Energy & Resource Protection

Ukrainian nuclear plant protection urgent

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi met in Moscow December 21 with officials from the military and Rosatom, the state nuclear energy, to continue his push for a protection zone around a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Rosatom officials called the talks “substantial, useful and frank” but indicated the need for more. Grossi said “it’s key that the zone focuses solely on preventing a nuclear accident” and he is continuing efforts “with a sense of utmost urgency.” [node:read-more:link]

EU agrees on carbon cutting

European Union negotiators agreed December 18 to overhaul the bloc’s carbon market by, among other things, accelerating emissions reductions, notably in the transportation and construction sectors, as well as phasing out support for the petroleum industry. “The agreement . . . will allow us to meet climate objectives within the main sectors of the economy, while making sure the most vulnerable citizens and micro-enterprises are effectively supported in the climate transition,” said Czech Environment Minister Marian Jurecka. [node:read-more:link]

Canada cancels turbine sanction

The federal government has revoked permission for Siemen Canada to repair turbines for the Nord Stream pipelines which Gazprom uses to ship natural gas from Russia to European markets. Requested by Germany, the original decision waived one of the sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. “It no longer serves its intended purpose,” Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly explained in a December 14 statement. [node:read-more:link]

Putin threatens oil sale restriction

Russia will not sell oil to countries heeding a $60-per-barrel cap agreed to by the G7, the EU and Australia in an attempt to undercut financing for Russia’s war on Ukraine. Rather, says President Vladimir Putin, calling the cap “harmful to global energy markets”, he is prepared to “consider a possible reduction in production if necessary” to put upward pressure on prices. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian pipeline spill in U.S.

Authorities in Kansas are cleaning up what’s described as the largest U.S. crude spill in nearly a decade after a leak last week in the Canadian-owned Keystone pipeline which has a daily throughput of 622,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil to southern refineries. [node:read-more:link]

India sticking with Russian oil

After talks December 4 with his German counterpart, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said his country will continue to buy Russian oil despite western governments’ price cap. He said it isn’t right for European countries to prioritise their energy needs while asking India “to do something else.” [node:read-more:link]

EU agrees to tackle global deforestation

In a move protested by Canada, the European Parliament has struck a provisional deal which would block imports and sales of a range of products in a bid to curtail global deforestation. Timber is one of the products and, subject to final approval, the EU would require countries of origin to issue a “due diligence” statement that products have not led to deforestation and forest degradation since 2020. The lawmakers also have worked on a broader definition which would conversion of primary naturally regenerating forests into plantation forests. [node:read-more:link]

New nuclear plant in Iran

Iran has broken ground for a nuclear power station near its western border with Iraq. The 300-megawatt plant will take eight years to build at a cost equivalent to some US$2 billion. Other than internationally-condemned facilities for upgrading uranium, Iran has one other power station which went on line in 2011 [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy says oil cap not low enough

Reacting to the decision by the G7 countries and allies to cap their price for Russian crude oil at US$60 a barrel, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said today that $30 would be a more effective way “to destroy the enemy’s economy faster.” Meanwhile, the Russians say the cap would reshape “the functioning of free markets” and lead to “a widespread increase in uncertainty and higher costs for consumers of raw materials.” [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine promised infrastructure help

NATO allies agreed today to assist Ukraine in repairing energy infrastructure heavily damaged by Russian artillery and missile bombardments and Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg decried Russia’s use of winter as “a weapon of war.” Russia has acknowledged targetting infrastructure but denies seeking to harm civilians. NATO foreign ministers wrapped up a two-day summit in Bucharest with a statement that “Russia's . . . persistent and unconscionable attacks on Ukrainian civilian and energy infrastructure, is depriving millions of Ukrainians of basic human services.” [node:read-more:link]

Stage set for constitutional confrontation

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith introduced her draft Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act today, a proposal she says will enable her cabinet to direct cities, police, health authorities, universities and other entities to ignore federal laws her government believes would be unconstitutional or harmful to the province. The bill does not define “harm” and legal scholars have panned the idea as unconstitutional and it has been divisive within Smith’s own party. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian company sued by Tanzanians

Barrick Gold Corporation, a Toronto-based mining company with operations in more than a dozen countries, is being sued in the Superior Court of Justice by a group of Tanzanian villagers over alleged police killings, torture and other abuses. The plaintiffs include relatives of five men killed by Tanzanian police assigned to protect the mine near the border with Kenya. [node:read-more:link]

California nuclear plant gets a boost

The U.S. Administration announced today that it is donating $1.1billion to Pacific Gas & Electric to maintain operations at California’s sole nuclear power station. The first reactor at the Diablo Canyon plant on the coast between Los Angeles and San Jose is slated for shutdown in 2024 and the second in 2025, but the power-hungry state wants them to continue generating for five more years despite decades of anti-nuclear activism and concerns about earthquakes [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant under fire

Parts of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear station in Ukraine were damaged today by artillery fire and both countries blamed each others’ forces. “As I have said many times before, you're playing with fire,” said Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called for an immediate ceasefire. [node:read-more:link]

Ransomware a British preoccupation

The British government’s interdepartmental COBRA crisis management team has spent post of its recent meetings addressing ransomware attacks on utilities and other critical services rather than other emergencies. The focus seems to be a response to warnings by the National Cyber Security Centre that ministerial responses to the growing number of attacks was inadequate. [node:read-more:link]


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