nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Hackers trading passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants

Russian hackers trade passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants – including ‘Rad1at10n’ and ‘Nuclear1’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4635420/Russian-hackers-trade-passwords-UK-nuclear-plant-staff.html, 

  • The passwords of two senior EDF nuclear plant managers were traded online
  • French-owned firm EDF Energy operates all 15 of Britain’s nuclear reactors 
  • Comes as thousands of government officials – including MPs – were hacked 

The passwords – ‘Nuclear1’ and ‘Radiat10n’ – are thought to have been used on the business site LinkedIn.

They were being traded by hackers who had easily guessed the letters and numbers.

EDF, which operates Britain’s 15 nuclear reactors, did not comment about the breach.

But the French-owned firm did say, according to The Times, that it is ‘continually reviewing its defences and preparedness in this area’.

The lists on which the passwords appeared were traded privately before being made public.

It comes as around 1,000 British MPs and parliamentary staff, 7,000 police employees and more than 1,000 Foreign Office officials were all understood to have had confidential information traded online without their knowledge.Even some of the prime minister’s closest government ministers, including education secretary, Justine Greening, and business secretary, Greg Clark, are thought to have been affected by the hack.

The huge database was being sold for just £2, with the low price justified by the fact it had already spent months being passed around. Its original price is likely to have been much higher.

Hackers can easily guess many passwords, especially those which are merely a word associated with a certain person but with ‘3’ instead of ‘E’ or ‘1’ instead of ‘I’.

There have been warnings that the hacked passwords could be used to blackmail workers in sensitive jobs, or even to break into government servers.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear project to cost billions more than was forecast

Nuclear plant to cost consumers ‘billions more’ News 24 24 June 17 London – A highly-controversial UK government deal for the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant will cost British energy consumers billions more pounds than forecast, the country’s National Audit Office said on Friday.

“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits,” the NAO said in a report.

Under the project, UK energy users will have sums added to their bills for a period of 35 years.

The NAO said the combined cost of such payments is set to surge to $38bn.

 “Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C’s contract… has increased $38bn,” the report said……

The contract for a French-Chinese consortium to build Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation was signed in September after a string of controversies threatened to scupper the huge deal.

China’s involvement

The British government had delayed agreement over concerns about China’s involvement, while there were also questions about how the French state-owned power giant EDF would fund the construction of Hinkley Point.

But Britain finally gave the go-ahead last September for the complex, which is expected to provide seven percent of the country’s power needs. Beijing’s state-run China General Nuclear Corporation is set to finance £6bn of the cost of the Hinkley Point plant, with French state-owned power giant EDF providing the remaining £12bn.

Critics have focused on an electricity price guarantee to be paid to EDF of £92.5 for every megawatt hour of power produced by Hinkley for the next 35 years, rising with inflation, despite falling energy prices…….http://www.news24.com/World/News/nuclear-plant-to-cost-consumers-billions-more-20170624

June 26, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The Fight Against Hinkley Nuclear Isn’t Over – UK Greens

Green Party 23rd June 2017,Lucas: “Consumers and taxpayers are going to be ripped off by this absurd
project” Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to
a report by the National Audit Office on Hinkley Power Station.

The report says that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s
deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a ‘risky and expensive
project’ with uncertain strategic and economic benefits. The multibillion
pound project at Hinkley is currently supported by both Labour and the
Coservatives, but opposition to the plans is expected to grow as the costs
soar.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “The National
Audit Office’s damning report confirms what many of us have been saying
for a long time: the Hinkley deal is overpriced and risky. Not only are
consumers and taxpayers going to be ripped off by this absurd project but
it will also divert resources away from building the clean energy
infrastructure we need, and threaten our climate change targets because of
the snail’s pace at which it will be built.

“The fight against Hinkley isn’t over – and we will be joining campaigners in continuing to
highlight the major shortcomings of this project. This is a crossroads for
Britain – and the signing of this deal has seen us swerve down the wrong
path. By reversing this decision we can put the resources needed into
building a decentralized energy system where Britain puts to use its most
abundant resources: the sun, sea and wind.”
https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/06/23/caroline-lucas-nao-report-on-hinkley-is-damning/

June 26, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) in a panic about UK leaving Euratom, as part of Brexit

Britain’s Brexit plan will plunge its nuclear power plants, cancer
treatment centres and leading research facilities into chaos within two
years, according to a secret government assessment.

Times 26th June 2017, The UK plans to pull out of Euratom, Europe’s nuclear body, at the same time as it leaves the EU
in 2019. A bill to replace European safeguards with a British system of
oversight was published in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

However, experts say that this would not match the regime provided by the EU body, meaning that
plants, research facilities and hospitals may be unable to import
radioactive material after Brexit. Officials from the Department for
Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy have warned that it will take
seven years to replace the current set of agreements, The Times has been
told.

The delay would partly be caused by the fact that work on new
international treaties, for example with the US and Japan, cannot start
until new inspections standards are approved. Ministers have suggested
that, as with financial regulations, there could be a transition period
after Brexit to allow a new regime to be put in place, but experts say that
the complexity of the task is still not sufficiently realised.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) will today step up calls for David Davis, the
Brexit secretary, to consider asking for Britain to remain an associate
member of Euratom instead. That option will worry some Tory MPs, because
some lawyers believe that it would require oversight by the European Court
of Justice or even for Britain to continue to take part in elections to the
European parliament. Tom Greatrex, the NIA chief executive, said the plans
did not “come anywhere close” to matching the scale of the problem.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/experts-warn-of-chaotic-fallout-from-post-brexit-nuclear-plan-mh8prkkdv

June 26, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Protestors targeting Britain’s nuclear bomb bases

Herald 25th June 2017, Nuclear bomb bases on the Clyde are being targeted with blockades,
break-ins and a series of other protests next month. The campaign group,
Trident Ploughshares, is organising a disarmament camp at an ancient oak
woodland it owns near the UK’s nuclear weapons store at Coulport on Loch
Long from 8-16 July. The protest is timed to coincide with the close of
United Nations (UN) negotiations between 130 countries on a treaty banning
nuclear weapons. The UK government, along with other nuclear weapons
states, has boycotted the talks in New York.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15369495.Blockades_to_target_Clyde_nuke_bases/

June 26, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Should British tax-payers cough up for both Hinkley and Wylfa nuclear power boondoggles?

FT 23rd June 2017, NAO said the government should have at least considered sharing the construction risk at Hinkley to lower the cost for consumers. This conclusion will add to debate in Whitehall over whether the government should contribute to financing other planned nuclear plants, including one planned by Hitachi of Japan at Wylfa in Anglesey.

Talks have been held between the UK and Japanese governments about making Wylfa a public-private partnership, according to people briefed on the matter. This would reduce costs for consumers compared with Hinkley but expose taxpayers to more risk. https://www.ft.com/content/8a6a7f5a-574b-11e7-80b6-9bfa4c1f83d2

June 24, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Wylfa nuclear power project threatens the biodiversity of North Wales nature reserve


Daily Post 21st June 2017, Nature lovers have drawn up battle lines over Anglesey’s planned nuclear
power station amid fears that rare species will be put at risk. North Wales
Wildlife Trust (NWWT) said current proposals for Wylfa Newydd are
“damaging” and could jeopardise Wales’ sole breeding colony of
Sandwich terns.

It said construction work will take place just 110 metres
from an internationally designated nature reserve at Cemlyn, while the
development will drain directly into Tre’r Gof fen, a Site of Special
Scientific Interest.

The Trust has issued a long list of species it
believes are at risk from the power plant, from water voles to otters,
great crested newts and European eels. Local populations of chough, adders,
brown hares, red squirrels and hedgehogs could also be vulnerable, it said.
http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/local-news/wildlife-groups-fear-rare-species-13217542

June 24, 2017 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

June 2017 Britain sets a new renewable energy record

Content Coms 22nd June 2017, It’s official; this month – June 2017 – the UK set a new renewable
energy record as wind and solar power surged. The Telegraph broke the news,
saying the blustery start to summer has helped the renewable energy
industry to its highest ever output, as wind turbines and solar panels
helped to meet more than half of the UK’s electricity demand.

It’s a telling reminder you don’t necessarily need the blinding sun of recent
days for panels to do their work. Revolutions take place quietly most of
the time.

Either way, the news is a truly astonishing result, and coupled
with last year’s confirmations that the world as a whole has decoupled
growth from carbon emissions, looks set to truly confound sceptics of
renewable and low carbon technologies.

And of course, it makes yet more of a mockery of President Trump’s fossil-based repudiation of Paris. His
idiocy now stands proven by the truth of what renewables can do, powering
over half of one of the world’s important economies; the UK. In fact,
soon we will be calling oil the energy alternative, and renewables the
mainstream.  https://www.contentcoms.co.uk/content-coms-view-wind-solar-combine-build-uk-renewables-revolution/

June 24, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Brexit brings Britain’s nuclear industry to a “cliff edge”

The Engineer 20th June 2017, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, argues
that any gap in the arrangements by which the UK nuclear industry
co-operates with the world could cause considerable disruption There’s a
common phrase popping up across many articles and interviews about Brexit
– ‘cliff edge’. Whether that’s the Institute of Directors, which
said the two-year timeframe is unlikely to be enough to sever ties and form
new trade deals; or EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, calling for a
five-year transition period to ease the uncertainty for businesses,
they’ve all had this word in common.

The nuclear industry has also talked of an approaching cliff edge, a scenario backed by the both the Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee and the House of Lords
Science and Technology Committee.

That cliff edge was hidden in the smallprint of the supporting notes to the EU Withdrawal Bill, as it detailed how
the UK will also leave the European Atomic Energy Community – commonly
known as Euratom – at the same time as leaving the EU. Readers might say:
‘So what?’ All industries are under pressure.’ But, Euratom is a fairly unique proposition for the government to contend with and the cliff edge in our scenario could bring nuclear trade to a halt. https://www.theengineer.co.uk/brexit-towards-the-nuclear-cliff-edge/

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s National Audit Office considers Hinkley Point C nuclear power plan ‘risky and expensive’

Hinkley Point deal ‘risky and expensive’, 23 June 2017

UK government plans for a new £18bn nuclear power station have come under fire from public auditors, who call it “a risky and expensive project”.BBC News 23 June

The case for the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset was “marginal” and the deal was “not value for money”, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The NAO said the government had not sufficiently considered the costs and risks for consumers.

The government said building the plant was an “important strategic decision”.

The report comes nine months after the government granted final approval for the project, which is being financed by the French and Chinese governments.

State-controlled French energy firm EDF is funding two-thirds of the project, which will create more than 25,000 jobs, with China investing the remaining £6bn.

Critics of the deal have warned of escalating costs and the implications of allowing nuclear power plants to be built in the UK by foreign governments.

Case ‘uncertain’

The NAO’s report centred on the role of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in finalising the deal in 2016.

At the time, said the NAO, the department’s own value-for-money tests showed “the economic case for Hinkley Point C was marginal and subject to significant ……http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40372613

June 23, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point the only UK nuclear plant that is likely to go ahead

The head of one of Britain’s top utilities said on Monday that EDF’s
planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is likely to be the only one
to go ahead in the UK.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer of
SSE – an energy supplier and a former investor in new nuclear plants – said
that nuclear power has a role to play in reducing carbon emissions, but
that existing technologies may not be the right ones. “The bottom line in
nuclear is that it looks like only Hinkley Point will get built and
Flamanville needs to go well for that to happen,” Phillips-Davies told
Reuters at the Eurelectric utilities conference in Estoril.

French nuclear regulator ASN is set to give a provisional ruling next month on whether
Flamanville can start up as planned in 2018, despite potential weak spots
in its reactor vessel.

In an opinion piece published last year, Phillips-Davies said Britain does not need EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear
plant to ensure the lights will stay on because alternative projects like
new gas plants will be able to fill the gap. Asked whether the Toshiba-led
NuGen and Hitachi-led Horizon consortia, which also plan to build nuclear
power stations in Britain, would go ahead despite the bankruptcy of
Toshiba-owned reactor builder Westinghouse, Phillips-Davies said “just
looking from the outside, it looks tricky”. “Toshiba looks like it has a
lot of problems and whether Hitachi will view that as meaning that they do
not want to have a go either, I think that is quite likely. I would not
expect them to get done any time soon,” he said.

New York Times 19th June 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/06/19/business/19reuters-britain-nuclear.html

City AM 19th June 2017

http://www.cityam.com/266971/sse-boss-hinkley-point-likely-uks-only-nuclear-new-build

Reuters 19th June 2017

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-nuclear-idUKKBN19A2KF?rpc=401&

June 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s facade of military nuclear power, as it boycotts UN Nuclear Disarmament Talks

UK Boycotts UN Nuclear Disarmament Talks to ‘Maintain Facade’ of Military Power, https://sputniknews.com/military/201706201054811611-uk-trident-nuclear-ban/    19 June 17 Over 120 countries have gathered at the United Nations to discuss a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Leading the boycott of the event is the US – perhaps unsurprisingly, given officials’ avowed dedication to maintaining Trident, the UK has also refused to dispatch an official representative to the event.

The event, which began June 15, is attended by a majority of the world’s governments, and is hoped to conclude with the inking of the landmark international agreement by July 7. Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor and disarmament hero, has said he believes the treaty can, and will, change the world.

In a statement, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons said anything less than a categorical ban — requiring nuclear-armed countries to destroy their stockpiles in a time-bound, verifiable manner — would fundamentally fail in its objectives.

Despite the talks’ boycott by the US, UK and others, the treaty’s prospects appear positive. In all, 113 UN member nations voted to convene the talks in December 2016, and some nuclear weapon states appear receptive, or at least not totally opposed, to the prospect, with China, India, and Pakistan all abstaining — and attending the subsequent talks.

​The ban of many forms of weaponry has been proven largely effective — numerous chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions, and landmines have all been banned, precipitating full-scale decommissioning and disarmament, and their virtual disappearance from military arsenals and battlefields.

The UK’s refusal to even attend the talks is puzzling, as a YouGov poll suggests 75 percent of the public is in favor of officials doing so. However, the UK’s determination to maintain Trident at all is arguably puzzling in itself.

A 2014 cross-party parliamentary report on Trident was unambiguous — the UK’s “independent” nuclear deterrent is in no way independent, and a “hostage to American goodwill.”

Moreover, the report’s authors suggested Trident would only ever be effective in cases of “nuclear blackmail” — which they acknowledged, the prospects of which would be slim. Their conclusions were also damning of many key myths used to justify Trident’s maintenance, and called for UK leaders to step up efforts to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament, and consider further steps to reduce Britain’s operational stockpile of nuclear warheads.

“The fact that, in theory, the Prime Minister could give the order to fire Trident missiles without getting prior approval from the White House has allowed the UK to maintain the facade of being a global military power. In practice, it is difficult to conceive of any situation in which a Prime Minister would fire Trident without prior US approval. The USA would see such an act as cutting across its self-declared prerogative as the world’s policeman, and would almost certainly make the UK pay a high price for its presumption,” the report said.

As the UK is completely technically dependent on the US for the maintenance of the Trident system, presumably one way the USA could demonstrate its displeasure would be to cut off the technical support needed for the UK to continue to send Trident to sea, robbing the country of any nuclear deterrent at all.

“In practice, the only way Britain is ever likely to use Trident is to give legitimacy to a US nuclear attack by participating in it. There are precedents for the USA using UK participation in this way for conventional military operations. The principal value of the UK’s participation in the recent Iraq war was to help legitimise the US attack. Likewise the principal value of the firing of UK cruise missiles as part of the larger US cruise missile attack on Baghdad was to help legitimise the use of such weapons against urban targets,” the report concluded.

Despite these findings, Trident continues to be deemed fundamental to the UK’s security, a particularly hot topic over the course of 2017, given the spate of terrorist attacks that have rocked the country North to South on an almost monthly basis since March.

After every atrocity, ministers have issued ringing declarations about the need to modernize the UK’s defenses against the threat of terror, in all its forms. However, Trident has been entirely absent from these discussions — officials have instead typically pushed for greater internet regulationan end to encryption and enhanced surveillance powers for the intelligence services.

The reason for Trident’s dearth in these matters is obvious — it cannot defend against these attacks, and demonstrably has not done so, whether they are conducted by lone bombers, crazed car and van drivers or knife wielding maniacs. Evidently, such sources of violence pose a far greater threat to the country’s security than nuclear weapons — as do cyberattacks, which again Trident seems fundamentally ill-equipped to combat.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn — former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Vice President — as Labour leader likely offered much hope to the UK’s assorted anti-nuclear campaigners, although they were surely bitterly disappointed when a pledge to renew Trident wormed its way into Labour’s election manifesto.

​Corbyn’s seeming slippage may be attributable to the unending chorus of Conservative broadsides launched at him on the issue ever since his election in September 2015 — a wave that reached a crescendo when Defense Secretary Michael Fallon suggested Corbyn wasn’t up for the job of Prime Minister due to his refusal to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against a “hostile” nation.

Moreover, there are clear suggestions the UK public doesn’t hold Trident in such high affinity as the country’s ruling class — a July 2016 poll demonstrated that while 51 percent backed full renewal of the system, 49 percent opposed maintaining any system. In time, a greater swath of the populace may come round to the view that the UK’s need for a nuclear, as destructive as it is illogical, is non-existent

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bank of England to probe banks’ exposure to climate change

FT 16th June 2017, The Bank of England will probe banks’ exposure to climate change as it
steps up efforts to tackle what it says are “significant” financial threats
posed by global warming. Climate change experts said the BoE’s decision to
do an internal review of the banking sector, which the central bank
revealed on its website on Friday, marked a first. “This is
ground-breaking,” said Ben Caldecott, director of the sustainable finance
programme at Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the
Environment. “This is the first time a financial regulator has looked at
climate risk in such a comprehensive way and at the banking sector in
particular.”   https://www.ft.com/content/ec4d3446-52a1-11e7-a1f2-db19572361bb

June 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, UK | Leave a comment

UK conference held : No Need for Nuclear: The Renewables are Here

Youth & Student CND 19th June 2017, On the Saturday just gone, 17th June, while the rest of London sweltered at
the mercy of the hottest weekend so far this year, enthusiasts, activists,
and journalists alike, descended from across the world to Conway Hall,
Holborn,to take part in the first nuclear power conference in 30 years, No
Need for Nuclear: The Renewables are Here hosted by the Campaign for
Nuclear Disarmament. With over 150 attendees of all ages, and 17 speakers
comprised of distinguished academics, MPs and industry representatives, the
conference was deemed a great success. The conference was graced with a
keynote address from Caroline Lucas MP, all the way from New York where the
UN disarmament meetings are taking place. The conference was broken into 4
sections: What’s wrong with Nuclear power? and The Politics of Nuclear
Power followed by UK Energy Demand, Energy Supply, and The Renewables after
lunch.  http://www.yscnd.org/uk/what-you-missed-at-the-noneedfornuclear-conference/

June 21, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Community energy initiative in UK

Utility Week 19th June 2017, Mongoose Energy has launched a new crowdfunding platform to secure
financing for community energy projects. The company hopes the platform
will widen the pool of potential investors, bring down the cost of capital
and enable greater innovation in funding. “More people want a bigger say
in where their power comes from, where their investments go, and in
improving their own communities,” said former energy secretary and
chairman of Mongoose Energy, Sir Ed Davey. “Launching our own
crowdfunding platform means we can dispatch better energy, better financial
returns and better social dividends to UK community investors.” Mongoose
Crowd will offer people the first ever opportunity to invest up to £20,000
per year in community energy schemes via the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA)
for peer-to-peer lending which the government launched in April last year.
http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/Community-energy-crowdfunding-platform-takes-off/1305532

June 21, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment