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Local residents unhappy at “unavoidable impacts” of planned demolition of shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Courthouse News 8th Aug 2018 , Southern California residents packed a California State Lands Commission
meeting Tuesday night to protest the plan to demolish the shuttered San
Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The SONGS nuclear power plant closed in
2012 after reactor coolant leaked from an 11-month-old steam generator,
leaking 82 gallons of radioactive coolant a day. Edison alerted the public
to a “possible leak” on Jan. 31, 2012, and on Feb. 17, 2012, responded
to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report about the leak with confirmation
a “barely measurable” amount of radioactivity was released into the

The California Coastal Commission issued a permit to SONGS
operator Southern California Edison to store spent nuclear waste in
canisters buried under the beach next to the shuttered power plant. This
year, Edison began burying the spent nuclear waste on the beach and is a
third of the way through burying the 70-plus canisters.

But to complete the entire decommissioning process – including tearing down the twin
buildings which used to house energy operations – the California Coastal
Commission needs to approve a final permit. That permit will not be taken
up by the Coastal Commission until a recently released 706-page
environmental impact report by the California State Lands Commission –
which assesses the environmental impacts of tearing down SONGS – gets

It outlines the components and structures proposed to be taken
down in a way to reduce radioactivity and impacts on the environment. Among
significant “unavoidable impacts” outlined in the EIR, however, are
potential release of radiological materials and impacts on air quality. The
majority of speakers from a group of more than 100 people at Tuesday’s
meeting said those “unavoidable impacts” are unacceptable.


August 11, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Costly and difficult dismantling of USA’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise

The U.S. Navy Is Having a Hell of a Time Dismantling the USS Enterprise

Nobody has ever disposed of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier before. Turns out it’s not easy. By Aug 10, 2018 

August 11, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bradwell Nuclear Power Station closed 16 years ago, now ready for decades of “interim” wastes

Maldon & Burnham Standard 23rd July 2018 , BRADWELL Power Station has finished treating radioactive waste as it makes another big step towards being decommissioned. Site operator Magnox is now
preparing the site for the 80 year care and maintenance process. The power
station stopped generating electricity in March 2002, after running for 40
years. In a programme spanning seven years, hundreds of thousands of litres
of radioactive resin and sludge has been made ready for interim storage.
The radioactive sludge was collected from the ponds which stored the
site’s spent nuclear fuel during operation. The resins helped with
removing the radioactive content from site’s discharges – making sure
they were kept within safe and permitted levels. Once it had been
retrieved, the waste was treated and packaged in self-shielding ductile
cast iron containers known as yellow boxes, making it suitable for interim
storage in the site’s purpose-built facility.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Captiol Hill briefing paper on the need for autopsies at decommissioning reactors


Decommissioning nuclear power stations need an “autopsy” to verify and validate safety margins projected for operating reactor license extensions  


The Issue

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the lead organization for the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry, envisions the industry’s “Bridge to the Future” through a series of reactor license renewals from the original 40-year operating license; first by a 40 to 60-year extension and then a subsequent 60 to 80-year extension. Most U.S. reactors are already operating in their first 20-year license extension and the first application for the second 20-year extension (known as the “Subsequent License Renewal”) is before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for review and approval. NEI claims that there are no technical “show stoppers” to these license extensions. However, as aging nuclear power stations seek to extend their operations longer and longer, there are still many identified knowledge gaps for at least 16 known age-related material degradation mechanisms (embrittlement, cracking, corrosion, fatigue, etc.) attacking irreplaceable safety-related systems including miles of electrical cable, structures such as the concrete containment and components like the reactor pressure vessel. For example, the national labs have identified that it is not known how radiation damage will interact with thermal aging. Material deterioration has already been responsible for near miss nuclear accidents.  As such, permanently closed and decommissioning nuclear power stations have a unique and increasingly vital role to play in providing access to still missing data on the impacts and potential hazards of aging for the future safety of dramatic operating license extensions.

The NRC and national laboratories document that a post-shutdown autopsy of sorts to harvest, archive and test actual aged material samples (metal, concrete, electrical insulation and jacketing, etc.) during decommissioning provides unique and critical access to obtain the scientific data for safety reviews of the requested license extensions. A Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 2017 report concludes, post-shutdown autopsies are necessary for “reasonable assurance that systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are able to meet their safety functions. Many of the remaining questions regarding degradation of materials will likely require[emphasis added]a combination of laboratory studies as well as other research conducted on materials sampled from plants (decommissioned or operating).” PNNL reiterates, “Where available, benchmarking can be performed using surveillance specimens. In most cases, however, benchmarking of laboratory tests will require(emphasis added)harvesting materials from reactors.” In the absence of “reasonable assurance,” it is premature for licensees to complete applications without adequate verification and validation of projected safety margins for the 60 to 80-year extension period.

Decommissioning is not just the process for dismantling nuclear reactors and remediating radioactive contamination for site restoration. Decommissioning has an increasingly important role at the end-of-reactor-life-cycle for the scientific scrutiny of projected safety margins and potential hazards at operating reactors seeking longer and longer license extensions.                   

The Problem

After decades of commercial power operation,the nuclear industry and the NRC have done surprisingly little to strategically harvest, archive and scientifically analyze actual aged materials. Relatively few samples of real time aged materials have been shared with the NRC.  The NRC attributes the present dearth of real time aged samples to “harvesting opportunities have been limited due to few decommissioning plants.” However, ten U.S. reactors have completed decommissioning operations to date and 20 units are in the decommissioning process. More closures are scheduled to begin in Fall 2018.  A closer look raises significant concern that the nuclear industry is reluctant to provide access to decommissioning units for sampling or collectively share this cost of doing business to extend their operating licenses. Key components including severely embrittled reactor pressure vessels were promptly dismantled by utilities and buried whole without autopsy. Many permanently closed reactors have been placed in “SAFSTOR,” defueled and mothballed “cold and dark” for up to 50 years without the material sampling to determine their extent of condition and the impacts of aging. Moreover, the NRC is shying away from taking reasonable regulatory and enforcement action to acquire the requested samples for laboratory analysis after prioritizing the need for a viable license extension safety review prior to approval. Meanwhile, the nuclear industry license extension process is pressing forward.

David Lochbaum, a recognized nuclear safety engineer in the public interest with the Union of Concerned Scientists, identifies that nuclear research on the impacts and hazards of age degradation in nuclear power stations presently relies heavily on laboratory accelerated aging—often of fresh materials—and computer simulation to predict future aging performance and potential consequences during license extension.  Lochbaum explains that “Nuclear autopsies yield insights that cannot be obtained by other means.” Researchers need to compare the results from their time-compression studies with results from tests on materials actually aged for various time periods to calibrate their analytical models.According to Lochbaum, “Predicting aging effects is like a connect-the-dots drawing. Insights from materials harvested during reactor decommissioning provide many additional dots to the dots provided from accelerated aging studies. As the number of dots increases, the clearer the true picture can be seen. The fewer the dots, the harder it is to see the true picture.

The Path Forward

1) Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the NRC need to determine the nuclear industry’s fair share of autopsy costs levied through collective licensing fees for strategic harvesting during decommissioning and laboratory analysis of real time aged material samples as intended to benefit the material performance and safety margins of operating reactors seeking license extensions, and;

2) As NRC and the national laboratories define the autopsy’s stated goal as providing “reasonable assurance that systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are able to meet their safety functions” for the relicensing of other reactors, the NRC approval process for Subsequent License Renewal extensions should be held in abeyance pending completion of comprehensive strategic harvesting and conclusive analysis as requested by the agency and national laboratories, and;

3) Civil society can play a more active role in the independent oversight and public transparency of autopsies at decommissioning reactor sites such as through state legislated and authorized nuclear decommissioning citizen advisory panels.

July 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

EDF aims to be the key corporation in nuclear station decommissioning

EDF and VEOLIA Conclude a Partnership Agreement on Nuclear Plant Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Processing, Business Wire June 26, 2018 

“We are proud to have signed this agreement with VEOLIA, which underscores EDF’s determination to become a key player in decommissioning and radioactive waste management. This partnership is also tangible evidence of EDF and VEOLIA’s desire to pool their know-how in the interest of developing successful industrial sectors.”
On 26 June 2018, EDF and VEOLIA (Paris:VIE) entered a partnership agreement to co-develop remote control solutions for dismantling gas-cooled reactors (natural uranium graphite gas or UNGG in French) and for vitrifying radioactive waste, in France and worldwide.

EDF is currently decommissioning 6 gas-cooled reactors reactors at Bugey (Ain department in France), Chinon (Indre-et-Loire department) and Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux (Loir-et-Cher). Key milestones have already been secured on all these complex projects, and EDF confirms its objective to dismantle these nuclear facilities in the shortest timeframe possible. Veolia will thus provide EDF with its experience in remote handling technologies (robotics) with a view to designing and delivering innovative solutions to access the cores of gas-cooled reactors and to cut up and extract components under optimum safety and security conditions……..

June 27, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, France | Leave a comment

Nuclear decommissioning in the UK

Decommissioning    NO2Nuclear Power. Safe Energy Journal  78 The UK government has launched a consultation on the future regulation of nuclear sites in the final stages of decommissioning and clean-up. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the consultation seeks to enable a “more flexible approach that can optimise waste management, thereby realising environmental benefits and reducing costs”.

Of the 36 nuclear sites located across England, Wales and Scotland, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is responsible for the decommissioning and clean-up of 17. Other sites to be decommissioned in the future include the operational nuclear power stations owned by EDF Energy, and other nuclear sites in the nuclear fuel cycle, reprocessing, waste management, pharmaceutical and research sectors.

 In the UK, the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (NIA65) provides the legal framework for nuclear safety and nuclear third-party liability and sets out a system of regulatory control based on a robust licensing process administered by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Under this regime, a site operator is required to have a licence to use a site for specified activities such as the operation of nuclear power stations. In addition to the nuclear site licensing regime, the NIA65 requires that financial provision is in place to meet claims in the event of a nuclear incident, as required under international law on nuclear third-party liability.

The consultation proposals include changing the NIA65 to allow licensees to exit the licensing regime once the site has reached internationally agreed standards and nuclear safety and security matters have been fully resolved. After the licence has been ended, the site would be regulated by the relevant environment agency and the Health and Safety Executive, in the same way that non-nuclear industrial sites undergoing clean-up for radioactive or other contamination are regulated.

 Proposals for further clean-up would be assessed by the relevant environment agency under the Radioactive Substances Regulations.  BEIS said this process would enable the site operator to work with the community to establish the “most appropriate” end-state for the site and would result in improved waste management and other environmental benefits.

BEIS proposes to implement two recent decisions by the OECD Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy concerning the exclusion of certain sites from the nuclear third-party regime when the main nuclear hazards have been removed and the risks to the public are small. It also proposes to tighten the licence surrender process to require a licensee to apply to ONR to surrender the licence, and to strengthen requirements for ONR to consult with HSE when the licence is surrendered or varied. (1)

The Government says the main reasons for change are:

  • nuclear third party liability currently continues beyond the point at which it is no longer required. The UK has not yet implemented the decisions of the OECD Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy concerning the exclusion of certain sites from the nuclear liability regime;
  • site operators wishing to exit the NIA65 licensing regime are required to clean-up the site in a way that does not allow them to balance the overall safety and environmental risks and this may result in unnecessary costs; and
  • · disposal facilities for radioactive waste located on nuclear licensed sites remain subject to nuclear licensing. Such sites are also regulated by the environment agencies. This is considered dual regulation which is unnecessary after nuclear safety matters have been resolved.

The UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a discussion paper on the regulation of nuclear sites in the final stages of decommissioning and cleanup in November 2016. The NFLA responded here:

This response concluded that:

There is a danger that what is being proposed will simply be seen as turning nuclear sites into nuclear dumps as a way of saving money.

The concept of “optimisation” which is decided by the operator and regulators making value judgements needs to be replaced with the concept of the Best Practicable Environmental Option which uses a systematic consultative and decision making procedure.

Any part of a nuclear site upon which it is proposed to allow unrestricted use must be able to show that doses to members of the public will be of the order of 0.01mSv or less per year. Using a risk factor in conjunction with probability of receiving a dose is too flexible and unacceptable.

Any waste left on-site much be concentrated and contained in a monitorable, retrievable store.

Former nuclear operators should remain liable for any future unexpected events and should also be liable to pay for any regulatory effort in perpetuity.

 These earlier proposals appear to allow for the unrestricted use of sites which may have nuclear waste buried and which could be capable of administering doses of up to 20mSv/yr if human intrusion occurs.

The HSE Criterion for De-Licensing Nuclear Sites (2005) says the Basic Safety Standards Directive (Euratom 96/29) allows member states to exempt a practice where appropriate and without further consideration if doses to members of the public are of the order of 0.01mSv or less per year. HSE is of the view that this dose limit broadly equates to a risk of 10-6 ‘as well as being consistent with other legislation and international advice relating to the radiological protection of the public. The environment agencies Guidance on Requirements for Authorisation (GRA) on Near Surface Disposal Facilities for Solid Radioactive Waste (Near Surface GRA) says that a risk level of 10-6 per year is equivalent to a calculated dose of around 0.02mSv/yr, where the probability of receiving the dose is one.

The consultation is open until 3rd July, and is available here:

June 23, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Inadequate funds to decommission FirstEnergy Solutions nuclear reactors.

FES nuclear decommissioning funds inadequate, consumer groups tell NRC, When FirstEnergy Solutions closes the Perry nuclear power plant east of Cleveland, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo and the Beaver Valley nuclear plant near Pittsburgh it will have up to 60 years to decommission the reactors and clean up the land at a cost of billions of dollars. A coalition of consumer and environment groups is arguing that the decommissioning trust funds are inadequate, that FES will not be able to begin decommissioning for years after the plants are closed and that parent company FirstEnergy Cop. must be held responsible to make up the funding deficit.(Plain Dealer file)

June 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Best option for Indian Point nuclear power station decommission and clean up the whole site within a reasonable period, such as 20 years

Indian Point site should be cleaned up as quickly as possible: Column, By Maggie Coulter, Valley Views  June 17, 2018  

June 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Oyster Creek nuclear power station will take 60 years to be closed down

That N.J. nuclear plant that’s closing this fall? It’s actually going to take 60 years Bill Gallo Jr. For

June 8, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Alaska’s only nuclear power station to be dismantled

Nuclear power plant at Fort Greely to be decommissioned Daily News- Miner , By Sam Friedman, May 15, 2018 

      FAIRBANKS — An Army Corp of Engineers team is planning the formal decommissioning of the only nuclear power plant ever built in Alaska, Fort Greely’s SM-1A plant.

The SM-1A plant provided steam and electricity to the Army post near Delta Junction off and on between 1962 and 1972. It was one of eight experimental projects to test the use of small nuclear power plants at remote installations.

It’s expected to take about 10 years to plan, contract out and complete the SM-1A cleanup, according to a Baltimore-based team from the Army Corps of Engineers that came to Fort Greely for meetings last month……….

When SM-1A shut down in 1972, the Army chose to place the facility into a safe storage status instead of formally decommissioning it. The highly enriched uranium fuel and waste were shipped out of Alaska and radioactive components of the reactor were encased in cement.

The Army chose this temporary method of mothballing the facility out of hope that within a relatively short amount of time significant quantities of radioactive waste would decay to a safer nonradioactive state, according to an Army Corps of Engineers website about the SM-1A at

Later studies showed that the volume of radioactive waste wasn’t decreasing as expected and that a more hands-on approach was needed to clean up the plant. The increasing costs of nuclear waste disposal also motivated the Army to begin cleaning up the site.

There’s no estimate yet for the cost of decomissioning SM-1A, but such a project for a similar power plant has a budget of $66.4 million.

A timeline for the project indicates a request for proposals will be sent out by 2021, with a contract awarded in 2022. The actual cleanup work is expected to take about five years.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

UK financial grant for research to develop self-learning robots to decommission nuclear waste

Lincoln University 4th May 2018 , Researchers have secured £1.1 million in grant funding to develop
artificial intelligence systems to enable self-learning robots to be
deployed in place of humans to hazardous nuclear sites.

It is estimated that up to £200 billion will be spent on the clean-up and decommissioning
of nuclear waste over the next 100 years.

Now, a team of computer scientists from the University of Lincoln will create machine learning
algorithms to increase capabilities in several crucial areas of nuclear
robotics, including waste handling, cell decommissioning and site
monitoring with mobile robots.

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) which enables systems to collect data and use
it to inform automated decision-making and make improvements based on
experience without being explicitly programmed.

The Lincoln team will create algorithms for vision-guided robot grasping, manipulation and
cutting, mobile robot navigation, and outdoor mapping and navigation. The
aim is to build systems which can use machine learning to adapt to the
unique conditions of nuclear sites, including locations contaminated by

The Lincoln project is part of the National Centre for Nuclear
Robotics (NCNR), a multi-disciplinary EPSRC RAI (Robotics and Artificial
Intelligence) Hub led by the University of Birmingham, and also involves
Queen Mary University of London, the University of West England, University
of Bristol, University of Edinburgh, and Lancaster University.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Global nuclear decommissioning services to be valued at USD 8.90 billion by 2025


The global nuclear decommissioning services market size is expected to be valued at USD 8.90 billion by 2025
Nuclear Decommissioning Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Reactor Type (PWR, BWR, PHWR, GCR), By Strategy (Immediate and Deferred Dismantling, Entombment), And Segment Forecasts, 2018 – 2025   
 BY Sarah Smith Research Advisor at Email:  ReportBuyer   LONDONApril 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ –According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., exhibiting a 6.8% CAGR during the forecast period. Global nuclear phase out and rising support from governments post nuclear accidents are among major factors expected to fuel market growth over the years to come.

Rise in public safety concerns due to hazardous consequences of nuclear accidents is set to actuate market demand over the coming years.In addition, increasing sustainability concerns are likely to positively impact market growth.

The transitioning trend toward renewable energy thanks to various government initiatives and regulations is also projected to promote nuclear decommissioning services over the forecast period.

With extensive research and development underway, various novel decommissioning technologies to enable efficient dismantling of nuclear facilities have been developed. Furthermore, in order to enable sustainable development, government authorities are providing various incentives and support schemes for efficient dismantling of nuclear plants. …….

The global nuclear decommissioning services market size is expected to be valued at USD 8.90 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., exhibiting a 6.8% CAGR during the forecast period. Global nuclear phase out and rising support from governments post nuclear accidents are among major factors expected to fuel market growth over the years to come.

Rise in public safety concerns due to hazardous consequences of nuclear accidents is set to actuate market demand over the coming years.In addition, increasing sustainability concerns are likely to positively impact market growth.

The transitioning trend toward renewable energy thanks to various government initiatives and regulations is also projected to promote nuclear decommissioning services over the forecast period.

With extensive research and development underway, various novel decommissioning technologies to enable efficient dismantling of nuclear facilities have been developed. Furthermore, in order to enable sustainable development, government authorities are providing various incentives and support schemes for efficient dismantling of nuclear plants.

Key market players include Orano Group; Babcock International Group PLC; Westinghouse Electric Company LLC; AECOM Group; Studsvik AB; Bechtel Group Inc.; GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy; and Magnox Ltd. These companies mainly focus on innovation to improve service quality and meet global demand.

Download the full report:

April 4, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

375 billion yen (2.86 billion euros) to dismantle Japan’s Monju breeder nuclear reactor

Le Monde 1st April 2018, [Machine Translation] By validating, on Wednesday 28 March, the project to
dismantle the Monju breeder reactor, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN)
thwarting Japan’s ambition to control the fuel cycle and adds a new nuclear
bill in the archipelago. The project involves a dismantling over thirty
years of the facility built in Tsuruga in the department of Fukui (center).
It should cost 375 billion yen (2.86 billion euros). The operation will
start as soon as July by the removal of the fuel. Then the sodium –
liquid delicate cooling to handle because flammable on contact with air –
will be removed. Disassembly will follow, with an end scheduled for 2048.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Westinghouse closing down nuclear stations in Sweden

Nucnet 16th March 2018, US-based Westinghouse Electric Company has completed a decommissioning
project at the Barseback nuclear power station in Sweden that included the
underwater segmentation and packaging of the reactor vessel internals.
Westinghouse said it had also carried out upfront engineering studies, and
equipment manufacturing and qualification for the project, which was part
of the first dismantling and decommissioning of a commercial nuclear power
plant in Sweden.

Barseback-2, a 600-MW boiling water reactor unit, began
commercial operation in July 1977 and was permanently shut down in May
2005, with decommissioning work beginning in August 2016. The closure
decision, announced in October 2004, followed what the government described
as failure to reach an agreement with the power industry on the details and
timetable for a voluntary phaseout of Sweden’s nuclear facilities Its
sister unit, Barseback-1, was permanently shut down in November 1999.
Westinghouse said it is now due to begin decommissioning work on
Barseback-1, with an estimated completion date of April 2019.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) wasted tax-payers’money bigtime , in its failed contract with Cavendish Fluor

Nucnet 1st March 2018, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) completely failed in both the procurement and management of a contract to clean up the UK’s Magnox
nuclear reactor and research sites, a report by the Public Accounts
Committee says.

The report, released on 28 February 2018, says this
disrupted an important component of vital nuclear decommissioning work and
cost the taxpayer upwards of £122m (€137m, $167m). The £6.2bn contract
— one of the largest awarded by the UK government — was to dismantle 12
first-generation Magnox nuclear sites.

It was awarded to Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a joint venture between UK-based Babcock International and
Fluor of the US. The committee, which oversees government expenditure,
said: “The NDA ran an overly complex procurement process, resulting in it
awarding the contract to the wrong bidder, and subsequently settling legal
claims from a losing consortium to the tune of nearly £100m.”

The committee also said the NDA, a public body established in 2004 to oversee
the clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy, “drastically
under-estimated” the scale of the work needed to decommission the sites
at the time it let the contract – a failure which ultimately led to the
termination of the Magnox contract nine years early.

The NDA did not have sufficient capability to manage the procurement or the complex process of
resolving differences between what the contractor was told to expect on the
sites and what it actually found, the committee concluded.

The NDA will now  have to spend even more effort and money to find a suitable way of managing
these sites after the contract comes to an official end in September 2019,
the committee said. The NDA may have further wasted taxpayers’ money by
paying its previous contractor for work that was not done. The NDA cannot
fully account for £500m of the £2.2bn increase in the cost of the
contract between September 2014 and March 2017. In particular, it does not
know whether the £500m cost increase was due to its incorrect assumptions
about the state of the sites when it let the contract or underperformance
by the previous contractor.

March 3, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, politics, UK | Leave a comment