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UK’s new nuclear plants – nearly all parts are sourced and/or funded from China and France

David Lowry’s Blog 24th May 2020, Letter from David Lowry to The Times: Your important revelation follows Johnson’s assertion to MPs on Wednesday that he is pursuing “measures
to protect our technological base.” The initiative, “Project Defend,”
is aimed at creating a new national resilience framework, which, The Times
reports, will address the current over-reliance on China for “medical and
other strategic imports.”

One such strategic import is civil nuclear
technology, on which UK is 100 per cent reliant on foreign suppliers for
the critical core reactor infrastructure, with the Hinkley C nuclear plant
under construction by French state generator, Electricite de France ( EdF)
using French technology, supported by French and Chinese capital

The next new nuclear plant in line for construction, at
Sizewell C in Suffolk, will have 20per cent of its costs paid for by
Chinese state company China General Nuclear.

The third new plant, at
Bradwell in Essex, is planned to entirely built using 100 per cent Chinese/
French designed technology, mostly imported, and backed by 62 per cent
Chinese funding. It would also be operated by a primarily Chinese technical
team. Only smaller parts for these new plants will be sourced from the UK
supply chain.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | marketing, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Britain will have to decide whether it wants nuclear power stations funded — and powered — by China.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Burma, business and costs, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

USA’s Plan to spend Russia and China ‘into oblivion’ in arms race will bankrupt only America 

May 25, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Doubts on the funding of Britain’s £18bn Sizewell nuclear plan

Times 24th May 2020, EDF submits £18bn nuclear plan. Energy giant EDF is poised to submit plans for an £18bn nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast, stoking tensions
over China’s role in Britain’s critical infrastructure. EDF is expected
to submit a development consent order (DCO) to the planning inspectorate on
Wednesday — a crucial stage in building Sizewell C, which will supply 7%
of the country’s electricity. China General Nuclear (CGN) is funding 20%
of the Sizewell development, with the French state power company
shouldering the rest of the cost, although sources said CGN may opt not to
fund its construction.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Bruce Power and the Ontario Government ordered come clean on the cost of nuclear power

Bruce Power ordered to reveal prices  Angela Bischoff, Director, 23 May 20 The Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled that Bruce Power and the Ontario Government must come clean on the cost of power from rebuilt reactors noting that “the public has a right to know what the electricity cost will be from the multi-billion Bruce NGS [Nuclear Generating Station] project as they are paying for it and will be locked into paying for it for almost 50 years.”
In her response to an appeal by Bruce Power of an earlier decision, Adjudicator Diane Smith acknowledged that the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has the power to suppress this information, but ruled that the public right to know trumped this authority.

In ruling that the pricing information should be released, the Adjudicator reasoned that “the annual price of the Bruce NGS electricity options… would allow the public to assess and potentially advocate for alternative energy sources, such as conservation, demand response, hydro power imports from Quebec, renewable generation, and energy storage. Environmental advocates need the annual price of the nuclear option as soon as possible to advocate for alternatives that may take up to 10 years to implement.”

Further, the Adjudicator found the IESO and Bruce Power rationale for suppressing information about the price of power from rebuilt Bruce reactors to be without substance. She noted that contrary to the IESO’s assertions, “I find that the amount of information already disclosed is not adequate to address the public interest considerations.” She also found Bruce Power’s assertion that disclosing the information would somehow raise electricity prices rather baffling, noting “neither the IESO nor Bruce Power provided particulars that support their concerns about this.”

It’s important to note that pricing information for all renewable energy projects in Ontario is fully public and there is no need for citizens or environmental organizations to undertake long and costly Freedom of Information appeals to see this information. Similarly, Ontario Power Generation must publicly disclose all its costing information through the Ontario Energy Board. Only Bruce Power has had the special privilege of keeping all its pricing information firmly under wraps – until now.

Thanks to the Privacy Commissioner we are optimistic we will soon see just what kind of deal Bruce Power is really offering the people of Ontario. The nuclear industry loves to talk about how it supplies “low cost power” though the numbers tell a very different tale.

This matter should never have required a multi-year effort by an environmental NGO. If the Ontario government was serious about reducing hydro costs, it would have long since ordered this information be made public to allow a real comparison of the cost of different energy options. We cannot have an informed debate about the best options for Ontario when one powerful entity and our electricity system manager cling to secrecy.


May 22, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, politics | Leave a comment

Bosses at Hinkley Point C have slashed 80 roles after employees worked throughout the coronavirus lockdown

Bristol Live 19th May 2020, Bosses at Hinkley Point C have slashed 80 roles after employees worked throughout the coronavirus lockdown. One worker, who wished not to be
named, said the news came as a ‘bitter pill’ after he risked his own health
to still work at the construction site during the last few months. The
worker was made “redundant with immediate effect” on Friday afternoon (May
15). He said: “We have struggled every day during this pandemic and the way
EDF has managed the outbreak. This has made the risk we have being taking
coming to site every day one bitter sweet pill to swallow.”

May 22, 2020 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Sellafield’s safety dilemma- risk of coronavirus versus risk of nuclear accident

May 19, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, safety, UK | Leave a comment

The leaning tower of Vogtle nuclear reactor: yes it’s literally sinking,-and also further into debt

Georgia Nuclear: Vogtle Unit 3 Is Sinking! [BREDL Petition]  18 May 2020, You can find the Fairewinds Associates expert report and BREDL’s legal filing here and under the reports section of this Fairewinds site. You also may read BREDL’s legal filing and the other documents filed on BREDL’s home site, where you will also see the breadth and depth of the environmental work conducted by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its associated chapters in many states. What Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa Have In Common with the Vogtle Nuclear Reactor?

By The Fairewinds Crew

The famous tower in Pisa, Italy was designed to stand straight up, and like Vogtle, it began to lean during construction. During the ensuing years after construction, the Pisa tower continued to sink into the ground due to the inability of the failing foundation to sustain the tower’s heavy weight. It became known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Similarly, the Vogtle Unit 3 nuclear power plant was designed to be straight on its firm ‘basemat foundation’, which is designed with extra rebar and mathematical calculations to assure that the foundation can support an atomic reactor as heavy as the unique design of the AP1000 with 8-million-pounds of emergency cooling water sitting on top of the containment.

Last month, Vogtle’s  owner, Sothern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC), tried to amend its operating license with information that had been kept secret from the public. When that now leaning wall was first built five years ago, SNC established a program to monitor the lack of stability in the foundation.

Honestly, truth is stranger than fiction – you can’t make this stuff up!  Now we learn that the  Vogtle Unit 3 atomic power reactor is sinking into the red Georgia clay causing an inner wall to tilt!  Yes, this is the same Vogtle Unit 3 that is already billions of dollars over budget and at least 5-years behind schedule.

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League [BREDL] announced that part of the Vogtle Unit 3 nuclear power plant currently under construction in Waynesboro, Georgia, is sinking. According to BREDL’s press release, “In a legal action filed Monday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the group called on regulators to revoke the plant’s license for false statements made by its owners, Southern Nuclear Operating Company. On May 11, BREDL filed a nineteen-page legal petition requesting a hearing before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on a License Amendment for Plant Vogtle’s Unit 3. The petition is supported by detailed, specific expert opinion.  Under rules of procedure, Southern Company has 25 days to respond.”

Fairewinds Associates, Inc Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen wrote an expert witness report submitted by BREDL to the NRC in which he said that Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC) chose not to disclose that the Vogtle Unit 3 foundation was sinking faster in the middle than at the edges, in the shape of a dish, causing internal walls to lean.   From our point of view, leaning walls may have created a tourist destination for the Tower in Pisa, however, a leaning tower and failing foundation at a nuke plant is a meltdown waiting to happen.

BREDL has informed the NRC that there must be an entire reevaluation of the seismic/structural integrity of the entire nuclear plant. This means that a completely new licensing review and full analysis of all new stress conditions placed on other components that are no longer level needs to be conducted and receive an independent engineering review as well, since SCE has not publicized this fact to the people of Georgia.  

Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are notoriously over budget, and their construction has been delayed for years. Now with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and these newly uncovered flaws, the construction will slow further as a complete safety review must be conducted to ascertain whether the ‘basemat foundation’ meets the foundation integrity demanded for a nuclear island (NI).  The Vogtle Unit 3 nuclear island underlies the strange heavy design of the AP1000 with its donut-shaped 8-million-pound water tank at the apex of the entire containment system that is meant to protect us from a meltdown.

Let’s look more closely at the history of Vogtle and the so-called nuclear renaissance that never happened. Complicit in this financial boondoggle is the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) whose members have greenlighted all these cost overruns in return for campaign contributions from the nuclear industry. That’s why we wrote The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia. At Vogtle, all the extensive cost overruns have been shifted to Georgia taxpayers and ratepayers, and originally these plants were built with federal loan guarantees – that is our money folks, and a story for another time in the Vogtle saga.

During the past decade Fairewinds joined with other nuclear risk and environmental advocacy groups to raise awareness about the numerous safety flaws and operational issues associated with the AP1000 reactor design. You can read more about those problems and issues here.

In its legal brief, based on this Fairewinds Associates report,  BREDL asked for a formal investigation of the Southern Nuclear Operating Company for making “materially false statements” to the NRC by claiming that the leaning walls were caused by construction tolerance measurements when the real reason the walls have moved is that the ‘basemat  foundation’ of the Vogtle nuclear island (NI) is sinking.

You can find the Fairewinds Associates expert report and BREDL’s legal filing here and under the reports section of this Fairewinds site. You also may read BREDL’s legal filing and the other documents filed on BREDL’s home site, where you will also see the breadth and depth of the environmental work conducted by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its associated chapters in many states.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

NuScam’s “small nuclear reactor” project runs into yet more trouble

Nuclear Intelligence Weekly 15th May 2020, The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said that NuScale has not “sufficiently validated” the design and performance of the steam generator in its 50 megawatt small modular reactor (SMR) currently under design certification review. The NRC is nevertheless still expected to certify the SMR design but without granting “finality” to the steam generator, touted by the Fluor subsidiary as one of the key innovations to its smaller”cost-competitive” design.
That will likely inhibit the company’s ability to attract further investment to the project, which Fluor itself is no longer investing in.  NuScale submitted its design certification applicationto the NRC in December 2016 and the NRC is expected to grant the certification later this year or early next year.
That, however, depends on the outcome of a staff review of unrelated changes to the SMR’s emergency
core cooling system that NuScale plans to submit to the NRC on May 20.  Instead of resolving the steam generator design issue ahead of design certification, the NRC is deferring to the plant operator Energy Northwest
to resolve the issue during the licensing process, after construction.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Profiteering from the pandemic, the Pentagon and nuclear industry exploit the situation

Beware the Pentagon’s Pandemic Profiteers, Hasn’t the Military-Industrial Complex Taken

enough of Our Money?  POGO,  BY MANDY SMITHBERGER | FILED UNDER ANALYSIS | MAY 04, 2020    This piece originally appeared on

At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, “What can we do to help?” A few companies have indeed pivoted to making masks and ventilators for an overwhelmed medical establishment. Unfortunately, when it comes to the top officials of the Pentagon and the CEOs running a large part of the arms industry, examples abound of them asking what they can do to help themselves.

It’s important to grasp just how staggeringly well the defense industry has done in these last nearly 19 years since 9/11. Its companies (filled with ex-military and defense officials) have received trillions of dollars in government contracts, which they’ve largely used to feather their own nests. Data compiled by the New York Times showed that the chief executive officers of the top five military-industrial contractors received nearly $90 million in compensation in 2017. An investigation that same year by the Providence Journal discovered that, from 2005 to the first half of 2017, the top five defense contractors spent more than $114 billion repurchasing their own company stocks and so boosting their value at the expense of new investment.

To put this in perspective in the midst of a pandemic, the co-directors of the Costs of War Project at Brown University recently pointed out that allocations for the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health for 2020 amounted to less than 1% of what the U.S. government has spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone since 9/11. While just about every imaginable government agency and industry has been impacted by the still-spreading coronavirus, the role of the defense industry and the military in responding to it has, in truth, been limited indeed. The highly publicized use of military hospital ships in New York City and Los Angeles, for example, not only had relatively little impact on the crises in those cities but came to serve as a symbol of just how dysfunctional the military response has truly been.

Bailing Out the Military-Industrial Complex in the COVID-19 Moment

Demands to use the Defense Production Act to direct firms to produce equipment needed to combat COVID-19 have sputtered, provoking strong resistance from industries worried first and foremost about their own profits. Even conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot, a longtime supporter of increased Pentagon spending, has recently recanted, noting how just such budget priorities have weakened the ability of the United States to keep Americans safe from the virus. “It never made any sense, as Trump’s 2021 budget had initially proposed, to increase spending on nuclear weapons by $7 billion while cutting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding by $1.2 billion,” he wrote. “Or to create an unnecessary Space Force out of the U.S. Air Force while eliminating the vitally important directorate of global health by folding it into another office within the National Security Council.”

In fact, continuing to prioritize the U.S. military will only further weaken the country’s public health system. ……..

How Not to Deal With COVID-19

Along with those military-industrial bailouts came the fleecing of American taxpayers. While many Americans were anxiously awaiting their $1,200 payments from that congressional aid and relief package, the Department of Defense was expediting contract payments to the arms industry. Shay Assad, a former senior Pentagon official, accurately called it a “taxpayer rip-off” that industries with so many resources, not to speak of the ability to borrow money at incredibly low interest rates, were being so richly and quickly rewarded in tough times. Giving defense giants such funding at this moment was like giving a housing contractor 90% of upfront costs for renovations when it was unclear whether you could even afford your next mortgage payment.

Right now, the defense industry is having similar success in persuading the Pentagon that basic accountability should be tossed out the window. ……..

Unfortunately, as COVID-19 spread on the aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt, that ship became emblematic of how ill-prepared the current Pentagon leadership proved to be in combatting the virus. Despite at least 100 cases being reported on board—955 crewmembers would, in the end, test positive for the disease and Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. would die of it—senior Navy leaders were slow to respond. Instead, they kept those sailors at close quarters and in an untenable situation of increasing risk. When an emailed letter expressing the concerns of the ship’s commander, Captain Brett Crozier, was leaked to the press he was quickly removed from command. But while his bosses may not have appreciated his efforts for his crew, his sailors did. He left the ship to a hero’s farewell. ………

May 16, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Covid-19 highlights risks of doing nothing on global heating

‘Green Swan’ Virus Shock Proves Need for Joint Climate Action, Bloomberg Law

May 14, 2020  
  • Covid-19 highlights risks of doing nothing on global warming
  • BIS urges global cooperation in rethinking old routines

The coronavirus pandemic that’s sent the global economy into a tailspin highlights the need for international collaboration to tackle crises posing severe threats to human lives, chief among them climate change, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

Much like global warming, the disease outbreak meets the criteria for being a “Green Swan,” according to the Basel, Switzerland-based institution, which adapted Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “Black Swan” concept for high-impact adverse events outside the scope of regular expectations to describe risks that are highly likely to materialize but too complex to fully understand…….

Central banks have already begun to consider climate change as a factor in their assessment of financial and economic risks, and the BIS highlighted the possibility of further multidisciplinary efforts to absorb large shocks. …..

With the global economy in the throes of its deepest dive since the 1930s, the pandemic may jolt decision makers into action to address global warming, according to the BIS.

“Covid-19 might have presented a vivid image of what the future might look like if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases, inflicting similar stoppages worldwide after some tipping-point is reached,” it said. “It may also have raised awareness of the fragility of some of our systems and therefore of the need for improved efficiency and greater resilience.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Catherine Bosley in Zurich at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Fergal O’Brien at

May 16, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change, health | Leave a comment

$73 billion world spent in 2019 on nuclear weapons, half of it by USA

World nuclear arms spending hit $73bn last year – half of it by US

    • Spending by nine nuclear-armed states rose 10%
    • Trump boosted nuclear funding but cut pandemic prevention  Julian Borger in Washington
      • The world’s nuclear-armed nations spent a record $73bn on their weapons last year, with the US spending almost as much as the eight other states combined, according to a

    new report

      • .

The new spending figures, reflecting the highest expenditure on nuclear arms since the height of the cold war, have been estimated by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), which argues that the coronavirus pandemic underlines the wastefulness of the nuclear arms race.

The nine nuclear weapons states spent a total of $72.9bn in 2019, a 10% increase on the year before. Of that, $35.4bn was spent by the Trump administration, which accelerated the modernisation of the US arsenal in its first three years while cutting expenditure on pandemic prevention.

“It’s clear now more than ever that nuclear weapons do not provide security for the world in the midst of a global pandemic, and not even for the nine countries that have nuclear weapons, particularly when there are documented deficits of healthcare supplies and exhausted medical professionals,” Alicia Sanders-Zakre, the lead author of the report, said.

The report comes at a time when arms control is at a low ebb, with the last major treaty limiting US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, New Start, due to expire in nine months with no agreement so far to extend it.

Russia, which has announced the development of an array of new weapons – including nuclear-powered, long-distance cruise missiles, underwater long-distance nuclear torpedoes and a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile – spent $8.5bn on its arsenal in 2019, according to Ican’s estimates. China, which has a much smaller nuclear force than the US and Russia but is seeking to expand, spent $10.4bn.

Those expenditures were far overshadowed by the US nuclear weapons budget, which is part of a major upgrade also involving new weapons, including a low-yield submarine-launched missile, which has already been deployed.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of the US programme over the coming decade will be $500bn, an increase of nearly $100bn, about 23%, over projections from the end of the Obama administration.

Congressional Democrats failed in an attempt to curb the administration’s nuclear ambitions, but Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, said budgetary constraints in a coronavirus-induced recession, could succeed where political opposition failed.

“There’s going to be significant pressure on federal spending moving forward, including defense spending,” Reif said. “So, the cost and opportunity cost of maintaining and modernizing the arsenal, which were already punishing, will become even more so.”

May 14, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s record $3.7 trillion budget gap threatens Pentagon’s costly nuclear plans

Huge federal deficits may threaten Pentagon nuclear modernization program   Market Watch   May 12, 2020, By Associated Press
The deficit may lead to a lack of big defense spending on projects like rebuilding the nation’s nuclear arsenal.   
 WASHINGTON (AP) — The government’s $3 trillion effort to rescue the economy from the coronavirus crisis is stirring worry at the Pentagon. Bulging federal deficits may force a reversal of years of big defense spending gains and threaten prized projects like the rebuilding of the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the sudden burst of deficit spending to prop up a damaged economy is bringing the Pentagon closer to a point where it will have to shed older weapons faster and tighten its belt.

“It has accelerated this day of reckoning,” Esper said in an Associated Press interview.

It also sets up confrontations with Congress over how that reckoning will be achieved. Past efforts to eliminate older weapons and to make other cost-saving moves like closing under-used military bases met resistance. This being a presidential election year, much of this struggle may slip to 2021. If presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins, the pace of defense cuts could speed up, if he follows the traditional Democratic path to put less emphasis on defense buildups.

After Congress passed four programs to sustain the economy through the virus shock, the budget deficit — the gap between what the government spends and what it collects in taxes — will hit a record $3.7 trillion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. By the time the budget year ends in September, the government’s debt — its accumulated annual deficits — will equal 101% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

Rep. Ken Calvert of California, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, says defense budgets were strained even before this year’s unplanned burst of deficit spending……..

May 14, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s Energy ministry limits operations of nuclear power plants

Energy ministry limits operations of nuclear power plants   UNIAN Information Agency  9 May 20 Ukraine   “…..This week, the issue of a nuclear power units’ shutdown widely reverberated in a public discourse. From May 5, only 10 of 15 nuclear power units have been operating in Ukraine (four were put on scheduled repairs and one was put into reserve mode). According to the operating schedule for 2020, nine nuclear power units will operate at limited capacities. The government decided to take such a step in connection with the drop in electricity consumption caused by quarantine and record generation from renewables.

That is, generation has increased significantly, while consumption has fallen. Under these conditions, the relevant ministry resorted to extraordinary measures: to limit operations at nuclear power plants….”     UNIAN:

May 11, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Pandemic may force USA to cut back on bloated spending on nuclear weapons

May 9, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment