Adani Faces Financing Gap on Unpopular Australian Coal Project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wire:In September 2016, the Adani group decided to scale down the size of the mine from the initially proposed investment of $16.4 billion to $4.2 billion, with production being curtailed at 25 million tonnes of coal per annum in the first phase of operations, instead of the initially proposed 60 million tonnes per annum at peak production.“Between 2010 and now, things have changed drastically for the mine. It is now no longer financially viable, and that is why it has not been able to achieve financial close for seven years. On top of that, there are so many political and environmental risks associated with the project that it becomes toxic from a banking perspective,” said Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, within the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a pro-renewables energy research firm. As many as twenty-four Australian and international banks have either refused funding the project or have introduced rules that would make the Carmichael project out-of-bounds for them.To add to its woes, according to a recent report by the IEEFA, the Adani group will need to refinance $1.48 billion of debt on by November 2018 and a cumulative debt refinancing of $2.11 billion by 2020 on its Abbot point port terminal. This at a time when the port is only operating at 50% of its capacity and most of its ‘take-or-pay’ contracts, which currently earn revenue for the port, expire soon. “They have this situation where three-quarters of their debt on the port will have to be refinanced in the next 12 months. With the take-or-pay contracts progressively expiring, they will find it difficult to convince financiers that the port will be fully utilised in the future,” said Buckley, one of the authors of the report.“For them to convince financers that port capacity will be utilised in the future, they need to show that the Carmichael mine will be up and running soon because otherwise, the export volumes will not be enough. So it now makes the mine crucial for the future of the Abbot point port,” Buckley added.Jeyakumar Janakaraj, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Adani Australia, recently told the Economic Times in an interview that the Adani group still needs to tie-up $4.2 billion in finance for the Carmichael mine and rail project, and has a set a deadline of March 2018 to tie up funding.A surfer carries his board as he walks behind protesters participating in a national Day of Action against the Indian mining company Adani’s planned coal mine project in north-east Australia, at Sydney’s Bondi Beach in Australia, October 7, 2017. Credit: Reuters/David GrayAccording to John Quiggin, Australian Laureate Fellow in Economics at the University of Queensland, the project now relies heavily on financial support from the Australian government. “There has been a general move away from financing coal projects. It is increasingly difficult to get finance and this is a marginal project. It is low-quality coal and a long-way away from ports. There is no clear market for the coal. So the project is not very attractive commercially. They (the Adani group) are therefore looking mostly at government or quasi-government financing,” Quiggin told The Wire.The government financing, which the project now crucially hinges on, is a prospective concessional loan of up to $900 million from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) which was set up by the government of Australia in 2016 to ‘encourage and complement private sector investment in infrastructure that benefits northern Australia’. The prospective loan is concessional as it can be provided at an interest rate lower than commercial lending rates, and for a period longer than commercial lending periods.“The structure of the NAIF is very opaque. The interest rates could be as low as federal government bond rate, which is currently 2.75%. And the loan period could be 30 years, with the risk profile of the loan likely to be heavily subordinated terms. It would operate like quasi-equity,” said Buckley.In effect, tax-payers in Australia would be subsidising the Adani group’s coal mine, and Julien Vincent, executive director of the environmental campaign group, Market Forces, believes that the project is only possible through tax-payer subsidy. “This project is financially unsustainable. It only works if you are prepared to shift the risk on to the tax payers. So, the NAIF is critical for Adani,” he said.Even with the $900 million NAIF loan, the Adani group will need to secure another $3.3 billion in financing for the project. According to a recent report of the IEEFA, the Chinese state-owned enterprise China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) is one of the prospective financers that the Adani group has approached. According to a press release on the website of CMEC, in January, a top Adani Mining Private limited executive, Praveen Khandelwal, along with the CEO of Downer EDI group – a company which has a $2 billion contract with Adani Mining Private limited for the construction of the mine in Australia – met with the president of CMEC Zhang Chun. Chun said at the meeting that the CMEC “hoped to cooperate with Adani and Downer to take part in financing, construction and operation of relevant coal mines and railway projects”.“The CMEC is in strategic alliance with the China Construction Bank and the China Import Export Bank which are two state-owned enterprises. They could take equity stakes in the Adani project. They have a history of taking minority equity stakes in projects of this kind,” said Buckley.Aiding that theory is a statement that Janakaraj gave to Reuters in early October, where the CEO of Adani Australia said that the Adani group was ‘looking to sell minority equity stakes in the coal project’.Further fuelling speculation is a recent revelation that certain Australian government ministers wrote to the Chinese government assuring it that the Carmichael coal mine has been approved. The letter was written by the minister for trade, tourism and investment, and by the deputy prime minister, and addressed to the National Development and Reform Commission in China. The secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told Australian senators that Adani may have requested the letter to help it secure funding from the Chinese.According to Buckley, if the deal materialises, it could effectively mean that the Australian government is providing subsidies to a project owned by an Indian billionaire and a state-owned enterprise of the Chinese government.   However, Buckley argues that the NAIF loan remains critical even for this prospect. “The NAIF loan is absolutely crucial. I don’t think the Chinese state-owned enterprise would even contemplate doing a project in Australia without an explicit endorsement of the project by the Australian government. And there is nothing more explicit than being a key funder. If the Chinese knew that the NAIF wasn’t available, I don’t think they would even give it a moment’s thought. It is too controversial a project,” he said.Effectively, the NAIF loan – a federal government funded subsidy of almost $1 billion – would act as a signal of government support for the project, and would make it a more attractive investment proposition for prospective financers.But government funding in the form of the subsidised NAIF loan is hugely unpopular with the Australian people, with some arguing that it amounts to a bailout. It seems that the NAIF loan has become a double-edged sword for the Adani group, as the project is unlikely to find willing financers without it, and it could face even stronger opposition from citizens if the NAIF loan is provided.More: Adani’s Australia Story: As Financial Concerns Mount, A Fierce Battle for Funding is Underway Adani Faces Financing Gap on Unpopular Australian Coal Projectlast_img read more

Bay Area Transit Agency in Shift to Renewables

first_imgBay Area Transit Agency in Shift to Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享San Francisco Examiner:BART will soon be powered almost entirely by renewable energy.The transportation system will be 90 percent powered by wind, solar and other renewables by 2021, after the BART Board of Directors on Thursday approved two 20-year renewable energy power purchase agreements.Though BART’s growing electricity needs will seen that percentage lessen to 75 percent renewables by 2025, according to the agency, BART board directors were enthusiastic.“This establishes BART as the country’s most climate-forward transportation agency,” said BART board director Nick Josefowitz said in a statement. “Not only will BART soon be powered by almost 100 percent renewable electricity, but we’re doing it cheaper than by buying fossil fuels.”BART uses 400,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, the agency wrote in a statement, which is slightly more than the annual electricity used by the city of Alameda.The two 20-year power purchase agreements for renewable energy are with NextEra Energy from a new wind farm in Kern County, and with Recurrent Energy from a solar project, also in Kern County.The contract is estimated to cost $251 million over 20 years, according to BART, but is estimated to generate $173 million in savings over BART’s current energy portfolio.More: BART board approves wind, solar purchase for 90 percent renewable energylast_img read more

Chad looking to build 200MW solar project near capital of N’djamena

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Representatives of Argentina-based Alcaal Group visited Chad at the beginning of August to discuss the prospects for investing in the country’s agribusiness and renewable energies, Idriss Déby, the Central African country’s president, announced on social media networks.Two days later, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the minister of finance and budget, the minister of energy and the company. The agreement concerns feasibility studies for the construction, operation and maintenance of a photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of up to 200 MW with storage on the outskirts of N’djamena, the capital of Chad.In early July, the United Nations Development Program launched the “Sun Health” project in the country, which suffers from a lack of a reliable source of energy – only 6.4% of the Chadian population has access to reliable electricity. Funded to the tune of more than $3 million, the initiative aims to install solar panels in 150 health centers in the country.Chad had an installed solar capacity of 1 MW at the end of 2019, according to figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The US Agency for International Development estimates the landlocked country has only 125 MW of total power generation capacity, the bulk of which is diesel and heavy fuel oil which mainly serves N’Djamena.[Catherine Rollet]More: Chad considers construction of 200 MW solar-plus-storage plant Chad looking to build 200MW solar project near capital of N’djamenalast_img read more

Ski and Snowboard Gear Trends 2009, Part I

first_img Women’s Burton Sapphire Boot Women’s Burton Sapphire Boot Women’s Burton Sapphire Bootcenter_img Winter is upon us, and with it ski areas across the country are cranking on the lifts. Here are four trends and a handful of corresponding new products — from high-tech skis to a snowboarding boot with a built-in heater — that you’ll see on the slopes this season. Cold No LongerBattery-powered heat radiating from embedded conductors is a theme this year from boot, jacket and glove manufacturers. The women’s Burton Sapphire snowboarding boot ($219.95, has a liner laced with heating elements powered by a clip-on power pack. Rossignol’s Hit Jacket, also for women, goes for a hefty $700 but comes with four warming panels stitched into its lining and a rechargeable battery pack that seats in a pocket. Outdoor Research’s PrimoVolta Gloves ($259, have an on/off switch to initiate warmth that spreads from the back of the hand to fingertips.The Do-All SkiSerious skiers of yore often kept a quiver of different skis ready to use as per the conditions of the day. But companies like Salomon now offer planks that tout complete versatility in any type of snow, including the Lord ($850,, an all-mountain ski with an hourglass shape and a reverse camber in the forebody to accommodate powder, crud or groomed trail. Volkl ups the ante with its do-all Tigershark 12 ft Power Switch, a $1,525 pair that employs embedded carbon-fiber rods running the length of the ski. An on/off switch compresses or decompresses the rods with springs, changing the skis’ grip and power on snow.Fashion ForwardSurfing, skateboarding and lifestyle footwear and clothing brands including Roxy, DC Shoes and Quicksilver are making inroads to the ski and snowboarding scenes. The men’s Quicksilver Last Mission Jacket ($200,, one example, is a fashion-forward waterproof and breathable shell with touches like a multi-media controller and an inside pocket with a headphone port.Freestyle ResurgenceFile this under “irony”: Some teenagers now rebel against their snowboarding parents by becoming skiers. Freestyle skiers, that is. Indeed, the rail-sliding, halfpipe-riding discipline of freestyle skiing has taken off like no other trend in the sport. Skis like the Volkl Wall ($650, — a twin-tip model with a symmetrical sidecut for switch (backwards) riding — are representative of the planks now employed by the baggy-pants-wearing set.(Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at's Burton Sapphire BootWomen Women’s Burton Sapphire Bootlast_img read more

Beer Blog: 3.2 Beer

first_imgI spent a lot of time in my youth deriding 3.2% beer. Granted, this was well before the craft beer boom, so it’s not like we had a lot of options at the one gas station that would take our fake ID’s. Basically, we were choosing between Budweiser, MGD, and Busch Light. But in certain parts of the country, those same beers were watered down from the mighty 5ish% to a puny 3.2%. Same beer, less alcohol. It was like some sort of a state-sanctioned prank. We vowed never to visit the entire state of Utah, because of its state-wide 3.2% beer policy. On our occasional trips to Ole Miss for football games, we were careful to pack beer from Georgia, because Mississippi was also plagued by a 3.2 beer law.Some 20 years later, the craft beer boom has hit mushroom cloud proportions, and I’m now dying to find a 3.2% beer. Look through that fancy beer menu at your local brewery—chances are you won’t see much under 6%. I like big beers as much as the next guy, but every once in a while, I want to sit down and have a conversation over a couple of beers without getting so torn up that I make a terrible decision that ends with me in a field chasing a cow.Like tonight. I met a group of old friends I hadn’t seen in a while at one of my favorite local breweries, which is known for high-octane beers that tend to put me under the table. Three beers at this place, and I can pretty much kiss the next day goodbye. I’ll spend that workday trying to walk back from whatever cattle farm I wake up in.The brewery must’ve realized their beers were knocking people on their ass, because now, they have a 3.2% beer.  Right there on the menu between double IPAs and imperial stouts. Plenty of breweries are now making sessionable ales, those 5% beers that you’re supposed to be able to drink all day long, but I’m not aware of many that make a legit 3.2%, easy drinking, “like sex in a canoe” (it’s fu$*ing near water) beer. And it worked. I could drink more than one beer, still hold a semi-coherent conversation, and still walk home in a relatively straight line. And the beer actually tasted good.Here’s hoping more breweries offer 3.2% beer for the lightweights in the world like myself who, occasionally, like on a weekday night, just want to have a few beers and not end up chasing cows in the middle of a field.last_img read more

Hillbilly Environmentalist: Like Them or Not, Regulations Protect your Health

first_imgOn February 24, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” a federal policy “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens” on the American people. The EO directs federal agencies—e.g., Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—to establish a task force to identify any regulations that eliminate jobs, are outdated or ineffective, that impose costs that exceed benefits, or interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies. One section of the EO calls on the task force to “seek input and other assistance, as permitted by law, from entities significantly affected by Federal regulations, including State, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, consumers, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations…”One may reasonably ask—a colleague and I had this very discussion a few weeks ago—if excessive or unnecessary EPA regulations exist. We may assume that surely such regulations do exist, but it does not take long to see that these regulations exist for one purpose and one purpose only: To PROTECT Americans and our incredible natural resources.EPA lists on its website the laws and executive orders for which it creates and enforces environmental regulations. The list is surprisingly short. On the list are such landmark environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Endangered Species Act. There’s the Toxic Substances Control Act, which “addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.” How about the Ocean Dumping Act, Nuclear Waste Policy Act, Noise Control Act, Food Quality Protection Act, EO 13045: Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, and the Safe Drinking Water Act? See anything superfluous there?A lot of press has been given to President Trump’s negative stance on EPA’s (and DOT’s) corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards of 2011, which would require car manufacturers to reach the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon for the average new vehicle in 2025. President Trump says that these regulations are killing American jobs by placing undue regulations on the car industry, but some reports predict that these standards will actually create jobs, all the while leading to significantly reduced emissions of harmful/planet-warming gases.Clearly, the Trump Administration issued EO 13777 to eliminate some, or many, of the regulations written and enforced by EPA—remember that these regulations are based upon laws passed by Congress and signed by Presidents, including both Bushes and President Nixon, or are based upon just a few Executive Orders. But EPA and Scott Pruitt are required to solicit public input, and this is where we can use our democratic, nature-loving voices to be heard.The public input page went live on April 13, 2017, and EPA will take comments until May 15, 2017. In the first week, there were only just over 3,000 comments made, and at the time I am writing this—the wee hours of Thursday, April 20—the anonymous comments shown are all pro-regulation, pro-environmental protection.I’m old enough to remember orange skies and burning rivers. The regulations that cleaned our air and water need to be strengthened if anything.The idea behind EO 13777, that the United States is burdened by massive amounts of unnecessary environmental regulations, is ridiculous. The existing regulations are necessary for ensuring human health and protecting the environment. I am adamantly opposed to any and all rollbacks.I appeal to you to follow these simple steps to make a positive statement for environmental and human protection:Follow this link and make a comment (“Comment Now!” button, top right): Please write something heart-felt and personal—EPA will eliminate any comments that clearly stem from mass-mail attempts to jam the process.Post a link to this article and/or the link to the comments page on all your social media sites and ask everyone you know to make a comment.Let’s not let a few corporations or an anti-environment Administration run the show, to the detriment of us all, in terms of destroying our hard-fought environmental and human protections—not 3,000 comments but 300,000 or 3,000,000 comments for environmental and human health!last_img read more

Everything You Need to Know about the Fugitive Situation in Pisgah National Forest

first_imgDue to an ongoing manhunt in Pisgah National Forest (more on that here), several popular recreational areas near Brevard, North Carolina have been closed to visitors, but multiple businesses in the area remain open despite a heavy police presence.The search for Phillip Michael Stroupe II, who is accused of stealing a mountain bike at gunpoint before fleeing into the woods off of Avery’s Creek Road, is being concentrated to the east of Highway 276 in the Mills River area where Stroupe was last seen.Roads outlined in red have been closed to prevent access to the search area, while the blue line along the Blue Ridge Parkway indicates the northern boundary of the search area. The blue dot next to FS476 shows the last place where Stroupe was spotted. The Blue Ridge Parkway is open as usual.The Brevard Police Department has joined forces with the Transylvania Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, NC State Highway Patrol and helicopter support, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Special Response Team, the NC State Bureau of Investigation, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, to search the forest for Stroupe, who has been described as a survivalist, but as of now he remains at large.According to Public Information Officer Bob Beanblossom of the United State Forest Service, forest closures include the Pisgah Ranger Station and Visitors Center off of US276, the Cradle of Forestry where the command post for the man hunt has been setup, Looking Glass Falls, the popular Sliding Rock swimming area and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education at the fish hatchery. Visitors should also avoid the Yellow Gap Road, Turkey Pen Gap, Trace Ridge, and Wash Creek.According to sources in Brevard, the Davidson River Campground remains accessible for employees and visitors with reservations.Businesses at the gate of Pisgah on Highway 276 remain open but have suffered as a result of road closures. Those businesses include The Hub and Pisgah Tavern, Davidson River Outfitters, Pilot Cove, and Ecusta Brewing Company among others.On Saturday, robbery victims Aaron Fischer and Chris Swann of Athens, Georgia gave a video interview to the Transylvania Times from the patio of the The Hub, and nearby Ecusta Brewing has been putting up campers who were forced to evacuate the forest in the wake of the manhunt.Stay tuned to for updates on this developing story.last_img read more

Find Your True North | June 6 – 9 | Snowshoe, WV

first_imgWanderlust’s mission is to help you find your true north, to live a healthy and inspired life. We’ve hand-selected world-renowned guides—teachers, experts, musicians, and creators—to light your path.  Learn More 3. Yoga Nidra and Manifesting your Best Life w/ Tracee Stanley (Meditation) Peak Wellness Go beyond your festival schedule and dive deep into wellness. Choose from one of three Immersions designed to provide you with a close look at the subjects that matter most, from yoga and meditation to fitness and nutrition to personal development and beyond. 2. Clarity, Courage, Truth, Power w/ Cheryl Strayed (Personal Development) Plunge Into Possibility 1. Kundalini and the Radiant Body w/ Kia Miller (Yoga) What’s a day at Wanderlust Snowshoe like? Start off at sunrise with stand-up paddle board yoga on Shavers Lake, nestled in the local Appalachian mountains. Dry off, then invigorate your mind with an inspiring Speakeasy talk, grab a bite from a delicious local food truck, or learn to fly in an acroyoga class. In the evening, come alive at Nahko & Medicine for the People’s mainstage performance, or lose yourself in the beats of three dueling DJs at our signature silent disco. And that’s just a taste. Surrounded by panoramic views of Appalachian hills and valleys, Snowshoe Mountain Resort is the highest point in the picturesque state of West Virginia. Revel in nearly 300 miles of stunning trails, verdant flora and fauna, and scenic Shavers Lake. Set in storied Pocahontas County, Snowshoe is an adventurer’s paradise, with bike trails, rock climbing, camping, and rafting all right at hand. Find the perfect combination of excitement and relaxation on this one-of-a-kind mountain. last_img read more

10 Ways to While Away the Summer in Southwest Virginia

first_imgSeekout the perfect picnic spot and get an eyeful of southwest Virginia’smountain-silhouetted vistas with a cruise on the nearly 50-mile MountRogers Scenic Byway. The scenic roadway showcaseswoodland-blanketed slopes, bucolic meadows, and gushing trout streams all whileskirting Whitetop Mountain, the second highest summit in the state. One of the most memorable ways to explore the high-country wilderness of Southwest Virginia is on horseback. The area is also especially conducive to equine escapes. A network of bridle trails includes the 68-mile Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, and you’ll find equine-friendly campsites spread throughout the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. An old-fashioned fishing trip is arguably the best way to spend a warm weather day—even if you don’t get a single bite. Luckily, the chances of coming up empty-handed are slim in Southwest Virginia. The region is loaded with some of the premier fishing spots in the state, from icy trout streams lacing mountain forests to massive lakes. 5. Find the Perfect Picnic Spot Usherin warmer weather, longer days, and the seasonal rotation of flavors inSouthwest Virginia. First peruse the bounty of fresh, locally sourced offeringsavailable at the Abingdon Farmers Market. After the market, head over to the Wolf HillsBrewing Company, which also plays host to a regularentertainment line-up, including everything from live music to trivia nights. 6. Take an Old-Fashioned Fishing Trip 3. High Country on Horseback Blanketedby a generous swath of the Jefferson National Forest, dappled with an eclecticpatchwork of wilderness areas, Southwest Virginia is a veritable backpacker’sbuffet—with plenty to offer trail-lovers after more than a mere day hike. Two women enjoy reading a book while floating on South Holston Lake near Abingdon, VA on Sunday, June 9, 2013. Copyright 2013 Jason Barnette 10. Hit the Water Sara Reese, a resident artist, works on a new piece in her studio at The Arts Depot in Abingdon, VA on Friday, October 19, 2012. Copyright 2012 Jason Barnette A man flyfishes near the weir dam in the South Holston River at Osceola Island near Bristol, TN on Sunday, June 9, 2013. Copyright 2013 Jason Barnette Lakes are the ultimate warm weather escape—a refreshing dip makes for the perfect finish to a hike, ride, or run. Luckily, Southwest Virginia is not only filled with trails, the region is also scattered with several sprawling lakes. Looking for moving water instead? Southwest Virginia is also braided with runnable rivers. Paddle or float the North Fork of the Holston River with Adventure Mendota, located outside Abingdon. center_img 8. Hike the Appalachian Trail A group leader watches as young backpackers admire a wild pony near the edge of Grayson Highlands State Park at Mile 493 on the Appalachian Trail in VA on Sunday, July 29, 2012. Copyright 2012 Jason Barnette InSouthwest Virginia, you can mingle with an array of local artisans—such asmembers of Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia Artisan Network, or the Arts Depot, a community-based gallery for local artists also located in Abingdon.Patronize the performing arts and catch a show at the Barter Theatre, one of the country’s longest-operating playhouses. 9. Coast the Creeper ExploreSouthwest Virginia on wheels on one of the state’s most stunning bike trails.Tracing the route used by the steam locomotives of the Norfolk & WesternRailway, the Virginia Creeper Trail runs 34.3-miles from Abington to Whitetop Station. Outfitterslike the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shopoffer bike rentals and can arrange trail shuttles for riders so you can enjoy aone-way journey downhill. Askalmost any Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and they will tell you the stretch insouthwest Virginia is one of the highlights of the entire 2,190-mile footpath.But the region is not just home to some of the trail’s most stunning scenery,Southwest Virginia is also loaded with backpacker-friendly towns and theirrenowned “trail angels.” 2. Flavors of the Season 1. Head for the Backcountry Southwest Virginia is the perfect place to while away the summer. With the state’s loftiest peaks, expansive wilderness areas, and a large chunk of the massive Jefferson National Forest, the southwest corner of the state is loaded with potential for outdoor adventure. The area is also a cultural hub, offering everything from artisan-fueled markets to legendary performing venues like the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. 4. Get Artsy Doesyour favorite road-trip buddy have four legs and a tail? The wild spaces ofSouthwest Virginia are ideal for exploring with your favorite outdoor-lovingcanine. Best of all, dogs are allowed in all Virginia State Parks—and SouthwestVirginia is home to several of the most stunning recreation areas in thestate.  7. Dogs Days of Summer last_img read more

Brazil Will Build Nuclear Submarine in 2016 with Franco-Brazilian Technology

first_imgBy Dialogo August 31, 2009 BRASILIA, 27 August 2009 (AFP) – Brazil will begin building its first nuclear submarine in 2016 and complete it in 2021, the Brazilian Defense Minister announced on Thursday. The submarine will be an adaptation of the Scorpene conventional submarine purchased from France in a multi-million-dollar deal to be sealed in September with the visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Brazil already has the capability to build a nuclear reactor and the complete uranium-enrichment cycle” to manufacture nuclear fuel, Nelson Jobim affirmed during a Senate appearance. What Brazil needed was the technology for manufacturing a modern submarine to which to adapt the nuclear components, technology that will be provided by France, he indicated. With this project, Brazil hopes to join the select group of nations with the capability to design, build, and operate nuclear-powered submarines, a group that now includes only the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and Russia. The agreement with France, for a total value of 6.69 billion euros, covers the purchase of five Scorpene submarines, four of which will be manufactured in a shipyard to be built in Rio de Janeiro and one in France. Jobim announced that the operation of the shipyard and the building and maintenance of the submarines will be turned over to a binational joint enterprise with the participation of the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht (50%), the French shipbuilder DCNS (49%), and the government (1%), which will have a “golden share” that will allow it to have key decision-making power. The agreement with France came about because “it was the only country that was willing to transfer the technology” for building the submarines, he explained. The minister specified that “the negotiation with the French” does not include the manufacture of the nuclear submarine, which will be a Brazilian adaptation of one of the conventional submarines. Brazil has been in the process of announcing a restructuring of its military apparatus and defense industry, accompanied by multi-million-dollar purchases from other countries in the region, such as Venezuela. The premise, according to Jobim, is that the selling countries accept the transfer of technology in order to develop the defense industry in the country. In this project the Navy will receive special attention for the defense of 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean, where Brazil’s three principal oil-producing areas are located and where the country has discovered new multi-million-dollar fields that could turn it into a giant producer and worldwide exporter. The agreement on the submarines, which needs only Senate approval for the financing, along with another agreement to purchase and build in Brazil fifty EC-725 transport helicopters, was announced in December and is to be ratified on 7September with the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. For its part, France is also interested in selling to Brazil its Rafalle airplane, one of the contenders in the final phase of the competition for a multi-million-dollar contract. In his turn, Jobim refuted criticism that has appeared in the Brazilian press about the decision not to buy submarines from Germany, as Brazil had done previously. In fact, the 1983 agreement to build five conventional submarines “did not entail the transfer of technology.” The Scorpene is a conventional attack submarine manufactured by the French shipbuilder DCNS, in cooperation with the Spanish firm Navantia. Work on the Brazilian contract will begin in 2011, and all the submarines should be ready in 2021, including the nuclear one, Jobim announced, giving details about the agreement and the deadlines for the first time. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gave the green light in 2007 for the resumption of Brazil’s nuclear program and announced the budget that will enable the completion of the Navy’s nuclear program.last_img read more