|"Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary
allowed Électricité de France
to take the British government for a ride, allowing the
company to make £1 billion profit a year before tax for over
Lord Lawson, The Times, 8/11/13
caesium, tritium, et al
become less injurious than CO2?
Even if the nuclear industry does produce
(which we do not accept), why
these products more acceptable?
The beach bungalows at Braystones, Cumbria. The proposed RWE
power station would have been on the hill in the centre.
In August, 2012, a landslip derailed a train on the left of the
picture, a further one stranded the rescue train. See
article for further news on land stability.
(The railway serving Sellafield's nuclear flask trains runs halfway up
the embankment at bungalow roof height.)
Here We Go Again
are now coming to the end of their mandatory consultation period over
their proposals to build three Westinghouse reactors at the "Moorside"
site, immediately alongside Sellafield, and reaching as far as the
perimeter of Beckermet. It is obviously debatable quite how
sensible this proposal to gamble on never having an accident which will
affect Sellafield and its great stocks of radioactive materials is.
A response to the proposal is available here: NuGen Consultation Response
the changes will bring about increased traffic along the old Furness
railway line, the problems involving use of the level crossing at
Braystones station are incorporated as additonal material by means of
With the collusion of various politicians and peers, it seems the
entire west coast of Cumbria is about to succumb to nuclear
development, regardless of logic, geology or practicality.
Value For Money? Who Cares?
Times and the BBC News both carry the story of the cost of
decommissioning and cleaning up Sellafield, which has increased by
£5bn to £53bn, according to the National Audit Office.
to the BBC, Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee
(PAC) which commissioned the report, said the cost hike was
"astonishing." Quite why she is so surprised is in itself
surprising. As an astute woman, one might have thought she would
have seen the process for what it is. A large number of
companies are enjoying healthy profits for doing a poor job, and why
shouldn't they prolong it as long as they can get away with it?
is typical with nuclear promises, the forecasts are obviously made by
people with rose-tinted spectacles on. Whether they are talking
about how safe things are, how nobody ever got killed by nuclear power,
how much waste will be produced, how many people will benefit from it,
or how much it will cost to clean up, or how efficient they are at
doing their job, everything carries the hallmarks of excellent
than a year ago, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the people who
decide who gets the lucrative contracts, assured us that the cost would
be a mere £48bn and would be completed on schedule. Fat
The Select committee's report has noted that the work is also behind schedule
a further token of their incompetence, the NDA awarded Nuclear
Management Partners a £9 billion contract to clean the site up
but, it seems, they forgot to provide a get-out clause, so the
cancellation of the contract will cost ratepayers just under half a
million pounds. Rewards for failure anyone? Value for
money? Mrs. Hodge's committee recommended cancellation of the
contract a year ago, but the NDA knew best.
answers will be forthcoming when the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, NMP, and
Sellafield Ltd. appear before the Committee on 11 March.
Even the (usually supportive) union has deserted NMP management. According to the BBC report, Chris
Jukes, regional officer of the GMB union, said: "GMB has been
absolutely clear all along that the NMP model did not work at
value for money, poor top NMP management and a lack of grip on key
issues in an essential area for the UK energy sector, as well as the UK
economy, have led to unbelievable decisions on expenditure."
Yet it has taken six years to get to this understanding!
National Audit Office reckons the total cost of cleaning up the UK's 17
nuclear sites is "around £70bn". Surely this begs the
question of the true price of nuclear energy. The EdF deal which
will surely be an albatross fo the U.K. for a very long period, is
already going to increase the cost of electricity and that fails to
take into account insurance and decommissioning costs, both of which
will be provided by the taxpayer.
The Times points out that the “lifetime cost” of cleaning
up Sellafield by the authority’s deadline of 2120 has more than
doubled in five years, from £25 billion in 2010. The NAO said
that the authority had attributed the higher costs to “a better
understanding of the scale and nature of the risks and challenges on
the site”. Is that a confession that they don't know what
they were doing? On the Sellafield News page there is nothing at
all about the Audit Office's views, so, good impartial honesty, then.
No doubt many of the strangely dedicated-to-nuclear peers will
come up with propaganda about why nuclear is so difficult, but so very
ex-President to Visit Anglesy on Anti-Nuclear Campaign
Khan, President of Japan at the time of the Fukushima melt-downs, is to
visit Wylfa and Llangefni to talk to councillors and the public about
the nuclear industry. Since the melt-downs Mr. Khan has been
staunchly anti-nuclear voice. One might think that with his
intimate knowledge, not to say experience, of the subject he would have a lot of influence.
We can only hope.
The Stop Wylfa group are making the most of the opportunity:
while a report on his visit can be found here:
two more politicians have been accused of offering to influence
democratic processes for private personal gain. Both are
experienced ex-ministers and, despite being accused by the media of
having offered to "ask questions", or are reported to have
insinuated that they are willing to use their contacts for the benefit
of a private company and their own personal gain; they say they
done nothing illegal. That is as may be, but isn't this a
corruption of the democratic process and thus, at the very least,
immoral? Are we expected to put up with these standards, or are
we entitled to expect more? Aren't MPs
to be making decisions which ensure the best outcome for everyone, not
merely pursuing the ambitions of some private paymaster?
Even if an examination of
the facts fail to prove a breach of the legislation or, on a
lower scale, some self-imposed political protocols - such as the
Parliamentary Standards Committee (whose membership is comprised of:
5 Conservatives, 4 Labour, 1 Lib Dem, and 3 lay members) is
alright to say nothing is wrong?
is a sliding scale of influence that can be bought?
The more a company can invest by obtaining an MP's interest (usually by
inviting them to become a consultant) the more they can hope to
manipulate important and far-reaching decision-making.
Presumably, too, the higher the rank of the poliltician the more they
can charge for their consultancy services and the more the process of
democracy will become distorted. No wonder so many of the
ex-politicians are awarded board memberships of the big companies when they leave office!
Rewards for past performance?
over again the same faces appear, supporting some strange and
irrational policies for no apparent reason. Interestingly, just
as did certain DECC officials, the
lords and ladies of the land have a great interest in the future of
nuclear: both its expansion and its waste disposal.
many of them have connections (current or anticipated in the future) in
the industry or
its civil or nuclear engineering works? With peers of the
failing to see the obvious drawbacks in becoming dependent on and
beholden to foreign companies for finance and technological
development, or to accept that even legal conduct can be
immoral, what price the honours system that made them lords and ladies?
Perhaps it was always this way and it is just modern
that permits Joe Public to see the facts.
February, 2015, a debate is to be held in the Moses Room in the
Houses of Parliament. Hosted by the staunchly pro-nuclear
Baroness Verma, the idea is to get the nuclear dump listed as a
Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. This will
it to be elevated to a development which requires no local input.
Local councils will be unable to control the development and
public will just be told what is going to be put in their locality.
The colour of the factory gates won't even be up for debate.
The Hansard record of the debate can be found here:
Even non-political people might recall David Cameron's talk
"localism". Such an important concept that they had to make
new word for the dictionary! Others may recall being told
if any one of the triumvirate ruled against the dump being built in
Cumbria then the whole matter would be shelved. Naturally,
promise was made on the basis that a) the locals were so stupid as to
agree, and b) that sufficient of the local representatives and press
articles had paved the way for the people at a). Even
County Council's refusal was not on the most obvious matters of
pollution and inadequate infra-structure, but nonetheless they did
refuse. That was officially the end of the proposal for
except that no other council was willing to contemplate placing the
risks in their own backyard. So the voice of democracy is only
to be heard when it suits those in positions of power; some of
whom's morals are demonstrably lacking. Time for change as MP
Zac Goldsmith and the Speaker John Bercow have both said.
So, one has
to ask, what are the reasons behind this unflinching push
for nuclear? How many of the regulars are set for rewards,
whether direct or indirect? The daily rates for
with MPs seems to be around £5,000 to £10,000 per
one comparatively small furniture company seems to see this as a
worthwhile expenditure. One has to wonder what might be on
from the likes of the nuclear industry which sees
many billions of
public money spent each year.
years ago, Électricité de
managed to get DECC officials to agree an exorbitant figure for nuclear
power generation, let alone providing just about everything the company
might need to obviate risk to itself. The figure was over
the then current rate of other forms of generation, and was guaranteed
for 50 years, index-linked, naturally. In recent times the
of energy production has fallen considerably. Has this
anything? Nope, the good old British public will be required
pay through the nose for nuclear generated power regardless of its
viability - commercial or environmental.
advent of new technology brings both rewards and threats.
the latest fads is the use of drones - akin to miniature flying
bedsteads, and usually having a rotor at each of its corners.
Hobby drones range in price from around £30 (including
over £10,000, they are capable of spying on "sensitive"sites.
In France they have been spotted in ever-increasing numbers
government and nuclear establishments. Attempts to catch the
operators of these devices have failed. Given their size and
portability that is hardly surprising. Even the heaviest of
only weighs about 5 kg (10lbs); they can be controlled from
around 2kms away; may carry either still or video cameras,
use 14 channels to communicate with the controller. The task
finding operators thus becomes almost impossible.
is against the law to fly any machine within half a kilometre of any
nuclear site at a height of less than 1 km. So, catch me if
can, seems to be the idea. What does it mean that people are
willing to play chicken with the authorities? As a bit of a
lark, or prank, not much. As a means for a terrorist to
up-to-the-minute detailed plans and photographs of a nuclear
establishment, very sinister and extremely potentially very serious.
Taking photographs is not going to harm anyone, agreed, but
if the material gathered is given to those who do not have the nation's
interests at heart? How long before a drone is developed
can carry a more malicious payload?
or anti-nuclear, but nonetheless wish to protest against the
despoilation of the beautiful countryside and further proliferation of
the ugly nuclear sites, you will find this website of considerable
propaganda suggests that there will be tremendous economic and social
benefits to Copeland and Allerdale districts of Cumbria if the dump
were to get the go-ahead. Yet even the ex-Sellafield PR
and MP for Copeland, Jamieson Reed, a major supporter of the nuclear
industry, was quoted in The Times, 4/11/13, pointing out that "health
services around Sellafield are suffering major cuts, local
and police stations are closing and major civic amenities are closing
down". Not much obvious in the way of
despite the passage of half a century, as people have tolerated the
dirtiest and most polluting industry around. Will any
of future largesse - sorry, compensation - be better honoured?
Unlikely, we think. Once they have achieved their objective
rest will become just rhetoric. Just as interesting will be
far the tame geologists will go before acknowledging that the terrain
is in fact unsuitable. How much money will that take?
will they press on regardless, with large construction companies
insisting that they can "engineer a solution" with their main goal
being to line their own pockets with the prolonged profits that the
government, once committed to this course of action, will be obliged to
maintain despite the inevitable burgeoning costs and delays - or risk
losing face. Still, many of those decision-makers will have
the foresight to invest in the construction industry.
In the best traditions, being against the nuclear dump has provoked the
plan's protagonists into ire, not least the local ex-Sellafield PR man,
now (happily for Sellafield) the local MP, who has published statements
about the trust's ambitions and questioned their motives.
Pretty standard stuff, really, but is this really what an MP should be
doing - or is he supposed to be representing the views of all
constituents rather than pushing for one small group? Still,
didn't even have a Plan B for when things went awry with the multiple
nuclear reactors proposed a short while ago.
not have been part of his brief if he truly had the interests
the region at heart?
|7/11/13 further edited
Damned Lies and
Five years ago the politicians announced several criteria that would
have to be met before any consideration could be given to nuclear
Liberal Democrats, as many did back then, there would be no nuclear
development except over the dead body of one prominent member, who
reiterated that stipulation at a meeting we attended in
Westminster. That was a stated policy which must
them many thousands of extra votes, but a promise that went the way of
so many others when that particular party ostensibly became eligible
for a bit of a say in national affairs.
announcement of an unpopular, subsidised development at Hinkley Point
by Électricité de
France using 50 year-old designs and financed by China, illustrates how
well the criteria have been met.
plan or location approved for the disposal of nuclear
waste. Residents of the unique location in Cumbria
voiced their disapproval many times. This time round the
government consultation exercise is prefaced with the usual rhetoric
about local opinions. What in fact they have done, is to
the county council from the equation - their objections to the
proposals resulting in a no vote last time - meaning that all efforts
to cajole residents can now be concentrated on just two areas:
Allerdale and Copeland. One can imagine that if
exercise should fail the only people with any input will be the
residents of Copeland, where most of the population are engaged in the
industry and its suppliers. If that fails, and opposition
seem to be mounting quite quickly according to letters in the local
press, then the government will have to whittle down the eligible to
those based around, say, Sellafield canteen. Or perhaps
just the local MP and his cohorts? That way success is
- a method
for the disposal of nuclear waste - legacy and new to be in place
before further expansion could be undertaken;
would have to
be generically approved and safe in operation;
would have to be met;
- approval of
residents obtained before any project was permitted to start.
- all three
groups involved in the "Partnership" - Cumbria CC, Allerdale and
Copeland - must all agree. A negative result from ony one
mean the end of the pruject.
The scope of the consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239237/Consultation_Review_of_the_siting_process_for_a_GDF_FINAL.pdf
. Please feel free to appreciate the wonderful new jargon,
"The Learning Phase", "The Focusing Phase", along with old favourites
like representative authority. Whatever happened to good old
English language? Somewhat amusingly, one of the final
calls for a positive demonstration of local support. Given
the area being focused on is Sellafield, then it would be very
surprising if NMP and all the other greedy companies could resist the
temptation to fund huge demonstrations with its staff. What
chance the small guy against such odds? Like lobbying MPs,
people with the money have the most access and influence. A
critique can be found here: http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/ANDREW_BLOWERS_GDF_Siting_Consultation_Sept._2013.pdf
Anyone wanting to have their say in the consultation process should
address their correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
to arrive before the 5/12/13.
The DECC document goes on, in the best manner of a government
department with a set objective - but very remiscent of a wide-boy car
salesman, "Beyond this
would, of course, remain subject to statutory planning and regulatory
regimes, and their accompanying public and stakeholder engagement and
consultation requirements." Yeah, right, that's
government have removed most of the rights to object to such major
proposals. What kind of say will residents have when
have given the go-ahead? Precious little we think.
be worthwhile at this point to indicate that the proposed Nuisance Bill
currently making its way through parliament will put an end to any form
of protest which causes a nuisance. Hmm. Not, of
that politicians would ever want to stifle criticism or protests . . .
Naturally, none of the cost burden for waste disposal will fall on
those who wish to profit from nuclear development. It will
be paid for by the U.K. taxpayer, ultimately for the benefit of private
companies - most of whom have little interest in what would be best for
One of the
planks of the "Localism" touted by Cameron and his ilk is that there
will be adequate rewards for any community agreeing to host the nuclear
dump. An example of just how rewarding Cumbria's
involvement with nuclear has been is quoted in The Times of 4th
November, in a statement from the pro-nuclear at any cost MP, Jamieson
Reed: ". .
around Sellafield are suffering major
cuts, local courts and police stations are closing and major
civic amenities are closing down." The
viewpoint might be that such deprivations are vital and are being
deliberately introduced in order to indicate to the local residents
just how vital the nuclear industry is - whether they like it or not.
At the very
meeting we attended, in Whitehaven, five years ago, we objected to the
many posters around the room as they indicated that many of the
improvement to social and health amenities and services were dependent
on residents approving the nuclear developments which would have a
devastating effect on the beautiful countryside of
Copeland. We were concerned, too, that the majority
those pushing so hard for the development had links to Sellafield,
either in the way of past employment, or because they were in some way
beholden to the industry.
would be very
interesting to learn how many MPs, their families and peers of the
realm - especially those involved in the decision-making - stand to
gain from nuclear development. Some of them seem to
very close links indeed.
"New Nuclear - The Economics Say No", dated 9/11/09, was clear in the
fact that nuclear was too expensive compared to alternative generation
methods. It is interesting, therefore to study the
which the six major companies have manouevred to bring their prices in
line with the promised subsidy which will be enjoyed by Électricité de
France when/if the Hinkley Point reactor is
Much grumbling by the politicians indicates either stupidity or, more
likely, cunning. It must have been apparent to all
prices being demanded by Electricite de France would become the base
line for all of them. In the same way that the 30
speed limit becomes the minimum as well as the maximum speed in a
posturing by Mr.
E. Miliband about Labour fixing prices until 2017. He seems
deliberately overlook the fact that the main price rises that will
ensue once Hinkley is in operation will certainly not have come into
play by 2017.
pushing the global warming mantra and reiterating stories about the
lights going out. Whatever one believes about the
the U.K.'s contribution, when compared to the likes of China and
America, is minimal and any reduction even more so.
should certainly be no need to stampede into an even more dangerous
energy policy. With regard to both matters, if a
and financially viable energy policy is developed and acted on then a
reduction in CO2 and a secure continuing energy
programme will result. Sadly, that idea is not
line MP's pockets.
politicians have once again waved fingers at the public in their
efforts to secure benefits for themselves. So many
criteria have now been disposed of, it is now only a matter of time
before the matter of a nuclear dump is resolved by ignoring the
"localism" which has rejected it. It is, after all,
matter of whittling down the number of consultees to just those who
work for Sellafield and those who expect to gain as a result of a
positive vote. After all it would be a shame to
ground-work put in by those MPs who manipulated the parliamentary
system (a gross abuse of parliamentary process - Michael Martin,
Speaker) to ensure that insurance for nuclear incidents remains with
the taxpayer, thereby making nuclear slightly more viable.
capability, no energy security, most equipment manufactured abroad, no
secure source of raw materials, no local approval, 50 year-old designs
that have never been completed on time or on budget, and
index-linked subsidies to foreign companies. Sounds
solely to service the needs of Sellafield and the nuclear industry
- mainly cleaning up pollution caused by Sellafield.
Although the contrary illusion is maintained, Sellafield does
make a profit and thus has no spending power other than that provided
by the tax-payer. It is now just a £1½
year drain on the public purse. As it does not earn any
the largesse spread (albeit very thinly) around the communities in
Cumbria stems purely from central government. Stories that
Sellafield are to fund such and such a project are thus totally
illusory - they are in fact just spending tax-payer's money whilst
skimming off substantial payments for the companies and individuals
involved. Any other project could be funded in this way
the corruption and pollution of the nuclear industry and the local
community would be a lot better off.
Generation of electricity for the National Grid ceased more than ten
years ago. Since then the site has been a considerable
of electricity and gas, the latter via the 168 MWatt Fellside
gas-powered power station.
Although considerable quantities of radioactive materials have been
discharged by Sellafield, as part of a deliberate policy or by
carelessness or accident, the quantities being recovered from the
beaches is negligible in comparison.
A recent BBC programme gave further food for thought One of
most illustrative sentences being "Whatever you do, do not put anything
on the ground."
Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24206028
The much vaunted "clean up" and the alternative, but not quite so
graphic "decommissioning", of Sellafield does not mean the safe and
complete disposal of nuclear materials. It merely means the
re-packaging (at best) of the contaminated material to a different
location within the site. There is currently no way of
up radioactive material in the sense that it is rendered completely
free of radiation and thus safe. Some of the materials
contaminated to a somewhat lesser degree are dumped at the Drigg site,
where, apparently due to an oversight, illegally dumped higher-level
contaminated materials were found by Greenpeace. Other
is sent to landfill sites with no independent check on what it is that
is being dumped. Historically, of coure, Sellafield
have a reputation for being open and honest. (Ahem.)
recently, equipment designed to check the levels of materials due to be
dumped was found not to have been calibrated and was, naturally,
indicating that everything that passed through it was safe to dispose
of in a normal landfill site. How much radioactive material
ended up being dumped in this manner is open to conjecture.
Other materials are handled by Studsvik in Workington. The
President of that company left rapidly around the time that a
discrepancy of £1million was found in the accounts.
Delivery for the White Elephant?
tug Valour arrived off Sellafield this morning with a large barge, the
whereon was some kind of plant equipment destined for Sellafield.
is the second time this procedure has been used: the barge is
into the shore at high tide and is grounded. When the tide
vehicles from Sellafield transfer the equipment ashore. The
returns and the barge is pulled off the beach by the tugboat.
the towing must be very expensive, this system at least obviates the
need for special road transport treatment.
Actually, some wag commented that it was a Tesco barge delivering
Sellafield manager's bonuses, but we think not. The delivery
of a new evaporator - basically a giant kettle used for reducing the
volume of liquid so that its concentrated form reduces the volume to be
stored with no ultimate destination. The last pieces of
equipment designed to do this job rotted much faster than expected due
to the intensely corrosive nature of the task.
True to fashion for jobs at Sellafield, the project for which the new
plant is to be installed is alteady £244 million over budget
two years late. Still, so long as the bonuses keep on coming
a highly complex document issued by the governement - interestingly
just before their long summer holiday break, the subsidies available to
electricity generating companies amounts to six times the current price
Shenanigans from the Nuclear
Sellafield bosses have paid back more than £100,000 of
paid bonuses. Given that the bonuses, which have already
criticised by the Public Accounts Committee, totalled around
million, that is not a very high percentage returned to the public's
coffers, especially when the results include missing 12 out of 14
A new arrival on the beach at Braystones is the new dune-buggy style
vehicle for Nuvia, subcontractors to Sellafield for finding particles
on the beach. (Click on "The Voice of Experience" tab for
photos.) Earlier this year there was a tripling of the
finds, which caused a bit of an outcry. Happily, the
powers-that-be had the answer: it was all down to a storm.
This is particularly difficult to accept as there have been several
hundred storms in the area over the last half century, so what was
special about this one? Nothing so far as we can ascertain.
The number of beach finds is now set at 1353 between Seascale and St.
Bees Head. Sandside beach near Dounreay was closed and
notices posted about removing shells and pebbles, etc., when the total
there reached 208.
When activists posted warning notices - which should have been the duty
of the local council, except they are too biased towards Sellafield - a
councillor followed them and tore the notices down. Thus
makers visiting the area have no idea what risks they are taking.
In Fukushima there are still problems with the storage of water used
for cooling the reactor cores following the melt-downs at reactors 1,
2, and 3 two and a half years ago. Further restrictions were
imposed by the Japanese government on fishing in a large area,
including some parts which had previously had restrictions lifted.
An official from the Japanese Nuclear Inspectorate admitted
the departrment had not given the fullest details of the contaminated
water leakage earlier last month, and that it was in fact worse than
had been admitted. Good news for all the bosses, civil
and politicians, though. No-one is to be prosecuted.
We mention below the pro-nuclear Cumbrian weekly paper, the Whitehaven
News' report on the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Thorp
reprocessing plant, which conveniently omitted to mention many of the
negative things about the plant. It was heartening,
therefore to read the reply by a knowledgeable correspondent pointing
out some of the deficits in the subsequent edition.
include the serious leak of highly radioactive nuclear fuel dissolved
in concentrated nitric acid which closed the plant.
leak involved around 22 tonnes of fuel - enough to fill half an Olympic
swimming pool (83 cubic metres). The ONR's report
incident concluded that 160 kg of plutonium had leaked out, possible
from a cracked pipe over a period of almost a year.
incident demonstrated breaches of the company's operating licence, they
were fined a total of £½ million in 2006.
Sellafield, none of this appeared in the original article at a time
when the renewal of the operating contract was under review and rumours
were rife that the whole operation was being considered for
IAEA spokesperson, told Russia Today that: “Historically,
everything TEPCO says always turns out to be much worse than they
technology and industry co-operation that is being directed at
Fukushima, especially with the monitoring that is allegedly being
undertaken to ensure safety on the site, one might be surprised to find
that tyhe levels of radiation present in the ground around the water
tanks that recently were discovered to have leaked tonnes of
material,are 18 times higher than the authorities had
Apart from the apparent incompetence (which some might cynically
interpret as being deliberate misinformation) the levels have grave
importance to those workers who have been in the area trying to detect
the source and attempt to rectify leaks. Tepco
that the level was around 100 milliSieverts, whilst in reality levels
of 1,800 milliSieverts are being recorded around some of the
tanks. Readings range from 70 to 1,800
the tank bases.
When even the IAEA are critical of an industry member you can believe
that things are really bad.
The IAEA has been reported as being critical of Tepco's failure to step
up monitoring so that the true scale of radioactive material leaking
from the site can be detected. In late August,
ban on fishing in the coastal areas around Fukushima has been
reinstated. 150,000 people were evacuated following
initial melt-downs, and they cannot return even now, some 2½
years later. All that the authorities seem able to
do is to
pour cooling water over the debris until such time as they or someone -
anyone, can come up with a proper solution. There
be little prospect of that just yet. Meanwhile the
water has to be contained on-site, resulting in hundreds of huge water
containers, some of which are leaking. In the event
another tsunami or earthquake there seems to be a grave prospect that
many of these temporary storage vessels will be damaged and
leak. Quite a risk, one might think.
Barbara Judge visited Fukushima on 31/8/13, to talk to workers
following her appointment as deputy chairman of TEPCO's Nuclear Reform
she said, "It was
fantastic; it was
absolutely hope and enthusiasm, not despair."
there aren't many people who could come away from something like that
and say something so banal.
pro-nuclear report, especially following the announcement of Tepco's
failures, the article continues: 'Judge met TEPCO employees, some
had been on duty on the day of the accident and others who had been
working at the plant ever since to clean up the debris and radiation
and to make the site fit to reopen.'
It quotes her
as saying, "I was
that these people were so dedicated. They were
then said to have concluded, "I
amazed at how much work had been done to clear up the site and the high
aspiration to make the site the safest in the world."
The world really needs that kind of safety!
chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority for two years from 2004, is
relishing the unenviable task of helping TEPCO restore its nuclear
energy production. There does seem to be an
hype and spin rather than hard facts in this report.
The majority of Cumbrian polititicans seem almost to have been seconded
from Sellafield, the way that they support such a polluting industry
and continually promote its expansion.
According to an esteemed august journal, there are friends
even higher places.
Former cabinet minister Lord
apparently wasn't short of work when he stepped down from being Leader
of the House of Lords last January. In yet another
wonderful example of the nuclear industry finding friends in high
places - particularly at times of crisis (the current five year
contract for Nuclear Management Partnership is due to end soon) - he
has taken up the rôle of adviser to the URS
of the founder members of NMP, the consortium running
No doubt Lord Strathclyde's contacts and knowledge will prove useful
when it comes to negotiating the next contract, which will last until
2026 and would be worth a further £22 billion for the group.
Not something that a greedy company would care to pass up
without exerting some sort of influence. You will recall
NMP have been taken to task by the Public Accounts Committee and the
National Audit Office for paying out £64 million in bonuses
company that failed on 12 out of 14 project deadlines at Sellafield.
(We have seen nothing about any attempts to get the money
The current edition of Private Eye (1347), goes on to say that although
the advisory committee on business appointments said that Lord
Strathclyde must not lobby the government for two years, the terms and
conditions of such stipulations meant that they were not very
effective. The article also suggests that the noble lord
has the ear of the Prime Minitster - always useful.
It For Us?
Developments and Yet More Failures
of a sudden there are lots of things happening in the strange real
world. Someone in America has been jailed for 35 years for
telling the truth, another American is on the run and fearing for his
life for spilling the beans about the National Security Agency's
illegal spying activities both at home and abroad (including
"friends"), yet another army officer is being investigated for
revealing the presence of the Stuxnet virus, the San Ofre nuclear power
station is to close permanently - an exercise which is expected to cost
around $4½ billion, but the company that owns it wants the
public to fund the clean-up of the mess. Further problems,
at Fukushima, where 300 tonnes of highly irradiated water has
disappeared into the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, The Guardian
newspaper in the U.K. has been stamped on for having gained access to
some of the details of the fugitive American. There seems to
to be a strange sort of moral judgement coming into play. As
spies and those imposing draconian laws on the public always say:
if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.
is it that they are frightened we will discover?
Even the BBC has pulled
its head out
of the sand and has run a programme about Stuxnet and the potential for
even more malicious payloads to be incorporated now that the virus is
"out in the wild". Like the genie, it is impossible to get
back under control now is has been released. Whilst the
virus specifically targetted nuclear fuel centrifuges, causing them to
become uncontrollable yet having the ability to patch in "normal"
operational data in the system log which made detection of the virus
rather difficult, that was only one payload. There is
no reason why the payload should/could not be adapted to suit other
purposes. The majority of those purposes would inevitably be
malicious. Virtually every system that is based on a Windows
operating system will be vulnerable. All that it would take
memory stick or a CD. Happily, (or otherwise!) our own
protective organisation seems quite able to ignore such things - after
all, it can't happen to us. How many computers are there at
Sellafield that run the Windows operating system, we wonder.
many unblocked CD drives and USB ports are there? Are staff
checked to ensure that nothing is taken in to the plant?
Most of the news
networks have picked
up on the Fukushima story. Even though people were
employed to check for leaks, those 300 tonnes have gone missing.
People are now allowed back onto the beaches at Fukushima, but one does
have to wonder whether this is just politically expedient and the fact
that Tepco want to re-open their biggest plant very quickly is having
some bearing on the decision.
The American people
might not like
having to pay up for the mess that is San Ofre. We
that some consumers there pay 1% on top of their fuel bills to fund
nuclear clean-up and decommissioning. Whether this should
normal closure and decommissioning of commercial plants (where profits
have already been taken) may be a moot point.
The Whitehaven News
published a story
about the 25th Anniversary of the Thorp re-processing plant.
In a typically pro-nuclear story, it relates how the plant
£2.8 billion back in 1988. It doesn't say how much
has cost the U.K. taxpayer to keep running, even though it has been out
of operation for considerable periods and has failed to meet the
expected processing targets. Still, the staff are happy,
apparently, and the usual politicians have come out to voice their
support for the current management, conveniently ignoring all the
related several stories about the future of both Sellafield per se and Thorp.
people have claimed that insufficient benefit has been received by the
local community from both the NDA and Sellafield management.
contract for the running of Sellafield is coming up for renewal and
some mischievous politicians have suggested that it may be better to
get rid of Nuclear Management Partners (NMP, who are currently running
the place) and re-nationalise the whole enterprise. What
will do to productivity is debatable, but the record of NMP is
certainly lamentable, as illustrated by the caustic comments from
Margaret Hodge's Public Accounts Committee report.
As well as
programme on hacking (and the Stuxnet virus) the BBC has actually
managd to cover events at Fukushima and on North West Tonight this
evening, managed to include an article on whether signs should be
erected warning unsuspecting visitors about the dangerous particles
being found on west Cumbrian beaches. One official,
that the chance of anyone being affected by one of the particles was
extremely low, even went so far as to say that no-one had been affected
thus far. Quite how that individual and his cohorts
know that is rather puzzling, as there are no checks on people leaving
the beaches. As we have long pointed out, even the permanent
residents at Braystones have been untested, despite their obvious
vulnerability. Again, as we have long pointed out, Sandside
near Dounreay has been closed because of particles being washed up
there - the number being less than those being found at Braystones and
Sellafield to which the public have unrestricted and unwarned access.
that beach monitoring is suspended during school holidays, and even the
trials of the latest survey vehicle have been held in abeyance until
the end of the month, by which time most of the holiday-makers wlll
have returned to their homes, mostly blissfully unaware of any
potential damage they have have had inflicted on them merely because
they chose to play on the beach and in the sea in this part of the
country. Still, any after-effects will no longer be
to Sellafield once they have left the area, so they won't be able to
link any problems with their visit.
All The Right Strings
On Friday, 9th August, the Metro newspaper discovered that the profits
being made by energy companies such as British Gas, E.On and Électricité
de France, have
risen by 74% in just 48 months. Domestic users
a 29% increase in their bills in the same period.
All this is,
in our opinion, directly as the result of government policy -
especially the pandering to Électricité
de France's demands for a minimum tarriff for their new-build reactors. Costs of electricity
production by non-nuclear
methods having been increased (with a corresponding profit rise) purely
in an attempt to make nuclear costs seem viable.
not viable and never will be so long as all the relevant overheads,
insurance and capital investment, plant decommissioning and waste
disposal costs are included.
Back in 2011, those nuclear salesman who take advantage of the confused
belief that they are in some way independent inspectors of the global
nuclear industry, the IAEA, apparently sensed a shift that
detrimental to their cause. According to Bloomberg
they need an internationally binding commitment to expand nuclear
generation. Using the well-trodden path of climate
and energy security - both of which are becoming more mythical - they
suggest that they want a share of $1.5 trillion that they say is needed
to meet future energy demands. Sadly, the article
find any room to mention that even the Met. Office are struggling to
find a correlation between their computer predicitons for global
warming and the factual data. Somewhat amusingly, a science
programme giving the history of the earth's creation mentioned that
3,000 years ago a temperature rise of 10° occurred in just one
century - the "crisis" today involves a mere 2° in a similar
Whilst happily continuing the suggestion that nuclear is somehow, in
some strange way, better than any other form of generation, they don't
mention the hot water output directly to the oceans, the rather nasty
forms of pollutions that act like an aura round the various
plants, how the waste will be deal with or how that equates to
anything like a green form of energy production.
Nuclear Management Partners, the consortium running the Sellafield
complex - not very satisfactorily according to most sources, including
the Public Accounts Committee, is coming to an end and the government
will shortly make a decision on whether to continue with the current
lack-lustre management or to take it back under a national umbrella and
run it themselves. According to the Whitehaven News, the
pro-nuclear local newspaper for Copeland, the latter option will not
benefit local communities. It says:
'NMP has put £22.5
million into West
Cumbria’s economy over the last five years but the NDA, which
invested more than £50 million in the same period, has to
whether to allow the private sector consortium another five years.'
It goes on to say:
'Coun Woodburn said:
to say NMP have not delivered to my expectations over the past five
years, but at the same time I think they should be given the next five
years to do better.”'
put into the local economy is somewhat poor when the cost to the U.K.
taxpayer handed over the Nuclear Management Partnership has been over
£7½ billion in the same period.
the reports overlook the proper source of the bribes handed out to keep
the communities happy. Given the damage to the environment
people's health in the half century of the Cumbrian nuclear industry,
these look like even poorer returns. In the event of the
industry being re-nationalised it seems that even these poor amounts
Dur . . .
An article on BBC News 24 last week covered the proposed increase in
wind farms off the Lincolnshire coast. The reporter was not
favour of the development, in part because the windmills were not even
made in the U.K., but in Holland. He wanted to see
and manufacture of the windmeills carried out in the U.K. by that
well-known German company, Siemens. (Remember the phrase
corruption is us?)
here to see occasional further
Unstable Base + Editorial
Comment on Recent Events
Further to the above-mentioned landslips that occurred last
at Nethertown revealing the obviously unstable nature of the
banking at Braystones and along the coast, here's a picture of the
repaired banking after he most
recent fall, which occurred in January, 2013. It is at the
of the land purchased by RWE on which they proposed to build their
reactor and, as we mention in the heading picture, the railway line
visible in the lower quarter of the photograph is used for
traffic between Sellafield and the port of Workington and elsewhere -
something we would consider a risk. However, just what kind
survey did the company carry out in order to decide that this was a
suitable site for a nuclear installation? Happily RWE have
decided that they are bored with being sheep-farmers and have now sold
the land back to local farmers. One has to wonder how much
poorly-designed nuclear development plan cost them.
On the 23/7/13, a lightning strike killed Network Rail's signalling
around Piccadilly Station in Manchester. Not only did it
signalling problems - with some of the impact affecting as far afield
as Workington - but the surge also took out the telephone sytem and the
communications network. It is fortunate for us that the
inspectorate have deemed that no natural disasters will affect any of
the plants operating in the U.K. as we have no history of tsunami.
(Except for the eight that have occurred at odd intervals
6100 BC through to 2011. ) There are, of course, so many
that the U.K.'s nuclear industry is immune from and have contingency
plans for anyway. (Ahem.) We can all rest assured
event has been covered; they probably still have some old
Strowger switch mechanisms in a telephone exchange to
the eventuality a huge discharge of static electricity kills their
computer and phone systems. Actually, we worry more about
Earlier this week,
were advised that a new vehicle
would be testing
the beach access. This is the
model for Nuvia, which has
been commissioned to
particles on the beaches along the Cumbrian coast, especially at
Sellafield and Braystones. Since this is the peak time for
the timing seemed a trifle odd. Local councillors are much
when any such surveying takes place outside school and public holiday
periods. Sure enough, a couple of days later arrived another
message to say that the tests had been delayed and would now take place
in late August. We reckon that it is more likely to be
September, when all the visitors have left at the end of school
holidays, and only the residents, who are now used to the current
vehicles and surveys, will be witnesses. Will they ever get
around to surveying the other parts of the hinterland, or the beach
Local politicians, with their intrinsic devotion to all things to do
with Sellafield, have been upset by proposals to move some of the
businesses currently contracted to Sellafield, but based in Copeland
and Allerdale, to Risley - 125 miles away, with probable losses in
local employment and earning for the region. An interesting
figure suggests that £1 billion has gone into the local
chain" in five years. Given that Sellafield costs the
£1½ billion each year, that means that an awful
going somewhere else. Still, you don't really expect a fair
from those lining their own and their company's and their shareholder's
pockets so successfully. It amply demonstrates how little
be diverted into the local economy if the proposed dump were to go
ahead, and how scant reliance can be attributed to promises of a fair
compensation package. One local pointed out that in the past
the money has been handed to councils, and areas from where they can't
ever see Sellafield. Almost none of the rewards have been
with those areas worst affected by the plant's presence.
The bosses at Sellafield have had their bonuses cut after so-called
profits at Sellafield dropped appreciably. The cost of the
up at the site is now put at £67½ billion, and the
consortium has missed 12 out of 14 targets. The head honcho
on over £1 million a year and several others must be on over
£½ million p.a., so one has to wonder if that
represents value for money.
Proposals to build a new MOX reprocessing plant (the last one
referred to elsewhere - many times) at a cost of £5 billion
(that's just the current estimate, these things just keep growing,
especially after they have reached a critical mass) are still seriously
being contemplated thanks to the efforts of local politicians and their
supporters. The original one was described as the greatest
scientific white elephant of all time. The next one promises
eclipse that. Even so, the cost of cleaning up the original
is currently (see above comment on projected costs) estimated to be
There really does not seem to be any end in sight for all this wasted
money, which is happily being absorbed by the large companies involved
and their shareholders - some of whom are involved in the decision
A cynic suggests that recently-announced government plans to spend
£100 billion on the nation's infra-structure
without spending any of it in Cumbria is merely retribution for the
county rejecting the plans to build the nuclear dump there.
Surely not? Perhaps the £5 billion that they are
to waste on another extremely large white mammoth could be put to
Meanwhile in Fukushima, those nice people at Tepco "didn't wish
Japanese residents about the leaks" which are continuing
Pacific. Even a new device designed spedifically for the
of removing multi-nuclides has been found to leak as corrosion has
affected the welds. (Ref. http://www.asahi.com/english/articles/TKY201307260118.html)
There are stories about workers failing to submit to eye tests, despite
the increased risk of them contracting cataracts, and others about the
true number of workers who received a potential
dose of radioactivity: up from 178 to 1,978, apparently.
Sadly, too, the groundwater is even now as contaminated as it was back
in 2011, despite all the efforts. Some comments to the
fukushima-update site (http://fukushimaupdate.com/)
suggest that nothing is being done to remedy the situation.
Another comment suggests that it is necessary to thoroughly assess
every aspect of any engineering solution before implementing it.
It seems a pity that this did not take place before Fukushima was
built, along with several others - some of which are built on active
Affairs in the United States continue to cause concern and in at least
one case is leading to legal action. At the San Onofre
generating site in California legal documents present the case of
Mitsubishi's alleged failings. There have been allegations
the Japanese company which designed and built the plant did not have
the necessary expertise in all fields. As a result there
been leaks and the plant has suffered shut-downs and equipment
A document available on the internet reveals the current state of the
claim against Mitusbishi: http://www.power-eng.com/content/dam/pe/online-articles/documents/2013/07/NoticeOfDispute.pdf
For those with an interest in the effects of radioactive exposure from
dumped material, have a look at http://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/radioactive-waste-film-blocked-in-the-uk/
Although shown in several European countries, it has not been picked up
by any of the mainstream broadcasters in the U.K.
Demanding and Not Quick Enough?
to Old Sparky in Private Eye 1339, negotiations between Électricité
de France and DECC have stagnated and slowed down to a crawl as the
price demanded by the company for new-build nuclear is at last being
recognised as being too high. The entirely fabricated rise
energy prices are already hurting too much, for residential consumers
that was instituted by and always to the advantage of the nuclear
industry, stampeded politicians and those civil servants not already
working for Électricité
de France into the spiral of ever-increasing energy prices with the aim
of demonstrating that nuclear was in some quirky way financially
viable. However, the demands were too high and the process
now stalled, thus losing the imperative and allowing the uncommitted to
reappraise the situation and, indeed, query whether nuclear really
needs to be part of the energy mix at all.
on to point out (as we did some time ago) that Électricité
de France has considerable debts - he mentions €40 billions.
Before the economic collapse the French government's
de France meant that it was a safe investment, especially so long as
the U.K. government was allowing it to dictate terms. Sadly,
France's economic downturn has left the euro nations pondering on the
future and most of the original participants have taken their bats and
balls home, writing off several million pounds doing so. Électricité
de France may well have thought that the withdrawals strengthened its
case, and would allow it to force through its demands.
design specified (one of two types generically
approved for use in
U.K.) for Électricité
de France's expansion in the U.K. (the European Pressurised Reactor, or
EPR) has failed to meet the sales hype put forward by Électricité
de France and its sister company, Areva. As Old Sparky
the two attempts to build this design thus far have both been
disasters. He reports that French newspaper, "Le Figaro"
published an article which quotes Électricité
de France's head of engineering, Herve Machenaud, as saying it is now
considering ditching the EPR for a smaller, more commercial design.
If this is true, then it raises even more doubt about the
of building what are, in effect, already-obsolete reactors, whilst at
the same time a change in plans will necessitate further delay as
generic design appraisal has to be undertaken. Even on
plans, nothing would be ready until 2022, with further delays incurring
even greater expense, nuclear could well be (as we already believe it
to be) dead.
More on the
Oaks From Acorns Do Grow Premise
the many decades we have heard the mantra repeated after every incident
at any nuclear facility, "There was no risk and nobody was exposed to
radiation". Combined with the complacency over natural
and cybersecurity, the theme is wearing a bit thin. On
(see entry below) we were treated to the same response over a fire
Although largely kept quiet, the BBC's North West Today
programme has reported a similar-sounding incident at their Heysham 1
we are reminded of the old Chinese adage about even the longest journey
begins with a single step. How many more times can Électricité
avoid a major problem? The odds must be reducing rapidly.
By a strange quirk of fate, some years back Greenpeace published
several articles on how the design flaws at Électricité
and Heysham plants would lead to fires. They also seemed to
suggesting that Électricité
putting profits ahead of safety, but we are sure that cannot be the
Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, M.P. has just discovered
that financial advisors specialising in taxation were seconded to the
Treasury to assist in the development of new taxation measures.
When they subsequently returned to their employers (the likes of KPMG)
they produced plans, using what most reports refer to as "insider
knowledge", to assist large companies avoid paying tax to the ultimate
advantage of the employing company and the detriment of the nation.
Ms. Hodge seems to think that kind of thing is wrong.
We wonder when she will turn her attention to large number of Électricité
de France employees within DECC. Can she really have been so
naiive as to think that huge corporations are in any way altruistic?
There is always a quid
and, nowadays, a revolving door for suitably kindly-disposed employees
to benefit from keeping quiet about things which the public don't need
to know. Why else would Électricité
de France (and others) wish to utilise so many of their staff if not to
gain something in return?
Some Kind of Blackmail?
Times for today tells us that Électricité
de France is
preparing to cut
jobs at its new nuclear reactor site at Hinkley. No
is made by the company of the number of men who will be at risk, but
more than 800 people are employed on the site.
government is still pondering how many of Électricité
de France's demands
agree to without making it obvious to all that the Grand Scheme for
Nuclear New Build is far too costly to be viable.
that it must give out subsidies - something that all parties have said
they won't do (we all know about political promises!) but if they go
ahead and concede to Électricité
de France's demands
fall foul of the EU's rules and thus be open to challenges in the
to say, the unions are not happy with the situation which would see its
members being made unemployed. We do have doubts,
about the statement reportedly made by a Unite national officer, which
seems to ignore the adverse effects that working in the nuclear
industry can have on its members. We recall similar comments
about the ability of the unions to side with the managers when we
attended a meeting in Bridgewater when nuclear expansion was being
mooted. One ex-union member being very vociferous
safety and health issues which she felt had been ignored by the unions
in deference to management pressure.
the potential lay-offs make for good business sense or not, it is yet
another lever that Électricité
de France are using
pressure the government to meet their demands.
union officer is attributed as adding that, "It is time for the
government to give Électricité
de France the
needs so the company can get on with the job of meeting the U.K.'
energy needs." Naturally this overlooks the
nuclear, and also appears to denote acceptance that the propaganda
issued by Électricité
de France and the
energy providers - both parties with their own obvious vested interests
- that nuclear energy is clean, green and safe. We
accept any of those attributes apply. As we have
asked, what is clean, green and pollution free about plutonium,
caesium, tritium, americium, et al?
|23/4/13 (edited 27/4/13)
Yet Another Fire at
to be experts and safety conscious, there was yet another fire at
site. This time an oil leak lead to a "small fire"
involving the lagging on a turbine. Needless to
was no danger of radiation leaks and no-one was injured as a result of
the blaze. This, of course, is the standard
response to any
incident at a nuclear site, regardless of the
has to wonder how an oil
leak on its own could cause a fire of any sort.
of maintenance permits potential oil leaks in the first
place. Unless the oil was leaking onto an
source it is difficult to visualise quite what would cause the fire -
other than the leak has caused a bearing to run hot enough to set fire
to residual oil, but that should surely have been prevented by the
safety-consious managers. In any case, the low oil
and causative leak should surely have been spotted long before a
fire ensued. Although we are treated,
again, to the
usual rhetoric from the PR people about successful shut-downs, we can't
help thinking of the old adage that runs, "From little acorns mighty
oaks do grow." They were, perhaps, fortunate this time, but
. . .
the local paper's report that says that there was no threat to public
or staff from this fire. Naturally, all nuclear
station staff are immune to injury from conventional
Ah, well, good practse for staff and emergency services for when things
do get out of hand, perhaps. Will Électricité
be required to pay
for the turn out of the ten fire engines, we wonder?
reactors at the site is still shut down.
things are far worse at Électricité
de France's sites in France. The number of incidents
at its sites increased last year by more than 10% on the previous year.
Risimg from 747 in 2011 to 830 in 2012.
despite all these incidents, the French Nuclear Safety Authority
managed to conclude that things were quite satisfactory.
Amusingly, the French appear to have a different calendar to everyone
else around the world, as their Fessenheim plant, which is due to close
in 2016, needs work to be done before June 30th, and the paperwork
related to its closure will take 5 years to complete! Other
plants haven't fared any better, with five being singled out for their
impact on the environment: Belleville, Chinon, Civaux
and St. Alban. How these incidents affect the odds on a
events happening is unclear.
Lights On - by Not Paying Any Corporation Tax For Three Years
committee is currently looking at the state of the energy industry and
professes to be angry and surprised that some huge multi-national
corporations are paying no corporation tax at all.
have these MPs been? What did they think the companies
were up to? Somewhat unfairly, RWE, the German
put forward the ridiculous plans to build a series of reactors at
Braystones - but the chappy in charge of the project hadn't even
bothered to visit the area, never mind the actual proposed
site - were singled out for paying no tax at all despite profits of
over £766 million over the last three years.
chairman, Tim Yeo, told the executives that their schemes had resulted
in tens of thousands of customers paying more than they needed
to. Whose duty was it to bring the rip-off to the
of the public? One has to wonder what DECC, the
energy regulators and others, have done to keep the energy costs fair
and reasonable. They have certainly got enough
should have the information and competence to be able to
the overall situation, so what action
have they taken? We stand by our opinion that the entire
situation has been manufactured by the government, especially DECC, in
order to produce some semblance of viability for nuclear
projects. They have been ably assisted in this by
well-respected (not to say well-placed!) and competent secondees from
the likes of Électricité
mention elsewhere the ability of Électricité
employment for relatives of people in government, which is obviously
just pure coincidence.
£102m in 2012 on profits of £1.2bn;
- E.ON -
profits of £5bn between 2007 and 2011;
bad guy we might expect (leastways in this instance), considering its
de France paid "over
£200m" last year on pre-tax profits of £1.7bn
Looking at that vague sort of figure one has to wonder at how it was
arrived at when the tax is currently running at 20%. Happily
some, and Vodafone's £4 billion saving springs to mind here,
special arrangements can sometimes be made with tax inspectors for
those with the right contacts, or who are in the right clubs.
MPs are stupid enough to fall for the excuses being made by the
corporations: that they have spent significant amounts
in the U.K. in order to help it "keep the lights
though this is a panic-inducing and emotive ploy without
real merit, so many people now believe it that it seems like a
self-fulfilling prophesy, the truth is that the companies involved have
not been altruistic. Indeed, that is not the nature
business. The money invested has come, and will
come - with handsome interest - from the hard-pressed consumers, whose
energy bills will double again within the next few
The nil payment of corporation tax is merely a triumph for the
financial manipulators, who, like the executives, are well rewarded for
According to an
article in the Guardian, Labour MP John Robertson, referring to the
mis-selling scandals (see article on SSE below), asked E.ON chief
executive Tony Cocker, "Are
squeaky clean?", Cocker replied, "It's too early to say."
quite the response that would satisfy many people.
companies for their over-complex tarriffs, which made it unclear which
was the most suitable for any individual, the chief
executive of Energy U.K., the industry trade association, said that
part of the problem working out tax
liability for a company was because of the complexity of their
organisation. Confuse and confound,
suggested that she was surprised and concerned to learn that, "Out of Britain's six energy
three have effective tax rates significantly less than would be
expected, and one has paid no tax at all." Mind
also managed to defend the actions of the banks when she worked for the
British Bankers Association . . . Surely, with
apparent expertise in the financial world she might have guessed?
over £200m corporation tax on profits of £1.3bn,
another U.K. company the British Gas owner, Centrica, has been paying
higher tax rates: £651m corporation tax in 2011 on
£2bn. Even so, they still managed to
invest in new
infra-structure. If they can do it, whilst paying
can't the others? SSE now has to pay the
million fine, too. Still, that is probably claimable against
Guardian article, "The
big six energy
suppliers were accused last week of "cold-blooded profiteering" after
official figures showed they had more than doubled their retail profit
margins over the last 18 months and were now earning an average of
£95 profit per household on dual-fuel bills. The industry
regulator Ofgem, which produced the estimates, said profits per
household would reach £100 over the next 12 months."
This would mean a doubling of the present level of profit -
strangely coincident with the amount that Électricité
de France are demanding for building nuclear reactors that few people
consider viable, but which the consumer will be expected to foot the
bill for for the next 40 years! No responsibility for
up or safely disposing of the resultant radioactive waste and only a
£1 billion liability in the result of any industrial
The Fukushima meltdowns are currently said to
£33 billion; so the U.K. taxpayer has to pay for
running, servicing, and still provide insurance, waste
and clean up in the event of leaks, whilst Électricité
de France are rewarded with a guaranteed profit for the next half
Unless you are a U.K. resident, of course. Shades of a very,
very expensive PFI?
Of course, some of the companies, like our old favourite, Électricité
de France, have previous experience of hiding their business afffairs
from scrutiny and not paying taxes. Back in 2003, for
the Europeand courts found:
- (156) This
has been drawn up on the basis of the information provided by the
French authorities. It should be stressed that, despite the injunction
to provide information issued in October 2002, the French authorities
persisted in their refusal to supply the Commission with full copies of
some of the documents requested. In particular, they communicated only
extracts from the French Court of Auditors' reports covered by the
- (160) The
finds, lastly, that the non-payment by EDF, in 1997, of corporation tax
on some of the provisions created free of tax for the renewal of the
RAG constitutes State aid that is incompatible with the common market.
Such tax aid amounts to EUR 888,89 million.
guarantee granted by France to Electricité de France (EDF)
constitutes State aid that is incompatible with the common market and
must be withdrawn by 1 January 2005.
de France have
nasty history, including a conviction for industrial espionage, hacking
into computers, etc., and yet our wonderful politicians keep treating
them as reputable business people, then feigning surprise when proved
Besides which, there seems to be so much taking without much giving.
With so many large companies successfully avoiding paying
it is time for some proper accounting by those responsible for the
Radioactive Material May be Dumped Into the Pacific
In typical fashion, the ability to handle radioactive material safely
is proving to be beyond the scientists given the
Tepco discovered that one of the pools that is has filled with
radioactive water was leaking. So it decided to
all its contents to another
pool. Triple-lined with heavy duty plastic, the
thought to be robust enough. Sadly it has proved
not to be
the case and the second pool has now developed a leak,
Over 26,000 gallons have now leaked into the surrounding
does not have a sufficient alternative space for the water, which is
rapidly becoming an embarrassment and further
The Japanese are currently debating what to do with the accumulating
stockpile and one of the options being considered is just to dump the
lot into the Pacific.
to the New
York Times, 'At least
three of seven
underground chambers at the site are now seeping radioactive water,
leaving Tepco with few options on where to store the huge amounts of
contaminated runoff. Readings around the No. 1
which the remaining water from the No. 2 pool was being transferred,
suggested that it too was seeping water', said Masayuki
general manager at Tepco’s Nuclear Power and Plant Siting
Division. A third pool, the No. 3 pool, was also
have sprouted a small leak on Sunday. Asked whether
plant’s other underground pools might also be prone to
Mr. Ono had no clear answer. “We
are still assessing the situation,” he said.'
silent BBC News managed to afford the problem some space, describing
the situation as a "Tremendous
The short report said, 'The
suspected leak was detected at the plant’s number one pool,
destination for contaminated water from the number two pool, which was
also leaking. The transfer has now been stopped.'
that we have
caused tremendous worry to the people of Fukushima and the wider public
and we apologise for that”, Tepco spokesman,
there seemsto be no firm idea of what the situation is at the site, and
no idea whatsoever about the state of
cores. Even the location of the latter appears to
Still, lots of plans are being developed . . . "It is extremely regrettable that
keep occurring at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant,"
Suga, the chief cabinet secretary said in a press conference. "The government has instructed
carry out a fundamental review of how it is dealing with the problems."
While the president of Tepco, was summoned to appear before the
minister of trade and industry on Monday and was given a severe
have been two failures of the emergency cooling system to the plant,
the latest one on 5th April, 2013, was when a failure in the cooling
system left the plant unable to cool radioactive fuel rods in one of
the reactors for about three hours. We mention
elsewhere the incident in March, when a rat chewed through an
electrical cable in a parked vehicle, and caused a 29-hour blackout in
parts of the plant and led to temperatures in the reactors rising once
source, there have been other equipment failures, including devices to
measure levels of air-borne radiation. Even after
time, the company is finding it difficult to stop groundwater seeping
into the damaged reactor buildings. Kiyoshi
Kurokawa, chairman of the committee appointed by the Japanese
government to investigate the disaster, told a new inquiry that the
situation at the plant is "clearly
yet to be settled". More than two
years after the
accident, he added, "We
are unable to see what is going on with melted
fuel, the concrete of the reactor containers and injected cooling water".
Some parts of the plant are so contaminated it is impossible for humans
to remain there for more than a few minutes at a time.
Safety for Nuclear, Even In America
Regulatory Commission chairman, Gregory Jaczko, is reported as saying
that the current fleet of operating plants in the US should be phased
out. He says that regulators 'Can’t
an accident causing widespread land contamination'.
said the agency had, 'Damaged significantly” its
reputation for upholding safety and accused the five current
commissioners of, 'Just rolling the dice”, when dealing with
severe accidents. The current status of the Hanford
which is the American equivalent of Sellafield is giving serious cause
for concern, but little urgent action is being undertaken to resolve
Electricity Fined a Record £10½ million For
SSE have been fined a record amount by Ofgen for misleading customers into changing their suppliers in the belief that SSE's tarriffs would save them money, when, in fact, the change would result in
customers paying a lot more for energy.
We were amused to note the headline on an ISP's home page:
SSE Fined £10.5m By Ofgem Over Mis-Selling (Yahoo Home page) and the current home page of SSE, which reads: "SSE - We do things differently."
A news article on SSE's site states that, "SSE plc can confirm that it will be accepting the £10.5m penalty announced by Ofgem today." (http://betterway.sse.co.uk/) Did they really have any option?
Good to see that they are maintaining the ethics of the industry.
To Be Perfectly Franc
. . .
the other "facts" on which the proposed nuclear expansion programme is
predicated we have long contended that one does not achieve energy
security by selling off all the manufacturing capacity to foreign
companies. One might steer well clear of any company which
not only foreign, but also has an "unfortunate criminal record".
So it is even more nonsensical to suggest that the government is "near
concluding a 35 year deal with Électricité
company is apparently sticking out for a 40 year period, during which
virtually every aspect of the nuclear development in the U.K. will be
underwritten by the tax-payer and consumer - so the latter will be
paying twice. Every householder will have to pay
(variable according to source) extra each year for the next 40 years -
even with no addition costs presenting themselves and with no incidents
there is the problem of waste
disposal - for which, again, the U.K. taxpayer will be expected to
cough up and provide the dump for. No method or location has
been arrived at, but that hasn't stopped DECC from setting a price for
it! Just how does Électricité
de France gain such
and acquire such good friends amongst the
decision-makers? How many politicians, businesses,
individuals and peers of the
realm stand to make enormous sums off the back of this enterprise?
There seems to be no other rational reason to proceed with
plans. The record of selling off national industries, such
the railways, the N.H.S., British Gas, utilities, nuclear, etc.,
have all demonstrated that only the fat cats benefit.
This is an
computer term, standing for "garbage in = garbage out". Any
calculation based on erroneous data input will obviously result in a
wrong output (even if the computer modelling technique is correct).
pricing information, and future trends for a variety of fuels on which
industry pundits can gauge the future costs of the energy provided
therefrom have been supplied for many years by ICIS-Heren, whose
website proudly proclaims:
to bring liquidity and transparency to power and gas hubs, giving you
the information you need to help you closely follow, analyse and
evaluate changes in the marketplace.
"For over a
decade ICIS has been a trusted source of independent data, relied on by
businesses in the energy industry to support their commercial planning
to a Private Eye article by Old Sparky, their independence may not be
quite that independent at all. The article tells
friends at Électricité
de France have been
data to th ICIS
organisation for a considerable period. Where the
seems to be
remiss is that there may not have been many other companies supplying
data, or at best, not to the same extent. Also, for
the situation became public knowledge, the supply of data is said to
If a result
to be drawn from a supply of data, then it obviously makes sense to
have as many sources of that data as possible. From
as well as large. That way a fairer and more honest
obtained - the broader the data base the better the ability to forecast
trends. If, as seems to be the inference to be
Eye article, the sole supplier of data is Électricité
de France, then
it seems possible that the data could be unfortunately skewed, thereby
distorting the market's figures. Électricité
de France have been
known to be playing hardball over the future cost of electricity and
are using the minimum cost per unit as a bargaining point, but we
sure that any distortion of the market, even if it is correct, would
not have been the aim of Electricite de France, even though they do, of
course, have an interesting history when it comes to honesty and
integrity. Put it down to another coincidence,
eh? Perhaps someone
could check the figures that have been supplied and check them
against those of another energy supplier - just for
Would the other company(ies) have supplied similar data to that put
forward by Électricité
the Eye article may be a follow-up to the one which was widely reported
November, last year, such as this one from the Belfast Telegraph:
whistleblower, named as Seth Freedman, claimed the gas market has been
"regularly" manipulated by some of the big power companies, the
Guardian reports. Mr Freedman, who works as a price reporter for ICIS
Heren, a company responsible for setting so-called benchmark prices,
raised the alarm after identifying what he believed to be attempts to
distort the prices reported by the company.
record for 13th November, 2012, suggests that there may have been an
earlier-reported alleged manipulation:
reported that Ofgem has been warned by ICIS Heren that it has seen
evidence of suspect trading on September 28, the date that marks the
end of the gas financial year."
Decluttering the Clyde
The Ministry of Defence has apparently changed its mind about the fate
of nuclear submarines currently awaiting disposal at Rosyth, and has
now decided that they will be broken up there. There are now
submarines there awaiting their fate. Britain's
first nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, was commissioned in 1963,
being decommissioned in 1980. Containing an
radioactive reactor vessel, it is sitting in Rosyth.
decommissioned nuclear submarines are already there, and in the near
future there will be a total of around 27. The
age of many
of the submarines means the radioactive contamination has spread.
are suspected of having radiation leaching into the air.
hundreds of tonnes of radioactive material will be produced by the
breaking of these vessels, and there seems to be no firm plan as to the
ultimate destination of it all. It is quite possible that
substantial amounts may need to be kept stored on the site until it
becomes safer to move. Given the nuclear-free desires of
Scottish politicians, that may not be a popular move. The
other possiblitity at present would appear to be transport to
Sellafield, where it could join the hundreds of tonnes of material
lying around, gradually decaying and posing a huge risk to the
population and the environment. Apparently, the original
may have been to use the original Sellafield idea of dumping everything
into the sea - scuttling the submarines in this case - with the premise
that any radioactivity will become infinitely diluted.
and with the result that large-scale contamination has ensued - this
wonderfully scientific solution was fatally (sic!) flawed.
Politicians have said the base was
being used as an “experimental dockyard”,
“Too high to accept”.
decision, it is reported, would spark “outrage,
the length and breadth of Scotland”. One
campaigner said, “There will be alarm
that Rosyth should be used as the testbed for an untested high-risk
reassured by an Ministry of Defence spokesman, who
said, “No radioactive waste will be removed without a storage
disposal solution being agreed. Dismantling will be
regulated to stringent standards.” By whom, by
system, or where, is not yet known - by anyone!
Decc issue very strange
It was with
amusement that we listened to the BBC North West Today programme as
they announced that Sellafield had undertaken a controlled shut-down to
allow staff to go home early because of severe weather conditions -
snow and high winds. How wonderfully altruistic of them.
It was almost as if they had done something brave. How many
those listening to the report even guessed that Sellafield does not
generate any power and hasn't for many years, having become a consumer
instead. Still, the propaganda machine must earn its keep.
Was there really any danger to the plant from such minor
A Rat-catcher Announced by Tepco
The spectre of even more radiation releases from Fukushima arose on
19/3/13, when cooling systems to two spent-fuel ponds and another
common pool that contains 6,377 nuclear fuel assemblies was disabled by
a "15 cm. rat-like creature" gnawing through the cables in a makeshift
switchboard mounted on the back of a lorry. In all,
systems were affected, including equipment to remove radioactive
substances from cooling water. A spokesman for
quoted as saying that it will take several days to get temperatures
back to normal after the 30 hour power failure.
were apparently intending to stop using the switchboard and moving to a
permanent one by the end of March. One has to
the obvious vulnerability demonstrated by this failure, whether they
have merely repeated to stupidity of duplicating the existing wiring,
so that any repeat will have an identical effect and place at risk the
same nine systems.
Surely some sort of armoured cable should have been used, given the
area's susceptibility to earthquakes and tsunami. Even rats
been known to balk at damaging their teeth on steel wires.
BBC 4 television, last Tuesday evening, was a very revealing programme,
"Surviving the Tsunami: My Nuclear Aunt", on the plight of
residents from the village of Namie, about 25 miles north of Fukushima
power station. Having been evacuated from their
Tokyo, their current probelms were amply
main participants were allowed to return briefly to Namie and the state
of their homes and businesses was obviously very moving for them.
prior to the earthquake and tsunami over two years ago, almost all the
residents of Namie were in favour of nuclear development and were,
apparently, somewhat jealous of their neighbouring village for winning
the Fukushima-Daiichi plant. Having seen the
and felt the effects of the incident that has caused so much pollution
and hardship first-hand, they are now so anti-nuclear that they have
even taken part in protests against restarting existing nuclear power
stations. It will be impossible for any of the
of Namie to return as the pollution will last far longer than them.
is a rare event for the BBC to produce something that criticises the
nuclear industry, even those abroad, so for it to show something as
movingly dramatic as this was a breakthrough.
was screened late at night (repeated in HD on 21/3/13 - again late at
night) so not too many people will have been influenced by its
message. Nonetheless, it does seem as if this one
slipped past the I.A.E.A.'s propganda filters.
Congratulations and thanks to the producer for showing the situation as
it really is. It was not difficult to translate the
effects to areas like Cumbria, where vast tracts would become
uninhabitable for eternity should anything go wrong with Sellafield.
earlier and very
worrying report on the current situation at Fukushima seems to suggest
that everything is pretty much as it was immediately after the event -
only now there are numerous plans (which may or may not be effective)
to one day get round to dealing with the massive pollution and clean
up. The sight of workers on house-roofs using
washers to "clean up" nuclear waste does not augur well,
however. It is just moving any contamination from
another - in this instance in a totally uncontrolled
As with the thousands of containers of
contaminated soil and water, there is nothing much being done that will
permanently cure and make safe the debris. The nuclear aunt
correct to have been concerned about the high levels of radiation even
in areas which had allegedly been cleaned.
wonder the rats are proliferating!
Secretary, Edward Davey - whose brother works for a company which has
handled billions of pounds worth of transactions for Électricité
de France and whose
department has accepted secondees from the company - seems to think he
has been independent and rigourous in awarding Électricité
de France planning
for development at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Yet
all the hooray Henrys making lots of noise about this announcement
"kick-starting" nuclear development in the U.K., (some
de France are still
a minimum price for the power it may eventually
produce. All that seems to have happened here is
government have backed themselves even further into the corner
can apply even more pressure - which, to us, amounts to
blackmail. One really does have to question the
impartiality of the evidence that the policitian has given a detailed
of the key issues which the government were promoting was that there
would be no nuclear development until such time as there was a working
system for the safe disposal of nuclear waste, which is currently being
stockpiled around the country, especially at
such system exists. The recent rejection of the
dump in Cumbria has put paid to even the half-baked system that was
being put forward as a solution. Is this to be just
of the key principles that will be overlooked in the haste to satisfy
the pro-nuclear lobby? Will the government be
when they find that, having given control of dangerous and vital
infra-structure to a foreign company, they are being held to ransom for
ever-higher prices for electricity and the profits are going to, er,
France? Given the corruption illustrated
de France and Areva
in the past (would you buy a used car from either of them?
Anyone remember the nasty business with Électricité
de France conducting a spying operation a while back?),
one does have to wonder just how naiive politicians can be
accepting glib sales propaganda talk. Does nothing
alarm bell for these people? Or ar they just in a
make money out of their short-lived positions of
similarities between the nuclear propaganda machine and the corrupt
parts of the newspaper industry currently hogging the limelight are
quite striking. Or is
it really just coincidence that siblings and colleagues of those making
the decisions are so beholden to the industry?
to newpaper reports, a variety of groups are considering the
announcement with a view to seeking a judicial
Combined with the threat of action in EU courts, it may be a trifle
premature to be celebrating.
in the funny farm, Areva have resumed shipment of MOX fuel to Japan
after a lapse of four years. According to some
Japan may be considering restarting up to two thirds of its reactors.
Power - All
It Is Cracked Up To Be
more enlightened countries, Belgium has decided that nuclear power is
nonsensical and will close it all down by 2025. However,
June, cracks were detected in one of the pressure vessels at
Doel No. 3 reactor. One of many similar designs around the
world, for example, in Germany, America and Spain, the reasons for the
cracks depend on whom one choses to listen to. Independent
sources suggest that the cracks are an inevitable consequence of
neutron bombardment and all reactors will face the same problems as
they get older. Meanwhile, the utterly open and honest
industry sources suggest that the detected cracks are merely artifacts
produced as a result of imperfect casting by Dutch company, Rotterdam
Dry Docks, who closed down last year. An even better
- possibly a later and better thought from the nuclear industry's PR
machine - is that the cracks don't exist at all and are some kind of
"noise" produced by the surveying equipment. As usual, the
industry wants to press on with restarting the reactors and sod the
consequences, it is costing them money. Sadly, another
at the Tihange site near Liege, has shown the same sort of problems.
Unless one is in the business, it is difficult to imagine
two different vessels would show the same sort of flaws.
However, both the owners, Electrabel (part of GdF Suez) and the Belgian
regulator seem to want to restart the reactors. The more
cautious wish to have the vessels at least repaired or, preferably,
replaced. The latter, of course, would be impracticable if
are to be shut down anyway in the near future.
reactors would not have failed the stress tests carried out
world, an MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) reactor at the San Onofre
site in California, which is the most complained about and unreliable
of all American sites, with a history of radiation leaks and steam-tube
failures, is the subject of a report which blames faulty computer
modelling for the majority of its woes. According to the
MHI repeatedly assured owners SCE (Southern California Edison) that all
was well with the design. The report says, "SCE is disappointed that MHI
its own to redact some information in its evaluation about the flaws in
the computer codes." As reasssuring to us as
suggestion that the stress tests performed on reactors following the
Fukushima incidents in any way mean that the current batch of designs
are intriniscally safe.
Both SCE and the U.S. regulators were aware of the problems and the
report's contents but these were not made public by them until forced
to do so.
The cost of rectification of the problem reactors is assessed at $671
million, which SCE wish to recoup from its customers.
the Earth are considering whether to press for an inquiry into whether
the substitution of a design which differed substantially from the
approved one is a matter for legal proceedings. Amazingly,
known flaws and the risks they posed to the public of southern
California were deliberately overlooked in what has been described as
an imprudent triumph of construction haste over safety.
Various sources, including World Nuclear News, Euronews, France 24,
& NHK World.
Friends of the earth release relating to the matter can be found here:
To Worry About - It Cannot Happen Here
200 miles south east of Seattle lies the Hanford nuclear site,
America's equivalent of Sellafield in many ways.
The site stores some of the worst of America's nuclear waste in an
array of buried tanks. Originally designed for
about 20 year's service, which period
expired several years back, the tanks should have been emptied and the
contents rehoused. Sadly, as with every other
country around the world, the disposal system has yet to be devised and
implemented. Over the years that the tanks at
been in use, more than a third of them have leaked.
The leaks account for up to a million gallons, so it is not a small
thing. The latest discovery suggests that one tank
is leaking at the rate of 300 gallons per year.
State Governor, Jay Inslee, is reported as being "very disturbed" by
the news. We don't suppose that it would have been
helped by the official statement from the Department of Energy at
Hanford, who said that most of the tank's contents had been removed
in 1995, following attempts to stabilise the situation, but that almost
half a million gallons of "sludge" had remained!
According to official records, there are some 50 million gallons of
waste stored at Hanford. Naturally, because the
scientists back then knew
almost as much as the current scientists do, they knew that a
single-shelled tank would suffice. It seems they
might have overlooked the rabbits. However, it
seems, even one of the new, specially-designed (we know what we are
doing) and super-safe
double-skinned tanks has sprung a leak, too, which is puzzling
Department of Energy officials, allegedly.
situation may be worse than is immediately apparent as the tanks have
not only been letting the toxic waste out, they have been letting rain
and ground water in, which upsets the readings.
No-one knows how much of the stuff in the tanks has really leaked only
to be made up by the ingress of rain-water.
usual, there is "no immediate public health threat, because it may take
years, or even decades, for the leaked material to reach the
groundwater and move on to the Columbia River". So
that's alright then. Yes, it will eventually leak
out and people and the environment
will suffer accordingly, but it won't happen for a long time and it
will be someone else's problem. Just like the U.K.
from outer space are a rare occurence, but one has to wonder about the
recent explosion of a meteorite over the Russian Urals town of
Chelyabinsk. Did the checks carried out recently by
our esteemed scientists look at that possibility or did they just
dismiss earthquake and tsunami events?
readers will be aware that, for some time, we have been endeavouring to
persuade those whose function it is to take seriously the threat from
hacking of computer networks. The most recent
reply, from an official in the Nuclear Waste Assessment Team of the
Environment Agency (still awaiting a reply after over five months!),
told us that there was nothing to worry about with
Sellafield. Small wonder that the Defence Select
Committee warned that 'much more needed to be done to identify the type
or extent of cyber-attack that would warrant a military
response'. The Americans have reported over a
million attacks on their infra-structure per hour.
The Environment Agency's complacency is worrying.
It is almost as if they have never heard of the current array of smart
phones and similar portable devices. Anyone care to
guess at how many unsecured operational ports there are on the
Sellafield network, or how many external network connections could be
hacked? The main hacker, according to most reports
is an elite section of China's military.
Interestingly, the Chinese are now by far the main manufacturer of
networking circuits (i.c.s and add-in cards). Does
anyone go through the lines of in-built coding to check that they only
do what they are supposed to, with no back door access or
Trojans? As the Select Committee have at last
realised, by the time hacking has been detected it is too
late. Horses and stable doors?
We must not be complacent about out complacency . .
. It hasn't happened yet, so it never will.
photographs of the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons sites seem to show
row upon row of jet fighter aircraft lined up ready for a quick
take-off. One report suggested that the planes
could be air-borne within four minutes. Compare
that to the 15 minutes that it takes for an RAF plane to get to
Sellafield to defend its airspace.
de France Takes a Step Too Far
Scottish and Southern Electricity, one-time member of the
Iberdrola consortium who bought a plot at Sellafield to build a new
reactor or two before pulling out in late 2011, has asked the European
Commission to consider if the arrangements currently being debated in
London with the U.K. government (see
Tilted Tables and Smoke-Filled Rooms below)
breaches the rules
on unfair subsidies. The generous subsidies being
de France in
building a few new reactors have already proved a sticking point, but
it had been assumed by DECC that the process, because it fitted with
the desire to reduce CO2 emissions, would be
rubber-stamped. Now it seems that is not likely to
case at all. It looks as if Électricité
have over-egged the
within the European Commission are slow-moving - the slower the gravy
train the more gravy for the passengers. It is
that it will be 2015 at the earliest before the commission comes to any
conclusion. Thereafter the process will be liable
challenge by judicial review. That would probably
further couple of years, too. It seems that the
beneficiaries of the huge sums that will be involved will be wasted on
the usual suspects: lawyers and
we should be grateful for any delay, which will, naturally, give cause
for huge increases in build-costs and more in the way of demands for
problem with this subsidy business is that, to make things appear fair
to all forms of energy production, every scheme has to receive
something vaguely similar in terms of subsidy.
this will be recouped from levies on the unit cost of electricity and
the end result is that consumers will have to pay ever increasing
amounts. With just the current Électricité
demands, it was
expected that these levies would lead to a doubling of the
already-over-priced electricity bills in the next four or five
years. Whilst that level of subsidy may be
pander to Électricité
demands, it does
seem rather unnecessary for the likes of wind and solar power, not to
mention the other sources.
the time being, it seems, no new reactors will be built until 8 years
hence at the earliest. Combined with the utter mess
the nuclear dump and legacy waste storage, the whole thing is an utter
seems that even with the tilted table in the smoke-filled room, with
lots of staff seconded from Électricité
de France, all
not well. Despite having so much insider influence
friends in high places, Électricité
de France still
seems to be
struggling with its insistence that it be allowed to make 10% return on
its £14 billion plans to build new nuclear reactors in this
country. 10% might seem a little
high in these
days of zero to 3% interest rates (the rate of inflation announced
today is at 2.7%), especially when so much else is
already agreed in the various subsidies. The true
from the U.K. taxpayer are
unquantifiable. One serious accident and the
be paying up for ever, as there is an agreed cap on the liability of
the operator in the event of any accident,
the coup in parliament which the then Speaker, Michael Martin,
described as a "gross abuse of parliamentary
On top of that, the deal - if one is reached - will endure for 20
years. This means that, given with a fair wind and
billion from the U.K. taxpayer. At the end of that,
at least 50 years thereafter, we will be left with the clean-up bill
less whatever has been agreed now
by the crystal
ball gazing politicians.
original cost, which seems now to have been a carrot dangled in front
of the gullible M.P.'s noses, was £3 billion for each
reactor. However, for some reason, the cost
has risen now to
an estimated £14 billion for two. Not
much of a
special offer, we think. Not exactly buy one get one free,
think. The record for new-build is far
from impressive; even on their home ground,
Flamanville, there are budget over-runs and the project is running very
late. The consequence is that the cost has now almost
and the plants, assuming all goes well from now on and there are no
commissioning problems, will not start to produce power before 2016 -
four years late and the construction will have taken twice as long as
the original forecast. Thus no profits or return on their
investment can occur for some considerable time yet. Small
wonder that the French company is getting edgy.
mention below the difficulties that are extant for Électricité
de France in
terms of its
financial situation. According to the newpapers,
at present for Électricité
de France is
billion. The company already receives subsidies
the withdrawal of Centrica from the consortium, announced earlier this
week, there have been endeavours to interest the Chinese in taking
their place. The latter,
to be somewhat lukewarm. Since the nuclear industry
China is rated at 29 out of 32 in the safety
always, it will be the Chinese people, not the
will have tol
pay the bills for any accident in their home country.
with the Chinese expected to build several reactors of their own, and
with no supplies of uranium of their own, it seems very likely that the
cost of uranium will
go very much
higher. Quite what effect this would have on the
nuclear power is unclear at present. Energy security is one
the basic tenets of the politicians' policies and there are two main
areas of weakness in their case: the cost, and their
deal with the waste they produce. So, with the failure of
out of three of the alleged advantages of nuclear, one has to wonder
why there is any interest in perpetuating the myth about it and
allowing it to develop the stranglehold that it already has over
Almost as if they
doubt their own figures, Électricité
de France are now said to want an investment of around 49%
than the 20% that was held by Centrica. According to some
sources the company is threatening to take their bat and ball home -
something which a lot of the pro-nucldear lobby seem to be doing at
present as they don't get their own way. If this game goes
for much longer it may seem more sensible for the politicians to use a
home-grown company to build their new reactors. After all,
Sellafield has a remarkble record and is a centre for nuclear
expertise. After all, they haven't been in court since, er,
week . . .
At Any Price - Now, How Do We
Hide The Subsidies?
Financial figures from Électricité
de France on
Thursday confirm our comment
in an earlier article, that the state-controlled French nuclear
generator is weighed down by debt. Experts expect
to see a
sharp fall in earnings this year due to the problems at home, as
France’s economic problems begin to bite.
it expect help from the impoverished new government in Paris, which, in
any case, are not exactly supportive.
So the current situation in the U,K., is that the only remaining
interested party, Électricité
cannot afford to build the
projected reactors without massive government
Yet the idea of subsidies, by any name and whether overt or covert,
would be against the policies of all political
mentioned in Hansard, one M.P. has pointed out that Électricité
de France is
already subsidised by the
French government, so in effect it will be receiving a double subsidy -
not something that will be available to alternative generating
methods. The situation for energy generation is
even further into the mire, it seems.
In a debate in the House of Commons this week, the Energy Minister, Ed
Davey (who belongs to a party that,
prior to the
election promised no nuclear
development - a
promise that seems to have gone the same way as all their others!)
spoke of the recent decision by Cumbria County Council not to progress,
before getting to the crux of the debate. He said, " . . . the
Government agreed that Cumbria county council also needed to vote in
favour in order to proceed to the next stage, but it did not, which is
disappointing. However, the invitation for communities to come forward
Copeland and Allerdale make me confident that the
programme will ultimately be successful."
To us, this smacks of a thinly-veiled threat to return to the two local
councils who wished to progress to the next stage, even though that
went against the agreement that all three councils needed to agree or
the matter was ended. Given the integrity of politicians it
still feasible that they will come back and try again. The
nuclear lobby are not renowned for being straightforward, open and
honest, after all. Mr. Davey then went on to illustrate
despite all the assurances, the nuclear development programme will
continue at any cost, and subsidies - by whatever name - will be set in
private discussions with Électricité
aim is for a
broadly standardised approach to contracts for difference that will
allow for comparability between technologies and the introduction of
competition for CFDs. I do not think that what is needed is a
line-by-line comparison of the terms of each contract. That is not what
our policy says or requires. In fact, there are likely to be variations
in CFD designs between one technology and another, and perhaps also
between different projects within the same technology. What is
important is that the terms agreed deliver a similar result across
technologies and projects, and that they result in a proper allocation
of risk. In addition, each contract will need to deliver value for
money for the consumer and be compatible with state-aid rules. A
contract with a nuclear developer that does those things would be
compatible with our no-subsidy policy.
are embarked on
the largest infrastructure programme in Government, with £110
billion of investment over 10 years. Are there risks? Of course, but
the risks to the country and to the planet if we do not meet this
challenge are infinitely worse. Affordable, low carbon new nuclear is
just one part of the answer, but let the House be in no doubt that it
is part of the answer.
Note the final paragraph's commitment to spend £110 billion
We have made some brief jottings of salient comments from the debate,
as recorded in Hansard on the other News
abilities in securing the
services of close relations of cabinet ministers is quite
remarkable. Remember Gordon Brown's
Well, now it seems that Energy Minister Ed Davey's brother, Henry, may
also be slightly beholden to the same company, along with several
others. It seems that he works for Herbert Smith
as a corporate partner. According to their on-line
leads the oil and gas team, having been involved in advising on
multi-million pound deals for Petrobas, Sojitz, Renewable Energy
Holdings, Chevron, and Électricité
His role is
advising clients on acquisitions, disposals, project development and
It goes on to say that he has already advised on the acquisition or
disposal of numerous oil and gas fields around the world, distribution
assets for gas and electricity, as well as renewable
energy. Happily, he also recently
de France on the
sale of its electricity
distribution business for £5.8 billion.
The C.V. goes
on to mention several other multi-billion pound transactions.
His Bat and
mention elsewhere the comments made by an M.P. last week following the
Cumbria County Council decision not to go to the next stage in the dump
hosting process. The comment was to the effect that "whoever had been charged
with selling the
dump to the people of Cumbria [sometimes
as "grooming"] have done a very, very
One of the main protagonists in the process has
now resigned. As with the county council decision, we
this move. Perhaps he could take a few more of his
campaigners with him?
retribution appears now to be the name of the game, as one of the
honourable & illustrious peers of the realm has announced in
House of Lords that he is concerned that one of the anti-dump
campaigners may have overstepped the mark and used what the peer
referred to as "intimidation" in an e-mail. He then read out
passage which merely stated that each of the councillors concerned in
the decision might be personally culpable if they made the decision
carelessly or recklessly. Our understanding is that this is
true statement. The only bit that was in any way
if anything was, was where the e-mailer said that the intention was to "scare the crap out of the
Certainly, if they were not aware of the possibility of
culpability then they may well have been scared to find that out, but
for a peer of the realm - presumably a big boy used to the cut and
thrust of politics - to endeavour to convey the sentiments as
threatening is surely a step too far? Baroness Verma who has
been active herself in Cumbria of late suggested that the e-mail would
be examined closely to see if matters should be taken further.
Grief! Hell has no fury, etc. It is fine when
millions into endeavouring to buy the people of Cumbria, but when
someone gets under their skin, wow!
How many of these people
have shares in the various schemes that are now thwarted? Or
perhaps they all just dislike being seen to have been beaten by people
they regarded as inferior?
of note today is the attendance in court of Sellafield management over
the dumping of medium level waste at Keekle tip. Apparently
machine used to assess radioactivity levels of materials to be disposed
of had been set to give a zero reading. Only by chance was
"error" discovered when a training exercise used a bag known to be
contaminated failed to give an alert. We wonder how long the
machine had been operating in this manner and how it came about.
Whatever the reason, the magistrates have today determined that the
matter is so serious they have referred it to the Crown Court for
sentencing, after commenting that tip operatives could well have
inhaled radioactive material when handling the bags. This
followed by an official from the industry saying that it was extremely
unlikely that cancers would ensue from any such inhalation.
if it did though . . .
Times today has an article in which "a senior Tory M.P.", i.e. Tim Yeo,
suggests that if the U.K. needs nuclear power then they should be
willing to pay for it and fund the supplier's profits at a guaranteed
level. Sadly, there was no room to
mention the other
the U.K. will be required to provide: the insurance in case
nuclear disaster; the future cost of waste at a guaranteed
maximum level - being set now, despite the quantity and toxicity of the
future waste being unknown and the ultimate method of dealing with such
waste not being known at this stage. Altogether this makes
an extremely expensive package. Currently the estimate
any accidents and before any waste is fit for disposal - should such a
practice ever become available - is that electricity costs will have to
double in the next few years. Needless to say, it can be
expected that all other forms of energy production would rise
commensurately, too, as evidenced in recent months. Source:
did the article have room to mention Mr. Yeo's other interests.
Mr. Yeo, according to the
Wikipedia entry, is chairman of Univent plc, Chairman of TMO
Renewables (bio-fuels) and non-executive chairman of Eco City Vehicles
plc and AFC Energy plc. (hydrogen fuel cells); Yeo
and his wife
Diane are sole directors of Locana Corporation (London) Ltd., Anacol
Holdings Ltd. and General Securities Register Ltd.; Yeo
is also a
director of ITI Energy Ltd. (waste material to gas to power vehicles)
also writes articles for Golf Weekly and Country Life magazines and,
occasionally, the Financial Times, and occupies a seat on the board
in the paper, the Editorial includes:
obligations under the Climate Change Act cannot be held to ransom by a
single French contractor and its shareholders, and nor can
"Vincent de Rivaz,
executive, has said since Centrica’s announcement that the
Government knows perfectly well what it has to do to keep its nuclear
policy on track — namely, to agree a preferential price for
nuclear-generated power in future decades that is high enough to tempt
a new investor to take Centrica’s place. EDF
has already invested £800 million here that it can ill afford
The Times really doesn't seem to know its own policy;
differering viewpoints almost every day, sometimes concurrently.
Today's editorial comments seems to be siding with the expansion of the
shale gas exploration programme, but the wisdom of using a process
which is believed by many to cause earthquakes within 40 miles of
Sellafield and Heysham nuclear facilities has to be wondered at.
Still, the head of the nuclear inspectorate has stated that we are not
on fault lines and don't experience earthquakes of sufficient magnitude
to cause danger. So that's alright, then.
Sellafield Clean-up Reaches £67½ billion and
£1½ billion Each Year!
cheap to meter" was the cry back in 1954. Yes, people did
believe it then. Politicians and scientists of the time have
been shown to
be somewhat lacking since those halcyon days. Now it is
work out the true cost of the electricity produced by
(which hasn't produced any at all for many years). Today's
report by the Public Accounts Committee says:
Almost Doubled in 8 Years & Seem Set
To Continue To Rise Ad
Incentives and Killing Geese Laying
Decommissioning Authority (NDA) believes that its decommissioning plan
is credible but it has not been sufficiently tested and uncertainties
remain - not least around what precisely is in the waste that lies in
the legacy ponds and silos. "It
is unclear how
long it will take to deal with hazardous radioactive waste at
Sellafield or how much it will cost the taxpayer. Of the 14 current
major projects, 12 were behind schedule in the last year and five of
those were over budget."
Kindly note that it
may only be the NDA (whose one-time head was on over £500,000
p.a., which pales into insignifcance alongside the approx. £2
million shared by the two top men of NMP, the consortium currently
running Sellafield, so why
rush to kill the goose which lays the golden egg?) which believes that
even its Ultimate Cunning Plan, Mk2(b) amended, is credible.
Still, we suppose,
that is an improvement
on the last few plans that haven't proved to be achievable - something
which must have been apparent to those at the helm for some time.
government gave Nuclear Management Partners, the international
million last year alone for
performance-related work, despite the
failures. It would probably be a bit picky to crib about the
money for the "standard relocation package costs" of bringing personnel
in from out of the country. As with so many national
institutions and utilities,
more money pouring abroad with little in return.
Anyway, the idea is that we need to continue to trust
these experts and keep giving them money in the hope that one day they
will magically make all this nasty stuff go away and the skies will be
permanently blue and not only the civil servants will have champagne .
. . Hmmmm.
Not content with spending £1½ billion a year, the
pro-nuclear people - everyone of whom seems to have a vested interest,
either because they work at Sellafield, or are in some way beholden to
it - are upset because, despite all the public money spent on
propaganda to promote the dump, democracy has won the day.
Obviously this was not meant to happen after DECC invested so much
money in grooming the area. How ungrateful these rustics
Part of the panic must also be around what they can actually
next. Without Cumbria there is the nightmare of disposing of
waste down some other poor person's hole in the ground with fingers
(and toes!) crossed. Quite a substantial problem when
of whatever nasty chemicals are stored at Sellafield and transportation
of them across the country to the new site is considered. No
records as to what is stored where and with what means that recovery
and safe (ahem!) disposal will be incredibly difficult if not
impossible to do safely and cheaply. So, what
will the true ultimate price of the nuclear experiment be?
are currently paying for the comparatively cheap electricity generated
by nuclear for the past half century. If these additional
had been incorporated in the original bills, nuclear would never have
gained a foot-hold.
Today's reactors budgeted at £3 billion are set to
billion and are years later than was proposed. What will the
actual eventual price of reactors built in the U.K. be? With
subsidised waste disposal and insurance cover being foisted onto
taxpayers as separate entities, the true costs will be huge.
Even more so in the
event of a nuclear accident when the ratepayer will be obliged not only
to suffer the mess, but to pay for it, do the actual cleaning up and
suffer the consequences. Where will the owners be then?
We really like the suggestion made by a Times correspondent
de France are
told to go home,
where they can build as many nuclear sites as they wish, and we will
buy the electricity from them supplied via
a cable under the English
Channel. That way we can be as gung-ho about nuclear safety
the French, they can keep and dispose of all the waste they produce
without impinging on us and, since we no longer have to build and run
any new nuclear sites, we can concentrate all our efforts on a truly
safe method of disposing of the mess that we already have, without
having to store even worse stuff all over the country whilst we work
out what we can do wtih THAT!. Energy security is obviously
important any more, as we can be held to ransom by anyone of the many
foreign companies who own and run not just our energy plants, but all
of our utilities, too. The French are our Best
we will never fall out with them, will we?
Also announced today is the news that Centrica, owners of British Gas,
which earns £3 million every day - which could have been
money if the utilities hadn't been privatised for short-term gain -
have pulled out of any nuclear
projects. The reasons given are not those we would have
but nonetheless we are content. The statement from their
executive blames spiralling costs and delays for the
launched a £500m share buyback. of the shares on which it
option on in respect of the venture with Électricité
de France at
Pundits now believe the only chance of that going ahead will
require substantial Chinese investment.
The statement went on:
"Since our initial
anticipated project costs in new nuclear have increased and the
construction timetable has extended by a number of years,"
the money to
be returned will be distributed amongst
shareholders. There appears to be no thoughts of reducing
the gas bills which have doubled in less than five years for
real reason, other than to make nuclear seem more viable.
move does, however, beg the question:
what do Centrica know that DECC don't? We believe that it is
likely that if the
figures that DECC has come up with were to be supplied to the Public
Accounts Committee, whose leader,
Margaret Hodge is doing an excellent job of exposing the truth about
the nuclear situation, they would surely demonstrate that even the
not be cost-effective.
de France, and Iberdrola, the
Spanish owner of Scottish Power, are lumbered with nearly
of debt between them. Given debts on this scale should any
credence be given to the idea that any of them are suitable candidates
to build nuclear establishments of any kind? How much debt
they achieve before they are deemed to be bankrupt?
Debt figure source: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/energy_and_environment/article1206396.ece
Therein might lie the key. With problems in their home
why not turn to the U.K. with their schemes to raise money?
was said long ago that nuclear science is an awfully expensive way of
boiling a kettle, and most of the experts agree that, financially at
nuclear energy is not viable, so it is only vested interests and
dogmatism that are keeping it going. With the difficulties
over waste disposal, does it really make sense to propose increasing
the stockpile? The other major problem is that the only
source of finance is China. The withdrawal of Centrica means
that there is no U.K. company engaged in the process, which well mean
the U.K. is entirely dependent on foreign companies to provide such a
basic necessity. Wasn't there some mention of energy
independence as being one of the goals forcing us in the direction of
So far as the Cumbrian decision is concerned, the pro-nuclear lobbyists
are in a huddle over what to do next. Will the government
on its principle of volunteerism and say that the dump must go ahead in
the greater national interest? If so, what happens
suitable site - geologically speaking - can be found? That
mean that millions more had been wasted and nothing achieved.
Nothing new there. One is tempted to shout, "DO THE DAMNED
PROPERLY!". Get rid of all the special advisors who are
more than industry plants and lobbyists, look at the mess in
entirety, then come up with a proper plan.
County Council Decide Against
Surprisingly, despite all the work put in by the pro-nuclear lobbyists,
Cumbria County Council voted not to ask to move on to the next stage of
the process to quarry a huge nuclear dump under west
Cumbria. Copeland, where a greater
proportion of the
population are dependent on Sellafield, voted in favour of going
further. Early reports suggested that neighbouring Allerdale
also voted against continuing with the expression of interest,
they now have been corrected.
Although the reasons given for the decision by the county council leave
a little to be desired, we mustn't be ungrateful.
Reed, M.P., and Woodburn - the local councillor who has done so much to
promote Sellafield, both seemed rather shell-shocked by the
result. Two dodgy polls, lots of "insider"
and millions of pounds invested in a huge amount of propaganda which
happily ignored the disadvantages of the dump whilst over-hyping the
positives, had failed. Where now their pot of gold
wonder? One usually vocal supporter and ex-Sellafield
was conspicuous by his absence again. For some strange
he didn't want to appear on Inside Out on Monday, either.
Reed nevertheless valiantly tried to suggest that he would "fight on"
and perhaps west Cumbria could go it alone, suggesting that a poll had
shown that most people were in favour. This is
untrue. The poll showed what it had been set up to
show. West Cumbrians are almost totally beholden to
nuclear industry and the further away from the plant the interviewees
were, the less likely they were to support any dump. The
overwhelming rejection of the plan by the parish councils also
demonstrates the fallacy of his statement. Does he think
is possible to build a nuclear dump in one area and totally ignore the
impact it would have on its neighbours and the risks to which he would
be subjecting them? Reed also attempted to dismiss the
suggestion that the county was worried about tourism being affected,
suggesting that the nuclear industry earned more than tourism and
employed more people. What he conveniently forgot
the tourism industry had already been badly affected by the presence of
Sellafield - would you want to holiday near a nuclear site that was
responsible for more pollution than Chernobyl and Fukushima?
many holiday brochures have you seen boasting of proximity to
Sellafield and its polluted environment? Every caravan site
brochure photograph is looking in every direction except Sellafield's.
Perhaps Reed thinks people come to watch the vehicle
the beaches for active particles and finding them? Perhaps
thinks that they would enjoy digging through the sand to assist Nuvia
staff recover their finds?
What may also prove a bit of a problem for the ex-Sellafield PR man,
now M.P., is that geological surveys have already demonstrated that
there is nowhere solely within Copeland that would be suitable for
quarrying the dump. Amusingly, now it no longer
the size of the dump was likened to that of a large town, or small
city. Not quite the picture that was presented
prior to the
decision, we think.
DECC, meanwhile had apparently already accepted defeat and ruled that
Cumbria would not be forced to host the dump. The agreement
the start was that it would require all three councils to vote in
favour of going to the next stage, a rejection by any of the parties
would remove any possibility of the dump being in Cumbria.
good to see that DECC at least (so far) accepts that, even if Mr. Reed
doesn't. However, even Mr. Reed may struggle to find an area
size of a small city within Copeland that is geologically suitable.
The most sane comments came from Tim Farron, M.P. for the South Lakes,
who suggested that it was now time for the government to stop looking
for gullible (our phrase) people who could be persuaded to host the
dump, and the whole country be surveyed with a view to finding
somewhere that does have the proper geological
This is a view that we find difficult to endorse 100%, as we wouldn't
foist this kind of thing on anyone else. However,
rom the practical point of view, it does make
Quite what impact the decision will have on the future of nuclear
generation in this country is unclear. The inability to
its own waste may mean that nuclear has no future in this country.
Seemingly problematical at the moment, necessity is rumoured
be the mother of invention, so the impending difficulties with energy
supply (which may or - more likely - may not manifest itself) may focus
people's minds on producing truly green supplies. We have
believed the hype put forward by the nuclear industry that it is in any
clean (see top right box) or green. The idea that it is
for us to use power that produces pollution, health, and environmental
problems elsewhere in the world isn't our concern has to be wrong,
despite what Ed Miliband apparently believes.
Reading comments on some of the national newspaper websites has proved
entertaining. One nuclear scientist from
sounding rather angry, says that Cumbria County Council have taken a
short-term view and ignored the science. Not sure
is correct. Material that stays dangerous for over
years isn't something that requires a short-term view - in fact, quite
the opposite. A couple of amusing ones suggest that
is already a suitable underground site off the coast of
Kent: in fact, between the Kent and French
coasts. It is already well-connected with a
railway line which would facilitate the process.
suggests that, as the Isle of Wight is under-populated and largely
rural, it could be used not only for storing the nuclear waste, but
also the new reactors. We think a further
it could also be used for testing nerve gas during Cowes Week a little
Money Is It
the BBC's Inside Out programme on 28/1/13, much was made by
interviewees around Whitehaven of the largesse being spread around by
Sellafield and the nuclear industry and how indebted they had been
facilty would not exist without Sellafield" was the theme.
possibly been overlooked by these people is the fact that it
wasn't Sellafield's money in the first place. The
comes from the U.K. taxpayer via
the government. We have suggested for five years
now that a
similar or lesser amount of money spent in the area, could have provded
all these services - and more - without any of the
of the nuclear industry; its pollution and serious health
effects, the destruction of the amenity that is the essence of the Lake
would buy an awful lot of goodwill, improve services and provide an
awful lot of healthy jobs which will not destroy the unique qualities
that the district naturally enjoys.
say cut out the middleman, it will be cheaper and healthier in the long
believing in the security myth of nuclear power."
thought of Tepco's name is
Tepco's Chairman, Kazuhiko Shimokobe, after figures reveal that 70.5%
of Japanese want to see an end to nuclear power.
just hard to justify nuclear. It's really a gas and
world today, at some point economics must rule.”
General Electric's Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Immelt. (GE
is one of the
world’s major power-generation engineering companies.
Together with Japan’s Hitachi, the company designs
and builds nuclear reactors and is currently seeking generic design
approval for their reactor.)
Cumbria County Council Will Be Deciding On
Next Best Thing
Ever to Deal With Nuclear Waste: the Ultimate Solution Mk. VII
engineering company suffered at the hands of the National Audit Office
for the failures in the way the company attempted to decommission
Sellafield and its running of the Sellafield site ater winning a
contract worth up to £22 billion over the lifetime of the
deal. It seems that one result was the failure to
the shortlist for a Magnox contract which is worth £7
billion. According to The Times, the NDA had
the company from bidding.
current head of
Sellafield is "stepping down" after less than two years in the job,
too. URS have apparently declined to comment to the
paper. 12 projects out of 14 have failed to achieve
they were supposed to and the overruns had increased costs by
£900 million in ten months.
has to wonder
what any other company or consortium will manage that URS have failed
to achieve. However, there are the old favourites
short-list: Babcock, Amec, the trendily-named CH2M Hill,
Serco and Betchtel. Annoyingly, each time a new
comes up, the winner is hailed as having the best and only way to deal
with the problem - whatever it may be. For a long
were blue-eyed boys getting everything right . . .
they weren't. This situation just keeps
occurring. Whatever, the mess will continue to cost
taxpayer dearly for some time to come.
Price The Natural World?
have long been disappointed with the attitude of several of the
national institutions who claim to care for the
environment. When the plan to turn Cumbria's coast
40 mile-long highly dangerous and polluted industrial estate was
announced, we wrote to several of them asking for
The replies, when they materialised, were disappointing, to say the
seem happy to toe the government line - apparently some of them are in
receipt of funds from various politically-minded bodies and their
funding is somewhat more important than the cause, it
seems. In typical fashion, the more prominent of
have pro-nuclear lobbyists at their core and Sellafield appears on the
list of donors on several.
had expected that any project which was likely to destroy swathes of
the countryside and establish a precedent for industrial development on
a huge scale would have met with antagonism from these environmental
groups. Not so. The changes
made to the
planning process in order to accommodate the nuclear development have
been passed without much more than a murmur. Now
Environment Secretary has suggested that since the nuclear industry's
bribery works so well, it could be extended to buying off communities
who have an affinity with nature and wish to preserve their local
environment. So stuff the natterjack toads, for
example; we will offer to give a lot of money to the
the toads are in the way - as they would be in some Cumbrian
locations. What is the price per toad, we
wonder? Where does this trend
end? What price
will they put on human life eventually? That is
be put at risk by these "experts" when they come to bury highly
hazardous nuclear waste down a hole in an unproven process.
Sand Safety: 50
years of Lessons, and They Have Yet to Learn Anything
at the I.A.E.A. have succeeded in turning a conference about the
lessons to be learned from the Fukushima incident into more
propaganda. Emphasising that lessons will be
familiar?) the world can expect (albeit via a non-binding agreement -
sign here then forget about it) to
enhance safety and effectiveness of future decommissioning and
remediation activities. However, the positive
apparently not shared by the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority,
whose chairman found the situation "exceedingly unsatisfactory", adding
that reactors should not go on-line until people are convinced of their
safety. When there is dissent even amongst those in
industry then we know there are severe unresolved
Still, mustn't let that get around. Only good news
acceptable and to heck with facts. Sadly, even the
believed that the conference had failed, saying it was too little, too
late. Even those obedient to the cause reckon that
regulators should be more independent - what chance when the NDA are
having to promote nuclear to sell their "decontaminated" land?
typical lack of independence, the United Nations Scientific Committee
on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (happily with an easier
acronym: UNSCEAR) is expected to release a study of the
radiation from Fukushima in the middle of next May.
provided the finance for the report? Why, Japanes
providers, who else. Not much impartiality
there. Once again we are offered the premise that
levels are harmless or negligible. Haven't we heard
that there are no safe levels of radiation? Yet
we are being told that up to some ephemeral level (which will no doubt,
coincidentally, include a lot of Japanese land previously said to be
contaminated and a danger to health) it is all fine. No
the huge number of cases of thyroid growths in Japanese children are
unlinked to the incident and any increase in the level of cancers in 5
to 10 years' time will be sheer coincidence and covered up.
a mere 18 months of denying culpability, Tepco have now admitted that
its lack of safety culture (where did that begin and end?) and poor
practises were behind most aspects of the world's worst nuclear
accident for 25 years.
sources, including: http://www.dw.de/fukushima-conference-wraps-up-on-positive-note/a-16462720
is news, too, of the Finnish nuclear underground dump, touted as the
method to be used - it being able to house containers of waste without
danger of leakage for 100,000 years. We have been
of this claim since it was first announced. Now it
that there is a little difficulty with the integrity of the containers
which were to be used. According to the Institute of
Scientists in America, the latest containment methods will only survive
for 100 years. Ho hum. Once again, it
seems that, despite our "ignorance", we have been proved right.
recent hurricane that afflicted the east coast of America put at risk
16 nuclear reactors. In fact many of the reactors
shut down because of grid failures. Happily all
went well .
. . this time.
Union of Concerned Scientists points out in an article reprinted in the
Huffington Post that the American regulators have taken to censoring
reports in order to minimise adverse findings.
reactor sites being at severe risk in the event of failures of
containment dams. Still, the public don't need to
The scientists also point out that storms and earthquakes are not
necessary for nuclear sites to be disrupted. They mention
flares. We are aware that most industrial processes these
are controlled by micro-processors which depend on very low voltages
and current. Over the last few decades there have been huge
steps in reliability of such devices, but they are still susceptible to
outside interference - especially from the static fields that accompany
solar flares. These can swamp the delicate circuitry.
Modern devices use very low voltages and currents because they have to
operate at high speeds.
We haven't heard much from elsewhere about the amount of damage being
done by the extraction of uranium ore, but this article supports our
In the interim, Lady Judge, erstwhile chair of the U.K.A.E.A and
government advisor on nuclear to the Labour party - as well as many,
many, other chairmanships (how did she find time to do them all
justice?) - sticks to the script devised to counter those who were
horrified by the events in Japan: "No-one has died as a
result of radiation
The missing vital operative word being
"yet". However, she perhaps has a message, too, for the
Sellafield, when she says that "We
will not shoot the messenger. In fact we will reward the
bad news is to be welcomed, not viewed as
Leaves People in the Cold
variety of sources, including the BBC, The Telegraph and The Guardian,
more than 300,000 people will be pushed into "fuel poverty"
before Christmas. By 2016 this figure will continue to
so that over nine million people will be suffering.
is the alleged reason for the dramatic increase - over 7% this year
alone: Ed Davey has said it is necessary as there is a need
improve the infra-structure, such as the National Grid.
problem is that we don't believe this is the real reason at all.
The real reason is that the government have to find the money to
subsidise the nuclear industry and its clean-up. (By the
we mean dispersal of high-level materials rather than the implied
actual curing of the problem. In the main, the supposed
involves building a huge hole in which to shove the stuff in the hope
that it won't escape before 100,000 years have elapsed.)
projections have come from the Fuel Poverty Action Group, which is
apparently sponsored by DECC, who also sponsor many employees from Électricité
further problem for
us is that the beneficiaries of the increased revenues are supposedly
private companies, so is it right that the taxpayer should be giving
them money and the government imposing the rises on us? It
that this is the price for privatisation: basic services and
utilities have been farmed out to private companies who are now holding
everyone to ransom. These companies took over, usually at
knock-down prices, the literally-vital services and should surely be
paying for any improvements they deem necessary to maintain their
"services". They have been making high enough profits to
substantial investment in future service-provision - why haven't they
done so. Why are the politicians supporting their demands?
help scotch the government and nuclear industry's plans to tunnel a
radioactive dump under Cumbria should visit: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-nuclear-dump-in-the-lake-district and
seems that Électricité
succeeding, as new plans are
announced to give some extraordinary powers to the Secretary of State.
In a wonderful document, full of up-to-the-minute power
once so beloved of the Labour party's spin maestros, it seems that
power to determine just about every salient point in respect of energy
provision will be down to the said Secretary of State. It is
beginning to look as the promise of localism and volunteerism that was
trumpeted loudly by Conservatives at the time of the election, has now
gone the way of all political promises. The power to decide
which power stations will be built and the price of power produced will
be decided by, you've guessed it, the Secretary of State.
However, because it is a bit dodgy, no culpability will be incurred at
a personal level by the Secretary of State. Immunity from
consequences of wrong decisions is usually something that we see in
dictatorships, for people like Berlusconi and, more recently, Morsi.
Overall the plans are, as stated by Private Eye, very akin
the PFI schemes that have cost the country so dear over the last
no doubt whilst people are otherwise engaged over the festive period,
we will be told the details of minimum price to be paid and what the
new subsidies that arent' subsidies because they are called something
else will entail. There can be little doubt that Électricité
employees, currently seconded to DECC, will have earned their keep and
the company will be able to go ahead with their Areva/Électricité
regardless of the wishes of the local residents or, indeed, the overall
wishes of the U.K. residents and the sky-high costs of nuclear which
make the whole technology financially unsound (see article below).
these outstanding matters are now almost resolved, Électricité
will be able to
go ahead and announce the good news: that they will build
multiple reactors and there will be nothing residents can do about it.
By a strange coincidence, Électricité
de France did
say that no
would be taken until the end of the year. How could they
possibly know that all would be resolved in their favour by then?
Answers on a postcard, please.
Even The Sunday
Times Condemns Nuclear . . .
The Times newspaper is not renowned for being anti-nuclear.
the past it has managed to gloss over many of the salient facts about
the industry and its background. Wind farms appear to have
of far higher priority to them, until now. It is encouraging
that our cries in the wilderness may at last have been heard.
Jonathon Leake, the Sunday Times' environmental editor writing on
for the task of cleaning up Britain’s nuclear legacy is now
than £100bn, and it will take at least 120 years,”
Clarke in an interview.
'The figures mean the cost of the cleanup
comparison with the total value of the electricity produced by atomic
'Figures released by the Department of
Energy and Climate
Change show that, since Britain’s first nuclear power station
opened in 1956, they have generated 2.5 billion megawatt hours of
electricity — worth £125 billion at
'If the cost of building
Britain’s 20-odd nuclear
power stations (around £10bn-£12bn each in
money), is included, it would far exceed the value of the power
produced, say experts.'
all this, the
government, persuaded by those with a vested interest in lining their
own pockets and protecting their jobs, still plans to encourage further
development of reactors which will produce even more concentrated toxic
waste. Does that seem reasonable?
The article concludes with the suggestion that the demolition debris
will be packaged and placed in an underground dump. The
is so dangerous that robots will have to be designed to deal with it.
However, happily for those promoting the idea, the packaged
material will remain uncorroded and intact - with no leaks or other
failures - for over 100,000 years. Much, much longer than
previous man-made structure. Sadly, there don't seem to be
plans for any mishaps occurring a kilometre underground, with only a
single access point.
It is no surprise then that the unions are a bit concerned, as we note
in our editorial. Maybe, too, it is just time
review their policy re.
In The Tunnel
news of the Sasago tunnel collapse in Japan raises again the
problems of wall and roof collapses, often accompanied by fires, in
tunnels. In our Editorial column we have pointed out the
difficulties of rescuing people and removing equipment from afflicted
tunnels. More than 90 people have been killed in road tunnel
fires in the last ten years in Europe. Any fire rapidly
because of the chimney effect of the tunnel.
Japanese are highly regarded in terms of construction projects, so it
might seem that if they can suffer such a catastrophic failure it could
very easily happen over here. Problems with access and the
safety of would-be rescuers add to the rescue problems. Yet
is on the surface, with accessibility from two directions normally.
Imagine how much more difficult things will be with only one
access point and a whole warren of tunnels over a kilometre
underground, cluttered with radioactive material.
Faced with defending nuclear expansion despite the Fukushima incident,
our regulator could only come up with the fact that Sellafield is not
on a fault line and we do not have a history of earthquakes and
tsunami. We do not agree that such immunity is either
nor exclusive of other phenomena. Although interestingly,
despite two earthquakes in two years, Cuadrilla's "fracking" programme,
just over the border in Lancashire - widely believed to be responsible
for causing earthquakes in the region - has been licensed to continue,
despite the obvious risks. Even a basic power failure
will cause immense problems - as has been witnessed by the cooling
water failures in the last few years. Should an earthquake
disrupt the availability of coolant from Wastwater then "the heat sink
of last resort" (i.e. the Irish Sea) would have to be deployed.
The impact of such panic measures has been apparent at Fukushima.
However, there is no suggestion that an earthquake is
responsible for the Sasago Tunnel failure - just an engineering failure
in a process much simpler and straightforward than an untried storage
dump underground for highly toxic materials. Are we really
immune that this cannot happen here either?
When even the Audit
Commission say that the people of Cumbria are being put at risk by
Sellafield's storage system, it is surely time to close the place down
- at least stop adding to the stockpile until a means of disposing of
it safely has been devised? This does not include shoving it
down a deep hole and praying that nothing goes wrong for the rest of
Recent Events and News
While the majority have been watching for the Leveson Report into the
press the Energy Bill was explained by the Energy Minister, Ed.
Davey. Despite decades of "there will be no subsidy
nuclear"; yet as widely expected, that promise looks likely to be yet
another politician's word of honour, akin to the Lib Dems' no nuclear
promise and Cameron's promise to comply with Leveson's
Apart from allowing the internal rigged-market (where one part of a
supplier company sells to another
at a rate
determined by profit need and, perhaps in collusion with other similar
companies) to continue, each generating company will be allowed to
triple the size of the levy they
impose to pay
for renewables, nuclear and "environmental
assume that the latter term is meant to cover the nuclear dump and the
to transport resources to the various new builds.
another example of government ability to forecast the future, this levy
will be capped at £7.6 billion up to
pundits reckon that this will add around £180 a year
to the energy
costs of a typical family (is there one?) Strangely, the
headlines on 29/11/12 suggested that there will be a cut in energy
costs of £80 a year. What is not made
clear is that
this is just an additional levy - it does not include the "normal"
profit-linked rises, such as the recent hikes of around 12% despite the
raw materials' cost falling. If one adds these in,
awful lot of
people are going to find themselves in what is euphemistically known as
'energy poverty' - and that will occur long before 2020!
report says that energy firms will be allowed to triple the amount of
money they add to customers' bills to pay for renewable power, nuclear
and other environmental measures, but
there is still
fierce debate about what this will mean for average household energy
Strangely (in a manner which we don't understand yet) these
increases will all lead to a reduction in bills at some point.
a reduction did ensue, it would be wonderful miracle and completely
contrary to our expectations of the market. We
the likes of Électricité
would be long gone
if there were to
be no subsidies, let alone if they were required to dispose of the
waste they propose to produce.
expansion will, naturally, be rewarded by the bill, but the level is as
yet undetermined. There is a viewpoint that this
illegal state aid, and contrary to European
legislation. No doubt there are ways round that
obstacle. The nuclear industry is not
could well afford some cute barristers and offer
packages" (euphemism!) to assist in
most of the proposed nuclear developments are not planned to come on
line until after 2020,
by which time
the various green initiatives provided for by the levy will have come
to the end of the first phase, Électricité
de France can
that there will
be enough in the
trough for them
amusingly, within just a few hours of the announcement in the bill that
fracking will be allowed to continue in, for example, Lancashire, there
was an earthquake just over the border in Cumbria.
that that will have any impact on the underground nuclear dump
proposals. Very small compared to most other
one was only 2.1, and centred
miles south east of Keswick, it may just be coincidence that fracking
was resumed after being given consent in June. Just
two years ago there was
a slightly larger
one (3.6) centred on the other side of the Lake District, about 20
miles south west of Keswick. There have been many
between fracking and geological
instability. In typical big-company mode,
company engaged in the fracking process in Lancashire, has been accused
of exceeding a 90-day drilling
breaking wild-life agreements. For some reason,
cannot understand, rules don't apply to such
Nothing new there, then. How many politicians have
in the anticipated profits, one wonders?
and perhaps to avoid antagonising big industries by the new bill, a
scheme is proposed which will enable those engaging in energy-reduction
projects to claim discounts. Strangely,
industries using huge amounts of resources will be exempt, for example,
the steel and cement producers. (Look forward to a rash of
appointments for MPs.) Instead, they will be allowed to
for each kilowatt
hour they save. What a wonderful ruse, and even
to abuse than the carbon trading game. One wonders
there will be anything similar for the average customer who installs energy-efficient
light bulbs, or will they only be available to those who are likely to
be engaged in building nuclear plants?
it looks to us cynics that the Électricité
embedded in DECC have won the day and earned their
Whether the others embedded in various positions in Cumbrian political
life will manage to earn theirs remains to be seen.
Happily, the bill also proposes the establishment of a single
counterparty (wow, a great new buzzword - anyone care to hazard a guess
at its meaning?) to decide on "strike prices".
another one!) No doubt this, too, will provide a further
trough for the elite. Another
this week has been that The
Cunning Plan (with apologies to Tony Robinson) to maintain energy
security by selling off every supplier to foreign companies has been
assisted by BP's sale to Abu Dhabi of several of their North Sea oil
and gas fields for £633 million.
has long had a
reputation for being too close for comfort to the people it is meant to
whistleblowers have now come forward to inform the world of the manner
in which gas prices are being manipulated - allegedly.
anyone should be shocked and surprised is beyond us. We have
repeatedly said that large corporations, whose contributions to the tax
pool are minimal or non-existent, are not altruistic by nature.
The greed culture from the Thatcher era is too embedded to be excised
even if the will of millionaire politicians wished it.
the annoucement may well cause embarrassment, if our beliefs are
correct. We think that the energy market is currently being
drastically manipulated by those in power (no pun intended) - energy
companies working with the government - to raise the viability of
nuclear generation. This would fit with the recent Hitachi
payment of more than twice the market value for two sites where nuclear
power stations have been tacitly approved by the government and the
continued interest of Électricité
de France in
expanding into the U.K. market, despite the many analyses showing that
without subsidy nuclear is far too expensive and a grave insurance risk.
the machinations of the politicians, we would like to think that
questions will be asked about the failure of either DECC or Ofgem to
spot any apparent dodgy dealings. Surely this is what they
paid to do? Why has it taken a worker to draw their
what appears to be blatant interfernce in market prices?
the FSA manage to find sufficient evidence to prepare a case, or with
this go the way of other high-profile investigations?
they are not renowned for moving swiftly, so any investigation will not
reach conclusion until after decisions about nuclear have been
confirmed. No doubt the level of subsidy
etc., is already decided by those nice civil servants with expensive
tastes but absolutely no eye on a future career. All that
remains now is to fix the price of other forms of fuel at a
higher-still price that makes nuclear the viable argument that it was
always going to be.
In these pages we have suggested several times that the position held
means that the U.K.
can be held to ransom if they are so determined to press ahead with
nuclear regardless of the logical, security, and financial
implications. The current edition of Pirvate Eye has arrived
the same conclusion. "Old Sparky" says, 'Ministers should now be
able to gain the
upper hand in fraught negotiations with France's EdF, which is
negotiating a price for its own nuclear project at Hinkley in Somerset
and since March has been the only game in town.'
At present there are obvious Conservative currents which are decrying
wind farms, but this may well be part of the policy to make nuclear
more attractive rather than a belief that wind farms have reached
Old Sparky continues, 'So
Hayes [an Energy Minister] disarm the French gun at his head over how
much it will be paid for the electricity it generates?
more likely scenario looms. Citing the need to do a thorough
for the GDA [generic design assessment - the Hitachi reactor has not
been approved for use in the U.K.] process, which on past experience
could take four years, Hitachi will decline to be rushed, leaving EdF a
clear field to screw every last penny for the first new U.K. project.
Hitachi will then replace EdF in the smoke-filled
room - and go through the whole blackmail process again for the second
project in the programme.'
Nice to see we are not alone . . .
Only Thing That
Works is the Propaganda Machine
government's National Audit Office has today issued an assessment of
the waste managegment at Sellafield (Press Notice 65/12,
Happily for the site, the funding has now risen from £47
to £67 billion - over £1,000 each for U.K.
citizens. According to the report, a previous plan
cleaning up the mess was "unrealistic".
One has to wonder at the competence of those who put forward the
original plan and those who allowed it to be implemented and funded.
Still, the propaganda machine would surely have announced it
with great fanfare as being demonstrative of how well Sellafield are
coping with in intrinsically dangerous situation, and the public would
be spared any risk. Except, now, it seems that the risks are
still too high. What steps will be taken by the
inform the public? Can we expect those who have enjoyed the
benefits of nuclear's largesse to concur with us that the risks are
unacceptable? Fat chance. Yet the cost of
cleaning up -
with what degree of competence and success is yet to be seen - rising
more than 42% in just three years with no commensurate reduction in
risk, does not instill any degree of confidence. What will
costs be three years hence?
Interestingtly, in the documents produced back in 2004 to support
nuclear expansion, it was said that it would be immoral to burden
future generations with the cost of waste disposal. We were
the same thing at a meeting in Westminster by Michael Meacher, M.P.
So where is the £67 billion going to come from,
many generations are really going to bear the brunt? We have
note the immorality of some of those in government and the incompetence
of civil servants, bolstered by Special Advisors - especially within
DECC - and the lobbying that was going to be the "next Big Thing"
according to Cameron, who has, predictably, done absolutely nothing
about it. When civil servants have an eye on their
careers, chances are that they may well be susceptible to patronage.
even now, and with this level of investment, it is apparently "too early to judge
whether the appointment
of Nuclear Management Partners Ltd. as the parent body of Sellafield is
delivering value for money".
Grief, how much longer
and how much more will it take? The press release
uncertainty over the time required and cost of completing facilities to
treat and store highly radioactive material held in deteriorating
legacy ponds and silos".
Hardly a new situation, and
one which was even criticised by the Nuclear Inspectorate several years
back. Still, the majority of effort seems to have
spent on convincing the politicians that nuclear is safe enough to be
shovelled into an underground dump and forgotten about.
if one accepts the prima
view that things could still be resolved with suitable application and
further injections of huge wads of cash (many of those on the payroll -
including peers of the realm and politicians - earn exorbitant amounts,
so there is much benefit to be had by prolonging the inevitable). there
is plainly no plan to deal with the proposed nuclear expansion and the
much more radioactive material that the new plants will produce.
of the 14 projects, ranging in cost from £21 million to
£1.3 billion, are acknowledged by the Audit Commission report
have failed, and as a consequence, there has been a less-than-expected
lessening of risk and of hazard reduction. Reading
the lines, one might think that little has been achieved, despite the
huge costs. Certainly, similar remarks have been
many years, but the juggernaut rumbles on, relying on its
well-organised and superbly-funded propaganda machine to convince the
world that those in charge know what they are doing and are fully in
control. The head of the National Audit Office says:
"Owing to historic
neglect, the Authority
faces a considerable challenge in taking forward decommissioning at
Sellafield. It is good that the Authority now has a more robust
lifetime plan in place but it cannot say with certainty how long it
will take to deal with hazardous radioactive waste at Sellafield or how
much it will cost. Notes for editors tell us that
buildings have already been decommissioned. Great,
only leaves another 1,400 to be done!
"Securing future value for
depend on the Authority’s ability to act as an intelligent
client, to benchmark proposed levels of performance and to provide
better contractual incentives for making faster progress towards risk
and hazard reduction."
is the incentive? The longer they can prevaricate
longer their jobs are secure and the billions of pounds can continue to
be milked. Of course, the much-vaunted (alleged)
benefits of the huge investment may be countered a little by the risks
to which they are being exposed - in the main unwittingly - but what
Sadly, the NAO didn't notice the shift in the NDA's stance, which runs
contrary to their remit: with them openly promoting nuclear
expansion in order to sell off the spare land at
Sellafield. We still have to wonder at the presence
NDA lobby at the various meetings to discuss RWE's and other
generator's plans for Braystones, Sellafield and Kirksanton.
Acting like glorified estate agents, they had little to contribute to
the discussions, but eavesdropped on conversations -even those between
the M.P. and members of the public. Such is what passes for
professionalism and integrity these days.
Get On The
parlous state of the Spanish economy is behind the proposed disposal of
a number of assets by Iberdrola - the company which a couple of years
back proposed building a nuclear power station at Sellafield.
Despite debts of around £24 billion, the company, which owns
Scottish Power, still thinks it is wise to spend up to £12
billion on new projects in the U.K.
following the lead set by Électricité
have been in talks with the U.K. government. The
version of events has it that they did not talk about Scottish
Power. We would imagine, however, that they would have
to find just a few moments to discuss the
future of nuclear in Cumbria. Probably sensing that the U.K.
government is now well and truly against the wall with its proposals to
extend nuclear power generation - but with only a couple of expressed
interests, we imagine that there would have been
considerable talk about how much the government are willing to give
Iberdrola in the way of subsidies, future energy profits, and
concessions regarding the disposal of the high-level nuclear waste that
such considerable debts it seems rather strange that any company (and
its investors and bankers!) would
want to incur even more when the global economy is struggling and,
according to the pundits, is set to do so for many years yet.
only hope that the mess the U.K.'s finances are in will prevent any
silly face-saving gestures by Osborne and co., but on past form we do
have to wonder.
Perhaps further illustrating the politician's desperation, they have
been approached by China
Nuclear Power and State Nuclear Power
Technology, who may consider developing projects in the U.K.
Russian state nuclear energy corporation, has also expressed an
interest in the UK nuclear market. The ethics of these
is discussed by Dr. P. Dorfman in an article in the Guardian, on
Suffice to say that they do not demonstrate traditional
values, shall we say?
of Iberdrola, Mr Galán, is reported as saying,
energy sector remains a significant
driver for economic growth and employment in the UK.
U.K. will be one of the
main destinations for Iberdrola’s investments in the coming
given the energy requirements and the stable regulatory framework it
once again, the fundamental principles of business may not be followed
in a drive to provide the government with a bit of short-term
popularity by reducing unemployment for a few people at tremendous
Times, 28/9/12 has an article http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/utilities/article3552063.ece which
reports that "Iberdrola
has made two
multibillioneuro acquisitions: Energy East of the US in 2008 and
Elektro of Brazil in 2011. While the deals have helped to turn the
group into a global player, Iberdrola continues to pay a high price for
its ambitious expansion.
large Spanish companies find it extremely difficult to access capital
markets at affordable rates. Last year Iberdrola sold 6 per cent of
itself to Qatar Holding, an investment arm of Qatar’s
wealth fund for €2 billion to bolster its balance sheet.
profit for the
first half of the year
at Iberdrola rose to €1.8 billion, from €1.56 billion
14 years-worth of debt already . . . Tell me again
current problems with finances arose.
Alternative Meaning to Bog Off
According to The Times, 21/9/12,
of building a new generation
of nuclear power stations have suffered a setback after a council ruled
out hosting a storage facility for Britain’s nuclear waste"
The poplarity of nuclear waste is even
further on the wane
as Councillors in Kent have voted to drop talks with the Government
about the possibility of storing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of
radioactive material underneath Romney Marsh. Some reason
residents were unappreciative and, indeed, very ungrateful for
suggestion that they risk their environment, health and amenity, and
have voted overwhelmingly against the proposal.
Copeland and Allerdale are now the only
officially interested in hosting the dump - allegedly. With
remarkable powers of deja vu, Mr. Jamieson Reed, local MP for
Copeland, has said to the Whitehaven News that he has been told that
Cumbria will vote against the dump at a meeting - which will be held on
The Times article explains that without a
the waste, the future of nuclear in the U.K. will be under
The former chief scientific officer to the government, Sir
King, has been reported as saying that if Cumbria Council were to vote
against the plans, it would seriously affect the results of the
government’s talks with Électricité
de France, the
only company currently
expecting to build in the U.K. and thus holding the government over a
barrel with regard to negotiations over energy costs from nuclear
generation. The company is already expected to receive
from the taxpayer in respect of nuclear accidents, and is the
beneficiary of many perks which amount to a subsidy - despite
politician's ruling this out.
The Times article also points out that the
public opinion is
against the proposals even before the geological survey has been
conducted. It is thought by many that the geological survey
Cumbria has already pronounced on its unsuitability for hosting the
dump at the Nirex Enquiry in the 1990s. It is hoped that the
government's desperation to deal with the waste will not persuade them
to impose the dump on the area; as Professor Blowers has
the main principle has to be volunteerism. The possibility
that the powers-that-be will find a tame geologist to find a suitable
site - whether one exists or not. Indeed, this may be behind
statement by the nuclear dump project head, saying the local authority
that was chosen to house the nuclear waste would be in line for a
“community benefits package” of up to £1
(despite its use in many other similar statements, e.g. broadband
speeds up to 8Mbytes/sec, "up to" is meaningless!), and that Cumbria
had enjoyed greater government investment simply by opening up talks
with the DECC. He went on to say that, “There are some intangible
Cumbria has already had investments in schools and
hospitals linked to the negotiation process.”
Anyone who looks at the fabric of the buildings he refers to,
especially Whitehaven Hospital, would demur. The only things
that we have seen improved are those which also have a beneficial
impact on Sellafield.
Amusingly, the Times article
spokesman for the
said it was eager
for more local authorities to come forward".
have a very long wait we think.
to the Whitehaven News, 13/9/12, local Labour member of parliament,
Jamieson Reed has announced that the decision of Cumbria County
Council's Executive Cabinet is not to go on to the next stage in
hosting the nuclear dump proposed for west Cumbria. This, of
course, raises more questions than it answers:
article, Mr. Reed was told by a senior member of the cabinet, but when
was the decision made and by whom?
it has already
decided, why can't the public be told straightaway, instead of waiting
until October 17th for the official version?
there be an
enquiry into who leaked the decision and the culprit be disciplined?
announced for "improving" the area go ahead,
or were they part of the softening up process - or bribery as we call
correct, will the
decision be final and irrevocable over
time and location, or will Copeland and Allerdale do as was suggested
by the Leader of Copeland Council and go it alone, thereby over-riding
the wishes of the majority of Cumbrians?
the failure to
dispose of the nuclear waste cause a rethink on future development of
the industry, in line with most countries around the globe - including
that major promoter of nuclear, France*?
is this whole
merely an exercise in political shenanigans, designed to get people to
react to the possibility that nuclear's days are limited?
If the forecast is correct, then perhaps it is time to consider just
how much time, money and effort has been put into promoting the
dangerous idea and at what expense to the local populace.
times we have asked whether the money that is lavished on nuclear is
well-spent, or whether a small fraction of it could have been better
spent improving west Cumbria's lot.
Hollande has announced measures which will reduce France's dependency
on nuclear power, in line with his election promises, and the closure
of the Fessenheim site - scene recently of a steam leak which injured
workers. Hollande aims to reduce the current 75% nuclear
to 50% initially, but Électricité de France are claiming around
compensation if the closure goes ahead. (Not bad for such an
aged site whose problems will only get worse in the future!)
- Through a
has been made of
the claimed ability of the GE-Hitachi developed PRISM reactor's ability
to utilise some of the material that is currently classed as high-level
waste. Sadly, reporters appear to have assumed that this
be the end of the problems of dealing with both the future and the
legacy waste. Patently it is not. Virtually all
material currently stored at Sellafield will still have to be buried or
dealt with in some way. Despite intense lobbying of local
national politicians by the company (see
above for the chief executive of General Electric' s view on the future
of nuclear) and Copeland
Council Leader's announced support for
the project (Energy Coast supplement to the Whitehaven News, August) -
which would HAVE
be built at Sellafield to avoid transporting dangerous materials around
the country - the design has not been finalised or developed.
The U.S. government has withdrawn support for the project.
seems that the company is now asking the U.K. government to fund its
Research and Development costs for a project that could well fail.
As with most of these nuclear plans, once funded,
and guaranteed by the U.K. ratepayers, profits will go abroad.
Seems a bit strange to us.
Unexplained Deaths to Account For . . .
months ago TEPCO stated that the Fukushima incident, "May have released
twice as much radioactivity than originally
With potential errors such as this, how can anyone estimate long term
health effects? To be sure, one has to define the
exposure rate. In our article of the 27/7/12 (below) we note
that 600 deaths following the earthquake and tsunami are unexplained.
sixth report of the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey,
released last April, revealed that a survey had examined 38,114
Fukushima children of whom 36% have abnormal thyroid
growths. The same survey revealed that 13,460
35.3% - had thyroid cysts or nodules growing on their thyroids and .5%
of them had growths larger than 0.197 inches.
is well understood that thyroid problems arising from nuclear events
occur when radioactive iodine is leaked into the
atmosphere. Thyroid cells may absorb too much of
radioactive iodine and can become cancerous. The
being particularly susceptible.
cancer also seems to be the only cancer whose incidence rises after a
radioactive iodine release. Babies and children are
highest risk. Although estimated lifetime radiation
among the children are still low, they do exist.
National Institute of Radiological Sciences conclusions refute the
government's assertion that Japanese children in effect received zero
thyroid radiation doses from Fukushima.
pediatrician Dr. Helen Caldicott, observed that "It is extremely rare
to find cysts and thyroid nodules in children." She
that "You would not expect abnormalities to appear within the first
year or so, therefore one must assume that they must have received a
high dose of radiation. It is impossible to know,
Japanese officials are saying, what these lesions are."
Caldicott also noted that Japanese officials are not sharing the
ultrasound results with foremost experts of thyroid nodules in
children. She said that she thought the data should
available and consultation with international experts should be
commenced urgently. She thinks that the lesions
the ultrasound scans should all be biopsied. They
not. According to Dr. Caldicott, to ignore such a
procedure is irresponsible, pointing out that if some of these children
have cancer but are not treated they will die.
June, 2012, the newspaper "Tokyo Shinbum" reported that 60% of
Fukushima children under 12 have tested positive for
diabetes. In the interim, the nuclear cover-up
and the facts continue to be suppressed.
a less profound note, nearly 2,000 workers cleaning up at Fukushima
were surveyed in May. 62% of them were unhappy with
radiation protection measures in place. Elsewhere
200,000 protesters turned out to show their feelings about the
resumption of nuclear power stations. However, the
sales body, the I.A.E.A., conveniently avoiding facts, accentuates the
positive and says that despite Fukushima, nuclear is set to expand
world-wide. One wonders what would happen if the
undistorted facts were made available.
In the interim, and despite the total absence from our own
media, radioactive materials are still pouring out of the
Has Died As a
Result of Fukushima?
there seems to have been a shift in policy regarding leaked radiation.
In the past the various nuclear groups got together and
organised a cover-up. Over the decades they became very
efficient at such things - as could be seen with the breaking news of
Fukushima. It was within 24 hours that the first distortions
were being broadcast and gullible reporters slavishly followed the
opinions of "experts", without bothering to check facts. The
Energy Minister Brian Wilson even published an article in one journal
saying there had been no melt-down. Happily the journal was
obliged to retract such nonsense, despite coming out with a pile of
waffle about the facts not being known at the time of publication, etc.
(Obviously they should have waited for the information
publishing the article.). However, the BBC has broadcast
programmes now which suggest that rather than cover up leaks, the bias
has shifted to a "so what" stance. One professor was quite
to say that no-one had died as a result of the nuclear leaks at
Fukushima, so what was the problem? This was bolstered by a
visit to Chernobyl, where he said pretty much the same thing.
had a problem, as we cannot find any data relating to Fukushima
fatalities solely as a result of the nuclear leaks. Other
are well documented. We have struggled, to find the truth,
now, it would appear, that 600 people died following the leaks - but
after the earthquake and tsunami. No cause for these deaths
yet been given, but officials are "looking into them all".
Collusion or Corruption?
There must surely come a
infiltration of government departments by staff from external companies
is seen for what it is.
Large corporations are not usually altruistic, and do little without
reward or at least
something in return.
We have, since our first involvement in fighting nuclear expansion in
Cumbria, commented on the "behind the scenes" chumminess of the
government officials and those representing the nuclear
industry. First-name greetings at Select Committee
Enquiries were just the starter. We then noted the
of Électricité de France staff who happened to be
in "advising the government". Should this have
when the company is now the only one still in the running for expanding
Britain's nuclear stockpile?
Cameron said in 2010 that lobbying is the next big scandal - yet in
typical political fashion has chosen to do nothing about the elephant
The Guardian has done some work which shows that 50 employees of the
French company have been placed within government to work on energy
issues in the past four years. That the staff are provided
of charge surely should sound alarm bells akin to those which afflicted
Quasimodo's hearing. Guess what kind of "advice"
industry would provide - perhaps how to answer some of the allegations
of corruption, nuclear accident histories, how to provide subsidies
which aren't subsidies, how to fudge the issues of nuclear waste,
etc. As we have said in the past, how can small
ours fight such embedded experts and persuade (without us being able to
offer any kind of incentive) civil servants and their masters that what
we say is true?
DECC has hosted nearly 200 meetings with the energy industry and 36
people from the likes of Électricité de France,
ConocoPhillips, a nuclear waste treatment company and financial
representatives from those paragons from the accounting world, KPMG and
Ernst & Young.
According to information supplied to Green Party M.P., Caroline Lucas,
even the Dept. for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has taken in 13
staff who work in the energy industry, including three from
Électricité de France, one from British Energy
of Électricité de France) and employees from
Shell. Seems like these companies are the government, with
desires being rubber-stamped by M.P.s who haven't the integrity or
skills to do
the work themselves. Lucas
need look no further than the covert collusion between BIS and Decc
officials and the nuclear industry on a positive PR campaign in the
days following Fukushima to see what can happen if this asymmetric
relationship is left unchecked." She was, of
referring to the flurry of communications unearthed by Freedom of
Information Act requests between the various nuclear bodies and civil
servants as they attempted to cover-up, then down-play the
disaster. Quite why these people felt able to
facts is open to conjecture; more important, perhaps is the
question of WHY?
Other questions have been asked about the number of fires aboard
nuclear submarines. In a typically stupid response,
admitted to 266 such fires in 25 years and 74 on U.K. boats carrying
nuclear weapons alone - the number world-wide must be tremendous, the
MOD suggested that because their reporting system is so strict even the
most minor of fires is included. Surely that is to
point entirely: if the system were any good at all then there
would be no fires at all and it is purely down to good fortune that a
disaster hasn't yet occurred. Akin to the
statements by U.K. experts who suggest that Japan-style melt-downs
occur here because there are no fault lines
How can they ignore the fact that it does not take an earthquake or
tsunami to cause a melt-down. Recent reports,
from Australia, categorically state that the Fukushima disaster is a
man-made one. The collusion between relevant
should have been entirely independent of each other - and the
complacency exhibited when potential weaknesses were pointed out - are
just contributory factors. More importantly to the
those same factors have been exhibited by our own
"experts". We may be safe from tsunami and
. . .
Undaunted, the government has set up an ad hoc advisory board for
Nuclear Research and Development. The list
of attendees is amusing as it
represents solely, the interests of
Various substantial reports have emerged over the past few weeks, all
of them pointing out the unviability of nuclear power.
A variety of sources have been used in setting out this article:
bit.ly/K4K2zd is a report on the world of virus software and its effects
illustrates the situation vis a vis the link between Sellafield and the
tells us that "time is running out for the nuclear expansion, and it
seems that two Chinese companies and one Russian company are being
seriously considered to fill the gap left by the departure of RWE and
E.ON. Given the technological history and
adhering to safety aspects of such plant, it may be preferable to be
insecure when it comes to energy provision. One
aspect of the recent Times reporting has been that a subsidy is
inevitable and that is what the current debate between the energy
companies and the government are about.
price of two new reactors seems to have risen from £2 billion
each to an amazingly eye-watering £15 billion for
two. The suggestion is that, whilst domestic
face swingeing increases in their tarriffs, commercial users will
suffer even more. In the current economic climate
surely be a none-starter even for this particularly inept
Apart from the rapid escalation of electricity costs in the near
future, U.K. residents are being made to foot the bill for the upgrades
and modernisation proposed by the National Grid.
around £11 per householder bill, apparently, although that is
just a starting figure and will undoubtedly rise once the scheme is
approved. Forgive our lack of understanding, but
National Grid is a private company; if so, why do we have to
for its infra-structural necessities as well as its costs and profits?
Our colleagues from Bradwell have sent us a report of a visit from a
Japanese expert, who addressed a meeting of theirs:
Fukushima Public Mtg.pdf
Various newspapers have reported that tens of thousands of Japanese
people have turned out to protest against the restarting of the nuclear
However, we would point out that we have suggested that these
infiltrations and collusion with the companies involved was the only
rational answer as to how such a tainted and
poisonous industry can still, despite all the risks, hold such
nuclear now speak for themselves, leaving only the question of WHY?
to a report in The Times, Edward Davey, the DECC minister has been in
discussions with Électricité
discuss how the government money can be forthcoming for the French
company and its sister, Areva, to build nuclear reactors in the U.K.
Despite promises and denials going back many years, that any
form of subsidy would be offered to the industry, it appears that this
is no longer the case. Électricité
course, as we
forecast some time ago, now have the government over barrel.
choice of looking even more silly than they presently do, or doing what
is almost expected of every politician - breaking long-standing
promises, has left the politicians with little choice.
Naturally, there will be no similar subsidies on hand for other forms
time ago, Citigroup published a report illustrating for the benefit of
all potential investors, the nonsensical nature of investing in the
nuclear industry. Apart from the serious risks demonstrated
the Fukushima meltdowns, the time before recouping the capital and
profit is just too great. The same group have produced
report, this time explaining how the government's preoccupation with
promoting nuclear at any cost (literally!) will lead to domestic
electricity bills increasing by up to 50%. Once
have to ask why this expensive business is even briefly considered.
Then again, we don't know how many civil servants'
pensions/retirement plans at at stake. Nor do we know how
of those making these irrational decisions have pecuniary interests
therein. Do any of the politicians or peers have shares in
companies whose business they are so deliberately promoting?
Results Announced in Cumbria
apparently leaked to some last week, the official result of the poll
conducted by Ipsos Mori into whether west Cumbria should move on to the
next stage of the process to host the nuclear dump was officially
announced to a meeting in Whitehaven today, of the West Cumbria:
Managing Radioactive Waste Safely quango. This
group ceratinly failed to engender any faith in their abilities or
intellectual prowess. Some were quite obviously angered by
public questions sessions which rendered them late for their lunch.
so aggravated was one councillor that he called one lady
questioner a "silly bitch". Most of the rest of the room
oblivious, perhaps due to the lack of nourishment.
BBC's local evening news report managed to get the basic principle
completely wrong, managing to say that 68% of Copeland residents had
voted to host the dump. Wonder where they got that line
We think that the line should have been have agreed to move
to the next stage in the selection process, which includes site
selection and geological survey - something which (unless more of the
amenable geologists can be found) may prove somewhat troublesome,
In our opinion, this is yet another glaring example of the
sloppy reporting that seems to suffice today. Surely a prime
reqjuisite for any journalist engaged on such missions is a basic
understanding of the process and background. This
equivalent to running to Wikipedia for the truth.
to presume that the headline came from within the quango - the leaders
of which are not renowned for attention to detail.
A finding of the survey (of 3,000 residents) was that the more
knowledge that people had of the dump, the more in favour they were of
its being built. We made the point to the pollsters that
who would best understand the dump's details would be those who worked
in the industry and thus would indeed be expected to favour the
preservation of their livelihood. We are not at all sure
they had seen it that way - seeming to prefer the interpretation that
if Farmer Giles were given an in-depth talk about the nuclear
industry's needs he would be very much in favour of them burrowing
under his fields. Our experiences would not support that.
One group of attendees at the meeting were not at all happy:
Cumbrian Association of Local Councils. Since almost every
of these parish and local councils had rejected the plans, they were
not impressed by having their decisions ignored. Sadly,
their views did not meet the official requirements, there was no way
that the Partnership quango was ever going to listen to them.
a prosaid level, it may seem that by virtue of its nature, a local
council is more in touch with the wishes and thoughts of the local
people. Not that that is of any moment to the quango, whose
are as obvious as the propaganda that they have been issuing for
several years now.
Needless to say, the prime movers of the quango are the usual suspects.
Greenpeace's representative brought up the matter of who was making a
lot of money out of the process, others pointed to the lack of
governance and oversight. It is unlikely anything will
however. The basic premise incorporated in the group's
managing radioactive waste safely, has gone by the board as the group
are herded into supporting the principle of shoving the stuff in a hole
and hoping that it will remain untroublesome until such time as the
instigators have collected their largesse and shuffled off the coil,
leaving others to sort out their mess. From being set up to
ensure safe disposal of highly toxic material currently being stored in
rapidly-decaying ponds at Sellafield, the group is now being directed
to support large-scale dumping from all over the U.K. It is
government's sole answer to the problem of future waste, without which
they have no answer to give those who point out the flaws in that
aspect of new-build power stations. Indeed, so fixed is the
establishment, that some counties are already of the opinion that the
waste problem has been solved!
We wanted to say, except we were not permitted to, due to being out
of time, is that there have been many years of propaganda in support of
the nuclear industry's development and the hosting of the dump, but
even now there are no examples of how the proposed developments will
people. Indeed, the article in the Whitehaven News last week
illustrates the lack of practical information from the group.
People were apparently surprised that the reactors to be built at
Sellafield would be connected to the national grid via
a series of
pylons! These would take either a southern route (according
the BBC's report last November) or a northern route (according to an
article this month from, er, the BBC.) Quite why people
be shocked is a puzzle. How else did they think the power
going to be connected to the big cities who need it, but don't want the
inherent risks of hosting nuclear reactors? We have heard
nothing at all from the "Partnership" in relation to the noise, dust,
vibration, traffic problems, railway development, etc., that is
inherent in building the new expansions. The only material
issued to demonstrate the impact of the dump has been a pretty picture
showing a very small industrial complex of a couple of buildings.
We do not believe that this is indicative of the impact the
will have. Why else is the ex-PR man from Sellafield seeking
opinion from international consultants as to what changes need
be incorporated to "improve" the areas roads. (i.e. to
them suitable for the traffic the dump will engender.)
Map of pylon
route, November, 2011
Map of pylon
route, May, 2012
Excellent New Communications
has been a busy couple of weeks for news material and publication of
scheme to inflict an underground
nuclear dump, housing not just the legacy waste, but other material,
including the waste from any new-build reactors, is described as "a
in this: http://www.opendemocracy.net/openeconomy/stuart-haszeldine/how-to-bury-nuclear-waste-under-democratic-carpet-in-cumbria. The author is described as, "Professor of Sedimentary
Geology at the
University of Edinburgh. He has been a government advisor on many
energy policy issues. His current research interests include Carbon
Capture and Storage technologies as well as radioactive waste disposal
imagines, therefore, that he knows what he
is talking about. A lot of what he says coincides with what
have been writing about in our amateurish way over the last four years.
that there needs to be an in-depth enquiry into who is doing what and
why in Cumbria. The Leveson Inquiry into Murdoch's
has already found corruption in the civil service and amongst
politicians, with many others being drawn in. Our opinion is
that a similar state of affairs is extant in Cumbria. The
nuclear industry is more powerful and far-reaching
than Murdoch's empire.
Free Lakeland (who seem to
have been hyperactive of late, earning our profound gratitude)
organised a talk by Dr. Helen Wallace which explains the true situation
in respect of the proposed dump being built in Cumbria. It
quite long, but well worthwhile, as so many different questions are
answered - a totally different picture to that painted by West Cumbria:
Managing Radioactive Waste Safely's propaganda. Despite the
covering a lot of ground, it did leave us with a few other questions.
We also find ourselves puzzled as to why/who/what is behind
whole scheme and why it is so desperately urgent to forge ahead, not
just with the dump, but with new-build reactors, too. One
mentions one of the things that puzzles us, too: why, if the
whole scheme is so nebulous as yet, are the various bodies pushing
ahead with their plans? Rock
Solid Lecture by Dr. Helen Wallace.
Some of the articles illustrate their lack of knowledge (e.g. the
whose reporter seems to think that West Cumbria is in some way related
to the Lake District. He obviously hasn't heard about the
divorce announced by the Lake District Nation Park Authority.
Despite the unanimous nature of the plan's rejection by the parish
councils in Cumbria and their association, the reporter also suggests
that local people are in favour of the development of the dump.
He really should get out from behind his hot desk more.
a holiday in Cumbria would assist?
There have been some notable successes in the fight against those who
would impose radioactive materials on west Cumbria.
Lakeland also spoke at the meeting at which plans to dispose
"low-level waste" into a disused coal mine at Keekle Head, near
Whitehaven, were rejected. The site was largely unmonitored
earlier dumping, and it is open to conjecture what was classed as
"low-level". A further outcome was that there seemed to be a
concensus that spreading the nuclear waste around the area was not
sensible and that it should be properly stored and managed where it was
produced until such time as safe final disposal could be demonstrated.
Dr. Gerry Wolff of Energy Fair has pointed to the financial problems
which would preclude any sensible company from being even remotely
interested. His report can be found here: http://bit.ly/JhdNtL
(It is an
an aside, we note that the figures
from the Meteorological Office indicate that, coinciding with the
decline in the sun's activity, we have just had the thirteenth
successive cool winter. It is sometimes difficult to balance
global climate change (once known as global warming until research
proved the contrary case) and the reality.
All the news of withdrawals and concerns about investment has lead to
increasing interest in helping us in our energy crisis from the Chinese
and the Russians. Apparently, these proposals are nowhere
as interesting as the European ones. Something about poor
quality of design, implementation, and commissioning, allegedly.
Nice to know that these other countries are, despite what some may see
as shortcomnings, are major users of nuclear power. We have
already seen Chernobyl and Fukushima along with many other nuclear
incidents where poor practices or workmanship have played a major part
- how long before there is another?
See our news
page for further articles.
Uphill Struggle for
The Lake District National Park Authority announce: “We
welcome the additional research on Brand Protection and await the outcomes of
the research. This will hopefully build on the perception research
undertaken by GVA Consultants which highlighted concerns amongst visitors to
the Lake District National Park and Cumbria in general. It remains
a concern that significant media interest highlights the potential
location of the geological disposal facility in the ‘Lake District’
rather than ‘West Cumbria’. As a result of the
of a geological disposal facility and the Lake
District we remain
very concerned that there may be a direct impact
operating within and trading
off the brand of the Lake District.”
Quite how they came to be preserving
the Lake District "brand" instead of considering the potential effect
on the environment and people's well-being is unclear, but a
useful tactic for diverting from the real matters which need to be
been supplied with the GVA data after a year-long wait - now it is too
late to do any good with. Unsurprisingly, WC:MRWS appears to
outside the FOI remit. Given that they are merely a
collaboration of three bodies who do lie under the FOI's remit, we have
to wonder . . .
Actually, there is a very good reason why the dump is being highlighted
as being in the Lake District, and that is because the proposed site,
Gosforth is in the Lake District National Park. Not only
but the water supply for the reprocessing that is being proposed, will
presumably come from Wastwater; any problems encountered with
quarrying the huge hole will inevitably have an impact on the National
Park, as will the future development of nuclear reactors at Sellafield
and the required pylons to carry away the generated power.
are also quite sure that any "accidental" damage from any of the
various stages of the dumping process will have a devastating impact on
areas of the National Park - radiation is not a great respecter of
man-made boundaries. Then, of course, there is the obvious
increase in traffic through the Lake District National Park and its
supply routes, which one might also expect to have some impact on the
already-horrendous traffic jams the county experiences.
as usual, there is an ex-Sellafield man at the helm. Is it
really a coincidence that virtually every committee has an ex-PR
manager or senior manager from Sellafield in command? Lord
Clark, a non-executive director of Sellafield, with a salary "not in
the public domain" but between £40,000 and £200,000
is chairman of the Lake District National Park Partnership.
is also noted in his Wikipedia entry that his parliamentary support
depended largely on "regional trade union barons".
The authority's decision sits very awkwardly with that of the Cumbrian
Association of Local Councils. They have also considered the
information available and have revised their position statement so it
view of the absence of clear
support from parish councils and the
community generally and the number of serious shortcomings in the
prospective MRWS process in West Cumbria, CALC does not consider the
programme as currently envisaged to be credible or viable."
point out that 70% of respondees are against the proposed dump.
Seems that the Sellafield effect is very local and depends on certain
influences being imposed.
The full statement can be found at: http://www.calc.org.uk/news/news1.asp.
However, the idea seems to be that the already over-visited
of the county are to be considered as exempt from any nuclear event, so
heads back in the sand folks. If we can't see it then it
exist. Happily, the Local Councils' Association
mean an up-hill struggle for the ex-Sellafield mob.
Finishing Off Nuclear Waste
article appeared on NHK (Japanese national television)
on 25/4/12. It demonstrated the difficulties in disposing of
nuclear waste and the current state of affairs. There were
references in the article to the film "Into Eternity", which was based
on the Finnish plans for disposal of their nuclear waste.
scary fact that stood out was that the decisions being made now will
affect 30,000 generation of people in the future!
6/3/12, a webcast was
staged to inform people of Cumbria of the
progress in the hosting of the nuclear dump process.
It was an
interesting two hours (a recording is currently available on the
Partnership's website: http://view6.workcast.net/?pak=8901291574709989.)
For our take on the programme see the Editorial
programme is very enlightening, especially in so far as it relates to
consent and withdrawal, compensation and exactly who will be making the
ultimate decision on whether or not to "move on to the next stage".
Even more problematic might be the idea that some members of
Partnership, so lovingly cultivated and expanded by the pro-nuclear
lobby over a long period, might not take to the idea that some members
are more important than others, and that decisions which are meant to
represent the Partnership actually can be ignored if just a couple of
members wish to do their own thing.
Party Policy for Sale?
The recent "revelations" by the Sunday Times about the Tory fund-raiser
suggesting that political influence can be gained for a donation of
only £250,000, fits in nicely with what we have believed all
Actually, investing that kind of money to influence
decisions on the future of nuclear would be chicken-feed for the
international companies involved. Siemen's bribery around
world would pay for a visit to Downing Street many times over, and,
according to the suggestions in the newspaper, go a long way towards
changing any adverse policy. The nuclear industry would have
similar amounts of money to invest. What kind of returns
be expected for a mere £¼ investment?
Such influence might go a very long way to ensure the good-will of
civil servants and ambitious ministers - many of whom have mysteriously
changed their mind for no evident reason.
What is perhaps a little more puzzling is that the Labour Party were
also well-known for the practice, but are now loudly condemning it.
Indeed, Dave Miliband was trying to make a distinction
the smaller amounts demanded by them for similar access and contact,
compared with the much larger sums involved here. We think
may be a bit of a PR exercise going on. Surely corruption is
corruption no matter the price charged, or largesse offered?
Admittedly, £250,000 might buy a more attentive ear, but the
principle is the same. We still wish someone would take a
look at the situation with the nuclear industry and its influence on
politicians - especially in Cumbria. Nationally, how did the
likes of Électricité
and RWE, etc., manage to achieve such changes to planning
controls, caps on liability, etc.?
Being a bit old-fashioned, we don't believe that any honest politician
(a bit of a contradiction in terms?) would sell access to anyone.
The only reason we can see that anyone would pay for access
is in the expectation of something in return. No doubt it is
long-established practice, but that Labour Party only charged
smaller amounts does not make their own scheme any better.
sometimes have dinner parties, of a private nature in our own home, but
we would never dream of asking for anything in return, let alone charge
people for the pleasure.
Apology for Misleading
de France (EdF)
Energy agrees to pay a £4.5m
Regulator Ofgem found the company had breached marketing licence
conditions, with salesmen at the company failing to offer customers
full information on the doorstep and over the telephone. The
company will now make the biggest ever payment of its kind from an
energy company in a bid to make amends, in lieu of an official fine
being imposed. Source:
Yet, in a
wonderful example of
contrition, openness and honesty, Électricité de
EDF Energy works together with Ofgem to
build consumer trust
in energy industry
• Collaborative approach
between EDF Energy
and Ofgem improves sales processes for customers and establishes best
• EDF Energy recognised for
transparent approach and for proactively improving procedures
• £4.5 million
package to help
vulnerable customers demonstrates EDF Energy’s commitment to
doing the right thing
It is a matter of personal opinion whether it is the BBC or Électricité
de France that are telling the truth. Given the
de France and that it is the BBC's version which appears in the
majority of daily newspapers in the U.K., we believe that Électricité
de France are telling porkies. (The polite version of what
According to a short article in the Business Section of "The Times"
de France are to invest a further £200 million in making
reactors safer following the Fukushima disaster. Makes one
wonder why it would take a disaster to make them do the work.
Surely it should have been done anyway. Would it be churlish
ask why so much needs to be done to make the reactors safe when they
have already been inspected by the Nuclear Inspectorate's Dr. Weightman
and declared to be safe. The report was commissioned by the
now-absent Chris Huhne very soon after the disaster last year.
In our opinion the reports' outcome was eminently foreseeable and he
didn't disappoint. Quite how he managed to spare his scant
in order to do a thorough job, we don't know. The last we
he was talking of seconding personnel from the companies being
inspected. We prefer to think that it hasn't yet come to
Another Report Released
has today released the Mackerron Report into "Evaluation of nuclear
decommissioning and waste management" (due to the present financial
strictures there is no funding for capital letters) which sets out to
explain the past, present and future situation of the nuclear industry
and how the various types of waste will be processed and who will pay
there has been no pre-judging matters as Annexe 3 states that by 2040
Deep Geological Disposal Facility (what we term a nuclear dump) will be
available. No ifs or buts there. Despite the
"volunteerism" intrinsic in the White Paper "Managing the Nuclear
Legacy", 2002, it might be that cynics see imposition as being more
likely. Interestingly, we see that Threlkeld Parish Council
agree with us (perhaps unwittingly!) and have unanimously opted for
withdrawing from the
nuclear dump proposal, saying:
Allerdale and CCC may believe that ‘volunteering’
secure jobs for their constituents
but their safety, our safety, the safety of our children and our future
generations should be their first priority."
Threlkeld is a few miles along the A66 towards Penrith from Keswick.
It has thus not been stuffed with ex-Sellafield staff,
those other councils mentioned. It is interesting that, the
further away from Sellafield's influence one goes, the less people are
in favour of the industry. Perhaps there is a correlation
between the stuffing of councils and committees, the degree to which
propaganda is circulated and threats and bribery remain effective?
Back in the Mackerron Report, one term we particularly like is:
to the reprocessing of spent fuel, which continued long after there was
any evident rationale in economic terms, added substantially to the
cost and complexity of managing the legacy."
2) One has to wonder, therefore, why a further reprocessing plant is
even being remotely considered. However, the report
illustrate that the problems of Sellafield were exacerbated by poor
management practice and neglect, causing the legacy material to
deteriorate. The summary does tend to skip over the fiasco
was British Energy in 1996.
mentoning the merit or otherwise of continuing with new nuclear sites,
with the inevitable perpetuation of the waste problems, the report
explains that current stocks of waste and decommissioning costs have
been provided for by the Nuclear Liabilities Fund.
when one considers how many other private companies have their waste
problems dealt with the government. If we have read the
paragraph properly, it seems that the National Loans Fund will provide
low-cost finance for any company wishing to build a nuclear power
station. We recognise that this is not the same a subsidy.
A Bit of a Squabble
Amongst Our New-found
According to an article in The Times, 29/2/12, Westinghouse, the
American and Japanese company that produce a nuclear reactor to rival
the French Areva one, have threatened to use EU competition rules to
challenge the expected award of multi-billion pound contracts to build
at Oldbury and Wylfa. Given that Électricité
de France are
Areva's sister company it
is highly unlikely that any proposals to build at other sites
de France would
use any other reactor
than the Areva one. Surely this will pose an interesting
when it comes to energy security - a much vaunted weakness that nuclear
would be the solution to. Not content with sharing a French
aircraft carrier (another multi-billion pound mess over suitable
aircraft design) we are now to put our energy supply in the hands of
two countries whose history of being at war with us is second to none!
What we find strange also is that all these companies are making huge
Tripping The Light Fandango
Without too much ado the nuclear power station at Oldbury closed a
couple of days ago. There wasn't much of an ado, as the
to be taken over by Horizon - a joint venture between RWE and E.on.
Both these, of course have German parent companies.
Germany there has been such a protest against nuclear power that the
government has reluctantly agreed to close every site down.
such qualms affect the U.K.'s government. How long before
nuclear sites are producing excess power that can happily be exported
to Europe? What a wonderful wheeze! They get all
benefits of nuclear power without any of the adverse effects.
troubles about unfortunate incidents, or disposing of waste.
U.K. government can accurately forecast exactly what the disposal of
high radiation material will cost over 150 years in advance.
only that, but they even have a site for an underground nuclear dump
lined up in Cumbria. All problems solved.
de France Bully a Protest Group: Summoned to High Courts in
small group of protestors
against the Hinkley Point development have occupied a derelict farm on
land owned by Électricité
Some of Électricité
managers haven't yet been
jailed for corruption.
The protestors have been told to appear in court in London to
demonstrate why they shouldn't be evicted from the land, and Électricité
de France also
want an injunction which
would prevent any member of a protest group from re-occupying the land
in future. Somewhat draconion demands one might think from a
company whose record on rights is somewhat sullied.
the court will recognise the rights for peaceful protest that exists in
the U.K. (allegedly), even if the company can try to ignore
law in France.
Noteworthy has been the deluge of paperwork delivered to the protest by
the company's solicitors. A rather shy cameraman was shown
videoing the delivery of the papers, with collar pulled up, balaclava
covering the lower part of his face , , , such bravery.
One wonders what he was hiding from. Of course, this is
obviously not an attempt to bully the not-very-rich protestors into
submission. Does democracy in the U.K. now demand that
who disagrees with the establishment and large multi-national companies
faces the risk of bankrupcy to make their point, whilst a company
de France can
gain very peculiar favours
via a network of contacts in government - even managing to get the
planning regulations changed so that they build whatever they like
wherever they like with only minimal interference from those who health
and well-being will be affected? We do like to think that
appointment of Gordon Brown's brother to Électricité
position as Head of Media
Relations was solely on merit . . . Ed
and his team, who
set the wheels in motion, happily followed by the Lib Dems (Nuclear
expansion? Over my dead body!) and the Conservatives (who
got shares in all these companies then?), all ignoring the public's
wishes, whilst acting on evidence which, in the last few
has been shown to have been falsified - apparently with the deliberate
attempt to promote nuclear expansion at any cost.
Whether there is anyone with sufficient funds to mount a legal
challenge, or seek a judicial review of the whole shameful
we wonder. It is our belief that the manipulation of
would not stand up to examination by an impartial review process.
We have long believed that there is extensive corruption at
root of the proposed expansion of nuclear generation and dumping of
waste. Small wonder that Cameron has suggested that lobbying
the next major scandal about to happen - a pity he chose not to
investigate prior to the agreement signed with Sarkozy recently.
To us it seems that such indecent haste is, perhaps, necessary in order
objectives before that indubitable scandal does break.
Don't Have Earthquakes and
Tsunamis in the United Kingdom'
So said Dr. M. Weightman in his report on the state of this country's
reactors following the Fukushima incident. Out of such
complacency is born the "it
happen to us" mentality which
has thus far prevailed over
common-sense precautionaries. There have been more than 33
serious nuclear accidents since 1952. Only one of those has
due to earthquake or tsunami. The rest are down to equipment
failures, human failures and carelessness. How does the head
the Nuclear Inspectorate plan to cover those eventualities?
note elsewhere that the U.K.'s reactors are the least independently
inspected in the world. We have all seen (and many of us are
still experiencing) the effects of "light touch" regulation in the
finance industry. Whether a similar culture should have been
allowed to develop in the nuclear industry is doubtful. One
to wonder whether the light touch is the result of financial strictures
rather than faith in the industry.
At the moment, fortunately, there has been no similar fire to that
presently out of control at Tilbury power station, at a nuclear site.
We believe it is only a matter of time.
22/2/12, we read:
of the largest coal-fired power station in Britain has scrapped plans
to build a pioneering green power plant that burns only biomass
material after the government decided that such plants are too
expensive and refused to provide sufficient subsidy to make them viable.
DECC website we can more plainly see just how green those at the helm
are from their announcement of:
strength of the UK- France energy relationship and their joint
commitment to the transition to a low carbon economy, the two
worth £400m on nuclear reactors between Rolls Royce and
including the first EPR reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset. This will
underpin a new Rolls Royce factory in Rotherham and support 1,200 new
jobs across the nuclear supply chain in Britain;
contract between EDF and Kier/BAM for the UK’s first proposed
nuclear project at Hinkley Point, Somerset, meaning another
for companies operating in the South West and 350 jobs;
investment in a new world class training campus in Bridgwater, Somerset
for EDF employees, new starters and the local community.
call for further
studies into electricity interconnection between the UK and France;
deal to extend
cooperation on civil nuclear security and share best practice on
security at nuclear sites;
cooperate closely on research and development in the nuclear industry;
commitment to work
closely to ensure that both nations’ nuclear industries have
necessary skills in place.
goes on, 'Prime
Cameron said: "Today's summit shows the strength and depth of Britain's
ties with France. At our last summit, we signed a historic partnership
on defence. Today,
we are matching that ambition on nuclear energy. As two great civil
nuclear nations, we will combine our expertise to strengthen industrial
partnership, improve nuclear safety and create jobs at home.
signed today will create more than 1,500 jobs in the UK but they are
just the beginning. My goal is clear. I want the vast majority of the
content of our new nuclear plants to be constructed, manufactured and
engineered by British companies. And we will choose the partners and
technologies to maximise the economic benefits to the UK. Today marks
an important first step towards that. A good deal for Britain and a
good deal for France."'
principle is supported by the newly-arrived Edward
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:
are plans for new nuclear in Somerset, Suffolk, Cumbria, North Wales
and Gloucestershire. Supply chains will spring up too, and extend the
reach of economic benefit across the country. This investment could be
worth around £60billion and create up to 30,000 jobs.
deals signed today reflect our ongoing desire to work closely together
with our French allies and the private sector on nuclear, and across
the energy mix."
See our Opinion
page for comment.
Council Kicks Dump Out
According to Cumbria's Times and Star newspaper, like its sister paper
The Whitehaven News, not renowned for its anti-nuclear views,
Cockermouth Town Council voted not to proceed to the next stage of the
expression of interest in hosting the nuclear dump in the region.
For a view on the decision see the Editorial page of today's
Nuclear Deal Signed
and an entourage have headed off to France today to sign a
million deal on civilian nuclear energy. This is despite
polls showing that the vast majority of UK residents do not wish to
have nuclear power plants. We are given the usual guff about
number of jobs which will be produced by the plans; this time
around 1,500. Needless to say that this is a political
and thus deliberately misleading. A breakdown of the figures would
probably show that there will be short-term employment for the
construction crews and very few skilled permanent jobs.
Anyone care to guess what will happen once the reactors are up and
running? What will the sudden influx of redundant
workers do to local economies?
Forgive our cynicism, but are we seeing yet another scam whereby the
policiticians and civil servants, advisers, etc., all have shares in
the companies that will benefit from the expansion? If they
cannot keep their fingers out of the comparatively meagre expenses pot,
what chance that they will resist this chance of easy money?
many of those involved with the decision-making process (whose outcome
was so blatently and obviously biased we forecast it nearly four years
ago!) stand to benefit? Whether they will benefit directly
result of their financial dealings, or as a result of "positions on the
board" remains to be seen.
Sarkozy, whose flagging popularity at home is going to jeopardise his
chances in the forthcoming elections, is not particularly happy with
Cameron. Given the comparative political skills of Cameron
Sarkozy, who do you think will gain the better deal? Britain
with its need for new power stations, or France, whose generating
companies already own considerable shares in our market and have worked
hard for decades to install people in the right places to gain
influence and buy friends?
By pure coincidence, of course, President Sarkozy, who notably told
Cameron to shut up and snubbed him in front of EU leaders to
demonstrate the friendship between our two countries, announced on the
same day that he is to stand for a second term in the forthcoming
presidential elections. Oh, and his rival, Strauss-Khan is
trouble again. No links between any of these events . . .
One wonders what will happen if there is ever a re-run of the world
wars and we find outselves on opposite sites of the fence with a shared
aircraft carrier (hope it will be out turn!) and them in control of all
our amenities. This is what is referred to as energy
particle-finding vehicle amongst Braystones holiday-makers.
you don't see on
brochures - (above) Sellafield site from Braystones, and (below)
unrestricted fishing near the buoys marking the end of the discharge
graph, derived from
Sellafield's own figures (to July, 2011) show
the number of particles found at various sites on the west Cumbrian
coast. From Allonby on the left, to Drigg on the right.
not be clear is
that the figures,
whilst scary enough, do not show the whole story.
At two points, Parton and
Nethertown, the graph shows
the vehicle used cannot
access the beach as it is too rocky - thus no in-depth survey has taken
place. It is not because there are no particles there.
Presumably, if these points could be incorporated,
graph would show a continuously increasing trend to Sellafield, and a
gradual decline thereafter.
We are currently unaware of the reason for low readings at Seascale and
Drigg (the points to the right of the peak). It is
as the consistent tidal flow along the beach is from north to south -
we would thus
have expected either a slower tail-off or even higher readings at these
points. Over the whole of the Irish Sea there is a clockwise
circular flow. Happily, even though no assessment has been
of the sea's content, the authorities are happy to assume that all is
well. They mention the shellfish and crustaceans on the
but fail to notice that there are virtually none at all these days.
In days of yore it was possible to gather a bucket of
and shellfish in a very short time. Not any more.
Not including unsurveyed, and thus zero recorded
the graph shows what logic says would happen to heavy metal particles -
where it is coming ashore close to where it was discharged into the sea.
has a total of 230 finds - but the greater part of the
stony north beach
has not been surveyed, as residents have to bank up the stones to form
storm defences. This precludes Nuvia's use of the
vehicle - again, it does not mean that there are no finds to be found
there, merely that the area has not been surveyed.
The foregoing facts
can be corroborated from the map contained in the environmental report.
The stoney part of south Braystones and Sellafield beach are
to do with the vehicle, with numerous
finds noted on the stones near to Sellafield (hence the peak
the graph), but
there are virtually no finds to the north-west of the railway station
at Braystones - which is the point from where the residents pay to have
the stones banked up. Residents' homes aren't surveyed,
either. Nevertheless, officaldom, having done nothing much
produced a report which said that there was virtually no problem,
adding the rider:
should be noted that , even for these beaches, the information
available is limited and robust assumptions have to be made.
or Other Radiation?
have noted with
some concern the proposed closure of some beaches,
others remain open to the public despite the undoubted presence of
particles thereon. For
Beach, near Douneray, is said to be too dangerous for the public, as
"between 400 and 500" radioactive particles have been found there.
demolition of WWII aircraft near Dalgety, Fifeshire, the
beach will be closed by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency if
the radioactive contamination is not "substantially reduced" by the end
of February, 2012. Yet even fewer particles have been found
there: around 200 up to last November.
with the figures from Sellafield's own website,
which contains the report on
environmental pollution on west Cumbrian beaches. The
documents are buried
some way down
the tree and our experience was that
the annual report Acrobat file seems reluctant to download.
despite the levels at Braystones and Sellafield being higher
than those at the Scottish sites, the beach has not been closed to the
public. Indeed, caravan hire in the area is advertised by
national firms. One
has to wonder whether these people have a duty of care and honesty,
or just one
of producing profits. For
some strange reason, not one of the photographs accompanying the
advertisements shows the Sellafield site, despite its prominence in the
area. After all, it is only a couple of miles away from the
caravan sites and cannot be missed. Neither do the
point out the radiation finds.
total of 766
particles - mainly from Braystones and Sellafield's
beaches have been found up to July, 2011.
Happy New Year?
examples of nuclear safety, the French, are perhaps not
quite so shiny as they would have us believe.
various sources the computer system of Areva - manufacturers of
reactors to a design they hope to persuade the U.K. to purchase - has
been under attack by hackers for over two years, with considerable
success, it appears. The origin of the attacks is
to be Asian, but we understand that the company has also been a victim
of the Stuxnet virus. In a classic example of
integrity, for which the nuclear industry is renowned, workers were
told that the computer system would be closed down for "routine
maintenance". According to the reports, however,
reason was to improve security of the network. As
there was never any danger and the integrity of the manufacturing side
was never affected. The company admits that it does
know whether its military activites have been compromised in any way,
neither does it preclude the possibility that some sort of malware or
trojan could have been hidden away in the system.
allegedly has a
policy of total openness. This did not include
that they were hacking into Greenpeace's e-mail system and employed
private detectives to do the company's dirty work.
into the role of Kargus and the recent jailing of two Électricité
can be found further down our home page.
equivalent of the Nuclear Inspectorate, the ASN, have now published
their version of the Weightman Report. The French
inspections, like Weightman's, were set up following the events at
Fukushima and nuclear establishments throughout
Apparently not all is hunky-dory, and the inspectorate has recommended
that all nuclear establishments in France improve their safety measures
and adopt more stringent standards. It also
staff be given emergency response training.
every nuclear incident around the world, the circumstances have
inevitably been described as "unpredictable" and "unforeseen", so quite
how anyone is expected to render such installations truly safe is not
understood. It seems a bit like driving off in a
no brakes on the premise that one will never have to stop quickly.
what the truth of the matter seems to be that the safety system is
subjected to review and the conclusions result in a fudged outcome -
with implementation costs rating very highly in the decision-making
process. Together with a disproportionate input
nuclear lobby this makes for an unhappy result with safety taking a
lower priority than should be the case. Any list of
incidents and their causes has at its heart human
fallibility. Elsewhere we have made the point that
alarm or control system is only as good as the person devising it and
the ability and bravery of those faced with operating
With computer systems these days comprising many millions of lines of
code, there can be no guarantee that trojans or malware is not
incorporated, or even that the system will operate as intended when the
praying . . .
the Japanese are still struggling with their cold
shut-down. Some sceptics, having no faith in the
line, are suggesting that the whole affair has been covered up by the
global nuclear interests and that, far from being over, the situation
at Fukushima is still dangerous. With the Spring
the prospect of radioactive pollen being dispersed by irradiated plants
is a possibility. Just don't mention the Russian nuclear
submarine fire. After all (altogether now) no-one was hurt
no radioactive material was released.
scientists in Japan struggle to assess radiation levels after the
Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, they have hit on a novel method of
measuring them using the area’s wild monkey
population. Radiological survey meters
transmitters enable readings to be taken in areas which may not be safe
for humans, or in inaccessible areas. Currently
are used, but these cannot cover some areas for obvious reasons.
led by Professor Takayuki Takahashi, intends to recover the devices and
collect data one to two months after releasing the monkeys back into
project will also check radiation exposure in wild
animals. Because of their habits, the
allow the scientists to compare radiation levels on the ground and in
the air, as they spend much of their time sitting high up in trees.
Developed - Not Necessarily to Our Advantage
further down this page is the report from Greenpeace about the
fines imposed on Électricité
de France in French courts for spying, computer hacking, etc., at the
same time as two of the Électricité
de France employees were jailed for three years for it.
Currently, Greenpeace is contemplating legal action following the
FOI rules, of correspondence from the government which indicates the
level of collusion between them and the nuclear industry, including
details of files and evidence to be used by Greenpeace in their action
in the French courts. We comment further on our Editorial
control of information from Fukushima continues, and it is necessary
these days to search outside the mainstream U.K. media to find current
reports, as the BBC stopped mentioning it some time ago.
Instead, we have been deluged with programmes suggesting that
radioactive material has little, if any, effect on health or the
is somewhat amusing to note that liquid quantities are reported in
terms of tonnes rather than the more indicative measures that people
can visualise, such as gallons or litres. Reports last week
NHK television tell of 45 tonnes of radioactive water having leaked
outside the plant being used to treat it, with the possibility that a
further 250 tonnes might also have escaped undetected into the Pacific.
All this, of course, is on top of the 20,000 tonnes already
discharged into the ocean at the outset. On 16/12/11,
the BBC did manage to broadcast a short article in the main news, the
upshot of which was that everything at Fukushima is now under control
and the plans for a cold shutdown are following the projected path.
latest information from the
government's nuclear development office
tells us that all is well with the generic design assessment and
Westinghouse and Areva/Électricité
de France reactors are suitable for use in the U.K.
mentions that it has "fully considered" the report from Dr. Weightman -
contents of which we accurately managed to forecast over six months ago
- and all is well.
The same department have also made strange noises about the
disposal of waste, which will apparently take place at a central
repository. (What we call a nuclear dump.) The
servants suggest that the industry will be responsible for the cost of
such processes (will that include the cost of construction of the
reprocessing plant and the dump itself?) and the eventual cost of
decommissioning the nuclear power station. Happily, all
will be determined at today's prices, which, one might expect, could be
considerably less than its eventual true cost. Not that that
any kind of subsidy. That picture of probity, Mr. C. Huhne,
that we should have one new nuclear power station in the U.K. each year
from 2020. That is not what the civil engineers who will be
doing the construction are expecting, we think. Instead, it
be one at a time and built by the same teams with an 18 month gap in
between completion of one and start of another. Fortunately
the industry, the plans to amend the planning regulations to enable
builders to wreak their havoc wherever it suits them, are will in hand.
It will be interesting to see whether the likes of the
Trust, etc., have sufficient clout to stop the stupidity of giving an
alcoholic the keys to the wine cellar.
time ago we heard a story about the visit
by peers of the realm to Sellafield. Looking at the
access points to the test drillings for the underground nuclear dump,
one of the peers was heard to comment to a senior Sellafield manager,
"We'll soon get the covers off this lot for you." Wonder
the worthy gentleman buys shares?
plans to cease investment in nuclear developments
in the United States, South Africa and in France. According
the French unions, up to 1250 jobs could be lost at home, although this
is denied by the relevant minister, who apparently feels it may not be
a clever thing in the lead up to an election in the country.
an aside, one has to wonder the sense in sharing an aircraft carrier
when leaders of both countries shout rude names at each other and try
to undermine their respective antagonist's financial security by
suggesting that one level of indebtedness is worse than the the other
should count our
blessings that Siemen's has withdrawn from the
nuclear industry. Six of its senior executives, including a
former board member, have been accused of bribery. Not, of
course, that that has had any adverse impact on its business in the
U.K. or U.S. Both countries having awarded substantial
to Siemens. The U.K. giving them the £1 billion
contract and the U.S. total contracts expecting to rise to over
£2 billion soon. In the latter case, it probably
that the company has recruited an ex-PR person from the U.S. government
to advise them. In the U.K. there is to be a review of the
contract award. Strange, if Siemens has changed its ways to
something more honest and ethical. In India, a Russian aided nuclear power
plant has stalled
because of local protests. Ignoring the wishes of those who
be directly at risk, the responsible official has said that there is
too much invested in the plant already to let it stand idle.
Now, there is a good argument for forcing ahead the nuclear dump in
Cumbria - even if the local councils (well stuffed with ex-Sellafield
employees and pro-nuclear people) withdraw their expression of
The Pollsters Reveal
Following comments on the future lifting of restrictions on the
movement of sheep on the Cumbrian and Welsh fells, our attention was
drawn to the statistics published this June by IPSOS/Mori.
makes clearer the picture of public opinion in respect of the proposed
nuclear expansion: Mori
the next time someone tells you that the
people are in favour, direct them to study this.
Modern Japanese Syndrome
middle of August, there was a spate of claims that the earth around
Fukushima plant was crumbling and that steam could be seen arising.
It was surmised that the problem was associated with the
melt-down and was part of the "China Syndrome", where the radioactive
core kept on burning out of control, consuming all in its path until it
either catastrophically exploded or emerged on the other side of the
earth. (The idea was that China was opposte America across
globe, and that a nuclear melt-down in America would melt the earth's
core and keep on going until it emerged on the opposite side of the
earth, i.e. China. Although impossible - we hope - the idea
the meltdown hitting the water table and exploding is perhaps not so
far-fetched.) Intriguingly nothing further on this
scenario has arisen, so we are left wondering what the true situation
is and whether the "cold shutdown" envisaged by the Japanese
authorities will go ahead as forecast, leaving a mere 30 years
(minimum) of clear up to go.
(Further edited 19/11/11)
de France (EdF) Executives Jailed For "Industrial Scale" Spying On
statement issued by
Greenpeace says: "At
14.00 hours, 10/11/11, French Judge Isabelle Prévost-Desprez
pronounced a verdict of guilty in the trial of French state owned
energy giant EDF, which was accused of industrial scale espionage
against Greenpeace. She sentenced EDF executive Pierre-Paul
François to 3 years imprisonment, with 30 month suspended
Pascal Durieux 3 years imprisonment, two years suspended and a 10,000
Euro fine for commissioning the spying operation. "The
judge also handed down a guilty verdict in the case of Thierry Lorho,
the head of Kargus, the company employed by EDF to hack into the
computers of Greenpeace. He has been sentenced to three years in jail,
with two suspended and a 4,000 Euro fine. "Additionally,
EDF has been fined 1.5 million Euros and ordered to pay half a million
Euros in damages to Greenpeace. "Speaking
from outside the courtroom in Paris, Greenpeace's Executive Director in
France, Adelaide Colin, said: 'The fine against EDF and the
damages awarded to Greenpeace send a strong message to the nuclear
industry that no one is above the law. This case should send a signal
to any country considering building reactors with EDF that the company
can't be trusted. Instead of working with the nuclear industry,
countries should invest in clean, safe sources of renewable
evidence presented to the court by the French prosecutor the judge
heard that EDF had been hacking into the hard drives of Greenpeace
computers and had placed a 'Trojan Horse' in the hard drive of one
computer that enabled the company to access private emails and
documents being written by Greenpeace. "It
also emerged at
the trial that EDF had hired the industrial espionage company Kargus to
compile a dossier on the work of Greenpeace UK. This was during the
period EDF was attempting to get its foot in the door of the UK nuclear
energy market through the purchase of British Energy."
the bottom of this page is an article on Kargus and their previous
illegal activities. Scary to think that our politicians have
such scant regard for honesty and integrity that they can even consider
handing over the life-blood of our country to such criminals.
Then again, "integrity" and "politicians" don't fit very comfortably
together in the same sentence these days. The main question,
however, is whether the criminal management of Électricité
de France - who have consistently denied that they sought the
information supplied by Kargus (forgive our cynicism - where did they
think the information was from and why didn't they even consider that
the methods by which it was obtained were illegal?) - are suitable
people for the UK government to put the nation's trust in, especially
when the power is literally, the lifeblood of the nation.
are the chances of a politician asking that question in the House? Meanwhile,
illustrating the devious nature of those employed in supplying the
nation's power, Private Eye's Old Sparkey relates how the power station
recently-announced by David Cameron to be built on Humberside is
actually the product of a chain of very small companies, none of whom
have the wherewithall to fund the £2½ billion
However, it seems from what the article says, the ultimate
owners are Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE Ltd.), who recently pulled
out of the Iberdrola consortium, and ESB, the Irish state-owned
electricity board whose stated aim is to own 3 GWatts of generating
capacity in the UK by 2020. One has to wonder why such a
convoluted trail has to be laid down for these companies to hide behind.
Even the BBC, not reknowned for showing interest in anything that
contradicts the government's edicts, carries an article announcing the
same story. Not that it made the television news, but that
the power of the nuclear lobby. That story can be found at:
Lobbying" or Just Plain
becoming Prime Minister last year, David Cameron said,
"Commercial lobbying is the next
waiting to happen". Strangely echoing our view of
moons ago - which specifically related to the
industry's access to high level stategists, local and national
politicians, many of whom have subsequently had a rapid
change of heart regarding nuclear development. (We
elsewhere, that Select Committee members
were on very
friendly first-name terms with industry representatives, whilst the
chairman also sought to limit the already-scant
allotted to our witnesses.) Also elsewhere we have noted the
preponderence of ex-nuclear industry employees, especially PR personnel
and managers who have spread the pro-nuclear gospel far and wide.
The generating industry figures are almost always in the
billions of pounds, so one might imagine the temptations when, for
example, a mere £50,000 buys direct access to the Prime
it comes as no
then, to read that 'David Cameron was last night accused of pandering
the lobbying industry
it emerged an extraordinary network of his own friends has taken up key
positions in the sector.'
article in the
Daily Mail continues:
|'Campaigners claimed a planned crackdown on
the industry had
been delayed because of the influence of a string of powerful
lobbyists, who include a number of close friends of and former advisers
to the Prime Minister.
'They warned that lobbyists had successfully established a
‘revolving door’ between Mr Cameron’s
and the industry, giving their clients direct access to the heart of
'Downing Street was on the defensive yesterday over the
Coalition’s failure to impose a statutory register of
lobbyists, but insisted it would go ahead in the wake
of the scandal
that engulfed former Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
|'A crackdown on the
industry was included
in the Coalition agreement last year, and Deputy Prime Minister Nick
Clegg pledged it would be put in place this year.
is now likely to
be delayed until at least 2013 – with lobbyists hoping it
be put off still further once the row over Dr Fox has died down.
to Mr Clegg –
whose wife Miriam is a senior figure at law firm DLA Piper, which
offers lobbying services – was unable to say why it had been
the Spoil, or Spoiling the Dump
As part of the
on-going manipulation of facts to suit the building of an underground
nuclear dump in west Cumbria, back in May the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority wrote to Cumbria CC to say that they have, ". . . assumed that all
the excavated rock
spoil could be stored on the surface and then either used in
construction and backfilling, or for the landscaping and site
restoration. Therefore there would be no
this material off-site."
for the NDA, they have been caught
out. An expert has worked out that the project
require the excavation of 17,930,487 tonnes of
a capacity of 44 tonnes per lorry-load, that means 407,511
journeys. Over a ten year period (the maximum
construction) that means 112 loads a day for each 8 hour day of the
week for the whole ten years. The number of actual
will, of course, be double that, as the empty lorries will need to
alternative would be a berm, 1,000 metres
long, by 200 metres wide and 35 metres high.
gain approval in the Lake District National Park as it would need to be
active for around 50 years.
if one accepts that the rock formation suits
the underground dump - which experts don't - this amount of heavy
traffic down the narrow roads of west Cumbria is going to cause
intolerable pressures. However, what is perhaps
indicative is the manipulation of facts in order to support the
nuclear-at-any-cost lobby. This also happened at
Enquiry back in the late 1990s. Sad to see that
cannot be trusted.
for a body not supposed to become
involved in promoting the nuclear industry, there is no mention of
increases in transport TO the site of equipment, materials, etc., nor
of the housing requirements of the construction workers. In
fact, there is no mention of these things from any of the bodies
supposedly stating an independent view. Even the noise,
etc., that is an integral part of constructing a hole 1 km. underground
the local M.P. states categorically
that 5,000 jobs (where this workforce will come from is unspecified)
will be created by the new MOX 2 plant that he also says will be
approved very soon. He adds that he has been
this project for six and a half years now, and is happy that it is
coming to fruition. Yes, well, we are sure that Sellafield
the nuclear industry will also reward their loyal ex-employee well,
too. One has to wonder what he did in the same period to
represent the views of the anti-nuclear residents, although the answer
seems to be quite obvious.
the future plans not yet having been
announced or approved, a spokesman for Cammell-Laird ship-builders of
Birkenhead, announced on 12/10/11:
Nucleare, a member of the Italian high technology group Finmeccanica,
has signed a partnership agreement with Warrington based Nuvia and
Birkenhead based Cammell Laird to design and build heavy modules and
components for the UK’s multi-billion pound civil nuclear
strengthens the initial partnership deal struck in August 2010 between
Nuvia and Cammell Laird to enter the nuclear module market. Ansaldo
Nucleare now becomes the third essential partner in this
‘best-in-class’ alliance. Ansaldo brings 30 years
experience in the nuclear power sector with capabilities that include
plant design, engineering, fabrication management, construction,
commissioning, operational assistance, maintenance and decommissioning.
In particular, Ansaldo Nucleare is the designer of the major modules
for the Westinghouse AP1000 plant and currently involved in the design
and construction of the Containment Vessel at Sanmen nuclear power
plant in China. Ansaldo Nucleare is fully owned by Ansaldo Energia, a
key player among the European power generation suppliers.
propose to build super modules for AP1000 and EPR nuclear power plants,
initially for the UK market, using an off-site ‘weather
protected’ construction hall and sea access load-out
at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead capable of handling modules up
to 5000 tonne.
Petition Against Changes to the Planning System
government decided that the planning regime which permitted people to
object to development in their own area was holding up their friends
and might impede the proposed changes to the infra-structure entailed
by wholesale destruction of green-belt land. Things like
power stations and underground nuclear dumps could potentially be held
up for years as objections were heard. Ed Miliband's
at DECC came up with the wizard wheeze of an overall (sorry, forgot the
jargon there, over-arching!) planning authority. Happily
was demolished by the incoming coalition in theif bonfire of the
happily, the unprepossessing figure of Eric Pickles, resurrected the
key ideas with his introduction of the "Localism Bill". He
supported in this by Vince Cable. The stated aims of the
are to make the default result of any planning application to be in
favour of development. The lobbyists for the construction
industry, probably, we believe, including those involved in nuclear
development - whether the dump or new build reactors, have obviously
spent their money wisely. If the bill goes ahead then there
be virtually no proctection against any development on any type of
land. How convenient for those whose aims are to make money
regardless of cost to the amenity of others.
nothing is said in local development plans, planning approval
to be assumed. It is also to be assumed wherever the plan is
silent, indeterminate, or where relevant policies are out of date.
(Having been so deemed by . . . Guess!)
Cameron, appearing on the Andrew Marr Show, on Sunday, 2/10/11, seemed
a bit puzzled by the suggestion that the bill was poorly thought out
and a charter for unlimited development by unscrupulous companies.
He kept repeating that he had no wish to see his part of the
world (Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds - conveniently far from any
nuclear dump or site) spoilt, and he would no more
do that than put his own family in jeopardy. Does he have
idea of the content of the bill and the manner in which it will be
exploited? Do any M.P.s actually understand the laws they
constantly changing, innovating and passing?
bill will not just affect the housing
industry! One can
imagine the reaction of Mr. Cameron and his friends to a large
industrial estate (with nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant!) being
constructed in their area. Heavens forfend that the
could be seen from their residences.
of Cards Begins Collapse
Welcome news to those opposed to nuclear development as Scottish and
Southern Electric pull out of Iberdrola, citing financial rewards as
We don't like to say we told you so (well, actually, we do - it is so
rewarding!) and that everything we had been told about the financial
viability of nuclear was untrue; largely a figment of the
rabidly pro-nuclear lobby in Cumbria. Sadly, however,
on their website say that the decision by SSE will not affect their
Executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Tony
Fountain, has resigned, ostensibly to return to the oil industry from
whence he came. However, most press reports seem to
that the real reason is a difference in policy between himself and
government, though none are specific.
tens of thousands of people in
Japan turning out to protest
against nuclear power, there was not a single mention of this on any of
the U.K. news channels so far as we can discern.
did appear on Al Jazeera and Japanese NHK World
protests are being held
in India: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/anti-nuclear-plant-protesters-in-tamil-nadu-stall-pms-n-power-dream/1/152074.html,
elsewhere there are protests against
the sea transport of
in Germany: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-34011/German-nuclear-protest-halts-train.html
have announced that they are
pulling out of the manufacture of
control equipment designed for the nuclear
it is an interesting development
which says more by not saying
anything. As the nuclear industry represented a
considerable income for the company (corruption Is a way of life) the
suggestion that they are merely bowing to home pressures suggests that
there is more to it. Perhaps in time all will be
revealed? In the meantime, our minister continues
suggest that nuclear is the only way ahead, whilst the investigation
into allegations of peverting the course of justice seem to be taking
an inordinate length of time. Only a cynic would
that his attempt to placate his ex-wife (rumoured to be the source of
the allegations regarding speeding cameras) had anything to do with his
legal situation. In common with the early release
M.P.s jailed for expenses fraud, it is difficult to see that the delay
is due to anything other than influence from "friends in high
places". Huhne, as the minister responsible for
including nuclear power - was heckled when he reiterated at the Lib.Dem
party conference that the way ahead included nuclear
development. Given that many people changing their
Lib Dems did so because of the party's anti-nuclear stance, this is not
independent reports are saying that
the situation at Fukushima
Daiichi site is far, far worse than anyone is
suggest that the core meltdown is continuing and is out of
control. There are also anecdotes of children with
necks, sore throats, vomiting and diarrhoea - all symptoms associated
with exposure to radiation. See also: http://www.fairewinds.com/
BBC, in support of the government's
nuclear policy, broadcast a
programme on Horizon, on 14/9/11. A scientist,
Jim al-Khalili, was charged with finding the truth about the situation
at Fukushima and whether we are right to be fearful of nuclear
energy. In an hour-long programme which seemed only
ready to accept official versions and data, less than five minutes was
spent dealing with nuclear waste and its problems.
pseudo-scientific programme this superficiality was extremely
poor. Needless to say, the scientist concluded that
energy was necessary and that the major problem with it was the
scaremongering that always accompanied leaks and
So it would seem that the people of Fukushima and Chernobyl are merely
hysterical but otherwise healthy people. This was
the figure of around 37 suffering from thryroid cancers - a far cry
from the hundreds of thousands seen by the doctors on the
ground. The figures seen and accepted by the
supplied by a Russian doctor. One has to wonder,
one accepts the premise, whether such mental anguish caused by the
nuclear industry should be another reason for discontinuing
development. Is mental injury of no
consequence? The trauma of homelessness is surely
consequence? We prefer the non-scientific opinion of
Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, who has said that nuclear
is a myth.
visit to the site at Fukushima was
prevented by officials, because of
the high levels of radiation and the presence of the exclusion
zone. However, some footage was acquired by a
was being allowed to return home for two hours in order to collect
personal effects from the home he would never be allowed to live in
again. Sadly, it was impossible to tell really
desolation was due to the earthquake, tsunami, or nuclear
meltdowns. The whole scenario was depressingly
the one that pertains at Chernobyl.
and doctors are calling for a
new national policy in Japan
that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for
radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged
Daiichi nuclear power plant.
much radioactive materials have been
released from the plant?"
asked Dr Tatsuhiko Kodama, a professor at the Research Centre for
Advanced Science and Technology and Director of the University of
Tokyo's Radioisotope Centre, in a July 27 speech to the Committee of
Health, Labour and Welfare at Japan's House of Representatives.
"The government and TEPCO have not reported the total amount
the released radioactivity yet," said Kodama, who believes things are
far worse than even the recent detection of extremely high radiation
levels at the plant.
is widespread concern in Japan about
a general lack of government
monitoring for radiation, which has caused people to begin their own
independent monitoring, which are also finding disturbingly high levels
of radiation. Kodama's centre, using 27 facilities to
radiation across the country, has been closely monitoring the situation
at Fukushima - and their findings are alarming.
to Dr Kodama, the total amount of
radiation released over a
period of more than five months from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear
disaster is the equivalent to more than 29 "Hiroshima-type atomic
bombs" and the amount of uranium released "is equivalent to 20"
Hiroshima bombs. Kodama, along with other scientists, is
concerned about the ongoing crisis resulting from the Fukushima
situation, as well as what he believes to be inadequate government
reaction, and believes the government needs to begin a large-scale
response in order to begin decontaminating affected areas.
of the Japanese government's
response to the nuclear disaster
is now common among people living in the effected prefectures, and
people are concerned about their health.
readings taken at the plant are
alarming. When on
2nd readings of 10,000 millisieverts (10 sieverts) of radioactivity per
hour were detected at the plant, Japan's science ministry said that
level of dose is fatal to humans, and is enough radiation to kill a
person within one to two weeks after the exposure. 10,000
millisieverts (mSv) is the equivalent of approximately 100,000 chest
x-rays. It is an amount 250 per cent higher than levels
at the plant in March after it was heavily damaged by the earthquake
and ensuing tsunami.
operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power plant,
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), that took the reading, used
equipment to measure radiation from a distance, and was unable to
ascertain the exact level because the device's maximum reading is only
10,000 mSv. TEPCO also detected 1,000 millisieverts (mSv)
hour in debris outside the plant, as well as finding 4,000 mSv per hour
inside one of the reactor buildings.
Fukushima disaster has been rated as a
"level seven" on the
International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). This level,
the highest, is the same as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, and
is defined by the scale as: "[A] major release of radioactive material
with widespread health and environmental effects requiring
implementation of planned and extended countermeasures." The
Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters are the only nuclear accidents to
have been rated level seven on the scale, which is intended to be
logarithmic, similar to the scale used to describe the comparative
magnitude of earthquakes. Each increasing level represents an accident
approximately ten times more severe than the previous level.
in Japan are already treating
patients suffering health effects
they attribute to radiation from the ongoing nuclear disaster.
"We have begun to see increased nosebleeds, stubborn cases of
diarrhoea, and flu-like symptoms in children," Dr Yuko Yanagisawa, a
physician at Funabashi Futawa Hospital in Chiba Prefecture, told Al
Jazeera. She attributes the symptoms to radiation exposure,
added: "We are encountering new situations we cannot explain with the
body of knowledge we have relied upon up until now."
situation at the Daiichi Nuclear
facility in Fukushima has not yet
been fully stabilised, and we can't yet see an end in sight,"
Yanagisawa said. "Because the nuclear material has not yet been
encapsulated, radiation continues to stream into the environment."
Aela Callan, reporting from Japan's Ibaraki prefecture,
said of the recently detected high radiation readings: "It is now
looking more likely that this area has been this radioactive since the
earthquake and tsunami, but no one realised until now."
at Fukushima are only allowed to be exposed to 250 mSv of ionising
radiation per year.
Matsumoto, a TEPCO spokesman, said the
high dose was discovered
in an area that does not hamper recovery efforts at the stricken plant.
Yet radioactive cesium exceeding the government limit was
detected in processed tea made in Tochigi City, about 160km from the
troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, according to the Tochigi
Prefectural Government, who said radioactive cesium was detected in tea
processed from leaves harvested in the city in early July.
level is more than 3 times the provisional government limit.
hospital is located approximately
200km from Fukushima, so
the health problems she is seeing that she attributes to radiation
exposure causes her to be concerned by what she believes to be a
grossly inadequate response from the government. From her
perspective, the only thing the government has done is to, on April 25,
raise the acceptable radiation exposure limit for children from 1
mSv/year to 20 mSv/year. "This has caused controversy, from
medical point of view," Yanagisawa told Al Jazeera. "This is certainly
an issue that involves both personal internal exposures as well as
Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive
Director, said: "It is utterly
outrageous to raise the exposure levels for children to twenty times
the maximum limit for adults."
Japanese government cannot simply increase
safety limits for the
sake of political convenience or to give the impression of normality."
current estimates of the health
effects of low-dose
ionizing radiation are published in the Biological Effects of Ionising
Radiation VII (BEIR VII) report from the US National Academy of
Sciences. The report reflects the substantial weight of
scientific evidence proving there is no exposure to ionizing radiation
that is risk-free. The BEIR VII estimates that each 1 mSv of
radiation is associated with an increased risk of all forms of cancer
other than leukemia of about 1-in-10,000; an increased risk of leukemia
of about 1-in-100,000; and a 1-in-17,500 increased risk of cancer death.
Helen Caldicott, the founding president of
Physicians for Social
Responsibility, a group that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985,
is equally concerned about the health effects from Japan's nuclear
elements get into the testicles and
ovaries, and these
cause genetic disease like diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and mental
retardation," she told Al Jazeera. "There are 2,600 of these diseases
that get into our genes and are passed from generation to generation,
far, the only cases of acute radiation
exposure have involved TEPCO
workers at the stricken plant. Lower doses of radiation, particularly
for children, are what many in the medical community are most concerned
about, according to Dr Yanagisawa. "Humans are not yet
of accurately measuring the low dose exposure or internal exposure,"
she explained, "Arguing 'it is safe because it is not yet
scientifically proven [to be unsafe]' would be wrong. That fact is that
we are not yet collecting enough information to prove the situations
scientifically. If that is the case, we can never say it is safe just
by increasing the annual 1mSv level twenty fold." Her
that the new exposure standards by the Japanese government do not take
into account differences between adults and children, since children's
sensitivity to radiation exposure is several times higher than that of
Jazeera contacted Prime Minister Naoto Kan's
office for comment on
the situation. Speaking on behalf of the Deputy Cabinet
Secretary for Public Relations for the Prime Minister's office,
Noriyuki Shikata said that the Japanese government "refers to the ICRP
[International Commission on Radiological Protection] recommendation in
2007, which says the reference levels of radiological protection in
emergency exposure situations is 20-100 mSv per year. The Government of
Japan has set planned evacuation zones and specific spots recommended
for evacuation where the radiation levels reach 20 mSv/year, in order
to avoid excessive radiation exposure."
prime minister's office explained that
approximately 23bn yen
($300mn) is planned for decontamination efforts, and the government
plans to have a decontamination policy "by around the end of August",
with a secondary budget of about 97bn yen ($1.26bn) for health
management and monitoring operations in the affected areas.
questioned about the issue of "acute radiation exposure", Shikata
pointed to the Japanese government having received a report from TEPCO
about six of their workers having been exposed to more than 250 mSv,
but did not mention any reports of civilian exposures.
Minister Kan's office told Al Jazeera that,
for their ongoing
response to the Fukushima crisis, "the government of Japan has
conducted all the possible countermeasures such as introduction of
automatic dose management by ID codes for all workers and 24 hour
allocation of doctors. The government of Japan will continue to tackle
the issue of further improving the health management including medium
and long term measures". Shikata did not comment about
who is also a doctor of internal
medicine, has been working on
decontamination of radioactive materials at radiation facilities in
hospitals of the University of Tokyo for the past several decades.
"We had rain in Tokyo on March 21 and radiation
to .2 micosieverts/hour and, since then, the level has been
continuously high," said Kodama, who added that his reporting of
radiation findings to the government has not been met an adequate
reaction. "At that time, the chief cabinet secretary, Mr Edano, told
the Japanese people that there would be no immediate harm to their
is an expert in internal exposure to
radiation, and is concerned
that the government has not implemented a strong response geared
towards measuring radioactivity in food. "Although three
have passed since the accident already, why have even such simple
things have not been done yet?" he said. "I get very angry and fly into
a rage." According to Kodama, the major problem caused by
internal radiation exposure is the generation of cancer cells
the radiation causes unnatural cellular mutation. "Radiation
a high risk to embryos in pregnant women, juveniles, and highly
proliferative cells of people of growing ages. Even for adults, highly
proliferative cells, such as hairs, blood, and intestinal epithelium
cells, are sensitive to radiation."
are at greater
on in the disaster, Dr Makoto Kondo of the
radiology of Keio University's School of Medicine warned of "a large
difference in radiation effects on adults compared to children".
Kondo explained the chances of children developing cancer from
radiation exposure was many times higher than adults.
"Children's bodies are underdeveloped and easily affected by radiation,
which could cause cancer or slow body development. It can also affect
their brain development," he said.
assumes that the Japanese government's
as well as their raising the permissible exposure limit to 20mSv "can
cause hazards to children's health," and therefore "children are at a
Masamichi, director of Japan's Hakkaido
Cancer Centre and a
radiation treatment specialist, published an article on July 27 titled:
"The Problem of Radiation Exposure Countermeasures for the Fukushima
Nuclear Accident: Concerns for the Present Situation". In
report, Masamichi said that such a dramatic increase in permitted
radiation exposure was akin to "taking the lives of the people
lightly". He believes that 20mSv is too high, especially for children
who are far more susceptible to radiation. "No level of
radiation is acceptable, for children or anyone else," Caldicott told
Al Jazeera. "Children are ten to 20 times more sensitive than adults.
They must not be exposed to radiation of any level. At all."
early July, officials with the Japanese
Nuclear Safety Commission
announced that approximately 45 per cent of children in the Fukushima
region had experienced thyroid exposure to radiation, according to a
survey carried out in late March. The commission has not carried out
any surveys since then. "Now the Japanese government is
underestimating the effects of low dosage and/or internal exposures and
not raising the evacuation level even to the same level adopted in
Chernobyl," Yanagisawa said. "People's lives are at stake, especially
the lives of children, and it is obvious that the government is not
placing top priority on the people's lives in their measures."
feels the lack of a stronger response
to safeguard the health
of people in areas where radiation is found is "reprehensible".
of people need to be evacuated from
those high radiation
zones, especially the children."
Yanagisawa is concerned about what she calls
"late onset disorders"
from radiation exposure resulting from the Fukushima disaster, as well
as increasing cases of infertility and miscarriages.
of cancer will undoubtedly increase," she said. "In the case of
children, thyroid cancer and leukemia can start to appear after several
years. In the case of adults, the incidence of various types of cancer
will increase over the course of several decades."
said it is "without doubt" that cancer
rates among the
Fukushima nuclear workers will increase, as will cases of lethargy,
atherosclerosis, and other chronic diseases among the general
population in the effected areas.
believes it is time to listen to
survivors of the atomic
bombings. "To be exposed to radiation, to be told there is no immediate
effect, and afterwards to be stricken with cancer - what it is like to
suffer this way over a long period of time, only the survivors of the
atomic bombings can truly understand," she told Al Jazeera.
food and water
August 1 press release from Japan's MHLW said
materials have been detected in the tap water of Fukushima prefecture,
according to a survey conducted by the Japanese government's Nuclear
Emergency Response Headquarters.
government defines no detection as "no
results exceeding the 'Index
values for infants (radioactive iodine)'," and says "in case the level
of radioactive iodine in tap water exceeds 100 Bq/kg, to refrain from
giving infants formula milk dissolved by tap water, having them intake
tap water … " Yet, on June 27, results were
from a study that found 15 residents of Fukushima prefecture had tested
positive for radiation in their urine.
Nanao Kamada, professor emeritus of radiation
biology at Hiroshima
University, has been to Fukushima prefecture twice in order to take
internal radiation exposure readings and facilitated the study.
"The risk of internal radiation is more dangerous than external
radiation," Dr Kamada told Al Jazeera. "And internal radiation exposure
does exist for Fukushima residents."
to the MHLW, distribution of several
food products in
Fukushima Prefecture remain restricted. This includes raw milk,
vegetables including spinach, kakina, and all other leafy vegetables,
including cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and beef.
The distribution of tealeaves remains restricted in several
prefectures, including all of Ibaraki, and parts of Tochigi, Gunma,
Chiba, Kanagawa Prefectures. Iwate prefecture suspended all
exports because of caesium contamination on August 1, making it the
fourth prefecture to do so.
to caesium-contaminated straw, beef exports
have been banned in
four Japanese prefectures [EPA] Jyunichi Tokuyama, an expert
with the Iwate Prefecture Agricultural and Fisheries Department, told
Al Jazeera he did not know how to deal with the crisis. He was
surprised because he did not expect radioactive hot spots in his
prefecture, 300km from the Fukushima nuclear plant. "The
cause of this contamination is the rice straw being fed to the cows,
which was highly radioactive," Tokuyama told Al Jazeera.
feels the Japanese government is acting
too slowly in response
to the Fukushima disaster, and that the government needs to check
radiation exposure levels "in each town and village" in Fukushima
prefecture. "They have to make a general map of radiation
doses," he said. "Then they have to be concerned about human health
levels, and radiation exposures to humans. They have to make the
exposure dose map of Fukushima prefecture. Fukushima is not enough.
Probably there are hot spots outside of Fukushima. So they also need to
check ground exposure levels."
said people around the world should be
concerned about the
ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Radiation that
continues to be released has global consequences. More than
11,000 tonnes of radioactive water has been released into the ocean
from the stricken plant. Scientists warn that tuna caught
the Pacific coastal prefecture in northern Japan are now at risk of
being radioactive [EPA]. "Those radioactive elements bio-concentrate in
the algae, then the crustaceans eat that, which are eaten by small then
big fish," Caldicott said. "That's why big fish have high
concentrations of radioactivity and humans are at the top of the food
chain, so we get the most radiation, ultimately."
August 6, the 66th anniversary of the US
nuclear bombing of
Hiroshima, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: "Regarding nuclear
energy, we will deeply reflect over the myth that nuclear energy is
safe. We will thoroughly look into the cause of the [Fukushima]
accident, and to secure safety, we'll implement fundamental measures
while also decreasing the degree of dependence on nuclear power
generation, to aim for a society that does not rely on nuclear power."
But doctors, scientists, agricultural experts, and much of
general public in Japan feel that a much more aggressive response to
the nuclear disaster is needed.
believes the government needs to begin a
large-scale response in
order to begin decontaminating affected areas. He cited Japan's itai
itai disease, when cadmium poisoning from mining resulted in the
government eventually having to spend 800 billion yen to decontaminate
an area of 1,500 hectares. "How much cost will be
if the area is 1,000 times larger?"
six months after the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at
the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan faces the task of cleaning up a
sprawling area of radioactivity that could cost tens of billions of
dollars, and thousands may not be able to return home for years, if
core meltdowns at the facility in
March, triggered by a huge
earthquake and tsunami, released radioactive material into the air
which mixed with rain and snow and covered dozens of towns as well as
farmland and woods, mainly along the northeast coast of Honshu.
has been slow to provide a plan for
rehabilitation, leading some
residents near the plant exposed to high levels of radioactive cesium
in homes and food, have started their own cleanup instead of waiting
for the government to act.
was worried about the radiation exposure
impact on children and felt
that I had to do something to reduce the radiation levels," said
Hideaki Takita, a 37-year-old resident of Koriyama city, about 60 km
west of the plant, who has been cleaning houses. Takita and other
volunteers use their weekends to scrape off layers of dirt in yards,
wash walls and windows and bury or store the radioactive waste in the
corners of properties in an effort to reduce radiation levels in the
air. "We are trying to bring the levels down for families who want to
but can't evacuate, since they might feel slightly better," he said.
government is set to announce cleanup
guidelines this week that
will include goals on cutting the radiation air dose rate in
residential areas by half in two years, media reports said.
tasks Japan faces are daunting. The accident at the
Fukushima plant, about 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, is likely
to have released about 15 percent of the radiation that went into the
air in the 1986 Chernobyl accident, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial
Safety Agency said. But that is still more than seven times the amount
of radiation produced by Three Mile Island accident in the United
States in 1979, and includes cesium 137, which has a half life of 30
technology for decommissioning and cleaning
up plants has been
studied for a while, but we hardly have any experience in
decontaminating materials that were released into the environment,"
said Tetsuo Iguchi, a Nagoya University professor. "Fukushima is
mountainous and such large-scale and highly concentrated contamination
has not taken place on earth before in an area like this. How things
will go is unpredictable."
area in need of cleanup could be 1,000 to
4,000 square km, about
0.3 to 1 percent of Japan's total land area, and cost several trillion
to more than 10 trillion yen ($130 billion), double what it took to
build six nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi plant, some experts say.
government has banned people from entering an
area in a 20 km
radius surrounding the crippled plant and some 80,000 people have
evacuated. Residents are calling on Tokyo Electric Power Co, the plant
operator, to clean up the area, but the firm is still struggling to
bring the reactors under control.
major headache is where to store the
radioactive waste like
dirt and water generated from cleanup work.
as with Takita's efforts, the waste is
stored within the
property where the cleanup took place. Some schools have a heap of
radioactive dirt in the corner of their playgrounds, covered with
plastic sheets, and residents bury sacks of contaminated waste in their
issue of disposal zones is the most
important for decontamination
and unless plans are made, it won't move forward," said Kunihiro
Yamada, a professor at Kyoto Seika University who does cleanup work in
amount of radioactive waste from
decontamination is likely to be
tens of millions of tonnes and the government in the long run plans to
build an underground disposal facility to store this, though when and
where is unclear.
approved the implementation of the Infrastructure Planning Committee,
with an exceedingly poor showing of MPs - only half of whom could
be bothered to take an interest. Just under 300 MPs voted
the motion and 14 (!) voted against. This is the first step
towards the approval of nuclear power stations to built in this
country. As we have pointed out since the beginning, locals
have no input whatsoever on applications to build anything substantial
wherever the applicant wishes to put it. At the outset, we
to obtain some idea of whether approval of a major development would
automatically give approval to such things as roads, services, etc.
We still do not know after two years, but it does seem
likely that that will be the case. Another example of Dave's
Big Society controlling what happens in their own backyard?
For An Even
David Cameron that politicians got too close to the Murdoch empire, and
a pledge (albeit half-hearted and somewhat lacking in substance thus
far,) to remove themselves from future influence, might ring some bells
with those who sympathise with our view that exactly the same mistakes
have been made with armaments companies and the nuclear industry.
The main motives seems to be power, influence, and money -
something which the nuclear industry has in abundance.
back at the events over the years, we see that the meeting related by
Harold Bolter in his book, "Inside Sellafield", was the starting point
for two main influences designed to persuade the politicians and the
public that nuclear is safe, clean and beneficial in terms of global
phrase used was
" . . . to capture the minds, if not the hearts" of the young.
The meeting was apparently attended by Sir Bernard Ingham.
(According to current web information, Sir Bernard owns a
communications company and holds consultancy appointments with British
Nuclear Fuels plc and the British Nuclear Forum.) The idea
was to seize on the global warming theory and push it, so that
conventional generating plants were made to look evil due to their CO2
production and, secondly, to suggest that obtaining energy or supplies
from outside the U.K. was in some way insecure and left us vulnerable.
Strange when so much of our fortune had depended on energy
supplies from within our own boundaries for so long. Now we
to be reliant on France - a country with whom we have never been to
war, except . . .
Even now there are many who suggest that global warming is completely
the opposite of what is happening. In the last month there
been several newspaper articles which point out that we seem destined
for a mini Ice Age, pointing to a diminishing amount of solar flare
at the close
ties between Murdoch's empire and the politicians, we were reminded
quite sharply of the familiarity between DECC, politicians,
nuclear lobbyists and industry members at the various meetings and
inquiries. We have always been puzzled by the arguments used
promote the industry when they are so demonstrably incorrrect.
change of mind is understandable
when there is a change of fact, but not otherwise.
Three years ago it was pointed out that the cost of nuclear development
and the energy it produced would be too high. This was
published by Citigroup, as well as many others. Even on that
basic metric, we are still told that nuclear-produced energy is cheap.
The only way it can become cheaper that that which we are
currently using is by distorting the market. So that is
what is happening.
and Lib Dems
both announced that there would be no nuclear development - it was too
dirty and expensive. Described usually as an experiment that
failed, we were suddenly faced with a complete change of mind.
There was no new evidence to support the change - just a change of
heart that meant nuclear was clean, cheap and CO2
latter was interesting, as 10% of Australia's CO2
output comes from
mining the ore used by nuclear. As at the top of the page,
asked when CO2
became worse than
plutonium, caesium, tritium,
technetium, etc., especially if nuclear was to be described as clean.
We still have no answer.
heart seems to stem from around the time that Blair and Mandelson and
all their entourage became enmeshed in worshipping the big industries.
Money was a powerful influence, with several people having
leave the political machine as cash-for-access scandals became
published. Derek Draper, Mandelson's spin doctor, was fired
his links with lobbyists. With corruption and fraud
widespread in politics, there was an ideal opportunity for the
pro-nuclear lobbyists to step in.
the campaign for
global warming took hold and a variety of events worldwide pointed to a
need for energy security, we solved the latter problem by selling off
most of our generating capacity to foreign companies, such
as Électricité de France, Iberdrola and RWE.
examples of the links between the nuclear industry and politicians.
So many, in fact, that it seems impossible for them to be
happenstance. Brian Wilson, a former energy minister, is now
non-executive director of Amec Nuclear - who does a lot of work for
Sellafield and BNFL. Amec's chief executive, Samir
was appointed U.K. Business Ambassador by Gordon Brown.
lobbyist for the
nuclear industry since about 2004 - when it was taken on by BNFL, PR
group Weber Shandwick, is headed by a former Labour chief press
officer, Colin Byrne.
and away the
biggest player in the nuclear lobby though, Électricité
It seems to us that currently the company seems to be
to be a British one and, again to our perception, is attempting to blur
the distinction between a foreign company buying influence and being an
altruistic U.K. company investing in the country; they no
use their full name - EdF being far less obviously foreign, presumably.
several complaints to the Advertising Standards Association about the
company's use of the Union Jack in adverts - albeit that the flag's
were filtered to various shades of green. Purporting to be
clean, green, and presumably - as indicated by the country's flag - not
all that foreign, they even managed to
team up with the Eden Project to perpetuate the myth. It is,
our opinion, a great shame that such a noble cause as that should have
itself to become so tainted.
to the contacts:
the most obvious being Gordon Brown's brother, Andrew.
has a background in journalism and was appointed head of media
relations in the U.K. for Électricité de France.
At the recent Select Inquiry into the telephone hacking, it was
interesting to learn that, despite Brown's rant to the House of Commons
that he had declared war on the Murdoch empire, Rupert Murdoch said
that the prime minister to whom he was closest was Gordon Brown -
visiting him many times at No. 10, and the two family's
playing together. Murdoch senior went on to say that he
when the furore died down the two could be friends again.
married to Edward Testicles, and deemed to be a close political ally of
Gordon Brown, is the daughter of Tony Cooper, a fomer chairman of the
Nuclear Industry Association and a former director of the Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority (NDA). According to BBC news
on-line, Mr. Cooper has been "one of the most ardent champions of the
industry's green credentials".
former leader of
the Labour group in the European Parliament, Alan Donnelly, owns a
company called Sovereign Strategy. This represented an
company, Fluor, which is one of the world's largest nuclear
contractors. Strangely, and coincidentally, this company
to gain a slice of the £70 billion decommissioning programme
the U.K. One of the most blatant adverts on the Sovereign
Strategy website is, "Pathways to the decision-makers in national
governments." On the board at one time was Conservative
and the Labour ex-M.P. for the north Cumbria area of Copeland, Lord
Apart from a very long history of supporting Sellafield and the nuclear
industry, Lord Cunningham also chaired the Friends of Sellafield
propaganda group. He is also chair of the Transatlantic
Energy Forum, an organisation which he founded with the above-mentioned
Alan Donnelly, whose stated aims are to foster strong
relationships between nuclear
generating companies and the government.
might be expected,
Blair has spoken at
events organised by Donnelly's company, and at one in Blair's
Sedgefield constituency, was reportedly introduced by a Fluor executive.
David Miliband were the subject of an article in the Sunday Times, when
they ran a story about a lobbyist paying £2,000 towards Mr.
Miliband's office. Naturally, Mr. Donnelly and Mr. Miliband
denied any impropriety, Donnelly suggesting, quite
that a mere
£2,000 gift would not be likely to buy a minister's favours.
Perhaps not. Wouldn't do any harm though, eh?
as it is not
of the professional association for political consultants, the APCC,
there has been nothing to prevent Sovereign Strategy having
parliamentarians on its payroll. At least two peers are on
article by the BBC, even the trade unions have banded together to
promote the nuclear cause. Five unions have formed
AMICUS, GMB, PROSPECT, T&G and UCATT. It
to us that unions should support such a polluting industry which may
well have been damaging the health of their members, but then,
the findings of the Redfern Inquiry also seem to indicate union
participation in practices which were, according to Redfern, corrupt
BBC article goes
on to say that Blair is thought to have made the decision for an energy
review - which led the way for nuclear to change its colour - in
September, 2005. Apparently this was shortly after a meeting
with advisors and
representatives of the nuclear industry: Lord Birt (he of the
unintelligible "Blue Skies Thinking" fame), Geoffrey Norris,
Sir David King. In March 2005, the Independent on Sunday
reported how, "Within government, Geoffrey Norris, Tony Blair's special
adviser on industry and business, is pressing the nuclear case.
understood that he was instrumental in the creation of the DTI's Future
for Nuclear team." One Whitehall source told the paper,
fought hard to keep nuclear on the agenda." Sir David King,
former government chief scientific officer, recently suggested on Radio
4 that one would be exposed to more radiation on a flight between
London and New York than one would get from Fukushima.
Naturally, we dispute that assertion and most definitely dispute the
inferred benign nature of the radiation at Fukushima, which today has
been forecast by Prime Minister Kan to "take decades to clean up", and
which, jointly with
the tsunami, has caused the homelessness of up to 80,000 people,
Several people from outside even the 80 km protection zone have been
admitted to hospital suffering from radiation exposure.
of thousands of children and adults will face up to 30 years of medical
tests as a result of the nuclear meltdowns. Not something
follows on from a flight across the Atlantic.
course, there is the cost to the country's economy.
pro-nuclear people don't have to tell the truth, just gain the ear of
the gullible and greedy.
We are still left wondering what influenced Mr. E. Miliband's departure
from stated Labour Party policy, and, more recently, Mr. C.
in his sudden
and dramatic change from "over my dead body", etc.
Told You So
begining we have said that we believed the whole nuclear consultation
process was a sham. We have previously raised the question
how the Copeland M.P. could possibly have known so far in advance that
only Sellafield would be developed, with Braystones and Kisrksanton
falling by the wayside, if the process of consulting people were
genuine. That those in Whitehall have become to cosy and
to the industry representatives is now revealed, as today the Guardian
and the Times both have articles relating to the collusion between H.M.
government and the nuclear industry.
content of e-mails obtained, there is an obvious attempt by civil
servants to minimise the impact of Fukushima on the proposed (but
obviously, as we have always said, already-determined) nuclear
expansion in the U.K. The material, which can be read here:
demonstrates quite clearly that, without even waiting for the full
scale of the Japanese disaster to be revealed, the official view is
that there is a need for the information to be kept pro-nuclear and
that the plans for the U.K. have to be kept within the established
timetable. Even the explosions at Fukushima, which
released radioactive material from the melted-down cores into the
atmosphere, were to be promoted as safety devices!
we are assured that we are nowhere near fault lines and need have no
worries about tsunamis. Yet the 2000 incidents which have
admitted by the industry over the last seven years, but which
fortunately did not escalate to full-blown catastrophe clearly
demonstrate that human failings are just as important.
presented as an abnormal event, the two reactors at Torness in
Scotland, owned by Électricité de France, had to
jellyfish blocked the cooling water intakes. This happened
29/6/11. [With so many reactors planned to pour their hot
into the country's coastal waters, the ecological factors may yet
become as vital as the geological ones. Japan, amongst other
countries has already experienced the phenomenum.] [Another
problem - that of recirculating radioactive material
into the Irish Sea by Sellafield - we included in our objections to the
it the rôle
of a civil servant to distort the democratic process?
the rôle of a civil servant to pass information to the
it the rôle
of a civil servant to promote
the hiding of relevant information from the public who have a right to
it the rôle
of a civil servant to promote nuclear
power regardless of demontrated dangers?
whose behalf was
civil servant sending the e-mails?
was the civil
stating what the industry's response will be in order to promulgate
misleading information on a co-ordinated front?
government and civil servants' reward for this publicity service?
benefits will be
forthcoming to those involved?
this just another example of what we see as the corrupting influence of
the nuclear industry?
is it necessary
for civil servants to be anonymous? Surely,
like us, they should have their heads on the chopping block.
intimated our opinion elsewhere that the initial office-based (!)
review of safety by Dr. Weightman had only one possible conclusion.
This premise is revealed in one of the e-mails (quote below)
between Whitehall and one of the developers.
Hopefully, those with the resources will attempt to obtain a judicial
review of the whole process - with civil servants and ministers being
interrogated and prosecuted where wrong-doing is established.
Will it happen?
With quotes (sadly, such is the shyness of those involved, a great deal
of black marker pen obscures both the originator's and recipent's
identities) such as:
need to quash any stories
trying to compare this to Chernobyl - by using the facts to discredit.
do not want to be on the
back foot with this. People at new build sites are
to be following closely.
should all work together -
including with the NIA to be robust. Everything in
with risk - but the mitigation with nuclear is so high that the risk is
minimal - as demonstrated in Japan - despite the extraordinary context
the plant has gone through."
We query why these suggestions for a common response to legitiamte
public concerns originated from a government department, whose
responsibility remains to protect the public - not blindly promote
Mark Higson, Office for Nuclear Development: "But he [Huhne] might, if
pressed, wish to
say he is asking Mike Weightman to provide a full assessment of the
implications and lessons to be learnt. If he does
be good if EdF could welcome. Not sure if EdF
asking for a review is wise. Might set off a
marker) at the Office for Nuclear Development to unknown industry
why we commissioned the report from Dr. Mike
don't anticipate that is going to lead to enormous changes
we have to wait and see the result of it, based on the facts."
[We read that as a nod to a blind donkey.]
The original article can be found at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/30/british-government-plan-play-down-fukushima
or as an Acrobat file:
of the article from above site
We would recommend anyone interested to spend some time going through
the e-mails, as they give a good perception of the closeness between
those paid to represent out interests, yet who have chosen to become
P.R. managers for the industry. Small wonder they prefer to
Mind - If Not Heart
on the Energy Minister, Mr. C. Huhne, from the Times, 30/6/11:
2007, he described
nuclear as “tried, tested and failed” and urged
to stop the “sideshow of new nuclear power stations
he had said
that no private sector investor in the world had built a nuclear power
station without “lashings of government subsidy”
tragedies at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. “Our message is
clear, no to nuclear, as it is not a short cut, but a dead
Huhne’s decision to pick out France, in his most passionate
argument in favour of nuclear power yet, has infuriated Liberal
Democrat colleagues. Martin Horwood, the Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham who
has argued against an expansion in nuclear power since the disaster at
the Fuku- shima plant in Japan, called it “very
disappointing”. Lib Dems promised before the general election
oppose a new generation of nuclear power stations.
to the Government’s White Paper on electricity market reform,
Huhne said: “Some countries already have a head start.
Electricity prices in France are set to rise by around 3 per cent this
year; compare and contrast with Britain, where prices are rising by
three times as much.
surprise France is the European country with the least reliance on
fossil fuels, and enjoys some of the lowest prices — 9.4 per
also praised renewables, his decision to highlight France, which has 58
nuclear reactors compared with 19 in the UK, will be interpreted as a
call for the energy source to receive a particular boost.
We have already included previous statements attributed to Mr. Huhne,
who is currently being investigated for two criminal offences.
The favourite one being, "Over my dead body", in relation to nuclear
Any suggestions as to what might have persuaded Mr. Huhne to change his
minister, a couple of years ago, having awarded a
contract for submarines using nuclear power, very soon took up
employment with an American company, Hyperion, who just happen to
manufacture small reactors suitable for use in nuclear-powered
submarines. The ban on that M.P. lobbying on behalf of his
employer has only just expired. Consequently, a campaign has
recently appeared, supporting nuclear
but suggesting that small nuclear power plants - like those used in,
er, submarines, could be installed near to where they are needed.
Reducing the infra-structure requirements and transmission
losses as well as reducing the need for planning controls from the IPC.
By careful design they could keep under the level at which
referral to the planners have to be involved. Happily that
reduces the ability of locals to object, but profit is the main thing
for any company with shareholders.
The comparison with other countries is somewhat spurious, as the market
in the U.K. has been deliberately distorted by the government in order
to make nuclear power economically viable. We are still
to find out about the Speaker Martin investigation into how the
industry's liabilities were capped at a ludicrously low level -
described at the time as a gross abuse of parliamentary process.
Apart from other distortions, there is the unbelievable idea that it is
possible today to estimate how much it will cost to decommission plant
and deal with nuclear waste 160 years in the future. Even
Huhne's apparent preoccupation with France seems to overlook that 3% of
the population there live in fuel poverty, even though there is a very
good social system to ensure minimum living standards, and that,
despite having 58 reactors, France is still a net importer of
electricity. Which companies are upping the cost of
in the UK? Will the new chairman of the Green Investment
look favourably on any loan application from
Will any loan be at proper market rates, or is this the way
which a subsidy can be given without being a subsidy? Aren't
Move More Quickly As We Get
Close To The Summer Recess
of the need to find a counter to the problem of nuclear waste in order
to justify the headlong rush into new-build reactors, the "solution"
has been put forward. Sadly, it is nothing new -
merely burying anything they don't know what to do with in a
in the ground, thereafter forgetting it. We have argued this
point on this site since we began. We still have no idea
they intend to bury it and make it irretrievable - in which case how
will they deal with any leakage arising whether as a result of, say a
seismic event, or accident - or whether they will make it retrievable,
in which case there are security risks.
seems that, in
order to keep to the timetable, a decision has to be made on where to
dig the 25 sq. km. hole. Not that it will take a genius to
up with what their answer will be. Out of the whole U.K.,
one area has "expressed an interest". Allerdale and Copeland
Councils in West Cumbria are the only ones; coincidentally,
is where the Sellafield influence is at its greatest. The
politics of the area depend on a few dedicated people with a strong
connection to the Sellafield publicity machine. They have
steered almost every decision-making body in the nuclear direction.
Almost invariably there is a past, present. or future
with the industry. The propaganda machine is quite
Amazingly, a £25,000 survey reveals that 56% of
population of West Cumbria think that nuclear will have benefits for
the area and are thus in favour of expansion. Yet, looking
the figures, we see that only 740 people were "spoken to" by the
surveying company - whose main business is as a land agent . . .
We have requested, but are still awaiting, a copy of the relevant data.
In our response to the West Cumbria: Managing
Waste Safely newsletter, we pointed out that it is not a good practice
to try and extrapolate the views of half a million people from the base
of just .15% of them. We would have expected a much larger
sample size. We have no idea who was "spoken to", but it
not take much imagination to see that if the majority of the
respondents had some connection with Sellafield, then there may just be
some sort of bias skewing the figures. As we put it, if the
questionnaires were distributed in the works canteen, then there might
be some distortion. See the Editorial page, 14/6/11, for
published the guidelines for consultation, and it will be interesting
to see whether the company responsible for this latest survey have
followed anything like those rules. However, when their
shows that 100% of respondents have a view, whether negative or
positive, in respect of a question, then show alongside that graph the
number who have not expressed an opinion, we are left with a conundrum.
Firstly, we cannot work out what percentage the number of
non-respondents represents, as there is no "missing percentage", nor
can one be calculated from the figures given. In our
of dealing with questionnaires, it is unusual for anything like 100% of
respondents to reply to every question. What are the number
representing each result and what is the percentage of those out of the
must be seen to be solvable. Hence we now have a DECC
including yet another consultation exercise, relating to what we call
an underground dump, but which, in best Sir Humphrey Appleby
traditions, is referred to officially as a Geological Disposal
Facility. Having looked at the consultation documents, which
be found here: DECC
Nuclear Dump Consultation Documents,
we are little the wiser.
Once again, the terminology and jargon-rich documents are,
appears to us, intent on excluding any but the professionals from
offering comments. Which of these professionals has the best
resouces to respond, do you imagine? Yet again we have to
at the degree of consultation we are offered.
problems world-wide with nuclear facilities, such as the two reactors
in Nebraska threatened by floods, the Los Alamos facility in New Mexico
being threatened by fire, the escalating problems with Fukushima, etc.,
we are still being told that the technology is safe. Yet it
appears that there is growing concern in the United States about the
fact that 75% of the nuclear sites have leaked tritium into the
groundwater. The response to this by the licensing
Change the terms of the licence to accomodate the new levels
. It is true that money makes quite a difference in this
Meanwhile, we still have grave reservations about the
stampede into new nuclear. It is not necessary, so why is
everything being rushed through before the summer holidays?
thing that does
remain certain: the geology of west Cumbria, no matter what
wishes of politicians and the pro-nuclear lobby are, has already been
found to be unsuitable for housing a nuclear dump - no matter what you
call it. Remember Nirex and the lies that that enquiry was
One has to wonder where Mr. Hendry will be putting his first
load of highly toxic material by 2029.
See our Editorial page for more news.
believed that the BBC was biased. They do have a somewhat
unexpected approach to matters nuclear, however. It seems
it is possible to make statements on air that do not stand up to
inspection, but no effort is made - or is permitted to be made - to
correct them. We have made several complaints to the
broadcasters in attempts to rectify incorrect statements, all to no
avail. Recently, the ex-Government Chief Scientific Officer,
David King, made another amazing statement which seems to us to
indicate his preference for political dogma whilst pretending to be
stating scientific facts. Speaking on 29th March, 2011, Sir
David stated that the amount of radiation absorbed on a flight between
London and New York was far higher than that which may be absorbed at
places such as Tokyo and Fukushima (at 7:38 mins on iPlayer's timeline:
Mind you, the same chappy swallowed the global warming story
without hesitation, transforming the theory into fact and labelling it
the most important challenge facing the planet. Examination
the data tends to give a more ambivalent outcome, with such things as
the global cycles of ice ages interspersed with milder periods.
Indeed, some scientists are now suggesting that we are heading into a
new ice age. No doubt new data will prove that case, too.
What is more concerning is that a challenge from a highly-respected
scientist was ignored by the BBC. Either the statement by
David is correct and we are all worrying about nuclear unnecessarily,
or he is very wrong. Whatever the truth, the challenge is
and the BBC should permit discussion of the subject. We
fly from London to New York - ever - but we do find it difficult to
accept that the admitted high levels of radiation around the Fukushima
plant are less injurious.
Strangely, Sir David also seems to think that, against the 15,000
people killed by the tsunami, the death toll from the nuclear accident
equates to zero. Whilst that may be the case AT PRESENT, the
consequences of nuclear exposure are often not measurable in
statistical terms until decades afterwards. We find his
pro-nuclear stance (we would point out that the was the Chief
Scientific Officer at the time nuclear changed from being vastly too
expensive to contemplate to being the new clean power-source) very
worrying. We thought the rôle of
scientists was to
produce the scientific evidence and allow others to draw conclusions.
It seems that some scientists merely wish to prove a theory
risk biasing the facts to suit.
Elsewhere on the site we queried whether the storage of millions of
gallons of highly-radioactive materials in large plastic drums around
Fukushima was sensible and indicative that lessons had been learned.
We asked what might happen if there was to be another
and tsunami, especially as scientists were forecasting the possibility
of more events near to Japan following the earthquake in Christchurch,
Late evening on 22/6/11, Al Jazeera television announced that there had
been a 6.8 earthquake 80 miles south of Honshu province and that a
tsunami was likely to follow. This was eventually picked up
the other broadcasters, Press TV, Euronews, Russia Today, France 24,
then Sky News. Over an hour later it found its way to the
news channel. Less than eight hours later it had disappeared
from the BBC. It did still appear on the ticker-tape on the
others for some time.
We searched in vain, too, for the Nebraska nuclear event on BBC.
UN report on the unfortunate nuclear disaster
in Japan has been issued. Interestingly the main inspector
Dr. Mike Weightman, whose opinion was, "You can make nuclear plants
safe against natural events, but you have to understand those events."
The report went on: Japan has a well organised
preparedness and response system but "complicated structures and
organisations can result in delays in urgent decision making", it
The report also listed wider lessons for improving
nuclear safety worldwide and help avert any repeat of the disaster,
saying reactors should be built so that they can withstand rare and
"complex combinations" of external threats. Interesting.
Wonder how that relates to such things as 50 year-old cooling water
pipes freezing up between Wastwater and Sellafield? A
the Sunday Times of
19/6/11, informs us that a solar flare-up is imminent within
next 18 months (see also: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12493980).
The electro-magnetic field it will generate
could cause tremendous damage to the sensitive circuits of computers
and control gear. The report suggested that even the
heavier-duty stuff, such as the national grid, would be damaged,
leading to electricity cuts. Has the industry, which
got the all-clear from Dr. Weightman in his interim report, prepared
for such eventualities? Or will this be yet another
journalists even questionned whether
Dr. Weightman, who is someone who has for many years been
responsible for the safety current reactors and designs of new ones the
right person to stand back make an unbiased judgement on their
reliability? Some of them were even more sceptical about his
allowing the reactor manufacturers to decided for themselves what
safety equipment they need to install. This despite the
concerns about the Areva's control and safety circuits being linked
together, so that should one fail it will bring down the other.
Not exactly fail-safe then?
still having problems accepting that 1,750
incidents in seven years shows that the industry is safe.
half were subsequently judged by inspectors as serious enough "to have
had the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system".
Typically, following an incident at Sizewell A in 2007, the NII
declared that their resources were too stretched to allow a prosection
to be mounted. No doubt the public were never in and danger
no-one was hurt.
Weightman seems to have the idea that
self-regulation is satisfactory, with minimal input from the
Inspectorate. However, given the honesty and integrity
demonstrated in the past, we would have grave doubts and would be
extremely uncomfortable relying on some of the characters to tell us
about something which might adversely affect their livelihood.
Our opinion would be that it is down to lack of man-power and
under-funding, with poor planning leading to a lack of recruitment.
As we note elsewhere, there is the potential that staff
recruited from abroad - who might not know about the English regulatory
system, or, even worse, seconding staff from the companies it is
inspecting. We can see possible flaws in that system.
his 2007 report, Weightman says that his department is short of 26
inspectors, and his system has a ratio of inspectors to nuclear plants
which is only a third of the international average. Far
that of Mexico, Spain or South Korea. Given the scale of the
proposed development, this seems to be a recipe for disaster.
Indeed, an independent nuclear engineer, John Large, told a Guardian
reporter, "Some of these incidents were potentially disastrous.
already have evidence that their staffing crisis is compromising their
regulation of nuclear safety. Without a strong and effective regulator,
the risk of a large release of radioactivity increases."
An HSE report identified several safety concerns;
one focuses on the non-separation of the safety protection
from the control system on the EPR reactor, such that a fault on one
could disable the other as well. Secondly, the EPR has a concrete shell
encasing the nuclear reactor where the steel cables are grouted over,
preventing maintenance checks as the reactor ages, whereas British
practice is that the steel cables should be able to be inspected and
removed. Third, there are problems with the positioning and operation
of fire doors and alarms. HSE also believes that the Westinghouse
safety case has significant shortfalls, with questions also about the
mechanical engineering and structural integrity.
the unfolding saga of Fukushima
Dai-ichi, we have heard all the interested parties doing their usual
thing of minimising the dangers of the leaks. The Deputy
Director General of the IAEA, Dennis Flory, announced, "The total
amount of radiation released is expected to be only a ‘small
increase from what it is today’ if ‘things go as
course, they didn't go as foreseen.
Perhaps they should have asked Dr. Weightman for his understanding?
By the 15th June, 34,000 children were being issued with
radiation monitors, and up to 2 million people will be checked over a
long period (i.e. probably over 30 years). The Japanese were
being asked to take siestas to save power. Tepco were
incompetence in dealing with the problems and, in a gesture akin to the
bombing of the reactors with water from helicopters, the whole reactor
building will be entombed in a sarcophagus. Hopefully it
a bit better built than the Chernobyl one.
Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power
engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70
nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant
likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.
"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores
exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear
reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate
need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."
TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel
cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation
being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water - as well
as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea
water that has to be disposed of.
"The problem is how to keep it cool," says Gundersen. "They are pouring
in water and the question is what are they going to do with the waste
that comes out of that system, because it is going to contain plutonium
and uranium. Where do you put the water?"
"The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away
than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them
was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for
Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70
kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still
have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl."
One of the other points raised in the UN report on Fukushima concerns
the management of the incident. There seems to be a
that there was some difficulty in determining who was actually in
charge at the beginning. It also mentions the site's
adding to the difficulties. One can only wonder about the
potential for even bigger problems at somewhere like Sellafield, whose
remoteness is one of its raisons d'etre.
American equipment to remove caesium from the radioactive water hit
problems when levels rose: "The level of radiation at a
to absorb caesium has risen faster than our initial projections," the
spokesman said. He added that until they knew what
causing the rising levels they would not know when the operation would
be able to resume.
More about the current status of things can be found at: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/861472-fukushima-nuclear-zone-to-be-sealed-off-by-japan#ixzz1Po8d52tC
Meanwhile, without any notice being taken by the BBC, the Americans are
involved in problems of their own. Following prolonged rain,
Missouri has flooded and a nuclear power station at Fort Calhoun in
Nebraska is now an island. Last week an electrical fire
problems, but these were resolved. Despite reassurances from
usual sources that all is well, and the problems are only of a minor
nature, the Federal Administration for Aviation issued a
banning aircraft from entering the airspace within a two mile radius of
the plant. The ban was stated to be "for security reasons
we can't reveal". Omaha Public Power District has declared a
notification of an unusual event.
New Nuclear for
best attempts to nullify the referendum, opponents of the planned
nuclear development in Italy have reached a majority.
bad news for the French who hoped to supply many of the reactors.
Berlusconi tried to get the vote declared illegal, and there
little mention of it on his television channels. (Italian
requires that 50% of the population have to vote for a motion to be
carried.) What is it with these politicians that makes them
pro-nuclear despite all the evidence? Answers on a post
however, this may be bad news for the U.K.'s anti-nuclear lobby, as the
French now have to try and resurrect something from their nuclear sales
programme. With less distractions they will be able to
concentrate on those whose governments are more amenable.
Already the events at Fukushima have virtually vanished from our
television screens - despite 8 people having received more than three
times even the radiation dosage introduced as an emergency measure
following the disaster; plutonium, caesium and strontium all
being found in the environment around the plant; and
taking place on whether to evacuate Fukushima city - over 80 kilometers
away from the power station! Already 90,000 residents have
evacuated and are in "temporary" accomodation three months after the
Is a Loan Not a Form
announced that the chairman of the Green Investment
Bank is to be Sir Adrian Montague. Amongst several jobs held
Sir Adrian is chairman of British Energy, part of the French electrical
company, EdF, and prime candidate to build the first of the
nerw-generation of nuclear plants in the U.K. One has to
whether any loan obtained by a nuclear company will actually be
approved as green when the end product is highly dangerous nuclear
waste; when radioactive waste became less injurious than CO2;
whether the transactions will just be a way round the "no
subsidy" statements by the Liberal Democrats, whose change of heart
over nuclear is so depressingly familiar. Will the French
government have to guarantee any loans made to the company by the U.K.,
or will EdF miraculously change to a British company?
Expensive Kit for the "Greatest
Scientific White Elephant of All Time"
new evaporators arrived at
Sellafield aboard the barge "Terra Marique",
which will be grounded at Sellafield while the evaporators are
the high tide at lunchtime
the barge was aground. As the tide ebbed so the
operation began, and by early evening, the vessel had been
unloaded, ready to be refloated on the night-tide.
many months of
consultation, figures show that 96% of the locals were against a
low-level nuclear dump being established at King's Cliffe,
Peterborough. However, this did not suit the
government. The whole concept of locals establishing their
environment - as promised by Cameron before the election - cannot apply
when dealing with nuclear waste as no-one in their right mind would
want one. Thus, Eric Pickles, Minister for
Local Government, ignored the wishes of the people
affected and the decisions by the local and county councils.
successful applicant, Augean, has no previous experience in handling
nuclear waste of any kind, and has been fined on several occasions for
breaches of regulations. Again one has to wonder at the
influence of the nuclear lobby, which causes basic community feelings
over-ruled in this way.
(The Real Implementation of Dave's BIG SOCIETY)
Extending the principle further, if the residents of King's Cliffe have
to have the dump regardless of their wishes, what chance for Cumbria,
whose Copeland and Allerdale Councils have "expressed an interest" in
hosting one? On the Pickles Principle, there is absolutely
chance that, even if the interest were to be withdrawn, then the
justification for proceeding against the wishes of the area would be
the "national interest" (i.e. the cities want to continue living the
way they do, but don't want the inconvenience or risk of nuclear power
stations or their associated dumps) and the cost of starting all over
again from scratch with no community wanting to be involved.
Actually, this is something that we said over two years ago . . .
Any takers for the geology of Cumbria soon being found
for the dump? He who pays the piper, etc.
Predicted: Nothing to Worry
Weightman has issued his interim report on the implications of
the Japanese tsunami on the UK nuclear industry.
everything in it could have been
written from his desk and
adds nothing to what we don't already know. Some of
information is just common-sense and follows on from the evidence
submitted at all the "consultations" by DECC by experts and lay people
alike. Anyone who stops to consider the potential
of building highly dangerous chemical plants could have come up with
the same findings.
Still, Dr. Weightman and Chris. Huhne
have to show they are doing something. Hopefully it will
the latter forget his more pressing problems for a while.
would take issue with one point
particularly: that the U.K.
has one of the most tightly regulated nuclear industries in the
world. His style of regulation relies on not
plants very often, but relying on the honesty and integrity of the
managers. We have seen very many examples of their
and integrity over the decades. The U.K. ranks very
down on the global scale of annual/regular inspections. Can
anyone recall any other light-touch regulatory practices that failed -
perhaps in the financial world? We believe that, like
schoolboys, the nuclear industry has to be controlled and cannot always
be trusted to be open and honest.
According to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/22/nuclear-inspectors-safety-breaches
there were two
to worry about. This time
in Scotland, by one of the major players in new build.
operational procedures appear not have been observed," Two
reactors at Torness in East Lothian suffered failures in electricity
supplies, several "unplanned shutdowns", and a seaweed blockage.
Seems like EdF didn't want too many people to know.
Worrying to believe that they can still trot out the same old line:
no-one was injured and the public were never at any risk.
Och aye, we believe you.
thrust of the report seems only concerned
with new-build reactors,
and says very little about the legacy stuff which causes the most
Weightman also suggests that the government
and his department have
the protection of the public as their main concern.
can only be one course to follow if that is truly the case, and it does
not include nuclear expansion. He also says (Para1,
that the U.K. has a good safety record. This suggests that
2000 incidents which haven't yet resulted in devastation are
acceptable. We believe that fate only has to win
once. Quite how this statement can be squared in
Weightman's mind with shoving highly toxic waste down a hole
underground and forgetting it for 100,000 years, with the hope that it
will not leach out into the environment before those responsible exit
the planet, thus helping them avoid culpability, we know
not. There is
nothing safe or good about it.
ensure that he hasn't missed anything, Dr.
Weightman will now go on
a trip to Japan. A further report is to be issued in autumn,
will not be any more difficult to predict what he will say then.
The nuclear development timetable will no doubt continue unswervingly -
which seems to be what the exercise is all about. Happily
the industry, Dr. Weightman did not issue any adverse findings about
the proposed reactors. This is despite the material
French sources on the internet about known design flaws.
could have saved the expense of the trip by watching NHK World
television and having a Skype conference call? The problems
Fukushima continue unabated, and the situation there is still listed as
"critical", despite Prime Minister Kan's acceptance of Tepco's
"roadmap" to deal with the leaking radiation. The
are currently being allowed back to their homes (where they still
exist) for no more than two hours a day. Nothing to worry
there then, either.
Climate Change minister didn't add anything
in his statement to the
house on the matter. Merely wasting the MP's time
reading the executive summary aloud for the sake of those MPs too lazy
to read it for themselves. His conclusion was that
development could and should go ahead (after all he now had a scientist
to carry the can if it all goes wrong!) but reiterated the
amply-demonstrated fallacy that there would be no government
subsidy. Forgive us for staying grumpy.
tempting to go on at length, but we are
sure that anyone with
even the slightest doubt about nuclear and its waste, will spot the
obvious flaws. It is our opinion that the adage,
pays the piper calls the tune", applies.
revelations and allegations about the politician at the
head of the decision-making process for future power generation, leave
us wondering about the impartiality and honesty of his
soon-to-be-revealed twenty year plan. It is still difficult
accept his sudden change of heart over nuclear once he became Energy
Minister. His statements give no clue as to what has
since the election, or what evidence he has now been supplied with,
that merit such a change of heart.
were firmly of the opinion that, unlike the
other parties - except
the Green Party, of course - the Lib Dems were anti-nuclear.
current dicton du jour is, "Nuclear
will be part of the energy mix".
Whilst we have no
political brief, we had hoped that the expenses scandal followed by the
election might have led to a more honest group of politicians.
Sadly, it would appear not.
does have to wonder at the appointment of a
Lib Dem as Energy
Minister, given their basic policy rejects nuclear development.
Could this be a clever bit of political manipulation? The
coalition agreed that Lib Dems could abstain on nuclear, which might
leave its future in doubt. However, it will be difficult for
Clegg and Co., to reject the policy being proposed by their own man . .
Seems like someone is going to have to go.
with the current policy of distorting the energy market to make nuclear
generation more viable, gas producers have announced yet another
increase to be imposed in the next few months - getting it well
established before the high-usage winter months. Over the
year energy prices have already risen by 56% - with some of the blame
being put on the events in the middle east. Difficult to
believe, really. However, in Larne, Ireland, one supplier -
Phoenix Gas, has announced an increase of 39% in one go.
Minister Closes Another Nuclear Plant - What Future for
Sellafield's MOX Plant Now?
According to The Independent, 9/5/11, Sellafield is likely to be closed
- leastways according to the headlines. In fact,
the article reveals that they are only referring to the MOX
plant. The future of this is at risk following the
Prime Minister's request to Chubu Electric Company to close down the
plant, 150 miles from Tokyo, following demonstrations against nuclear
The Hamaoka plant is deemed to be at risk from tsunamis, but was
contracted to the NDA who were to manufacture the MOX fuel rods for the
Japanese site. Quite what the Japanese were
when contemplating the Hamaoka site is
worrying. It sits on two geological fault
lines. Now experts from Japan's Ministry of
predicted that there was an 87% likeliehood of an earthquake of 8M or
higher within 30 years. This might produce a major
akin to the one that hit Fukushima. When the
deal was announced last year, it was trumpeted
safeguarding the jobs of 800 plant workers and a further 200 in
Sellafield. A much better account than the one
The Independent can be found at http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Japan+shut+nuclear+plant+quake+fears/4749964/story.html
More Dangerous Leaks From
Many experts - especially those not beholden to the nuclear industry -
say that the Fukushima plants will keep on leaking for months, if not
years. The amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima
that which was at Chernobyl. It is caesium-137 that
contaminates much of the land in Ukraine around the Chernobyl
reactor. As the New York Times notes, radioactive
is the main danger from the Japanese nuclear accident: "Over the long term, the
big threat to
human health is cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30
years. At that rate of disintegration it will take
years to reduce it to 1% of its former level.”
The article points out that caesium-137 mixes easily with water and is
chemically similar to potassium, and thus mimics how potassium gets
metabolized in the body and can enter through many foods, including
The magazine, The New Scientist, reports that caesium fallout
from Fukushima already rivals Chernobyl, 'Radioactive caesium and
iodine has been
deposited in northern Japan far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
plant, at levels that were considered highly contaminated after
readings were taken by the
Japanese science ministry, MEXT, and reveal high levels of caesium-137
and iodine-131 outside the 30-kilometre evacuation zone, mostly to the
The article goes on: 'After
1986 Chernobyl accident, the most highly contaminated areas were
defined as those with over 1490 kilobecquerels (kBq) of caesium per
square metre. Produce from soil with 550 kBq/m2 was destroyed.
living within 30
kilometres of the plant have evacuated or been advised to stay indoors.
Since 18 March, MEXT has repeatedly found caesium levels above 550
kBq/m2 in an area some 45 kilometres wide lying 30 to 50 kilometres
north-west of the plant. The highest was 6400 kBq/m2, about 35
kilometres away, while caesium reached 1816 kBq/m2 in Nihonmatsu City
and 1752 kBq/m2 in the town of Kawamata, where iodine-131 levels of up
to 12,560 kBq/m2 have also been measured. "Some of the numbers are
really high," says Gerhard Proehl, head of assessment and management of
environmental releases of radiation at the International Atomic Energy
news on Sunday,
17th April, said that the future of the area
around the Fukushima-Dai'ichi nuclear plant will be considered again at
the end of the year.
monitor says levels immeasurable: A
at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear power plant says workers there are exposed to immeasurable
levels of radiation.
monitor told NHK
that no one can enter the plant's No. 1 through 3
reactor buildings because radiation levels are so high that monitoring
devices have been rendered useless. He said even levels outside the
buildings exceed 100 millisieverts in some places.
and streams of
water contaminated by high-level radiation are
being found throughout the facility.
monitor said he
takes measurements as soon as he finds water,
because he can't determine whether it's contaminated just by looking at
it. He said he's very worried about the safety of workers there.
Criticism following failure to explain: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/06_12.html
Government Hides Nuclear Situation and is Accused of Stifling
the nuclear industry, lack of proper information and misleading advice,
combined with secrecy results in a worse situation being perceived by
Japanese television channel, NHK World, has
the Japanese government of stifling information about the true
situation at Fukushima. It also suggests that the exclusion
should have been extended.
A computer modelling system was
to predict likely fall-out levels, but the results were not circulated: "The
showed that the radiation would exceed 100 millisieverts in some areas
more than 30 kilometers from the nuclear plant if people remained
outdoors for 24 hours between March 12th and 24th. That
is 100 times
higher than the 1 millisievert-per-year long-term reference level for
humans as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological
Commission says it did not release the projections because the location
or the amount of radioactive leakage was not specified at the time."
A petition initiated by Phase Out Nuclear Energy
Fukushima Prefecture Network and Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
and signed by 258 groups and 1010 individuals was handed to officials
from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and the Nuclear and
Industrial Safety Agency. The petition includes the
paragraph stating: TEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial
Agency have not appropriately disclosed relevant information about the
accidents and radiation levels. By not disclosing this information and
by repeatedly stating that the current situation will not
“immediately” affect people’s health, the
is increasing a sense of uncertainty and anxiety
explanation of why President Sarkozy is so active in both the nuclear
generating field and militarily in Africa can be found on our Editorial
page. You may wish to read the following to judge quite what
at stake for the increasingly unpopular French president: Indian
The number of reactors potentially to be supplied by Areva would
have considerable positive benefits for the French economy.
Their loss as a result of the Fukushima debacle could have serious
vaguely amusing report was released yesterday. By the
scientific officer, Sir David King, his findings were that new nuclear
should continue unabated. In an eery echo of Mr. Jamieson
M.P.'s statement last year, Sir David also recommended that the huge
stockpile of plutonium at Sellafield be turned into an asset.
huge expansion of the infamous white elephant, the MOX plant, should be
implemented. Amazing. Wonder where the resultant
used? An earlier comment explains all - Keith Allott, head
change at the World Wildlife Fund, says: "There
have been some concerns that some of the advice that he's been giving
is actually veering on the political rather than the scientific."
Quite so. Why is MOX fuel dangerous - even in
"normal" fuel? See the paragraph on The Voice of Opinion
costs incurred so far (£2 billion and rising!), the MOX plant
failed consistently. An
article appeared in the Independent of 29/3/11, and this can be seen on
our Voice of Experience page.
The problems at the Fukushima plant continue, with plutonium now being
found 'in five places around the site'.
Authorities play down the seriousness of the event, making
much of the short half-life of some of the
currently running a programme showing what happened to the area around
Chernobyl, together with current footage of the deserted city, as a
benchmark. It does seem that Fukushima is
those levels, but it seems unlikely the PR managers are going to
volunteer the truth..
The cost of sorting out the Fukushima plant has now been brought into
focus. According the various eastern sources there is little
likelihood of Tokyo Power and Electricity, the plant's owners, having
insufficient funding to deal with future requirements. Their
have already plunged by almost 20% in a single day, as the financial
to divest themselves. The
value is also now affecting the banks and insurers as the financier
realise just how far the vulnerability speads. Most
think that the only solution will be for nationalisation of the
company. Of course, the reactors flushed with sea water will
just be so much dangerous scrap. Even the cost
of insuring TEPCO's large debt against default has risen tenfold.
feel that new nuclear is financially viable?
Whilst the nuclear component is difficult to isolate, the total
estimated cost for repairing Japan is something like £300
billion. We think the nuclear component will keep on adding
this as the full extent of the leaks become better known.
Safety Demonstrated by Japanese Events
offer our sincere
commiserations to the public of Japan
in their present
difficulties. It must be difficult to understand
where the clean-up should commence.
the question of if we in Europe, in the foreseeable future,
our energy needs without nuclear
EU Energy Commissioner (Reuters)
of a nuclear industry were to be
demonstrated, that time is now, as the Japanese problems show the
pitfalls of these "unforeseeable events". So "unforeseeable"
fact that many of those submitting evidence to the various public
"consultations" over the last two years managed to see them, and
offered them as reasons for the government not to continue
nuclear development. Sadly, as is now the norm with a
"listening" government, the
industry had the greater say and manipulated the decision-making
process to their own benefit. Only money produces results -
not common-sense. Be anti anything that the politicians are
favour of and you are labelled a wierdo or worse, which, of
course, makes it easy to rubbish what you say.
commentators inform us that the public of
sceptical about the information being given to them, in respect of the
over-heating reactors at Fukushima. Apparently they have
used to being misinformed, misled, and lied to, and have witnessed both
industry and the Japanese governments covering up accidents and
incidents. 29 incidents in recent times suggest that they
right. In the U.K. we have been subjected to the same
appalling attitude and ploys. Small wonder that the
like a large
percentage of British public, no longer have any faith
Intrigued by the statement by
Mr. Huhne that he has commissioned Dr. M. Weightman, Chief Nuclear
Inspector, to carry out a system of checks on existing nuclear
facilities, we compiled a list of questions which we think need to be
answered. They can be found here.
The main concern
stemmed from a 2009 report by Dr. Weightman, in which he informed
the government of his concerns about the staff situation in the nuclear
inspectorate. The report stated that, because of natural
and also because many of his staff were approaching retirement age,
there would be difficulties in respect of workload. We
a copy of the report under FOI rules.
In it, Dr. Weightman
that the only way to ensure continued (it appears to us, basic) cover
would be to recruit from abroad - with associated difficulties stemming
from language and other country's nuclear rules or from the industry
itself, or by seconding staff from the industry. None of the
options seems to us to be very satisfactory. Least of all
last one, which would have industry employees checking on their
The nuclear industry does not have a healthy
good will, or a record of honesty and openness, so how will Dr.
Weightman find the staff to do this extra six month's worth
of work? Something will have to give.
As an aside, we were wryly amused to hear the CEO of Westinghouse
lambasting China, et al,
withdrawing from their proposed nuclear expansion programmes.
Nothing to do with his bonus being affected, presumably.
The system set up to distribute carbon
is falling apart as people misuse it to generate wealth for themselves.
How unexpected. Now, who could these nefarious
individuals be? Given the inside knowledge of the entire
is required, it seems unlikely that it is your average
hacker. (Most of the thefts are apparently due to
computer-related incidents.) Those in charge of issuing
credits have asked SOCA to investigate. One need not point
the success rates achieved by SOCA as they frequently get mentioned in
. . .
public consultation exercise. We
are not sure just when we became expected to know everything about
nuclear energy, but the publication attached to the latest epistle from
the Department for Energy seems even more confused than we are.
Having read and re-read it we are still no wiser as to the proposals
re. the future of plutonium. Currently, stored around the
are 128 tons of plutonium - enough to provide the TNT equivalent of
28.672 million tons according to our calculations. However,
document produced by the government suggests firstly that re-use is the
answer, except that Sellafield have only ever produced 9 tons of
re-processed material in 15 years, and that at an exorbitant cost!
So that solution seems to have been dismissed and the
alternative is to store it, except that is not too easy - especially
when the storage vessels corrode so fast, nasty by-products are
produced, and the cooling sytem required results in environmental
pollution, so that is not a good solution. Have a read of the
document (it is in Acrobat
format) and ask whether you are any the
wiser, or those who produced it are lacking in coherence.
of the stranger points can be found in our
recent news includes Chris Huhne
visiting Hinkley Point to admire
the site for EdF's new nuclear reactors - not that the decision has yet
been made, yet, of course! In fact the visit took place on
day the consultation process - set up to allow comment on the removal
of Braystones and Kirksanton from the approved-site list - ended, so no
doubt he will give all due consideration to all those submissions, too,
before making any decision. (!) We note elsewhere
Sellafield is the least preferred site, due to the existing
contamination that would be disturbed by development. A
situation has been found at Hinkley Point. Green Audit's Report,
states that, "Significant
proposed sited for nuclear power station, is based on data provided in
an environmental impact assessment commissioned by EDF Energy as part
of the process towards building two new reactors next to the existing
power station at Hinkley Point."
A bit cynical of Huhne
to praise the site when he must surely have known about this.
time ago we endeavoured to find out
what happened to the enquiry
set up by the last Speaker, Mr. M. Martin, into the abuse of
parliamentary procedures that led to the capping of private liability
in the event of nuclear accidents. Despite writing to Lord
(he ignored our request for information), over a year later we still
cannot find out. However, Mr. Huhne announced that the limit
will rise seven-fold to €1.2 billion. The limit
"scurrilous manipulation of parliamentary process" was set at just
£120 million, so it is obvious why, and to whose benefit, our
"impartial" politicians were avoiding proper process. Would
have done so without expecting some return?
have compiled some comments on the
current 25 sq. km. nuclear dump
being foisted on the area with the complicity of all the usual
suspects. See here
comments. Not much is being said about the extent of the
proposed dump, and graphics depict just a few office buildings and
processing facilities on a very small site. Surely this is
another attempt to mislead locals?
Wildlife magazine has once again
managed to ignore Braystones'
plight, preferring to mention only Kirksanton, despite the obvious
close parallels between the two proposals for development.
wrote to them last May, and understood that a little more tact would be
used in future. Seems like they forgot.
Eye has at last managed
to catch up with what we have been saying for months!
The long-awaited publication of the Redfern Inquiry into the harvesting
of body parts reveals that (surprise, surprise!) "the
between the coroners, the pathologists and the Sellafield medical
officers became too close. There
to adhere to professional standards".
(Finding 96 in the report.)
For the official report and its horrific findings, visit the
official site. We
comment on our Editorial page.
The failures demonstrate how the nuclear industry contaminates not only
people and the environment, but also the systems in place to
protect employees and members of the public. Can we now hope
a police enquiry into the illegal practices that carried on long after
they were made unlawful by the Human Tissue Act, 1961?
Kirksanton 'dropped from N-reactor list' - Perhaps!
a variety of reaons, most of which we put forward in our submission to
the Select Inquiry, it would now seem that
(as per Mr. Jamier Reed, M.P.'s amazingly accurate forecast several
months ago - how could
he have known?)
neither Braystones nor Kirksanton fit the criteria for the NPS any more
- did they ever?
There is a report in the Whitehaven News which concerns the
whether in a fit of
pique or just sheer bloody-mindedness, have written to confirm that
they do not consider the decision to be final. At present they are contemplating
their removal from the NPS. In an e-mail an RWE manager
we understand it, if
Braystones is excluded this time around we could nominate it again in
any future round, with a higher chance of success if there is increased
need for new nuclear build. However, we will have
internally whether it is worth continuing to manage sheep farms
However, for some strange reason,
they are suggesting that the best way to protect Braystones (and
presumably, Kirksanton, too), is to lend full support to the Sellafield
that the altruism is insincere, and that they are merely hoping to hang
on to the coat-tails of their rivals. Once Sellafield plans
been drawn up, the missing infra-structure that precluded Braystones
and Kirksanton from the current requirements, could be installed
(although it is important that these highly necessary improvements are
not seen as subsidies; even if, without nuclear development,
wouldn't have been necessary!), thus putting both places back in the
firing line. Consider the convenience of having Braystones,
Sellafield, the new nuclear dump at Gosforth, Drigg, and Kirksanton all
on a single site . . .
something we have warned about for many months. The best way
preventing the destruction of huge swathes of the Cumbrian coastline is
to stop any further development - even that at Sellafield.
is not just
anti-nuclear rhetoric, either. It would not matter if it
chemical company or a soap works; if the plans are to bring
the destruction of a much-loved part of the world with its own unique
charm, then we would be against it. Nevertheless, we would
expect any company to be able, sensibly and safely, to
any waste it produces - not just shove it in a hole and leave if for
future generations to deal with.
In the interim, property-owners will find their properties blighted.
Every time that RWE chooses to have another go there will be
another drop in property prices. Surely it cannot be natural
justice to allow this continue? The threat, contained in
to a resident, seems to extend at least up to 2025, and the
correspondence also mentions the potential for obtaining compulsory
time as the above announcement was
being made, Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary approved the design of
both nuclear reactors being proposed for building in the UK (ah, except
Scotland). Sounding more like he was just fed up with the
thing and wished to get it out of his in-tray, before he died of
boredom - or perhaps had to actually read the material, he said, "I'm
fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of
nuclear which means that we have neither."
(in the long-forgotten past)
saying that nuclear would only
advance over "his dead body", he used the inevitable weasel words to
imply something whilst actually meaning precisely the opposite.
The bald statement was unequivocal: that there would be NO
SUBSIDY. He has now changed this to, "There
will be no public
subsidy for new nuclear power - no levy, direct payment or market
support (unless similar support is also being made available more
widely)." Now what
do you suppose the latest add-on means?
being broadcast to the effect that there will be £200 billion
investments for "clean, secure power generation". Guess what
they will consider to be clean and secure.
Huhne continues the pro-nuclear
work of Ed Miliband and apparently
shares the latter's ability to forecast what will be reasonable prices
for nuclear waste disposal in 160 years time!
congratulate all those who took the time
and effort to speak up against the plans, which we always believed to
be ill-conceived and impractical. We have found it an object
lesson in all that is bad about politicians: from deliberate
and deceit through to devious manipulation, together with failures to
correspond and address questions posed, these proposals have suffered
from all these afflictions as the nuclear industry wielded its contacts
- covert and overt - and financial muscle.
council debated withdrawing the "expression of interest in hosting the
nuclear repository" on Wednesday, 3/11/10. We were unable to
attend, but Radiation Free Lakeland released the following press
release with an account of the meeting:
Borough Council Meeting last night Councillor Joe Sandwith called on
fellow councillors to “formally withdraw
expression of interest” in geological disposal of
level nuclear waste.
The council heard presentations from two speakers. The first
Dr Helen Wallace, Executive Direcor of Genewatch UK and the second was
Professor Brian Clark, who served on the Committee for Radioactive
Waste Management (CoRWM).
Dr Helen Wallace described how a deep nuclear waste repository would
pose significant risks to future generations. Once the site
sealed it is accepted that water would fill the area and the intense
heat combined with water and microbes would corrode any engineered
barriers. The hotter the waste, the further apart the
have to stand; which would mean a geological dump (or
having an area of at least 10km. Last
CoRWM report suggested using more than one site dependent on how hot
the waste is, the geology, and the number of new reactors and reactor
lifetimes (new build waste would be hotter as it proposes
burn up’ ie burning uranium for longer). Dr Wallace
out an article in the Whitehaven News from 1999 which tells
story of an anonymous tip off to Cumbrians Opposed
Radioactive Environment following a House of Lords visit to Longlands
Farm. The letter writer describes how they overheard the
visitors saying that despite the inquiry ruling against the site, the
covers would be coming off the £200M worth of bore holes and
only would the rock lab be built but the geological dump itself would
go ahead. The Lord’s report
changing the planning law so scientific evidence could never again be
cross examined. Paying local
Setting up a new committee to devise a process to make putting the
waste in West Cumbria ‘publicly acceptable’ cue the
Partnership. Dr Wallace provided councillors with
information pack which included links to the Nirex inquiry and
Professor David Smythe's response to the 2007 Managing Radioactive
Waste Safely Consultation
Professor Brian Clark described the work of CoRWM and insisted that
this was a long term process to find the best possible solution to
disposing of nuclear waste. He suggested to councillors that
Allerdale would be in the running for large compensation payments, even
if they pulled out of the ‘volunteer’ process a
down the line. Professor Clark did not point out however that
volatile nuclear wastes continue to wing their way to Cumbria as they
have done so for the last 15 years - ever since the findings
the Nirex inquiry that Cumbria is “not suitable”
geological disposal. Professor Clark went on to say
should have faith in the regulators. The Professor
member of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the same Agency
that has rubber-stamped the new law allowing low level radioactive
wastes into landfill. These radioactive wastes –
asbestos laced with tritium, are now arriving at Lillyhall landfill
from Chapel Cross nuclear plant. They have been reclassified
“exempt.” The Environment Agency recently
Radiation Free Lakeland to ask if we would like a look around the
landfill to see how “safely” they are containing
radioactive rubble. We asked them if there was any point at
the Environment Agency would refuse to rubber stamp a new
law. They replied that the EA “is there
the law – not question it.”
The law is being changed as you read this to accommodate the nuclear
industry. Nine Councillors supported Councillor Joe
proposal to withdraw and 19 opposed. The option to withdraw
this dodgy MRWS process which has only one outcome may not be on the
In formulating our questions, we came across the information that
£400 million had been spent in investigating the geological
potential for such a dump, in the Nirex Enquiry. (An appeal
following Cumbria County Council's refusal of plans for Longlands Farm,
For those who complain that without nuclear the area would be doomed,
can we ask them to contemplate what could be done with alternative
investment - the NDA spends £1.5 billion a year at
add to that the £400 million and the savings from disposing
the quangos and substantial development could be funded, perhaps as an
extension of the National Park? That kind of money might
the attention of the Tourist Board, too, who seem obsessed with only
the over-populated areas of Kendal, Windermere, Keswick and Ambleside,
The report last week from the British Geological Society has already
ruled out large swathes of Allerdale as being unsuitable.
oddly convenient that south of St. Bees Head, there is no red hatching.
the Secretary of State for Energy,
speaking at the Liberal Democrats' conference in Liverpool on 21/9/10,
stated that new nuclear would be part of the "energy mix".
once again, we are being told that, no matter what we say, the
government will do what it wants, and what it always has done:
pander to the influence of big industries.
the Lib/Dems' share of the latest polls show yet another fall.
Only one of their MPs stated that he was in favour of the
proposed expansion of the nuclear industry - the proposed candidate for
Copeland (again unsurprisingly!) - otherwise the general policy was
against any expansion. Strange how things change.
recall meeting Simon Hughes and Michael Meacher at a the Palace of
Westminster, earlier this year. Their views were unequivocal
no expansion of nuclear, and a run-down of existing sites.
can such apparently sincere views become so watered down?
Like most people, or so we believe, we understood the Lib/Dems
were against new nuclear plants. Apparently we got it wrong.
Now, says Mr. Huhne, the situation is that they are in
nuclear - provided that it doesn't require a government subsidy.
He apologised for the intimation that their original policy intimated
that no developer would go ahead, resulting in the no-to--nuclear
Mr. Huhne is continuing the mantra that no public money will be spend
on new nuclear power stations. (Although even that meagre
qualification was missing from the statement at the conference.)
What a deceit. [See
our Opinion page
for some of the hidden subsidies already being enjoyed by the nuclear
It is quite obviously the case that
huge sums of money will have to piled into the scheme. After
all, someone, somewhere, has to give these companies their profit.
the money comes directly from the public in terms of much higher bills,
or indirectly through the government is of little moment.
The end result is the same - the public will have to pay.
wonder that his party's popularity is falling dramatically after its
election peak. Their manifesto stated categorically that the
Dems would "reject a new generation of nuclear power".
Apparently, before the election, nuclear was an uneconomical way to
produce electricity . . . Hmm, funny how things change once
have secured their own future.
By a strange coincidence, the MP has written to Babcock Engineering to
enquire about job security for the large number of personnel employed
by the VT Group whose English HQ is in his constituency.
Engineering has considerable interests in nuclear engineering, its
infra-structure, and associated industries. It may not look
good if their MP, whilst minister-in-charge, is seen to be responsible
in some way for large-scale job losses in his own constituency at this
difficult time. Out of interest, Babcock, with partner
Beatty, have just won a large contract to build a waste storage
facility at, er, Sellafield.
Anyone know the difference between Mr. Huhne and Ed Miliband?
We note elsewhere the devious ploys used by the last government to pave
the way for foreign companies to build their new reactors in this
country (conveniently leaving their own home country to be just a
customer, with none of the immediate drawbacks and risks inherent with
proximity to reactors). Parliamentery procedures were so
manipulated that they even appalled the last Speaker of the
Mr. M. Martin! Despite our best efforts, we have made no
progress on discovering what has happened to the investigation set up
by Mr. Martin to discover whether the ploy was illegal. How
strange. Lord Hunt still hasn't condescended to respond to
A similar problem has arisen with the Redfern Inquiry Report:
local MP tells us that, ". . . the
Department for Energy and Climate Change had hoped to lay the report
before Parliament in advance of the summer recess.
Unfortunately, that was not possible and the House of Commons Library,
following direct consultation with the department, advises that they
hope to publish the report in October."
Neither could she find us any news about the COMARE report on the
health risks to people living in proximity to nuclear sites.
An excellent critique of the myths and data surrounding the promotion
of new nuclear has been published by campaign group No
Need for Nuclear,
which ably disposes of the scare story of the lights going
If nuclear is allowed to tail off, as was originally
to 2040 - with no nuclear supply thereafter, capacity would still be
more than double the demand for electricity! (Demand
increase to 386 Twh nationwide, with a capacity of 858 Twh, with no
input required from nuclear sources.)
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed, still pushes the employment issue, saying
Cumbria needs the jobs that the nuclear industry provides.
the No Need for Nuclear website illustrates clearly that far more jobs
would be provided by microgeneration. Thousands of jobs have
already been lost as a result of the government failing to implement
the requisite policies to encourage the growth of these alternative
generators. Mr. Reed quite happily repeats that there is "No
Plan B". Small wonder when his party failed to make one.
One of his cohorts, Mr. Tim Knowles, speaking on Radio 4 on
September, made it clear that the only plan - should Plan A in respect
of a subterranean repository (dump in a hole) fail, then Plan B was
merely to make Plan A work. Should there be any dissent or
difficulty then the plan would go ahead anyway. So much for
None of the figures touted around by the last government, and now sadly
being repeated by the current one, make sense. A wide range
experts has analysed them and demonstrated the figures to be flawed.
Why the determination to force this dirty industry
In the interim, Cumbria County Council is to debate the dumping of what
is described as "low-level waste" at Keekle Head, a disused coal mine
just outside Whitehaven. Given what has happened
(Drigg dumping high level waste illegally, the failures to curb
pollution, the encouragement of dissipation of nuclear waste throughout
the county, et al,) and the pro-nuclear bias inherent in the
composition of the council, the future does not bode well.
Again, there is the conundrum of whether material should be securely
dumped and utterly irretrievable, or whether it has to remain
accessible in case of unforeseen leakages.
alonside shows two
fishing boats alongside depicts a situation that has worried
for some time; that is the uncontrolled fishing in an area
attracts fish because of the warmth of the water, but which nonetheless
is very contaminated with Sellafield's waste.
are no controls over fishing here and what
happens to the catch
is apparently of no moment to anyone in authority.
their report that some seafood from the area is marketed as far away as
Spain! Although, for some reason, mussels needed to spend
months in a bed off the east coast before being marketed, via Glasgow,
to France and Spain. Worryingly, the locals are referred to
official documents as the "the critical group".
have not yet found anyone who has been informed they
are part of
this experimental critical group. The rest of the 2004
albeit couched in impressive scientific jargon, is little better tnan
guess-work - but guesswork that influences those uncritical groups
known as politicians!
marine life is affected by the depleted uranium
ordinance fired from the test site at Drigg is anyone' guess, but many
members of the U.S. and U.K. forces seem to be suffering from
mysterious illnesses after being exposed to the material whilst serving
in the Gulf.
recent visit of the
cruise ship "The World" to Whitehaven was hyped up by the local press
and tourist promoters. Whitehaven harbour was promoted as
gateway to the Lake District, as if the area has no attractions of its
One does have to wonder the likeliehood of further visits in order to
regard the beauty of up to nine nuclear reactors and the sole vista
seaward of windfarms. Perhaps the area should become
to the sound of helicopters shuttling overhead, taking the visitors to
Windermere, etc.? Ah - that might be a trifle difficult as
area will become a no-fly zone to protect the reactors.
It would appear that tourists are getting a bit disgruntled by
omissions on the part of local hostelries, camping and caravan sites to
mention their proximity to Sellafield. Several we have
tell us that they were utterly surprised to find how close their
holiday location was to the site, especially as they would have
expected it to be mentioned in the holiday information pack.
Apparently they will not be returning.
following its grid patterns amongst the holiday-makers, who were
oblivious to its purpose.
A find near a
pool which, the preceding day, had been the playground for some 2 and 3
year old children.
investigation has been going on
for several years, and each tide, it seems, more particles are found.
The basic idea is to use the front-mounted electronics box
provide a rough location for any findings. On discovering a
particle, the vehicle is manoeuvred back and forth to more finely
locate it. Then a spade is used to remove sand, which is
by a geiger counter. The spadeful containing the radioactive
material is then placed in the box visible at the rear of the vehicle,
before being taken away for laboratory analysis.
on contract to Sellafield. The
results of their explorations are published at irregular intervals.
In response to an FOI enquiry, Sellafield tell us that the
report for 2009 will be published in September/October, 2010.
reports can be found here:
we do/ EHS&Q/environmental/annualdischarge & monitoring
Announcement, 15th July, 2010
Hendry, Minister of
State for Energy, announced in Parliament today that DECC plan to
re-consult on the Energy National Policy Statements this Autumn,
“Today I am announcing
that the Government
will be launching a re-consultation in the autumn on the draft energy
National Policy Statements following the consultation undertaken by the
previous administration earlier this year, and in particular due to
changes which have been made to the Appraisal of Sustainability for the
Overarching Energy National Policy Statement.”
am aware that many
consultation respondents live locally to sites that were nominated to
be included on the Nuclear National Policy Statement as suitable for
new nuclear power stations, and are very keen for further information
on what is happening on sites. We are currently analysing the responses
received on sites and in the Autumn we will publish the latest Nuclear
National Policy Statement and the Government response to the
consultation which closed in February 2010. This will include further
information on the sites that the coalition Government view as
potentially suitable for deployment of new nuclear power stations by
take this as confirmation of
our assertion that the original process was flawed and a manipulation
by the previous government to defeat democracy.
our first involvement with the nuclear expansion proposals, we have
expressed concern that the policitians were not being honest or
impartial about the situation. Indeed, in our presentation
the Select Inquiry at Westminster, earlier this year, we stated our
view that, despite his protestations to the contrary, Mr. E. Miliband
had already formed an opinion - even before the evidence had been
gathered in for him to assess. We said then that the
consultation was merely a box-ticking exercise and that the decision
had already been made. This was, naturally, denied.
was interesting to listen to the ex-DECC
talking, on Radio
4's news programme on 19th June, 2010, about the decision by
new government to stop the multi-million pound loan that would
provide Sheffield Forgemasters with the wherewithal to build a new
plant to manufacture the specialised steel required for nuclear
that there may well be difficulties in obtaining such supplies as
currently the sole supplier is in Japan.)
E. Miliband repeatedly stated that the
decision to halt
would seriously impede the nuclear development programme. He
spent some time stating why the nuclear expansion - for which the
special steel would be required - was vital for future power
production. This left no doubt in our mind that he had, as
suggested, already made the decision, and that the whole of the
"consultation" process thereafter was sham. After all, the
closure of some steelworks and the setting up of new ones doesn't
happen overnight; long-term plans are required.
that the involvement of a certain Labour peer whose morals seem to us
to be highly questionable . . .
in March, one of the last things to be "buried" by the old government
was yet another consultation exercise, this time to ignore (sorry -
gather,) opinions on proposals to set
price for waste
and spent fuel
disposal from new build. The basic idea being akin
subsidy by another name: allow the developers to set a price
the future clean up and disposal of their waste.
Naturally, this can be done well in advance of any decommissioning
date, with the result that (inevitable) cost over-runs and the effects
of inflation would be the responsibility of the tax-payer.
tried to complete the on-line form, but sensed
that it was yet
another sham. We have no doubt that the mechanism was
in the same way that 2+2=4, but that didn't make the basic premise
correct. The crux of the matter was that there was really no
need for such a system to have been mooted! All
their waste, why should the nuclear industry be any different?
circulated some informative documents: European
Commission Green Paper, Independent
Briefing on the
might be intrigued to note the EC proposals for a
European grid for electricity and gas. Given that most
countries do not like nuclear, it may seem that the UK is set to become
a dirty boilerhouse, supplying electricity to other countries - whose
own residents don't want to host nuclear development.Amongst
some of the very first revelations from the new coalition government is
the fact that the out-going group had substantially disguised the true
cost of the nuclear clean-up.
theme has continued in the Sunday Times of the 23rd May, stating that,
"Future costs of safe waste disposal had not been properly accounted
went on to say that there appeared to be a £3 billion 'black
hole'. In the interim, lots of investigations
frauds involving carbon trading. Manipulation
of the cost of carbon emissions continues apace.
the bandwagon rolls on with continued misleading statements re.
credentials of the nuclear industry, including an article in the Guardian.
seems to have a strange attitude to the deaths of coalminers and
oil-rig workers, and promotes nuclear as being a cleaner option
resulting in fewer deaths. We're not altogether sure that
uranium miners will go along with this idea. Perhaps we
as the number of megawatt hours produced per death? Call us
picky, but we feel that no death is "acceptable".
us that the nuclear waste will be safely disposed of in concrete and
steel containers from which no radioactive material will ever leak, as
it is a tried and
tested method. This prompted one reader to ask how
could be known and whether there were any 17th century containers which
demonstrated the infallibility of the method. An obvious
to this, of course, would be the abandonment of the U.S. Yucca Mountain
dump (repository - sorry).
Others compare the
oil spill off the coast of Florida with the Chernobyl disaster.
Sad though the effect of the oil-spill are, they pale into
the potential and actual consequences of a nuclear accident.
We have received an up-date from Stop Hinkley, which tells us of a
recent book from the New York Academy of Science, "Chernobyl:
Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment".
has been authored by
Alexey Yablokov of the Centre for Russian Environmental Policy in
Moscow, and Vassilly Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenkov of the
Institution of Radiation Safety in Minsk, Belarus. More than
5,000 published articles were examined - most written in Slavic
languages and never before translated. The authors concluded
that the accident, which occurred as a result of human error (and is
thus eminently repeatable elsewhere in the world) resulted in radiation
100 times the contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. They also point out that radioactive pollution is
respecter of boundaries - "One nuclear reactor can contaminate the
entire northern hemisphere." " Contaminate" seems to hide the
true devastation that would be experienced. Total
Chernobyl is now estimated to have been in the region of 10 billion
curies, and this has resulted in the death of 985,000 people between
1986 and 2004. There has also been an alarming decrease in
percentage of healthy children being born to irradiated parents in
Belarus, the Ukraine, and European Russia - down from 80% to under 20%.
Strangely, although figures on deaths rsulting from the
Chernobyl incident, according the World Health Organisation, state on
56 people died, on-the-ground figures from Russia state 60,000, and
from Ukraine/Belarus, 140,000. Greenpeace suggests that one
third of a million people will ultimately die as a result of the
Such wide-ranging figures should be cause for
Public Accounts Committee seems not to rate the Department of
Energy and Climate Change very highly.
Accounts Committee Report can be found here.
We have now received a breakdown of the figures supplied to the Energy
Select Committee's Inquiry in respect of consultations carried out in
the region. In Braystones and its neighbourhood, a total of 37 leaflets
were "dropped". It may be churlish to suggest that
actually confirms our statement that very few of the residents were
aware of the proposals. The figures seem vastly inflated,
would appear to make the exercise more worthwhile whilst supporting the
industry's assertions that they have consulted widely - when they
haven't! The figures supplied to us by DECC are:
West Cumberland Times & Star (including the Whitehaven
West Cumbrian Gazette: 45,003
Whitehaven News: 35,023
This, they suggest, makes a total of 124,000 in an average
week. In fact, you will have observed, the
figures appear to have been counted twice. Not only
but by using "readership" figures rather than circulation figures, the
number of potential consultees is again
main supplier of such readership figures is the Press Gazette, which
admits that they are not realistic figures at all.
fact, a reader can be someone who has looked at the paper
for as little as ten minutes, in the preceding year!
The circulation figures, which we think should have been
from the Press Gazette's website, are as follows:
West Cumberland Times & Star (including the Whitehaven
16,182 West Cumbrian Gazette: 27,792
Thus the total likely readers of the Department of Energy
Climate Change adverts would be more like 43,794 - almost a third of
the figure supplied to the Select
the way the bias always works in their favour! A
rough guess would suggest that as few as one in four residents actually
received information in this form.
trading in permits to pollute
stemming from the Kyoto protocol seems to be yet another permit to
gamble by trading in nebulous intangible articles. The
intangible assets being
difficult to trace, also lend the system open to fraud.
The market is deemed to be worth in excess of £60
so it will attract the big players. At
least two companies have been
suspended already: SGS UK and DNV in Norway. Seven
have already been arrested in a £38 million fraud , and there
investigations taking place in
France and the Netherlands.
from ill-informed people elsewhere in the country in favour of
new-build nuclear, have tried to reiterate the fallacy that
have been no deaths as
a result of the nuclear industry.
We have also been told that more people get killed on
roads. The fact of the matter is that the
paid out claims on 122 deaths
since 1982. Perhaps not as bad as one might imagine, but a
different complexion is bestowed by the other figure of a total 1500
claims in the same period.
The restrictions imposed when assessing claims could well be
reason for the small percentage being successful.
seminar, "Justifying UK Nuclear New Build - Call for Independent
Inquiry", was held in the Palace of Westminster on 11/3/10. Our
report can be found
newspaper article can be found here.
inquiry into the future of nuclear in the north west heard evidence
from selected people, including Phil Woolas, M.P., on 9/11/10.
we were told that there is overwhelming support for the
developments. Again, we have to ask, where is the
for this repeated assertion? An
application under the FOI for his evidence to substantiate this
statement suggests that there is none! Further
snippets from the "debate" are on the Voice
to the inquiry on Portcullis House, London, were made by
people with an interest in the area on the 27th January, 2010.
video recording of the event can be found here.
DECC "went out of their way" to ensure consultation with
local residents, recognising that even though Sellafield and Braystones
were so close together they should
have counted as one, it would be kinder to the residents to have
separate meetings, hence the Beckermet and Calder Bridge ones.
kind. Sadly, no mention of how the meetings were
against the Braystones and Kirksanton proposals!
to mislead an inquiry without actually lying. Sir
an opinion on the
Whitehaven meeting click
We have to record that the local
M.P., Mr. Jamie Reed was absent, and
has not been seen at any of these meetings, which some found rather
of the various meetings around the country have been
published on the DECC website: DECC
would urge you to read not just the one for Braystones (Braystone
- transcript of meeting on 16/1/10) and
others, too. Especially the one of the meeting at
might indicate the emerging pattern of subterfuge employed by the
politicians. There does seem to be a certain consistency -
a successful method of dealing with inconvenient protesters has been
found and universally applied.
Only nine months after the event, the Whitehaven News
to have latched on to what is going on. See the
news from the Environmental Law Foundation, whose submission
can be found here.
Other pertinent news can be found here.
impact of the nuclear industry on wildlife might be gathered from
the following link: Sunday
Times article, 28/2/2010
course of development of this webpage we
have come across so
much material of a truly scary nature.
It goes back to the early days of the deregulation of the power
industry, in this country and overseas, and some of the antics are
worryingly conducive to the conspiracy theorist.
One particular comment triggered a train of thought - it may help
explain some of the material. Following the
new material, we have added to the original.
here to read a bit of fiction based on
anyone else find this quotation scary? It
seems a bit like a recommendation for brainwashing to us:
remember how we
discussed ways of getting the greenhouse effect, caused by burning
fossil fuels, onto the political and environmental agenda. At
several of the
blue sky meetings we also talked about education and my belief that we
must capture the minds,
if not the hearts, of
who were clearly
influenced by the stream of anti-nuclear programmes appearing on
television and, it has to be said, by the attitude of many of their
Sellafield", Quarter Books, 1996. ISBN 0 7043 8017 X)
Out of Control?
objections of local councillors, 56,000m3 a
radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear plants is planned for
Keekle Head and Lillyhall, near Workington, in
However, 26,000m3 of
is already coming to Lillyhall landfill each year.
meeting to discuss
the proposed expansion of the dumping is scheduled to take place on
25th May in Kendal. This is a widely opposed proposal - even the
normally very pro-nuclear MP, Mr. Jamie Reed, has opposed the plan.
Radiation Free Lakeland will speak in opposition. GdF Suez Watch are
of dumping radiation waste at Lillyhall is unknown to anyone it seems -
including the council officers in charge of the license, according to
RAFL, whose enquiry revealed:
according to the County
Copeland officials under "present conditions" the operators of
Lillyhall landfill site can bring in as much high volume "Very Low
Level" radioactive waste as they like;
they have "no need" to apply for permission to do this- the "present
conditions" run out in 2014 - there is no mention of radioactive waste.
legislation from 2004 - 2006 introducing even more stringent controls
on what can be dumped in landfill sites, the council are of the opinion
that Waste Recycling Group & Energy Solutions, who run the
Lillyhall site, do not need planning permission.
are carried out to control just what is being dumped - we are mindful
of the Greenpeace video depicting the dangerously high levels of
materials dumped at Drigg, see here
(scroll down that page to
find the video) -
except in the event
of a complaint, when an official might attend to inspect the
site. What skills or expertise that official might
competently assess the dangers, we know not. An
example of the
necessary by central government and a foretaste of what will
happen at Gosforth?
M.P. Demonstrates Déjà vu on Radio 4 (or
MP, Mr. Reed,
has been interviewed live on Radio Cumbria and
categorically stated that only one development will go ahead - that at
Sellafield. When questioned on how he knew this, he became
flustered and said that he had arrived at an "informed opinion", before
realising that that had not improved things. What
he not sharing with those whose coast he is promoting the destruction
of? How can he possibly know what the outcome of an
public consultation will be - if the outcome has not already been
determined? What is the purpose of RWE's purchase of land at
to what the MP has to say and wonder how he knows these things:
Also noteworthy is the fact that he states three reactors will be built
on the land near Sellafield. Our experience is that most
have the impression only one reactor is being considered.
Consequently this will be a massive expansion of the failing Sellafield
The IPC - A Fair and
Private Eye, 1257, the new head of the Infrastructure
Planning Commission, John Saunders, has purchased shares in the
National Grid, National Power, Powergen (now E.on), Innogy and Norther
Ireland Electric. The information was originally put as a
straight-forward request for information, but that was declined, so the
Eye requested the same information under the Freedom of Information
Act, and believes that the nature of the information revealed may be
the cause of the original rejection. We trust that the Eye
not suggesting that there might be any bias merely because of any
source of information has uncovered dealings between the
government and E.on in respect of land deals. A sort of
"we'll give you that if you give us planning permission for
thing. Nice to know that, despite what the Miliband and
of this world say, nothing has yet been decided, but it does make one
wonder how these things can be discussed at all until a decision has
actually been fairly arrived at.
A Mess of the Mosses
submission on behalf of Natural England, ostensibly
protector of the landscape, flora and fauna of the greater countryside.
Their response makes barely any objection to the proposed
removal of Braystones from the Cumbrian landscape. This
the listing on their own site that observes, in respect of Silver Tarn,
Hollas and Harnsey Mosses:
are becoming increasingly scarce in
the intensively farmed lowlands both locally and nationally. This is
one of only two known examples in the country of a suite of intact,
small, kettlehole formations, the other being Whitlaw Mosses National
Nature Reserve in the Borders Region. The broad range of communities
supported by this small site complement those of other lowland wetlands
in West Cumbria. In addition Harnsey Moss is the best example of a
small, nutrient rich tarn in this scheduling unit.
is difficult to
see quite how the proposed RWE site could be built
without changing the environment to the degree that all three of these
SSIs will be destroyed. Furthermore, it is patently obvious
no relocation or mitigation could overcome the unique features of these
head of Natural
England, Dr. Helen Phillips was appointed by the
Secretary of State for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA), in 2006. 97% of the quango's funding of
million comes from the taxpayer via the department.
current annual report contains the keynote statement:
England is here to conserve and enhance the natural environment, for
its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people and the
economic prosperity that it brings.
would seem that when big industry is involved, conservation
the enhancement of the natural environment must take a back seat.
Quite how they justify the acceptance of 240' high reactor
buildings in a rural environment is unknown. The
is stuffed with impressively designed documents studded with phrases
England will be a distinctive public body committed to the environment
and people", and "Sustainable
the natural environment, so that the use of the land, freshwaters and
seas does not compromise the natural environment."
us again how they see the proposed
of the things they profess to be protecting. If they cannot,
then surely they should have put up far more in the way of objection
when making their submission or at least demanded information on how
these private power companies believe they can mitigate the impact on
the natural beauty of this undeveloped countryside.
polite protest letter met with the
response that a proper
would be formulated when a planning application had been submitted.
Given the manipulation of the planning system, we fear later
objections will arrive too late.
The House of Lords Debates
link below takes
you to debates in the House of Lords regarding
EN-1. Lord Judd raised concerns on the cumulative impacts in
West Cumbria and the Infrastructure Planning Commission
decision-making. He also demonstrated the limits to the
single-stage process vaunted by E. Miliband, showing that there will
still be a requirement for consents and licensing to be acquired even
before an application can get as far as the IPC..
paper will be discussed on the 9th March.
Mandelson ready to go nuclear
close to signing a £170m
agreement with Sheffield
Forgemasters, the firm famous for the ‘supergun’
close to sealing a £170m government-backed deal for a nuclear
manufacturing facility just days after Corus mothballed its steel plant
secretary has been leading talks between Sheffield Forgemasters, the
engineering firm, and Westinghouse, the nuclear reactor maker, for
months about arranging a financing package for a 15,000-tonne press
that would be used to make pressure vessels and castings for nuclear
these are made
by a handful of highly specialised facilities, all located in Japan.
Sheffield, which gained notoriety in the 1990s when it was embroiled in
the “Supergun affair” over arms sales to Iraq,
a critical piece of infrastructure for a new generation of nuclear
reactors in Britain.
is understood that
a memorandum of understanding between the companies, the government and
the European Investment Bank (EIB) is nearly complete.
pressure after the Teesside closure left 1,600 industrial workers
jobless. He hopes to make an announcement on the Sheffield deal as soon
as this week. This could be delayed as final details were still being
worked out this weekend but a broad outline has been agreed.
expected to put up roughly half of the £170m project cost in
cheap loans structured to comply with European Union rules on state
aid. Westinghouse would contribute £50m, in the form of an
upfront payment for reactor components, and the EIB would provide a
smaller portion. Final investment would be subject to further due
department declined to comment.
role in the talks is a reflection of his effort to involve the
government more intimately in industrial policy. Nuclear is at the
centre of Whitehall’s plans to reshape energy infrastructure
meet climate-change targets. At least six reactors are expected to be
built over the next two decades — all by foreign-owned
encouraged them to invest here but has pushed to keep as much work as
possible in Britain. The programme is expected to create thousands of
construction jobs. Sheffield Forgemasters’ history dates back
the 18th century. It ran into financial trouble in the early 2000s but
has since been turned round by Tony Pedder, its chairman, who took over
after a tough time running Corus.
negotations are part of a wider lobbying campaign among companies
angling for a share of the nuclear building boom.
state-owned utility that bought British Energy last year, expects to
build up to four new reactors. It has teamed up with Centrica, owner of
British Gas, to share the cost.
Eon and RWE
have formed a joint venture called Horizon Nuclear Power and intend to
build at least two plants.
will be able to
use one of two reactor designs, the AP1000 from Westinghouse, and the
EPR from Areva, the French state-owned group, that are being reviewed
by the Nuclear Industry Inspectorate, the regulator.
is expected to
use Areva’s design. Eon and RWE, however, remain uncommitted
are thought to be under pressure from the government to go with
Westinghouse so that the country is not reliant on a single design.
first new reactor
is not expected before 2017 and industry experts say the timeline is
already slipping. This is due in part to wrangling between industry and
government over subsidies.
lobbying for a mechanism that ensures a minimum price for power so they
can be sure they will be able to recoup the large upfront building
costs. The government has said from the outset that it will not
subsidise the industry.
Source: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilities/article7034860.ece (Sunday
projected cost has nothing to do with nuclear new-build or proposals
which will require dramatic changes to the area's infra-structure.
note also, that the changes which will ensue should any of the new
reactors go ahead will not involve local opinion. The new
Planning Act seems likely to be so poorly draughted (as is the norm
these days) that permission for a major project to go ahead will almost
certainly grant automatic permission for the associated works.
Thus ensuring that any local planning constraints will be over-ridden.
quote from an informed source in Radiation Free Lakeland:
Infrastructure and Planning Committee is the result of
‘streamlining’ the planning process, which means
issues like the unsolved nuclear waste problem, safety, health and
environment will be excluded from the public’s input into
other words, community groups, individuals and Non-Governmental
Organisations could present conclusive evidence that Heysham is on a
geological fault line, or that there is a link between radiation and
diseases, but this would not be considered as relevant by the IPC.
Infrastructure and Planning Committee was successfully lobbied for by
the nuclear industry, which now wants to exclude even the
recommendations from government experts."
has announced (9/11/09) that
ten of the
eleven proposed sites for nuclear development, including Braystones,
Sellafield, and Kirksanton, will be considered satisfactory to go to
the next stage of the process. That the person who will
ultimately decide the unfortunate sites has proved to be such a staunch
supporter of the nuclear industry sets a very worrying precedent.
Mr. Miliband has made it patently obvious that he approves of
nuclear development, despite the consultation process not yet having
been completed. We can only hope that those with the
resources, abilities and knowledge will fight the proposals to the best
of their abilities. Hopefully, even a legal challenge to his
rôle as judge and jury.
what the cost of construction, commissioning and waste disposal, the
companies behind the projects will expect to make a profit.
These costs will, therefore, be recouped from the UK public, plus any
profit margin. It is impossible to see that electricity
this way can ever be viable. That the cost of each reactor
at the loss-leader levels
to be expected from these people when they submit an initial "tempter"
bid - which will bear no relation to the actual envisaged costs)
£7 billion, is sufficient cause for the public to be really,
really, worried. Practically all
this money will go abroad - from the cost of the reactors to the profits.
We are talking tens or hundreds of billions of pounds.
The amount which will be returned to the UK is a pittance in comparison
to what will be taken out - yet we will be carrying the risks and
suffering the despoilation of our countryside.
that the local plan for West Cumbria requires any major development to
include funding for infra-structure improvements required as a result
of a project to be borne by the developer. We hope that the
government will refuse to fund any of the building that is set to
destroy the West Cumbria environment so comprehensively. The
government have been conned into believing the industry's claims that
they will fund everything and there will be no cost to the UK.
Now its the time to call their bluff - make them pay for it all, from
land purchase to infra-structure to the necessary improvements to the
national grid and waste disposal. Sadly, as we note
the manipulators have already made the UK responsible for insuring the
risks - not an auspicious start.
in parliament with regard to the "spike" of employment suffered by West
Cumbria during the building of nuclear installations reveal that the
pattern of ten years boom, followed by 13,000 people simultaneously
being made redundant over a very short period, is likely to be
repeated. A bonus being the killing of any other sustainable
industry, thus ensuring West Cumbria becomes even more reliant on just
one major employer.
deal of rubbish is being touted on behalf of interested parties - not
least those who stand to gain large amounts of money should nuclear
new-build go ahead. Nuclear is not the answer for the
assurances, nuclear is not financially viable. The premise
which this was founded ignored the cost of building the power stations
- which, because they are private projects were originally to be paid
for by the companies without taxpayer input (something which is already
changing); the insurance - which, following a devious plot by
some MPs is now to be underwritten - without the benefit
of commercially-equivalent premiums - by the taxpayer;
storage and handling of waste - which themselves will never be
commercially viable; the damage to health and environment
by current establishments and which will be exacerbated by any new
developments; the cost of new infra-structure in the remote
likely to be selected for any new-build. Without government
subsidy people will end up in fuel poverty. In France, 25%
people can no longer afford to pay their energy bills - despite the
heavy government subsidy to the nuclear industry. France,
held as an example of good nuclear practice, was a net importer of fuel
in 2007/8. Anyone who doubts the financial basis for our
arguments should have a look at what the Citigroup decided in response
to Miliband's statements in the House on the 9th November, 2009.
It is an Acrobat file - click
here to download.
energy production is neither clean, green or CO2
neutral. Every stage of the process, from extraction to
production to waste product, produces more CO2
than any other method of energy production. In addition, it
a multitude of by-products, such as HFCs, antimony, and a range of
heavy metals. Because of the need for
to cool the stored waste, alternative sources have to provide the
required energy. This is in the form of conventionally
generating stations - each of which produces more CO2.
(Other factors, such as the energy consumed in back-up and
safety processes ancillary to the generation are noted throughout this
mostly on the political right and among global warming sceptics, say
Mr. Gore is poised to become the world's first "carbon billionaire,"
profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct
billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.]
there is no known method of safely disposing of the waste from nuclear
energy production. The waste includes the radioactive
together with the many chemicals that they are mixed with to facilitate
various processes - including the reprocessing. At present
major part of this waste is in the form of millions of gallons of
highly radioactive nitric acid. The initial premise was that
second generation of nuclear power stations would produce waste that
could then be used again. This failed to materialise and the
existing power stations using that process are being phased out.
country producing power by nuclear means has a serious problem with the
waste produced. The sole solution that does not involve
horrendous costs is to find a hole in the ground and bury it, thus
imposing a future burden for the next generations. It is
our problem and not theirs? Unlike most waste, there is no
decay - these materials will be highly toxic for thousands of years.
Burial implies that they will not be recoverable, meaning a
reliance on the stability of tectonic plates that does not exist in
around waste include whether it should be buried in a way so that it
can be recovered, or just buried for eternity. What happens
the latter material is discovered to be leaking and causing damage?
Monitoring only tells of events that have occurred - it does
provide a failsafe. Sadly, permanent interment is not viable
there is no known method which is infallible. There is a
requirement for suitable geological formation, but that does not exist
in the areas volunteering to be considered - Copeland, and Allerdale,
the two council areas around Sellafield. It seems that the
surveys may be amended to produce satisfactory results for the
politicians in order that they can persuade people the waste is not a
generation of power stations will produce waste seven times more toxic
than the current ones. This will be stored on the site of
generators, making for a wider target for terrorists.
Sellafield's on-site storage is already in serious difficulty due to
corrosion. It was not designed to be impervious to terrorist
attack, and even a light aircraft crashing into the appropriate storage
area could cause widespread damage.
variety of deflecting enquiries, the most recent scientific research
has found that there is an increased risk of leukemia in proximity to
nuclear power stations. Body samples from around the UK were
removed, without seeking consent, for analysis to assess the up-take of
materials from the nuclear industry. The
up by Alistair
facts, has been adjourned for some time now and their website has not
been up-dated since 2007. Two e-mails we have sent to their
address, enquiring as to progress, have not been acknowledged or
replied to. (See
Page for more.)
moves afoot to ensure that not just the Sellafield workers gain
compensation when they suffer from radiation-induced illnesses.
Questions remain as to why the unions involved in worker compensation
claims are happy to go along with the secrecy that seems to surround
around Sellafield is already polluted. The body responsible
cleaning up the area is also responsible for producing the pollution.
Products from Sellafield can be found throughout the Irish
around the Scottish coast, across to Scandinavia and the Bering Sea,
and across to Nova Scotia. These products, some of which
deliberately discharged (source: Click
here to read the report on Dunster statement.
A synopsis of
the article can be found in the
attached to this
website.) to find out what
effects they have on people and the
environment - part of a large experiment conducted without consent of
the participants - are so long-lived that to all intents and purposes
they are going to last for ever.
the policitians' statements to the contrary, the supply of raw
materials for the nuclear industry is not secure. Some of
main suppliers are politicallly unstable, others require the transport
of the material half way around the world. In 5. above, we
the potential for terrorist attack that is extant, and which will be
exacerbated by having more storage depots/more frequent transportation
of raw and waste materials. We have also noted that the new
processes will produce waste seven times more toxic even than the
materials is not a viable option as the methods are, as yet, imperfect
and untried. In some parts of the world it is being tried,
these are in areas with very low rainfall. With almost a
of rainfall per year, Cumbria is not a sensible option - even if the
government manage to ignore the unsatisfactory rock
The current flooding in Cumbria highlights the dangers of
irretrievable nuclear waste, the potential for accelerated decay of the
casing, the problems related to transport and other parts of
infra-structure in the region when catastrophes occur.
be no long-term accountability or enforceable correction measures.
companies involved in these proposals are almost entirely of foreign
origin. It seem that the expenses will rest on the UK
whilst any profits will go abroad. In the event of a nuclear
incident, the UK taxpayer will be required to foot the bill.
currently a consultation exercise being conducted by the government.
The decision will be made by the minister from the
for Envrionment and Climate Change, Mr. Miliband. He is
on record as saying that nuclear is the only option.
surrounding Sellafield was sold in November, 2009, for £70
million. (To be more precise, just over £5 million
agreed for the option to buy the land, the rest to be paid later.)
There was an assumption on the part of all concerned that
buyer would be building at least three reactors on the site.
planning consent has yet been given and the consultation process has
not been concluded. There has been no local consultation
the Energy Coast proposition, which has been promoted by ex-Sellafield
staff and quangos set up using pro-nuclear organisations funds - such
as money from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
government are proposing changes to the planning legislation to enable
faster approval of major projects such as this. Inevitably
will mean that there will be less opportunity for the public to make
their voices heard. As one sage said, "Never
before has the public been so consulted by government, and never before
have the public been less listened to."
With the proposed
changes to the planning legislation there will be even less likelihood
of public opinion being aired. Such is what passes
for democracy under these posturing, spinning (a euphemism for
It will be interesting to see how many of these people become employees
of the generating companies when the next election leaves them jobless.
Surely, many of them will follow the examples of one of the
original Champagne Socialists - "Nuclear Jack" and, more recently, Mr.
60 years Braystones has lived quietly and peacefully in the
shadow of neighbouring Sellafield. Sadly, like so many other
Cumbrian, Manx, Welsh, Irish, Scottish and Scandinavian coastal
communities, it has discovered that the pollution from the nuclear
plant has been washed up on its shores. Nearly 700
particles have been found on the beach (ref. Beach
official Sellafield website: http://www.sellafieldsites.com)
in the last few years, and the area is still scanned on a regular basis
by a team from Sellafield using a tracked Hillcat vehicle (see picture below).
Monitors with geiger counters also check the tidelines for any
The beaches are used by holiday-makers, whilst
commercial and competitive fishing takes place all along the coast.
Despite the fact that, more than 25 years ago, the beaches
were declared "safe" after a radioactive slick caused widespread
pollution to the shores, these radioactive particles are still being
found. (We recommend readers unfamiliar with the situation
have a look at our Bellona
Report Highlights page or, even
better, read the actual report from
this link: http://www.bellona.org/filearchive/fil_sellaengweb.pdf
some notes from Copeland Council's Planning department and puzzle over
how any of the proposals can be made to fit, click
note elsewhere that the BBC seem to be especially biased when it comes
to nuclear new-build. A proposed policy of nuclear
on this scale should surely have been brought to the attention of the
wider audience. We can find no interest in educating the UK
audience as to what the effect of the ten or eleven proposed
developments will be. Despite our letters to a variety of
programmes and presenters (Coast, Panorama, Look Northwest, Julia
Bradbury, etc.) the omission is still painfully obvious. A
as most people are seeing only the nuclear is clean, green and CO2
free claim - which is blatently misleading.
always seems to deviate when they get to Barrow or Morecambe, making
their way to the Isle of Man or to Ireland, only returning
safely past Sellafield. However, we have come across a
Coast programme from 2005, which was obviously made well before the
contraversial new developments were announced.
here to view the clip
from "Coast". (.flv - Flash -
file, 21 MBytes - about 8 minutes.) It is a worthwhile
if only for the animation depicting the plume of technetium 99.
(With its long half-life, 212,000 years, Tc-99 remains in the
environment, to all intents and purposes, for ever. Air, sea
water, soils, plants, and animals contain very low concentrations of
Tc-99. Organic matter in soils and sediments slows the
of Tc-99. In the presence of oxygen, plants readily take up
technetium compounds from the soils. Some plants such as
algae living in seawater are able to concentrate Tc-99.
Technetium-99 can also transfer from seawater to animals.
Ingestion is the primary entry route for Tc-99 into the body.
This may occur by eating food or drinking water contaminated with
cocktail anyone? Actually, the commercial gathering
cockles and other seafood existed until a short while ago, particularly
around Nethertown Head. Fishing from small boats is still
popular around the outfall pipe, including trippers from Whitehaven.
We have to wonder whether this is a sensible practise.
another clip: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8107470.stm
This one, despite depicting Gosforth residents opposed to
siting of a nuclear dump (sorry, repository) in the village, is headed,
"Councils compete for Nuclear Dump". Even that is factually
incorrect. All that has happened is that two councils have
consented to permit investigations to take place into whether the
locations are suitable. Neither has yet expressed any actual
interest. Mind you, there is a possibility that, once the
investigations have been concluded, the government will decide that too
much has been invested to go anywhere else, thus removing the voluntary
nature of the deal. It is unclear whether the local
have considered this aspect of things. Don't mention the
enquiry findings! Throughout
all this the community has suffered in silence,
the employment and financial rewards offered by the plant.
with radioactive materials - land-borne, marine-borne, and air-borne -
there is the constant hum and the nocturnal light pollution.
Children have played on the beach through all these decades.
Fish and shellfish have still been caught and eaten.
Plans for Braystones
left above were first put forward at the
meetings, and show the proposed effects on Braystones beach in the area
shown in the heading photograph. The beach bungalows would,
obviously, be very much in the way. Even if they are not
removed, there would be a devastating effect on the quality of the
beach and its environs. Interestingly, plans were recently
approved by Copeland council for a similar "marine off-loading
facility", but at Sellafield - about 4 kms south of the area depicted
above. The ostensible reason for the requirement being to
facilitate the installation of a replacement evaporator to replace one
which has become defective. Strangely, there was apparently
need for one when the original evaporators were installed.
Cynics might believe that this is another manipulation by the NDA to
increase the value of the land they are trying to auction at
Sellafield. They might also wonder at the ameniability of
local councillors and council officers. Taken in isolation
plans are drastic enough, by see how Braystones will become sandwiched
by the additions to the proposed Iberdrola site at Sellafield.
These diagrams take no account of the likelihood of services
springing up in "industrial parks". How long before the two
sites join together and the whole thing becomes one big industrial area
like those in the worst excesses of the Victorian era? Then,
course, there are the proposals for Kirksanton . . .
the Braystones to Nethertown road - which, if plans are
approved, will become
part of RWE's proposed site. The beach is
mile to the right. Egremont and the nearest main road, the
are 3 miles to the left of the picture. In
the distance, about 15 miles away is the edge of the Cumbrian
mountains. It will be noted that the terrain is not
heavy construction traffic, and would not be of much use for emergency
evacuation purposes, either.
In the centre of the
picture the pile of Sellafield can be discerned. This is one
the casualties of the 1957 fire and is taking a lot of decommissioning.
There are three Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the
area, on both sides of the road: Silver Tarn, Harnsey Moss
Hollas Moss. Being dependent on the hydrology of the area,
amazing that the Natural England quango can submit the opinion that the
effects of flatteninng these hills and levelling off, inserting
foundations for a 240' high reactor building and all its ancillary work
can be "mitigated". We don't understand how this fits with
mission statement, either.
be an urgent need for development were the above plans to be
implemented, nothing appears to have been done to secure additional
track or railway facilities, despite the somewhat tight deadline.
A Network Rail manager said it would take at least seven
before anything could begin but, to June,2009, they had heard nothing
in the way of requests for such development.
very early 2008,
requesting information have been ignored) a group of people got
together and decided that Braystones would be an ideal place to build a
nuclear power plant. For over a year the residents were kept
ignorance of the Master Plan being hatched by The West Cumbria
Renaissance Group and others. Our MP would have us believe
despite his extraordinarily strong bias in favour of the nuclear
industry (being an ex-PR man for the firm no doubt helped his beliefs)
he, too, was kept in the dark until just after Christmas,
By this time, plans were well advanced. The
Group, having ear-marked a couple of "suitable" sites had, by then,
been looking round for a suitable power generator to convince.
It found one in RWE n-Power, a German company. Germany is
out nuclear sites on health and environmental grounds and the subject
is likely to be a major issue in the forthcoming elections in
September, 2009. Their government discovered that if it
the ambition to be nuclear-free it may have to rely on outsiders to
meet the increasing energy demands of Germany. Some of their
neighbours are not people with whom they would like to do business, so
it is necessary to find a suitable source, where the politicians are
suitably gullible/biased and easily persuaded of the merits of a highly
Mr. Reed's denials worry us - the West Lakes Renaissance quango,
proposers of the Energy Coast concept - minute a meeting in June, 2008,
when they met the Prime Minister and Mr. Darling to put forward their
ideas. Can we honestly believe that they went to Downing
for such a vital meeting without informing such a staunch supporter of
the nuclear industry? But why would an MP lie?
for Germans -
suitable for Cumbrians
about the potential energy shortfall and rapidly-rising unemployment,
the fag-end Labour government would not take much persuading to follow
any rainbow in the hope of finding the pot of gold. Although
NDA (Nuclear De-commissioning Authority) was set up to clear aging
sites, its business rapidly turned to buying good will from the people
of Cumbria. New roads, new public buildings, new health
facilities have all been within the ambit of the "decommissioning"
authority. Their largesse has caused great concern.
of the things they are doing have absolutely nothing to do with
decommissioning nuclear plants. In fact, the agency has been
likened to a slush fund. The future development of many
has been linked to the area's acceptance of nuclear new-build;
this or you won't get these improvements. Several projects
have nothing at all to do with industry, and many people believe that
improvements to, for example, the local hospital, should be nationally
funded by central government, not dependent on nuclear development and
the decommissioning agency. In most other areas this is
certainly the case.
Coast Masterplan has now been brought out into the open.
Residents were told just ten days before the deadline for
consultation closed. Small wonder then that a crowd of over
people crammed into the Civic Hall in Whitehaven to have their say on
the 18th March, 2009.
listen to this from You
on 4/5/09, .mp3 file - 15
about Resident's views
This was followed a couple of weeks later by smaller, local meetings,
hosted by RWE. At the Beckermet meeting
unanimously against nuclear new-build
on green-field sites.
Conveniently, minutes were not taken at either the
However, the minutes of the West Cumbrian Sites Stakeholders Group of
Copeland Council, for the subsequent meeting - which was, conveniently,
minuted, recorded that David Moore, chairman, had said: '. .
the meetings had been well attended with over 300 people, which he felt
showed significant commitment from the people of West Cumbria and a
clear message was received that there
was very strong
support for new build . . . '
minutes for the 2/4/09, Para 10, Page 3).
objecting to this distortion was sent on 23rd July, 2009. A
weeks later we received a reply saying that Mr. Moore was just stating
his impression, and that we should read further. In fact, we
read further, but the impression was still that Mr. Moore was
deliberately trying to mislead by stating something that was, to most
people at least, untrue. Consider, if you will,
has been no attempt to seek the views of residents over such important
matters. All that has happened so far is a series of
announcements. At the end of this period (of ten days), we
allowed to put our views to the government who have repeatedly said
that the nuclear industry is the only viable option - in other words
their minds are closed and the decision has been made.
As confirmation of our view that residents were not in favour, we were
happy to read the following in the Whitehaven News article, dated
a lively public meeting last March many Braystones/ Beckermet residents
voiced strong opposition to any reactor development and will have
another chance to make their feelings known when energy company RWE
npower unveil its plans at an exhibition early in the New Year.'
At a meeting in Manchester, of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities, on
the 18th September, 2009, the point was made that investigations will
be made into where the hole for burying the waste will be sited.
The residents might have a say in whether they want this facility.
However, each of the proposed nuclear reactors will also be
repositories for high level waste - each storing their own until it can
be buried or dealt with in some unspecified manner. No
has been made of consulting the residents around the proposed sites as
to whether they want to take part in this high-risk strategy.
The sole consideration so far has been the presence of the reactor.
We believe that far greater honesty is required, so that
(including those without technical expertise) can make a fully-informed
At a lecture at Sellafield's Visitor Centre, on 16th June, a Mr.Tim
Knowles, from Cumbria County Council, stated that there was very
strong support for
nuclear new-build in West Cumbria,
and he showed slides on which
this same point was made. When questioned, he could not
his statements, nor could he explain his basis for them.
Kirksanton and Beckermet communities have expressed their strong
antagonism to the proposed developments. Mr. Knowles told
audience that he had worked for Sellafield for 20 years.
People to Deal With?
most people would like to think that there is such a thing
as honesty and openness involved in the information made available
regarding nuclear power and its effects on health and the environment -
so that they can make an informed decision when it comes to future
energy production. Sadly, there is no such thing.
good short films can be seen at Tenner
click on "Completed
to view a selection of projects
completed and available. Please complete the on-line vote
for/against nuclear new build.) Our favourite film
entitled Minister. It has Tony Benn explaining how,
Energy Minister, he was never told the things which he was supposed to
know - like the Windscale fire, for example!
people would like to think that these big energy companies
are straightforward and honest people to deal with - as that is
certainly the image they try to project. Sadly, generally
speaking, they are not. Sometimes, with state backing, they
things which an ordinary citizen would spend years in jail for.
For example, back in 1985 the French government got a bit depressed
about Greenpeace messing up their atomic bomb tests. As a
of their frustration the French decided to blow up the Greenpeace
vessel, Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland harbour. Such was the
diligence of the French agents that they overlooked the presence of a
photographer on board when they decided to Do Their Thing. Sadly, he
1974 there was the mysterious case of Karen Silkwood.
a result of books and a film, starring Meryl Streep, the basics are
well-known world-wide. A union activist who became
at the nuclear power plant where she worked, she decided to become a
whistle-blower, making public the poor safety procedures and disregard
of regulations at the plant, including exposure of workers to
contamination, faulty respiratory equipment and improper storage of
samples. She also alleged that safety standards had slipped
because of demands for increased production, which had resulted in
employees being given tasks for which they were poorly trained. She
also alleged that Kerr-McGee employees handled the fuel rods improperly
and that the company falsified inspection records. En
to meet a New York Times
reporter - apparently with a sheaf of evidence - her car was involved
in a fatal accident. No papers were found in the
The plant owners, Kerr-McGee, ultimately settled out of
for $1.38 million, admitting no liability. According to Richard L.
Rashke's book "The
into Silkwood's death as well as into the Kerr-McGee corporation and
Cimarron plant received death threats, one of these investigators
disappeared under mysterious circumstances. One of the witnesses to the
Silkwood incident apparently committed suicide very shortly before she
was to testify in court against the Kerr-Mcgee corporation under oath
about the alleged happenings at the plant.
book, the Silkwood family's legal team
were followed, threatened with violence, and even physically assaulted.
The book also claims that the 44 pounds of missing plutonium (enough to
make four nuclear weapons) at the plant were stolen in part of a secret
underground plutonium smuggling ring that many government agencies
including the highest levels of government and international
as is the case
with many employers, it is much
easier to get rid of troublesome staff intent on adhering to "The
Rules", rather than actually amend practices to ensure that good
protocols are followed. The nuclear industry has its own
gallery of people who thought they knew better than their bosses, and
threatened to embarrass management by revealing what really goes on
behind the high-security fences. People like Rodney Fordham,
John Taylor and Ross Hesketh paid the penalty; being forced
of employment because they dared to illustrate failings that endangered
not only those on the site, but also the public.
Rainbow Warrior, there was a bit of a scandal over
the French government's involvement with Elf. Then, EDF were
accused of hiring a company of private detectives, "Kargus
Consultants", to spy on environmental groups such as Greenpeace.
According to the Sunday Times, on 26th April this year, these
investigators also infomally sought information on campaigners
from MI5. Nice to know that by objecting, quite legally and
rationally to the nuclear industry you are sticking your neck out so
far that it attracts the attention of Big Brother (who, somewhat
annoyingly, otherwise doesn't want to know your views), and may prove
Consultants, run by Thierry Lorho, a French ex-intelligence
officer, apparently admitted to breaking French laws by organising the
hacking of Greenpeace's computer systems in France.
However, according to the reports, he insisted that he was obeying
instructions from EDF security officials. (Who were
when the facts became known - there has to be un
Needless to say, EDF said they wholeheartedly condemn any method aimed
at obtaining information illegally. One has to try
hard not to be cynical and suggest that they were happy enough to use
whatever information they were given without any qualms as to its
origins. Did they never think to ask how such
been obtained? Hmm. Keep trying to
is a company which has commenced operations in the UK.
It has places in Workington and Whitehaven. Our
that the idea behind the plant at Lillyhall, Workington, is that
radioactive materials are sent to be mixed with other metals before
being shipped out for re-use. A bit like diluting any
By spreading the radioactivity over a larger area, the
effects are diminished. This may mean that the metals end up
being very close to vulnerable areas, but who cares? In
2009, a report appeared in the local press:
BOSS of the £6 million Studsvik recycling plant at Lillyhall
left the company.
was announced that Studsvik UK president Mark Lyons, right, was leaving
after an audit with “immediate effect”.
statement said that an internal audit found income from projects,
mostly in 2008, to be overstated by about £1 million,
attributable to 2008. The amount will impact results for the second
Lyons has been succeeded by Sam Usher.
statement added: “The changeover of presidents is taking
after continued losses in project operations.”
Lyons, from Northumberland, worked for Studsvik since the Swedish firm
bought his company in 2005.
Usher was previously vice president of business development in Studsvik
Joseph Noble Road facility was opened officially by Phil Davies, head
of waste and nuclear materials at the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority, on May 6.
Metal Recycling Facility (MRF) decontaminates scrap metal from the
nuclear industry for further use in industry.It was the first plant of
its kind to open in the UK and the first new nuclear site licence to be
granted in two decades.The facility is expected to begin work next
month, when the Nuclear Installation Inspectorate (NII) will be
requested to give final consent for the receipt of contaminated metals
onto the site.
plant, which created up to 30 jobs, was first granted a Nuclear Site
Licence by the UK Health & Safety Executive in 2008.
Lillyhall facility was given the RoSPA occupational health and safety
award for the engineering construction industry sector in 2009.
Of course, bribery is rife in large industries where huge sums of money
are involved. The sheer scale of it means that inevitably,
government becomes embroiled in it. Areva, manufacturers of
of the reactors being considered for new sites in the UK, is
owned by the French government (whose ethics are obvious from the
Greenpeace story above) and 33% by Siemens. Anyone
the background to Siemens can find references on the internet.
The results might include how the company ended up paying $1.6 billion
- the largest fine in modern corporate history, or the article about
the whistleblower - a former Siemens employee - whose "life was thrown
into chaos" when he reported financial irregularities to his superiors.
just a "line item", according to
"A mid-level accountant called Rheinhard Siekaczek says that from 2002
to 2006 he oversaw an annual bribery budget of about $40 million to $50
million at Siemens."
beginning to see how attractive new nuclear might be to people
about to be made redundant who have become used to the champagne
convinced? Try this: Michael
Christoforakos, the former Siemens boss in Greece who was arrested in
Germany last week, could become a key witness in the ongoing
investigation into the bribery scandal at the German engineering giant.
While Greek prosecutors want the German authorities to extradite
Michael Christoforakos back to Greece to face corruption charges there,
prosecutors in Munich may prefer to hold on to him.
we have allegations of
premature deaths (whether deliberate or accidental),
body-part-snatching, data falsification, half a century of pollution of
almost every conceivable kind, with scientists readily acknowledging
that they are deliberately releasing toxic metals and chemicals into
the environment to discover the effect on living things - including
humans, and yet we are still supposed to accept that they are decent,
honest, caring people. What is more disturbing is that they
convinced people in power to believe their falsehoods. There
nothing green, sustainable or economically viable about this industry.
how can anyone
That we have MPs so gullible might illustrate why they came
be preoccupied with their expense fiddles.
is not alone in the pollution stakes.
matter which plant you look at there are environmental consequences.
Have a look at Savannah River sites - http://www.bredl.org/pdf/SRSfactsheet12oct02.PDF
if you are in any doubt. There are many, many more examples
integrity of politicians, now just a joke, extends to the way they
treat Scots, too. Have a look at the posting here about Machrihanish
Airbase Community Company.
University of East
Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature
data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
supposed to allow for others to double-check the work leading to the
theory. In other words, starting with the same data and applying the
same methods, I should get the same results. But in the case of
Anthropocentric Global Warming, this is impossible. The CRU, in
response to Freedom of Information Requests for the raw data on which
they based their dire predictions of doom, first stalled, then admitted
they had destroyed the raw data! We mere mortals are expected to simply
take their word their conclusions are accurate. I have to wonder with
all the tens of millions of dollars in funding CRU enjoyed, why they
could not purchase an extra hard drive to save that raw data!
Russians are also
questioning the validity of the data.
can see that a lot of money
and political power has been invested in so call “global
warming” that if the general population sees this as a lie
hoax, many well-known institutions of government and media will likely
collapse from the scandal. The establishment is desperate fighting for
its life. And we should expect them to take any and all desperation
measures to prolong and preserve their status."
Gore, the former US vice president, could become the world's first
carbon billionaire after investing heavily in green energy companies
year Mr Gore's venture capital firm loaned a small
California firm $75m to develop energy-saving technology.
The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces
software to make the electricity grid more efficient.
deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when
Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants, the New
York Times reports. Of the total, more than $560 million went to
utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts.
means that venture capital company Kleiner Perkins and its partners,
including Mr Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in
people have been as vocal about the urgency of global
warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and
consumes energy as Mr Gore. And few have put as much money behind their
advocacy and are as well positioned to profit from this green
transformation, if and when it comes. Critics,
the political right and among global warming sceptics, say Mr.
Gore is poised to become the world's first "carbon billionaire,"
profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct
billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.
Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee,
claimed that Mr Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and
climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.
Gore had said that he is simply putting his money
mouth is. "Do you think there is something wrong
active in business in this country?" Mr. Gore said. "I am proud of it.
I am proud of it."
whose book and film, "An Inconvenient Truth", successor to a
somewhat less successful earlier tome, "Earth in the
Balance", sparked the current
paranoia over global warming, is
already reaping the rewards of his efforts and scaremongering, it would
seem. According to reports, it would appear that Mr. Gore's
attendance at Copenhagen was scheduled to include a talk with what are
referred to as "$1200 handshakes". In other words, attendees
his lectures would pay $1200 for the priviledge of listening to the
there is a lot in this paragon's background that doesn't lend
itself to close inspection. There is too great an interest
making millions of dollars for a start. Then there is the
incompatibility of his stance on the envrironment with that of his
business history and investments. Like the Bush family's
to oil companies. Try http://www.realchange.org/gore.htm for
John Hutton bestowed on EDF was for £12.5
billion . . . it is reported
that Mr Hutton
will be appointed to nuclear power company EDF’s Stakeholder
Advisory Panel, which advises the firm’s senior management,
includes Lord Patten, the former Tory Cabinet Minister
deal saw EDF – which is controlled by the French
government – take over British Energy and its eight UK
power stations. It also gave the firm control of most of the
sites earmarked for building new nuclear power stations in Britain,
including Sizewell in Suffolk and Dungeness in Kent.
move goes ahead, Mr Hutton will join a steady stream of former
senior Labour colleagues taking highly paid jobs in the private sector,
such as former Trade and Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, former Home
Secretary David Blunkett and ex-Defence Minister Ivor Caplin.
before others join the gravy train? Some local
politicians must surely be assured of an lucrative extra-curricular job
as a reward for their distortion of the truth and first-class
salesmanship? The elevation of Copeland MP, Mr. Reed, to
minister for the North West is only the first step on this grungey
ladder, we're sure.
to the Bad Old Days
Mr. Mayall, of the Environment Agency, said at the above-mentioned
WCSSG meeting that:
that has arisen this year is in relation to the discharges of a
radionuclide known as antimony 125; it is discharged almost
entirely by the Fuel Handling Plant at Sellafield. . . .
has been a slight increase in discharges of this particular nuclide to
minutes for the 2/4/09, Para 93, Page 21)
decision by SL to
resume the reprocessing of spent fuel is almost certain to led to a
breach of the [antimony] 125Sb limit to air, however we are satisfied
that this would not cause any harm to members of the public or the
note for West Cumbria Sites
Stakeholder Group by the Environment Agency.)
(German) KiKK study covered the period from 1980 to 2003.
was divided into two study periods: the first eleven years of operation
of a power reactor and the remaining years. This was necessary as
studies had shown that the risk was higher in the first case than in
the second. The potential for different results according to
reactor age was addressed in the KiKK study.
environment around 16 German nuclear power plants was studied. To quote
from the report (http://www.bfs.de/en/kerntechnik/kinderkrebs/kikk.html):
distance of the
home to the nearest nuclear power plant site on the day of diagnosis
(for cases), or, respectively, to the analogue reference day (for
controls) was determined as measure of the distance.
exposure could not be taken into consideration since no measured
results are available nor is a modelling of radiation exposure
reasonably possible. The distance between home and reactor was taken as
an alternative to radiation exposure.
population: 1,592 cases and 4,735 controls
the study confirmed the correlation between the vicinity of the home at
the day of diagnosis and the risk to contract cancer or leukaemia
before the 5th birthday. However, the study cannot produce evidence, as
to which risk factors cause this relationship.
distance of the home to the nearest nuclear power plant site was
determined within an accuracy of 25 m on average.
It was found that all types of cancer as well as leukaemia occurred
significantly more frequently in the vicinity of nuclear power plants
(within a radius of 5 km) than in further distant areas. The
findings for all tumours can be essentially attributed to the findings
for leukaemia. •
This results in a negative downward trend; meaning the cancer risk
increases with the increasing vicinity to the reactor site.
• It was found that the
willingness of the cases
or controls to participate in the study strongly depended on the
distance from the home to the reactor. Thus, there is a
self-selection in Part 2 (case-control study with interviews)
which does not allow a transfer of findings from this part of the
investigation to the first part (without interviews). However, this had
no influence on the overall study findings.
the following trend was found: a statistically
significant monotonously decreasing trend of risk by distance was
all the diseases under study,
largely caused by
In other words, the
closer you live
plant, the greater the risk.
KiKK report adds: "What
answer, is what causes cancer."
Interesting then that so many people - some desperately unqualified,
tell us that Sellafield and the nuclear industry is safe.
can this be verified if they don't know what has caused the link
discovered in the above report?
as is usual in such
instances, government advice was sought. WCSSG's
Environmental Health sub-group wrote to the Committee on the Medical
Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) asking for a view on
this KiKK report. The response was duly read out at
subsequent WCSSG meeting, although it wasn't put on the
website. It appears (in the view of at least one
that the COMARE response sought to "downplay" the relevance of the KiKK
report. When challenged about some aspects of the
to WCSSG, COMARE stated that their response "did not represent a
formal position and
that they had not issued a formal statement on the KiKK study".
One wonders just what their response was meant to be, in that case.
Formally asked by a formal group for a statement, they
something that apparently, when challenged on its content they cannot
justify, they then change to being something unofficial!
would be the purpose of anyone approaching them for anything other than
the official view? What would have happened if they had not
challenged? Also, whether this was made clear to the WCSSG
the earliest opportunity has yet to be clarified. Hopefully
will not have been left with the impression that the earlier (albeit a
satisfactorily pro-nuclear) view was the official one. (ref:
Dodging the evidence, leukemias and nuclear power plants)
are all used to hearing
about the need for "zero tolerance" and how no incident is acceptable.
How come then that, after more than five decades of
Sellafield still had more than 1767 "incidents" in seven years?
[Source: "Briefing on Nuclear Programme", Mike Weightman,
Inspector at HSE Nuclear Directorate. Obtained via
Freedom of Information Act.]
This august body has the aims of protecting people and
from the hazards of the nuclear industry. (HSE Nuclear
Directorate's purpose statement.) The directorate is so
of inspectors (many of whom will also be retiring in a couple of years
time) that they have taken, or are about to take on, people from abroad
(mainly China) and are seriously considering seconding
people from the very corporations they are supposed to be inspecting!
A variation on the self-regulatory system that has failed so
abysmally in other, less vital, industries.
|The NII needs to have
inspectors and professionals by the end of the first quarter of 2009 so
the implementation of the short-term recommendations must receive the
focused efforts and attention of government and the HSE in particular.
Failure to do so will seriously jeopardise the delivery of a
element of this government's energy policy. (Recommendation
from the Stone Review.)
agency defends pay-outs
Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has said that the bonuses paid out to
members of staff would be good news for taxpayers. The
agency, which was set up to oversee the clean-up of the UK's nuclear
sites, has released the information in its annual report.
It revealed that some
received pay-outs of up to £25,000 on top of their annual
NDA spokesman said
it was important to retain top people.
Speaking on BBC Radio Cumbria, Bill Hamilton from the NDA, said that
all bonuses were performance-related "Everyone,
from the admin assistant to the chief executive, is eligible for bonus
dependent on a number of individual or corporate objectives," he said.
Tell me again, whose money is it?
The original item was written in 2009, but, surprise, surprise, here we
are in 2010 and what do we read? How about this:
for £50m fee from NDA
Nuclear Management Partners are set to
pick up a £50 million “well-done” fee on
top of a
£16.5 million dividend already earned.
– from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority kitty
– is for
NMP’s good performance and efficiency managing Sellafield
the past 16 months.
The Whitehaven News can
also reveal for the first time the
salaries paid to Sellafield’s top executives who succeeded
former BNFL directors, seven of whom received loss-of-office pay-offs
amounting to some £8 million. These
managing director Barry Snelson. He parted from the company with
million largely in compensation.
The 2008-9 accounts
reveal that seven Nuclear Management
Partner executives were paid more than £1 million between
for their first four months’ work at Sellafield. These
American managing director Bill Poulson and Bob Pedde, who was in
charge for a short time before returning to the United States.
Based on the first four months figures the present 19-strong Sellafield
executive team will receive around £8.6 million between them
salaries for the 2009-10 financial year which will end shortly.
A Sellafield Ltd
spokesman told The Whitehaven News:
“Our team of executive directors are world leading experts in
their respective fields with decades of experience of the nuclear
industry both domestically and internationally.
remuneration is a matter for the (consortium) companies which employ
them - URS (American), Areva (France) and Amec (UK).
Whitehaven News, Barry Snelson, also points
out that of his £2 million loss of office compensation some
£788,508 has gone in tax. He goes on:
won’t protest about the coverage [in The Whitehaven News] or
attempt to defend it, but I want to correct some of the untruths which
relate to the (previous) executive team. They won’t speak up
themselves but firstly they did not fare equally well.
“BNFL always had a good redundancy scheme from which many
generations have benefited especially those with long service and a
high salary. Long serving executives did well but those with much
shorter service much less well. “I just
or unfortunately, was Sellafield’s highest paid employee and
30 years’ service with the company.
“It is also
unjust to claim that ‘they took their windfalls to other jobs
the industry.’ None of them work in Cumbria and only one
said to have found permanent employment in the UK nuclear industry. One
has had to move to America. One has moved to London for a job outside
the industry. One works for an international project company on all
sorts of projects, some nuclear. None of the other
have found permanent employment but have either only worked in a series
of temporary jobs, all over the country, or have not worked at
may be missing
something, but surely the assets being sold off belong to the taxpayer,
not the NDA. The employees are already being amply rewarded
their efforts, so why does the taxpayer have to pay twice?
site is under continual development. We intend, by using
site, to show the pro-nuclear propaganda to be the
pack of lies and half-truths that it is. It is
acknowledged that there has to be a change in the way in which we use
energy, and that the continued use of resources and production of CO2
cannot continue. We do not accept that the Cumbrian coast is
suitable place for what amounts to an overgrown industrial estate
stretching from beyond Barrow-in-Furness to Maryport. We do
accept that it is prudent to produce the most toxic substances known to
mankind and store them in vats until technology permits their safe
disposal some time in the future.
accept that it is responsible behaviour on anyone's
part to permit any industry to discharge such noxious substances into
the atmosphere or the sea, or to leach into the ground, or that it is
the government's rôle to permit such discharges.
site has been
compiled over more than four years, and it would be remiss of us not
express our gratitude to all who
have helped with
information - sometimes several times a
To those people, who have supplied material, inspiration, support and
information, many thanks.
here to Contact us
If you would like to know more, or if you spot any inaccuracies, please
let us know.
We will make any corrections at the earliest opportunity, with any due