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Strong environmental case to scrap Bradwell B new nuclear build

Mersea Island Courier 16th Sept 2019, Native oysters at risk from new nuclear build. Graham Farley of Mersea Island Environmental Alliance (MIEA) shares why marine life in the
Blackwater Estuary will be at risk if the Bradwell B nuclear new-build goes

CHINA General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and EDF Energy are currently
circulating updates on the proposed Bradwell new-build nuclear project. In
their article they say that members of the public have a chance to win a
photographic competition or even submit their happy memories associated
with the original Bradwell Magnox Station!

My memories of the Bradwell Magnox station include: radioactive leaks, record fines, more leaks and attempts to cover up a catalogue of failures including the failed FED
dumping of radioactive waste in our estuary.

Unsurprisingly, there are no mentions of climate change and environmental protection in their
literature. It was assumed that with the decreasing cost of green energy,
spiralling costs of new nuclear projects and collapse of other UK proposed
nuclear builds that Bradwell would be shelved.

However, this isn’t so, as we have a copy of a Marine Licence application from July this year to
survey the estuary, which confirms that the project is still moving
forward. This document confirms the power station “will likely operate
with cooling water abstracted from the Blackwater Estuary”.

The case I’m making to stop the nuclear new build at Bradwell is environmental:
the Blackwater Estuary is one of the most important wildlife habitats in
the country, therefore safeguarding and preserving this habitat for future
generations is a priority! We must protect of the delicate ecology of the
mud flats, salt marsh and the shallow estuary with its many international
environmental protections and UK Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) status.


September 19, 2019 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) see Revenue Asset Base (RAB) financial model as a danger to UK’s public purse

NFLA 16th Sept 2019, The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today its response to
the UK Government consultation on the Revenue Asset Base (RAB) financial
model being proposed to assist the funding of new nuclear reactors.

NFLA see this new model as a real risk to the public purse, providing
preferential treatment to new nuclear over renewable energy investment, is
overly complicated to implement at a time when the ‘climate emergency’
calls for more straightforward and realisable schemes like energy
efficiency and decentralised energy solutions instead.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Opposition in Suffolk to Sizewell nuclear plan, which hugely threatens wildlife

ITV 15th Sept 2019, RSPB hosts new festival in response to EDF’s plans to build nuclear reactor
at the edges of a nature reserve. A thousand people attended a festival
today organised by the RSPB in response to EDF’s plans to build a nuclear
reactor in Suffolk. Sizewell C will be built on the boundary of the
Minsmere Nature Reserve which is home to more than five and a half thousand
species of wildlife.

The RSPB manages the site and opposes the energy
giants plans. They say building the reactor so close to the nature reserve
could threaten the thousands of different species of wildlife that call
Minsmere home. EDF say that the environmental impact of the new site would
be kept to a minimum, and argue that new jobs for local people will be

Among the visitors supporting the festival today (Sunday,
September 15) was television presenter, Bill Turnbull, who lives nearby. He
said: There’s no infrastructure or communications for it here. What is
here, is Minsmere – where the RSPB have been trying really hard to get all
these birds to come back. And we are going to risk it all just simply
because it’s a convenient place to build a power station.” The public
consultation into EDF’s proposal for Sizewell C will end on September 27.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | environment, opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

“The Guardian” co-opted by UK security services?

Getting Julian Assange   The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian’s attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange’s “long-standing relationship with RT”, the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

How the UK Security Services neutralised the country’s leading liberal newspaper. By Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis• 11 September 2019, The Guardian, Britain’s leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the ‘security state’, according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden’s bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK’s Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence. Continue reading

September 14, 2019 Posted by | media, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

UK continues to pour tax-payers’ money into (non-existent) Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear Energy Insider 11th Sept 2019 Rolls-Royce group wins funding as UK SMR race gathers pace. The UK SMR Consortium has received financial backing from the UK government to advance
its small modular reactor programme, as part of the Industrial Strategy
Challenge Fund.

The consortium, led by Rolls-Royce, comprises Assystem, SNC
Lavalin/Atkins, Wood, Arup, Laing O’Rourke, BAM Nuttall, Siemens,
National Nuclear Laboratory, and Nuclear AMRC. “The £18 million [US$22.3
million] government funding for phase 1 of the programme (from the ISCF
Wave 3 bid we were recommended from by government) is being matched by
industry funding in the consortium,” Ben Todd, Rolls-Royce Communications
Business Manager – Nuclear, told Nuclear Energy Insider.

“It’s a really big boost to the project, however we have a conservative outlook and
realise there remains a significant amount of work still to do and many
hurdles to overcome. Phase 2 will be a further circa £500 million [US$618
million] total (matched from government, industry and possibly equity
providers) to take through to the completion of the GDA process.”

September 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK forest to be chopped down for Sizewell C nuclear project, though project approval not yet complete

East Anglian Daily Times 11th Sept 2019, Coronation Wood will now be chopped down to make way for Sizewell C – even though the proposed new twin reactor nuclear power station has not beengiven the go-ahead yet.

The application from EDF Energy, part of major
changes to the Sizewell B estate needed for Sizewell C’s construction,
generated a huge number of objections. However, it was approved by East
Suffolk Council’s (ESC) strategic planning committee by nine votes to
eight. Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council, supported by a number of
other parish and town councils, will now ask the Secretary of State for
Housing, Communities and Local Government to “call in” the application and
consider it for a planning inquiry.

Paul Collins, of Theberton & Eastbridge
Action Group on Sizewell, said: “We strongly oppose ESC’s decision to
approve this application when the DCO request for Sizewell C has neither
been submitted nor approved. If Sizewell C does not go ahead – and there
are many reasons why it might not, including uncertain financing and major
environmental obstacles – the AONB will have been needlessly damaged.”

September 14, 2019 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Unacceptable risk to consumers: “regulated asset base” system to fund UK’s new nuclear reactors

How can we pay for new nuclear power stations?, Funding methods that work in the water industry cannot be applied to the sector,

We are coming to a crucial moment of decision on the future of nuclear power in the UK, with implications for the industry across Europe and beyond. The basic issue is whether nuclear power can be provided at a cost that does not damage industrial competitiveness or impose an unacceptable burden on consumers. Without a positive answer to that question, nuclear will not be able to play a role in the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Despite a long standing commitment to build 16GW of new nuclear capacity, only one new plant is under construction — Hinkley Point C in Somerset — which will, when eventually brought on stream, impose a long-term burden on UK consumers. The price agreed in 2013 — £92.50 per MW hour — looked extremely expensive then, but the real burden will come from the agreed index-linking of the price for 35 years. That already gives a price of over £100, a number way above those for competing sources of power such as wind, solar and natural gas.
The latest attempt to reduce this headline price slipped out in a consultation paper from the department for business, energy and industrial strategy in the dying hours of former UK prime minister Theresa May’s administration. The suggestion is that future nuclear power projects should be funded through the “regulated asset base” system. Put simply, the Rab would fund new projects from the moment construction begins through a levy on consumers. This would reduce the borrowing costs for the companies building the projects and thus in turn bring down the level of future bills. £92.50 might come down to £80.

This method of funding is a serious option for long-term projects with high upfront capital costs and has been used effectively in the water industry and elsewhere. As a mechanism for funding new nuclear, however, it is far from convincing. Water projects, such as reservoirs and pipeline systems, require large-scale capital investment. But the technology is proven and the construction risks are low. In new nuclear, however, the construction risks are high and to place them on the shoulders of consumers is unfair.

Of course, the dream of any company is to pass the burden of risk in any project to someone else while collecting a guaranteed stream of income once the project is up and running. In this case, however, the unfairness of such an outcome makes the model unsustainable. Consumers cannot be encouraged by the example of one of the few new nuclear stations being built in Europe — Flamanville on the northern coast of France.

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Flamanville began construction in 2007 and was due to come on stream in 2012. When I was working in government a decade ago, I was told that Flamanville would set the example for all new nuclear stations to be built in the UK. Today, Flamanville is still under construction. Earlier this year further faults were found by the French regulator and the commissioning of the station has been put back. The operator EDF has so far been unable to name the date when it will come on stream but has talked of a further delay of perhaps another three years. The cost of the plant was originally set at €3.3bn. Now the estimate is €10.9bn.

Under the Rab funding system, consumers would have been paying a surcharge on their bills since 2007 with nothing to show for it. They would have no leverage over the company building the plant and no scope for compensation. They would also of course have to pay in addition the cost of buying the power they need from someone else. Such an allocation of risk is unfair and unacceptable, and it is hard to think that ministers in a UK government, highly attuned to public opinion when it comes to energy prices, will impose such a system.

What are the implications of this? If the private sector will not fund new nuclear, and if no fair system of allocating costs and risks can be found, the 16GW of capacity required under current energy policies will not be built. That will be true not just in the UK but across most of Europe and perhaps even France, a country committed to nuclear power in the past and where a decision on new nuclear facilities is due to be taken in the early 2020s. Over time, nuclear power will become a source of power only in countries, such as China, where the state can provide full funding for new developments, as well as subsidies to conceal the costs to business and other consumers.
Nuclear’s future in Europe, Japan and the US is limited by these unanswered challenges. Of course there are alternatives. Wind and solar are becoming cheaper, and there is huge scope for energy efficiency. But until large grid-level storage capacity is available, economically viable renewables will always need some back-up — which means gas or, in many countries, coal. If Rab pricing systems are not the answer, is there another way through this dilemma? Next week, I will look at one possible option. The writer is an energy commentator for the FT and chair of The Policy Institute at King’s College London

September 10, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) gives incorrect information on Calder Hall

David Lowry’s Blog 4th Sept 2019, The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), owner of the Sellafield  nuclear site, press release included two significant factual errors, so egregiously inaccurate, that they may be deemed deliberate ”fake news.”
The media release asserted of the Calder Hall ‘Magnox’ nuclear plant: “Hailed as the dawn of the atomic age, it made Britain a world leader in the civil nuclear industry.”
But, in fact, Calder Hall was not a ‘civil’ nuclear power plant, but a plutonium production plant run by the UK Atomic Energy Authority for the Ministry of Defence ( then called the Ministry of Supply) to provide nuclear explosive materials for nuclear warheads. In fact it was clearly stated at the time of the plant’s opening, in a remarkable little book entitled Calder Hall: The Story of Britain’s First Atomic Power Station, written by Kenneth Jay, and published by the Government’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell to mark Calder’s commissioning in October 1956.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

County Council rejects plans for transport of Hinkley Point A nuclear wastes through Somerset

Hinkley Point A nuclear waste transport plans refused, BBC, 5 September 2019  Plans to transport nuclear waste through Somerset and store it at Hinkley Point A, have been rejected by the county council.

Magnox, which manages the decommissioned site, applied for permission to bring waste from three UK power stations to the site by road.

But Somerset County Council voted unanimously to refuse the plans.

Magnox said it was disappointed the council had not agreed with the recommendation for approval.

Under current planning conditions, only waste generated on the Hinkley A site – which is currently under construction- can be stored there.

The company had applied to change the rules so it could transport and temporarily store waste from Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Dungeness A in Kent and Sizewell A in Suffolk.

It had wanted to make a total of 46 deliveries of “intermediate waste”, such as used nuclear fuel containers, by road through Bridgwater.

Despite being recommended for approval, the council’s regulation committee voted unanimously to oppose the application.

‘No benefit’

Councillor Simon Coles said approving the plans would send a message that more of the Hinkley A storage facility could become home to waste from other parts of the UK.

Brian Smedley, of Bridgwater Town Council, said the plans would have “no economic, social or environmental benefit” to the town…….

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

Nuclear power is uninsurable. Britain’s Sizewell C and Bradwell B are not done deals

Energy Voice 3rd Sept 2019 Sizewell C and Bradwell B are not yet wholly done deals though groundwork
is under way with contracts issued and limited employment generated. At the end of July, for example, Atkins was awarded a £5m contract for preparatory works at Sizewell C for EDF. It is the first programme of construction work to start at the proposed nuclear power station, which will be located next to the existing Sizewell B plant on the Suffolk coast.

The situation at Bradwell in Essex is more complex, with the original power station now being decommissioned and China Electric pushing hard to get the green light for the new B station. In January, the new boss at Bradwell B peddled the claim that the nuclear plant “will bring significant benefits” to the community. Alan Raymant, a local lad, claimed: “The need for the reliable, low-carbon energy that nuclear provides continues to grow strongly. “Bradwell B will be a major part of Britain’s energy future, powering the national, regional and local economy for many years to

The project is being headed by China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF. UK technology content will be very limited. Same for Sizewell C. Neither project is slam-dunk. The case for their cancellation is very strong, not least that competitive civil nuclear is a total lie.

There is no such thing as economic or environmentally responsible nuclear. It is hugely expensive and most certainly not low carbon. Until now, all nuclear plant– more than 650 reactors – around the world has ridden on the back
of defence programmes and been subsidised.

And no one anywhere has solved the nuclear waste legacy, which is a trans-generational challenge and absolutely cancels out any of the contrived profit.

Moreover, early, high-capacity nuclear energy countries such as the UK, Canada and France have still not dismantled any of their reactors. These stations spend more time as industrial sarcophagi than they do generating electricity and

According to a fresh study published in July by Deutsche Welle of Germany, the challenges of the long-term storage of nuclear waste have been basically ignored, to the extent that today there are no long-term storage facilities for highly radioactive waste in operation.

In countries such as Germany, the UK and the US, the search for a suitable location has gone on for decades with governments all too ready to bribe communities to accept nuclear waste dumps on their doorstep, fortunately unsuccessfully.

Oh, and one more thing that no one talks about here. Civil nuclear is virtually uninsurable. So what if there is an accident? The answer is simple. According to Deutsche Welle: “Society will be asked to bear a very large proportion of these costs. The fact that nuclear power plant operators are not insured against the risk of accidents makes this abundantly clear.  Worldwide, there are no financial service organisations that offer insurance to them.”

September 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

‘All of us are in danger’: John Pilger delivers warning from Julian Assange

Today, in further flagrant and conscious censorship, no British, Australian or American newspaper is carrying a report on Waters’ initiative and the rally.

Roger Waters and John Pilger make powerful defence of Julian Assange in London, WSWS  3 September 2019

Up to 1,000 people gathered last night in central London to hear internationally acclaimed musician Roger Waters deliver a musical tribute to imprisoned WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange.

Performing outside the UK Home Office, just miles from Belmarsh Prison where Assange is being held as a Category A prisoner, Waters sang Pink Floyd’s iconic song “Wish You Were Here.” He was accompanied by guitarist Andrew Fairweather Low.

Supporters filled the forecourt and pavement on both sides of Marsham Street, many carrying banners and placards demanding Assange’s freedom and the release of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Spontaneous chants rang out, “Free, Free Julian Assange!” and “There’s only one decision: No extradition!”

John Pilger, a veteran filmmaker and investigative journalist and a personal friend of Assange, opened the event with an impassioned speech. Pointing in the direction of the Home Office, Pilger told the crowd: “The behaviour of the British government towards Julian Assange is a disgrace. A profanity on the very notion of human rights. It’s no exaggeration to say that the treatment and persecution of Julian Assange is the way that dictatorships treat a political prisoner.”

John Pilger, a veteran filmmaker and investigative journalist and a personal friend of Assange, opened the event with an impassioned speech. Pointing in the direction of the Home Office, Pilger told the crowd: “The behaviour of the British government towards Julian Assange is a disgrace. A profanity on the very notion of human rights. It’s no exaggeration to say that the treatment and persecution of Julian Assange is the way that dictatorships treat a political prisoner.”………

Pilger warned that Assange’s condition was a matter of grave concern. “I worry a great deal about him if he spends many months in Belmarsh,” he said. “The regime there is imposing a kind of isolation on him that is deeply psychologically wounding. He’s in a small cell in the hospital ward. They seem not to know what to do with him. Of course, what they should be doing is letting him out. He certainly should not be in a maximum-security prison.”…….

Underscoring the point made by Kristinn Hrafnsson about the mainstream media, no major British television station reported on the event on their evening news broadcasts. Today, in further flagrant and conscious censorship, no British, Australian or American newspaper is carrying a report on Waters’ initiative and the rally.

Via social media and publications such as the WSWS, however, reports and video of Waters’ performance, Pilgers’ speech and the statements of Gabriel Shipton are circulating widely and will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people internationally over the coming days.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, media, UK | Leave a comment

Expert on birds warns of environmental catastrophe if UK’s planned Sizewell nuclear station goes ahead

Daily Mail 1st Sept 2019 , BBC Birdwatch presenter Chris Packham warns of environmental ‘catastrophe’
if plans for new nuclear power station on wetland nature reserve go ahead.
Chris Packham and campaigners warn against nuclear plant on nature reserve.
French energy firm EDF wants to build Sizewell C with two more giant
reactors. The firm last year axed plan to build a jetty to bring in
materials for site by sea. It is a wetland nature reserve of such beauty
and importance that it became home to the BBC’s popular Springwatch
series for three years.
But campaigners fear that Minsmere, a 2,500-acre
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds site on the Suffolk coast, faces
catastrophe under plans put forward by French energy firm EDF to build a
new nuclear power station. The site, which attracts numerous species of
rare birds including marsh harriers, lies close to an existing nuclear
power station, Sizewell B – but EDF now wants to build Sizewell C, which
comprises two more giant reactors.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Physical and psychological abuse of Julian Assange

Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson: They are trying to break Assange “physically and psychologically”  WSWS, By Oscar Grenfell , 28 August 2019Australian clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson has been an outspoken defender of Julian Assange, writing extensively on the grave implications of his persecution for democratic rights and freedom of speech.

Johnson explained to the WSWS that she writes about the psychology of politics and social issues. She has a background in media studies and sociology, and a PhD in the psychology of manipulating reality-perception.

Earlier this year, Johnson wrote an extensive fivepartinvestigative series titled The Psychology of Getting Julian Assange, published on the New Matilda website. Johnson provided the following responses to a series of questions from the World Socialist Web Site earlier this week.

WSWS: John Shipton and John Pilger have recently detailed the punitive conditions of Assange’s detention in Belmarsh Prison. Could you speak about the way in which his isolation, and the denial of his right to access computers/legal documents is aimed at stymieing his defence against the US extradition request and increasing the psychological pressures upon him?

Lissa Johnson: If anyone takes a moment to imagine what it must be like to face the prospect of 175 years in a US prison, having already been subjected to nearly a decade of arbitrary detention and judicial harassment, knowing that you have no chance of a fair trial in the US, having been smeared in the media and branded a “terrorist” and enemy of the state, then that gives you an inkling of what Julian Assange was dealing with even before being placed under lockdown in Belmarsh prison. If you add to that having read hundreds of documents from Guantanamo Bay and knowing, in intimate detail, what the United States does to those it brands terrorists and enemies of the state, then Julian Assange’s reality becomes even clearer.

Now, with the full force of the US national security state bearing down on him, Julian Assange has been stripped of his most basic abilities to protect himself. Continue reading

August 29, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Double standards in UK prison, as Julian Assange is deprived of justice

Julian Assange: Deprivation of Justice and Double Standards in Belmarsh Prison, 21st Century  Wire , AUGUST 28, 2019 BY NINA CROSS 

Alfred de Zayas, former UN Rapporteur, has described the actions of the British authorities in pursuit of Assange as “… contrary to the rule of law and contrary to the spirit of the law.”  What we see on the surface is an illusion of British justice, masking a political agenda behind it.

Britain’s notorious Belmarsh Prison is now being presented as beacon of good governance, indicative of a fair and just society which equitable but firm with perpetrators. After carefully reviewing the case of Julian Assange though, there can be little doubt that placing the award-winning journalist in such a facility is nothing but the latest vehicle for his rendition to the US.

So far, Belmarsh has been fulfilling that state agenda.

Belmarsh as the state’s next weapon of choice

Judge Deborah Taylor sent Assange to category A Belmarsh prison for a bail-skipping offense, even though he’d demonstrated that he had good reason to skip bail.  It is difficult not to conclude that the category A assignment was done so that he would be weak and vulnerable.  In essence, Assange was sent to Belmarsh for 50 weeks for failing to turn up at a police station.  There was no ongoing court case; he had no prior offenses; there were no charges; the Swedish investigation had been dropped.  So skipping police bail was all the British government had. It should also be pointed out that Judge Taylor made a series of mistakes during the sentencing on 1st May, referring to rape charges in Sweden, which Assange corrected and which she then acknowledged were wrong.  This indicates that Judge Taylor went into court at least uninformed, set in her mind that Assange had somewhere, somehow been charged with rape. This would seem to explain some of the reasoning behind Judge Taylor’s cruel sentencing, described by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as ‘disproportionate’ but also as furthering the arbitrary deprivation of Assange’s liberty.  What’s more, it has been pointed out how several thousand people in the UK skip bail each year and are in now way subject to such harsh punishment.

Clearly, Judge Taylor had used narratives provided by the state in order to send Assange to a category A penitentiary, even though these narratives have been thoroughly debunked.  …….

Following his assessment of Assange in May inside Belmarsh prison, Nils Melzer issued a statement detailing the conditions of dentention. Melzer was accompanied by two medical experts who specialize in the examination of possible victims of torture as well as the documentation of symptoms, both physical and psychological.  On examining Assange Melzer observed the following:

Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.

In addition to these concerns, reports also indicate Assange is being medicated. Continue reading

August 29, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Cumbria councillors worried at “regulated asset base” plan for residents to pay for new nuclear build

August 26, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment