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Britain’s nuclear power dreams melting away – with soaring costs, and political problems

U.K. Nuclear Fleet Plans Evaporating Amid Economic, Political Problems, https://www.enr.com/articles/50109-uk-nuclear-fleet-plans-evaporating-amid-economic-political-problems    September 20, 2020, Peter Reina

The U.K.’s hopes for a fleet of new nuclear plants, potentially exceeding 13,000 MW, took another hit when Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. recently pulled out of a major project in Wales. With Chinese investment in two other projects alsolmore doubtful, only the 3,300MW Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, England, has so far progressed to construction

Having suspended development work on the Welsh two-unit plant at Wylfa Newydd in January 2019, Hitachi earlier this month announced that the already difficult investment environment had “become increasingly severe due to the impact of COVID-19.” The company wrote off $2.8 billion of investment in the Welsh plant last year.

Hitachi’s departure followed the Toshiba Corp.’s decision in late 2018 to quit the 3,400-MW Moorside plant, in Cumbria. It had failed to find co-investors for its Westinghouse powered project.

With uncertainty growing, Hinkley Point C is the only U.K. nuclear project o have started work, which is so far largely on schedule, according to Electricité de France (EdF), which controls 66.5% of the deal. China General Nuclear Corp. owns 33.5% of project, which will be powered by two French EPR pressurized water reactors.

Hitachi’s withdrawal from the U.K. market has alarmed supporters of the nuclear industry, since it also casts a cloud over the planned 3,340-MW Sizewell C project in Cumbria.

“For the first time in a generation the U.K has developed a world class nuclear construction and engineering supply chain. Without Sizewell C, we will not sustain it,” says Cameron Gilmour, spokesperson for the Sizewell C Consortium lobby group of key companies in the sector.

The Sizewell C plant would replicate Hinkley Point C and is “shovel ready” according to Gilmour. The U.K. Planning Inspectorate is considering an application for the project submitted this May. The agency’s recommendations will end up on the government’s desk for a final decision at some point.

However, general investment uncertainties and increasingly frosty relations between the U.K and Chinese governments bode ill for the deal, says Stephen Thomas, an energy policy specialist at the University of Greenwich, London.

Set up under a previous conservative administration, the Hinkley Point C deal included CGNC’s participation as a junior partner in Sizewell C. Also, CGNC would have full responsibility for a proposed 2,300 MW Bradwell plant in Essex.

Bradwell would be a global showcase for the technology as it would be the first plant in an industrialized country to use the Chinese Hualong One reactors, Thomas says.

However, the Chinese government was angered over the U.K.’s rejection this July of Huawei technology for the cell phone networks. At the same time, criticism by the country’s lawmakers of China’s participation in critical infrastructure is increasing.

Both developments make the Bradwell deal uncertain. And if Bradwell falls, the Chinese are unlikely to remain merely as passive, junior investors in Sizewell C, potentially scuppering the whole deal, says Thomas.

Investment uncertainties lie at the heart of the U.K.’s fading nuclear hopes. The government offered the Hitachi team a far less generous deal than the one secured by EdF for Hinkley Point C.

While the Hinkley deal protects U.K. electricity consumers from cost escalations, it comes at a high price, according to Thomas. The deal is based on a “contract for differences” which sets an index linked energy price of $120 per MWh at 2012 prices for 35 years. That is hugely more than the $51 per MWh now being bid for offshore wind contracts, he says.

For subsequent deals, the government last year turned to the Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) form of funding used by water and types of utilities. Rather than having a target energy price, electricity tariffs would be controlled by the regulator, which would consider factors such as need for investment and a fair rate of return on capital.

The government completed a review of the system this January but has yet to make a decision, adding to investment uncertainty, says Thomas.

Meanwhile, in the west of England, contractors recently placed the 170-tonne base of the second reactor’s steel containment liner at Hinkley Point on time, despite pandemic working restrictions.

EdF claims to have met critical path goals during the pandemic, but it has yet to reveal the extent of delays on other parts of the job. The site’s workforce is now back to its pre-pandemic level of 4,500 having fallen to 2,000 after February.

Civil and building work is being handled by a joint venture of Paris-based Bouygues Travaux Publics and the U.K.’s Laing O’Rourke Plc. in a contract signed in late 2017, then valued at around $3.6 billion.

However, “challenging ground conditions” and additional design effort have contributed to an overall project cost rise to $29 billion from around $23 billion in 2016, reports EdF. The company still plans to commission the first unit in 2025, but the project has yet to enter its trickier nuclear component phase, officials concede.

Europe’s only two other projects using the same reactor design and involving Bouygues are hugely over schedule. Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 plant and EdF’s flagship French project at Flamanvile are both running about a decade late.

With this track record and future financing doubts, prospects for new projects around the world look bleak, says Thomas.

But nuclear power “has had a history of climbing out of the coffin,” he adds.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange case: Witnesses recall Collateral Murder attack: “Look at those dead bastards,” shooters said

September 21, 2020 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Extinction Rebellion exposes Zion Lights as yet another nuclear propaganda front


Extinction rebellion 16th Sept 2020, There have been a number of stories in the press in the last few weeks with criticisms about Extinction Rebellion by Zion Lights, UK director of the pro-nuclear lobby group Environmental Progress. It appears that Lights is engaged in a deliberate PR campaign to discredit Extinction Rebellion.
For any editors who might be considering platforming Lights, we would like to make you aware of some information about the organisation she works for and her employer, Michael Shellenberger. Environmental Progress is a pro-nuclear energy lobby group. While the group itself was only established in 2016, its backers and affiliates have a long and well-documented history of denying human-caused climate change and/or attempting to delay action on the climate crisis.
A quick look at groups currently promoting Zion Lights through their social media channels include climate deniers and industry
lobbyists such as The Global Warming Policy Foundation and the Genetic Literacy Project (formally funded by Monsanto). The founder of Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger, has a record of spreading misinformation around climate change and using marketing techniques to distort the narrative around climate science. He has a reputation for downplaying the severity of the climate crisis and promoting aggressive economic growth and green technocapitalist solutions.

https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2020/09/16/statement-on-zion-lights-michael-shellenberger-and-the-breakthrough-institute/

September 21, 2020 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

Inadequate testing of Hinkley mud being dumped off Cardiff

Nation Cymru 19th Sept 2020, Natural Resources Wales has been accused of failing to insist on adequate
testing of the sediment from the construction of Somerset’s Hinkley C
nuclear power station. EDF Energy has applied to dispose of the sediment in
the sea two miles from the South Wales coast.
They applied for permission to dump the mud in February and began their sampling programme in August
without an agreed sample plan between them and NRW. But the Welsh
Government’s environmental watchdog has now backed those proposals.
GeigerBay, the non-partisan coalition of scientists, experts, individuals
and organisations opposing the dump had informed NRW that EDF’s sampling
plan does not meet international requirements set by OSPAR (Oslo-Paris
Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East
Atlantic), that there are too few samples in the cores collected by EDF and
the testing does not use procedures to detect the nuclear fuel
microparticles uranium and plutonium.
The campaigners also believe the
sampling is insufficient to meet the prerequisites of the Environment
(Wales) Act, 2016 and the Well-being of Future Generations Act, 2015. The
Environment (Wales) Act stipulates that wide consultation is always
required in light of uncertainties.

https://nation.cymru/news/national-resources-wales-under-fire-over-hinkley-point-mud-sampling-plan/

September 21, 2020 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK government to subsidise Sizewell nuclear power station?

UK government could take stake in Sizewell nuclear power station, BBC,  Simon Jack, Business editor@BBCSimonJackon16 September 2020   

The collapse of a project to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, Wales may accelerate government approval of a new station at Sizewell, government and industry sources say.

The government is disappointed after Japan’s Hitachi pulled out but insists it is committed to new nuclear as way to decarbonise the UK power supply.

It is looking at options to replace China’s CGN as an investor in Sizewell.

That could include the government taking a stake in the plant.

Of six sites originally identified over a decade ago for replacements for the UK’s ageing nuclear fleet, only one is under construction, three have been abandoned and two are waiting approval.

One major sticking point over Sizewell has been the involvement of Chinese state-owned company China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) in the UK’s new nuclear plans.

CGN already owns a 33% stake in Hinkley Point C in Somerset, currently under construction by French firm EDF, which owns the other two thirds.

The Chinese firm also took a 20% stake in the development phase of Sizewell on the understanding it would participate in the construction phase and then land the ultimate prize of building a reactor of its own design at Bradwell in Essex.

State aid rules

If CGN are excluded the government may choose to take a direct stake in Sizewell, according to people familiar with the matter.

There was a time when a Conservative government would have been very reluctant to take a direct stake in a commercial development. That time has passed.

Industry sources and within the government say Chinese involvement in designing and running its own design nuclear reactor on UK soil “looks dead”, given revived security concerns and deteriorating diplomatic relations after the government’s decision to phase out Chinese firm Huawei’s equipment from a new generation of telecommunication networks.

It’s no secret that Boris Johnson’s powerful adviser Dominic Cummings is a big fan of the idea of small nuclear reactors and EDF are telling him that big nuclear is an important stepping stone to small.

EDF has also been very vocal about the advantages of reproducing the design of Hinkley at Sizewell. Although a similar design of reactor ran into major cost and time overruns in France and Finland, EDF says they UK is poised to benefit from the lessons learned from those mistakes. It also points out that the UK will benefit from transferring high skilled jobs from one site to another.

There was a time, not so long ago, that government ministers talked enthusiastically about “a new nuclear age”. A fleet of brand new reactors producing reliable, low carbon (but expensive) electricity for decades to come.

Hinkley, Moorside, Wylfa, Oldbury, Bradwell and Sizewell were identified as the sites for the most significant national wave of new nuclear power construction anywhere in the world.

Of those six, only one is under construction, three have been abandoned, and two are still waiting for the green light.

The next couple of weeks could tell us which way the wind is really blowing on the government’s appetite for both nuclear energy and new levels of direct state investment. 

If a mobile network is considered too sensitive, it’s hard to argue that a nuclear power station is not.

The next couple of weeks could tell us which way the wind is really blowing on the government’s appetite for both nuclear energy and new levels of direct state investment. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54181748

September 21, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange aimed for ‘stringent redactions’, extradition court hears

Julian Assange aimed for ‘stringent redactions’, extradition court hears,  SMH,  Latika Bourke. September 18, 2020  London: Julian Assange was “insistent” on redacting the names of Iraqi informants and even deployed software to remove Iraqi words from WikiLeaks cables which he later published in full, a prominent NGO told the Australian’s extradition hearing.John Sloboda who founded Iraq Body Count, a London-based non-government organisation that tallies civilian casualties gave evidence at London’s Old Bailey, on behalf of the defence.

he US Department of Justice wants Assange extradited to the United States so he can face 18 charges of computer hacking and for publishing the names of informants.

Sloboda, who worked with Assange and the WikiLeaks team on the Iraq war logs in 2010, said the Australian was determined to scrub sources’ names from the documents before publishing.

“It was impressed upon us that the aim was a very, very stringent redaction of the logs before publication.

“That was the aim of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks,” he told Assange’s lawyer.

Sloboda said it would have taken an “army of people” “a very long time” to redact the files by hand and that it was his colleague who came up with the idea of developing software that would scrub non-English words from the documents.

He said redactions of occupations were also carried out to stop informants’ identities being guessed.

He said this laborious process created tensions between WikiLeaks and the media outlets they were partnering with at the time, as the news organisations wanted to begin publishing documents they had already redacted. ………..

Assange has spoken out in court to deny he put lives in harm’s way. He faces a combined sentence of up to 175 years if convicted of all counts in the US. His extradition hearing is expected to run until October.  https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/julian-assange-aimed-for-stringent-redactions-extradition-court-hears-20200917-p55ws5.html

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange was offered a pardon, if he would name a source

Trump ‘associates’ offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears
WikiLeaks founder was asked to reveal source of leak damaging to Hillary Clinton, hearing told, 
Guardian,  Peter Beaumont in London, Sat 19 Sep 2020   Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations they had been supplied by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election in 2016.

According to a statement from Robinson read out to the court, the offer was made by the then Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson at a meeting on 15 August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was then sheltering. At the time he was under secret investigation by a US grand jury.

Robinson added: “The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

……….. The barrister added that Assange did not name the source of the emails.While Assange’s legal team first made the claim in February detailing a deal for a pardon in exchange for denying the source of the emails was Russia, Robinson’s statement – admitted as evidence by the court – provides substantial details of the meeting………

Robinson’s description of the offer suggests Trump was prepared to consider a pardon for Assange in exchange for information almost a year before a federal grand jury issued a sealed indictment against the WikiLeaks founder.

If it is confirmed that the approach did indeed have the approval of Trump, it would mark the latest in a number of interventions by the US president in relation to the investigation into Russian election interference.

In her statement, Robinson said Rohrabacher and Johnson “wanted us to believe they were acting on behalf of the president”.

“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal – and that they would have an audience with the president to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she said……

Appearing to confirm that the approach had been made, James Lewis QC, for the US government, said: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said,” adding: We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.” ……. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/18/trump-offered-julian-assange-pardon-in-return-for-democrat-hacking-source-court-told

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 1 Comment

Julian Assange exposed “a very serious pattern of actual war crimes”

Speaking on the significance of the WikiLeaks releases, Ellsberg said, “It was clear to me that these revelations, like the Pentagon papers, had the capability of informing the public that they had been seriously misled about the nature of the [Iraq and Afghan] war[s], the progress of the war, the likelihood that it would be ended successfully or at all, and that this was information of the highest importance to the American public.”

Characterising the wars that WikiLeaks exposed, Ellsberg explained, “The Iraq war was clearly recognisable, even to a layman, as a crime against the peace, as an aggressive war.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Hitachi pulls out – halting two big UK nuclear projects. Renewables would be a fraction of their costs

Hitachi halts 5.8 GW of UK nuclear plans

With the Japanese conglomerate this week walking away from two new nuclear plants in the United Kingdom, project developer Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed all activities at both sites will cease. The facilities had struggled to secure funding despite offers from government. Horizon said it will ‘keep lines of communication open’ regarding the future of the sites. PV Magazine,  SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 MARK HUTCHINS  The former Wylfa nuclear power station was decommissioned in 2015. Plans for a new reactor on an adjacent site have been abandoned with the withdrawal of Hitachi from the project.

Japanese conglomerate Hitachi has pulled out of the construction of two U.K. nuclear projects with a total 5.8 GW of generation capacity, citing ongoing delays and an increasingly tough investment environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The projects, on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey and at Oldbury on Severn, near the English city of Bristol, were taken on by Hitachi in 2012. Construction was suspended in January last year as funding could not be secured for the reactor at Wylfa Newydd, on Anglesey, and Hitachi’s U.K. subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed it will cease development at both sites, though it still hopes to revive the projects.

Hitachi said it would coordinate with government and other stakeholders as holder of the license to build nuclear reactors at the sites. The company posted losses last year from the suspended projects and said it does not expect the decision to further affect its finances……….

Renewables

Critics of nuclear power are likely to view the Hitachi decision as further evidence of the inherent cost and complexity problems associated with the technology, and will repeat arguments the U.K. and other regions would be better served by an energy transition focusing on renewables.

Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report told pv magazine: “Nuclear power plant projects frequently get abandoned even after construction has started. One in eight construction sites have been abandoned at various stages of advancement of construction. Some have been completed and never switched on, and there is absolutely no guarantee that Hinkley Point C will ever generate power,” said Schneider, in reference to a third planned nuclear plant in the southwest of England.

“It has become obvious that renewables, even unsubsidized, come in at a fraction of the cost of new nuclear power. In the U.K., onshore and offshore wind are less than half the cost of nuclear. If the U.K. government keeps planning for nuclear power plants, it’s not because there was no choice, and it has nothing to do with market-economy driven energy policy.”

Solar industry representatives also called on the government to recognize renewables’ potential to fill in gaps left by abandoned and delayed nuclear projects and to implement supportive policies, as well as an auctioning system to boost large-scale projects. “The UK is facing a significant low-carbon energy gap in the 2030s, resulting from the abandonment of new nuclear projects,” said Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association. “Solar PV is well-positioned to help plug a significant portion of this, but the Government must step in to bring down the numerous barriers that are holding growth back, such as punitive business rates and a lack of prioritization of grid capacity for the technology.”  https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/09/18/hitachi-halts-5-8-gw-of-uk-nuclear-plans/

September 19, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste transport , and legal action – UK

CORE Briefing 17th Sept 2020, With both the Pacific Egret and Grebe back in Barrow docks after their stints at Falmouth and Rosyth ship yards for safety and fitness Certification checks, return high level nuclear waste shipments from Sellafield to Germany will resume this autumn. A shipment due to take place in March this year was cancelled and its transit permit withdrawn by Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer to avoid the risk of Covid 90 infection to 6000 federal police officers needed to guard its safety.
But In a letter to Friends of the Earth Hesse on 15/9/20 the Federal Office for Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Waste Disposal ordered the immediate re-issuing of the transport permit for a new date this autumn. The group has announced it will fight this decision in court. A total of 3 shipments containing seven castors containing highly radioactive nuclear waste resulting from German spent fuel reprocessing at Sellafield will travel by rail along the West Cumbrian coast to the port of Barrow in Furness, loaded onto one of the INS (NDA subsidiary) ships and carried to the German port of Nordenham. From there it will travel by rail to the interim storage facility at Biblis nuclear power plant.

Due to numerous safety issues with storage of high-level waste at Biblis, the BUND Hessen has filed a lawsuit saying it will take legal action against the now reinstated transport licence. With last Sunday’s local German elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Greens achieved a record result with 20% and there will be green mayors in the former capital Bonn, Münster and the anti-nuclear stronghold Aachen.

http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Plain-sailing.docx

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, safety, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

The revolving door between government members and the nuclear industry

New nuclear role for former Cabinet minister, News and Star , By Federica BedendoReporter   A former Cabinet minister has been appointed as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s social value specialist.18th September

Hazel Blears will provide advice to the whole of the NDA group on how to increase the social, economic and environmental impact of its work to decommission and clean up the UK’s oldest nuclear sites.

She is a nationally recognised expert in this field and is chairman of the Social Investment Business and a trustee of the Social Mobility Foundation. Ms Blears is also a former cabinet minister and, during her time as an MP, was one of the authors of the Social Value Act……. https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/18725570.new-nuclear-role-former-cabinet-minister/

September 19, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Plutonium in Hinkley nuclear mud dumping, but National Resources Wales’ call for full testing is ignored

September 19, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

As Hitachi exits the project, UK government to announce funding for Wylfa nuclear project next month

Hitachi Abandons $26 Billion Nuclear Power Project in U.K.  Bloomberg Green, By Stephen Stapczynski  and Rachel Morison16 September 2020, 

  • U.K. due to make statement on financing model next month
  • U.K. government says still committed to building new nuclear

Hitachi Ltd. exited a long-planned U.K. nuclear power project despite the most generous support package for an atomic station in Britain, a bad omen for future projects.

The Japanese company announced Wednesday that it decided to withdraw from the Wylfa power project in Wales, citing a worsening investment environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Work has been suspended on the 20 billion-pound ($26 billion) venture since January 2019 after the company failed to reach a financing agreement with the U.K. government.

The decision is the latest setback for nuclear’s revival, which supporters promote as the carbon-free solution for reliable power at a time of growing climate change concerns. Cost overruns and cheaper competition is stifling projects and developers in Japan, the U.S. and the U.K.

Britain is one of a handful of developed countries still building nuclear reactors, with the government putting them at the middle of an effort to attract billions of pounds of investment in new low-carbon power plants and create thousands of jobs. However, financing these prohibitively expensive infrastructure projects has become a hurdle, especially in the face of cheaper natural gas and renewables.

A financing package offered to Hitachi in 2019 wasn’t enough to attract additional private investor interest. The U.K. has been considering a funding model that would have seen the state shouldering more of the construction risk. The outcome of that consultation has been delayed.

The U.K. said it had offered a package that “went well beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past.” Atomic energy still forms a key plank of energy policy including in small and advanced modular reactors.

A financing package offered to Hitachi in 2019 wasn’t enough to attract additional private investor interest. The U.K. has been considering a funding model that would have seen the state shouldering more of the construction risk. The outcome of that consultation has been delayed.

The U.K. said it had offered a package that “went well beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past.” Atomic energy still forms a key plank of energy policy including in small and advanced modular reactors.

Prospects for the Wylfa plant looked more optimistic last month when Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd., Hitachi’s subsidiary developing the project, said it was engaged with the U.K. government on reviving the project.

The future of how the U.K. finances new nuclear is expected to be announced in the government’s long anticipated energy white paper next month……… https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-16/hitachi-abandons-u-k-nuclear-power-project-in-blow-to-industry

September 17, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Huge costs of decommissioning Britain’s ”Magnox” nuclear failities just keep going up

UK spending watchdog warns on costs of cleaning up old nuclear plants
Decommissioning charge has risen by £3bn since 2017 and there remains ‘inherent uncertainty’ over final bill, NAO finds,
Nathalie Thomas in Edinburgh,  SEPTEMBER 11 2020,  Estimates of the cost to clear up 12 of the UK’s earliest nuclear power sites have increased by nearly £3bn since 2017 and there remains “inherent uncertainty” over the final bill, the country’s public spending watchdog has warned.

The National Audit Office on Friday published its latest report into the long-running saga around the decommissioning of two research sites and 10 early nuclear power stations in Britain, which came to be known as the “Magnox” plants due to the magnesium alloy that was used to cover the fuel rods inside their reactors.
 The spending watchdog also found that the costs to the taxpayer of a botched 2014 tender process to outsource the decommissioning to the private sector was £20m higher than when it last investigated three years ago. Cleaning up the Magnox sites, which were built before privatisation and include Hunterston A in Scotland and Hinkley Point A in Somerset, has turned into a costly and torturous affair.
In 2016 the High Court ruled the 2014 competition for a 14-year contract to decommission the sites — which had been awarded to Cavendish Fluor Partnership, or CFP, a joint venture between UK-based Babcock International and Fluor of the US — had been “fudged” by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a body attached to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
 A year later ministers, acting on legal advice, terminated the arrangement with CFP nine years early and renegotiated a shorter contract that ran until the end of August 2019. Decommissioning of the sites was then brought in-house by the NDA  .
The NAO’s previous probe in 2017 into the decommissioning concluded that the failed Magnox contract had cost the taxpayer £122m in settlements with unsuccessful bidders, legal costs and staff time. In its latest report on Friday, the watchdog found the NDA had, in addition, agreed to pay up to £20m to exit the contract early, although it praised the authority for renegotiating the agreement under “the challenging circumstances”.
The watchdog also revealed that NDA estimates for the cost of getting all the Magnox plants “cleared and safely enclosed” had increased by up to £2.7bn to as much as £8.7bn since 2017. It added that costs are “likely to be subject to further change, largely because of the inherent uncertainties involved in cleaning up the UK’s nuclear sites”. Once the reactors and waste stores are sealed, the sites are kept secure for a period potentially as long as 80 years for radiation levels to decay. In 2014, the same costs had been estimated at £3.8bn..  …….. https://www.ft.com/content/6f313c84-d314-4160-b124-a68c4e85be09

September 17, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Long nuclear convoy near Glascow

September 17, 2020 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment