The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Desperate for public support, UK govt plans to make nuclear reactors look pretty!

flag-UK‘Beautiful’ nuclear power stations can win over sceptics, says Energy Secretary Amber Rudd  The Independent 7 June 15 Britain’s new nuclear power stations and other energy infrastructure projects must be designed to look beautiful to garner essential public support, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said…..flood defences will need to be built to protect buildings, along with  weather-resistant transport, waste and water services, as climate change makes weather conditions increasingly extreme.

With so much costly construction planned it is crucial to make sure the public is on side – by making the projects visually inspiring, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary told The Independent……..
I think it is a reasonable ambition to make sure that these big projects have aesthetic appeal as well to help win the public over,” added Ms Rudd, in an interview at the Thames Barrier………
Rudd, Amber UK

Ann Robinson, of the uSwitch price comparison website, welcomed Ms Rudd’s call to visual arms. “I think she’s absolutely right. We’re a small island and it’s important to do things in a sensitive way. Public acceptability is important and the key to that is making the infrastructure as attractive as possible.”

Ms Robinson added: “A lot of these projects can be controversial and Amber Rudd is proposing to give people more say in local developments. Against this backdrop, it’s increasingly important that projects fit in with their surroundings.”……..

June 8, 2015 Posted by | marketing of nuclear, politics, spinbuster, UK | 2 Comments

Missile Envy: Pentagon might site nuclear-capable missiles in Britain

Missile envy 1Nuclear missiles could be sited again on British soil in new ‘Cold War’ with Russia Foreignboys my toys best Secretary Philip Hammond says there are ‘worrying signs’ about the increased activity of Russian forces and the UK would consider the pros and cons of taking US intermediate-range weapons By , Chief Political Correspondent  Telegraph, 07 Jun 2015  The UK could site American new nuclear missiles on British soil amid heightened tensions with Russia, Philip Hammond has indicated.

The comments raise the prospect of a return to a Cold War-type arms race with Russia over the use of nuclear missiles

The Foreign Secretary said there were “worrying signs” about the increased activity of Russian forces and the UK would consider the pros and cons of taking US intermediate-range weapons. Mr Hammond said there was “no clear sign” of an imminent attack on Ukraine but Vladimir Putin is “keeping his options open”.

But he warned against making “unnecessary provocations” against Russia, which has a “sense of being surrounded and under attack”.

Mr Hammond told BBC1’s Andrew Marr programme that Mr Putin “has not ruled out a military option”. He said: “As we go into the G7 meeting and then to the European Council later this month renewing sanctions, we have got to send very clear signals to the Russians that we will not tolerate any breach of their obligations under Minsk.”

The UK is thought to retain a stockpile of around 225 thermonuclear warheads, of which 160 are operational, but has refused to declare the exact size of its arsenal. Since 1998, the submarine based Trident programme has been the only operational nuclear weapons system in British service.

The Pentagon is reportedly considering axing a Cold War-era treaty and deploying nuclear-capable missiles in Europe in response to Russia’s breaches of international law……..

June 8, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dead nuclear reactors in Plymouth – expensive to maintain, and a cause of local anxiety

nuke-reactor-deadFears over nuclear reactors in Plymouth as UK spends £16m keeping unwanted submarines By Plymouth Herald   June 03, 2015 Campaigners have raised fears over the safety of nuclear reactors in Plymouth after it emerged the MoD is spending £16million to store old submarines it no longer wants – 12 of them in the city.

It has cost the UK £16million to store and maintain Britain’s 19 laid-up nuclear submarines over the last five years – 12 of them at Devonport in Plymouth – while a decision is being made about their future.

The boats which have been taken out of service have been kept in Plymouth since 1994 while the MoD decides where to finally store their nuclear reactors.

The BBC has obtained the figures regarding the upkeep of the submarines, seven of them in Rosyth, Scotland, from the Ministry of Defence through a Freedom of Information request.

 Devonport is currently home to 12 submarines – eight of which are still carrying their fuel load.

Another eight submarines are to leave service over the next 15 to 20 years.

The submarines are having to be stored and maintained as no location has yet been found for storage of the sub’s nuclear reactors.

A site is set to be named this year.

Ian Avent, of Plymouth campaigners Community Awareness Nuclear Storage and Radiation, told the BBC: “The big problem is that eight submarines on Devonport still have their fuel on board and that is potential for [a] disaster.”

June 4, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Time for Britain to rethink its energy programme, as European nuclear industry collapses

Unfair state aid  The new British government is already facing legal challenges from Austria and Luxembourg and from various renewable energy groups for unfair state aid for this nuclear project.

[Britain]  has not developed renewables as fast as Germany and other European neighbours—claiming that new nuclear build would fill the gap.

It now looks as though the government will urgently need to rethink its energy policy

terminal-nuclear-industryNew Energy Policy Needed as Nuclear Giants Take a Hit,TruthDig May 29, 2015 By Paul Brown, Climate News Network LONDON—The European nuclear industry, led by France, seems to be in terminal decline as a result of the cancellation of a new Finnish reactor, technical faults in stations already under construction, and severe financial problems.

The French government owns 85% of both of the country’s two premier nuclear companies  Areva, which designs the reactors, and Électricité de France (EDF), which builds and manages them. Now it is amalgamating the two giants in a bid to rescue the industry.

Even if the vast financial losses involved in building new nuclear stations can be stemmed, there is still a big question mark over whether either company can win any new orders…………. Continue reading

May 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Transport of radioactive material from Dounreay to Sellafield

TRAIN-NUCLEARflag-UKDounreay to Sellafield nuclear shipments completed The transfer of 11 tonnes of nuclear material from Scotland to England for reprocessing has been completed.

Work to move the irradiated uranium, a material used in the making of fuel for nuclear power stations, from Dounreay to Sellafield started in December 2012.

Dounreay, an experimental nuclear power complex in Caithness, is being demolished and the site cleaned up.

A further 33 tonnes of material still inside the Dounreay Fast Reactor will also eventually be moved to Sellafield.

The first 11 tonnes were transported in 32 shipments by rail.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Manchester’s cold war nuclear bunker revealed

flag-UKFrozen in time: Cold war nuclear bunker built by panicking council chiefs revealed after 50 years, [good pictures] Mirror 24 MAY 2015 BY  The never-before-seen images of the safe room cast an eerie light on the tensions of the times….It was designed to act as a safe room to protect the town’s decision-makers and civic leaders from any nuclear attack or fall-out, reports the Manchester Evening News .

Thankfully it was never used, but many thousands of people have walked into the 200ft-high tower ever since without knowing what lies beneath their feet. Today the bunker, made up of subterranean corridors and rooms, is used for storage.

The different chambers, reinforced by concrete and brick, were part of the centre’s overall design. It opened in 1977 but the bunker wasn’t publicised.

The fascinating images reveal boxes of binary code tape, which would have been used to send messages to the government, still on the floor.

Abandoned telephones and an old exchange system also give a glimpse of how the post-apocalypse survivors would have kept in contact with the world.

Spare fuses and light bulbs are revealed and abandoned sinks, desks and chairs also give a glimpse of how office equipment has changed over 40 years.

The council said only a select few people would have gained entry should the sirens have sounded – senior councillors and officers, police chiefs, engineers, doctors and communications experts……..It’s understood that the government ordered the construction of thousands of underground complexes during the Cold War.

Most have been decommissioned.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New private consortium to decommission nuclear power stations – will cut 1600 jobs

flag-UKMagnox nuclear decommissioning consortium to cut up to 1,600 jobs, Guardian, , 22 May 15  Cavendish Fluor Partnership says plans reflect ‘stepdowns’ in work at nuclear plants around UK The new private consortium that recently won the £4.2bn management contract for the decommissioning of 12 Magnox nuclear power stations has revealed plans to cut up to 1,600 jobs. Cavendish Nuclear, a division of Babcock International, plus its US partner Fluor, said the cuts reflected “planned stepdowns in the work programme” at a number of atomic sites around the UK.

The move comes amid speculation that Babcock is preparing to demand millions of pounds of extra subsidies from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on the grounds that the workload was much heavier than anticipated.


Unions expressed shock that staff, agency and contract workers would lose their jobs between now and September 2016, although the Cavendish Fluor Partnership said it would try to find some alternative posts. Eleven of the plants have already shut down and the remaining one in operation – Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales – is due to stop generating power at the end of the year.

Problems with the decommissioning of the separate Sellafield site in Cumbria have recently led to the private consortium there which includes Amec and Areva of France – being thrown off the management contract.

The 12 nuclear power sites managed by the Cavendish consortium for Magnox include Berkeley, Gloucestershire; Bradwell, Essex; and Hinkley Point A in Somerset.

EDF last month announced plans to cut 400 construction jobs at the site of the planned new atomic plant of Hinkley Point C.

The reduction in workers comes amid continuing delays over a final investment decision on the £24.5bn project as negotiations with potential investors continue to move more slowly than expected.

May 22, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, employment, UK, wastes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear power link to breast cancer

there was twice the chance of dying of breast cancer if you lived next to the Blackwater than if you lived next to the Crouch.

BREAST-CANCERBreast cancer and nuclear power – statistics reveal the link ‘they’ wanted to hide,
Ecologist  Chris Busby 18th May 2015  The link between nuclear power and cancer is real, writes Chris Busby, and revealed in the UK’s cancer statistics – if only you look for it. Previous approaches have focused on rare cancers over large, poorly selected populations. But look at common cancers among those most exposed to nuclear radiation, and the statistical evidence is overwhelming.

Do nuclear sites cause increases in cancer in those living nearby? This is the question which has always been the key to stopping the development of nuclear energy.

For if the answer is Yes, the laws would cut in; human rights would cut in. Check Mate. The nuclear industry and its supporters have always known this, just as the cigarette companies and the asbestos makers recognised their own specific nemesis.

You can argue about the economics of nuclear till you are blue in the face, but they can always move the goalposts, global warming, future security of supply, special new safe thorium reactors and so forth. But killing people with your radioactive discharges: that’s it. The End.

This week saw the publication in a peer-reviewed journal – Jacobs Journal of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine – of a study which I carried out in 2003 of breast cancer mortality 1995-2002 near Bradwell nuclear power station in Essex. Continue reading

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Reference, UK, women | 1 Comment

UK’s hunt for Trident nuclear system whistleblower

British Submariner Goes AWOL After Leaking UK Military Nuclear Secrets British Royal Navy is searching for Able Seaman William McNeilly after he leaked an 18-page report called “The Secret Nuclear Threat.”

In the document, the submariner explained a wide range of insights relating to the UK’s submarine operations, reports The Independent. It covers everything from the mundane, such as food hygiene, to more worrying topics such as hydraulics failures that prevent submarines from launching missiles. In fact, he describes submarine floods during testing that would have killed if they’d happened at sea, and writes that he “learnt that HMS Vanguard is in the worst of the worst condition.”

Elsewhere, he claims that it’s”harder to get into most nightclubs” than into sensitive parts of the Faslane submarine base on the Clyde in Scotland. “I’ve gotten through a few times by just showing my pale white room key; looks nothing like a Green Area Pass,” he wrote.

He also explains that alarms on the UK’s Trident nuclear submarine’s missile control are often muted. “I could sometimes hear alarms on the missiles control and monitoring position while lying in bed,” he writes. “I later found out that I would have been hearing them more frequently if they hadn’t muted the console just to avoid listening to the alarms.”

McNeilly — who describes himself as “an engineering technician submariner for the UK’s Trident IID5 strategic weapons system” — didn’t return from leave on 11th April. In a press release, the Royal Navy explained that it is “concerned for the whereabouts and well-being of Able Seaman McNeilly and is working closely with civilian police to locate him.” [Independent]

May 20, 2015 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Britain outsources guarding of its nuclear facilities to private company

Command and control contract for Britain’s armed nuclear police outsourced to Capita The Independent 19 May 15 A contract for the command and control centre of Britain’s heavily armed nuclear police is being outsourced to the private company Capita.

The outsourcing giant is to play a technology support role at the command centre of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, a heavily-armed special police service that protects nuclear power plants, waste dumps, and nuclear material in transit.

The deal will see Capita provide specialist support staff for the command centre’s systems and provide “enhanced support” to firearms commanders.

Most of the CNC’s officers are trained in the use of firearms and its officers are routinely equipped with assault rifles in their regular line of duty.

The force is not involved in Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, which comes under the jurisdiction of the armed forces.

Last year it was reported that a Capita-run army recruitment project beset by IT disasters and missed targets had made the firm over £100m of public money in a two-year period……….

May 20, 2015 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

UK Navy investigating Trident nuclear submatine whistle-blower William McNeilly

whistleblowerflag-UkraineRoyal Navy investigates Trident whistle-blower William McNeilly who claims nuclear programme is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ , The Independent 17 May 15 The Royal Navy is investigating claims by an apparent whistle-blower that there is a “complete lack of concern for security” that makes the Trident nuclear weapons programme vulnerable to terror attack.

The claims were made in an online post by 25-year-old William McNeilly, and included a photograph of his Navy ID card.

McNeilly said he had “sacrificed” his freedom and a well-paid career to make the claims in an 18-page report entitled “The Secret Nuclear Threat”, and that after posting it he had gone on the run.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that McNeilly was a member of the naval service, and a source said the Navy was “concerned for the whereabouts and wellbeing of AB (able seaman) McNeilly and working closely with civilian police to locate him”.

In his report, McNeilly claimed he had witnessed a host of inadequate systems and checks while training with the Trident programme, from “things like food hygiene” to failed launch tests, flooding on board submarines, fires in the missile compartment and “a complete lack of security”.

“If airport security and nuclear weapon security were both compared to prisons,” McNeilly writes, “the airport would be Alcatraz and base security would be house arrest.”

McNeilly’s report: Key claims

• Missile launch tests failed on three occasions
• Collision with French nuclear sub covered up
• Failures to carry out security checks on bags
• Computer waste representing major fire risk
• Missile safety alarms muted and ignored
• Accidental flooding of torpedo compartment
• Failure to question recording of top-secret info

McNeilly described the state of Trident security as “the biggest threat the UK faces”, and said he was only releasing “selected information” in order to avoid damaging security further.

“I’m releasing this information in this way because it’s the only way I can to be sure it gets out,” he said, adding that he had “raised concerns through the chain of command on multiple occasions” and got nowhere……….

May 18, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Trident nuclear submarines plagued by security lapses: whistleblower claims “high risk”

Trident-nuclear-submarineTrident whistleblower says nuclear subs are insecure, unsafe and ‘a disaster waiting to happen’, Herald Scotland  Sunday 17 May 2015 TRIDENT submarines are plagued by serious security lapses, beset by multiple safety blunders and are “a disaster waiting to happen”, according to a nuclear weapons engineer turned whistleblower who is now being hunted by the police. William McNeilly, who says he was on patrol with HMS Victorious from January to April this year, alleges that the Trident missiles it carries are vulnerable to a terrorist attack that “would kill our people and destroy our land”. Infiltrators have “the perfect opportunity to send nuclear warheads crashing down on the UK”, he claims.

He has written a detailed 18-page report called The Nuclear Secrets, which claims to lift the lid on the alarming state of the UK’s ageing and short-staffed nuclear deterrent. He went absent without leave from the Royal Navy last week, is on the run and expects to be arrested. “This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us,” he says. “We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public. If we don’t act now lives could be lost for generations.”

The risk was “extremely high”, he told the Sunday Herald. “My information comes from good sources and I have no reason to lie. If change isn’t made, a nuclear catastrophe almost certainly will happen.”

McNeilly’s report alleges 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, based at Faslane on the Clyde. They include failures in testing whether missiles could be safely launched, burning toilet rolls starting a fire in a missile compartment, and security passes and bags going unchecked.

He also reports alarms being muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures being ignored and top secret information left unguarded.

“It’s just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist,” he says. “There were some people that I served with on that patrol who showed clear psychopathic tendencies.”

The Royal Navy has launched an investigation into McNeilly’s report, and is working with the civilian police to find him. It describes his criticisms as “subjective and unsubstantiated”, stressing that submarines never go to sea unless they are completely safe.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson MP, is demanding a full explanation and action to rectify all the failings. “These revelations, if true, are extremely concerning. It reads as a nightmare catalogue of serious safety breaches,” he said.

“They add to what appears to be a chaotic, shambolic safety culture on these aged subs. Broken or faulty equipment with no spares leading to slapdash patch-up jobs have no place in the Navy and just shows how utterly stretched it is.”

Robertson added: “Failure to follow standard safety procedures is unacceptable in any workplace but on a Trident submarine on patrol it could result in extreme tragedy, not just for those on board but indeed for the entire planet.”

McNeilly claims that there was a “massive cover-up” of what happened when HMS Vanguard collided with the French nuclear submarine, Le Triomphant, in the Atlantic in February 2009. He quotes a senior officer who was on Vanguard at the time as saying: “We thought, this is it, we’re all going to die.”

The crash dislodged high-pressure air (HPA) bottles, he says. “They had to return to base port slowly, because if one of HPA bottle groups exploded it would have created a chain reaction and sent the submarine plummeting to the bottom.”

McNeilly also outlines a litany of equipment problems, including a seawater leak, a flooded torpedo compartment and defective toilets. A missile compartment was used as an exercise gym, he alleges, and the submarine speaker system was difficult to understand.

He insists that he has been careful about what he has said publicly in order to avoid prejudicing security. He repeatedly raised concerns with his superiors but they were ignored, he says………….

“Most people know the Trident programme is a disaster waiting to happen, but they never tell the public. You’re guaranteed to lose everything, if you talk. Career, money, everything you own, your freedom, contact with family and friends.

I believe it’s in the Prime Minister’s best interest to pardon me. Prosecuting someone for alerting the people and the government to a major threat isn’t a good image for someone who serves the people.

I raised my concerns about the safety and security of the weapon system through the chain of command on multiple occasions. My concern couldn’t have been any clearer. Not once did someone even attempt to make a change.

I strongly believe that the Prime Minister and most people that defended Trident have no idea about how dire the situation is. This is not the time to judge on what they did when they didn’t know. It’s about what they do now that they know”.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Renewable energy racing ahead – nuclear power declining

It’ s harder to find real new about nuclear power, than it is for renewable energy.  Renewable energy is the future, and this website should, theoretically, be following the excitinfg developments in both large and small-scale wind and solar developments.

However – it IS “nuclear-news” – so from now on, I’m concentrating on the more strictly “nuclear” issues, and just pointing to headlines and brief notes for that other topic – however tantalising its news:

renewable_energyRENEWABLE ENERGY:

California’s Renewable Energy Plan Will Save $51 Billion a Year  on Friday, May 15th, 2015 California’s new renewable energy target, proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown during his inaugural address in January, is not only achievable: It would result in as much as $51 billion in annual savings for the state’s residents, according to an analysis by Strategen Consulting that “quantifies the economic and societal impacts” of the governor’s proposed goals.

Ahead of schedule when it comes to meeting a current goal of sourcing 33 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, Gov. Brown proposes raising the state’sRenewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) target up a big notch – to 50 percent by 2030…….


UK Renewable Energy Investment And Generation Surges In 2014, Clean Technica May 15th, 2015 by   A new report shows that renewable energy investment in the United Kingdom hit a record high in 2014, with electricity generated from renewables increasing by 20% as well.

In fact, in 2014, not only did renewable energy investment hit a record of £10.7 billion, but renewable jobs increased by 9% as well…..

Renewable energy storage will end capacity payments Capacity payments and fossil energy can be made redundant by electric cars, writes Teodora Serafimova. The European Commission recognises the important role energy storage technologies will have to play in the future energy system, both in its Energy Security Strategy of May 2014 as well as in its more recent Energy Union strategy. Bellona has long been convinced of the necessity of energy storage in the face of a rapidly growing share of renewables in the energy mix. With such storage technology quickly materialising, notably from the electric car industry, it’s time to take stock of the changes this will bring.

Energy storage does not only hold the potential for us to make better use of renewable power, but in doing so it also allows us make less use of fossil power. Being less dependent on fossil power erodes the case for subsidies like capacity payments keeping this industry alive.

Energy storage technologies, such as compressed air storage and batteries, can store low-cost renewable energy when the system experiences oversupply, then release this energy to the grid when it is more needed, such as at night in the case of solar or when the output of wind power falls below demand.

In short, energy storage gives renewable energy the flexibility it currently lacks. ……

May 16, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Safety limits relaxed at Sellafield nuclear facility

regulatory-capture-Trusting Sellafield to comply with the new operating rule to control waste stocks was like asking a fox to guard chickens,

Sellafield nuclear waste storage safety limit relaxed following accident, Guardian, , 14 May 15  Amount of radioactive waste that can be kept in tanks allowed to breach legal limits to help cope with backlog caused by an accident in November 2013. Safety limits on the storage of some of the world’s most dangerous nuclear wastes at Sellafield in Cumbria have been relaxed after an accident knocked out a treatment plant.


The government’s safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), has permitted the private company that runs Sellafield to breach legal restrictions on the amount of hot, high-level radioactive waste that can be kept in tanks. The limits are likely to be exceeded by up to 350 tonnes between April 2014 and July 2016. Continue reading

May 15, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

£2 billion fleet of jets for UK Navy to look for nuclear submarines

RAF to get £2billion fleet of jets to spot Putin’s nuclear submarines off British coast, Sunday Express BRITAIN’S defences are to get a £2billion boost in a bid to counter the ongoing threat from Russian armed forced. By ROB VIRTUE, May 10, David Cameron and George Osborne will be persuaded to part with the cash to buy a fleet of jets to hunt Vladimir Putin’s nuclear submarines, which have regularly been patrolling the coast of Britain in recent months.

Often the Russian underwater vessels have only been discovered after colliding with private boats and now Government ministers are eager to plug the gap in defences with aircraft totrack them.

Around a dozen top of the range planes will be bought for the RAF over the next two years.

These are likely to include the US developed Boeing Poseidon P8, designed for ‘long-range anti-submarine warfare’ and worth around £150million each.

The P8 jets look for magnetic fields under the water’s surface.

Despite the promise of more austerity cuts in the coming months, the Government has been persuaded to invest in submarine detection …….

May 13, 2015 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment


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