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Energy Blast – March 17, 2011

The ‘[w]orst case scenario’, is how the head of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has described the development of the nuclear emergency at Japan’s earthquake-damaged Fukushima plant.  Which is a problem for Rosatom, the Beyond Brics blog argues, as Russia’s state nuclear agency had planned a major export drive.  Despite reassurances from the Emergencies Ministry, in Russia’s Pacific regions, panic buying of iodine, red wine and vodka reflect an ‘old Soviet fear of a nuclear attack’.  China, Russia and the US are apparently ‘still solidly behind nuclear power’: Chile can be added to that list, insisting that it will proceed with a nuclear accord with the US.  Venezuela has a differing stance, it would seem.  The world’s top uranium producer Kazakhstan plans to take no heed of ‘radiophobia’, and Russia will persevere in plans to build an $20 billion nuclear facility in Turkey.  Russia’s ARMZ has pulled its $1.16 billion bid for uranium miner Mantra Resources due to the situation; the bid by Canada’s Uranium One is also in jeopardy.  Oil prices have spiked as unrest billows in Bahrain with Iran weighing in on the situation, though dropping demand from Japan is dampening prices.  Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has predicted that oil prices may soar to between $150 and $200 a barrel due to the current energy supplies issues.  Could Japan’s nuclear problem spell a spurring in investment for the Shtokman project?  The Economist is aghast at how the EU’s energy commissioner managed to wipe $430 billion off the world markets with a few sentences.