It starts: Emirates first two nuke plants applies for licenses, to go online by '17
Anyone who thought that an Iranian nuclear capability would not set off an arms race in the Middle East needs to be concerned about this: The United Arab Emirates has submitted its first two applications for operating licenses for nuclear power plants, with four such power plants expected to go online by 2020.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Authority for Nuclear
Regulation (FANR) will now examine the submission. ENEC is aiming to
receive the operating licence for Barakah unit 1 in 2016, in time for
the plant to become operational in 2017, with the licence for Barakah
2 expected to be received the same year. The company is seeking a
licence to operate both units for 60 years, in line with the expected
operating life of the Korean-designed APR1400 units.
ENEC CEO Mohammad Al Hammadi said the on-time submission of the OLA
was a crucial milestone towards the 2017 start-up of the UAE's first
nuclear power plant. "The submission is the culmination of many years of
work by ENEC and Kepco. It is proof of the organization's successful
transformation into a world-class nuclear operating company," he said.
ENEC has already applied to FANR for two separate licences covering
the import, receipt and possession of radioactive and nuclear materials,
which it anticipates receiving well ahead of its first fuel load for
Barakah 1 in 2016.
Barakah will ultimately comprise four APR-1400 reactors built by the
KEPCO-led consortium. Unit 1, under construction since 2012, is now over
69% complete and on schedule for its 2017 start-up. Units 2, 3 and 4
are scheduled to follow on at 12-month intervals, with units 2 and 3
under construction. Work has yet to begin on the fourth unit, which is
expected to start up in 2020.
The Emirates has the fourth largest (fifth if you include OPEC as a country) proven oil reserve in the world. Now, obviously these plants are intended for civilian purposes (the United States actually is helping the UAE to build the plants), but Iran claims the same thing about their nuclear power plants, and one has to wonder whether the United Arab Emirates would be seeking a nuclear energy capability were it not facing Iran, which will soon have one. And like Iran, the UAE is not exactly a democracy.
Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (Virginia) blasts State Bar Association for boycotting Israel
The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (Virginia) has issued a powerful response to the State's Bar Association's decision to cancel a trip to Israel, essentially abiding by the diktat of the European-Arab-Muslim Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement.
'Palestinians': We never agreed to drop the ICC prosecution
The 'Palestinians' are denying a story I ran earlier today that claimed that they had agreed to drop their attempt to have Israel prosecuted for 'war crimes' in the International Criminal Court in exchange for having their tax moneys released.
A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that the report, which
first appeared in The Jerusalem Post, was entirely false and merely spin
put out by the Prime Minister's Office.
"We continue to seek membership of the
International Criminal Court and we expect the ICC to open an
investigation into Israeli settlements, as well as the recent war in
Gaza," the official said.
"The reports in the Israeli newspapers are nothing
more than spin from Netanyahu's bureau; there was no such agreement. The
money that Netanyahu transferred is Palestinian money and he isn't
doing us any favors."
As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned,
the official added, Ramallah is more determined than ever to forge ahead
with war crimes charges in The Hague.
"This Wednesday," he said, "Palestine will become a
member of the ICC and the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr. Riyad
al-Maliki, will represent the Palestinians in The Hague." He added that
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said as much during the Arab League summit in Egypt over the weekend.
Who wants to bet that they did agree to drop it and changed their tune once the money was released?
Iran would not
necessarily have to ship its stockpile of highly enriched uranium abroad
under a nuclear pact with major powers, U.S. State Department
spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Monday.
"You don't have to ship it out
of the country to get to a year breakout time," she said in a conference
call, referring to the goal of stretching the amount of time it would
take Iran to acquire enough fissile material to make one atomic bomb.
"You can have some other dispositions for it that get us where we need to be in terms of our bottom line," Harf said.
One evening this past September, Vice President Joe Biden and his
wife, Jill, hosted a gathering in Washington to celebrate Rosh Hashanah,
the Jewish new year. The guests—political supporters, leaders of Jewish
organizations, members of Congress, Jewish officials of the Obama
administration, and the stray journalist or two—gathered by the pool of
the vice president’s house, on the grounds of the U.S. Naval
Biden was characteristically prolix. He talked about the Shoah, and
about the many contributions Jews have made to American life, and he
mentioned, as he invariably does in such settings, his first encounter
with a legendary Israeli prime minister.
“I had the great pleasure of knowing every prime minister since Golda
Meir, when I was a young man in the Senate, and I’ll never forget
talking to her in her office with her assistant—a guy named Rabin—about
the Six-Day War,” he said. “The end of the meeting, we get up and walk
out, the doors are open, and … the press is taking photos … She looked
straight ahead and said, ‘Senator, don’t look so sad … Don’t worry. We
Jews have a secret weapon.’ ”
He said he asked her what that secret weapon was.
“I thought she was going to tell me something about a nuclear
program,” Biden continued. “She looked straight ahead and she said, ‘We
have no place else to go.’ ” He paused, and repeated: “ ‘We have no
place else to go.’ ”
“Folks,” he continued, “there is no place else to go, and you
understand that in your bones. You understand in your bones that no
matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how
engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States …
there’s only one guarantee. There is really only one absolute guarantee,
and that’s the state of Israel. And so I just want to assure you, for
all the talk, and I know sometimes my guy”—President Obama—“gets beat up
a little bit, but I guarantee you: he shares the exact same commitment
to the security of Israel.”
For months, Irantentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia,
where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons program.
But on Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to
Iranian reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a
stockpile that Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass.
export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do
not intend sending them abroad,” the official, Abbas Araqchi, told the
Iranian media, according to Agence France-Presse. “There is no question
of sending the stocks abroad.”
On Saturday, former IAEA chief inspector Ollie Heinonen published a paper that concluded that based upon leaks about what is in the current deal, Iran could have a nuclear breakout in 7-8 months.
What is Iran's current breakout time?
Natural uranium has only 0.7 percent of the isotope U-235, and the
effort required to enrich it to one SQ of WGU is about 5,000 Separative
Work Units (SWUs). Iran currently has about 9,000 functioning
first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, with another 9,000 not in operation.
The IR-1s installed in the Natanz and Fordow facilities have been
performing at an average per unit rate of 0.75 to 1 SWU per year. Using
the 1 SWU/year performance of the latest IR-1 model, the breakout time
with 9,000 machines using a natural uranium feed would be six to seven
months. However, Iran also has substantial stocks of 3.5 percent
enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) that can be used as an alternative
feed, shrinking the breakout time to three months.
If Iran brought online its other nearly 9,000 IR-1s, breakout time
would be about three months with natural uranium feedstock and four to
six weeks with 3.5 percent UF6 feedstock. Iran has also developed the
more advanced IR-2m centrifuge, rated at 5 SWU/year. If the 1,000 IR-2ms
installed at Natanz were used in conjunction with all 18,000 IR-1s, the
respective breakout times would be cut by a third.
According to media accounts, the proposed nuclear agreement
would lower the number of operating centrifuges to around 6,500. In that
circumstance, what would Iran's breakout time be?
Using IR-1s with natural uranium as a feed, the breakout time for 6,500
centrifuges would be about nine months. A crucial question will be how
much 3.5 percent enriched UF6 will remain in Iran. Yet even if UF6
stocks are reduced from their current 7.5-8 tons to 500 kg, a breakout
time of between seven and eight months would still be possible given the
program's enrichment capabilities with natural uranium feed. Since
these breakout times are less than the goals set by the U.S.
administration, it is important to know what parameters Washington used
for its estimates.
So everyone other than the Obama administration has figured out that this is a bad deal? What could go wrong?
Success? 'Palestinian Authority' to drop ICC in exchange for tax moneys
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the 'Palestinian Authority' has agreed to drop its efforts to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court in exchange for tax moneys.
The Palestinian Authority will formally join the International Criminal
Court on April 1, but – following Israel’s decision on Friday to
release frozen tax revenues – is not expected at this time to take
steps against Israel in the ICC regarding settlement construction.
addition, The Jerusalem Post has learned that while the ICC prosecutor
has – at the PA’s request – opened a preliminary examination on
alleged Israeli war crimes during Operation Protective Edge over the
summer, the PA is not expected at this time to take additional legal
steps in the ICC regarding the Gaza operation.
As a result of
Israel’s decision to free up the funds, the PA also does not intend now
to stop its security cooperation with Israel, the Post also learned.
was the PA’s steps to join the ICC at the end of December that led
Israel to freeze the monthly tax transfers in the first place.
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that, at the
recommendation of the security establishment, the money that has accrued
since then, some $500 million, will be freed up, though the PA’s
electric, water and hospital bills to Israel will be subtracted from
One government official said that no decision has yet been made
regarding whether March’s revenues will be transferred, an indication
that this will depend on whether the PA does indeed not pursue other
moves at this time at the ICC, and whether it maintains its security
cooperation with Israel.
With the security establishment
recommending for weeks the transfer of the frozen funds in order to
reduce tension in the West Bank, it was expected for some time that
this move would take place relatively soon after the March 17 election.
So if you squeeze them hard enough, they eventually cry 'uncle.' There's a lesson here for the future.
I've been way too busy with work to post very much. But this morning, I awoke to an email from one of my law colleagues that was a bit surprising.
One of my law firms is having a meeting in May, part of which is scheduled to take place in Virginia. This morning, I had an email from one of my colleagues attaching a link to this article from the Times of Israel reporting that the State Bar Association of Virginia has canceled a November seminar in Israel, claiming that 'many' of its members will not be allowed in because... wait for it... they are Arabs or Muslims.
In a letter sent late Friday night, Kevin Martingayle, president of the Virginia State Bar, wrote, “Upon review of US State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations.”
Martingayle told the Washington Times that the trip was canceled due to concerns that “many of its members” would not be let in to Israel.
The concerns appear to stem from a change.org petition by the Concerned Members of the Virginia State Bar, which said, “It is without question that Israel employs discriminatory entry and exit policies for US citizens, particularly against visiting Arab- and Muslim-Americans.”
The petition also said, “As members of the VSB, we have taken an oath to uphold our profession’s highest ideals. At the core of these ideals is the belief that no person or group should be subjected to differential treatment on the basis of their immutable characteristics. The location of this year’s Seminar, however, strikes at the heart of our profession’s ideals.”
The petition was closed after the decision to cancel the trip. It had 39 signatures.
Writing in his group blog in the Washington Post, the Volokh Conspiracy's David Bernstein has a few reactions.
If the Virginia State Bar is in effect boycotting Israel, I, and I
suspect many others, will henceforth be boycotting the State Bar, in my
case beyond what is necessary to assist my students, which is my
professional obligation. I would hope that no Virginia attorneys who are
supporters of Israel will attend whatever alternative venue the State
Bar settles on.
(3) As near as I can tell, the only public discussion of all this before Martingayle’s letter was a petition circulated three days ago by anonymous “Concerned Members of the Virginia State Bar”
that, as of this writing, has received a grand total of thirty-four
signatures. It’s hard to imagine that the Martingayle and colleagues
canceled a planned event that already had a hotel booked, a CLE program, and even optional tours set up based on those objections. Who are the “other individuals” mentioned by Martingayle who objected?
(4) Relatedly, as a state agency, the Virginia State Bar is subject to FOIA.
If no enterprising journalist is already FOIAing the relevant
correspondence that led to this decision, I’m sure somebody else will
UPDATE: The email Martingayle sent
out is timestamped 9:59 pm on March 27. Yet somehow the virulently
anti-Israel “Electronic Intifada” managed to have a copy of the letter
on its Facebook page and
website more than two hours earlier. Inquiring minds want to know who
had a copy of this letter before it was sent out to bar members at
large, and why. [Comments below suggest that while I and several others I
know received the 9:59 time stamp, other members of the bar received
the same message time-stamped earlier. If so, mystery solved.]
Report: Lubitz tweeted "A Germany in which religious feelings have more rights than the meaning of freedom - is not my Germany"
Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane who deliberately crashed in the Alps on Tuesday killing 150 people, retweeted (actually looks more like shared on Facebook) the photo above, with the caption "A Germany in which religious feelings have more rights than the meaning of freedom - is not my Germany." (Hat Tip: Mike K).
And the New York Times reported on Friday that Lubitz "lived, at least part time, with his parents. Mr. Lubitz’s mother was an organist at a Protestant church near the town center.”
Mike K adds:
Here is the sad, but probably true story.
He is not a murderer or Muslim.
He took medications which overcame him as he flew. The
Pharmaceuticals do not tell the public all the
side-effects of their meds. They put people into murderous, zombie
like states. Most school shooters were on anti-depressants.
There is every reason to believe that this guy may have been overcome by
his medications. Medications
which are legal for pilots to take. The FAA allows pilots to fly on
SSRI anti-deressants (Click
SSRI medications are chemically similar to LSD-25. He could
have had a flash back without warning.
He did not say Allahu Aqbar. Those are the magic words required to
get 72 virgins. So he was probably
His heart rate remained steady. Not something one would expect from a
man soon expecting death.
His medication probably did this to him, or a medical condition.
Morally, his culpability may be minor or non-existent.
OMG: Iranian reporter covering nuke talks defects, says US mainly speaking on Iran's behalf to other P 5+1 countries
Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.
An Iranian reporter covering the nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland has defected, saying that there is no point to practicing his profession in Iran, because he can only write what he is told anyway. The same reporter had some choice words to describe the United States' role in the talks.
He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to
say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as
he could only write what he was told.
“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the
negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the
negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not
journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed
back to Iran goes through their channels.
“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this
manner any more.” Mr Mottaghi was a journalist and commentator who went
on to use social media successfully to promote Mr Rouhani to a youthful
audience that overwhelmingly elected him to power.
But he was also subject to the bitter internal arguments within the
Iranian regime. One news website claimed he had been forced in to report
to the ministry of intelligence weekly, and that he had been tipped off
that he might be subject to arrest had he returned to Tehran.
In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House
pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s
European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent
members of the UN security council and Germany.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf
with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he
Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues its fight for truth, justice and the American wayIslam.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-three years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 31 years and seven grandchildren. Three of our children are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com