Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quid Pro Quo???

Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     Uranium is a very heavy metal that is naturally radioactive.  It is found in low concentrations( a few parts per million) in soil, rock, and surface and groundwater.  Uranium in its pure form is a silver-colored metal nearly twice as dense as lead.  Uranium was discovered in 1789 by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist.  Kaproth named the new element after the planet Uranus.   Thirty percent of the world’s uranium is in Australia; the United States has only four percent, Russia nine percent. 
     For many years, uranium was used primarily as a colorant in ceramic glazes, producing colors that ranged from orange-red to lemon yellow. It was also used for tinting in early photography. Its radioactive properties were not recognized until 1896, and its potential for use as an energy source was not realized until the middle of the 20th century. Today, its primary use is as fuel in nuclear power reactors to generate electricity. One ton of natural uranium can produce more than 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is equivalent to burning 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil. There are currently 104 operating U.S. nuclear power plants using uranium as a fuel source that produce over 20 percent of U.S. electricity. Worldwide, there are 441 nuclear power plants that supply about 16 percent of the world's electricity. Uranium has numerous industrial uses in the health care and other industries.  It also has military applications. The major application of uranium in the military sector is in high-density penetrator ammunition.  Tank armor is hardened with depleted uranium plates. Highly enriched uranium can be used to construct an atomic bomb.
     In 2003, the price of uranium was $10.75 per pound.. By mid 2006, the price had risen to approximately $45.00 per pound. The price peaked in 2007 when the price approached $100.00 per pound.  The price today is around $39.00 per pound, but it has been up as of late(+11% in the last week) because Japan announced they were going to start using uranium to power their power plants.
     In January 2013, the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, took over a Canadian company, Uranium One.  The company has uranium mining operations throughout the world, including in the United States.  The takeover gave the Russians 20% of the uranium being mined in the U.S.  Uranium is considered a strategic asset in the U.S, with implications for national security, so the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, headed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Shortly before the deal was completed, former President Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock. And after the deal was completed, money began to flow into the Clinton Foundation from several people who benefited from the sale.
     Uranium One’s chairman, Canadian Frank Giustra, used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation and in total has donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with President Obama when she was being considered for Secretary of State to publicly identify all donors to the Clinton Foundation.
     Even liberals are asking questions about these foreign donations.  The New York Times did an exclusive story last week questioning the Clinton’s judgment in accepting donations from foreign governments.  CBS is doing an investigative report.  These are not the right wing news outlets.  As they say, Hillary has some ‘plaining to do.’ 
     Clinton Foundation spokesperson Molly Pally, admitted the Foundation had ‘mistakenly combined’ government grants with other donations.   "Yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future," Pally said.   
     Some liberals will try to make this just about the Clintons getting money and that Republicans are simply making a mountain out of a molehill.  Money is certainly part of the issue.  The Clintons are all about padding their own nest, whether it is charging outrageous speaking fees or getting insider trading information, but this goes far beyond money.  This is about national security.  This goes way beyond politics.  Putin has made no secret of his desire for Russian to control the world’s uranium supply and you can bet he will not use it just for cleaner cheaper energy.  Was there quid pro quo("something for something" in Latin)?  America needs to know, particularly since Mrs. Clinton wants to be our next president.

No comments: