October 1, 2023


Epicurean Science & Tech

Technology, nuclear ability are driving issues in the Russia-Ukraine war

4 min read

The Russian economy was crushed in the span of a 7 days. Europe is questioning its reliance on Russian oil and fuel. Meanwhile, nuclear plants throughout Ukraine have been susceptible to Russian strikes and probable disaster.

The repercussions of Russia’s war on Ukraine are rippling out significantly outside of the beat zone thanks to the world’s extremely interconnected financial state and energy desires.

The world’s edge above Russia: Fintech

For instance, so-known as “fintech” — or financial know-how — may well be just one of Putin’s worst enemies. The global reaction to the Russian invasion provided a swift shutdown of Russian banking all-around the globe and exclusion from the SWIFT electronic payment method, forcing the closure of the country’s stock current market.

Put together, trade sanctions and fiscal actions have tanked the Russian overall economy.

“Without entry to SWIFT, a Russian importer of American desktops can no for a longer period fork out the American exporter. Likewise, a Russian importer of French wine can no lengthier get a letter of credit from a Russian financial institution to deliver his French supplier to promise the delivery of the wine,” reported Rodney Ramcharan, a professor of finance and business enterprise economics at USC Marshall School of Small business.

Ramcharan claimed the disruption will travel up inflation in Russia and harm its ordinary citizens.

The Russian advantage: Oil and fuel

Russia’s expulsion from the economic globe may have been swift, but the vitality sector stays tethered to the country’s oil and gasoline provide. Numerous European nations count on Russia for 40% of their fuel, diminishing their clout when it will come to contacting for an close to the conflict.

“Germany’s dependence is even larger at around 60%,” stated Shon Hiatt, an professional on oil, gas and other electrical power industries and an associate professor of business enterprise system at the USC Marshall School.

Before the invasion, desire for oil was previously outpacing provide with costs on the uptick. Now, they are soaring. Hiatt said authorities are watching for other indicators of difficulties in the oil and fuel sphere, these types of as damaged pipelines by way of Ukraine or a slowdown in Russian shipments of oil by sea.

In a worst-situation state of affairs, “Putin could minimize off gasoline provides to Europe absolutely. Europe could possibly want to transform to petroleum distillates and gases these types of as butane and propane for its strength needs, which would further enhance the world-wide price tag of petroleum,” Hiatt stated.

Hiatt pointed out a achievable backup approach: Nearly two dozen European nations around the world have import terminals for liquefied normal gas, and the United States and Qatar have spare ability to send out far more LNG provides.

“Europe has sufficient gasoline to make it until summer months,” Hiatt said. “However, it would need to have to come across alternate materials to restock for the following winter.

“In the very long time period, there requirements to be a refocus on energy independence with a precedence on resources this sort of as domestically generated methane, nuclear, hydropower, geothermal and electrical strength storage.”

A various type of catastrophe

Ukraine’s other resource of electricity — nuclear energy — poses a distinctive variety of risk.

Najmedin Meshkati, a USC Viterbi College of Engineering specialist on nuclear crops, is concerned about what could transpire in the function of popular ability failure. He was amid the researchers who assessed what went wrong immediately after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 and just after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986.

“My most significant fear is not the accidental shelling of a reactor or spent gasoline pool, but the decline of offsite ability due to transmission grid electrical power failure,” said Meshkati, a professor of civil engineering and industrial and programs engineering. “This could force reliance on gas-hungry, fuel-guzzling crisis diesel turbines, which are extremely unreliable and finicky. This vicious cycle could lead to station blackout — not owning circulation in the used-gasoline pool is what occurred in the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe. This was scarcely prevented at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant.”

Meshkati explained that nuclear plant routine maintenance and operations in Ukraine ended up frequently in query even right before the invasion.

“My largest worries about Ukraine’s 4 nuclear ability vegetation — problems I have constantly believed and preached — stem from a culture of secrecy and lack of cooperation,” he mentioned. “Now, in light of this unfolding tragedy in Ukraine and its most likely dire repercussions, I believe that war could induce nuclear catastrophe.”





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