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UK government headed for huge costs, and a major row with China over Hinkley C nuclear power station.

The Government is likely to become responsible for a huge bill for building Hinkley C power station. This is despite an insistence by the UK Government since they signed a deal with EDF to build Hinkley C in 2012
that electricity consumers will not have to pay for cost overruns for the project.

Yet it is now looking increasingly likely that this will end up being the case. When the deal was signed in 2012 the Government agreed to pay a much higher than expected £92.50 per MWh (in 2012 prices), this
price to be paid by consumers in their electricity bills (over twice the price given to recent offshore wind projects).

The Government claimed that there would be no bail-out if the project experienced large cost overruns
since the risk was borne by the holders of the share capital, EDF and also the Chinese state nuclear company, CGN. CGN holds around one third of the equity in Hinkley C.

But now there are mounting pressures on the Government to ensure that, for political and security reasons, China (through CGN) is not allowed to build its own nuclear design at Bradwell in Essex. Yet CNG only agreed to finance Hinkley C (and also in a similar fashion the planned Sizewell C project in Sufflok) on the basis that it was going to get the chance to showcase its own ‘Hualong’ nuclear plant at Bradwell.

If China’s Bradwell ambitions are thwarted then they will certainly pull out of the Sizewell C project and also do as much as is legally possible to forshorten their risks and responsibilities at Hinkley C. The Government is likely to have to take on big liabilities in the case of Hinkley C – that is against a long succession of pronouncements by Government ministers over the past nine years. Some are even urging the Government to take over all of CGN’s shareholdings in Hinkley C.

But even if the Chinese company cannot reclaim the money it will have spent on the project so far, if CGN is denied the opportunity to build at Bradwell they are very likely to refuse to pay for any cost overruns at Hinkley C (as well as pull out of Sizewell C). This means that the UK Government will have to take on the liability of future cost overruns, and maybe end up in a major row with China about financial compensation.

 100% Renewables 28thy July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

French President acknowledges France’s debt to Polynesia, but no apology.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Paris owed “a debt” to
French Polynesia over nuclear tests conducted in the South Pacific
territory between 1966 and 1996, but stopped short of apologising.

 Daily Mail 28th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) welcomes news that Chinese company may pull out of Bradwell project

The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has welcomed the news of the possible withdrawal of the Chinese project to build a gigantic nuclear power station at Bradwell but has struck a note of caution. ‘BANNG has campaigned against a new nuclear power station at Bradwell for the past 13 years’, said Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG.

The news that the Chinese company developing the site may be under pressure to withdraw comes as
little surprise and has looked on the cards for some while especially since CGN, the majority shareholder, announced a pause in the development in February.

We believe the Bradwell site is unsuitable, unsustainable and unacceptable – whoever proposes to develop it. We must remain vigilant and continue to oppose any further nuclear development at this site’. Quite aside from the Government’s concerns, BANNG has long argued that the project is doomed for other reasons, not the least of which has been the overwhelmingly hostile reaction of the communities led by BANNG around
the Blackwater.

Plans for Bradwell B were launched just as the Covid-19 pandemic broke and shocked the public by the sheer scale of the project and its devastating impact on environment, communities and wellbeing. The
development encountered strong local political opposition with Maldon District Council, which had for many years supported it, declaring its opposition and Colchester Borough Council Councillors unanimously declaring theirs. West Mersea Town Council is also opposed and others have consistently voiced concerns.

 BANNG 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C and Sizewell nuclear power projects could unravel, leaving France’s nuclear company EDF with huge debt.

It was never very likely that the government would allow a Chinese
state-owned company to build a nuclear power station in Britain. So news
that it is now looking for ways to remove China General Nuclear Power Group
(CGN) from future nuclear projects hardly comes as a surprise.

Under the terms of a deal struck in 2015 CGN was to take minority stakes in two
French-led new nuclear power stations, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C,
while taking a majority stake in a third, Bradwell in Essex, which would
use CGN’s own technology.

This deal, first agreed by the coalition government, was approved with only minor alterations by Theresa May after a review concluded that Britain’s robust regulatory and technological
safeguards were sufficient to protect against any threats to national
security. Whether or not that assessment was right, the political context
has since changed. The mood in parliament, particularly among Conservative
MPs, has turned decisively against China, making it inconceivable that any
government could allow China to build such sensitive national

CGN was blacklisted from US government contracts in 2019
after being accused by the Trump administration of technology theft. That
has made it harder for France’s EDF to attract the infrastructure
investors that it needs to make Sizewell C financially viable. The risk is
that China does not take its rejection well and the entire three-part deal
unravels, with CGN withdrawing from Hinkley Point C in protest. That could
leave EDF with a further shortfall of up to £4 billion.

 Times 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Egypt postpones nuclear power plant amid tensions with Russia.

Egypt postpones nuclear power plant amid tensions with Russia over Nile dam,

Egypt pauses El-Dabaa nuclear power plant project for two years amid tensions hanging over the relationship with Russia due to its recent position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis and its rapprochement with Ethiopia. George Mikhailuly 28, 2021

Egypt announced the postponement of the completion of the El-Dabaa nuclear plant project to 2030 instead of 2028. Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority spokesman Karim al-Adham confirmed in statements to the Egyptian economic newspaper Enterprise July 14 that El-Dabaa nuclear plant will not be completed before 2030 due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic………….

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Egypt, politics international | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry determined to influence climate talks before COP26

Nuclear industry under fire for trying to influence climate talks ahead of COP26. The National By Rob Edwards  25 July 21, HE nuclear industry has come under fire for trying to influence international talks in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Six people from the European Nuclear Society registered to attend UN negotiations in May and June. Two were from the UK Government’s Magnox Ltd, which is decommissioning nuclear plants, and one was from the US nuclear firm, Westinghouse.

There were also 12 representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN body charged with both promoting and regulating nuclear power, plus one from the Canadian Nuclear Association.

The nuclear industry was accused by environmentalists of “jumping on the bandwagon” of climate change. “The latest wheeze is to tell us that nuclear is the answer,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

“With renewables and energy efficiency cheaper, quicker and safer than nuclear, they have already lost this argument and should have no place at COP26. The nuclear industry’s disastrous history of cost and time over-runs show very clearly that what they offer would be too little, too expensive and far too late.”

Pete Roche, policy adviser to the Scottish Nuclear Free Local Authorities, said: “When you look at nuclear power you find it is hopelessly expensive, far too slow to be of any use and hugely problematic – producing dangerous waste and with a potential risk of a serious accident.”………..

July 26, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

Emmanuel Macron in French Polynesia – not likely to satisfy campaigners resentful of France’s nuclear tests legacy

In French Polynesia, Macron tackles nuclear test legacy, China dominance,  President Emmanuel Macron is visiting French Polynesia to showcase France’s commitment to the region amid concerns about the impact of climate change on the Pacific island territory, the legacy of French nuclear testing on its atolls — and most of all, growing Chinese dominance in the region……Residents in the sprawling archipelago of more than 100 islands located midway between Mexico and Australia are hoping Macron confirms compensation for radiation victims following decades of nuclear testing as France pursued atomic weapons.

The tests remain a source of deep resentment, seen as evidence of racist colonial attitudes that disregarded the lives of islanders.

Analysis: France’s efforts to redress effects of nuclear testing unlikely to satisfy campaigners

French officials denied any cover-up of radiation exposure at a meeting earlier this month with delegates from the semi-autonomous territory led by President Édouard Fritch.

The meeting came after the investigative website Disclose reported in March that the impact from the fallout was far more extensive than authorities had acknowledged, citing declassified French military documents on the nearly 200 tests.

Only 63 Polynesian civilians have been compensated for radiation exposure since the tests ended in 1996, Disclose said……….

Climate change, pandemic also on the cards

Macron also plans to address risks for the islands from rising sea levels as well as cyclones that some scientists warn could become more dangerous due to climate change……….

July 26, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

China threatens Japan with nuclear war over intervention in Taiwan

China threatens Japan with nuclear war over intervention in Taiwan, Business Standard, 23 July 21,

Deputy PM Aso urged dialogue to resolve any issue   The Chinese Communist Party aired a video in which it warned Japan of a nuclear response and “full-scale war” if the island nation interferes in China’s handling of Taiwan, Fox News reported.

The video, which appeared on a channel approved by the CCP, singles out Japan as the one exception to China’s policy to not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear powers.

“We will use nuclear bombs first,” the video said. “We will use nuclear bombs continuously. We will do this until Japan declares unconditional surrender for the second time.” The video was deleted from Chinese platform Xigua after gaining 2 million views, but copies were uploaded to YouTube and Twitter, Taiwan News reported. Accoding to Fox News,the threats follow comments made two weeks ago by Japanese officials about Taiwan’s sovereignty, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso saying that Japan must “defend Taiwan,” The Japan Times reported…….

July 24, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Do Germany and the Netherlands want to say goodbye to US nuclear weapons? 

Do Germany and the Netherlands want to say goodbye to US nuclear weapons?  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists By Michal SmetanaMichal OndercoTom Etienne, July 21, 2021
 Does stationing US nuclear weapons in Europe still make sense? As of 2021, there remain about 100 B61 nuclear bombs stored at military bases in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Turkey (Kristensen and Korda 2021). Deployed under NATO’s nuclear sharing policy, these air-deliverable weapons are supposed to serve as a tool of extended deterrence against Russia and assurance of European allies about the willingness of Washington to defend them with all means available.

Yet, there are new—and loud—voices on both sides of the Atlantic that question the need to continue this Cold War-era practice in the 21st century. While certainly not everyone agrees with the recent proposal by Harvard University’s Stephen Walt to “fold America’s nuclear umbrella” altogether (Walt 2021), many politicians in European hosting states advocate for at least an early removal of the remaining US bombs from their soil. Arguably, the debates over the future of US nuclear weapons in Europe are now of paramount importance given the attempts of the new US administration to balance its approach vis-à-vis Moscow (Squassoni 2021) and Europe’s ambition to seek strategic autonomy (Meijer and Brooks 2021)……… (subscribers only)

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

After the lab-leak theory, US-Chinese relations head downhill

The United States and China could work together in sharing biosecurity-related samples, genetic materials and data, developing protocols and countermeasures against biosafety accidents, promoting transparency in dual-use research of concern, countering disinformation, and strengthening compliance with global health laws, including the Biological Weapons Convention and the International Health Regulations.

But the US push to investigate the lab leak and the political context in both countries likely puts the goal of finding the origins of COVID-19 and many other ambitions at risk………

After the lab-leak theory, US-Chinese relations head downhill, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Yanzhong Huang | July 16, 2021  In October, 2018, more than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of international trainees visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology for an expansive workshop meant to “promote the cooperation between China and other countries in the field of biosafety.” The attendees, many from developing countries, took classes on virus handling and bioethics, they listened to speeches by Chinese and UN arms control officials, and learned from eminent scientists. For the organizers, the 10-day event was a chance to showcase China’s expertise in biosafety management. And for this, they could hardly have chosen a more perfect location, a prestigious virology institute that had just months earlier opened the country’s first state-of-the-art, specialized facility for safely studying the world’s most dangerous pathogens, a biosafety-level (BSL) 4 lab.

The marketing plan hasn’t paid out.

Two years on, the lofty vision the workshop at the advanced Chinese biolab embodied—one of international collaboration on disease control and scientific research—has disintegrated as the United States and China tangle in an increasingly nasty fight over the origins of the still-raging coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, President Joe Biden, prominent scientists, and once-skeptical mainstream media outlets have collectively revived a hypothesis that was initially largely framed as a conspiracy theory, that the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the Wuhan lab. Meanwhile, in China, many are convinced COVID-19 started somewhere else, outside of the country.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology now sits at the forefront of the US-China row on the origins of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Continue reading

July 20, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Progressive lawmakers join across the world in a Global Alliance For A Green New Deal.

 Labour MP Clive Lewis and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party join lawmakers from US, Brazil, EU and Costa Rica in new global climate justice campaign. Leading progressive lawmakers from the UK, USA, Brazil, Costa Rica, and the European Parliament are among those joining forces in a new Global Alliance for a Green New Deal today, in a bid to promote the case for “a rapid and just transition in response to Covid-19 and the climate and nature crises”.

The Alliance calls for the creation of “a new internationalism based on cooperation, collaboration and global justice” in order to address the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and coronavirus crises. It adds that a ‘Green New Deal’ should be placed at the heart of national and global Covid economic recovery efforts. Among the 21 founding politicians in the Alliance are British MPs Clive Lewis from the Labour Party and the Green
Party’s Caroline Lucas, who both co-chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal in the UK.

 Business Green 19th July 2021

July 20, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK | 1 Comment

Nuclear-free Asia Pacific Report 

Nuclear-free  Asia Pacific Report 
By APR editor – July 19, 2021   Over the past 50 years, France has continued to deny the tragedies of nuclear testing in French Occupied Polynesia by propagating the theory of “clean nuclear tests”. Image: Youngsolwara Pacific

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk    Moana activists, campaigners, scholars, researchers and Green MPs gathered today in a show of solidarity for Tahiti’s Ma’ohi Lives Matter rally at Auckland University of Technology and vowed to work towards independence for the French-occupied Pacific territory.

A live feed from the Tahitian capital of Pape’ete was screened and simultaneous events happened across the Pacific, such as in Fiji.

Many of the Auckland participants were stalwarts from the early days of the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement from the 1970s and 1980s and declared their support for pro-independence Tahitian leader Oscar Temaru.

Many speakers protested that Tahitians were still awaiting compensation for the legacy of health problems and the devastation of Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls during 30 years of testing and 193 nuclear blasts, both atmospheric and underground.

The speakers said it was appalling that serious attempts for compensation and a state apology had not happened in the two decades since the tests ended in 1996.

However, reports from Paris at the weekend hinted that the French Polynesian President had indicated that France had for the first time conceded it should compensate Tahiti’s social security agency CPS for the medical costs caused by the tests.

The agency had repeatedly said that since 1995 it had paid out US$800 million to treat a total of 10,000 people suffering from cancer as the result of radiation from the tests.

French PM’s letter
Tahiti’s territorial President Édouard Fritch said he received a letter from French Prime Minister Jean Castex, in which he admitted that the demand for a re-imbursement of the outlays was legitimate…………….

Environmental journalist, author and academic Dr David Robie denounced the “decades of lies, bluster and cover-ups” by French authorities, saying recent allegations published by the book Toxique and investigative website The Moruroa Files were a “game changer” forcing action from Paris…………

The rally participants acknowledged the connection between indigenous struggles in Mā’ohi Nui, Aotearoa, Australia, Hawai’i, Kanaky New Caledonia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Solomons, Vanuatu, West Papua, and the rest of Moana.,,,,,,,

July 19, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear colonialism

An Australian artist has accused a group of Conservative councillors of
using “bullying strategies” to silence and censor her work after an
installation she created to highlight Britain’s “identity as a colonial
nuclear state” was removed from a park in Essex. The councillors
threatened to “take action against the work” if it was not removed,
according to Metal, the arts organisation that commissioned and then
removed the installation from Gunners Park in Southend.


Guardian 17th July 2021


July 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Australia’s weapons lobby drumming up fear of nuclear attack by China, against all logic

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?

War with China: zero logic yet the weapons lobby has 42% of Australians believing it   Michael West Media, by Marcus Reubenstein | Jul 16, 2021  Incredibly, a survey finds 42% of Australians believe China will attack Australia, this despite exports to China surging 36% over in the last six months, and despite there being no logical rationale for war with China, or an attack by China. Marcus Reubenstein analyses the ludicrous position of Australia’s China hawks and the mainstream media pushing their agendas. 

“Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 3, Scene 1

China is a rapidly growing economic power, seeking to exert considerable influence in its region and beyond. And like every great power it is a bully which tries to entice, cajole or intimidate other nations into adopting its view of the world.

How is this such a difficult concept for Australians to embrace?

Since Federation we’ve tied our fortunes to two great powers, the declining British Empire then the rising, and rising even more, US global hegemony……….

Who is threatening whom?

new report from the Australia Institute begins with the following words:

“In April this year, Australians were warned by no less an expert than the former Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, that they may need to engage in a ‘kinetic’ war with China in the next five to ten years.”

Perhaps, in the realm of China policy, ‘no lesser expert’ better describes his authority on the subject.

The same Pyne, famously discussed his role as a defence industry consultant with EY whilst he was a sitting member of the Federal Cabinet, a matter which prompted a Senate investigation.

He still works for EY, sits on the board of defence contractor XTEC, is Chair of the Advisory Board of another defence contractor NIOA, and in June last year Arawa Capital announced him as Chair of its Advisory Board and Investment Committee for a fund investing in weapons systems.

In heralding that appointment Arawa specifically referred to the, still unsubstantiated, Scott Morrison announcement of a malicious cyber attack by an unnamed “state-based” actor. Arawa trumpeted Pyne has “unrivalled knowledge of the cyber, intelligence and national security landscape.”    

With Pyne on board, Arawa said it “anticipates closing out the initial $50mil capital raising swiftly.” It transpired there was a swift “closing out”, ASIC records show six months later Arawa Capital Pty Ltd was deregistered as a company.  

According to research from Michael West Media’s “Revolving Doors” series, Pyne’s numerous board memberships and consultancies put him in direct, or indirect, contact with more than a dozen weapons makers and contractors.

Clearly, talking up a war with China is of no financial benefit to these companies.

Why would China attack Australia?

Should Australia go to war with China in defence of Taiwan? is the title of the Australia Institute report and 42% of its six hundred respondents think China is poised to attack Australia.

How and why?

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?

If Australia has something China wants, it is many times cheaper and easier to buy it than to send your army half way around the world to steal it.              

China’s current leadership is presiding over a great deal more diplomatic disasters than triumphs but, if nothing else, the Chinese are pragmatic.

Australia’s rabid China hawks will no doubt dismiss such assessments, saying China doesn’t need to deploy military assets it would simply launch a nuclear strike on a target—which they ignore is home to 1.2 million ethnically Chinese people.

My counter argument?

The policy wonks in Washington, who made you their lapdogs, didn’t throw you a bone because they thought you were smart, they threw you the bone because they knew you were dumb enough to catch it!

This survey’s inconvenient truth

The same number of respondents were polled in Taiwan and only a few more (49 percent) expressed fears of an attack from the mainland. Bear in mind the Taiwanese are of the same Han ethnicity as the majority of Chinese, who moved over from the mainland in the 1680s; the PRC has never given up its claim to what was once part of China; and the island sits just 161 kilometres off the coast of China.

That four in ten Australians should think Beijing—a mere 9,000 kilometres from Canberra—is gearing up for invasion is staggering.

Report author Allan Behm noted, “Given Australia and Taiwan’s historical and geographical differences, it is astounding that Australians could be more fearful than Taiwan in anticipating an attack from China.”

This anticipation is undoubtedly fuelled by Australia’s China hawks, all with close ties to US-funded research groups and patronage from US weapons makers.

However, they should not be too smug in thinking their “drums of war” are resonating.

73 percent of Australians regard the United States as an aggressive nation, while only six in ten Australians believe the US would come to our aid in the event of war with China.

Given Australia has followed the United States into 100 percent of its wars, that Australians would only rate America a 60 percent chance of leaping to our defence is a sobering statistic.

Totally at odds with Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Maris Payne’s unquestioned support of the US antagonism towards China, 75 percent of Australians think it is in our interests that China and the US “work together towards world peace”. Of concern to the spin merchants inside the government an even higher number of coalition supporters, 79 percent, think peace with China is a good idea.

Despite the US, and Morrison’s, rhetoric of Taiwan being a like-minded democracy of shared values, 76 percent of Taiwanese rate America as an aggressor. Should the US come to Taiwan’s aid in a war with China, only 18 percent of Taiwanese people think they would win.

How reliable are drummers?

By any sensible strategic logic, the dogs of war should remain in their box. Let the drums of war continue to drum up business for the China threat industry and their death-merchant patrons.  …..  

July 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel determined to“maintain military superiority”, in preparation for a nuclear Iran

Gantz: We must ‘adapt our plans’ to prepare for a nuclear Iran

Prime minister says Israel carefully monitoring situation in Lebanon and that IDF currently in better place than it was in 2006 war against Hezbollah, Tims of Israel, By JUDAH ARI GROSS15 July 2021
, Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday called for Israel to step up its preparations for the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon……… Israel has maintained that as it is not part of the nuclear deal, it is free to act as it sees fit to prevent Iran from obtaining an atomic bomb.

In his speech, Gantz called for the government to allow the country’s security services to “maintain military superiority, which ensures our secure existence and advances peace.”

The remark appeared to refer to a report by the Kan broadcaster earlier in the evening that the IDF was asking the government for a major budget increase, in large part to prepare itself to conduct strikes aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear pursuit………

July 17, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment