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Sam and the Plant Next Door – growing up by the nuclear power plant

Sam, 11, is always being told not to worry about the nuclear power plant rising next door, but for him there is lots to think about. Hinkley Point C will be Britain’s largest nuclear plant, and it’s only two miles away. Most of his classmates expect to work at the plant but Sam is determined to escape that fate.

His dream is to protect the surrounding marine life he identifies with. Like the fish, he feels unappreciated by the adults. Sam thinks the only way to reach his dream is to leave his friends behind and to go to a private school. But when he’s offered a place, his parents can’t afford the fees. As a last resort, they turn to the power company for funding, which forces Sam to decide what kind of person he wants to be. Drifting between Sam’s daily life and his dreams, a film about holding on and letting go, along the tricky passage from childhood innocence to grown-up life

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Education, UK | Leave a comment

Russia’s response to coronavirus risk for nuclear stations – isolate the nuclear workforce

Russia’s nuclear workers isolated onsite as coronavirus spreads, Bellona, April 3, 2020 by Charles Digges,

Workers at Russia’s nuclear power plants will be isolated from the general public and required to live in onsite clinics at their respective stations as nuclear authorities tighten their response to the coronavirus after a number of industry infections.

The order came Tuesday from Rosenergoatom, Russia’s nuclear utility, and specified that both primary and back up crews of nuclear technicians, who “facilitate process continuity” would now be required check in to dispensaries at their plants, where they would be provided with daily living essentials and isolated from outside contact.

Rosenergoatom, which is a subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is responding to a Tuesday video address by Andrei Likhachev, the corporation’s CEO, which outlined the isolation measures.

Earlier this week, Likhachev confirmed that four Rosatom employees had tested positive for the coronavirus, the spread of which has all but ground the world economy to a halt as the number of those infected worldwide surpasses 1 million.

Russians have been told to stay home through next week on a government ordered holiday. There have been 4,149 cases of coronavirus reported by Moscow as of Friday, 34 of which have resulted in death. In his address, Likhachev asked all Rosatom employees who could feasibly work remotely had been asked to do so, though he said the corporation’s overseas reactor building projects would continue.

Rosenergoatom’s unprecedented steps to protect highly skilled nuclear specialists from falling ill from the virus mirror measures other countries are taking for their own workers to avoid power interruptions or outright plant shutdowns.

In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering isolating its own workers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, while France – the world’s most nuclear-dependent nation – is weighing staff cuts of its own. Both France and the United Kingdom have shut down a number of their nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities in response to a spike in local infections

Rosenergoatom didn’t make clear precisely how many of Russia’s nuclear workers have been put in isolation, but its parent company Rosatom controls a sprawling network of reactors, laboratories, commercial structures and fuel fabrication facilities that employ some 250,000 people…….

Workers at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant, 1,800 kilometers to Moscow’s east, have already been working in isolation for more than a week, after the wife of one of the plant’s technicians tested positive for the virus.

April 4, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, politics, Russia | Leave a comment

Bosnia and Herzegovina oppose Croatia’s nuclear waste plan

April 4, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Expert opinion recommends furloughing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Legal, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK ‘s new nuclear projects further delayed

April 4, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Doctors warn on coronavirus danger for Julian Assange, imprisoned without conviction, in a coronavirus incubator

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Doctors Warning on Assange in a Covid-19 Breeding Ground, Consortium News,April 1, 2020 •  In a prison cited for failing to curb infections, Doctors4Assange warn that Julian Assange is at high risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus. According to a report Wednesday in The Daily Maverick, imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is one of only two prisoners of 797 inmates in Belmarsh Prison who are being held for skipping bail. The majority are violent criminals, including 20 percent for murder and 16 inmates on terrorism offenses. The facility was also repeatedly criticized by prison inspectors for a lapse in preventing infections to inmatesFollowing Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision to deny Assange bail last week, Doctors4 Assange released the following statement:

Doctors4Assange Statement on Assange
Bail Hearing over Coronavirus Risk,
March 27, 2020  Doctors4Assange strongly condemns last Wednesday’s decision by UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny bail to Julian Assange. Despite our prior unequivocal statement[1] that Mr Assange is at increased risk of serious illness and death were he to contract coronavirus, and the evidence of medical experts, Baraitser dismissed the risk, citing UK guidelines for prisons in responding to the global pandemic: “I have no reason not to trust this advice as both evidence-based and reliable and appropriate.”[2]

Notably, however, Baraitser did not address the increased risk to Mr Assange relative to the general UK prison population, let alone prisoners at HMP Belmarsh where Assange is incarcerated. Nor did she address the rapidly emerging medical and legal consensus that vulnerable and low-risk prisoners should be released, immediately.

As the court heard, Mr Assange is at increased risk of contracting and dying from the novel disease coronavirus (COVID-19), a development which has led the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern[3] and a global pandemic.[4] The reasons for Mr Assange’s increased risk include his ongoing psychological torture, his history of medical neglect and fragile health, and chronic lung disease.

Edward Fitzgerald, QC, representing Mr Assange, said, “These [medical] experts consider that he is particularly at risk of developing coronavirus and, if he does, that it develops into very severe complications for him… If he does develop critical symptoms it would be very doubtful that Belmarsh would be able to cope with his condition.”[5]

Baraitser’s casual dismissal of Mr Assange’s dire situation in the face of the COVID-19 emergency stood in stark contrast not only to the expert medical evidence, but the proceedings themselves. The hearing took place on the third day of the UK’s coronavirus lock-down. Of the two counsels representing Mr Assange, Edward Fitzgerald QC wore a facemask and Mark Summers QC participated via audiolink. US attorneys joined the proceedings by phone.

Mr Assange himself appeared by videolink, which was terminated after around an hour, rendering him unable to follow the remainder of his own hearing, including the defence summation and the District Judge’s ruling. Mr Assange’s supporters attending in person observed social distancing measures. Overall only 15 people were in attendance, including judge, counsel, and observers……..

Adding their legal voices to these medical and human rights authorities, the day after Mr Assange’s bail hearing, three professors in law and criminology recommended “granting bail to unsentenced prisoners to stop the spread of coronavirus”.[12]

Julian Assange is just such an unsentenced prisoner with significant health vulnerability. He is being held on remand, with no custodial sentence or UK charge in place, let alone conviction.

Doctors4Assange are additionally concerned that keeping Assange in Belmarsh not only increases his risk of contracting coronavirus, it will increase his isolation and his inability to prepare his defence for his upcoming extradition hearing, in violation of his human right to prepare a defence……

April 2, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Russia concerned about coronavirus and nuclear safety, as four nuclear workers test positive4

Four nuclear workers test positive for coronavirus as Rosatom steps up pandemic response  Bellona, April 1, 2020 by Charles Digges The staff of at least one nuclear power plant in Russia has been put into isolation due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19, as Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, announced a raft of measures to protect the employees of its sprawling domestic and international apparatus.

Four Russian nuclear workers have tested positive for the coronavirus and the staff of a nuclear power plant has been put into isolation while state nuclear corporation Rosatom implements a raft of measures to protect employees of its sprawling domestic and international apparatus.

As Moscow – and the rest of the world – institutes lockdowns for its citizens, Rostom says it is erring on the side of caution to protect its highly skilled workers against an international pandemic that has infected some 877,000 people around the planet. As of March 31, Russia claims 2,337 of those cases………

On Monday, Alexei Likhachev, Rosatom’s CEO said in a video address on the company’s website that he had instituted corporation-wide health checks and sanitation practices at nuclear facilities in Russia, and had sent home all employees who could feasibly work remotely.

But he left broader decisions about staff quarantines up to local authorities, both in the Russian regions where Rosatom operates facilities as well as in foreign countries.

To that end, he said that Rosatom is continuing the construction of nuclear stations abroad despite the global coronavirus outbreak. But he added that the majority of business trips scheduled for Rosatom employees had been cancelled. …….

Throughout the world, nuclear operators are grappling with the advance of the coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 illness. Some countries, like the United States, are suggesting that nuclear power plant operators should be isolated on site to prevent their specialized staff from falling ill.

The United Kingdom has already shut down one of its nuclear fuel reprocessing sites after a portion of its technicians were forced to self-isolate after being exposed to the virus.

In France, the Le Hague reprocessing facility has likewise been stalled. And while France’s national operator EDF has refused to comment about the level of absenteeism or the number of confirmed coronavirus infections among its staff, it says its nuclear power plants could operate for three months with a 25 percent reduction in staffing levels and for two to three weeks with 40 percent fewer staff.

Rosatom’s 250,000 employees operate 38 nuclear reactors throughout Russia and staff numerous mining, technological and sales concerns throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The corporation also has 36 power units at different stages of implementation in 12 countries around the world. It is currently constructing seven reactors overseas: two each in Bangladesh, Belarus and India, plus one unit in Turkey.

April 2, 2020 Posted by | health, Russia | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Vattenfall AB’s 44-year-old Ringhals-1 shut down, as energy prices fall

Cheap Energy Just Shut Down a Nuclear Reactor  (Bloomberg) 1 April 20, — The latest victim of the global slump in energy prices is an old Swedish nuclear reactor that will stay offline until at least the end of summer. Electricity prices in the Nordic market were plunging even before the coronavirus began to cripple economies and hurt demand worldwide. That’s because of the build-up of a huge surplus of future supply in the form of water in the r eservoirs and snow-pack in the mountains. Vattenfall AB’s 44-year-old Ringhals-1 facility will be switched off until at least the end of September, the operator said in a statement with the Nord Pool exchange. It was already down for maintenance since March 13.

Vattenfall AB’s 44-year-old Ringhals-1 facility will be switched off until at least the end of September……
As European prices slump, weighed down by lower demand and the slide in fuel and carbon costs, more plants will struggle to make enough profit. In the U.K., margins at some gas-fired plants could drop as much as 30% year-on-year if demand recovers slowly, according to Aurora Energy Research.

April 2, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

EDF workers at Hinkley Point C nuclear site are a major health risk to local residents

West Somerset Free Press 27th March 2020, EDF workers living in village accommodation around Hinkley Point are a major health risk to residents and should be moved out to purpose-built campuses which have strict health precautions, local councillors urged this week.
Despite a decision by EDF on Wednesday to reduce its Hinkley C
workforce by half to around 2,000 in the coming days in an attempt to limit
the spread of the coronavirus, it was claimed that while residents were in
lockdown, HPC construction workers could “come and go as they wish”.
“People are very scared and concerned,” said Cllr Chris Morgan,
chairman of Stogursey Parish Council and the area’s councillor on
Somerset West and Taunton Council. “What is happening is a recipe for
Cllr Morgan said that, while he welcomed the reduction in the
Hinkley workforce, “you have still got a very large group of people doing
what everyone else has been told not to do. “We have a large multiple
occupation building (HMO) in the middle of the village, another in Castle
Street, one in Burton and many rented rooms, all full of people going to
work, coming back, using the shops, all mixing together.
“When you have a predominantly older age group it is a recipe for disaster. “Most of the villages around Hinkley Point have quarantined themselves but when you have got people constantly doing the complete opposite of that being asked of the people who live here, it just doesn’t seem right. “The answer could be to move workers out of the villages back to purpose-built campuses. It’s not beyond the capabilities of EDF to do that.
This is a national emergency.” Parish council vice-chairman Cllr Sue Goss said that, while she also welcomed the cut in the Hinkley workforce, it did not go far enough to address the needs of the local community. “Our main concern,
particularly in Stogursey parish, is that we still have contractors who
quite rightly go home at the weekends, some to the Covid 19 hotspots of
South Wales and the West Midlands, and then return to the middle of our
local community, totally untested, before they return to the site.
“We are in discussion with EDF and the local councils to see what other
measures can be taken, but at the moment it seems that the only real
control over the situation would be to shut the site down, which I don’t
think will happen because it is a critical national infrastructure

March 31, 2020 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment

EDF, French company building Hinkley Point power station, shifts workers’ costs to UK govt

Coronavirus: EDF to furlough Hinkley Point workers after reducing site numbers, Edward Thicknesse CITY A.M. 29 Mar 20,  Hundreds of workers at EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant are being furloughed after the firm decided to cut the number of workers on site by more than half.

In an attempt to cut costs, the Telegraph reported that many of the site’s workers are being moved onto the government’s employee retention scheme, which guarantees them 80 per cent of their wages.

In an attempt to cut costs, the Telegraph reported that many of the site’s workers are being moved onto the government’s employee retention scheme, which guarantees them 80 per cent of their wages.

Although some of the 2,000 or so workers moved off the nuclear site in Somerset will continue to work in back office roles, the requirement to pay the majority will now shift to the government.

Those initially set to be moved onto the Treasury scheme are contractors working on the site, not EDF employees.

The French firm said: “Hinkley Point C has reduced the number of workers on its site to enable safe working. The project has not asked for any additional Government support and the majority of workers will remain in employment”.

It is understood that contractors are furloughing 500 or so employees, with the intention to bring them back onto payroll as soon as possible.

EDF has not issued a statement on whether it expects the coronavirus pandemic to impact the project’s timeline. …..

EDF’s decision to reduce its workforce came after the government came under pressure to suspend all non-essential construction work over safety concerns.

Politicians of all stripes, from London mayor Sadiq Khan to Tory ex-minister Iain Duncan Smith hit out against the government’s decision not to pause all such work for the duration of the crisis.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Entire crew of nuclear submarine in coronavirus quarantine 

Entire crew of nuclear submarine in coronavirus quarantine

A civilian who went on board the cruise-missile carrier “Orel” had met with a man who tested positive to the coronavirus.
By Thomas Nilsen  March 28, 2020

Orel” (K-266) is an Oscar-II class nuclear-powered submarine sailing for the Northern Fleet. Normally, the submarine has a crew of about 110 sailors.

The civilian that had met with a man infected with the coronavirus was on board “Orel” in a “business matter”, Murmansk-based news-online B-port reports.

Also, the crew of a nearby submarine and the personnel on a floating workshop are placed in quarantine.

The submarine is based in Zapadnaya Litsa, the westernmost bases of the Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula.

No reports have been published about any coronavirus cases in Zaozersk, the navy town where the crew and their families live.

By March 28th, Russia’s official number of coronavirus infections raised to 1,264.

The “Murmansk group” on social media channel Vkontakte says there are 12 people who have given pre-positive tests of coronavirus in the Murmansk region.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | health, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Government under pressure to suspend non-essential construction work (such as building nuclear plants)

Government under pressure to suspend non-essential construction work, CITY A.M. 29 Mar 20,The government is facing growing pressure to halt non-essential construction work as it tries to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.In a Downing Street briefing on Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said construction workers could and should continue to work so long as they are two metres apart.

“The judgment we have made is that in work, in many instances, the 2m rule can be applied,” he said.

However critics say public health should be prioritised over the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Former Tory cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith joined those calling for a temporary suspension of work. He told the BBC: “I think the balance is where we should delete some of those construction workers from going to work and focus only on the emergency requirements.”

The confusion over who is able to work came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announced a nationwide lockdown in a televised address on Monday night.

The PM said people should only leave their homes to shop for basic goods, fulfil medical needs, to exercise and to travel to work when “absolutely necessary”. However the types of work considered necessary has not yet been made clear…..

March 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

British small nuclear reactors to help Turkey to get nuclear weapons?

Fears over nuclear Turkey after Rolls Royce reactor deal, Morning Star, 

 MARCH 25, 2020   ENGINEERING firm Rolls-Royce has struck a deal with Turkey for the production of nuclear mini-reactors, sparking fears that the British company and its international consortium partners are helping pave the way for Ankara to develop a nuclear bomb…..

It is part of a consortium including BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Atkins and others. They will work together on designing the new power plant. ….

the plans have raised fears that Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could use the development as a step towards the country becoming a nuclear-armed power.

As previously reported in the Morning Star, Turkey’s secret nuclear programme includes plans to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including nuclear missiles.

The plans have been given the green light by Mr Erdogan’s religious adviser Hayreddin Karaman, who provided not only his blessing for the government to acquire WMDs but also encouraged its leadership to do so.

Writing in a pro-government newspaper in 2017, Mr Karaman said: “We need to consider producing these weapons, rather than purchasing them, without losing any time and with no regard to words of hindrance from the West.”

There are already some 70 US-owned nuclear warheads said to be based at Incirlik airbase near the southern of Adana.

About 40 of these are thought to be under Turkish control, though details are patchy due to a lack of openness and transparency.

In previous deals with Russia and a Japanese-French consortium, the door was left open for the development of nuclear weapons after Turkey rejected offers to include the provision of uranium and the return of the spent fuel rods used in the reactors.

Ankara would be able to use its own low-enriched uranium and reprocess the fuel rods, producing its own enriched uranium for the development of nuclear weapons.

The development has parallels with the Indian missile capability developed after the testing of plutonium produced in the Canadian-supplied Cirus reactor, which first raised the issue that nuclear technology supplied for peaceful purposes could be diverted to weapons production.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Turkey, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear construction work continues, while rest of UK is in lockdown

Dundee Courier 24th March 2020, Opponents of the Hinkley Point C project criticised the decision to carry on and called on the Government to tell them to stop. “This is putting lives at risk right across Somerset and the whole of the country,” said Stop Hinkley campaign spokeswoman Katy Attwater. “Why hasn’t the Prime Minister ordered them to stay at home – is he just pandering to the nuclear lobby? “While the rest of the country is in lockdown, EDF fails to acknowledge that if someone has developed a fever, they have been incubating and spreading the virus for days beforehand.
“Monitoring for fever is leaving it too late. Who is advising them on best practice? “EDF is irresponsible with its decisions on climate change, marine protection, archaeological heritage, and future safety of the people in Somerset. “Now it is failing to address the Covid-19 emergency adequately. They need to stop work at Hinkley Point C now to protect workers and local  people.”

March 26, 2020 Posted by | health, safety, UK | Leave a comment

UK and Fench govts consider nuclear construction as “essential”, so can remain open

Work continues at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset but workforce cut by half, Watch Rupert Evelyn’s ITV News report: [on original]. 25 Mar 20. The beaches of Somerset are deserted as the warning to stay at home appears to have been heeded but on the Bristol Channel coast thousands of people are still clocking in to work at Europe’s largest building site.

The Government has deemed the jobs at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Bridgwater to be essential and French energy giant EDF says that it is “a project of critical national importance”.

The number of construction workers will now be reduced by more than half to around 2,000 to mitigate the coronavirus risk and bosses have pledged to reduce staffing levels further as the project progresses.

But critics and opponents have rounded on the decision to carry on and have called on the Government to halt proceedings.

This is putting lives at risk right across Somerset and the whole of the country. Why hasn’t the Prime Minister ordered them to stay at home – is he just pandering to the nuclear lobby? While the rest of the country is in lockdown, EDF fails to acknowledge that if someone has developed a fever, they have been incubating and spreading the virus for days beforehand.


Workers have been photographed close to each other in the canteen and sitting shoulder to shoulder on the buses which transport them to and from the site.

This is at odds with Government advice to socially distance.

They need to put something else in place. They need to consider their workers. If there is an outbreak at Hinkley Point then it would be uncontrollable. Our NHS system here in the South West is quite small compared to big cities.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | health, politics, UK | Leave a comment