nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The UK is searching the sea for a nuclear dump site with huge risks to marine life

 ”Protections clearly mean nothing when the nuclear waste industry wants to pave the way to a deep nuclear dump.”

By Charlie Jaay  •  euro news green,  22/06/2022

A new report delivers a damning verdict on the proposed seismic blasting in the Irish Sea.

The UK government’s Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) is set to carry out seismic surveys off the Cumbrian Coast between July and August this year. 

They are looking for a place to dispose of the waste produced by Britain’s nuclear reactors.

The report, commissioned by Radiation Free Lakeland, calls for these plans to be postponed, claiming the impact assessment by NWS is “deeply inadequate” and “lacking in appropriate scientific and academic rigour”.

What is seismic blasting?

Seismic blasting is a process that allows scientists to find out more about the geography of the sea bed. Loud, repetitive blasts of sound are produced from an underwater airgun – like a powerful horn – and their echoes are measured to map the underwater rocks

The airgun will fire every 10 to 15 seconds, throughout the survey period of around one month.

The surveys, commissioned by NWS, will be looking into the possibility of locating a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). Deep under the seabed, this facility will be used to dispose of the UK’s toxic legacy of high level nuclear waste – the highly radioactive byproducts of nuclear reactors. 

Shearwater GeoServices, the company which last year saw the high court put an end to its work on South Africa’s ecologically sensitive Wild Coast, is carrying out the investigations.

According to a freedom of information request, a licence of exemption to carry out these surveys was given to NWS for ‘scientific research’. But Radiation Free Lakeland says the survey is not for ‘scientific research’ but a plan to dispose of nuclear waste.

“We commissioned an independent report because we need to counter the PR spin from the nuclear waste industry who are calling the seismic testing ‘non-invasive scientific research,’” says Marianne Birkby, Founder of the campaign group.

She argues that, rather than seismic blasting for scientific purposes, the plans facilitate a commercial venture for a “deep nuclear dump for heat generating nuclear waste.”

A limited company that wants to enable ever more nuclear waste from new nuclear builds, Radioactive Waste Management, is behind it, Birkby claims.

“Despite the marine protections this part of the Irish Sea has, it is an outrage that independent environmental impact assessments have not been carried out. Protections clearly mean nothing when the nuclear waste industry wants to pave the way to a deep nuclear dump.”

In response to the claims, NWS says “there is no requirement to undertake a public consultation for these surveys.”……

Seismic surveys can devastate marine life

Low frequency sounds generated by a single seismic airgun can extend over large distances, particularly in deeper waters.

They have been recorded at locations up to 4,000 kilometres from the source, and can blanket areas of up to 300,000 square kilometres with noise. Studies have shown that, because seismic surveys can disturb, injure or kill a wide variety of marine life, they can impact entire ecosystems.

Zooplankton are the base of the marine food chain and are extremely important to our ocean’s health. They are also very vulnerable to these loud noises, according to scientists.

Researchers have found that seismic surveys significantly increase the death rates of zooplankton in the 1.2 kilometre range they tested, killing all larval krill in the range.

Radiation Free Lakeland’s report says the surveys will take place when zooplankton populations are expected to be high. These creatures provide a food source for a wide variety of organisms including baleen whales, basking sharks and fish which, in turn, feed many other species.

Many other marine animals rely on sound for survival too. Seismic testing can interfere with basic functions such as communication, navigation, feeding and mating.

“Noise exposure can be a problem for a wide variety of Cetaceans-dolphins, porpoises and whales,” according to the Zoological Society of London’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.

“Noise related impacts have also been causally linked to many cetacean stranding and mass stranding events globally.”

The NWS investigation will focus on a survey area five to 20 kilometres off the Cumbrian coast in the north west of England in an area of approximately 250 square kilometres. The proposed GDF may extend over an area of 25 kilometres square, deep beneath the seabed.

This region is one of a number of designated Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea. It has protected habitats and is home to a number of European protected species, such as sea turtles, minke whales, common and bottlenose dolphins, and harbour porpoises…………………

Marine habitats are already under huge pressure from pollution, irresponsible development and bottom trawling – as well as the consequences of climate change, she explains.  Joan Edwards. Director of Policy at the Wildlife Trusts

We are concerned about the implications of seismic testing in the Irish Sea, which evidence shows can be devastating for marine life.”

The report claims many of the hugely important marine species found in the area have not been studied for their sensitivity to seismic surveys.

A ‘marked lack of transparency’ from Nuclear Waste Services

Marine radioactivity researcher and consultant Tim Deere-Jones is the author of Radiation Free Lakeland’s report. He says that NWS’s licence application for the seismic survey is characterised by “a marked lack of transparency.”

We are concerned about the implications of seismic testing in the Irish Sea, which evidence shows can be devastating for marine life.”

The report claims many of the hugely important marine species found in the area have not been studied for their sensitivity to seismic surveys.

A ‘marked lack of transparency’ from Nuclear Waste Services

Marine radioactivity researcher and consultant Tim Deere-Jones is the author of Radiation Free Lakeland’s report. He says that NWS’s licence application for the seismic survey is characterised by “a marked lack of transparency.”

The UK government, similar to many others, favours deep geological disposal to deal with the most radioactive waste – whether deep below ground or deep beneath the seabed.

However, there are still many concerns about this £53 billion (€62 billion) facility in the Irish Sea, which has not been tried or tested and provides no guarantees of safety. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/let-us-move-towards-world-without-nuclear-weapons

June 23, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Extreme torture — Beyond Nuclear International

24/7 blasting for nuke waste dump will devastate marine life, Beyond Nuclear 19th June 2022

Extreme torture — Beyond Nuclear International magine being subjected to ear-shattering blasts every ten seconds, twentyfour hours a day for four straight weeks? By any metric, that would qualify
as the most appalling form of torture. But that is exactly what is about to
be inflicted on whales, dolphins, seals and other marine creatures in the
Irish Sea if a new wave of opposition cannot stop it. The Irish Sea is
already the most radioactive sea in the world, in large part a result of
decades of radioactive discharges from the Sellafield reprocessing facility
on the Cumbrian shoreline. Now, Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) has contracted
a company called Shearwater Geosciences to blast its undersea seismic
airguns off the Cumbria coast this summer, calling it “scientific
research”.  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/06/19/extreme-torture/


June 21, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Predictable monstrosity: UK approves Assange extradition

 https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/predictable-monstrosity-uk-approves-assange-extradition,16482, By Binoy Kampmark | 20 June 2022,

The only shock about the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. 

In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was ‘duty-bound‘ to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917.

Patel, for her part, was never exercised by the more sordid details of the case. Her approach to matters of justice is one of premature adjudication: the guilty are everywhere and only multiply.  When it came to WikiLeaks, such fine points of law and fact as a shaky indictment based on fabricated evidence, meditations on assassination, and a genuine, diagnosed risk of self-harm were piffling distractions. 

The U.S. Department of Justice would not be denied.

Under the Extradition Act 2003,’ a nameless spokesman for the Home Office stated, ‘the Secretary of State must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the Home Secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case.’

Evidently, overt politicisation, bad faith, and flimsy reassurances from the U.S. Department of Justice on how Assange will be detained, do not constitute sufficient grounds. 

But the cue came from the courts themselves, which have done a fabulous job of covering the U.S. justice system with tinsel in actually believing assurances that Assange would not be facing special administrative detention measures (SAMs) or permanent captivity in the ADX Florence supermax in Colorado. 

The statement read:

‘In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange.’

In such a scatterbrained and amoral cosmos that marks decision-making in the Home Office, no mention has been made of the surveillance operation against the publisher in the Ecuadorian embassy, orchestrated at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). None, either, of contemplated abduction or assassination, or the frail mental health Assange finds himself.

As late as 10 June, a letter from the group Doctors for Assange, comprising 300 doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, noted that the Home Secretary’s ‘denial of the cruel, inhuman treatment inflicted upon Assange was then, and is even more so now, irreconcilable with the reality of the situation’.

In April, an umbrella grouping of 19 organisations dedicated to press freedom and free speech urged Patel, in reviewing the case, to appreciate that Assange would “highly likely” face isolation or solitary confinement in the U.S. ‘despite the U.S. Government’s assurances, which would severely exacerbate the risk of suicide’.

The co-chairs of the Courage Foundation’s Assange Defense Committee, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and Alice Walker, reflected on the depravity of the order in a statement

They wrote:

‘It is a sad day for western democracy. The UK’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him – the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest – is an abomination.’

As for the UK, it had:

‘… shown its complicity in this farce, by agreeing to extradite a foreigner based on politically motivated charges that collapse under the slightest scrutiny.’

Amnesty International expressed similar views, as did Reporters Without Borders. There was even concern from Conservative MP David Davis, who expressed his belief that Assange would not “get a fair trial.” The extradition law was, as matters stood, lopsided in favour of U.S. citizens.

Under the arrangement, individuals crossing the channel will receive one-way tickets to Rwanda to have their claims processed without the prospect of settling in the UK. The Rwandan Government, hostile to contrarians, the rule of law and refugees, will be subsidised for their pain and labour.

To this sadistic streak can be added her admiration for the Espionage Act being used to prosecute Assange. This fact should have disqualified her in any country operating under the rule of law. Even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a Conservative no-confidence vote this month, Patel’s National Security Bill passed its second reading in Parliament. 

The bill articulates an offence of ‘obtaining or disclosing protected information’ that includes ‘any information… which either is, or could reasonably be expected to be, subject to any type of restrictions of access for protecting the safety and interests of the UK’.

In a polite nod of deference to U.S. law, the proposed law states that an offence is committed when a person ‘obtains, copies, records or retains protected information, or discloses or provides access to protected information’ for a purpose ‘that they know, or ought reasonably to know, is prejudicial to the safety or interests of the United Kingdom’ and if ‘the foreign power condition is met’

The requirement is that the act is ‘carried out for or on behalf of a foreign power’, including instances where ‘an indirect relationship’ exists.

Assange has 14 days to appeal this insidious rubber-stamping of judicially sanctioned brutality. His legal team are hoping to use the High Court as the route to highlight the political dimension of the case and draw attention back to the way the extradition law was read.

If the defence fails, Assange will be sent across the Atlantic, entrusted to officials, some of whom considered murdering him, to be made an example of. 

It will be the clarion call to regimes across the world that punishing a publisher is something supposed liberal democracies can do as well, and as deviously, as anybody else. 

June 20, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed

WSWS, Thomas Scripps, 22 June 2019, Minutes of Ministry of Defence (MoD) meetings have confirmed the role of Britain’s Guardian newspaper as a mouthpiece for the intelligence agencies.

Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.

Minutes of a meeting in 2018 read: “The Chairman thanked Paul Johnson for his service to the Committee. Paul had joined the Committee in the wake of the Snowden affair and had been instrumental in re-establishing links with the Guardian.”

D-Notices are used by the British state to veto the publication of news damaging to its interests. The slavish collusion of the mainstream media ensures that such notices function as gag orders.

Johnson joined the committee in 2014 and evidently excelled in his performance. A separate set of minutes from the first meeting attended by Johnson records the Guardian’s close collaboration with military officials.

Under a section detailing “advice” given by the intelligence agencies to the media, the document reads “most of the occurrences and requests for advice were related to further publications by The Guardian of extracts from the Snowden documents. The Secretary reported that the engagement of DPBAC [Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee] Secretariat with The Guardian had continued to strengthen during the last six months, with regular dialogues between the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries and Guardian journalists.”

In September 2014, the Guardian allowed the former head of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) Sir David Omand to publish an article titled, “Edward Snowden’s leaks are misguided—they risk exposing us to cyber-attacks.”

He declared, “Journalists are not best placed to identify security risks; we have to trust those who oversee the intelligence-gathering.”

In 2016, Paul Johnson used an unprecedented interview with a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker, to propagandize for the antidemocratic, British warmongering interests .

These facts are damning proof of the Guardian’s total integration into the propaganda wing of the MoD following its involvement in the WikiLeaks and Snowden files releases. Indeed, the work of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange has served to expose and confirm the deep ties of the entire mainstream media to the military-intelligence complex.

The Guardian has been viewed historically as the voice of British liberal dissent, critical of the worst excesses of British capitalism at home and abroad. But it has always acted as a political policeman—filtering the news “responsibly” and channelling the resulting anger into impotent moral appeals to the state and other authorities. Its dealings with Assange and Snowden transformed political allegiance into direct subservience. Its liberal, critical pretensions unravelled in a matter of a few months.

When Assange looked to the Guardian and other papers internationally such as the New York Times to publish the Afghan and Iraq war logs and secret US diplomatic cables in 2010, the editors’ main concern was damage control. Within a month of an initial publication of documents, the Guardian had broken off relations with Assange—publishing an infamous December 17 editorial “WikiLeaks: the man and the idea.” It stated that the Guardian had only agreed to publish “a small number of cables” to control the political fall-out from the details of murder, torture, espionage and corruption they revealed and give it the opportunity of “editing, contextualising, explanation and redaction.”

The main purpose of the editorial was to support Assange’s extradition to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual misconduct relating to a trip to that country a few months earlier………………………………..

One of Assange’s persecutors-in-chief, Luke Harding, enjoys the most intimate relations with the security services. His notorious November 2018 fabrication, claiming Assange held meetings with US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, was published in the Guardian just two weeks after Johnson was thanked for “re-establishing links” with the MoD. The story was widely cited and formed a keystone of the efforts, spearheaded by the Democrats in the US, to present WikiLeaks and “Russian interference” as the causes of Trump’s 2016 election victory……. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/guar-j22.html

June 20, 2022 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

The UK’s Decision to Extradite Assange Shows Why The US/UK’s Freedom Lectures Are a Farce

Glenn Greenwald, 18 June 22, The Assange persecution is the greatest threat to Western press freedoms in years. It is also a shining monument to the fraud of American and British self-depictions.

The eleven-year persecution of Julian Assange was extended and escalated on Friday morning. The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the U.S.’s extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to stand trial on eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents showing widespread corruption, deceit, and war crimes by American and British authorities along with their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.

This decision is unsurprising — it has been obvious for years that the U.S. and UK are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — yet it nonetheless further highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy and a free press.

Having reported on the Assange case for years, on countless occasions I’ve laid out the detailed background that led Assange and the U.S. to this point. There is thus no need to recount all of that again; those interested can read the granular trajectory of this persecution here or here.

Suffice to say, Assange — without having been convicted of any crime other than bail jumping, for which he long ago served out his fifty-week sentence — has been in effective imprisonment for more than a decade…………………….

The Home Secretary’s decision this morning — characteristically subservient and obedient of the British when it comes to the demands of the U.S. — does not mean that Assange’s presence on U.S. soil is imminent. Under British law, Assange has the right to pursue a series of appeals contesting the Home Secretary’s decision, and will likely do so. Given that the British judiciary has more or less announced in advance their determination to follow the orders of their American masters, it is difficult to see how these further proceedings will have any effect other than to delay the inevitable………………….

What makes this law so insidious is that, by design, it is almost impossible for the government to lose. As I detailed in Washington Post op-ed when the indictment was first revealed — arguing why it poses the greatest threat to press freedoms in the West in years — this 1917 law is written as a “strict liability” statute, meaning that the defendant is not only guilty as soon as there is proof that they disclosed classified information without authorization, but they are also barred from raising a “justification” defense — meaning they cannot argue to the jury of their peers that it was not only permissible but morally necessary to disclose that information because of the serious wrongdoing and criminality it revealed on the part of the nation’s most powerful political officials. That 1917 law, in other words, is written to offer only show trials but not fair trials.

………………. “free press” guarantees in the U.S. and UK exist only on a piece of parchment and in theory. Citizens are free to do “journalism” as long as it does not disturb or anger or impede real power centers. Employees of The Washington Post and CNN are “free” to say what they want as long as what they are saying is approved and directed by the CIA or the content of their “reporting” advances the interests of the Pentagon’s sprawling war machine……………  https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-uks-decision-to-extradite-assange

June 20, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Sellafield, Britain’s most dangerous building, in the decades-long process of getting its nuclear waste cleaned up.

Britain’s most dangerous building is finally to be made safe after
engineers began removing nuclear waste from an ageing silo left over from
the arms race of the Cold War. Sellafield, at the edge of the Lake District
in Cumbria, has taken the first steps in a project described as the nuclear
industry’s equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

It has spent the past
two decades searching for a solution to the seemingly intractable problem
of cleaning up 10,000 cubic metres of radioactive sludge housed inside a
concrete silo. Known as Magnox, the silo was built in the late 1950s to
receive waste from Britain’s atomic weapons development programme, as
well as its growing fleet of nuclear reactors.

Today it holds roughly 80
per cent of all of Britain’s nuclear waste. For decades the waste has
been dissolving into a highly dangerous and potentially explosive mix
within a building no longer fit for purpose, leading to it being described
as the “most hazardous building in western Europe” – a description
Sellafield itself uses.

In 2005 a leak containing 20 metric tons of uranium
and 160kg of plutonium was discovered to have escaped from one of the
containers. The Office for Nuclear Regulation, the public watchdog, has
designated the building “an intolerable risk”.

This week, the plant
removed the first batch of waste from one of the silo’s 22 compartments
using a robotic arm specially designed for the task. The radioactive
material is then encased in cement, immobilising it to prevent any leakage,
and placed inside a metal container designed to store it permanently. The
project, which has been 20 years in the making and will take an estimated
further 20 years to complete, costs roughly £2 billion a year. Phil
Hallington, head of policy at Sellafield, described the project as the
nuclear industry’s equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

 Times 16th June 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nuclear-waste-removal-begins-at-sellafield-power-plant-xlcmskffn

June 18, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange and family suffer as unjust detention continues

Independent Australia By Binoy Kampmark | 16 June 2022,

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian………………………..

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian…………………..

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian……………………………….

Soft, a voice of reed and bird song, Shipton urged activists and citizens to join the fray, to save his son, to battle for a cause imperishably golden and pure. From this summit, power would be held accountable, institutions would function with sublime transparency, and citizens could be assured that their privacy would be protected. 

In the documentary Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence, we see Shipton, Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, the two children, the cat and glimpses of brother Gabriel, all pointing to the common cause that rises to the summit of purpose. The central figure, who only ever manifests in spectral form – on-screen via phone or fleeting footage – is one of moral reminder, the purpose that supplies blood for all these figures. 

Assange is being held at Belmarsh, Britain’s most secure and infamous of prisons, denied bail and being crushed by judicial procedure.  But in these supporters, he has some vestigial reminders of a life outside.

The film’s promotion site describes the subject as ‘the world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’ a figure who has ‘become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes’. ………..

 suffer he shall, if the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel decides to agree to the wishes of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

The DOJ insists that their man face 17 charges framed, disgracefully and archaically, from a U.S. law passed during World War I and inimical to free press protections. The Espionage Act of 1917 has become the crutch and support for prosecutors who see, in Assange, less a journalist than an opportunistic hacker who outed informants and betrayed confidences. ……………………..

Through the film, the exhausting sense of media, that estate ever-present but not always listening, comes through. This point is significant enough; the media – at least in terms of the traditional fourth estate – put huge stock in the release of material from WikiLeaks in 2010, hailing the effort and praising the man behind it. 

But relations soured, and tabloid nastiness set in. The Left found tell-all information and tales of Hillary Clinton too much to handle while the Right, having initially revelled in the revelations of WikiLeaks in 2016, took to demonising the herald. Perversely, in the United States, accord was reached across a good number of political denizens: Assange had to go, and to go, he had to be prosecuted in the United Kingdom and extradited to the United States.

The documentary covers the usual highlights without overly pressing the viewer.  A decent run-up is given to the Ecuadorian stint lasting seven years, with Assange’s bundling out, and the Old Bailey proceedings covering extradition. But Shipton and Moris are the ones who provide the balancing acts in this mission to aid the man they both love……….

The film has faced, as with its subject, the usual problems of distribution and discussion. When Assange is mentioned, the dull-minded exit for fear of reputation, and the hysterical pronounce and pounce. 

In Gabriel Shipton’s words

“All of the negative propaganda and character assassination is so pervasive that many people in the sector and the traditional distribution outlets don’t want to be seen as engaging in advocacy for Julian.”

Where Assange goes, the power monopolies recoil. Distribution and the review of a documentary such as Ithaka is bound to face problems in the face of such a compromised, potted media terrain. Assange is a reminder of the plague in the patient of democracy, a pox on the body politic. ……….. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/julian-assange-and-family-suffer-as-unjust-detention-continues,16470#.YqqqxM6TP0M.twitter

June 16, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, UK | Leave a comment

Many of UK’s coastal buildings may soon need to be abandoned due to sea level rise, – and what about the nuclear reactors?

Sea level rise threatens many coastal buildings in UK.

Is the UK government completely stupid? Not only are existing nuclear reactors at risk of flooding, but they plan new ones in the same threatened coastal areas?

Nearly 200,000 properties in England may have to be abandoned due to rising sea levels by 2050, a report says. It looks at where water will cause most damage and whether defences are technically and financially feasible.

There is consensus among scientists that decades of sea level rise are inevitable and the government has said that not all properties can be saved.

About a third of England’s coast will be put under pressure by sea level rise, the report says. “It just won’t be possible to hold the line all around the coast,” says the report’s author Paul Sayers, an expert on flood and coastal risks, adding that tough decisions will have to be made about what it is realistic to protect.

 BBC 15th June 2022

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-61795783

The estimate of nearly 200,000 homes and businesses at risk of abandonment comes from researchers at the Tyndall Centre, in the University of East Anglia, published in the peer-review journal Oceans and Coastal Management.

 Guardian 15th June 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/15/sea-level-rise-in-england-will-force-200000-to-abandon-homes-data-shows

June 16, 2022 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Stop Sizewell C group questions UK government’s reasons for designating the project under the Regulated Asset Base model – and its secrecy about the plan.

The Secretary of State is intending to designate a company which no one knows who the owners will be. EDF and the government – both apparently intending to be minority partners in Sizewell C with 20% stakes – are continuing to negotiate with each other behind closed doors.

BEIS has today published draft reasons for designating NNB Generation Co (Sizewell C Co) as the first step towards the company being able to use a RAB funding model. All financial figures have been redacted. The BEIS press statement says “by publishing the draft reasons for designating Sizewell C under the RAB model, the government is going beyond the transparency requirements set out in legislation.”

Stop Sizewell C said: “It’s outrageous that ministers are hiding the cost to electricity bill payers
and the public purse of Sizewell C, while claiming to be transparent. By redacting the finances, it is impossible to know if the Secretary of State’s judgement on Value for Money is sound. We fail to understand why the government would not impose conditions related to the EPR reactor technology, when it has such a catastrophic track record, and one of the only working examples has been offline for almost a year in China”

Additionally we note the following: The Secretary of State is intending to designate a company which no one knows who the owners will be. EDF and the government – both apparently intending to be minority partners in Sizewell C with 20% stakes – are continuing to negotiate with each other behind closed doors.

The government intends to take a special share in Sizewell C, as a means of “protecting national security interests”, yet there is no mention of removing China General Nuclear from the project. The Value for Money assessment acknowledges that the (secret) figures provided by NNB require “uplift” (page 22 “

Given that largescale infrastructure projects have a tendency to cost more and take longer to
build than expected, the analysis has applied appropriate uplifts to these assumptions”), and conclude that “the estimated return on government investment is positive in the majority of scenarios modelled” (page 22). With no indication of the size of that majority, or the various cost
burdens, it is therefore clear that the return was negative in at least some scenarios.

The only cost for Sizewell C in the public domain is the original estimate of £20 billion, published over two years ago. Since then there have been major changes to the project and huge price hikes in construction materials. Despite references to lessons learned at other EPR projects, there are no specific conditions linked to design adaptations that will be required for Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C’s reactors basedon the experience of Taishan 1, where problems have led to the reactor
being offline for almost a year. (EDF reports, p116 “In addition [to fuel failure], a phenomenon occurring between the assemblies and a component enclosing the core has been identified, which would be linked to hydraulic stresses” and the French regulator, ASN, refers to (p14) “various
anomalies observed on the cores of the EPR reactors of Taishan“.

Such adaptations could have a serious impact on both cost and timescales. A government condition was attached to an (unused) offer of loan guarantees for Hinkley Point C, that the Flamanville EPR should be operating by December 2020. It is not expected to be operating until mid 2023 at the earliest. Finland’s Olkiluoto EPR is still testing at reduced capacity. 
Stop Sizewell C 14th June 2022
https://stopsizewellc.org/designation/

June 16, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C nuclear supply engineers go on strike

Plating engineers creating products to supply to the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station go on strike today [13 June] in a pay dispute. Dozens
of workers at Darchem Engineering, in Stockton-Upon-Tees, will walk out
today after welders working for same firm were given an additional pay
supplement, while the engineers weren’t. Further strikes are planned for
20,21,28 and 29 June. Industrial action could lead to big delays at Hinkley
Point C – the £25 billion nuclear reactor in Somerset. GMB 14th June 2022 https://www.gmb.org.uk/news/hinkley-point-supply-engineers-strike

June 16, 2022 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

UK government’s new financing plan for %20 tax-payer funded Sizewell C nuclear project will increase costs and delays, – is aimed to cut China out.

The government has bought an option to take a 20% stake in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in a move that could ease China’s state nuclear company out of the project. Ministers took a £100m option to invest in Sizewell C’s holding company in January and said on Tuesday it would convert that into equity if the project reaches a final investment decision.

The venture on the Suffolk coast is jointly owned by EDF and China General Nuclear Power. The government is understood to be keen toremove CGN from the project amid concerns over China’s involvement in critical UK infrastructure. The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, set out the taxpayer-funded financing model for Sizewell C and future projects on Tuesday.

The strategy the government plans to use – a regulated asset
base model – involves taxpayers taking on risk alongside private investors. The government is
attempting to inject urgency into a notoriously slow-moving industry amid a
drive to boost Britain’s domestic energy supplies.

In April Boris Johnson set out plans to approve up to eight reactors by the end of the decade. A
decision on whether to grant Sizewell C planning consent was last month delayed until 8 July. Research by the University of Greenwich Business School seen by the Guardian last month showed the project could cost UK taxpayers more than double government estimates and take five years longer to build.

 Guardian 14th June 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/14/uk-buys-option-to-take-20-stake-in-sizewell-c-nuclear-power-plant

June 16, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK government’s outrageous secrecy on the costs to consumers of the Regulated Asset Base model for funding new nuclear reactors – Stop Sizewell C Group.

The new Sizewell C nuclear power station could receive funding through a
new Government scheme that enables companies to charge consumers to cover
construction costs. Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has
announced that the £20billion twin reactor will be considered to receive
finance through the Regulated Assets Base (RAB) model……………

However, Alison Downes, of campaign group
Stop Sizewell C, which is opposed to the plans, said: “It’s outrageous that
ministers are hiding the cost to electricity bill payers and the public
purse of Sizewell C, while claiming to be transparent. “By redacting the
finances, it is impossible to know if the secretary of state’s judgement on
value for money is sound.

 East Anglian Daily Times 14th June 2022

June 16, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Fear the fallout of UK government’s unwise Regulated Asset Base funding for new nuclear reactors

As if consumer energy bills aren’t high enough already. The government
seems hell bent on pushing them up some more. It’s poised to press the
button on its regulated asset base funding model for new nuclear power
plants: the financial bedrock of Boris Johnson’s fantasy plans to approve
eight new reactors by 2030.

The prototype is EDF’s Sizewell C, the £20
billion project nicely located on a Suffolk flood plain. By July 8
ministers will decide whether to approve the development consent order for
the 3,200MW nuke, said to be capable of powering six million homes. The
prelude to that?

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng going into overdrive on
the techie document front, not least over the joys of the RAB financing
model. As the law firm Slaughter and May noted in a briefing document, “a
major criticism is that . . . risk is passed on to the end consumer during
the construction phase and in a manner that may not best incentivise
developers to minimise the risk of cost overruns”.

 Times 15th June 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fear-the-fallout-of-nuclear-funding-hszhd8lfz

June 16, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

An imminent radiological threat – UK’s planned Hinkley and Sizewell nuclear reactors – same design as flawed EPR reactor in China

The second EPR reactor at China’s Taishan nuclear power plant is about to enter into commercial operation.

June 14 marks the first real public reports of the accident at the
Taishan-1 nuclear reactor in China, and the Nuclear Free Local Authorities
have questioned whether the recent findings from the ongoing investigation
indicate that the EPR reactor design intended for Hinkley Point C and
Sizewell C has a ‘fatal flaw’.

Located almost 90 miles west of Hong
Kong, the Taishan-1 and 2 reactors were the first of their kind to enter
service, being of the same EPR (European Pressurised Reactors) design
intended for the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C plants.

Designed and installed by EDF-subsidiary Framatome, building work started in 2009 and
they began commercial operations in December 2018 and September 2019,
respectively. The project is operated by Taishan Nuclear Power Joint
Venture Co. Ltd, which is jointly owned by CGN (70%) and Framatome, a
subsidiary of EDF (30%).

In late May 2021, American media outlets reported
the venting of radioactive gas at Taishan-1 following an equipment failure.

Rather than authorising an immediate shutdown, Chinese authorities
responded with obfuscation by increasing the safety limits at which the
reactor could operate. Frustrated the French operator reached out to the
international community for technical know-how and equipment to address the
problem, and in memo to the Department of Energy EDF described the
situation at Taishan-1 as ‘an imminent radiological threat to the site
and to the public’.[1]

International pressure finally prevailed and
Taishan-1 was shut-down. The reactor has ever since remained offline whilst
investigations have continued. Information remains hard to come by, but
French nuclear regulators – the ASN or Autorité de sûreté nucléaire
– have revealed that Taishan-1 suffered from two deficiencies which are
unrelated – the failure of springs in the fuel rods and excessive
vibration due to the design of the pressure vessel.

 NFLA 14th June 2022

June 16, 2022 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s wife Stella Moris reveals how they raise children together while he is in jail waiting an extradition decision

In court, Julian has not been permitted to sit with his lawyers. And despite many applications since January 21, he has not been allowed to attend his own court hearings in person.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-08/stella-moris-my-life-with-julian-assange-extradition/101132624, My Australian husband Julian Assange is fighting for his life from within the confines of a three-by-two-metre cell in Britain’s harshest prison, Belmarsh.

The US has accused him of espionage as a result of his work with WikiLeaks in 2010-2011 and wants to extradite him to face court.

If his extradition goes ahead, Julian faces a maximum 175-year prison sentence. As his wife, I fear he will be buried in the deepest, darkest corner of the US prison system until he dies.

During another extradition hearing last year a UK magistrate blocked Julian’s transfer to the US over fears of “oppressive” conditions that could drive him to take his life.

On July 3, Julian turns 51. It will be the fourth year he has spent his birthday alone in a cell, without conviction.

Is our time together running out?

When Julian is taken from his cell to the prison yard he tilts his head up so his eyes can focus on the distance. If he narrows his eyes, the double razor wire above becomes a blur. Beyond is the open sky.

Julian recently discovered a family of nesting magpies. He spotted their home subversively nestled between the razor wire. I think our family is like those magpies.

When we are together, we are always a few metres from their nest. Our children — Gabriel, who is five, and Max, three — only have memories of their father within the brutal surroundings of Belmarsh prison.

We don’t know how long our children have left with their father. We don’t know if we can visit him or even talk to him on the phone. If the extradition goes ahead, US authorities retain the right to put Julian in conditions so cruel that no one in his position is likely to survive.

It is impossible for Julian and me to escape a feeling that he is on death row. Our weekly visits may be the only time we have left together. But for how much longer? A few months more, a few weeks, a few days and then only a few hours? I fear in the end we will count the minutes and the seconds.

Guards search inside my children’s mouths

Were it not for our children, this approaching catastrophe would be all-consuming. But Julian and I know these may be the only memories that our children will have of their father. We make our visits as joyous as possible.

I don’t need to explain to Gabriel and Max the reality of this place where we go to visit their father. They live it. The children walk under razor wire and past layers and layers of security to reach their daddy.

Guards search inside their mouths, behind their ears and under their feet. The prison dogs sniff them head to toe, front and back.

Last week, Gabriel slipped some daisies he had picked by the prison walls into his pocket to give to his father. After he passed through the metal detector his daisies were confiscated during the pat-down search by one of the guards, albeit reluctantly.

During visits, our family is allowed to embrace at the beginning and end. We can hold each others’ hands across the table. Julian and I are not allowed to kiss. But Julian would rather kiss his wife and be penalised than have that taken away from him too. So, we kiss.

Precious moments for life lessons

The children love visiting their daddy. Julian reads them stories. Gabriel shares his father’s fascination with numbers. Julian teaches them nifty tricks: the best way to peel an orange, how to open chips without losing any of the contents.

These things may sound small to most people, but they are our precious moments together. A canteen selling chips and oranges and the prison’s collection of children’s books are all that is on offer in the visitor’s hall we share with 30-or-so prisoners and their families once or twice a week.

On March 23, we were married in Belmarsh. The prison – normally filled with tragedy and isolation – was turned on its head for a few hours to celebrate our love and commitment. Our nest in the razor wire.

The last time the media photographed Julian was in 2019, through the scratched windows of a prison van.  The UK Authorities insist that our wedding photos not be made public ‘on security grounds’. In court, Julian has not been permitted to sit with his lawyers. And despite many applications since January 21, he has not been allowed to attend his own court hearings in person.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment