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Post Mortem on Germany's Nuclear Melt-Down

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel's Spring assault on the country's nuclear power industry, if enacted, will reverberate through the German economy and society for decades to come.  'Germans for Germany' seems an apt phrase to describe such precipitous action with little thought given to the decision's impact on European energy security, German energy security, and on German foreign policy.  In fact, Merkel's plan to provide 'flexible power' alternatives to integrate non-existent wind and solar power into the German grid limits the country's options for safe and reliable base load electricity to either coal or natural gas and we know where Germany's gas comes from.          

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America Falling Behind: The Strategic Dimensions of Chinese Commercial Nuclear Energy

America Falling Behind: The Strategic Dimensions of Chinese Commercial Nuclear Energy

The United States has long prided itself on its strong culture of innovation and technological advancement.  However in the field of nuclear energy it is  losing, if it has not already lost its leadership position.  Contributor Scott Cullinane points out that, "today 40% of the enriched uranium US power plants use is processed overseas and imported" from elsewhere. At the same time China is adding to its nuclear fleet, pioneering the new stage of nuclear technological development through its national strategy of 'indigenous innovation' with the resulting ability to export cutting edge nuclear technologies to the highest bidder.  The strategic implications of these developments on US national security and foreign policy are immense.

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From the Editor: Russia - On The March (Again)

On the afternoon of September 9th, a massive power outage in the American Southwest blackened cities from California's San Diego and Orange counties to eastern Arizona and Mexico's border cities, including Tijuana.  In spite of the fact that power was restored within twenty-four hours to most of the customers thrown-offline, the power cut caused the San Onofre nuclear plant to go offline, trains to be cancelled, the airport in San Diego, California to close down, massive traffic problems and delays due to non-functioning signal systems, and it shut down sewage stations, causing raw sewage to spill into a lagoon, a river and a portion of San Diego Bay.  The blackout, just two days before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, attributed to an employee generated accident, understandably caused nerves to fray.  More importantly it is yet again another wake-up call to the US gene...

The Empire Strikes Back: European Energy and the Return of Gazprom

Gazprom, like its Russian state owners, has pursued an effective, long term strategy of ingratiating and integrating its interests with those of its downstream customers.  It may have struck a coup though in moving closer to RWE Germany's second largest electricity producer.  The field of maneuver for a Gazprom ownership stake in RWE has been made perceptively easier with the Merkel government's decision to discontinue nuclear power as an entire class of power generating technology available to German industrial and residential consumers.  As a partial result of this decision, RWE has lost a reported 20% of its market value and is eager for the new investment that Gazprom can provide.  Vertically integrating Gazprom as a key player in Europe's largest industrial economy is really what is at stake in the short term.  Integrating Russian influence as a base-load factor in Germany's future ...

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China and Recent Military Showdowns in the South China Sea

China's global thirst for energy resources to feed its economic expansion and increasingly prosperous citizenry is beginning to impinge on areas of geographic, and resource interest, to its Asian neighbors.  The South China Sea is one area of contention that has caused a flare-up in relations between China, Vietnam, and the Philippines in recent months.  Hooman Peimani at the prestigious National University of Singapore explores the roots of these regional disagreements and helps explain Chinese growing assertiveness in its foreign policy behavior and how we may be seeing more muscle flexing particularly where it believes it has a distinct upper-hand.   

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