The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Britain’s test fire unarmed nuclear missile went way off course, towards America’s mainland

Trident II USG photo of UK subflag-UKBritish unarmed nuclear missile ‘veered towards US mainland’ in test firing JANUARY 23, 2017 THE UK government has been accused of a cover up after failing to disclose that an unarmed nuclear missile may have been mistakenly fired at the US mainland.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Toshiba desperately seeking funding for UK nuclear project, seeks tax-payer subsidy

Tax - payersToshiba faces pressure to secure funding for UK nuclear project, by: Andrew Ward and Jim Pickard in London, 22 Jan 17  Toshiba is facing pressure to secure investment from a South Korean energy group and the UK government to keep afloat a multibillion-pound British nuclear power project as the Japanese conglomerate struggles with mounting financial difficulties.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) has been in talks for months to join the NuGen consortium planning a nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria alongside Toshiba and Engie of France. The need for new partners has been increased by huge writedowns on Toshiba’s nuclear business in the US, which has left the group scrambling to shore up its balance sheet. As well as Korean capital, Toshiba is angling for UK government investment in the Cumbrian project after Theresa May’s administration recently signalled its willingness to put public money into new nuclear plants. This would represent a reversal of longstanding UK policy not to expose taxpayers’ money to the heavy expense and high risks involved in building nuclear reactors.
A Whitehall official said it was “premature” to talk about government involvement in financing Moorside but several other people involved in the process or briefed on the matter said the option of public investment was on the table. But these people said a more immediate step to keep the scheme on track was the proposal for Toshiba to sell part of its 60 per cent stake in NuGen to Kepco, the utility majority-owned by the South Korean government. “Talks have been moving slowly but the financial difficulties facing Toshiba will hopefully focus minds on getting a deal done,” said one person close to the talks.
It emerged last month that the UK and Japanese governments were in talks about potential joint support for a new nuclear plant planned by Hitachi, another Japanese conglomerate, at Wylfa in Anglesey. One senior nuclear industry figure said these discussions also extended to potential government financing for Moorside. Shares in Toshiba have fallen by 44 per cent since the group warned last month that it would have to make writedowns of “several billion dollars” related to the $229m acquisition last year of Stone & Webster, the US nuclear construction company, by Toshiba’s US nuclear technology unit, Westinghouse……..
Public investment in new nuclear plants would be a striking illustration of Mrs May’s determination to intervene more heavily in industrial strategy, a policy she was expected to set out in a discussion paper on Monday. The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We are working closely with a number of developers on proposed new nuclear projects in the UK, as they develop their plans.”

January 23, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Greens Party running anti nuclear platform in UK by-election

logo Greens UKGreen Party to contest Copeland seat in anti-nuclear campaign  15 January 2017 

THE Green Party has announced it will contest the upcoming Copeland by-election on an anti-nuclear and anti-poverty campaign.

Members of Allerdale and Copeland Green Party decided to stand in the Copeland vote which was brought about by the resignation of the constituency’s current Labour MP Jamie Reed.   A candidate will be selected on January 24.

Clare Brown, chairman of the Allerdale and Copeland Green Party, said: “We feel it’s vitally important to offer a vote to those people who want to see a fair and sustainable future for the area.

“There are clear differences between us and the other parties and we welcome this opportunity to campaign on our priorities, which include sustainable energy and standing against nuclear power, as well as anti-poverty measures and exposing the lie of austerity.”

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “The Greens are the only party in Copeland campaigning against nuclear power, to defend the NHS and for a close relationship with Europe.”

Pundits say the poll for his replacement could be held on May 4, linking in with the county council elections. As the party that currently holds the seat, Labour has to formally move the by-election writ to select his replacement and can dictate the date constituents go to the polls.

Labour are defending a majority of 2,564 in Copeland from 2015, making it the tightest by-election for the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

The Liberal Democrats have already announced Cockermouth councillor and health campaigner Rebecca Hanson as their candidate.

Labour will choose a candidate from a shortlist of Barbara Cannon, Gillian Troughton and Rachel Holliday.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Political row over proposed west Cumbria nuclear plant

flag-UKRow breaks out over Labour’s position on proposed west Cumbria nuclear plant North West Evening Mail 16 January 2017  A POLITICAL row has broken out after the leader of the Labour Party refused to give his support for a nuclear development in west Cumbria.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show this morning, Jeremy Corbyn did not endorse the proposed Moorside Power Station when asked.

He said: “I want to see a mix, I want to see a greater emphasis in the long-term on renewables in the way Germany and other countries have done but we do have nuclear power stations, we do have a nuclear base at the moment and that will continue for a long time.”

Responding to Mr Corbyn’s comments, John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle, said: “Once again Jeremy Corbyn refuses to back a new nuclear power plant at Moorside……..

The comments come at a crucial time as Labour and Conservatives battle for votes in the upcoming by-election in Copeland, home to Sellafield and the proposed Moorside project.

However, John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, insisted Labour’s stance on Moorside was clear.

He said: “Jeremy Corbyn is more relaxed about expressing his personal opinions than most party leaders but Labour’s position on Moorside is clear: in government we passed the legislation that made new civil nuclear possible and locally and nationally we continue to champion the new power station……..

The Conservatives have put the nuclear industry at the centre of their campaigning, saying Corbyn’s views would be a “catastrophe” for Cumbria and industry jobs.

Responding to what his message to the constituency’s voters would be, Mr Corbyn said: “My message to the voters of Copeland is the NHS is in crisis, your hospital is about to be continuing underfunded and understaffed and your A&E department is at risk.

“We will be protecting jobs in that area and we would also be trying to protect the pensions of those people that have worked so very hard for so very long to keep the nuclear industry safe.”

January 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

Nuclear power an issue in UK’s Copeland by-election

Copeland by-election goes nuclear  12 January 2017  “……. Conservatives are putting Jeremy Corbyn at the centre of their Copeland by-election campaign.

His image is all over Tory leaflets, and their logic is very simple. Copeland relies on the nuclear industry and Jeremy Corbyn has opposed new nuclear power stations.

It means that when a by-election date is set, the contest in Cumbria could reveal a lot about how national politics will play out in the coming months. Tories will highlight an issue that divides Mr Corbyn and his colleagues……..

The economy revolves around Sellafield, and job numbers are set to fall there as reprocessing work ends. A new nuclear power station is proposed. Labour backs new nuclear energy, and local politicians certainly do. But Mr Corbyn has made plain in the past that he disagrees.

policy document for his leadership campaign in 2015 says plainly: “I am opposed to fracking and to new nuclear on the basis of the dangers posed to our ecosystems.”

In a 2011 speech in the wake of the Fukushima disaster he went further, suggesting existing nuclear power stations should be decommissioned………

If it’s successful, a Labour strategy of responding to relentless attacks on Mr Corbyn with an equally relentless focus on the NHS may provide a model for the opposition in the years ahead.


January 13, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

China to build ANOTHER nuclear reactor in Britain – concern for nuclear regulator

Buy-China-nukes-1China Is Building Britain ANOTHER Nuclear Reactor, Daily Caller ANDREW FOLLETT Energy and Science Reporter  12 Jan 17 Britain’s nuclear regulators are considering whether another Chinese-funded and designed nuclear reactor should be built in Bradwell, Essex.

The reactor would be funded and designed by the state-controlled China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and the French power company Électricité de France (EDF). It could take British authorities up to four years to formally approve or reject the new reactor.

“The robust independence of the UK’s regulators is seen across the world as a key strength for nuclear in Britain,” Zhu Minhong, General Manager of CGN in Britain, told Reuters. “CGN and EDF will bring to this enterprise their joint experience in China, Britain and France over many years.”

The U.K.’s previous attempt to build a nuclear power plant with the exact same Chinese company didn’t got well.

British Prime Minister Theresa May almost cancelled a previous China-backed nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point due to its high costs and environmentalist opposition. The U.S. charged the Chinese company behind the Hinkley Point plant with nuclear espionage in August.

A columnist for a Chinese state-run media outlet called May’s reluctance to approve of the Hinkley Point nuclear power project a result of “China-phobia.” CGN agreed to pay about $8 billion of the reactor’s $24 billion dollar cost.

China’s ambassador to Great Britain issued an ultimatum over the delay earlier in August, pointing out Chinese companies have invested more in the U.K. over the past five years than in France, Germany and Italy combined.

EDF agreed in July to build the Hinkley Point nuclear reactors by 2025 after years of delays. If the reactors aren’t built, U.K. taxpayers could be on the hook for $31.6 billion, according to documents released by the government. EDF is still planning to build the reactors, despite the company’s serious financial problems and the fact that the project is below investment grade.

EDF previously delayed making a decision about Hinkley Point several times before finally approving it after already investing $2.85 billion. EDF is more than $40 billion in debt and has a history of abandoning or delaying similar reactors in France…….

January 13, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Dispute on pensions brings about strike by British nuclear weapons workers

British nuclear weapons workers to go on strike over Atomic Weapons Establishment pensions dispute The Independent, 12 Jan 17  Staff manufacture and maintain nuclear weapons including the Trident programme Lizzie Dearden @lizziedearden Employees responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the UK’s nuclear weapons are to go on strike.

Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) are to stage two 48-hour walk-outs as part of a long-running dispute over pensions.

 Unite said 600 of its members, who work as managers, craft and manual workers at the AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, will strike on 18 and 30 January.

A spokesperson said workers felt “deeply betrayed” by promises made decades ago guaranteeing their pensions, when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the private sector, being broken………

“The four days of strike action later this month are not being taken lightly. It is not a ‘political’ strike, but one taken reluctantly by our members who have no desire to see thousands of pounds wiped off their retirement incomes.”

Unite claimed new pensions proposals, which would see the AWE’s pension contributions lowered, violated pledges made in a ministerial statement to the Commons in the 1990s. The AWE, owned by a consortium of Lockheed Martin, Jacobs Engineering and Serco, is contracted by the MoD to build and maintain nuclear warheads for Royal Navy submarines. 

January 13, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Inside Britain’s secret nuclear bunker

text-historyThe secret nuclear bunker built as the UK’s last hope, Dug for an underground ‘shadow factory’ for aircraft during World War Two, the Drakelow tunnels were re-purposed as a nuclear bunker to be used by the UK government. We went inside., BBC By William Park 4 January 2017

Deep beneath a hill in the Worcestershire countryside, about 20 miles west of Birmingham, lie a series of hidden tunnels. Once home to a secret aeroplane factory during World War Two, they were later repurposed to protect the UK in the event of a nuclear war: it’s from here that the government would have continued to run the country.

“This would have been the last resort of the UK government,” says Michael Scott, a volunteer with the Drakelow Preservation Trust, which is restoring the site. The Trust’s aim is to reopen parts of the tunnels as a museum to preserve their history in World War Two and the Cold War. But the organisation remains some years away from finishing the work, and without much funding, the volunteers are restricted mostly to repainting walls.

When cities across the UK came under siege during the war, the government needed to find a way to continue production of tanks, aircraft and ammunition. The solution was to build underground factories – also called shadow factories – away from large cities. The Drakelow Tunnels housed one of them. And the same remoteness and fortress-like qualities that made Drakelow an effective underground aircraft factory would later make it the location of choice for responding to nuclear attack in Britain.

Today, the entrance used by Scott and the other volunteers is called Adit A; it’s where the security office would have stood. Most of the hillside around the entrance is bare, revealing a sandstone mass towering above us that would have made this site virtually bomb-proof in World War Two.

Adit A shows many signs of the alterations that were made to Drakelow Tunnels to retrofit it for use as a nuclear bunker – including covered air vents that would have protected those inside from fallout. Through the heavy steel door, visitors would have had to strip, incinerate their clothes and shower as they decontaminated themselves……..

There are examples of similar subterranean shadow factories in Germany, too. The largest was Mittelwerk, Kohnstein, which produced V-1 and V-2 bombs from 1943 to 1945. The move underground was a direct result of the destruction of other, above-ground V-2 production plants, like Peenemunde in northern Germany. Unlike Drakelow, Mittelwerk was left in ruins after the war.

Perhaps the most intriguing underground network of Nazi military tunnels is the series of seven structures that make up Project Riese. Buried in the Owl Mountains – then part of Germany but now in south-west Poland near the Czech border – these sites were never finished and documents about their full purpose seem to have been destroyed…….

Cold comfort

Top-secret military construction did not end with World War Two. In 1949, as the Cold War bloomed, the UK government began to build 15 fortified war rooms across the country.

But in the case of the much bigger threat of a nuclear attack, these buildings would not have been enough to protect their inhabitants. They were too small, making them unable to support a workforce for the extended period of time they’d need to remain indoors to avoid the fallout of a nuclear explosion. They also were built too close to the major cities which could have been a target for an attack: five were built in London, for example.

Having seen the effect of a nuclear attack in Japan, the British government commissioned the Strath Committee, led by head of the Central War Plans Secretariat William Strath, to analyse the potential effects of a nuclear attack on the UK. In 1955 the committee published the Strath Report which found that even a ‘limited’ attack would have devastating consequences. Food and water would be contaminated, the NHS would be overwhelmed with four million serious casualties and 12 million deaths, and industry would shut down. In short, the “social and economic fabric of the country [would be] destroyed”.

Strath recommended the UK invest in a network of nuclear bunkers to protect the population. However, estimates put the cost of such an enormous series of bunkers at £1.25bn (equal to £30.88bn in 2016)………

January 7, 2017 Posted by | history, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Wales introduces solar ‘eco hamlet’ – the first of many?

solar rooftopstext-relevantInside Glanrhyd, the first solar ‘eco hamlet’ in Wales  Residents of the new eco hamlet in Pembrokeshire can expect greatly reduced fuel bills and shared use of an electric car, Guardian, , 6 Jan 17, 

Most of the houses in the Welsh village of Glanrhyd are of traditional construction – walls made out of hefty local stone, roofs of grey slate. They can get chilly when the winter winds whistle through the gaps.

The six houses that make up the “eco hamlet” of Pentre Solar look and feel very different. They are built using light, bright timber sourced from a nearby valley. The houses are carefully insulated, airtight and powered by solar panels.

Over the next few weeks the first tenants, local people from Pembrokeshire county council’s housing list, will move into what is being billed as the only development of its kind in the UK.

Their fuel bills are expected to be a fraction of their neighbours’ – and they will even get the use of a shared electric car for the school run, the shopping trip to nearby Cardigan, or even for a jolly to one of the many glorious local beaches…….

If the project, which has been backed by the Welsh government, does work, the hope is that similar developments could be rolled out across Wales and eventually across the UK.

Western Solar’s first venture was a solar farm, five miles from the eco hamlet. Doubts that it was sunny enough in this part of the British Isles (after all, the nearby village of Eglwyswrw made headlines last year after it rained for more than 80 days in a row) proved unfounded and the project thrived…….

Using technology borrowed from Germany, Western Solar built a prototype eco home called Tŷ Solar (Tŷ is Welsh for house). The idea was to produce a high-quality, brilliantly insulated, airtight house made of locally sourced timber and powered by solar energy…….

Western Solar’s ambitious plan is to build 1,000 more houses across the UK in the next 10 years and is looking for investors to help. The Welsh government is keen to see the concept work elsewhere. One of the key pledges of the current Labour-led administration is to provide an additional 20,000 affordable homes by 2021.……

January 7, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

In Cumbria, Labour chiefs not happy with Jeremy Corbyn’s anti nuclear views

text politicsflag-UKLabour chiefs urge voters to ignore Jeremy Corbyn’s nuclear views ahead of Copeland by-election, Mirror UK, BY5 JAN 2017  The Labour leader is a veteran anti-nuclear campaigner, which could be a problem for him in Copeland in Cumbria Labour chiefs are quietly urging voters to ignore Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-nuclear views in a crunch by-election.

The Labour leader, a veteran anti-nukes campaigner, faces his biggest electoral test when voters go to the polls in Copeland, Cumbria.

 The constituency is home to the Sellafield nuclear plant and next-door to Barrow-in-Furness, home to the shipyard building the Navy’s new Trident nuclear submarines.

Labour is defending a slim 2,564 majority in the vote triggered by the resignation of MP Jamie Reed.

The Tories are favourites to win.

Senior Labour figures fear the Conservatives will highlight Mr Corbyn’s lifelong opposition to nuclear power and weapons. The Labour leader will “absolutely” visit the constituency during the campaign, according to party sources.

Copeland council’s Labour group leader Lena Hogg, who voted for Mr Corbyn in his successful leadership campaigns, hoped he would accept nuclear was popular locally.

Pro-nukes Mrs Hogg told the Mirror: “We have got it and it’s staying and people are quite happy about the fact we have had it since 1952.

“It doesn’t matter what people feel about it, it’s not going anywhere.”………

January 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

Crisis in Toshiba, major owner of NuGen, but NuGen says its “committed” to Moorside nuclear project

moorside-nugen-cumbria-planNuGen ‘remains committed’ to Moorside nuclear plant  by Duncan Bick  January 5, 2017 NUGEN says it “remains committed” to plans for a nuclear power station in Cumbria, despite the crisis affecting its majority shareholder Toshiba. Forty per cent was wiped off the Japanese company’s value in the last week of 2016 after it said that its US subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, may have overpaid by several billions of dollars for another nuclear construction and services business.

To compound matters, the company is embroiled in an accounting scandal.

Its shares plunged to 259 yen (£1.81) on Thursday before staging a modest recovery on Friday. Yesterday they settled at slightly more than 277 yen when the Tokyo stock exchange closed.

Toshiba holds a 60 per cent stake in developer NuGen, alongside ENGIE of France.

They are due to decide next year whether to proceed. If the do, a £10bn power station will be constructed at Moorside, Sellafield. The credit agency Moody’s has downgraded Toshiba’s ratings and warned that the writedown could affect the company’s ability to pay its debts.

But a spokesman for NuGen said: “NuGen’s shareholders [Toshiba and ENGIE] remain committed to the development of our Moorside project.

“NuGen is actively engaged in exploring a universe of investment opportunities to bring in additional investments, including debt and equity, to help fund the construction of Europe’s largest new nuclear power station.”

He added: “NuGen welcomed the recent signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the UK and Japanese governments.

“The agreement shows confidence in the progress and deliverability of Moorside and commitment to nuclear as a solution to meeting the UK’s low carbon electricity requirements.”

NuGen has been seeking further backers for the scheme and is understood to have held talks about investment from the Korea Electrical Power Corporation.

If Moorside does go ahead, Westinghouse, once owned by British Nuclear Fuels, would supply three reactors.

They would have a capacity of up to 3.8GW, enough to supply 7.5 per cent of the UK’s electricity.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s financial crisis puts Britain’s nuclear power plans into doubt

financial-meltdownToshiba puts UK’s nuclear power plans under threat: Fears that crisis will halt Japanese firm’s investment in British plant By Rachel Millard For The Daily Mail Britain’s nuclear power plans have been thrown into doubt as a financial crisis grips the company behind one of the country’s biggest projects.

Japanese company Toshiba owns a 60 per cent stake in the planned £10billion NuGen nuclear power project in Moorside, Cumbria, which aims to supply power for about 6million homes from 2025.

But shares plunged at Toshiba for the third day running yesterday after it warned of a multi-billion dollar write-down involving its US nuclear subsidiary.

Forty per cent has been wiped off the company’s value since it said on Monday that its US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric may have overpaid by several billions of dollars for another nuclear construction and services business.

Westinghouse UK is providing the reactors for the planned project in Cumbria, the rest of which is owned by French company Engie, and would be one of Europe’s largest nuclear power plants.


Moody’s investor service has downgraded Toshiba’s ratings and warned the writedown could affect the company’s ability to pay its debts, little over a year after its finances were seriously hit by an accounting scandal.

Justin Bowden, the GMB union’s national secretary for energy, said: ‘It needs to be established as soon as possible whether or not the collapsing Toshiba share price, in particular in relation to its Westinghouse operation, has any implications, and if so what these are for the extremely important Westinghouse project.’

Masako Kuwahara, a Moody’s vice-president, said: ‘The downgrade of Toshiba’s ratings principally reflects Moody’s deepening concerns over the sustainability of Toshiba’s near-term liquidity, as well as the substantive and rapid erosion of its equity base.

‘Although Toshiba is still assessing the exact amount of the impairment loss, its financial metrics will likely deteriorate further, potentially resulting in a negative equity position.’

Moody’s added that if Toshiba breached its debt obligations, its ability to stay solvent would depend on banks’ support.

‘The availability of such support in such a situation, is currently uncertain,’ Moody’s added.

Bankers and analysts said the latest shock could force Toshiba to trim down its businesses.

‘If the company wants to survive, it needs to go through a scrap-and-build process,’ said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Toshiba’s problems come after NuGen said it was in talks with potential investors for the Cumbria site, with a final investment decision due in 2018.

It is potentially a blow to the Government after ministers had described 2016 as a ‘year for the industry to look back on’ following backing for a new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Then UK energy minister Lucy Neville-Rolfe said Hinkley Point would ‘trigger this country’s nuclear renaissance’. But the GMB’s Bowden said: ‘We are one step away from the lights going out.’

NuGen yesterday declined to comment and Toshiba could not be reached for comment.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said: ‘We are working closely with developers on a number of proposed new nuclear projects in the UK, as they develop their plans.’

December 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Files released show orders to shoot nuclear intruders at Faslane in 1990

Cabinet files reveal plan to shoot nuclear intruders 

PM Margaret Thatcher, who was told of the order, said she was “horrified” that the intrusion had succeeded.

The papers are among records filed in 1989 and 1990 and released on Friday……..

‘Grave danger’ at Faslane

Three anti-nuclear demonstrators successfully cut through the perimeter fence at Faslane, on the Clyde, in the early hours of 10 October 1988. The demonstrators went through an open submarine hatch to reach the control room of HMS Repulse, a ballistic missile submarine, where they sprayed anti-nuclear slogans before being arrested.

A fourth demonstrator attempted to swim into the base, but was caught…….

Since the Eighties, anti-nuclear protesters have peacefully camped outsideFaslane, which is now the home of Trident nuclear weapons…….

December 30, 2016 Posted by | history, safety, UK | Leave a comment

“No danger” – when Torpedo fired at Plymouth nuclear submarine dock?

safety-symbol1flag-UKTorpedo fired at Plymouth nuclear submarine dock ‘posed no danger’ Plymouth Herald, By JLewis_Herald  December 27, 2016 A torpedo was inadvertently fired at the nuclear submarine dock in Plymouth.

And, in a separate incident, a dockyard worker in the city breathed in radioactive material, an investigation of incidents involving the nuclear industry has found.

But in both cases, The Times reports, the nuclear safety regulator deemed the incidents as being of no nuclear safety significance.

The decision that these and dozens more apparent safety breaches at nuclear installations around the country pose no danger has alarmed some scientists, who told the newspaper they should have been taken much more seriously.

Among the other incidents reported to the Office for Nuclear Regulation but dismissed as no more than ‘anomalies’ were three road accidents involving vehicles carrying nuclear material, the discovery of radioactive hydrogen in groundwater around the Dungeness nuclear power station in Kent and at least 70 safety incidents on the UK’s main nuclear warhead base at Aldermaston in Berkshire.

The Times reports that brief accounts of all the incidents were quietly published earlier this year.

They record events in the three years up to March 15 in what is said to be the first report of its kind.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has defended its classification of the incidents, including the accidental firing of the torpedo at a nuclear submarine in dock in Plymouth and the ingestion of potentially deadly isotope of cobalt 13, breathed in by a Devonport Dockyard worker……..

December 28, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Moorside nuclear power plant – another massive drain on taxpayers’ money 

Tax - payersNuclear plundering of the public purse – the Sellafield and Moorside billions, Ecologist, Martin Forwood 13th December 2016 

“………Largely under-reported by the media, Moorside’s developer NuGen told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee in early November that it had been calculating how elements of its proposed triple AP1000 reactor site might be carved up to allow the non-nuclear elements of the project to be paid for by the UK Government.

For despite casting its net far and wide in an attempt to drum up the additional finance to meet the clearly under-Moorside NuGen plan Cumbriaestimated £15 billion cost of building Moorside, the consortium of Japan’s Toshiba and France’s Engie is clearly struggling to attract support.

The struggle was intensified by the not unexpected news on 8th December that Engie itself has declared that it will pull out of the Moorside and other new-build developments because “it no longer has the resources to finance such expensive projects” and wants to concentrate on renewables instead.

Hoping that the Treasury’s taxpayer cavalry will ride to the rescue, NuGen’s CEO Tom Samson told the House of Lords that one non-nuclear element of the project has been identified by the consortium as the seawater system required to cool Moorside’s reactors.

Exactly how this vital component of reactor operation can be classified by NuGen as a non-nuclear element and thereby qualify for taxpayer support is as incomprehensible as is the further suggestion that major ‘civil works’ such as the removal of excavation spoil, could also qualify for Government largesse.

It’s a telling sign of NuGen’s dire financial straits, and one that will leave tax-paying observers wondering exactly which part it is of the Government’s erstwhile promise – that future developers would shoulder the whole cost of new-build in the UK – that NuGen doesn’t understand or seeks to circumvent in its hour of self-inflicted need.

And now – taxpayer-funded transport infrastructure and powerlines

Then there’s the suggestion of Government assistance in improving the transport infrastructure in the Cumbrian area to help support both the decommissioning operations at Sellafield and the proposed construction site at Moorside.

Leaving aside NuGen’s less than subtle ploy to boost its case for infrastructure improvements by lumping together Moorside and Sellafield decommissioning, local communities will nevertheless know to their frustration that pleas to improve West Cumbria’s chronic road and rail infrastructure have fallen on deaf Government and industry ears for decades.

Even the construction of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) in the 1980’s and 90’s – a project of similar workforce size to that forecast for Moorside and with similar demands on the local infrastructure – saw no improvements whatsoever made to the outdated transport system.

With Sellafield’s commercial reprocessing operations in their death throes and the site in clean-up mode, it would be morally indefensible for the taxpayer to be expected to step in now to bank roll a Japanese / French private consortium that has clearly bitten off more than it can chew and finds itself short of funding for a project whose timetable and sums increasingly fail to add up.

The very notion that the Treasury should ride to the rescue of NuGen’s vested interest in a new-build project that has considerably less than full public support will be anathema to taxpayers, particularly as they witness hospital and community services in West Cumbria – whose survival is in everyone’s interest – being increasingly starved of Government support.

A thought must be spared too for those facing the double whammy of increased electricity bills as a result of the estimated £2.5 billion cost of connecting Moorside to an upgraded North West Coast grid system – a contentious and hugely disruptive and visually damaging upgrade that National Grid has confirmed again recently would not be necessary if the Moorside project was not on the table.

The government must pull back from this boondoggle project

Time will tell whether the historically apron-stringed – some would say incestuous – relationship between Government and UK Nuclear will come up trumps for NuGen.

But if it doesn’t there will be no public sympathy for a consortium that has walked open-eyed into a remote green field site well documented as being ‘less than optimum’ for new-build in construction, infrastructure and transmission terms.

Nugen has made its bed and should now lie in it or, as the other saying suggests, get out of the Cumbrian kitchen if it can’t stand the financial heat.



Martin Forwood is the Campaign Coordinator of CORE, Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment.

This article was originally published on the CORE website

December 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment