From Volume 37, Issue 34 of EIR Online, Published Sept 3, 2010
Asia News Digest

Japan Is Developing a Nuclear Reactor With an 80-Year Lifetime

Aug. 27 (EIRNS)—The Japanese government is now engaged with the Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to develop the next generation light-water nuclear reactor. The key features of this joint project are the reactor's long lifespan of 80 years and high-power capacity. This lifespan is comparable to that planned for the first-generation thorium reactors, and will have an almost 50% larger power-generation capacity than the largest reactors built today. The reactors will take less than 30 months to build, according to the report. The project was undertaken after a two-year feasibility study, and the basic design of the reactors is expected to be completed by 2015.

Takanori Tanaka, executive director of the Institute of Applied Energy (IAE), who oversaw the two-year feasibility study, said on Aug. 17, that it is viable to develop an advanced boiling water reactor or pressurized water reactor that has the world's highest utilization rate—97% over an 80-year life—by using uranium more highly enriched than is currently used. This would also reduce the amount of fuel used.

Toshiba, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. (Hitachi's nuclear unit), have worked together to develop two varieties of the 1,700- to 1,800-megawatt light-water type of reactors—boiling-water reactors and pressurized-water reactors.

Japan is targeting sales to the U.S., Europe, as well as at home, where a total of 270 reactors are expected to be replaced by 2050, after reaching 60 years in use, according to the report. Japan is also hoping to meet growing demand of nuclear reactors in Asia.

British Campaign To Partition Afghanistan Attacked

Aug. 26 (EIRNS)—Attacking the recent Britain-led cacophony for partitioning Afghanistan, as the way out for the U.S. and NATO troops, Ehsan Azari Stanizai, an Adjunct Fellow with the Writing & Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney, said the reality is that these scholar-officials have a run-of-the-mill local knowledge. They perceive Afghanistan still in terms of Afghanistanism—the American newsroom argot of the 1960s, which was used as a metaphor for a faraway, obscure, and negligible place or situation.

Stanizai, of Afghan origin, cites neocon Robert Blackwell, former U.S. Ambassador to India, and a Presidential envoy to Iraq during the George W. Bush Administration, as the first to call for partition, in his article in Politico Online on July 7. Subsequently, the article was favorably echoed by the London Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Times, and the Economist.

The Economist on July 22, reported a former UN and EU envoy to Kabul, Francesc Vendrell, saying that the approaching September parliamentarian elections in Afghanistan could play as a mechanism by which "the south is handed over to the Taliban and the north to Uzbek, Hazara and Tajik warlords." Moreover, in an essay coauthored Stephen Biddle, Fotini Christia, and J. Alexander Thier, Foreign Affairs (July/August 2010) advises that the division of Afghanistan along ethnic lines is the best option for the U.S. to implement its core security interests. The authors conclude that a "mixed sovereignty," not the present policy of centralized democracy will place the country on a path towards stability.

Stanizai, ridiculing the ignorant scholar-officials, pointed out that Afghanistan is indeed an ethnic mosaic. Except for 2 or 3 out of 33 provinces of the country, you can hardly find a place identified with one ethnic identity. Separatism has never been an issue of concern in Afghanistan. During Afghanistan's civil war in the early 1990s, when a fierce internal competition for control of Kabul was raging, no ethnic group and no warlord ever called for partition.

Malaysian LaRouche Rep Addresses the Nuclear Power Forum

Aug. 23 (EIRNS)—Mohd Peter Davis, a LaRouche ally in Malaysia, was invited to address a meeting of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) by its founder Dr. Chandra Muzaffar on Aug. 22. JUST is a "Third Worldist" organization which has on occasion published material by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche. The venue was to be a debate on nuclear power, but Davis took the opportunity to go far beyond the nuclear issue, briefing the 30 senior members of the organization on the global financial breakdown, LaRouche's fight for Glass-Steagall, a Four Power agreement, and a global infrastructure-based recovery from the current threat of a British-orchestrated dark age and global depopulation. Even the "anti-nuclear" spokesman at the event essentially agreed with everything Davis said.

A private meeting between Davis and Dr. Chandra afterwards focussed on Franklin Roosevelt and LaRouche. Chandra, who, like FDR, suffered from paralytic polio as a child, holds FDR and his rebuilding of America during the Depression as a model for a just world, and expressed his long-standing support for LaRouche's plan for global infrastructure development as a pre-condition for world peace. Davis proposed that now is the time for unity around LaRouche's plan, and looks forward to further cooperation.

Floods in China: A Thousand-Year Challenge

Aug. 24 (EIRNS)—During this Summer's rainy season, China has been hit with the worst national flood disaster since 1998, which, overall, has killed at least 2,000 people, displaced, for some periods at least, hundreds of thousands, and done major damage to crops, homes, and industry. As in 1998, the floods are inundating central and northeast China, as well as the normally wet South. Water management is possibly the most serious economic challenge China has to face. Despite big resources, per capita, China is a severely water-deficit nation, which affects not only agriculture, but also urbanization and industry. Extreme rainfall, as has occurred this Summer, as well as frequent periods of serious drought, are exacerbated by long-term development problems, including thousands of years of intense cultivation, deforestation, and urbanization.

China is now building a huge national water-management program, with the purpose of actually changing the national climate. This includes the Three Gorges Dam system, which will include not only the dam, but also four additional dams upstream, to increase flood control capability in the Yangtze basin—home to some 400 million people. For comparison, floods in the Yangtze Valley alone killed over 140,000 people as recently as 1931 and 1935.

The second large-scale Chinese water-management infrastructure now under construction is the Move South Water North project, begun in 2002. This is a NAWAPA-scale undertaking, which will ultimately create two 1,000-km-long man-made rivers, and a series of reservoirs, tunnels, and canals, to carry 8 trillion gallons of water from the water-rich Yangtze basin to the parched northern plain. The first river should be completed by 2011; the second by 2014. A third project would take water from the headwaters of the Yangtze—like all of East and South Asia's great rivers, on the Tibetan plateau—to the northern Yellow River. This will require more planning.

China also has a serious re-forestation program, but this is badly hampered, especially in the north and northwest, by the lack of water resources.

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