Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Февраль 2010 г.
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2010 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь

    Globe and Mail / Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2010
    Chernobyl: Leaking radiation and sucking up Canadian money
    • Doug Saunders
    В 1997 году Канада и другие зарубежные страны обязались выделить на возведение герметичного саркофага вокруг чернобыльского реактора 768 млн долларов. Теперь стоимость проекта возросла до 2 млрд долларов, однако строительство еще даже и не начиналось, а выделенные деньги исчезли в неизвестном направлении.

Thirteen years after Canada and other nations pledged $768-million to render the destroyed nuclear reactor safe, the cost has ballooned to $2-billion and the job still isn't done.
Almost a quarter-century after its explosion killed hundreds and shocked the world, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor still sits crumbling amid an uninhabitable wasteland in northern Ukraine, still emits surprising amounts of radiation, and still absorbs vast amounts of money. Much of that money, at least $71-million of it, has come from Canadian taxpayers, intended to pay for a project launched in 1997 under a pledge from leaders of the G-7 countries to enclose the reactor in a permanent, sealed sarcophagus.
It was meant to be finished in eight years and cost $768-million (U.S.), a symbol of a resurgent Ukraine returning to democratic government and an open economy, putting the 1986 disaster permanently in the past.
But in a story of tragic disappointment that exemplifies the web of corruption and distrust that so often ensnares relations between Ukraine and the West, 13 years later the cost of the project has ballooned to almost $2-billion and construction has not even begun.
Canadian officials describe it as a "money sink" that has fallen prey to the worst aspects of Ukraine's failed development, a physical manifestation of the once-wealthy country's political decay.
Later this year, after the G-8 conference in Huntsville, Ont., the Canadian government will be asked to make another pledge, likely in the tens of millions of dollars, in an effort to raise another $200-million to $300-million to get the job done by the end of 2012, before the reactor decays further and poses an even graver danger. While the reactor's original sarcophagus, built in a hurry after the disaster, was recently reinforced, it is a flimsy structure that could collapse, sending a radioactive dust cloud into the atmosphere. Portions of the reactor core are still exposed to open air and rainwater.
On Sunday, five years after the Orange Revolution raised hopes of a more democratic and economically prosperous Ukraine, Ukrainians will go to the polls in the final round of a presidential election that has already eliminated incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko, blamed by the West for many of the problems surrounding the Chernobyl containment project. But for the bankers and Canadian government officials who have been working for a decade and a half to protect the world from the radioactive ruins of Chernobyl, there is a fear that the New Safe Confinement project, as it is known, will again spin out of control.
"In order to avoid any funds being lost to corruption, we had to take great care, and sometimes it meant that there were periods of years where none of the Ukrainians were doing anything," said Vince Novak, head of nuclear safety for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EBRD, a development-finance body that aids post-communist economies, was appointed by the G-8 to manage the Chernobyl project.
Most of the delays and cost increases are tied directly to the political turmoil that has embroiled Ukraine since the 2004 Orange Revolution. Mr. Yushchenko, the reformist President in whom the West had placed its hopes, proved to be a terrible manager of both the project and his cabinet, and corruption and cronyism flourished under his watch. At least one minister who headed the project was notorious for corruption and links to organized crime, and others allowed such practices to flourish.
It did not help that Yulia Tymoshenko, his first prime minister, was purged by Mr. Yushchenko after a few months, creating factional splits that hobbled the project. She is now running for president against Viktor Yanukovich, a pro-Russian candidate who, like her, has his own business interests.
At least a dozen cabinet ministers have controlled the project since it began, in some cases seizing it from their counterparts after only weeks, EBRD officials said.
"We've seen constant changes of personnel on the Ukrainian side happening very, very, very often," said Balthasar Lindauer, deputy director of the EBRD's nuclear safety program. "As soon as we finish explaining the project to one minister and staff, there would be a power struggle and it would be taken over by another minister, and all the institutional memory would be lost and we'd have to start again."
In one case, the officials spent several days in Kiev explaining the project to a new minister and winning assurances from Mr. Yushchenko that the contracting would begin, the staff would remain in place and there would be stability. Just as they got off the plane after flying to Spain for another project, they were informed that the President had given it to another minister.
Many of the ministers seemed utterly disinterested in actually enclosing the reactor, officials said. Chernobyl became a source of largesse. Today, a decade after it was shut down completely, the reactor still has more than 3,000 employees on its full-time payroll - a classic example of the communist-style employment system that still plagues Ukraine. Many Ukrainian officials seemed determined to use the containment project to boost these employment levels.
On several occasions, officials loyal to either Mr. Yushchenko or to Ms. Tymoshenko have attempted to bypass the competitive bidding process and give key contracts to organizations close to their friends or the government.
The EBRD maintained control of the funds and the bidding process, and refused to allow such deals. But policing such disputes took years, and sometimes resulted in damaged relationships.
When a contract for the main construction project was awarded to a French company in 2007, there were concerns that the tendering process had been corrupt, so the EBRD ordered a lengthy audit.
The audit last year showed that the contract was reliable. But work has still not begun.
The EBRD is currently in the midst of a new cost estimate to determine how much more money it will need from the G-8 countries, and its officials say they are determined to use a hoped-for period of stability after Sunday's election to secure enough money to get the project done by the end of 2012.
"They will need at least a couple hundred million euros more," said a Canadian official involved in the project. "And we will probably be contributing a significant amount because this is a priority for us."

© Copyright 2010 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    The New York Times / February 4, 2010
    Russia Plans to Promote Technology Innovations
    Министр финансов РФ Алексей Кудрин предложил новый способ догнать Запад в сфере технологий, сообщает The New York Times. Министерства и государственные компании должны активнее закупать произведенные в России товары, подпадающие под определение "инновационные".

MOSCOW - The Russian finance minister on Wednesday floated a new approach to catching up with the West in technology, a problem that has bedeviled the economy here for decades in spite of the country's rich tradition in science.
The initiative, described by Aleksei L. Kudrin, the finance minister, at an economic forum, is the latest in a long line of policies trying to free Russia from the boom-and-bust cycles of commodity prices by making better use of the talents of its citizens.
The government will order ministries and state companies to use more of their procurement budgets to buy products that qualify as
"innovative" and that are made in Russia.
State procurement orders total about $133 billion, he said, and 15 percent now go to Russian technology companies.
Government orders will "support everybody who wants to work in this sphere, everybody who wants to work for the future," Mr. Kudrin said.
Translating Russia's bounty of scientific talent into popular, or even functional, products is a problem that has vexed the country since Soviet times. In a recent survey by Thomson Reuters, Russia lagged far behind China, Brazil and India in registered patents, even though the country's officials project a self-image of scientific accomplishment. It is now recognized as an acute economic vulnerability because about 80 percent of exports are natural resources like oil and metals, making Russia susceptible to their price swings.
President Dmitri A. Medvedev has made innovation a focus of his tenure, though with few results so far. One government effort is a fund for nanotechnology, Rosnano, which is trying to leapfrog the West's lead in semiconductors with a next generation of technology products. Its director, Anatoly Chubais, a former finance minister, told the forum that Russia now lags 30 to 40 years behind developed countries in technology. "We have to admit we have fallen very far behind," Mr. Chubais said, according to The Associated Press. "Not to understand this would be a very grave historic and political mistake."
Separately on Wednesday, a research group with ties to President Medvedev issued a report saying Russia must liberalize politically to free the economy from state interference before it can encourage modernization. The group, the Institute of Contemporary Development, suggested reinstating elections for regional governors.
The proposal by Mr. Kudrin would leverage another approach in Russia's recent history - effective nationalization of parts of the economy and tight control of what private-sector big business remains - to encourage innovation.
In Russian politics, Mr. Kudrin, an architect of macroeconomic policies that helped cushion Russia from the oil price collapse, was seen as an opponent of these de facto takeovers when they happened, and as broadly liberal in his economic outlook.
Next Thursday, a presidential committee on modernization is scheduled to meet with Russian industrialists in the Siberian city of Tomsk to convey the state's intention to create an indigenous high-technology industry.
In his speech to business leaders, Mr. Kudrin said that government purchasing laws would be changed to redirect spending to high-technology companies and that the same requirements would be imposed on state-controlled companies like Gazprom and Rosneft.
The presidential meeting with private industrialists next week in Siberia will encourage these businessmen, who are largely beholden to the Kremlin, to follow the guidelines.
Government financing is not the best method to prod companies to be creative, said Edmund S. Phelps Jr., a professor of economics at Columbia University who won the Nobel Prize in 2006. But he said it could work.
He spoke at the forum about dwindling innovation in the United States economy. China, India and Brazil are catching up with innovative output, he said, but not Russia.
A high-technology start-up, he said, inherently runs more risk if it can present its product to only one potential buyer - the government - rather than to a range of customers, some of whom may want the product, he said.
"If Russian politicians see that their own prosperity, and that of their people, lies in a more arms-length relationship between the government and business, that would open a lot of possibilities," he said.

Copyright 2010. The New York Times Company.
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    Notre-Planète.Info / 15/02/2010
    Observation de l'éruption solaire la plus puissante depuis 2004
    Российская орбитальная обсерватория "Тесис" Физического института имени П.Н.Лебедева РАН (ФИАН) зафиксировала самую мощную вспышку (балл М8.3) на Солнце за последние 6 лет. Событие стало довольно неожиданным, поскольку было зарегистрировано на фоне относительно спокойного Солнца.

Une éruption solaire de classe M8.3, la plus puissante depuis 2004, s'est produite vendredi 12 février, à 11h26 GMT, a annoncé l'Institut de physique Lebedev (FIAN) de Moscou sur le site internet de l'observatoire solaire russe TESIS.
"L'éruption n'a duré que 14 minutes, de 14h22 à 14h36 heure de Moscou (11h22 à 11h36 GMT).
Elle a eu un précurseur: une éruption plus faible, de classe C7.9 sur l'échelle GOES, soit 10% seulement de l'intensité de niveau M8.3, s'est produite vers 10h20 (07h20 GMT) dans le même secteur", est-il indiqué dans un communiqué du Laboratoire d'astronomie des rayons X du Soleil de l'Institut FIAN.
Les éruptions solaires sont rangées dans 5 classes - A, B, C, M, et X - en fonction de la puissance du rayonnement X. Chaque classe correspond à une éruption d'une intensité dix fois plus importante que la précédente. La classe minimale, notée A0.0, correspond à une puissance de rayonnement sur l'orbite de la Terre de 10 nanowatts par mètre carré. Au sein d'une même classe, les éruptions solaires sont classées de 1 à 10 selon une échelle linéaire (ainsi, une éruption solaire de classe X2 est deux fois plus puissante qu'une éruption de classe X1). Des éruptions accompagnées d'un flux de rayonnement de plus d'un million de nanowatts, classées X17, ont été enregistrées fin octobre 2004, lors du maximum solaire précédent.
Si l'éruption solaire avait été 20% plus intense, elle aurait atteint le niveau X, le plus élevé, précisent les chercheurs russes, qui utilisent les données recueillies par les satellites occidentaux GOES et SOHO pour analyser l'activité du Soleil. L'observatoire solaire russe TESIS, installé à bord de la sonde Koronas-Photos, est en panne depuis décembre 2009.

© 2001-2010 notre-planete.info - tous droits réservés.
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    The Guardian / Wednesday 10 February 2010
    Russia supports plan to clean up Baltic in preparation for gas pipeline
    Vladmir Putin attends summit to discuss "environmental aspects" of controversial Nord Stream pipeline between Russia and Germany
    • Simon Tisdall
    На саммите Baltic Sea Action в Хельсинки Россия поддержала международный план очистки Балтийского моря при подготовке к строительству газопровода Nord Stream. Балтийское море одно из самых загрязненных на планете, и экологи опасаются, что прокладка газопровода потревожит токсичные донные отложения и нарушит биологическое равновесие в местах обитания морской фауны.

Vladimir Putin today threw Russia's weight behind an ambitious international plan to clean up the Baltic, one of the world's most polluted seas, amid concerns from environmentalists that a gas pipeline across the Baltic seabed would disturb highly toxic sediment on the sea bed and marine habitats.
Officials attending the Baltic Sea Action Summit in Helsinki said Russia's prime minister was expected to announce new clean-up measures in Kaliningrad, the Russian-controlled enclave on the heavily polluted south-east Baltic shore.
Putin, who flew to Helsinki from Moscow to attend the one-day summit, would also discuss "environmental aspects of the Nord Stream pipeline construction" in a speech to the summit, a statement from the Russian government said.
The Nord Stream pipeline, which is designed to carry 55bn cubic metres of Arctic region natural gas across the Baltic seabed from Russia to Germany, is due to come on line in 2012. Despite ongoing concerns and a legal challenge over its environmental impact, a final permit is expected to be issued on Friday, allowing construction to begin in April.
Organisers of the independently-run summit, attended by heads of state, government leaders and about 1,500 delegates from around the Baltic region, said its aim was to put into action a 2007 Baltic sea rescue "roadmap" by harnessing the skills and know-how of private companies and businesses, NGOs, and individuals as well as state organisations and governments.
"The response has been enormous. We have had commitments from about 140 organisations and companies," said Anna Kotsalo-Mustonen, a co-founder of the Baltic Sea Action Group, one of the summit's organisers. "We are not asking for money. We are asking for concrete actions from everyone who has the skills to do something positive. We want actions not words." Kotsalo-Mustonen said the overall hope was to reverse the decades-long degradation of the Baltic sea, a relatively shallow, highly sedimented inland water polluted by oil, shipping, agricultural fertilizer, pesticides, and human waste, and thus ensure that future generations could swim, fish and sail on it - activities that have been curtailed in recent years due to health fears and summer algal blooms.
She said the pledges received ranged from a scheme by the city of Hamburg to help ensure environmentally friendly power supplies for cruise liners to a plan to encourage best practice by farmers and foresters in Finland.
Mathias Bergman of the Foundation for a Living Baltic Sea said the summit's joint public-private approach could provide a new model for effective, collaborative cross-border environmental action after the disappointment of the Copenhagen climate change conference in December. "Copenhagen relied mostly on governments taking action and tried to do too much. Of course we need the political power of governments.
But the basis is a public-private partnership and the commitments to act made by those who are getting involved," Bergman said. In addition to Putin, the summit was attended by heads of state or senior leaders from all the Baltic sea coastal countries plus Baltic "catchment area" states such as Belarus and Norway. It was hosted by President Tarja Halonen of Finland and Matti Vanhanen, the Finnish prime minister.
Officials said Putin's attendance was a positive signal that Russia wanted to play a part in addressing environmental issues and to banish Russia's image as the "dirty man" of the Baltic.
Previous plans to build a sewage treatment plant at Kaliningrad had failed due to lack of political leadership and local corruption, one official said. As a result, effluent from the population of 400,000 was pumped untreated into the Baltic. But after discussions with the Russians, new financing for a treatment plant had been agreed, including Russian Federation funds, the official said.
Environmental activists expressed concern that the summit's collaborative, non-political approach may obscure continuing concerns about the $7.4bn Russian-controlled Nord Stream project, which is a top political and economic priority for Moscow and for energy-starved EU states such as Germany.
Jochen Lamp, head of the World Wildlife Fund's Baltic project in Germany, said concerns included the impact of the pipeline in stirring up highly toxic sediment on the sea bed, disturbing marine mammal and fish habitats, and destabilising thousands of shipwrecks and offshore chemical and conventional ammunition dumps left over from the last century's conflicts.
Lamp said the environmental impact assessment prepared by Nord Stream was insufficient and that more assurances were required regarding monitoring and compensation and restoration of affected areas. The WWF had brought a legal action against Nord Stream in the German courts that was still pending and which, he said, could delay the start of construction. The company strongly refutes the accusations.
Finnish navy commander Juha-Antero Puistola, a lecturer at the Finnish National Defence University, said increased ship cargo traffic as well as pipeline construction, especially in the overcrowded Gulf of Finland, gave urgency to efforts to enforce higher environmental standards in the Baltic.
Puistola said Russian exports through its Baltic sea ports were set to double by 2030, including increased oil exports. Cooperative agreements were also needed for safety and security reasons, he said, noting Putin's view that the Russian Baltic fleet "has the task of safeguarding our economic interests in the Baltic sea".

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010.
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    Le Monde / 16.02.10
    Greenpeace bloque un convoi d'uranium au Tricastin
    Активисты Greenpeace во вторник 16 февраля заблокировали отправку урана в Россию с завода Eurodif компании Areva, расположенного на территории атомной электростанции в Трикастене. Greenpeace требует объявить мораторий на экспорт урана в Россию, утверждая, что отправленные туда ядерные отходы не возвращаются - из 32200 тонн урана, вывезенных в Россию с 2006 года, только 3090 вернулись обратно во Францию. Areva опровергает эту информацию, утверждая, что уран обогащается и затем используется на французских АЭС.

Des militants antinucléaires de Greenpeace ont bloqué mardi 16 février au matin la sortie d'un convoi d'uranium destiné à la Russie à l'usine Eurodif (Areva) sur le site nucléaire du Tricastin, à Pierrelatte (Drôme).
Trois militants qui s'étaient enchaînés aux grilles de l'usine d'enrichissement ont été délogés par la police, quatre autres étaient enchaînés à un bloc de béton bloquant la voie.
Les militants de Greenpeace réclament un moratoire sur les exportations d'uranium vers la Russie. Selon Greenpeace, ces exportations sont des déchets nucléaires qui ne reviendront pas. "On leur envoie des pelures d'orange pour essayer d'avoir encore un peu de jus, mais ça ne se fait pas car c'est trop cher", a affirmé M. Renaudin. Une affirmation contestée par Areva, qui assure qu'il s'agit d'uranium qui a besoin d'être enrichi pour ensuite servir de combustible nucléaire. "Il s'agit d'uranium naturel en provenance de la mine, qui a subi une première conversion chimique mais n'a pas encore été enrichi. Quand notre usine Eurodif tourne à plein, nous faisons appel à d'autres enrichisseurs", a expliqué une porte-parole d'Areva, précisant que le contrat avec les Russes se terminerait fin 2010.
Pour étayer ses accusations sur "la grande arnaque du recyclage" des déchets nucléaires, Greenpeace cite un récent rapport du Haut Comité pour la transparence et l'information sur la sécurité nucléaire, selon lequel depuis 2006, sur 32 200 tonnes d'uranium exportées vers la Russie (dont 23 540 tonnes d'uranium appauvri), seulement 3 090 ont été réexpédiées en France, dont 310 vers l'usine de fabrication de combustibles nucléaires de Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme).
Une trentaine de membres des forces de l'ordre et des pompiers étaient présents. Neuf militants de Greenpeace au total participent à l'opération, selon la préfecture de la Drôme. Le convoi que bloque Greenpeace devait arriver à Cherbourg mercredi et être transféré sur le navire russe Kapitan Kuroptev à destination de Saint-Pétersbourg.
Cette action à la source intervient trois semaines après un précédent blocage de convoi affrété par Areva, cette fois à l'arrivée. Le 25 janvier, des militants de Greenpeace avaient bloqué par trois fois, dans la Manche, un convoi d'uranium en provenance de Pierrelatte. Seize personnes avaient été interpellées à l'issue de l'opération et la cargaison était finalement parvenue jusqu'à Cherbourg où l'attendait le même navire russe.

© Le Monde.fr.
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    Le Nouvel Observateur / 03.02.2010
    Comprendre et prévenir les troubles vasculaires sur Terre et dans l'Espace
    На российском сегменте Международной космической станции будет установлена аппаратура "Кардиомед", совместная разработка Национального центра космических исследований Франции и Института медико-биологических проблем РАН, созданная с целью расширения опыта в области сердечно-сосудистых исследований. Аппаратура будет использоваться для определения функционального состояния сердечно-сосудистой системы космонавтов в ходе медицинских осмотров и при проведении функциональных тестов.

Un dispositif de monitoring cardiaque mis au point par l'agence spatiale française (CNES) va être envoyé à bord de la Station spatiale internationale. Il va permettre aux médecins russes de suivre l'état de santé des cosmonautes en temps réel, et d'effectuer des recherches sur le système cardio-vasculaire sur Terre, pour pouvoir mieux comprendre les problèmes de syncope.
Héritier de l'expérience scientifique Physiolab installée à bord de la Station russe MIR, le système CARDIOMED a été développé dans le cadre d'une convention franco-russe entre le CNES et l'Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) de Moscou. Après avoir été testé par le cosmonaute russe Oleg Kotov, il va être expédié, aujourd'hui, à bord d'un vaisseau cargo russe Progress vers la Station spatiale internationale (ISS) où il servira à la surveillance médicale des cosmonautes pendant cinq ans.
Parmi les problèmes propres à l'apesanteur, il existe un fort risque de troubles cardio-vasculaires lié à la micropesanteur, à la sédentarité et à l'absence de pratique sportive, qui peuvent provoquer une chute de la tension artérielle et une mauvaise irrigation du cerveau. Les différents instruments qui composent CARDIOMED permettent de mesurer en temps réel la fréquence cardiaque, la pression artérielle, les flux vasculaires et les propriétés veineuses. Ces cinq instruments seront utilisés ensemble ou indépendamment pour contrôler les paramètres du système cardio-vasculaire du cosmonaute, soit avant une sortie extravéhiculaire ou lorsqu'ils utilisent le Tchibis, pantalon rigide à dépression pour attirer le sang vers les membres inférieurs afin de reproduire les effets de la gravité.
Ces exercices seront suivis en direct depuis le centre de contrôle en vol de Moscou, sous la responsabilité des médecins russes. Au-delà de ce but opérationnel, CARDIOMED participe également à la recherche sur le système cardio-vasculaire humain sur Terre. Développé avec des médecins du CHU d'Angers et de Tours cet équipement offrira également aux scientifiques l'occasion d'étudier en détail le système cardiovasculaire et de mieux comprendre certains de ses dysfonctionnements, comme les problèmes de syncope touchant 16% de la population ou d'hypotension orthostatique (baisse de tension en position debout) ressenti par environ 30 % des personnes âgées.

© Le Nouvel Observateur - Tous droits réservés.
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