Saturday, July 31, 2010

Israel & South Africa Nuclear Weapons Alliance History


Sasha Polakow-Suransky, a senior editor at Foreign Affairs, and author of "The Unspoken Alliance," looks at the secret military partnership between Israel and apartheid South Africa following the 1967 Six-Day War (including the transfer of nuclear technology). The relationship lasted 27 years.

Commentary was provided by Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb and the forthcoming The Worst Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb.

This event, "Nuclear Pariahs," was hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Thomas Carothers moderated.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wanted: Nominees for Scientific Advisory Committee

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is soliciting nominees to serve on an NCEH/ATSDR Board of Scientific Counselors Advisory Committee. The deadline to submit nominations is November 30, 2010. Federal Register /Vol. 75, No. 130 /Thursday, July 8, 2010 /Notices/ 39265

For questions, contact Sandra Malcom. Please feel free to share this announcement to your colleagues.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Wind Atlas' Announced at Clean Energy Ministerial

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, left, used the first-ever ‘Clean Energy Ministerial' meeting, which took place in Washington DC this week, to announce that South Africa would in August release a comprehensive ‘wind atlas', as well as a ‘carbon dioxide (CO2) geological storage atlas.'

The meeting was hosted by US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and attended by delegations from 24 countries, representing 80% of global energy consumption. The atlas would identify potential sites and provide "accurate information" on the wind resources within the country - information that could be used by potential renewable-energy investors. South Africa is in the final stages of drafting an integrated resource plan for electricity, dubbed ‘IRP2010', which will provide an energy-mix road map for the next two decades.

Potential investors are still awaiting: the IRP2010; finality on the rules governing power purchase agreements; as well as the assurances that the playing fields will be levelled through the creation of a single buyer that is ring-fenced from South Africa's power utility, Eskom. Eskom is currently designated as the single buyer of power arising from independent power producers (IPPs), whether conventional, or renewable.

However, 92,8% of South Africa's power is still derived from coal, a higher percentage than most countries. Further, much of South Africa's transport fuel is also derived from coal, making the domestic economy one of the world's most carbon heavy globally. In 2009/10, Eskom alone burned some 122.7-million tons of coal and produced 224.7-million tons of CO2, while generating 232 812 GWh of electricity. (Engineering News, 7/21/2010)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DTI Promoting Investment Opportunities in China

Department of Trade and Industry Promoting SA Investment Opportunities at China Trade Expo

The Department of Trade and Industry has launched South Africa's two-month trade and investment promotion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 in China. The intitial focus on is on minerals, metals and capital equipment. China has a need for mineral products coming from the African continent, which creates a number of synergies and possibilities of productive relationships between the two countries.

The DTI delegation included around 30 different South African executives and companies from the country's mining, metals and capital equipment sectors. The delegation is promoting investment opportunities in South Africa, identifying opportunities in China, and enhancing existing trading activities. The focus is on energy, engineering and information and communication technology. China's investment in South Africa is now expanding to new industries, such as energy, minerals, mechanics and construction. The two countries should still work together in sectors such as natural resources, capital, human resources and technology, since both countries have different advantages. The Shanghai World Expo 2010 has seen more than one-million visitors since it started in May. (Engineering News, 6/6/2010)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Department of Defense - Environmental Services

The military, like most organisations, must reduce its impact on the environment. The impact of military activities on the natural environment is inherently destructive, therefore making the role of the environment in defence complex. The South African Department of Defence (SA DOD) is increasingly bound by international and national legislation and regulations to protect and conserve the natural resources on defence-controlled properties, and to act in an environmentally responsible manner.

The DOD is not exempted from environmental legislative provisions and the emphasis for compliance has shifted from the organisation to those individuals in control of installations, operations and activities, which may detrimentally affect the environment. The responsibility for compliance and performance is therefore largely placed on those personnel in control of military installations, operations and activities. Non-compliance to legislative provisions may therefore result in fines and the possibility of prison sentences on such military personnel.

Sustainable environmental management of training areas will ensure that the quality of land resources is maintained for realistic training in future. Incorporating environmental practices into military procedures and operations enhances public relations and has financial benefits such as reducing energy costs and clean-up, disposal or litigation costs.

Due to the increasing pressure on land within the Republic of South Africa (RSA) as well as the restitution of land rights, the DOD must retain its current footprint on the existing land portfolio. Environmental Services in the SA military is a non-core Logistics function integrated into the Facilities Management function in support of the military mission and is primarily concerned with managing the environmental impacts of military activities on the environment (whether a natural or urban environment).

DOD aims to ensure the environmental sustainable management of military activities and facilities by following an advanced and comprehensive approach of Military Integrated Environmental Management (MIEM) encapsulated by the phrase GREEN SOLDIERING. This function is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of military installations and supports the department’s core functions that relate to ‘providing military forces’ and ‘employing military forces’ through the implementation and execution of Military Integrated Environmental Management (MIEM).

South Africa National Defense Force (SANDF),

Center USA Trip To South Africa

Center President Norris McDonald traveled to South Africa on April 4 and returned on April 13 to examine the feasibility of establishing partnerships between American and South African entrepreneurs and businesses to address cooperative energy and environmental projects. The week of programs and meetings is part of an ongoing "United States-South Africa Power Partnership Program." His hosts included Africa Venture Partners (AVP) and Africa Business Group (ABG). Michael Sudarkasa of AVP and ABG facilitated all meetings, tours and events.

Eric Wright, Michael Sudarkasa, Norris McDonald, Paula Jackson, Gregory Boyd, Seth Keshwar-Hill
Tuesday April 6th: After an "Introduction to South Africa" at the offices of Africa Venture Partners with Eric Wright, Michael Sudarkasa, Paula Jackson, Gregory Boyd & Seth Keshwar-Hill, they met with representatives from the U.S. Consulate for a "Briefing on the South Africa Power and Energy Sector. Attendees included Craig Allen-Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs and Senior Commercial Officer, David K. Young-Minerals/Energy Officer-USA Embassy, R. Bruce Neuling-Economic Officer-USA Embassy, Heidy Servin-Baez-Transportation/ICT Officer-USA Embassy, Bheki Ndimande-Comercial Specialist-USA Embassy, Harry Mohloare-Director-KYD Consulting Engineers Ltd, and Jason Nagy-U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

McDonald attended and gave brief remarks at the "Official Opening Reception" for the USA Week at the L'Entrecote Restaurant in Sandton. USA Week is an annual event that brings together American and South Africa businesses.

Wednesday April 7th: McDonald gave a presentation at the forum held at the Africa Heritage Society Auditorium entitled, "Ensuring An Inclusive South African Energy Sector." After participant introductions, the forum discussed "Affirmative Action in the U.S. Energy Sector: Issues, Reflections and Achievements," "BBBEE in the South African Energy Sector," and "Forging U.S.-South Africa Energy Sector Linkages: Opportunites and Considerations. Kennedy Khabo and Michael Sudarkasa, pictured at right, moderated the forum.

Thursday April 8th: Met with Aurecon Group, a global engineering firm based in Hatfield, Tshwane. Dr. Baholo Baholo - Energy Sector Leader for Aurecon described the company and its projects. A discussion about energy and environment followed.

The first meeting at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) included a discussion about environmental issues with Marba Visagie-Deputy Director: Environment-Industry Development Division. The meeting was held at DTI's Pretoria headquarters. The second meeting included a discussion with Donald Mabusela-DTI Director of The Enterprise Organisation and Thulani Mpetsheni-Director-Electrotechnical Unit. They discussed a broad range of energy and environmental issues related to cooperative development.

McDonald met with two representatives of the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA): Mary Urujeni Kamari-Resource Mobilization & International Relations and Jean Madzongwe-Energy Specialist. The meeting included a very good description of the energy situation in Africa. It also included a thorough description of DBSA and the potential for cooperation between the United States and South Africa.

McDonald met with representatives of SASOL for a discussion about carbon dioxide allowance trading and other energy issues.The meetings included John Sichinga-General Manager-Development & Production and Christopher Kobosha-Portfolio Manager-Government Relations and Public Affairs.
Michael Sudarkasa
Friday April 9th: Attended an all day forum at the University of Johannesburg themed, "The American Experience In Democratic South Africa, 1994-2010." The South Africa - America Partnership Forum (SAAPF) Colloquium was held at the School of Tourism and Hospitality in the Pretoria Auditorium. Michael Sudarkasa-Africa Business Group, was the conference coordinator, who delivered opening and closing remarks.

Opening remarks were given by: Dr. Derrick van der Merwe-Pro Vice Chancellor-Univ of Johannesburg, Kennedy Khabo-Coordinator-USA Week-Khabo-Mabe On Time, Inc, Moeletsi Mbeki, Deputy Chair-South African Institute of International Affairs.

Panels: EDUCATION: Chair: Dr. Nomfundo Ngwenya-South African Institute of Int'l Affairs, Dr. Ken Simmons, Retired Professor-Univ of CA-Berkeley & Witswatersrand Univ, Dr. Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, Univ of Pretoria, Ms. Clara Priester-Education USA, ARTS & CULTURE: Chair: Myesha Jenkins-poet, Lebo M-composer, Hotep Idris-Galata-jazz historian & pianist, Antonio David Lyons- actor/writer/performer, Julialynne Walker-Diaspora Activist, BUSINESS: Chair: Gayla Cook-Mohajane-Exegesis Consulting, Courtney Priester, entrepreneur-Past Chair-Democrates Abroad SA, Gaby Magamola-Thamanga Investments, Eugene Jackson-Renaissance Cities of Africa, MEDIA: Chair: Kenneth Walker-Lion House Strategic Comms, Phil Molefe-South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, Brooks Spector-Daily Maverick, POLITICS: Chair: Dr. Garth Le Pere-DAJO Associates, Francis Kornegay-Institute of Global Dialogue, Dumisani Kumalo-Former Ambassador to UN South Africa, Lou Hureston-Democrats Abroad South Africa.

Saturday April 10th: Meeting with Eskom General Manager Louis Maleka and Sol Masolo-General Manager: PR & Communications-City Power. The meeting included a description of the electricity capacity challenges facing Eskom and how the government owned utility planned to meet the country's electricity needs.

Martin Nel, Norris McDonald, Paula Jackson, Janelle Gravett, Time Raaff
Met with the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association. The meeting included Janelle Gravett, Martin Nel and Tim Raaff. They discussed steel production and opportunities in South Africa. A broad range of possible cooperative projects were discussed.

Sunday April 11: Tour of Soweto. Visited Mandela House. Visited Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum. The museum is a national heritage site intrinsically linked to the origins of the Soweto Uprising and its aftermath.

Monday, April 12th: McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with Kantha Rattay, Legal Consultant to discuss South African energy and environmental issues. The meeting was held at the AVP offices in Sandton.

Met with Vunani, a financial services company that operates through two divisions: Financial Services and Investment Services. Financial Services is composed of the Asset management, investments banking and property business units. Investment Services houses Vunani's strategic empowerment equity investments. the meeting included Reginal Shaver-Head-Debt Advisory and Debt Capital Raising and via teleconference: Anton Nuno-COO and Mark Anderson-Investments Executive Director. The meeting included a broad discussion about carbon offset allowances and other issues.

Reginald Shaver, Norris McDonald, Paula Jackson, Michael Sudarkasa

Final activity: Tour of Alexandra.

South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Program - The Early Years

The Republic of South Africa is the first and only nation to have successfully developed nuclear weapons, and then voluntarily relinquished that capability. The decision to completely destroy weapons related technology and information was to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the black-led government.

In a 24 March 1993 speech, President de Klerk not only revealed that South Africa had produced nuclear weapons, but that the arsenal had been destroyed before 10 July 1991, when South Africa joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Not only have the weapons themselves been destroyed, and the fissile material recast into non-weapon ingots, but all design and production information has been destroyed as well. Of course, it is very easy to get this information today.

A secret project was begun by the Atomic Energy Board (AEB) in the early 1960s to develop a unique uranium enrichment technology. Initially the project was housed in a small warehouse in Pretoria, but was later moved to Pelindaba. The technology was nozzle or vortex enrichment, achieves separation by generating a near-sonic speed vortex of a mixture of uranium hexafluoride and hydrogen gases in a narrow stationary tube. The centrifugal forces caused by the high speed rotation concentrate heavier U-238 at the periphery and lighter U-235 at the axis, so that axial and peripheral out take tubes can extract isotopically enriched and depleted materials respectively, a process analogous to that produced by the spinning rotor of a gas centrifuge.

The strategic implications of Soviet involvement in Africa - either direct or by proxy - weighed heavily on South Africa's leaders and was a chief motivation for the later actual manufacture of nuclear weapons to provide a hedge against Soviet-sponsored aggression. The strategy then was to use these weapons as leverage with Western powers - demonstrating their existence, and then threatening to resort to nuclear attack if assistance was not provided, should outside assistance prove necessary.

(Original Article)

South African Nuclear Energy Corporation

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) was established as a public company by the Republic of South Africa Nuclear Energy Act in 1999 and is wholly owned by the State. The name is correctly indicated above, although the sequence of letters in the acronym may be taken as suggesting that the name should be the "Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa". NECSA replaced the country's Atomic Energy Corporation.

The main functions of NECSA are to undertake and promote research and development in the field of nuclear energy and related technologies; to process and store nuclear material and other restricted material; and to co-ordinate with other organisations in matters falling within these spheres. Apart from its main operations at Pelindaba, NECSA also operates the Vaalputs radioactive waste-disposal facility. The chief executive officer of NECSA is Dr. Rob Adam (since 2006).

NECSA is organisationally divided into a commercial group, Pelindaba Technology (PT), which conducts business in a variety of products and markets and another group, Pelindaba Nuclear Institute (PNI), which is concerned with statutory functions, R&D, support and facility operations. Pelindaba Technology (PT) is a portfolio of businesses of which Nuclear Technology Products (NTP) is a division and serves the international markets for radiation-based technology and products. Also The Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa, Ltd. (UCOR) which operated a facility at Valindaba (known as the 'Y'plant) to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU).

The SAFARI-1 reactor as the cornerstone of the commercial isotope production programme. In the 1970s and 1980s the focus of activities at Pelindaba was on the exploitation of South Africa’s uranium resources through the successful design, construction and commissioning of commercial uranium hexafluoride, uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel assembly production facilities. (Wiki)