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Irish Council opposes dumping of UK’s nuclear waste in any part of Ireland

Councillors back motion to oppose dumping of nuclear waste, The Impartial Reporter, 18th March A motion to oppose the dumping of any toxic waste in any part of Ireland was passed unanimously by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, however it was not without some political wrangling between Sinn Féin and the DUP.

The motion proposed by Sinn Fein’s John Feely states the Council’s opposition who said that the “dumping of nuclear waste has dire consequences for our environment and also poses a serious health risk to the population”.

Councillor Feely said the geological screening for geological disposal facilities for nuclear waste raised a number of questions such as about how much radiation would reach the surface and water sources.

He added that the proposals by the British Government showed once again “the complete and total disregard” it has for the citizens of “Fermanagh and Omagh, the North of Ireland and all its people”.

Councillor Barry Doherty seconded the motion saying everybody had obligation to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the area in the same way that people do today and Ireland should not turn into anyone’s dumping ground……..

Councillor Alex Baird said the UUP were happy to support the motion with an amendment to stop anybody dumping toxic waste in Northern Ireland.

Councillors, Shields, McAnespy and Deehan all welcomed the motion, with Councillor Deehan describing the prospect of a disposal facility for nuclear waste in the country as “chilling”…….. https://www.impartialreporter.com/news/17495254.councillors-back-motion-to-oppose-dumping-of-nuclear-waste/

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March 21, 2019 Posted by | Ireland, politics international, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK pledges to fully fund EU nuclear-fusion facility

Britain will pay £60 million to keep the Joint European Torus near Oxford running if negotiations to continue EU funding stall. Nature, Elizabeth Gibney, 20 Mar19,

The UK government has said that it will step in to pay for a European Union-funded nuclear-fusion laboratory near Oxford after 29 March, if European cash cannot be agreed in the next ten days.

The Joint European Torus (JET) laboratory currently has only a short-term funding contract with the European Commission, which will run out on 28 March, the day before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. Until now, JET has received around 88% of its funding from EU sources, and the remainder from the United Kingdom. Negotiations with the EU to agree a new contract to fund the facility until the end of 2020 are ongoing, but have stalled in part because of uncertainty over Brexit.

In a statement to Parliament on 13 March, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond promised to front up to £60 million (US$80 million) to run the JET in 2019–20, should no new agreement be reached in time.

The £60 million would cover the whole of the lab’s 2019–20 budget, says Ian Chapman, chief executive of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford, which hosts JET. Chapman says that the pledge is effectively an “insurance policy”: he is still optimistic that a contract with the EU will be signed in time, and that the commission will continue to fund JET in the long term. “It’s not the intention on either side for [JET] to become a UK facility. This is to make sure we’re covered and operations continue in every eventuality,” he says. ……

Unless the deal is passed by Parliament, or Brexit is delayed, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal. Although it would be possible for the bloc to keep funding JET in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, it is unclear whether this would happen. A UK government spokesperson said that the funding for JET would come from existing funds earmarked for science. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00930-3

March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics international, technology, UK | 1 Comment

EDF Energy extends outages at UK’s Hunterston B nuclear plant

Nina Chestney, Reuters LONDON (20 Mar 19,  – EDF Energy, owned by France’s EDF, has extended outages at two nuclear reactors at its Hunterston B plant in Scotland while it waits for Britain’s nuclear regulator to assess their safety cases.

  • Hunterston B-8 reactor is now expected to restart on April 30, a month later than previously forecast. Hunterston B-7 is scheduled to restart on June 29, compared with a previous date of April 30, according to EDF Energy’s website.
  • In March last year, the two reactors were taken offline to carry out inspections of the graphite core. These confirmed the presence of cracks and showed these were happening at a higher rate than modelled……… https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-nuclear-outages-idUKKCN1R01Q1

 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Are the UK’s cracked Hunterston nuclear reactors safe?

The Ferret 19th March 2019  Plans to restart two cracked and ageing reactors at Hunterston in north Ayrshire have again been delayed as operators struggle to convince regulators they are safe.

EDF Energy, the French company that runs Hunterston B nuclear power station, has postponed the restart date for reactor three by two months to 30 June 2019. The restart of reactor four has been postponed a month until 30 April 2019.

Some 370 major cracks have been found in the graphite core of reactor three, which has been closed down for more than a year since 9 March 2018. There are estimated to be around 200 similar cracks in reactor four, which was closed down on 2 October 2018.

The operational safety limit for cracks imposed by the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is 350. EDF is now trying to convince ONR that reactors should be allowed to operate with up to 700 cracks.

The proposed restart dates for both reactors have been repeatedly delayed over the last six months. They started generating electricity in 1976 and were originally due to close in 2006 – but EDF wants to keep them going until at least 2023.

Critics, however, reiterated calls for the reactors to shut down permanently. “It really is time for EDF to admit that these stations are well past their sell-by date and need to close,” said nuclear consultant, Peter Roche. “They should start talking to the Scottish Government about providing alternative employment opportunities in Ayrshire, preferably by bringing forward decommissioning and dismantling and developing robot technology.”

Rita Holmes, chair of the Hunterston site stakeholder group chair, said that personally she had no doubt that ONR would take time to scrutinise EDF’s safety cases. “Some people find the delays reassuring because EDF is sparing no expense, leaving no stone unturned, consulting the experts in order to build a robust safety case,” she said.

“Some feel the opposite – if it takes EDF that long to provide a robust safety case then maybe there is something far wrong. The safety case might or might not satisfy the regulator……….
https://theferret.scot/cracked-reactors-force-further-delays-at-hunterston/ 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

UK communities not convinced by bribes to host nuclear waste

GDF Watch 17th March 2019 The sociopolitical challenges RWM faces were starkly revealed by the
community sector’s response to a recent major Government funding
announcement. Their reaction suggests that the package of GDF-related
investment and other funding, while being ‘necessary’, is not
necessarily ‘sufficient’ to secure a community’s consent to start
initial discussions or formally enter the siting process. At the forefront
of the sectors’ concerns is ‘collaboration’, and more active
involvement in shaping policy and how it is implemented. This aspiration,
particularly in the context of a ‘consent-based’ siting process, is
likely to become a key area of discussion as RWM seeks to build awareness,
trust and confidence with communities. The evidence for this analysis can
be found in the community/civil society sector reaction to the
Government’s recent £1.6 billion ‘Stronger Towns Fund’ announcement.

Instead of welcoming the extra cash, across the board there was frustration
and concern that once again there had been no consultation with those
affected, that this was another top-down solution, and was throwing good
money at bad means of delivering real benefits to communities.

http://www.gdfwatch.org.uk/2019/03/17/to-consult-or-to-collaborate-that-is-the-community-question/

March 20, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK Labour undermines renewable energy pledges with state ownership plan for new nuclear power plant.

Dave Toke’s Blog 17th March 2019, Labour’s energy spokesperson, Rebecca Long-Bailey, having previously pledged to put renewable energy on top of the energy agenda has now relegated it far below nuclear power. They have done this with a pledge to take partial state ownership of new nuclear power projects and saying they will do this for nuclear projects that have been abandoned. But giving state priority to these projects, far from keeping the lights on will actually ruin the chances of aspiring renewable energy generators.

The figures speak for themselves. Bailey pledges to reverse what she calls the Government’s ‘cancellations’ of new nuclear projects (Moorside, Oldbury, Wylfa) (factcheck; it was the developers who cancelled them despite being promised tens of billions of state aid). If these projects are brought on line (in addition to the existing Sizewell B and still-not-cancelled projects of Hinkley C and Sizewell C) then nuclear generation will climb to at least 35 per cent of current generation – and even that does not count the Chinese led project at Bradwell.

Meanwhile renewable energy generated 33% of UK electricity in 2018, a figure that, with the recently announced ‘sector deal’ for offshore wind, will increase to around 65% by 2030 even without any more onshore wind and solar pv which the Labour Party claims to support. It doesn’t need a mathematical genius to work out that with 35% coming from nuclear power, there simply will not be any market space for any more renewable energy.

Yet renewable energy, as we have discussed is cheap, becoming cheaper, and needs little or no public subsidy – a big contrast with nuclear, which despite all the promised support, high consumer subsidies, public guarantees of loan funding (none of which is available for new renewable schemes) has failed so far to generate a single kWh. And it will not until at least 2026 even if EDF’s schedules for Hinkley C construction prove (miraculously in the light of recent nuclear construction history) to be achievable………..

Labour have come out with a daft policy that threatens to take us back to the dinosaur age by comparison.

I really hate to say this, but because the Tories have actually (so far) stopped short of the financial insanities involved in getting all of the projected new more nuclear power stations online and are thus leaving some space for new renewable energy schemes, there is actually a plausible argument to say that now, compared to Labour’s new policy position the Conservative Party policy actually favours renewable energy more than Labour!   http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2019/03/labour-undermines-renewable-energy.html

March 20, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Scotland’s First Minister refused to meet Australian Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor – for political reasons

Gaffe reveals why Sturgeon refused to meet nuclear waste protestor    https://theferret.scot/sturgeon-nuclear-waste-protestor/  James McEnaney on March 14, 2019 The Scottish Government has mistakenly revealed that Nicola Sturgeon refused to meet an Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor in an attempt to avoid political damage – not because she was too busy, as her officials said. 

Internal emails uncovered by The Ferret reveal that the First Minister was advised to turn down a request for a meeting in 2018 so as not to become a “focus for criticism”. But officials said the public reason given for her refusal would be “on the standard basis of diary pressures”.

Campaigners reacted with sadness, saying that the Scottish Government’s “ears are closed”. The government stressed that it had “very limited scope” to address the issues raised.

Nuclear fuel was sent from an Australian research reactor to Dounreay on the north coast of Scotland for reprocessing in the 1990s. The resulting radioactive waste, amounting to 51 cemented drums, was originally due to be returned to Australia for disposal.

But under the terms of a waste substitution deal in 2014, Scottish and UK governments agreed that the drums should stay at Dounreay. Instead, the plan is to send four containers of “radiologically equivalent” waste to Australia from the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria.

Two sites have been identified for a planned store for the waste in south Australia – Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, and Kimber – both of which face opposition from indigenous communities. The Ferret reported in February that Scottish ministers had been advised that they had powers to prevent the waste being exported to protect human rights.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt’s health study of nuclear veterans – but they’ve lost half the records

Nuclear test guinea pigs study announced – then Government admits it’s lost half of them https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/government-announces-study-nuclear-test-14134958

Veterans say the research is meaningless, and demand a long-promised medal review By Susie Boniface,  14 MAR 2019 

The government has “lost” all trace of almost half its nuclear veterans – making a mockery of a planned health study.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is now facing calls to cancel the expensive and “meaningless research” which survivors of the bomb tests say has no chance of proving their claims to have been irradiatedduring Cold War radiation experiments.

It comes after officials at Public Health England, which is conducting the six-figure study, admitted they have no way of checking the health of all 22,000 servicemen who took part in the 1950s tests.

Alan Owen, chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, said: “We have been palmed off with meaningless research that has no chance of being definitive or accurate. The only reason for continuing it is shameless PR.

“Mr Williamson should cancel this useless study immediately, and use the money to provide our veterans with a medal for their exemplary service.”

Several studies have been carried out since the 1980s into the veterans’ rate of cancer, which if accurate could indicate radiation exposure.

But veterans says they are flawed because they compare the health of scientists with soldiers, and the health effects of smaller weapons that had fewer eyewitnesses with massive hydrogen bombs. Many of the servicemen lived in the fallout of such weapons for more than a year.

In 1983 the MoD said it could find records of only 85 per cent of those present, and now PHE staff have admitted they have lost almost half.

An official has now said privately to campaigners that they can trace 12,000 deaths of veterans for the research, but details for the remaining 9,400 people – or 44 per cent of the total – are missing from the records.

Those who have moved abroad, not registered with a GP after moving home, or who use private doctors will not be included. If a veterans’ NHS number becomes inactive they cannot be tracked for the study.

The Ministry of Defence did not confirm the figures that were leaked to the veterans.

A spokesman MoD said: “Around 2,000 [of the veterans] have emigrated and around 100 have not yet been traced. We continue to follow up with the remainder and are confident this study will bring the current information up to date.”

March 16, 2019 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment

Was this horrific murder done in order to protect the nuclear industry?

Robert isn’t alone. He has documented the harassment and even murder of other whistleblowers who spoke out about contentious nuclear issues, or attempted to supply him with sensitive information.  

March 14, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce, EDF, Centrica – all trying to sell of their money-losing nuclear businesses

Ian Fairlie 11th Marcvh 2019 UK nuclear going down the pan? Readers will have seen the news that Rolls
Royce is trying to get rid of the main bulk of its civil UK nuclear
business though not Small Modular Reactors, nuclear submarines and Hinkley
Point C involvement.

It has appointed the consultancy firm KPMG to find a
buyer. This follows the earlier revelation that EdF Energy has been doing
the same for at least a year, ie trying to find a buyer for its ageing UK
reactor fleet.

It is unlikely either company will find a buyer, or at least
find one willing to pay a reasonable price . For example, UK energy giant
Centrica[4] has been trying for years to offload its 20% shareholding of
EDF Energy. Back in 2012, after it pulled out of the mooted Hinkley Point C
development (thereby losing £200 million in sunk costs), Centrica
appointed the German investment bank UBS to look for a suitable buyer but
none has ever been found.

The main reason these companies are trying to
offload their nuclear reactor businesses is that they are essentially
unprofitable: the electricity they produce is more expensive than the sales
they generate. And their fuel costs are far more expensive than the
effectively zero fuel costs of electricity from wind and solar.

https://www.ianfairlie.org/news/uk-nuclear-going-down-the-pan/

March 14, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Petition against Sizewell nuclear project – an “overwhelming” case against it

BBC 12th March 2019   A 1,500-strong petition opposing plans for a new nuclear plant has been
delivered to a county council leader. EDF Energy hopes to build the £16bn
Sizewell C on the Suffolk coast, next to the existing Sizewell B.

The petition was handed to Suffolk County Council’s Conservative leader Matthew
Hicks ahead of the authority’s cabinet meeting.

Campaign group Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) said the case against the development was
“overwhelming”. Chairman Pete Wilkinson said it would force “10 to 12 years
of crippling social and environmental disruption on the county”. “It will
fundamentally change the way of life in this region, cause people to lose
their homes, destroy an area of outstanding natural beauty and leave us
with another legacy of lethal radioactive waste,” he said.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Misleading inaccuracies in BBC report on Hunterston nuclear reactors

Ianfairlie 8th March 2019 On March 8, the BBC published a news item about cracks in the Hunterston B nuclear reactors. Whilst it is good that the story highlighted reporting of the safety issues surrounding the plant and, in particular, included photographs of the cracked graphite core, we wish to correct several inaccuracies.

The BBC article claims that early decommissioning could cause serious energy supply problems. This is simply not the case and is alarmist nonsense: the reality is that Scotland has, if anything, an oversupply of electricity. Both Hunterston and Torness could be closed without problem to Scotland’s electricity supplies.

The BBC article then states that “Concerns have also been raised about the consequences for local jobs if Hunterston closed early.”As pointed out in our article, few if any jobs would be lost if the reactors Hunterston B were closed permanently: dealing with the immense heat rates from radioactive decay even from closed reactors will guarantee jobs there for the first 2 to 3 years.

After that decommissioning will provide more jobs then when the reactors operated, just as is occurring at the closed reactors at Dounreay. The BBC cites Councillor Tom Marshall as stating: “Most of the large employers round about here have disappeared – and this is one of the last major employers.

So, if it is safe to run most people locally would be happy to see it running.” We obviously share the concerns of local people about deindustrialisation and the appalling effects of the UK Government’s uncivilised austerity programmes in Scotland. But local councillors should\ not be misled by incorrect statements by the nuclear industry. Closing
Hunterston B for good will not lead to large numbers of job losses: the contrary in fact.

https://www.ianfairlie.org/news/incorrect-statements-in-bbc-news-hunterston-b-pictures-show-cracks-in-ayrshire-nuclear-reactor/

Dave Toke’s Blog 8th March 2019

https://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-real-story-about-stricken.html

March 10, 2019 Posted by | employment, media, UK | Leave a comment

Europe’s oldest nuclear reactors, with cracks in their barrels, Hunterston B – should not be restarted


Edinburgh Live 8th March 2019 The two reactors at Hunterston B nuclear power plant near Ardrossan are 43 years old – the oldest in Europe. They’re already well beyond their operating lifetimes, which have twice been extended by EDF Energy, and they’re scheduled to close down for good in 2023.
However, there’s a serious safety fault in the reactors. The fault is known as keyway root-cracking: where the graphite moderator cores in the reactors develop cracks leading to instabilities that could lead to a major nuclear accident: which would lead to a large swathe of Scotland’s central belt having to be evacuated.
The reactors have been closed since October 2018 as a result, but owners EDF Energy are currently making a case for turning them back on, with help from trade union GMB. Although the probability of a meltdown is still low, the consequences could be incredibly severe. In such an event, both Glasgow and Edinburgh would need to be entirely evacuated due to radioactive contamination. According to Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, and Dr David Toke, Reader in Energy Policy at the University of Aberdeen, the two reactors definitely should not be restarted.
Speaking about the cracks in the barrels, they say: “This is a serious matter because if an untoward incident were to occur – for example an earth tremor, gas excursion, steam surge, sudden outage, or sudden depressurisation, the barrels could
become dislodged and/or misaligned. “These events could in turn lead to large emissions of radioactive gases. Further, if hot spots were to occur and if nuclear fuel were to react with the graphite moderator they could lead to explosions inside the reactor core. “In the very worst case the hot graphite core could become exposed to air and ignite leading to radioactive contamination of large areas of central Scotland, including the metropolitan areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/cracks-found-nuclear-reactor-could-15944122

March 10, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Britain now needs a Green New Deal

Times 7th March 2019  Britain needs a new economy that works for everyone and to move beyond the
old, broken systems and status quo that left many people behind. A green
new deal for the UK could give us just that. Climate change has muscled its
way back onto the political agenda. It was debated by MPs last week for the
first time in two years.

It seems that the momentum around Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey’s green new deal in the US, the
audacious climate march on Westminster by schoolchildren last month and
increasingly rising temperatures may have finally jolted our politicians
out of their climate stupor.

Four months ago, a group of experts on the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered the news that
the world must halve carbon emissions in a little over a decade. Responding
would require an almighty push to green our economy – one that would touch
on every aspect of our lives.

Despite this stark warning from scientists,
the political establishment in Westminster barely flinched. There was no
commitment to redouble our efforts, no renewed urgency or call to action.

Instead, our politics continued to be consumed by Brexit. But the IPCC
report was a sobering wake-up call for many. A movement of activists in the
US, backed by a new generation of Democrats, including the Justice
Democrats, are reacting with the urgency needed. The green new deal – an
idea that came from organisations including the New Economics Foundation
(NEF) a decade ago – has emerged as a forceful response.

The idea is
simple: an unprecedented mobilisation of resources to achieve 100 per cent
renewable energy and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within a decade
while creating millions of jobs and lifting living standards.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0ab3eb08-403c-11e9-aa0a-30b9d78dd63b

March 9, 2019 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Ceredigion County Council has reiterated a long-standing nuclear-free commitment.

Ceredigion could be considered for potential nuclear waste storage site, Tivyside Advertiser, By Dave Parkinson 6 Mar 19, WITH parts of Wales being considered as possible sites to bury radioactive waste, Ceredigion County Council has reiterated a long-standing nuclear-free commitment.

A motion was approved by the council in July, 2006 which made a commitment that the council would be a nuclear free local authority. Another commitment was made to support sustainable alternatives to nuclear power.

Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn proposed the motion in 2006 and is now the leader of the council. She said: “Nothing has changed in the council’s approach to nuclear power. It’s clear to us that most Ceredigion residents don’t want nuclear sites in the county……..

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) – set up by the UK Government – is on the look-out for a suitable site in which to dispose of radioactive waste.

England and Wales have been divided into sub-regions which could potentially house an underground geological disposal facility (GDF).

Geological disposal involves placing waste in sealed vaults and tunnels deep underground, beneath several hundred metres of solid rock…….

RWM is now seeking “willing communities” to come forward if they are interested in being considered for the GDF. …….

Anyone interested in finding out more can attend one of two public meetings. They will take place in Swansea on Tuesday, March 12, and in Llandudno on Thursday, March 14.

For more details visit http://bit.ly/2GmIdAU or gov.uk/guidance/site-evaluation-consultations-public-events

https://www.tivysideadvertiser.co.uk/news/17480247.ceredigion-could-be-considered-for-potential-nuclear-waste-storage-site/

March 7, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment