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Hinkley Point C nuclear supply engineers go on strike

Plating engineers creating products to supply to the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station go on strike today [13 June] in a pay dispute. Dozens
of workers at Darchem Engineering, in Stockton-Upon-Tees, will walk out
today after welders working for same firm were given an additional pay
supplement, while the engineers weren’t. Further strikes are planned for
20,21,28 and 29 June. Industrial action could lead to big delays at Hinkley
Point C – the £25 billion nuclear reactor in Somerset. GMB 14th June 2022

June 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Energy saving and renewables to create many more jobs than nuclear could.

Dave Elliott: Renewable energy has the potential to create twice as many
jobs as nuclear, and three times as many jobs per million pounds invested
compared to gas or coal power, while investment in energy efficiency can
create five times as many.

So says a new UK Energy Research Centre study of
Green Job Creation, based on a new review of the literature. It’s an
update to their earlier 2014 low carbon energy & employment study. That was
a bit more cautious about making final pronouncements, since, it said, it
was difficult to assess net economy-wide impacts over time. For example,
though some sectors might benefit more than others, if there was full
employment, new investment was unlikely to create extra jobs net of any
losses. A bit sniffily it said ‘the proper domain for the debate about
the long-term role of renewable energy and energy efficiency is the wider
framework of energy and environmental policy, not a narrow analysis of
green job impacts.’

In reality, we can’t just chase for the optimal
number of green jobs. The choice of technology will be made mostly on the
basis of a range of other issues- although, as UKERC says, job quality is
also important if we want to move to a socially and environmentally
sustainable future, a point I have developed in a recent study. We need
good, sustainable jobs as part of a global ‘just transition’.

 Renew Extra 14th May 2022

May 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Scientist fired after raising questions about safety at nuclear waste plant

4 Investigates: Scientist fired after raising questions about safety at nuclear waste plant

Brittany Costello, April 14, 2022 CARLSBAD, N.M— There are some things we just leave up to the experts – that includes the science and research that goes into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the only-of-its-kind facility that stores transuranic radioactive waste from around the country.

What if we told you there are questions about the science of its long-term safety? KOB 4 spoke with a former scientist who said he lost his job after raising the red flag.

There’s an expectation, a reputation that follows the name Sandia National Labs. Its advanced scientific work is something many of us take for granted. Not Dr. Charles Oakes, who is a geochemist who used to work for Sandia National Labs in Carlsbad at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, also known as WIPP.

Part of his job was to make sure WIPP, and all of the transuranic radioactive waste stored inside, is safe for years to come.

This is a case where they weren’t, not only were they not doing their job, they were claiming they were doing their job but falsifying all the evidence that went into the claims that they were doing the job,” Dr. Charles Oakes said.

From the outside, there’s not much to see at WIPP.  That’s because all the waste is stored more than 2,000 feet below ground.

“WIPP is the only facility of its kind in the world, deep geologic repository for nuclear waste,” said Don Hancock, Director of the Nuclear Waste Program a Southwest Research and Information Center.

Hancock has served as a WIPP watchdog even before the first disposal at the Department of Energy site in 1999.

“Essentially what’s in WIPP are elements that are contaminated from the manufacturing of components in nuclear weapons, particularly the plutonium core, the heart of it,” said Hancock. “That includes machinery that includes gloves, and booties, that includes sludges.”

It might sound complex, but the key to safe storage of radioactive material is simple: accurate, reliable science and research. Regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency demand it.

Sandia National Labs is contracted to do it, at a cost of $18-million a year.

It’s so important that, in order for WIIPP to continue accepting waste, every five years, it has to recertify that its projections show the facility will be safe after it’s filled up and closed down.

Safe from that point and 10,000 years beyond it.

“The most common feared way that the radiation will get to the surface is through the flow of water,” said Dr. Oakes.  “There are some aquifers in the rock of the repository. One of the fears is that a well will be drilled through the repository or near to this repository and water may flow through the repository and intersect with a well bore.”

Dr. Oakes said his job was to look at how much of that radioactive material would make it to the surface.

“If you do have radioactive material dissolved in the water, will it react with rocks, minerals along the way, and be removed from the water, in which you removed the threat, or will it carry on its merry way dissolved and get to the surface where it can potentially hurt people and the environment,” he said.

During his time at Sandia National Labs, Dr. Oakes said he discovered inaccuracies that called into question WIPP’s long-term safety, what he believed to data errors.

Oakes said he brought it up to his bosses, the Department of Energy and even the EPA.

After he spoke up, Oakes said Sandia labeled him a problem employee and showed him the door.

Oakes is being represented by attorney Timothy White – and Nick Davis of Davis Law. Their goal is to address much more than what they believe to be retaliatory discharge.

“We’re trying to achieve a certain safety standard here and the information that is being used to allegedly show that we’ve achieved that standard, that we should be recertified to manage the WIPP project, is built on bad science leading to fraud,” said White.

KOB 4 wanted to hear from Sandia National Labs. A spokesperson told us they cannot comment on these accusations because of the pending lawsuit.

There are a number of defendants named in the suit: Honeywell International, National Technology and engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC, Carol Adkins, and Paul Shoemaker.

Attorneys representing the defendants have responded in court. Documents allege Oakes was fired after multiple “inappropriate interactions with colleagues” but they did not go into detail.

 Attorneys are also asking a federal judge to dismiss the case.

As far as all of that expansive data is concerned, officials at the Department of Energy, with the WIPP project, said there are quality assurance procedures in place including several independent reviews.

They said a recertification decision is expected later in April or early May.

April 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear worker gives the inside story on the dire situation for the staff as Russians took over.

Chernobyl nuclear power plant: Worker reveals risk of accident as Russians force staff to do 24-hour shifts i News, By Isabella Bengoechea, March 25, 2022   A Chernobyl worker has given the first inside account after the power plant was seized by Russian forces i News

A Chernobyl worker has given the first inside account of life at the nuclear plant since the Russian invasion and warned that exhausted staff are being forced to work 24-hour shifts, increasing the risk of an accident.

Mykola Pobiedin, foreman of the radioactive waste processing workshop at Chernobyl, who worked as a liquidator there after the 1986 disaster, described a dire safety situation where the plant was encircled by military trucks and tanks and troops patrolled with machine guns.

He compared allowing Chernobyl to be operated by exhausted staff to a bus driver who “has not slept for days” transporting passengers.

Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, was captured by Russia on the first day of invasion on 24 February.

More than 200 workers were forced to stay on site. On 20 March, about 100 were allowed to return to their homes, after nearly four weeks working under armed guard.

Personnel at Chernobyl usually work in 12-hour shifts before being replaced by the next shift.

However, because no rotation was permitted, they were forced to work for 24 hours straight with one half hour break.

Mr Pobiedin, who gave permission to be identified, spoke to i by phone from the city of Slavutych, which was built in 1986 to house workers evacuated from the plant after the disaster.

In a separate debrief, he spoke to Valeriy Korshunov, founder of the European Institute of Chernobyl, a Ukraine-based NGO which works to educate the public about the Chernobyl disaster through scientific and cultural projects, in order to prevent new nuclear disasters in future.

Mr Korshunov and his organisation hope to publicise the plight of the Chernobyl workers to draw attention to the dangerous situation Russia has inflicted on Ukraine’s nuclear sites.

He passed on his comments to i, with the permission of Mr Pobiedin and his family.

Mr Pobiedin suggested there was an increased risk of accidents as a result of the extreme fatigue of staff working at such a sensitive site.

“There may be some errors, some actions are not undertaken,” he said. “A tired person would do a mistake and it will cause issues.”

Though reluctant to cause alarm about a possible nuclear accident at Chernobyl, he added: “If you are riding a bus in which the driver has not slept for days. What could it lead to? If Europe agrees to drive with such a bus driver, then let it be…”

“There is a break for half an hour, for example to eat or for private needs, and the rest of the time people are concentrated on watching monitors. This is intellectual work; you cannot be distracted.”

Despite having managed to leave the power plant, his memories of Russia’s attack on the first day of the invasion are still stark.

“Everything started with the ‘Everyone to the bomb shelter’ alarm, which we followed,” he said.

“Then this whole situation got clear – it was a seizure.

“Then came the command ‘Everyone to the workplace!’ Well, then we started organising our life there somehow, adapting to the situation.

“The Russian military did not enter the territory of the power unit. They drove around the industrial site in their armored personnel carriers. In this way they controlled the whole situation.

“In other words, everything around us was encircled…………………………

the staff managed to keep up their spirits by attempting to carry on as normal and listening to the Ukrainian national anthem on the radio…………………………….

Since the release of the staff, only about 50 have opted to replace them – a perhaps understandable reluctance considering they would be going as hostages with no idea of when they could leave.

“I saw they arrived with backpacks,” said Mr Pobiedin. “They probably took something, but how long will it last?”

He called for the regular rotation of sufficient personnel to ensure the safety of the nuclear facilities: “The rotation is very important. We can’t let people just be there indefinitely.

“Some personnel change should be done. The Russians are not opposing to such shift changes. It should be scheduled: once a week, once every 10 days … So that people know and get prepared.

“And not so that people come and do not know how long they must stay. One does not know if it is one day, 20 days or for ever.”

While the freed workers may have breathed a sigh of relief at finally leaving, they may not have escaped the worst of their ordeals.

Many live in Slavuytsch, about 40km from Chernobyl. However the city is under intense shelling by the Russians.

Others who live in other nearby settlements are currently trapped in the city and cannot return home. When i was speaking to Mr Pobiedin, our interview was cut off halfway through after sirens went off and he had to go down into a bomb shelter.

March 26, 2022 Posted by | employment, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear workers ”exhausted and desperate”

Chernobyl workers are reportedly “exhausted and desperate” and surviving
on one meal of bread and porridge a day, sparking fears over their ability
to look after the nuclear plant safely.

The plant, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster happened in 1986, was taken by Russian forces at the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of workers and guards have been
trapped for nearly two weeks, having not been able to leave since Feb 23.

The plant is not configured for workers living there, and they are sleeping
on floors, tables and camp beds. Communication with the Chernobyl workers
is currently limited to emails. Rafael Grossi, director general of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called on Russia to allow
Chernobyl staff to be relieved by colleagues. Mr Grossi has offered to
travel to the Chernobyl plant where 200-plus staff have been on-site for 12
days straight.

 Telegraph 8th March 2022

March 10, 2022 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl workers still stranded at the power station

 More than 210 workers remain trapped at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
as all its facilities continue to be controlled by the Russian military
troops. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that it has been
informed by Ukraine’s nuclear regulator that the shift of around 210
technical staff and guards has still not been able to rotate as of Monday
7th February. That means that the same staff have been on the site for 12

 Energy Live News 8th March 2022

March 10, 2022 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland call for clear commitment to employ LOCAL nuclear decommissioning workers.

 The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland has called
for a clear commitment to offer work to local people on decommissioning
work when nuclear plants close.

In its response to the consultation just
carried out by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency
charged with making safe and clearing closed civil nuclear plants, on its
future Business Plan, the NFLA has called for support to be made available
to staff losing employment from a decommissioned plant to enable them to be
either reengaged in a role supporting the decommissioning process or find
alternate employment’. The NFLA also wants to see local contractors
continue to be hired to supply goods and services to the work.

 NFLA 1st Feb 2022

February 5, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, employment, UK | Leave a comment

Striking workers reduced France’s nuclear power generation by 2.2gigawatts (GW)

Striking workers reduced France’s nuclear power generation by 2.2
gigawatts (GW) and hydropower by a further 1.3 GW, data from power utility
EDF (EDF.PA) showed early on Wednesday. EDF workers began protests on
Sunday over a government plan to increase the amount of cheap energy EDF
must sell to rivals at under-market prices, and to call for higher pay and

 Reuters 26th Jan 2022

January 27, 2022 Posted by | employment, France | Leave a comment

Legal case over compensation for workers in ”uniquely dangerous” nuclear sites

High Court Takes Up Nuclear Site Workers’ Compensation Case (1)
Jan. 11, 202  

  • 9th Cir. upheld change to state workers’ compensation law
  • U.S. government warns of costly consequences for contracts

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the federal government’s challenge to a Washington state workers’ compensation law in a case that could have costly consequences for U.S. government contracts involving hazardous work on federal property.

The justices agreed Monday to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision upholding a Washington law that presumes certain worker health conditions linked to cleanup work at the Hanford Site, a decommissioned federal nuclear production complex, are occupational diseases that can trigger workers’ compensation benefits.

The Department of Energy since 1989 has overseen cleanup at the Hanford Site, which produced weapons-grade plutonium for use in the U.S. nuclear program during World War II and the Cold War. The cleanup of the Hanford site is expected to continue over the next six decades and involve roughly 400 department employees and 10,000 contractors and subcontractors.

In 2018, Washington lawmakers passed legislation, HB 1723, that amended the state’s workers’ compensation law exclusive to the Hanford site, covering at least 100,000 current and former federal contract workers who performed services there over the past 80 years. The law states that presumed occupational diseases stemming from work at Hanford should trigger benefits eligibility, including cancers and other respiratory diseases.

The federal government argued the law exposes government contractors, and by extension the United States, to “massive new costs” that similarly situated state and private employers don’t incur

‘Uniquely Dangerous Workplace’

The Justice Department had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, arguing the 2018 law discriminated against the United States and that state law shouldn’t apply to federal contract workers at Hanford. The government warned that the logic applied by a panel of Ninth Circuit judges opened the door to other states passing legislation targeting work at federal facilities.

“Congress did not permit States to adopt laws that impose unique burdens on the United States and the firms that it engages to carry out federal functions,” Justice Department attorneys argued. “The practical consequences of the panel’s mistake are far-reaching. Even if the Hanford site is considered in isolation, the decision is likely to cost the United States tens of millions of dollars annually for the remainder of the 21st century.”

Attorneys for Washington state, however, responded that courts have allowed states to regulate workers’ compensation for injuries or illnesses suffered during work on federal land. They argued Washington state has “long tailored its workers’ compensation laws to the dangers faced by particular employees,” noting statutes that protect firefighters and other workers facing special hazards.

“Hanford is a uniquely dangerous workplace, filled with radioactive and toxic chemicals, and private contractors operating there have routinely failed to provide employees with protective equipment and to monitor their exposures to toxic substances,” they argued.

Justice Department attorneys also argued the Ninth Circuit ruling clashed with Supreme Court precedent in a 1988 decision, Goodyear Atomic Corp. v. Miller, which described a similar situation of a state workers’ compensation award for an employee injured at a federally owned facility.

The full Ninth Circuit previously declined to take up the case, and said the Washington law fell properly within a part of federal law that authorizes states to apply their workers’ compensation laws to federal projects.

In a dissent to the Ninth Circuit’s denial of a rehearing, Judge Daniel P. Collins wrote that the panel’s decision clashed with high court precedent, calling it an “egregious error” that would have sweeping consequences.

The U.S. Solicitor General’s office represents the federal government. The Washington Attorney General’s office is defending the state law.

The case is U.S. v. Washington, U.S., No. 21-404, cert granted 1/10/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at; John Lauinger at; Andrew Harris at

January 11, 2022 Posted by | employment, health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Hunterston nuclear power workers need a just transition to sustainable work. No more subsidies to the nuclear industry.

 Workers are key to a just transition at the Hunterston nuclear plant,
which retires today, according to the Scottish Greens.

The nuclear sectorbhas used the occasion to call for more subsidies, despite the UK Government
already subsidising the sector and proposing to charge bill payers upfront
to pay for nuclear power stations that haven’t even been built yet, like
at Hinkley Point.

Commenting, Scottish Greens energy spokesperson Mark
Ruskell said: “Respect and thanks must go to the workers at Hunterston
who have kept our lights on over the decades and those who will continue
the important work of de-commissioning. “These communities deserve a just
transition away from an energy source that is expensive and neither clean
nor sustainable. The vast subsidies involved would be better spent
investing in modern renewable energy solutions that provide a long-term
future for workers and our planet.”

 Scottish Greens 7th Jan 2021

January 10, 2022 Posted by | employment, politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Dismantling of German nuclear reactor will be expensive, but provide jobs for several decades.

Asked about possible job losses, Gundremmingen mayor Tobias Buehler said
the plant’s employees would be busy with dismantling the reactor after the
shutdown. “And this period of dismantling will certainly take another one
or two decades,” Buehler said. Total costs for the dismantling are
estimated by E.ON at 1.1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) per plant. In 2020,
E.ON made provisions of 9.4 billion euros for the nuclear post-operational
phase, including dismantling the facility, packaging and cleaning up the
radioactive waste. The dismantling is expected to be completed by 2040.

 NBC 30th Dec 2021

January 1, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, employment, Germany | Leave a comment

Plight of Fukushima’s fishermen

In April 2021, the Japanese government decided to discharge radioactive
water stored inside the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into
the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO’s plan is to build a pipeline along the ocean
bed and release diluted processed radioactive water 1 km off the coast of
Fukushima. In November, Greenpeace conducted its 33rd Fukushima radiation
survey since the nuclear disaster, during which we had the opportunity to
interview local fisherman Mr. Haruo Ono. Mr. Ono opens up about the pain he
feels, saying that discharging radioactive water into the ocean will throw
Fukushima’s fishing industry back down into the abyss.

 Greenpeace 20th Dec 2021

December 21, 2021 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Industrial action set to ”cripple” the effective running of UK’s nuclear submarine base.

SPECIALIST staff are to escalate industrial action in a dispute which a
union has said is expected to “cripple” the effective running of UK’s
nuclear submarine base on the Clyde. Unite Scotland has confirmed that its
pay dispute with the ABL Alliance at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot (RNAD)
Coulport is to escalate with around 70 workers set to take strike action
from next week.

 Herald 9th Dec 2021


December 11, 2021 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

N. Korea replaces, punishes 14 cadres and technicians working on nuclear-powered submarine programThe Central Committee criticized the technicians for failing to follow party policy to “localize” production 

N. Korea replaces, punishes 14 cadres and technicians working on nuclear-powered submarine program

The Central Committee criticized the technicians for failing to follow party policy to “localize” production By Jeong Tae Joo – 2021.11.15

North Korea recently replaced or punished 14 cadres and technicians tasked with designing small nuclear reactors for nuclear-powered submarines, apparently for failing to meet party criterion. The authorities will likely now face difficulties in their plan to acquire the capability of stealthily striking enemies.

According to multiple Daily NK sources in North Korea on Thursday, the Central Committee’s Military Industries Department began screening designs for nuclear-powered submarines on Nov. 5.

Work on the designs has been ongoing since October of last year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said during the Eighth Party Congress in January that “new planning research for a nuclear-powered submarine has been completed and is to enter the final examination process.”

Nuclear-powered submarines are highly stealthy as they need not surface for long periods of time, making them the most likely weapon to survive an enemy’s preemptive strike.

Focusing on advancing the country’s arsenal of asymmetrical strategic weapons, North Korea has assigned its top researchers to the project.

In particular, the authorities reportedly put experts on the task of producing small nuclear reactors, the key to building the submarines, imploring them to “exercise their top abilities, given their rich experience built up over six nuclear tests.”

However, the Central Committee apparently criticized the screening report, which included analysis of design flaws.

Firstly, the Central Committee reportedly said it would “take 10 more years” to build nuclear-powered submarines according to current designs, even though the goal is to complete them by 2025.

The Central Committee also criticized the designs for failing to meet three criteria put forth by the party to achieve its goals.

Though party leadership had stressed 1) improving the capabilities of conventionally powered mini-submarines that are currently deployed, 2) building a new class of submarines capable of carrying North Korea’s existing SLBMs and 3) building nuclear-powered submarines capable of carrying several nuclear launch systems, the Central Committee reportedly judged that these criteria had not been met on the ground.

The Central Committee also criticized technicians for failing to follow party policy to “localize” production. That is to say, the committee took serious issue with designers handing over for final screening a complete comprehensive blueprint that called for large-scale imports of foreign technology and parts during the entire shipbuilding process.

Several basic errors were discovered as well, including a failure by designers to make the technical descriptions in the partial plans and assembly plans match when they drew the blueprints for the small nuclear reactors.

The Central Committee responded by excluding from the research team 14 cadres, researchers and technicians who took part in drawing up the plan. Six of them were kicked out of the party or disciplined.

One of the sources said the six who took responsibility for the failure were exiled with their families to remote areas. He added that the authorities now face snags in their plans, including the need to completely revise the designs for nuclear-powered submarines.

November 16, 2021 Posted by | employment, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Industrial action from Tuesday could ‘cripple’ Clyde nuclear base.

Industrial action from Tuesday could ‘cripple’ Clyde nuclear base, The Herald, By Martin Williams  @Martin1Williams, Senior News Reporter, 15 Nov 21,
  SPECIALIST staff are to down tools on Tuesday in an industrial dispute a union says is expected to “cripple” the effective running of UK’s nuclear submarine base on the Clyde.

The Unite Scotland union has confirmed that around 70 of its members who provide specialist services for the UK’s nuclear deterrent submarines will start an overtime at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot (RNAD) Coulport.

The union has severely criticised the “delay tactics” employed by the ABL Alliance after the workers voted to take industrial action in September in what was then described as a “final warning shot” to ABL Alliance, a joint venture which won a 15-year contract from the Ministry of Defence in 2013 to maintain the weapons systems at Coulport.

Unite Scotland said the specialist staff who provide care and maintenance services for the weapons systems on the Royal Navy nuclear armed submarine fleet took the “historic” decision in a dispute over pay that it says will leave the base severely debilitated.

Since then, the union say the ABL Alliance refused to meet over what it called an RPI inflation annual pay claim of 3.8%.

Some 90.5% of Unite members at RNAD Coulport voted in support of strike action, and 95.3% supporting action short of a strike.

The ABL Alliance, made up of AWE plc, Babcock Marine (Clyde) Ltd, and Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems Ltd, previously state it was “disappointed” at the industrial action vote………………….

The union is concerned that all the companies could afford the pay rise as they were profitable. AWE Plc had an after tax profit of £17.7m in the year to December, 2020, Babcock Marine (Clyde) Ltd turned a £7.3m profit in 2019/20, while Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems Ltd was £41m in the black in 2019.

Babcock have been approached for comment.

November 16, 2021 Posted by | employment, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment