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Research shows link between civil and military nuclear in UK


Major attention is being given to research by Prof Andy Stirling and Dr Phil Johnstone, which shows there is a link between the UK’s military submarine-related nuclear activities and civil new build agendas.

They identify that the need to maintain submarine nuclear capabilities in the military sector has played an influential role in the UK’s decisions to champion nuclear power. The findings have been profiled in a Guardian news story (12 October 2017), which highlights the potentially “extremely expensive” cost of this subsidisation for electricity consumers.

In investigating military documentation, the authors found previously unacknowledged links between civil and defence programmes. Their findings provide a compelling explanation for the UK’s resolute commitment to new nuclear energy projects (such as Hinkley Point C), despite the widespread criticism of its economic and technical feasibility.

In written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Inquiry on Hinkley Point C, Prof Stirling and Dr Johnstone highlighted a number of “significant but neglected queries” over public accounting for UK nuclear power. They wrote:

“The issues arise in the problem that growing recognition of the seriously unfavourable costs of HPC [Hinkley Point C] when compared with other low carbon energy, appears to be having little effect on the intensity of UK Government commitments to nuclear power. We outline evidence that the persistence of these nuclear attachments, despite adverse economics, is partly due to a perceived need to subsidise the costs of operating and renewing the UK nuclear-propelled submarine fleet.

This military nuclear infrastructure shares with civil nuclear power a necessity to maintain a large-scale national base of nuclear-specific skills, research, training, design, engineering, industrial and regulatory capabilities. Without large revenue flows to this highly-specialised joint industrial base from civil nuclear supply chains ultimately funded by electricity consumers, we document clear concern in defence policy debates, that the costs of UK nuclear submarine capabilities could be insupportable.”

In the Committee’s subsequent oral evidence session (9 October 2017), its Chair Meg Hillier MP drew on this evidence to question Stephen Lovegrove CB (Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence) on whether “Hinkley is a great opportunity to maintain our nuclear skills base” (Q84).

His response confirmed that there had been talks with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the subject, and acknowledged that:

“As a nation we are going into a fairly intense period of nuclear activity… We have at some point to renew the warheads, so there is very definitely an opportunity here for the nation to grasp in terms of building up its nuclear skills… it is going to require concerted Government action to make it happen.” (Q84-5)

Through a series of written questions to the Ministry of Defence, Caroline Lucas MP (Leader of the Green Party) has been querying “the relevance of UK civil nuclear industry skills and supply chains to the maintaining of UK nuclear submarine and wider nuclear weapons capabilities”. Responding to these, Harriett Baldwin MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Defence) has confirmed that:

“We engage regularly with counterparts from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), other Government Departments and industry, to address the issue of nuclear skills across both the defence and civil nuclear sectors, and will continue to do so… In all discussions it is fully understood that civil and defence sectors must work together to make sure resource is prioritised appropriately for the protection and prosperity of the United Kingdom.”

Speaking at the annual Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) Conference on 14 October 2017, Mrs Lucas MP declared:

“Nobody could possibly justify Hinkley C… The only way that I think we can explain the ideological obsession with Hinkley – with nuclear power – is because of the cross-subsidy between nuclear power and nuclear weapons… I’ve just been asking some parliamentary questions in the last few weeks, helped very much by Professor Andy Stirling at Sussex University. And now it’s getting on the record, coming back from the government – the fact that they are conceding, effectively, that our heating bills are directly subsidising nuclear weapons… So let us never forget that those two things are utterly interconnected.”

Rolls Royce have also formally acknowledged the benefits that a civil nuclear reactor programme has for the military nuclear submarine industry, in their bid to secure governmental funding for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

Last autumn, to coincide with the government’s green light for Hinkley Point C, Prof Stirling, Dr Johnstone and Emily Cox published a SPRU Working Paper titled ‘Understanding the Intensity of UK Policy Commitments to Nuclear Power.’ The report illuminates many important cross-overs between UK submarine and civil nuclear supply chains.

Begun in 2013, as part of the ESRC-funded Discontinuity in Technological Systems (DiscGo) project, Prof Stirling and Dr Johnstone’s research has gained significant UK and international coverage in the New York Times, Die Tageszeitung (Germany) and the Climate News Network. Their findings have since featured several more times in the Guardian; see: Hinkley Point: the ‘dreadful deal’ behind the world’s most expensive power plant (21 December 2017), Military secrets of our nuclear power plants (27 December 2017).

Report source; SPRU Science Policy Research Unit


July 6, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. The people who want plutonium and that filth are really insane.

    Comment by Ken | July 6, 2018 | Reply

    • I completely agree with you there Ken.. 🙂 Namaste

      Comment by arclight2011part2 | July 6, 2018 | Reply

    • IMO not insane – Follow The Money

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | July 6, 2018 | Reply

  2. All that money to play with. All the things they have. All the places they go. They want to have this ugly filth around. They are not afraid of it, or all the other contaminants, from it, spread thrpughout teir cities and countryside.

    To them, it must be an abstraction. Something separate, that cannot get to them.

    Just a little in your lungs, body means a slow awful death or, maybe a quick awful death.

    Comment by Ken | July 6, 2018 | Reply

  3. Our health in the USA IS BADLY DEGRADED. i have seen towns with nuclear insults in the west like Monticello Utah. Like Los Alamos New Mexico. Towns by Vegas. FALLON nevada. Uranium towns in colorado.

    Towns, Down wind from Nuke Blasts. Major nuclear dumps. Uranium mines and mills everywhere. Bombs detonated underground to free natural gas. In those small isolated towns, one can see the future of mankind. Huge cancer clusters. Multiple birth defects , easily visible in the larger than usual special ed classes. It has occurred for 60 years in towns of 6000 people or less. In tricities and wala wala washington . I east idaho. In west wyoming. On the navajo res in n Arizina
    Tiwns with much higher than normal incidence of down sydrome, fragile x sydrome, Autism, cf, cerebral palsey, genetic illness passed down into future generation. Ungodly high incidence of childhoud cancer.

    3/4 of population of small towns, with thyroid disease. Huge swaths of men, with prostate cancer. Many people dying in middle age or earlier, from lung cancers, ovarian cancers, breast cancers. Half a graduating high school class wiped out before age 55!

    The united states is already the most radionuclide polluted country in the world. Nuclear catastrophes, like the nuclear waste on fire at the Saint Louis Dump. Massive amounts of plutonium, cesium 237, now contaminating the Columbia River, from Ruined tanks at Hanford. Lake mead and the colorao full of poison from bomb detonations, mines, mills, fracking.

    Multiple nuke reactors east of the mississippi and in the Midwest are leaking like a sieve. They are dumping large amounts of tritium hydroxide, and other radionuclides into the envronment.

    Trump wants more plutonium, so he has kicked in a third wave, of extraction, contamination, and massive pollution into the USA. TRUMP has deregulated and prolonged old dangerous nuclear reactors.

    There are dangerous waste shipments coursing, through the US interstate system, to be parked in massive shallow excavations, over aquifers in the USA.

    There were two huge casks of nuke waste that exploded in Idaho resently.
    Idaho will start a large fast breeder again soon. One like the smaller ones, that melted down in idaho before and at santa susana in california.

    Another big wave of contamination all over the usa, with
    3 or 4 meltdowns like three mile, Fuel pools catching fire, massive nuclear waste accidents and runoffs are likely now. There are 100, old beat-up reactors, across the USA. They have fuel pools chocked full of hi level-nuclear waste.

    Soon 3/4 of the towns in america, could be like the cancer clusters, in the usa, in the small towns, I started this piece with. In those towns you can see the results. There are higher incendents of things like leukemia mortality around nuclear reactors but, the gross effects of massive nuclear pollution are not as apparent or easy to quantify in larger, more densely populated areas. That will change as the gross saturation and pollution increases. Things like chernobyl heart in belaruss will be apparent.

    Most of the US will be like mayak, like pripyat, like much of belarus soon. It will be Like much of northern Japan and probably Tokyo soon. The massive gulper money mongers and politicians do not care.

    Comment by Ken | July 6, 2018 | Reply

    • I think you meant cesium 137 not 237? The UK has 1000 abandoned nuclear contaminated sites.. The US likely has alot more (added to pollution from Uranium mining processes..

      Comment by arclight2011part2 | July 6, 2018 | Reply

      • Yes. Cesium 137. Unfortunately i have seen at least a hundred sites in the usa. Thanks. The things i saw and brought up are not discussed. I have seen it from being in the middle of it. Working in clinics. If someone had the time, to sort it out around someof those 1000 sites, in the UK, your eyes would be opened arclight. Most articles sensationalize places like kazakhstan, mayak, pripyat but there are just as many down played paces in every major nuclearist country in the world.

        Comment by Ken | July 7, 2018

  4. I do not have the best intenet or typing device many times

    Comment by Ken | July 7, 2018 | Reply

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