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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Britain’s government broke promise not to build nuclear reactors until a waste solution found

Ill-founded hope The belief was always that science would find some way of neutralising the dangerous radioactivity, and then it could be buried as simply as any other rubbish. This hope has proved to be ill-founded.

text-wise-owlThe British government promised four years ago it would not build any more nuclear power stations until it had found a solution to this 50-year-old problem. But it has abandoned the promise

Still No Solution to Storage of High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste  http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/25/no-solution-radioactive-nuclear-waste/ Paul Brown, Climate News Network | January 25, 2015 A private consortium formed to deal with Europe’s most difficult nuclear waste at a site in Britain’s beautiful Lake District has been sacked by the British government because not sufficient progress has been made in making it safe.

It is the latest setback for an industry that claims nuclear power is the low-carbon answer toclimate change, but has not yet found a safe resting place for radioactive rubbish it creates when nuclear fuel and machinery reaches the end of its life.

Dealing with the waste stored at this one site at Sellafield—the largest of a dozen nuclear sites in Britain—already costs the UK taxpayer £2 billion a year, and it is expected to be at least as much as this every year for half a century.

Hundreds of people are employed to prevent the radioactivity leaking or overheating to cause a nuclear disaster, and the cost of dealing with the waste at this site alone has already risen to £70 billion.

Dangerous to humans

This extraordinary legacy of dangerous radioactive waste is present in every country that has adopted nuclear power as a form of electricity production, as well as those with nuclear weapons. No country has yet solved the problem of how to deal with waste that remains dangerous to humans for thousands of years. Continue reading

January 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s toxic waste of money in attempting to clean up Sellafield’s toxic nuclear waste

 Nuclear clean-up has been a toxic waste of public money MARK LEFTLY Author Biography The Independent 23 JANUARY 2015 WESTMINSTER OUTLOOK A HAPLESS CONSORTIUM LED BY URS (NOW PART OF US RIVAL AECOM) WAS FINALLY AXED FROM LEADING THE CLEAN-UP OF CUMBRIA’S SELLAFIELD LAST WEEK.

Over-budget and behind schedule on numerous projects on what is, admittedly, one of the most hazardous nuclear detoxifications in history, this consortium had been remarkably fortunate to see its contract renewed in 2013. After it had regained its contract, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) even apologised to MPs for its dismal performance…..

money-in-nuclear--wastes

At a price tag of nearly £80bn, the Sellafield deal is one of the most significant commercialisations of what, historically, would have been public sector work. Davey, who I think has otherwise emerged from Coalition as a quietly formidable secretary of state, must ask himself why he did not block the contract extension in 2013.

It was a poor call from a minister who has otherwise earned the compliment of being a safe pair of hands. While he should be congratulated for finally getting this right, the GMB is equally correct that NMP should not stay in place any longer.

Time, on this project in particular, is money – and we cannot allow taxpayer funds to be mishandled for another 15 months. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/mark-leftly-nuclear-cleanup-has-been-a-toxic-waste-of-public-money-9997054.html

January 24, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

British tax-payers to buy into the French-led new Hinkley Pointnuclear power plant consortium

text-my-money-2flag-UKBritain to take nuclear plant share for national security, Economic Times, By AFP | 23 Jan, 2015,LONDON: Britain will have a “special share” in the French-led new Hinkley Pointnuclear power plant consortium to safeguard national security, British energy officials told a parliamentary hearing this week.

“The UK will have a special share in the consortium,” energy minister Ed Davey said on Wednesday when asked about safeguards for the project, which is led by French giant EDF and should include Chinese partners.

The Chinese firms, CGN and CNNC, are expected to get a stake of between 30 and 40 percent. ……..

Britain has placed nuclear at the heart of its low-carbon energy policy in stark contrast to Europe’s biggest economy Germany, which has vowed to phase out nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Hinkley Point contract is worth £16 billion. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/britain-to-take-nuclear-plant-share-for-national-security/articleshow/45996556.cms

January 24, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

In Scotland, renewable energy beats nuclear power

flag-ScotlandRenewable energy in Scotland exceeds nuclear, PennEnergy  January 19, 2015 Source: Vattenfall In the first months of 2014 renewable energy in Scotland exceeded nuclear and became the top source of electricity.

In 2011 the Scottish government established a target for the equivalent of 100 percent of Scotland’s electricity demand to be supplied from renewable sources by 2020. The government has also set an interim target of achieving 50 percent of its electricity demand from renewable power by 2015.The country seems to be well under way. During the first six months of 2014, renewables generated 32 percent more electricity than any other single source. In numbers, renewables (mainly onshore wind and hydro) generated 10.3 TWh, nuclear (from power stations Hunterston B and Torness) 7.8 TWh, 5.6 TWh from coal and 1.4 TWh from gas-fired powerstations.

The same period saw wind output rise by 20 percent, while hydro generation climbed by 50 percent………..

Not only onshore
Although onshore wind and hydro power are indisputable leaders in Scotland’s renewable energy mix, there is significant growth potential in offshore wind, tidal and solar power.In October 2014, the Scottish Government gave the green light for 500 wind turbines spread across four offshore wind farms in the Forth and Tay region. http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2015/01/renewable-energy-in-scotland-exceeds-nuclear.html

January 20, 2015 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

£3bn to be spent on massive Trident nuclear weapons project, without UK Parliament being consulted

submarine-missileflag-UKTrident future back on election agenda as costs spiral MPs condemn expenditure on Trident nuclear submarine successor before parliament has approved a replacement. Guardian  and Chris Sloggett, 18 Jan 15  The future of Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet is set to become a major election issue this week amid concern that billions of pounds is being spent on a successor before parliament has approved an upgrade.

MPs will not vote on Trident’s replacement, the largest UK submarine project in a generation, until 2016. But a Ministry of Defence report, slipped out over Christmas, reveals that spending on the project’s “assessment phase” is to increase by a further £261m this year. Of this money, which will be drawn down from the project’s future budget, £206m will be spent on new facilities at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness.

On Tuesday the SNP and Plaid Cymru will force a debate on the Trident upgrade, which is expected to cost £20bn in total.

Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader and defence spokesman, said: “When Labour MPs have voted with the Tories for another £30bn of austerity cuts, it is frankly scandalous that a further quarter of a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money is to be spent on Trident before parliamentarians even get a vote on whether or not to replace the system.

“In no other democracy, at a time of deep austerity and cuts, would over £3bn be spent on committing to such a massive project without consulting parliamentarians. Robbing the future budget of Trident only suggests they have already underestimated the eye-watering final cost.”

The MoD report, The UK’s future nuclear deterrent: 2014 update to Parliament, reveals that more than half a billion pounds – some £1.4m a day – was spent on the project in the last financial year alone……. report reveals that the total cost of the project’s assessment phase, at the end of which a decision on whether to proceed with Trident’s successor will be taken, will rise to £3.3bn, nearly £300m more than the MoD originally indicated.

The revelation has prompted fury from pro-disarmament parties, which could play a crucial role in any future coalition government……http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/17/trident-future-election-agenda-costs-spiral-nuclear-submarines

January 19, 2015 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK tax-payer landed with the astronomic costs of Sellafield nuclear facility

Sellafield-11flag-UKWhy Sellafield costs us all a bomb Telegraph UK 17 Jan 15 After a private consortium tried, and failed, to rescue the power station from decades of neglect, it is back in the arms of the public sector once again It’s like being in a timewarp, stuck back in the bad old days when the taxpayers’ bottomless purse was casually mined to prop up failing industries. For, amazingly, such spending has been going on – even in these post-Thatcher, austerity-driven times – in a small, if controversial, corner of Cumbria.

That corner, is of course, home to Sellafield – Europe’s biggest and most hazardous nuclear complex. This week, the Government abruptly dismissed the consortium that has been running it for the past six years, after what Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) identified as “big delays” and “huge cost overruns, rising to astonishing levels”.

Sellafield has largely dropped out of the headlines in recent years, after decades of bad publicity about radioactive accidents, managerial incompetence and business boondoggles. And that is where it likes to be, for secrecy, combined with bureaucratic bungling, has long been one of its specialities……

It was, indeed, where weapons-grade plutonium was separated from used nuclear fuel by “reprocessing”, reason enough for the secrecy if not the ineptitude. But the culture continued as the site converted overwhelmingly to civilian purposes. The plutonium – one gram of which contains as much energy as a tonne of oil – was seen as a modern philosopher’s stone, able to power “fast breeder” reactors that could produce more useful fuel than they burned.

But such reactors never worked, and were abandoned 20 years ago. Reprocessing became a technology whose time would never come, but the state-owned site and successive governments persisted in almost theological thrall to it.

They even spent £1.4 billion on a plant where the plutonium would be mixed with uranium to make fuel for ordinary reactors, but – as widely predicted – that didn’t work either: designed to produce 120 tonnes of fuel a year, it managed only 15 in a decade before closing. This was only one in a whole series of eye-wateringly expensive plants that failed to perform as expected.

As a result, nearly 130 tonnes of highly dangerous, useless, plutonium are stored onsite, at a cost of £40 million a year. More than a quarter of a ton was discharged in to the Irish Sea, much to see what would happen. Worst of all, though, as the consortium – Nuclear Management Partners – has admitted, “there is a mass of very hazardous (nuclear) waste onsite in storage conditions that are extraordinarily vulnerable, and in facilities that are well past their designated life”.

The National Audit Office (NAO) says this poses “significant risks to people and the environment”. One official review concluded that, at worst, an explosive release could kill two million Britons and require the evacuation of an area reaching from Glasgow to Liverpool.

Following the legacy of decades of nationalised neglect, it’s no wonder that in 2008 ministers, belatedly, turned to private enterprise. The consortium – comprising British, French and US companies – received up to £1.8 billion a year on a “cost reimbursement contract” that left the risk with the taxpayer. ……http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/11351587/Why-Sellafield-costs-us-all-a-bomb.html

January 19, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Revelations of UK cover-up on nuclear deals – management of Sellafield

secrets-liesflag-UKIoS Investigation: Officials plotted Sellafield cover-up The Independent 15 Jan 15 
MPs were denied the chance to challenge sweetener to private firm’s nuclear deal 
BY GEOFFREY LEAN ANDY ROWELL AND RICH COOKSON  Sunday 04 January 2009 Top civil servants and nuclear administrators colluded to prevent MPs from challenging a massive sweetener to a private business taking over the running of Sellafield, internal documents in the hands of

The Independent on Sunday reveals.

The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also disclose that the Government pushed through the handover at breakneck speed because it feared that the “unstable management arrangements” of the controversial Cumbrian nuclear complex risked its safety.

Yesterday, a leading Labour MP announced that he would try to get a parliamentary investigation into the revelations in the documents, which run to 140 pages and had been so heavily censored prior to release that many whole pages, and the names of most of the officials involved, have been systematically blanked out. Paul Flynn MP, a member of the House of Commons Public Administration Committee – which examines the performance of the Civil Service – is to ask it to inquire into what he calls “an egregious example of obstruction of parliamentary accountability”.

The cover-up arises from the awarding, late in November, of a contract to run the nuclear complex to Nuclear Management Partners, a consortium of US, French and British companies.

Although the contract is worth some £22bn, the consortium told ministers that it would walk away from the deal unless it was fully indemnified against the costs of cleaning up an accident at what is one of the world’s most hazardous nuclear sites.

Normally, as the documents repeatedly acknowledge, the Government would place a special minute before Parliament if it intended to undertake a liability of more than £250,000. MPs would then have 14 days to raise an objection, which would stop the undertaking going ahead until it had been dealt with. But MPs were not told about the Sellafield indemnity until 75 days after the last moment when they could object, even though it potentially exposes the taxpayer to liabilities running into billions.

The energy minister Mike O’Brien blames a “clerical oversight” for this. But the documents clearly show that the senior civil servants and nuclear administrators had been actively discussing how to limit MPs’ chance to object at least since early last year.

The documents have come to light only as a result of persistent pressure from Dr David Lowry, an independent environmental policy and research consultant, who is a member of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates. The documents make it clear that the Government was determined to hurry through the handover of operations at Sellafield as quickly as possible because of what one of them calls “the current unstable management arrangements overseeing these extremely sensitive sites, and their high hazard inventories”. Another adds that this instability “constitutes a genuine risk to health, safety and environmental performance” at the complex……….

Other confidential documents, received after two Freedom of Information Act applications, divulge that three local councils in Somerset asked for £750,000 to fund a planning officer and legal advice from companies that want to build nuclear power stations in their areas, raising questions about conflicts of interest, and that the officially neutral NDA considered coming out in favour of new reactors. http://www.independent.co.uk/n

January 16, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

UK government secrecy about China’s involvement in the new £24bn Hinkley nuclear power plant

secrets-liesflag-UKQuestions about UK scrutiny of Chinese nuclear tie-up By Rob BroombyBritish affairs correspondent, BBC World Service BBC News 15 Jan 15 The government is refusing to say whether it has followed its own rules in allowing China’s investment in the new £24bn Hinkley nuclear power plant, citing questions of national security.

Chinese involvement in UK energy schemes remains controversial, not least because of the historical links between its industry and the military.

The National Security Council is supposed to review critical projects.

But ministers have consistently refused to say whether this has been the case.

The BBC requested information, under Freedom of Information laws, about whether the National Security Council had discussed China’s investment in a proposed new Hinkley C reactor as part of a consortium led by French firm EDF and if it had, whether it had been approved.

In a delayed response, the government confirmed the information was held by the Cabinet Office but refused to say whether the NSC had approved or even discussed China’s expected 30-40% stake in the Somerset project or the implications of its long-term aim of building nuclear reactors of its own in the UK……….

Antony Froggatt, senior research fellow on energy and environment at the Chatham House think tank, said openness about the Hinkley project was “absolutely vital” given the scale of state financial support.

“The government should therefore make public the details of the discussions in the National Security Council and other key decisions such as within the HM Treasury on the UK Guarantee Scheme to inform the public and the wider EU about the cost, security and overall value of the project,” he said.

French firm EDF had been due to make a final investment decision in Hinkley C by the end of last year but the project is still in the balance, not least because of the debts weighing down the French reactor developer Areva.

Similar reactor projects in France and Finland are running hugely over budget and behind schedule.

Meanwhile China is poised to increase its influence in the UK energy market with reports that the state owned China General Nuclear Corporation was preparing to pay an estimated £100m for an 80% stake in three UK wind farms which would be Beijing’s first purchase of onshore wind generation capacity in the west. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-30778427

January 16, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Lawsuit against Hinkley Point nuclear power project

justiceflag-UKAustria prepares lawsuit against Hinkley Point Interfax, By Annemarie Botzki 15 January 2015 Austria is preparing legal action against the European Commission’s decision to allow a price guarantee for EDF’s £34 billion ($51 billion) Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK, the Austrian Environmental Ministry confirmed this week.

“The Austrian federal government, with the unanimous support of the Austrian Parliament, is preparing an action for annulment to the Court of Justice of the EU,” ministry spokesperson Julia Puchegger told Interfax.

The commission said on 8 October that the UK’s plans to subsidise the construction and operation of the 3.3 GW plant are in line with EU state aid rules.

The lawsuit – targeted against the EU’s state aid approval – will be filed after publication of the commission’s decision on Hinkley in the Official Journal of the EU, which is not yet available.

“Austria strictly rejects any kind of direct or indirect subsidies to nuclear power, arguing for the complete internalisation of all external costs based on the polluter pays principle,” Puchegger said. “Austria also does not consider nuclear power to be eligible for the European Fund for Strategic Investments [EFSI].”

The EFSI is a €315 billion ($372 billion) package promoted by the new commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, that also will invest in energy infrastructure projects…….

Chances of success

“I think that there are good chances for success for a lawsuit,” Reinhard Schanda, a partner at the Vienna-based law firm Sattler & Schanda, told Interfax.

The EU’s environmental and energy aid guidelines for 2014-2020, adopted in July 2014, did not include rules for subsidies for nuclear energy – which are assessed on a case-by-case basis by the commission’s Directorate General for Competition.

According to Schanda, the commission is likely to have argued in its decision – so far unpublished – that the Euratom treaty provides the basis for its decision.

“It remains to be seen whether an EU objective of common interest can derive from the Euratom treaty,” Schanda told Interfax………../ http://interfaxenergy.com/gasdaily/article/15008/austria-prepares-lawsuit-against-hinkley-point

January 16, 2015 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Sellafield clean-up mess: Amec, Areva and URS stripped of £20bn contract

money-in-nuclear--wastesflag-UKSellafield nuclear clean-up firms to be stripped of £20bn contract, Telegraph UK  Management of Britain’s most toxic nuclear waste site expected to be taken back into state hands as heavily-criticised consortium of Amec, Areva and URS is stripped of its contract By , Energy Editor 12 Jan 2015 Nuclear waste clean-up operations at Sellafield are expected to be taken back into state hands, as the private consortium managing the Cumbrian site is stripped of its £20bn contract.

The Government’s decision to axe Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), comprised of Britain’s Amec, France’s Areva and America’s URS, is expected to be formally announced on Tuesday, six years into a 17-year contract to work on decommissioning the site.

Ministers surprised many by shying away from an opportunity to cancel NMP’s contract at a formal “break point” last year, despite criticism of the consortium by the National Audit Office (NAO) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over a series of failings.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had said it was considering taking the management of Sellafield back into state hands, an option that would have required ministerial approval.

However, there were doubts about how state management of the nuclear site, the UK’s biggest and most hazardous, would work in practice. It is thought a plan has now been drawn up and the NDA will exercise its right to terminate NMP’s contract “for convenience” with 12 months’ notice.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed only that the NDA and Government had been working on “alternative options at Sellafield”……..

the costs of the clean-up have since spiralled and annual spending at the site last year was £1.8bn, implying the remaining 11 years of the contract would be worth £20bn.

NMP earns tens of millions of pounds each year for managing the multi-billion pound operations.

Lifetime costs for decommissioning Sellafield, which is likely to take more than 100 years, were last year estimated to have risen to in excess of £79bn, but the NDA warned at the time that the total would rise further.

The NAO and PAC both criticised delays and cost overruns in NMP’s management Sellafield, where failings also included accidentally sending radioactive waste to a landfill site, resulting in a £700,000 fine………http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11340733/Sellafield-nuclear-clean-up-firms-to-be-stripped-of-20bn-contract.html

January 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Sellafield Catch Up 2015

 Unacceptable levels of high level liquid waste
a terrorist attack on the Sellafield Highly Active Liquid tanks could require the evacuation of an area between Glasgow and Liverpool, and cause around 2 million fatalities
highly radioactive liquid stored in tanks contained around 2,400
kilograms (kg) of Caesium-137 compared with the 30 kg released during the Chernobyl accident
Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds
Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds (B29 and B30) abandoned 40 years ago containing
hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods pose an immediate danger to public safety
Sellafield-11highly-recommendednuClear News Jan 15  “…….2014 began with the publication of a new report (1) from the House of Commons Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) which said progress at Sellafield has been poor, with missed targets,
escalating costs, slipping deadlines and weak leadership. The MPs made a series of
recommendations focusing on the role of Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) – the
consortium of California-based URS, France’s Areva and British engineer Amec which is
overseeing the clean-up of Sellafield. The report concluded that the consortium was to blame for
many of the escalating costs and said MPs could not understand why the NDA extended the
consortium’s contract in October 2013. (2) The bill for cleaning up Sellafield had risen to more
than £70bn, according to the report.
A critical 292-page report by the accountancy firm KPMG in 2013 showed that nine of the 11
biggest projects on the site, including the construction of a storage facility for radioactive
sludge, were a combined £2bn over-budget. Seven projects were also behind schedule. (3)
Whilst the PAC highlighted poor performance in clean-up and decommissioning work,
Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) also sought to highlight how, over
the last decade, commercial reprocessing operational targets have been missed and the record
has been getting worse since the NDA took ownership of Sellafield in 2005. (4)
THORP to close in 2018

Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Reference, safety, UK | 2 Comments

2015 – A Critical Year for New Nuclear Power in UK

There is now deep uncertainty in the nuclear industry about EPR reactors and  the complexity of the design. As well as the problems in Finland, the EPR reactor being built by EDF at Flamanville in Northern France is also years late. The concern has spread well beyond the UK.
Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantnuClear News Jan 15 “………Last month we reported that it was still unclear exactly who would invest in EDF Energy’s
proposed new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) could take up to a combined 40% share of the equity; (China Daily most recently said the Chinese are discussing an estimated 35% stake (1)) EDF could take 45-50%, and Areva 10%, and discussions have been ongoing with other interested parties – possibly the Saudis (2) and Qataris (3) – who might take 10-15%.
But BuildingMagazine claimed that reports the Saudis might be interested in investing are untrue. (4) And
Areva’s financial problems make its 10% share look increasingly unlikely. (5) The Company is
struggling to survive the ongoing mess of the Olkiluoto nuclear plant in Finland. The plant is
years behind schedule and billions over budget. Areva’s losses in Finland are currently
estimated at €3.9bn and the excess costs involved are now the subject of a bitter dispute with
the Finnish utility TVO.
Now, Nick Butler writing in the Financial Times says financing of the deal has still not been
settled Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Women on the move – into employment in renewable energy

flag-UKAn increasing female presence in Renewable energy By Sarah Brooks Linked In 12 Jan 15 The energy sector has always been regarded as male dominated. As of 2013, females contributed to just 21% of the workforce for traditional energy sources such as oil, gas and petroleum. However in the renewables sector females appear to be getting ahead. In Scotland alone 28% of the employees of the renewable energy industry were female.

As the renewable industry is considered to be a relatively new source of energy and is still continuously undergoing development and investment, it opens up opportunities for females who would not normally be given a chance to work in the energy sector. Scotland are leading in the renewable sector in the UK, in 2012 almost 30% of electricity generated came from renewable sources compared to just 8% in England and Wales.

women-renewable-energy

If the rest of the UK continue to develop similar to Scotland the number of careers for women within the sector will only increase. Although females are beginning to enter the energy workforce, it is questioned whether these are still mainly in sales and business based roles rather than technical. As of 2010, only 6% of the engineering workforce in the UK were female. Granting this, in 2013 16% of the graduates in engineering degrees were female, which was a small improvement from years prior.

This slight growth over the recent years can be shown through the fact in 2013 50% of the females employed by engineering industries were aged 25-30 years old. This is indication there will be a gradual influx of a younger generation of females into technical roles within the renewable sector as engineers begin to graduate and build their careers within the industry. Initiatives are in place to help encourage and support females to pursue engineering and technical roles. A survey carried out by Atkins in 2013 on females in engineering careers found over 50% of the sample felt they were put off at school for pursuing engineering as it being portrayed as ‘too difficult’ and ‘male dominated’………

Despite the renewable energy industry still being largely dominated by males, there is still huge opportunity for females to get on board not only in business support roles but technical too. With females being gradually encouraged to pursue an engineering career we can expect to see a gradual influx of women in the renewable workforce over the next few years…….https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/increasing-female-presence-renewable-energy-sarah-brooks

January 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Cumbria’s call for clean-up of Sellafield’s ‘Legacy’ spent nuclear fuel ponds

text-radiation Sellafield Ltd’s announcement of two ‘unusual finds’ on West Cumbrian beaches in May and June 2014 (the discovery attributed to the new Groundhog Synergy 2 monitoring system introduced in May) should be ringing public health alarms in the corridors of those tasked to protect beach users from the radioactive materials routinely washed up on local beaches from Sellafield’s historic discharges to the Irish Sea.
Whilst the discovery of a radioactive stone in May – bearing the highest level of Caesium 137 yet discovered in over a
decade of local beach monitoring – is of grave concern, the subsequent discovery in June of a radioactive particle discovered on the more publicly accessible beach at Seascale requires immediate action to be taken by the Authorities to protect the general public.
highly-recommendedflag-UKSellafield Catch Up 2015  nuClear News Jan 15  Eddie Martin of the Cumbria Trust wrote to Stephen Henwood chair of the NDA in November about the spent fuel ponds. He said, given that the Sellafield “Legacy Ponds” are over 60 yearsold, contain significant amounts of spent Magnox nuclear fuel and other radioactively
contaminated nuclear waste items, are covered with water for cooling purposes, were originally
pronounced, in the mid 1970’s as for “short term storage until it can be reprocessed”, are open to
the elements, known to be leaking into the ground and, in the case of B30, are located within
150m of the River Calder, we would be obliged if the NDA would state what action it is taking
to:-
Prevent transfer of radioactive contamination, by birds or other creatures that may have
access to the open contents of such ponds, to members of the public and/or property,
outside the boundary of the nuclear licensed site.
 Prevent leakage, through the ground surrounding these old and known -to-have-leaked,
ponds, to areas outside the nuclear licensed site and, specifically, into the River Calder.
 Recover the contents of these ponds for assay and assessment of their nuclear and
radioactive status.
 Commence reprocessing of appropriate items of the recovered Magnox fuel
 Compact, encapsulate or vitrify, as appropriate, and the safe storage, of the contents of
these ponds.
 Decommission, demolish and safely dispose of the existing outdated and insecure pond
buildings, structures and equipment. (15)
In response Stephen Henwood said “we categorically refute the suggestion … that insufficient
attention or resources are being put into addressing this national priority which we inherited in
2005. Whilst we cannot turn the clock back to decisions that were made or not made in the past
and which have left us with the challenges we now face, we are determined to be the people that
resolve those challenges.” (16)

Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Danger of transporting nuclear weapons through Glasgow, especially in extreme weather

radiation-trucksafety-symbol-SmMinistry of Defence blasted for transporting nuclear weapons through Glasgow city centre during extreme weather by Scottish CND and SNP  Daily Record, Jan 13, 2015 By 

A CONVOY believed to be carrying city-destroying warheads drove through the middle of Glasgow on the M74 and M8 on Sunday night and crossed the Erskine Bridge during high winds. THE Ministry of Defence has come under fire from anti-nuclear campaigners and politicians after reports that a convoy carrying nuclear weapons travelled through the centre of Glasgow despite weather warnings.

The convoy drove through the middle of Glasgow on the M74 and M8 between 11.35pm and 11.55 pm on Sunday night and crossed the Erskine Bridge during high winds.

While the Scottish CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) maintain the convoys, which transport nuclear warheads between the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire to the UK’s fleet of nuclear-armed submarines at Faslane, are always unsafe, the campaigners condemned moving the weapons during extreme weather as reckless……….

SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland and co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament Bill Kidd added: “This practice is deeply worrying and poses an unacceptable risk to the people of Glasgow.  The idea that weapons of mass destruction are being transported through our city while we sleep is absolutely chilling – and shows the utter folly of basing nuclear weapons just 30 miles from our biggest population centre.

“The impact of any safety breach during one of these convoys does not bear thinking about. It’s time that these immoral and unsafe weapons were removed from Scotland for good.”

Glasgow Now has reached out to the Ministry of Defence for comment. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/ministry-defence-blasted-transporting-nuclear-4970433

January 14, 2015 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

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