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Sam and the Plant Next Door – growing up by the nuclear power plant

Sam, 11, is always being told not to worry about the nuclear power plant rising next door, but for him there is lots to think about. Hinkley Point C will be Britain’s largest nuclear plant, and it’s only two miles away. Most of his classmates expect to work at the plant but Sam is determined to escape that fate.

His dream is to protect the surrounding marine life he identifies with. Like the fish, he feels unappreciated by the adults. Sam thinks the only way to reach his dream is to leave his friends behind and to go to a private school. But when he’s offered a place, his parents can’t afford the fees. As a last resort, they turn to the power company for funding, which forces Sam to decide what kind of person he wants to be. Drifting between Sam’s daily life and his dreams, a film about holding on and letting go, along the tricky passage from childhood innocence to grown-up life

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Education, UK | Leave a comment

Expert opinion recommends furloughing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Legal, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK ‘s new nuclear projects further delayed

April 4, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Doctors warn on coronavirus danger for Julian Assange, imprisoned without conviction, in a coronavirus incubator

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Doctors Warning on Assange in a Covid-19 Breeding Ground, Consortium News,April 1, 2020 •  In a prison cited for failing to curb infections, Doctors4Assange warn that Julian Assange is at high risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus. According to a report Wednesday in The Daily Maverick, imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is one of only two prisoners of 797 inmates in Belmarsh Prison who are being held for skipping bail. The majority are violent criminals, including 20 percent for murder and 16 inmates on terrorism offenses. The facility was also repeatedly criticized by prison inspectors for a lapse in preventing infections to inmatesFollowing Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision to deny Assange bail last week, Doctors4 Assange released the following statement:

Doctors4Assange Statement on Assange
Bail Hearing over Coronavirus Risk,
March 27, 2020  Doctors4Assange strongly condemns last Wednesday’s decision by UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny bail to Julian Assange. Despite our prior unequivocal statement[1] that Mr Assange is at increased risk of serious illness and death were he to contract coronavirus, and the evidence of medical experts, Baraitser dismissed the risk, citing UK guidelines for prisons in responding to the global pandemic: “I have no reason not to trust this advice as both evidence-based and reliable and appropriate.”[2]

Notably, however, Baraitser did not address the increased risk to Mr Assange relative to the general UK prison population, let alone prisoners at HMP Belmarsh where Assange is incarcerated. Nor did she address the rapidly emerging medical and legal consensus that vulnerable and low-risk prisoners should be released, immediately.

As the court heard, Mr Assange is at increased risk of contracting and dying from the novel disease coronavirus (COVID-19), a development which has led the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern[3] and a global pandemic.[4] The reasons for Mr Assange’s increased risk include his ongoing psychological torture, his history of medical neglect and fragile health, and chronic lung disease.

Edward Fitzgerald, QC, representing Mr Assange, said, “These [medical] experts consider that he is particularly at risk of developing coronavirus and, if he does, that it develops into very severe complications for him… If he does develop critical symptoms it would be very doubtful that Belmarsh would be able to cope with his condition.”[5]

Baraitser’s casual dismissal of Mr Assange’s dire situation in the face of the COVID-19 emergency stood in stark contrast not only to the expert medical evidence, but the proceedings themselves. The hearing took place on the third day of the UK’s coronavirus lock-down. Of the two counsels representing Mr Assange, Edward Fitzgerald QC wore a facemask and Mark Summers QC participated via audiolink. US attorneys joined the proceedings by phone.

Mr Assange himself appeared by videolink, which was terminated after around an hour, rendering him unable to follow the remainder of his own hearing, including the defence summation and the District Judge’s ruling. Mr Assange’s supporters attending in person observed social distancing measures. Overall only 15 people were in attendance, including judge, counsel, and observers……..

Adding their legal voices to these medical and human rights authorities, the day after Mr Assange’s bail hearing, three professors in law and criminology recommended “granting bail to unsentenced prisoners to stop the spread of coronavirus”.[12]

Julian Assange is just such an unsentenced prisoner with significant health vulnerability. He is being held on remand, with no custodial sentence or UK charge in place, let alone conviction.

Doctors4Assange are additionally concerned that keeping Assange in Belmarsh not only increases his risk of contracting coronavirus, it will increase his isolation and his inability to prepare his defence for his upcoming extradition hearing, in violation of his human right to prepare a defence……

April 2, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

EDF workers at Hinkley Point C nuclear site are a major health risk to local residents

West Somerset Free Press 27th March 2020, EDF workers living in village accommodation around Hinkley Point are a major health risk to residents and should be moved out to purpose-built campuses which have strict health precautions, local councillors urged this week.
Despite a decision by EDF on Wednesday to reduce its Hinkley C
workforce by half to around 2,000 in the coming days in an attempt to limit
the spread of the coronavirus, it was claimed that while residents were in
lockdown, HPC construction workers could “come and go as they wish”.
“People are very scared and concerned,” said Cllr Chris Morgan,
chairman of Stogursey Parish Council and the area’s councillor on
Somerset West and Taunton Council. “What is happening is a recipe for
Cllr Morgan said that, while he welcomed the reduction in the
Hinkley workforce, “you have still got a very large group of people doing
what everyone else has been told not to do. “We have a large multiple
occupation building (HMO) in the middle of the village, another in Castle
Street, one in Burton and many rented rooms, all full of people going to
work, coming back, using the shops, all mixing together.
“When you have a predominantly older age group it is a recipe for disaster. “Most of the villages around Hinkley Point have quarantined themselves but when you have got people constantly doing the complete opposite of that being asked of the people who live here, it just doesn’t seem right. “The answer could be to move workers out of the villages back to purpose-built campuses. It’s not beyond the capabilities of EDF to do that.
This is a national emergency.” Parish council vice-chairman Cllr Sue Goss said that, while she also welcomed the cut in the Hinkley workforce, it did not go far enough to address the needs of the local community. “Our main concern,
particularly in Stogursey parish, is that we still have contractors who
quite rightly go home at the weekends, some to the Covid 19 hotspots of
South Wales and the West Midlands, and then return to the middle of our
local community, totally untested, before they return to the site.
“We are in discussion with EDF and the local councils to see what other
measures can be taken, but at the moment it seems that the only real
control over the situation would be to shut the site down, which I don’t
think will happen because it is a critical national infrastructure

March 31, 2020 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment

EDF, French company building Hinkley Point power station, shifts workers’ costs to UK govt

Coronavirus: EDF to furlough Hinkley Point workers after reducing site numbers, Edward Thicknesse CITY A.M. 29 Mar 20,  Hundreds of workers at EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant are being furloughed after the firm decided to cut the number of workers on site by more than half.

In an attempt to cut costs, the Telegraph reported that many of the site’s workers are being moved onto the government’s employee retention scheme, which guarantees them 80 per cent of their wages.

In an attempt to cut costs, the Telegraph reported that many of the site’s workers are being moved onto the government’s employee retention scheme, which guarantees them 80 per cent of their wages.

Although some of the 2,000 or so workers moved off the nuclear site in Somerset will continue to work in back office roles, the requirement to pay the majority will now shift to the government.

Those initially set to be moved onto the Treasury scheme are contractors working on the site, not EDF employees.

The French firm said: “Hinkley Point C has reduced the number of workers on its site to enable safe working. The project has not asked for any additional Government support and the majority of workers will remain in employment”.

It is understood that contractors are furloughing 500 or so employees, with the intention to bring them back onto payroll as soon as possible.

EDF has not issued a statement on whether it expects the coronavirus pandemic to impact the project’s timeline. …..

EDF’s decision to reduce its workforce came after the government came under pressure to suspend all non-essential construction work over safety concerns.

Politicians of all stripes, from London mayor Sadiq Khan to Tory ex-minister Iain Duncan Smith hit out against the government’s decision not to pause all such work for the duration of the crisis.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Government under pressure to suspend non-essential construction work (such as building nuclear plants)

Government under pressure to suspend non-essential construction work, CITY A.M. 29 Mar 20,The government is facing growing pressure to halt non-essential construction work as it tries to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.In a Downing Street briefing on Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said construction workers could and should continue to work so long as they are two metres apart.

“The judgment we have made is that in work, in many instances, the 2m rule can be applied,” he said.

However critics say public health should be prioritised over the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Former Tory cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith joined those calling for a temporary suspension of work. He told the BBC: “I think the balance is where we should delete some of those construction workers from going to work and focus only on the emergency requirements.”

The confusion over who is able to work came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announced a nationwide lockdown in a televised address on Monday night.

The PM said people should only leave their homes to shop for basic goods, fulfil medical needs, to exercise and to travel to work when “absolutely necessary”. However the types of work considered necessary has not yet been made clear…..

March 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

British small nuclear reactors to help Turkey to get nuclear weapons?

Fears over nuclear Turkey after Rolls Royce reactor deal, Morning Star, 

 MARCH 25, 2020   ENGINEERING firm Rolls-Royce has struck a deal with Turkey for the production of nuclear mini-reactors, sparking fears that the British company and its international consortium partners are helping pave the way for Ankara to develop a nuclear bomb…..

It is part of a consortium including BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Atkins and others. They will work together on designing the new power plant. ….

the plans have raised fears that Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could use the development as a step towards the country becoming a nuclear-armed power.

As previously reported in the Morning Star, Turkey’s secret nuclear programme includes plans to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including nuclear missiles.

The plans have been given the green light by Mr Erdogan’s religious adviser Hayreddin Karaman, who provided not only his blessing for the government to acquire WMDs but also encouraged its leadership to do so.

Writing in a pro-government newspaper in 2017, Mr Karaman said: “We need to consider producing these weapons, rather than purchasing them, without losing any time and with no regard to words of hindrance from the West.”

There are already some 70 US-owned nuclear warheads said to be based at Incirlik airbase near the southern of Adana.

About 40 of these are thought to be under Turkish control, though details are patchy due to a lack of openness and transparency.

In previous deals with Russia and a Japanese-French consortium, the door was left open for the development of nuclear weapons after Turkey rejected offers to include the provision of uranium and the return of the spent fuel rods used in the reactors.

Ankara would be able to use its own low-enriched uranium and reprocess the fuel rods, producing its own enriched uranium for the development of nuclear weapons.

The development has parallels with the Indian missile capability developed after the testing of plutonium produced in the Canadian-supplied Cirus reactor, which first raised the issue that nuclear technology supplied for peaceful purposes could be diverted to weapons production.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Turkey, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear construction work continues, while rest of UK is in lockdown

Dundee Courier 24th March 2020, Opponents of the Hinkley Point C project criticised the decision to carry on and called on the Government to tell them to stop. “This is putting lives at risk right across Somerset and the whole of the country,” said Stop Hinkley campaign spokeswoman Katy Attwater. “Why hasn’t the Prime Minister ordered them to stay at home – is he just pandering to the nuclear lobby? “While the rest of the country is in lockdown, EDF fails to acknowledge that if someone has developed a fever, they have been incubating and spreading the virus for days beforehand.
“Monitoring for fever is leaving it too late. Who is advising them on best practice? “EDF is irresponsible with its decisions on climate change, marine protection, archaeological heritage, and future safety of the people in Somerset. “Now it is failing to address the Covid-19 emergency adequately. They need to stop work at Hinkley Point C now to protect workers and local  people.”

March 26, 2020 Posted by | health, safety, UK | Leave a comment

UK and Fench govts consider nuclear construction as “essential”, so can remain open

Work continues at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset but workforce cut by half, Watch Rupert Evelyn’s ITV News report: [on original]. 25 Mar 20. The beaches of Somerset are deserted as the warning to stay at home appears to have been heeded but on the Bristol Channel coast thousands of people are still clocking in to work at Europe’s largest building site.

The Government has deemed the jobs at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Bridgwater to be essential and French energy giant EDF says that it is “a project of critical national importance”.

The number of construction workers will now be reduced by more than half to around 2,000 to mitigate the coronavirus risk and bosses have pledged to reduce staffing levels further as the project progresses.

But critics and opponents have rounded on the decision to carry on and have called on the Government to halt proceedings.

This is putting lives at risk right across Somerset and the whole of the country. Why hasn’t the Prime Minister ordered them to stay at home – is he just pandering to the nuclear lobby? While the rest of the country is in lockdown, EDF fails to acknowledge that if someone has developed a fever, they have been incubating and spreading the virus for days beforehand.


Workers have been photographed close to each other in the canteen and sitting shoulder to shoulder on the buses which transport them to and from the site.

This is at odds with Government advice to socially distance.

They need to put something else in place. They need to consider their workers. If there is an outbreak at Hinkley Point then it would be uncontrollable. Our NHS system here in the South West is quite small compared to big cities.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | health, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Sellafield nuclear facility cuts back drastically on staff working onsite

In Cumbria 22nd March 2020, Sellafield is telling the vast majority of its workers to stay away from its main site and satellite offices and to work from home. Mark Neate,
director of environment, safety and security with Sellafield Ltd, has told
employees: “We will minimise attendance at all of our sites and wherever
possible everyone should continue (or start) working from home.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Why using hydrogen to supply heating would be a terrible choice

Dave Toke’s Blog 22nd March 2020, The natural gas industry is now campaigning to save its business by extolling the alleged virtues of converting gas heating to supply by ‘blue’ hydrogen. This blue hydrogen production would be done using natural gas to produce the hydrogen whilst capturing and storing carbon dioxide produced in the process.
But this is a facade that will delay transition to a sustainable clean energy economy and waste renewable energy into the bargain. Blue hydrogen is not a substitute for energy from renewable
energy. Even if the hydrogen was sourced from renewable energy (and not much of it will be) the result would be a grandiose waste of renewable energy. This is because using hydrogen from renewable energy to heat buildings is around four times less energy efficient compared to using heat pumps (using renewable electricity) to supply heating in buildings.
The gas industry’s plan is to start off with blue hydrogen, after which at an unspecified period this would be replaced by green hydrogen generated from renewable energy like wind or solar. There are three big reasons why hydrogen in general is a bad choice for our heating networks.
First, carbon capture, in the blue hydrogen production process, is unlikely to be close
enough to 100 per cent. Second, such a programme will provide support for a continued fossil fuel industry. A third reason is that using ‘blue’ hydrogen, in as much as it succeeds in paving the way for supply of renewable hydrogen, will lock in a huge wastage of renewable energy
compared to using this renewable energy much more efficiently.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear worker concerned at coronavirus risks at the site

Somerset Live 20th March 2020, A worker at Hinkley Point C has expressed his concerns about the risk of coronavirus spreading among staff at the construction site. The worker, who does not want to be named, expressed his concerns as the government continue to stress the importance of social distancing and keeping away from other people to limit the spread of COVID-19.
More than 4,000 workers are currently working on-site daily to build Britain’s first nuclear power plant in decades and are in close proximity with each other. Fearing the spread of coronavirus, he has asked for more buses to be provided while limiting the number of passengers to prevent crowding. He has also called for hand sanitizers to be installed at the shift clocking in and out
station but has seen no changes.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Seabrook Nuclear plant operating with limited staff

Nuclear plant operating with limited staff  Gloucester Daily Times, By Jack Shea Staff Writer, 22 Mar 20

    SEABROOK, N.H. — Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the company that owns the Seabrook, New Hampshire, nuclear power plant is continuing to operate the facility with only essential personnel, while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is doing most of its work to monitor the plant remotely.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Lindsay Robertson, spokesperson for NextEra Energy, which owns the Seabrook nuclear plant, said the company has implemented its “pandemic plan,” and is following its procedures for ensuring continuity of service……..

According to Diane Screnci, spokesperson for the NRC, the commission is continuing oversight of the Seabrook plant and other facilities licensed by the commission, although much of the work is being done over the phone.

Screnci said the NRC’s resident inspectors are onsite at a reduced frequency, and are able to do their jobs remotely……

The C-10 Foundation monitors the safety of the Seabrook  nuclear power plant because six Massachusetts communities — Amesbury, Merrimac, Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury and West Newbury — are within a 10-mile radius of the plant and are considered part of the New Hampshire plant’s emergency planning zone.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine base is in the grip of a Coronavirus scare

March 21, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment