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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Scotland’s tax-payers to pay for new nuclear power?

text-my-money-2flag-ScotlandRow over contract to help nuclear firms, Herald Scotland, Daniel Sanderson Wednesday 23 July 2014

 FIVE years ago the First Minister branded nuclear power “a busted flush”.
 However, Scottish Enterprise, the quango that received £233million in Scottish Government funding in 2012-13, apparently holds a different view to that of its paymasters.

The body is to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds of public cash in a project aimed at helping Scottish firms move into the nuclear power industry.

As part of its Nuclear Supply Chain Phase II initiative, Scottish Enterprise has advertised for expert companies to come forward to assist Scottish firms to win business in the sector. In a document provided to firms interested in winning the three-year contract, worth up to a third of a million pounds excluding VAT, it says that as well as extensive opportunities for businesses to play a role in decommissioning old plants, there is also “considerable commitment to nuclear new-build” in the UK and overseas that could be exploited.

The contract has been offered despite Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing saying last year that support for nuclear was “misguided” after the UK Government announced it planned to build another plant in England. Mr Ewing added that economic powerhouses, including France and Germany, were scaling back or eliminating their reliance on the power source and that investment should instead be diverted to renewable energy sources.

While Scottish Enterprise said it believed the “vast majority” of new activity would involve the decommissioning of old plants, environmentalists have hit out at the agency, accusing it of wasting public money by “chasing the nuclear dream”.

Meanwhile, opposition MSPs have accused the SNP of “hypocrisy” after details of the project emerged. Murdo Fraser, energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The Scottish Government continually argues that nuclear power is declining, yet is now looking for a firm to deliver a programme designed to help businesses take advantage of nuclear power opportunities.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends Of The Earth Scotland, said he believed the Scottish Enterprise project was “a waste of time”, and said the cash would be far better spent on creating jobs in green energy. He said: “Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy but has no useful expertise in new nuclear. Scottish Enterprise should concentrate on playing to our strengths in renewables and not be distracted by the nuclear white elephant.”……..http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/row-over-contract-to-help-nuclear-firms.24830973

July 23, 2014 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

The whopping great financial mess that is Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant

flag-FinlandFrench auditors slam Areva for Olkiluoto nuclear project in Finland http://yle.fi/uutiset/french_auditors_slam_areva_for_olkiluoto_nuclear_project_in_finland/7358244?origin=rss 16 July 14, The French nuclear contractor Areva is at the centre of a storm of criticism by French government auditors over its operations. Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK says it still hasn’t received all of the new paperwork relating to nuclear safety for the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant currently at a standstill in western Finland. And the company remains locked in a cycle of recrimination with the plant’s owner. A 122-page report by French government auditors has not yet been officially published but the financial paper Les Échos has quoted liberally from the account, which details major fiascos, billion-euro losses and the dissemination of misleading information by the French nuclear power plant contractor Areva.

The progress of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Eurajoki western Finland forms a central part of the narrative. Areva was selected in 2003 — as part of the Franco-German joint venture Areva-Siemens — to deliver the Finnish nuclear reactor.

“Areva was ready to do anything to win the Olkiluoto deal, including downplaying project management deficiencies. They had also previously delivered and commissioned nuclear reactors but they had never undertaken an entire project end-to-end, since the main French contractor had always been the EDF Group (Électricité de France), explained Les Échos editor in chief Pascal Pogam in an interview with Yle’s A-Studio current affairs program.

Based on accounts by parties such as the Olkiluoto owner-operator, the Finnish power consortium Teollisuuden Voima or TVO, Areva is said to have lied about the possibility of constructing a nuclear reactor within the agreed schedule.

reactor-Olkiluoto_14

“During the time of the Olkiluoto agreement Areva and Siemens (Areva’s former German joint venture nuclear partner) assured TVO that they had the required expertise to see the enterprise through to the end. On hindsight, TVO has speculated that Siemens and Areva minimised their difficulties and covered up their shortcomings to get the deal,” Pogam continued.

Bottomless pit of financial losses However the Olkiluoto reactor turned out to be a bottomless pit of financial losses for Areva, with the project languishing seven years behind schedule and racking up nearly 3.5 billion euros in deficits for the French contractor.

French government auditors took Areva to task for its inability to accurately estimate the cost and timetable required to complete the project.“It’s difficult to blame Areva alone, which is now locked in a futile dialogue with TVO and STUK. The parties can no longer communicate. The future of the project remains wide open because there seems to be no solution to the dispute. Currently Areva and TVO are only communicating via their lawyers. That’s not helping and no one can say when the project will be completed or at what cost,” Pogam remarked.

“According to the report the uncertain situation could get out of hand and the final bill could be massive. However I wouldn’t blame Areva entirely, it’s more a question of each side holding the other to ransom in a situation where each is equally to blame,” Pogam added.

Escalating arbitration battle

For the last couple of years Areva and TVO have been engaged in a pitched arbitration battle before the International Chamber of Commerce, with each side ratcheting up compensation claims over construction delays and unpaid fees.

In late October last year, Areva slapped an additional 700 million euros to bring its claim to 2.6 billion euros for the voided nuclear reactor deal. In its turn, TVO has claimed 1.8 billion euros in compensation for construction delays.

Meanwhile according to the most optimistic estimates the reactor is expected to be ready for firing up at the beginning of next year – many years behind the original completion schedule of 2009. However TVO has said Olkiluoto 3 won’t be operational until one year later in 2016 – and it’s anybody’s guess what the final price tag will be.

July 16, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

New law on renewable energy funding passed in Germany, accepted by European Union

flag-EUGerman green energy law clears final hurdle http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL6N0PM3KB20140711?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0  FRANKFURT, July 11 (Reuters) – Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved on Friday revamped legislation on funding renewable energy, clearing the way for the law to come into force on Aug. 1.

The far-reaching law, which seeks to cap support payments for renewables without jeopardising the country’s shift towards a low carbon economy, had hung in the balance, after months of negotiations, due to wrangling with European Union authorities over its compatibility with state aid guidelines.

But Brussels granted its consent this week, providing encouragement to the Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s 16 states, to vote through the reform package to the renewable energy act (EEG) in its Friday session.

“Germany has embarked on a long project to derive the energy supply of an industrial nation from renewable energy sources, which is historically without parallel,” Stefan Wenzel, environment minister of the state of Lower Saxony, told the Bundesrat.

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, approved the reform package two weeks ago. On Wednesday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Berlin had allayed concerns that German industry might receive unfair advantages through exemptions from obligatory payments towards the cost of funding green energy. He also said Germany had cleared up two other remaining issues – the need to bring foreign renewable power into planned auctions for green energy from 2017 and to change the system of allowing industrial companies, which produce their own power, full discounts on the EEG after that date.

In 2011 Germany embarked on a strategy to accelerate its exit from nuclear energy in light of Japan’s Fukushima crisis, stepping up its renewables expansion and lowering its dependence on power stations that run on gas and coal.

Green energy from sources such as wind or sunshine has already reached a share of 25 percent of Germany’s power mix and is meant to reach 45 percent by 2025 and 60 percent by 2035.

The EEG reform is aimed at lowering the cost of green energy funding for consumers, among a number of other elements that will be introduced in future, including compensation of conventional producers for loss of market share. (Reporting by Markus Wacket and Vera Eckert; Editing by Gareth Jones)

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Threat of nuclear strike against Ukraine ?

Russia Threatens Nuclear Strikes Over Crimea http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/russia-threatens-nuclear-strikes-over-crimea/ Russian FM Lavrov warned that Russia could resort to nuclear weapons if Ukraine tried to retake Crimea.By Zachary Keck July 11, 2014 A senior Russian official appeared to issue a nuclear threat against Ukraine over Crimea on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, numerous senior level Ukrainian officials have promised to return Crimea to Ukraine despite Russia’s decision to annex it earlier this year. Following his appointment as Ukraine’s new minister of defense, Colonel General Valeriy Heletey promised the parliament in Kiev he would work to retake Crimea from Russia.

“Believe me, there will be a victory parade — there will be for sure — in Ukraine’s Sevastopol,” Heletey said, referring to the capital city of Crimea. At the same hearing, Heletey pledged he “will work day and night for restoring the military capability of our armed forces.” Similar pledges have been made by Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, who has promised to oversee the “revival of the army,” as well as Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

When asked about these comments at a press conference on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded, “If it comes to aggression against Russian territory, which Crimea and Sevastopol are parts of, I would not advise anyone to do this.” He then added, “We have the doctrine of national security, and it very clearly regulates the actions, which will be taken in this case.”

This is a not-so-subtle threat to use nuclear weapons to retain Crimea. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s conventional military capabilities have deteriorated significantly. As a result, it has come to be increasingly reliant on nuclear weapons to protect its national security. This has been reflected in its post-Cold War military doctrines, particularly the ones since 2000. These military doctrines have greatly reduced the threshold that would needed to be crossed before Russia would resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

Most notably, Russia’s military doctrines starting in 2000 introduced the concept of de-escalation, which is “a strategy envisioning the threat of a limited nuclear strike that would force an opponent to accept a return to the status quo ante.” In other words, Russian military doctrines have said that Moscow will use limited nuclear strikes in response to conventional military attacks against it. The most recent military doctrine issued in 2010, for example, states:

“The Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.”

It was this military doctrine that Lavrov was referring to at the press conference this week. As quoted above, Lavrov began by emphasizing that Moscow sees Crimea as an integral part of Russian territory. He then stated that Moscow has a military doctrine that “very clearly” outlines how Moscow would respond to threats to its territorial integrity. The military doctrine “very clearly” states that the “Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons” in these situations. This is not the first time a Russian official has issued a nuclear threat against its neighboring states. For example, as tensions rose between Russian and several former Soviet Union and Warsaw states in 2011, General Staff Chief Gen. Nikolai Makarov warned a Russian legislative body that:

“The possibility of local armed conflicts virtually along the entire perimeter of the border has grown dramatically. I cannot rule out that, in certain circumstances, local and regional armed conflicts could grow into a large-scale war, possibly even with nuclear weapons.”

To enhance the credibility of its threat to use nuclear weapons, Russia’s armed forces have conducted regular military drills since 2000 in which a limited nuclear strike is simulated. These drills have become increasinglycommon since the Ukraine crisis began. In some cases, Vladimir Putin has ordered snap drills simulating nuclear strikes.

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Arrests of peace activists blocking nuclear convoy in Scotland

radiation-truckPeace Activists Detained For Blocking Nuclear Convoy, Morning Star  Saturday 12 July 14, TH FOUR peace activists were arrested yesterday after blockading a military convoy transporting nuclear weapons through Scottish streets under the cover of darkness. The four were picked up after briefly halting nuclear warhead-laden lorries near Loch Lomond in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Monitoring group NukeWatch said they believed the four converted lorries — part of a convoy of more than 20 military vehicles — were carrying around half a dozen warheads.

The convoy snaked up the M74 through south Glasgow en route to Coulport — part of a Ministry of Defence project to overhaul its nuclear arsenal.

Scottish CND co-ordinator John Ainslie said it was hard for people in Glasgow to imagine the peril they had endured while they slept. …..

an internal report from a 2011 dry run released last June described “major difficulties,” with emergency services at the scene in Glasgow stranded without help from the ministry’s weapons experts for more than five hours.

An MoD spokesman declined to comment on the movement of material “for national security reasons.” http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-271d-Peace-activists-detained-for-blocking-nuclear-convoy#.U8HV5ZRdUnk

July 12, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Ministry of Defense finally to clean up Dalgety Beach radiation

flag-ScotlandMoD will clean up radiation at Dalgety Bay beach The Scotsman by DAVID MADDOX 11 July  2014 THE Ministry of Defence is to pay an estimated £10 million to clean up radiation on a Fife beach, following a campaign by local residents concerned about health risks.

Some 3,500 radioactive particles have been found at Dalgety Bay over the past two decades.

The material is thought to date back to when parts of Second World War aircraft, including their radiated instruments, were dumped at the site.

Defence chiefs have now confirmed that work will include removing the particles from the beach, and building a wall and slipway to prevent other radioactive material from reaching the area.

It should start later this year and will continue in phases until 2018.

A report on the work does not specify costs but local MP and former prime minister Gordon Brown believes the clean-up total will be around £10m.

“After three years of intensive campaigning, including four debates in the House of Commons, I welcome the Ministry of Defence agreement to spend what I believe will be £10m to clean up the pollution caused by radiation at Dalgety Bay,” he said.

“The pollution resulted from dumping 800 wartime planes with radiated dials and other hazardous equipment into the sea. Subsequent coastal erosion has brought the pollution to the surface.”………

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said it was not a “complete solution” but praised the local community for their campaigning.
He said: “Some radioactive waste will be left entombed on site but it should finally put an end to the danger faced by humans and wildlife in what should be one of Scotland’s more attractive seaside spots.
“All credit to the community and to Sepa for their dogged persistence in getting the MoD to finally do the right thing.”
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said: “Residents of Dalgety Bay and Fifers from across the Kingdom have been waiting decades for this mess to be cleaned up, so I am glad that some progress has been made on this issue and that the MoD has finally accepted
responsibility.” http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/mod-will-clean-up-radiation-at-dalgety-bay-beach-1-3473378

July 12, 2014 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Secretive transport of nuclear bombs through centre of Glascow

logo CNDThis is the stuff of nightmares, says CND’s Scottish co-ordinator http://glasgow.stv.tv/articles/282363-nuclear-weapons-driven-through-scotlands-streets-cnd-chief-john-ainslie/?fromstreampost=141179By David Bateman on Friday 11 July 2014  Here John Ainslie, Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) coordinator, blogs about claims of nuclear weapons being driven through Scotland’s streets, and why his group opposes it.

‘In the early hours of this morning I was driving along the M74, through the centre of Glasgow, just behind a convoy of more than 20 military vehicles.

At the heart of the convoy were four special transporters carrying nuclear bombs which had a total explosive power equivalent to 42 of the bombs which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Nuclear weapons are kept out of sight as much as possible. They are normally onboard Trident submarines or in an underground bunker at Coulport, overlooking Loch Long. But from time to time they need to be moved.

This means driving them by road across the length of Britain from the nuclear weapons factory at Burghfield in Berkshire to the Clyde. Britain is currently upgrading all the Trident bombs. The latest convoy was probably carrying these upgraded Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The detonation of just one Trident bomb would cause far more destruction than was seen in Japan at the end of the Second World War. There would be virtually no survivors within one mile of the explosion. Lethal radiation would be scattered for hundreds of miles, and eventually around the globe.

This is only the second time that the nuclear convoy has taken this route, along the M74 then across the Erskine Bridge. But the Ministry of Defence will be planning many more convoys in the future and some will be scheduled to travel through the heart of Scotland’s largest city.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

A few drivers who were on the motorway in the earlier hours will have seen the flashing lights, the line of police vans and the armoured cars escorting Trident. But most residents of Glasgow would have been in their beds, oblivious to the nuclear arms travelling through Rutherglen, Kinning Park, Bellahouston and Renfrew as they weaved their way along Glasgow’s newest motorway.

In 2011 the Ministry of Defence held an exercise which simulated a nuclear convoy accident at the Raith interchange on the M74. This envisaged a situation where plutonium was released, but there was no nuclear explosion.

Their post-exercise report showed that emergency services were unable to deal adequately with the scenario and that coordination of the response was disorganised.

The timing of the latest convoy shows that the MOD are not really concerned about public safety. They choose to send these vehicles across England on the one day that firefighters were on strike.

The MOD may try to keep these nuclear lorries out of sight, but they can’t keep them out of the minds of the people of Glasgow, a city which has a long tradition of opposing nuclear weapons.’

A MoD spokesperson said: “We take the safety and security of our nuclear convoys very seriously, and at no point has the security of nuclear materials been put at risk.”

July 12, 2014 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

32 years of the peaceniks’ camp and civil disobediance against nuclear weapons

flag-ScotlandTHESE HIPPIES ARE CAMPING IN THE FOREST TO RID SCOTLAND OF ITS NUKES VICE By Alex Rodin Jul 8 2014 On the banks of Gare Loch, on the west coast of Scotland, a bunch of anti-nuke hippie peaceniks are taking on the might of the British armed forces and its nuclear submarines by living in camper vans. Faslane Peace Camp has occupied the roadside verge preceding HM Naval Base Clyde, home to the UK’s Trident nuclear missile submarines, for 32 years—more than three decades of sleeping in the forest in an effort to rid the UK of nukes.

poster-cut-Trident

This year’s independence referendum, which would make Scotland its own country, raises the possibility that the Scots could actually get rid of the nukes on their soil. Meanwhile in London, the government is striking a deal tying the UK’s nuclear future closer to the US. I decided it was a good time to pay the camp a visit. ……

Last March, two Peace Campers, Heather Stewart and Jamie Watson, broke into the naval base and climbed onboard a nuclear powered Astute submarine. They stood on the deck ringing its bell as a gaggle of surprised police officers came running.

“How the hell did you get in here?” one of the officers asked as they were being arrested. It seemed a logical question, given the razor wire, the security cameras, the motion-activated alarms that run along the perimeter fence, and the patrols that circle the base……

having been arrested and after 33 hours in custody, the pair emerged to discover that nobody else cared. The media wasn’t much interested in publicizing their exploits and, except for some backslapping within the peace movement, the world moved on without noticing………

The activists are holding out for Scottish independence. September’s referendum is returning Trident to the limelight as the Yes Scotland campaign dangles promises of a nuclear-free country. But in London, government ministers have other plans. They’ve been quietly meeting with their American counterparts to renegotiate a treaty that would wrap up Britain’s nuclear future with the United States. The 1958 UK-US Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) has long facilitated cooperation between the US and the UK on nuclear technology. However, according to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), “collaboration between the two countries under the MDA has evolved to the extent that the boundary between the design and construction of UK and US warheads has blurred.”

RUSI paper published in March explained that many of the “components within the UK’s current warhead are supplied by the US under the MDA, and the UK presently lacks the capability to develop domestic alternatives.” As such, “The future of the UK’s nuclear arsenal is therefore inextricably linked to that of the US.” The revised MDA is likely to be signed any day now…….http://www.vice.com/read/faslane-scotland-peace-camp-independence-619

July 9, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s nuclear reactors now a perilous risk, with the threat of civil war

exclamation-flag-UkraineThe Chilling Threat Of Nuclear Civil War In Ukraine http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article46340.html  Jul 07, 2014 By: Andrew_McKillop Playing With Fire The WNA-World Nuclear Association which tirelessly promotes nuclear power presents Ukraine as a poster child of civil nuclear power. It says that after construction of Ukraine’s first-ever civil nuclear power complex – at Chernobyl in 1970 – Ukraine’s present 15 NPPs (nuclear reactors) grouped into 4 major complexes operated by State monopoly NNEGC Energoatom had a combined capacity of about 13 900 MW and were all VVER-type reactors (mostly VVER-320s) of Soviet design. Using 2009 data, they produced about 48% of Ukraine’s total electricity output of 177 billion kWh of which 4 billion kWh was exported.

Nearly all major Ukrainian NPP complexes are in western Ukraine – with the exception of Zaporijia or Zaporhyzhya, located about 125 kms north of Crimea. Flight time from Crimea in a Mikoyan-Gourevitch 29 (Mig-29 or Su-29) carrying up to 5000 kilograms weight of bombs and missiles can be estimated at about 3 minutes and 24 seconds. Russia’s Crimean forces also have the later navalised enhanced Mig-29K codenamed Fulcrum-D by Nato, with a combat radius of about 1800 kilometres.

The net total capacity of the six-reactor Zaporija complex is given by the WNA as the highest in Europe, at 5718 MW, with the Graveslines complex near Dunkerque in France, operated by France’s EDF as second-largest in Europe at 5400 MW. The radiological inventory of either of these complexes is hundreds of times the radiological output of the single Hiroshima atom bomb of 1945.

Apart from Zaporija-6, all other VVER-320 reactors at the complex were built before 1989 with a 30-year design lifetime. Rather than decommissioning these reactors, and as in other European countries, Ukraine has sought to extend their operating lifetimes. As of March 2013, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) announced a 300 million euro loan for reactor safety upgrading to the end of 2017, matching another 300 million euro loan from Euratom.

In total, EU atomic agencies have provided or intend to provide 1.4 billion euros to extend Ukrainian reactor lifetimes by investing in “up to 87 safety measures addressing design and safety issues”, including national emergency preparedness for NPP accident management.

To be sure, none of this includes deliberate attack by military aircraft on particularly soft NPP targets!

Unsafe (Even In) Peacetime
Soviet design VVERs have a deserved reputation for danger. Accession to the European Union of Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania was delayed solely by the question of shutting down their 8 Soviet-design PWRs (pressurized water reactors).

This was a non-negotiable condition for their entry to the EU.

However and overall in eastern Europe, 11 of the earlier RBMK series of PWRs, and 4 VVER 230s, which preceded the slightly safer 320s still operate. The RBMK series, exactly like early Westinghouse (American) PWRs was directly scaled up from graphite-moderated, water-cooled submarine power reactors. It could be called a “naked reactor” due to its critically low amounts of shielding and cladding. Apart from submarine propulsion, its other main design goal was maximized plutonium production – for bomb material – during operation. Operator safety was a minor concern!

After the Chernobyl accident in April 1986, EU governments were quick to point the finger at RBMK and first-generation VVER 230 reactors in Eastern Europe, mainly to tout the claimed high levels of safety built into Western designs. In the emotive discussions after Chernobyl, Western safety standards were taken as unquestioned yardsticks. The politically-motivated communication on this subject enabled Western governments to avoid shutting down any Western PWRs and no Western construction project was aborted by political decision, due to constant and heavy manipulation of public opinion.

In the run-up to Germany’s reunification, the government in 1989 examined the feasibility of upgrading the six VVER reactors then under construction in East Germany, one of which had just started up. For purely financial reasons the four operating V-230s at Greifswald and an earlier VVER at Rheinsberg were closed in 1990. Although the units under construction could be brought up to Western safety standards, no investor could be found to take on the re-licensing risk. Especially in Germany, the post-Chernobyl reactor safety scare led Siemens to develop the claimed “uber safe PWR’ now called the EPR. Since Siemens complete abandonment of nuclear engineering in 2011, after Fukushima, only France’s Areva continues with this uber-expensive reactor design. Following 9/11, firstly Siemens and then Areva claim that EPRs are able to resist the crash of 1 wide-bodied civil airplane.
No mention is made of potential military attack by fully-armed Mig-29s. Either singly or in groups!

Ukraine’s Nuclear Civil War
Energoatom provides a map of major reactor complexes in Ukraine, mostly located in western Ukraine
http://www.energoatom.kiev.ua/en/map_aes/.

We can note that towns focused for military repression of pro-Russian separatists by the Kiev government – Mariupol, Slovyansk, Luhansk and Donetsk – are like Crimea also about 120 to 150 kilometres from the Zaporija reactor complex. Well before the Flash Mob uprising in Kiev, former Ukrainian minister of Energy and Coal, Eduard Stawicki on January 27 stated that UN IAEA experts were going to arrive in the country with an unscheduled inspection “conditioned with the fact of threats of seizure and blocking Ukrainian thermal, nuclear and hydro power stations. We have permanent inspection regime, but now the situation is very difficult with such tension in the society”.

Since late January there have been several under-reported and nuclear-related actions in Ukraine as tension deepens, such as the brief occupation of the Zaporija complex by 40 Neo-nazi Right Sector actvists from Kiev in May in an action “designed to deter pro-Russian federalists and separatists”. From April 2014, the Kiev government has on several occasions made calls for “Western governments” to provide international monitors and “non-aligned peacekeeping forces” to protect the country’s NPPs, repeatedly stating that major attacks on NPP complexes could release more radiation than Chernobyl and Fukushima combined.

To be sure no action has resulted and all is in place for Ukraine’s civil war to “go nuclear”. The nuclear threat is with no possible doubt yet another reason why Western powers are making sur not to engage Russia in a hot war for the control of Ukraine – but the internal and domestic dynamic of civil war and Kiev’s attempt to suppress pro-Russian activists open the door to a nuclear endgame at any time.

By Andrew McKillop Contact: xtran9@gmail.com

Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author ‘The Doomsday Machine’, Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

 

July 7, 2014 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK Religious Society speaks out against Trident Nuclear Missile plan

pray-rad British Quakers reject report advising UK to retain ‘Cold War relic’ nuclear deterrent, Ecumenical News, Peter Kenny Monday, July 07 2014 Quakers in Britain strongly disagree with the conclusion of a report published July 1 that says the UK should retain its nuclear deterrent.

A group of former ministers, diplomats and generals in the parliamentary-approved Trident Commission say holding on to nuclear weapons could help deter threats to the UK’s security in future…….

“Quakers say that Trident is a relic of the Cold War and that the Trident Commission has failed to consider the legal obligations of the UK under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons,” said a Quakers’ statement after the report was released July 1.

“Quakers in Britain strongly disagree with the conclusion that Trident is necessary and urge the Commission to rethink its recommendations.”

While welcoming deeper debate around the missile issue, Helen Drewery, general secretary of Quaker Peace & Social Witness said: “The Trident Commission has failed to properly consider alternatives to Trident.

“These are weapons of mass destruction which can never be used and have proved to be a poor deterrent against acts of terror or against recent political events. Trident is a relic of the Cold War.”

The Quakers said they were disappointed the report did not address the legal and moral obligations of the UK under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

A final decision on whether to renew Trident nuclear missile system will be taken in 2016……

Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. The group is known for its  commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth. http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/british-quakers-reject-report-advising-uk-to-retain-cold-war-relic-nuclear-deterrent-25462

July 7, 2014 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK | Leave a comment

UK National Archives release chilling list of the nation’s nuclear targets

Chilling documents reveal Newquay was “probable nuclear target” during Cold War http://www.cornishguardian.co.uk/Documents-reveal-Newquay-probable-nuclear-target/story-21329076-detail/story.html  By CGAlex  July 04, 2014 RAF St Mawgan was one of 106 cities and military targets the UK government thought would be hit in a nuclear war with the USSR in the 1970s, according to documents released by the National Archives.

During the cold war, a list of the places thought most likely to come under nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was agreed by the intelligence services, military commanders and the Cabinet Office under Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. The list of “probable nuclear targets in the United Kingdom” approved by the Cabinet Office was issued to defence chiefs marked “top secret” by air commodore Brian Stanbridge in May 1972. It included 38 towns and cities, 37 UK and US air bases, 25 control, communications and radar facilities and six naval sites. Experts expected London to be devastated by two to four bombs of up to five megatons each exploding over the city.
Map-UK-nuclear-targets-1970
Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham were each said to be in line for one or two “airbursts” of up to five megatons – 333 times more powerful than the 15-kiloton US nuclear bomb that flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, killing 140,000 people. According to military planners, some of the UK’s more remote regions could also have been blasted. RAF St Mawgan, near to Newquay, was down to be hit by a three-megaton bomb. A military base in Plymouth was also apparently doomed as it too featured on the chilling list. Other top secret memos from 1971 said that the target list was drawn up for military planning purposes and to help “contingency planning particularly in the field of home defence.” According to former nuclear weapons design engineer Brian Burnell, who discovered the documents, the real aim was not to defend civilian targets. Military planners wanted to try to ensure that UK-based nuclear bombers survived to launch a counter-attack against the Soviet Union, he said. He added that the Whitehall planners were confused about Soviet military intentions. “I’m baffled by the omission of targets like power plants, or other major infrastructure.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: “These are historical records and like many other documents released every year by the National Archives have little or no relevance to the present day.” Read more at http://www.cornishguardian.co.uk/Documents-reveal-Newquay-probable-nuclear-target/story-21329076-detail/story.html#5Yc6go2PAiOqKmZF.99

Read more: http://www.cornishguardian.co.uk/Documents-reveal-Newquay-probable-nuclear-

July 5, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Safety and secrecy concerns about China owning and managing Britains nuclear reactors

flag-Chinaflag-UKCHINA NIGHTMARE http://tomburke.co.uk/2014/07/03/china-nightmare/ July 3, 2014 by tomburke The prospect of the Chinese becoming owners, managers and even constructors of nuclear power stations in Britain has caused anxiety in some unexpected places. Both the right and the left, united in their determination to press ahead with more nuclear, have raised objections. Carefully wrapped in a blanket of security rhetoric, their argument boils down to an Augustinian ‘Bring me nuclear, but not by them’.

Meanwhile, a truly substantial reason why we should worry about Chinese involvement in the nuclear industry is yet to be noticed by anyone but the French Nuclear Safety Authority. They have just complained publicly about the lack of communication with their Chinese counterparts. Explaining this to the French Parliament they pointed out that ‘one of the difficulties in our relations is that the Chinese safety authorities lack means. They are overwhelmed.’

This led one of the French regulators to worry that ‘It’s not always easy to know what is happening at the Taishan site.’ (where Areva are constructing a reactor of the same type as they want to build in Britain). Another French inspector reported seeing big machinery such as steam generators and pumps not being maintained at ‘an adequate level.’

So why does this matter to us? We have very good safety regulators with an impressive track record of managing nuclear facilities well. We should worry about it because the Chinese are currently building only 28 reactors at the same time. This is the fastest rate of reactor build anywhere ever. Even so, they intend to double this build rate before the end of this decade. This is likely to make ‘overwhelmed’ seem like an understatement.

The importance of a rigorous regulatory regime has long been understood by the nuclear industry to be essential to retaining public confidence. ‘ An accident anywhere is an accident everywhere.’ has long been a mantra of industry leaders. Among the many contributors to the seriousness of the accident at Fukushima were failings in the nuclear regulatory culture.

Britain’s nuclear reactor programmes may have been a regulatory success but they have been an economic failure. A former head of the then nationalised electricity industry told Parliament that the AGR programme was ‘the worst civil engineering disaster in British history’. But this had one huge, if unlooked for advantage. No-one else had reactors like them. This meant that when the accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima happened we were well placed to argue that it couldn’t happen here.

If we go ahead with the reactor at Hinkley this comfortable position will no longer be defensible. Hinkley will be a pressurised water reactor (PWR) just like most of the reactors in operation around the world and all those the Chinese are building. If the already stretched  Chinese nuclear regulators prove unable to prevent a nuclear accident in China it will have  direct repercussions here.

This compounds the gamble that the British government is taking with Hinkley. Not only are we selling 35 years of index linked tax receipts to the French government in return for electricity at twice the price we are currently paying for it but we are also placing the security of our future electricity supply into the hands of China’s ‘overwhelmed’ nuclear regulators.

If they fail to prevent an accident at a PWR in China it is very unlikely that the people of Somerset, or the rest of the country for that matter, will consent to one continuing to operate in Britain.

July 5, 2014 Posted by | China, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s $170 billion Trident nuclear missile program totally dependent on USA

Buy-US-nukesUK’s nuclear deterrent fully depends on US, cross-party commission finds Rt.com July 01, 2014 Britain’s $170 billion Trident nuclear missile program has won the support of an independent cross-party commission, but found to be totally dependent on US

Britain’s $170 billion Trident nuclear missile program has won the support of an independent cross-party commission tasked with identifying the value of the UK’s deterrent, due for renewal in 2016. This comes despite the commission’s acknowledgement of Britain’s total dependence on US systems.

The commission’s findings come as a blow to anti-nuclear campaigners, who are calling for the program to be drastically scaled back or the total disarmament of the UK’s nuclear-armed submarine fleet, arguing the money spent on an extremely costly system could be better spent on social needs and jobs at a time of austerity throughout the UK.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) estimate that the £100 billion required to renew Trident could employ 150,000 nurses, build 1.5 million homes or 30,000 new primary schools in the country………

The report notes that Britain’s deterrent is “a hostage to American goodwill.”

It adds: “If the United States were to withdraw their cooperation completely, the UK nuclear capability would probably have a life expectancy measured in months rather than years”.

“The UK is dependent on the United States for many component parts of the guidance and re-entry vehicle, and for the Trident ballistic missile system itself.”………..

It is lamentable that three years of hard work has not moved on the debate around Britain’s weapons of mass destruction,” said Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) general secretary Kate Hudson, reacting to the commission’s findings.

“The Trident Commission should have listened to the majority of the British people who oppose Trident replacement – and the overwhelming majority internationally who want to see a world free of these monstrous and outdated weapons. Instead the Commission has produced a rehash of Cold War thinking which fails to acknowledge that the world has moved on.”

“The Government’s own National Security Strategy downgraded the likelihood of a state-on-state nuclear attack: prioritizing terrorism, climate change and cyber warfare. To suggest that the UK should spend £100bn on a weapons system which we could never use and which doesn’t meet the threats we face is mindboggling.”

Scottish CND also criticized the Trident Commission for supporting Britain’s continued possession of nuclear weapons, based in Scotland, suggesting the report makes September’s independence referendum more pertinent.

John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND, said: “Malcolm Rifkind, Des Browne and Menzies Campbell are stuck in the past. The future is in the hands of the people of Scotland. We can vote Yes and kick out these indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.” http://rt.com/uk/169688-trident-deterrent-dependent-on-us/

 

July 5, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s huge nuclear waste dumps in Arctic seas

wastes-1Russia announces enormous finds of radioactive waste and nuclear reactors in Arctic seas August 28, 2012 by  Enormous quantities of decommissioned Russian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste were dumped into the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia over a course of decades, according to documents given to Norwegian officials by Russian authorities and published in Norwegian media. “…..The catalogue of waste dumped at sea by the Soviets, according to documents seen by Bellona, and which were today released by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, includes some 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radiactively contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.

Bellona’s two decades on the case

“Bellona has worked with this issue since 1992 when we first revealed the dangerous nuclear waste laying at the bottom of the Kara Sea,” said Bellona President Frederic Hauge.

He acknowledged, however, that a precise accounting from the Russian side could hardly be expected given Russia’s own ignorance of the extent of the dumped radioactive waste………

Making way for oil exploration

Bellona’s Igor Kurdrik, an expert on Russian naval nuclear waste, said that, “We know that the Russians have an interest in oil exploration in this area. They therefore want to know were the radioactive waste is so they can clean it up before they beging oil recovery operations.” He cautiously praised the openness of the Russian report given to Norway and that Norway would be taking part in the waste charting expedition.

Bellona thinks that Russia has passed its report to Norway as a veiled cry for help, as the exent of the problem is far too great for Moscow to handle on its own.

The most crucial find missing

Kudrik said that one of the most critical pieces of information missing from the report released to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority was the presence of the K-27 nuclear submarine, which was scuttled in 50 meters of water with its two reactors filled with spent nuclear fuel in in Stepovogo Bay in the Kara Sea in 1981.

Information that the reactors about the K-27 could reachieve criticality and explode was released at the Bellona-Rosatom seminar in February…….http://bellona.org/news/uncategorized/2012-08-russia-announces-enormous-finds-of-radioactive-waste-and-nuclear-reactors-in-arctic-seas

 

July 2, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Germany an energy policy winner, Japan a loser

flag_germanyIn short, German policy gave renew­ables fair access to the grid, promoted competition, weakened monopolies, and helped citizens and communities own half of renewable capacity. In 2013, Germany’s nuclear generation reached a 30-year low while renewable generation, 56% greater, set a new record, reaching an average of 27% of domestic use in the first quarter of 2014 and a brief peak of 74% on 11 May.

logo-Energiewende

How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win Forflag-japan
Germany Forbes, Amory B Lovins 28 June 14 
Japan thinks of itself as famously poor in energy, but this national identity rests on a semantic confusion. Japan is indeed poor in fossil fuels—but among all major industrial countries, it’s the richest in renewableenergy like sun, wind, and geothermal. For example, Japan has nine times Germany’s renewable energy resources. Yet Japan makes about nine times less of its electricity from renewables (excluding hydropower) than Germany does.

That’s not because Japan has inferior engineers or weaker industries, but only because Japan’s government allows its powerful allies—regional utility monopolies—to protect their profits by blocking competitors. Since there’s no mandatory wholesale power market, only about 1% of power is traded, and utilities own almost all the wires and power plants and hence can decide whom they will allow to compete against their own assets, the vibrant independent power sector has only a 2.3% market share; under real competition it would take most of the rest. These conditions have caused an extraordinary divergence between Japan’s and Germany’s electricity outcomes. Continue reading

June 30, 2014 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany, Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

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