Monthly Archives: August 2008

Nuclear Fishing

It’s time for another segment of “_Russian Nuclear Recreation_.” (For “likbez”:, see previous posts on “*nuclear camping*”: and “*nuclear cycling*”:

This (looong) weekend you should consider *fishing at a pond next to a nuclear power plant*. This is what over seventy people did a few days back as part of a fishing tournament put on by the “Kursk NPP”: at Semyonovsky pond near Kurchatov, according to “this press release”:…

Present and former employees of Kursk NPP and five more companies… took part in the tournament. *There were lots of women among the fishermen*.

At first, the fishers cleaned up the shore of the pond. They fished for *as long as four hours* and *caught lots of fish: some of the fishers caught several kilograms*.

The *winner of the tournament Viktor Mezentsev from Decontamination Department of Kursk NPP caught 3.179 kg*. He was followed by Anatoly Koptev (TsRP) and Viktor Naymushin (Kursk NPP). *Pensioner Tatiana Khrushkova caught the biggest fish*.


“We have never seen so many fishers in one and the same place. *Fishing is not just catching fish but talking and exchanging views and ideas. Such events strengthen our corporate and communal spirit*,” [chairman of the Trade Union of Kursk NPP Alexander] Apalkov said.

*_I agree with Apalkov, but I still think that Blinky says it better!_*


Not Exactly Helpful To Your N. Program

_Pop Quiz_.

If “you are a country seeking to get into a peaceful nuclear cooperation relationship”: with the Europeans and hoping for a wink from the Americans, you should

A) publicize that you “hold similar views on international issues” with Iran;
B) highlight that Iran stands “ready to help” you with your peaceful n. program;
C) seek advice from Iran on how to “advance” your n. program;
D) all of the above;
E) none of the above.

_Correct Answer_: Apparently, it’s “D”:

Schmoozing for World Peace

I am not a fan of _The Guardian_, but this 23 Aug piece by Julian Borger titled “The Time Bomb”: caught my eye. The story (which should be cut by about a half) provides a decent overview of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative’s removal of highly enriched uranium from “INRNE”: in Sophia, complete with discussion of “*feral dogs [that] chased each other through the bushes in the grounds around the reactor*.” For background on the removal, see “my earlier post”:

Most importantly, the piece *offers up profiles of and some neat quotes from the “GTRI masters”* — Andrew Bieniawski and Igor Bolshinsky — as well as a *high-speed car chase*.

The US duo are both immigrants. Andrew Bieniawski, a 41-year-old from South Africa, is in charge of the programme at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the part of the US department of energy that is responsible for looking after the US nuclear arsenal, *making sure the bombs still work and do not blow up unexpectedly*. His deputy, Igor Bolshinsky, a former mine technician from the Ukrainian coal city of Donetsk, has responsibility for repatriating the Soviet-origin material and does most of the travelling and persuading – “*Schmoozing for world peace*,” as Bolshinsky put it.


In Sofia, *Bolshinsky had been in fine form, cajoling, joking and flattering Bulgarian officials in a mix of Russian and English*. He was consequently stunned on the designated day of the uranium’s departure when *Bulgarian security* – somewhat prickly over the arrival of this ebullient American employee in the nation’s inner nuclear sanctum – *ordered the uranium convoy to leave the institute an hour earlier than agreed, without bothering to tell Bolshinsky*.

In the past few years, Bolshinsky has overseen uranium removals from Libya to Vietnam, and has been tailed in the course of his duties by some of the world’s most persistent secret policemen, but this stunt stretched his sense of humour to breaking point. “*Not good, not good at all*,” he said emphatically when he turned up at the reactor at dawn to find the car park empty. *He jumped into a car for a high-speed chase along a Bulgarian motorway, in pursuit of the missing uranium casks*.

Check out the exciting conclusion “here”: I should note that perhaps the only thing missing from the story is Miss Moneypenny… Fun times.

New Demining Blog

I finally visited “Political Minefields,”: now that I have decided that should actually blog on the blog I publish. It looks quite promising – “stop by.”:

Georgians Say Russians Used Iskander

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs claims that Russia has used the “Iskander/SS-26”: missile on non-military targets at some point in the last week. “See this press release”:

In addition, there are also reports on the Georgian telly (citing an MIA spokesman) that the Russians used missiles with a range of “approximately 500 km” and that the missiles were “dropped on the [towns of] Gori, Poti and [targeted at?] the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.”

For the time being, there are pictures “available at the Georgian MIA site”: There is too many for me to link to at the moment. But here is a sample.


I felt _quite reluctant_ linking to this and I am not quite sure what to make of the story. The Iskander’s range is clearly not quite 500 km, so that’s an exaggeration. Moreover, to my yet untrained eye, it seems that the pictures (if you look at the whole collection) may be showing a whole range of systems instead of just one.

*The denial issued by the Russian Armed Forces*, dated Saturday, is “here in Russian”:

*Update:* See ACW for the “_Where’s the Iskander?_ picture challenge”:

Toshiba-Westinghouse to Lukashenko: How About a 123?

You may remember my recent “silly blogging”: about nuclear power plant construction plans in “Belarus”: I just wanted to update with a recent development. As you may or may not know, the Belarusian government sent an invite to three companies — Atomstroyexport, Areva-Siemens and Toshiba-Westinghouse — to submit bids. From the start, Atomstroyexport was into the idea, Areva said they’d think about it, while Toshiba was kinda quiet. Lukashenko was eager to get the Japanese to participate, even saying at one point that they built the world’s safest reactors.

Belarusian news agency Belapan reported on Aug 11 that *Toshiba-Westinghouse* finally replied to the Belarusian government saying that *cooperation wouldn’t be possible without a 123 Agreement with the U.S.* The Belarusian deputy energy minister was quoted as saying that “At the same time, they said that *it would take a few years to conclude such an agreement*.”

A few years? Certainly, peaceful nuclear cooperation doesn’t go well with “_selective engagement_”:… But still, quite a gentle way of saying “*In your dreams, Mister!*”

At this point, it appears likely that the NPP will be a project involving both Atomstroyexport and Areva, though talks with the latter were apparently postponed because Atomic Anne was on vacation. But have no doubt, Lukashenko will build that plant, even if he has to do it with _his own bare hands_…