of trying to placate their politicians.

“They are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Breed said. “Their scientists privately acknowledge that there really isn’t any proof that they can do this kind of stuff.”

So what are the chances that it will rain in Beijing on Friday?

China readies artillery to avert rain at Olympics, but some think idea’s all wet

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, August 04, 2008

As opening day for the 2008 Summer Olympics draws near, thousands of Chinese villagers are in training. Loading up artillery shells and readying rocket launchers, they await a call to arms.

The villagers aren’t part of some civilian security corps. They’re part of China’s weather modification program. Their mission: to shoot dust into threatening clouds in advance of the opening ceremony Friday in Beijing.

China’s official meteorologists say there’s a 50 percent chance of precipitation. The Games begin as the region’s rainy season winds down.

Recalling the fate of China’s former food and drug administrator, who was executed for corruption amid product safety scandals, Ahlness, at Weather Modification Inc., said his sympathies were with the Chinese scientists charged with holding the umbrella.

“I don’t think I’d want to run their weather modification program,” Ahlness said. “I hope they have clear weather just so they don’t have to try anything.”

Olympic trials: Air, air, everywhere, and not a bit to breathe

Olympic trials: Air, air, everywhere, and not a bit to breathe

Gray skies loom over Beijing as Chinese officials announce emergency air-pollution measures

Posted by Sara Barz at 10:55 AM on 01 Aug 2008

Read more about: Olympics | China | sports | air pollution
Gray skies in Beijing

Photo: melosh

A haze descended on Beijing for four consecutive days earlier this week and made a fitting backdrop for state environmental regulators to announce emergency measures that they’ll put in place if air pollution remains a problem. More power plants and manufacturing facilities could be shut down, and more cars pulled from the roads, according to a news release from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

This second wave of shut-downs would affect small solvent factories that had previously been overlooked because of their relatively low pollutant emissions as compared to iron factories or coal plants. As The New York Times reports:

Many smaller factories that use solvents generate volatile organic compounds, commonly referred to as VOCs, which can contribute to ozone and smoggy skies.

“For Beijing city, a key variable for determining smog levels is VOCs,” said Deborah Seligsohn, China climate program director for the World Resource Institute. “If you cut the car levels without cutting VOCs, you can end up with the problem they’ve faced in the last week. Cutting over 200 factories sounds like the right move.”

Beijing officials report that major air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter are generally 20 percent lower this year than in July of last year. However, as The Guardian reported on Monday:

According to the Beijing government, the amount of particulate matter in the air has failed to reach the national benchmark of 100mg a cubic metre for the past four days. [On July 28], it rose to 113, more than double the far tougher ideal standard of 50 set by the World Health Organisation.

Du Shaozhong, vice director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, blamed much of the recent air pollution on the weather, citing a rare lack of rain and wind to blow away accumulated emissions. On Tuesday, wind and rain cleared Beijing’s skies and also halved the air pollution index (API) from 90 on Tuesday to 44 on Wednesday. An API above 100 indicates high levels of air pollution, 51-100 is moderate, and 50 and below is considered low in China. However, according to The Week:

For most of June, pollution in Beijing averaged 87.75 on a government index of 500 — a level that Chinese officials consider safe. But that’s still double the typical levels in most Western cities.

Chinese officials are hoping a storm front will bring relief.