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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

No safe way to move nuclear waste

Airplane dangerThere’s no safe way to move nuclear waste’: Scottish Politicians slam nuke flight that needed armed cop convoy Daily Record  18 SEP 2016   JIM LAWSON

Green MP John Finnie and Caithness MP Paul Monaghan among those to voice concerns about flying nuclear waste to the US. THE first flight believed to be carrying British nuclear waste to America took off from Wick Airport amid tight security yesterday.

Scots politicians and anti-nuclear campaigners have slammed the deal, brokered by David Cameron and Barack Obama, to move the waste.

The airport was closed from early morning as armed police patrolled the perimeter.

Twenty miles away in Thurso, more armed officers escorted a lorry from the Dounreay nuclear plant through the town. It was carrying two heavily reinforced containers……

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth, said: “There is no truly safe way to move this waste.”

Caithness MP Paul Monaghan said the deal was “morally reprehensible” and Green MP John Finnie said people would be stunned that nuclear waste was being transported by plane.

Nuclear expert John Large said: “The risk in transport by air is the fuel being engulfed in fire, the packages breaking down and the fuel igniting.”

The runways at Wick have been extended at a cost of £18million to take the US planes, and Highland Council have published an order allowing local roads to be closed for five hours at a time until March 2018.

Police refused to comment on yesterday’s operation for security reasons.The first flight believed to
be carrying British nuclear waste to America took off from Wick Airport amid tight security yesterday. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/gun-cop-8859315

November 4, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley construction “milestone” reached before contract signed

Hinkley Point deal under fire as construction ‘milestone’ hit before contract signed, Telegraph,   energy editor 30 OCTOBER 2016 

The Government is facing fresh criticism over the Hinkley Point nuclear deal after it emerged a condition supposed to ensure the £18bn plant was being built on schedule had already been met before contract was signed.

A clause in the subsidy deal gives ministers the right to cancel the contract if EDF, which has been plagued by delays building reactors elsewhere, has not hit a construction “milestone” within 33 months of taking its final investment decision.

The milestone requires the “commissioning of the main concrete batching plant” at the Somerset site.But the Telegraph can disclose that EDF believes it has already “achieved that milestone”, after two concrete batching plants were commissioned earlier this year, months before the deal was inked in September.

While the meeting of the condition still has to be officially signed off by the Government agency handling the contract, EDF expects this to be “completed shortly”.

This renders the milestone clause largely pointless and leaves no other lever to ensure construction is proceeding as planned in coming years.

Ministers argue EDF has an incentive to build Hinkley by its 2025 target date because it will not receive any income until it starts generating.

However, the contract, which has been widely criticised as too generous, allows EDF to retain the same subsidy deal if Hinkley is up to four years late and only lets the Government cancel if it is still not running by 2033.

Alan Whitehead MP, Labour’s shadow energy minister, said ministers must confirm whether they knew the concrete plants has already been built when the subsidy contract was signed.

If they did, it would be “a pretty alarming reflection on the way this particular contract may have been drawn up” and raised “serious questions”, he said.

Milestones were intended as a “protection of public money” to enable ministers to act “where funding is going into something which it is evident is not going to happen”, he said.“You could be forgiven for the suspicion that this was a potentially deliberate clause which could have been designed to make it impossible for the milestone agreement to be breached,” he said………http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/30/hinkley-point-deal-under-fire-as-construction-milestone-hit-befo/

November 4, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Fears over core safety as cracks found in Scots nuclear reactor

Cracks found in Scots nuclear reactor spark fears over core safety , Daily Record, 31 OCT 2016  

OFFICIAL documents revealed the nuclear ­regulator’s concerns over fractures in the core ­structure of Hunterston B power station in Ayrshire. CRACKS found in a nuclear reactor have sparked fears that it could not be shut down in an emergency.

Official documents revealed the nuclear ­regulator’s concerns over fractures in the core ­structure of Hunterston B power station in Ayrshire.

Operators EDF Energy say the cracks pose no threat to safety at the site.

But paperwork obtained through a freedom of ­information request shows the Office for Nuclear ­Regulation have raised concerns over ­fractures in the brick keyways that lock together the core in reactor three.

It’s feared the same problem could arise at EDF’s sister station – Hinkley B in Somerset. The ONR have agreed the stations can continue ­operating safely after making changes to the reactor ­shutdown process of the 70s structures.

But John Large, who helped design the advanced gas-cooled reactors, believes that if the cracks get worse, they could jeopardise a ­reactor’s stability in the event of a disaster and make it impossible to shut it down…..http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cracks-found-scots-nuclear-reactor-9167417

November 4, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | 1 Comment

Toxic debates like the hinkley nuclear one need social science input

text-humanitiesby opening up this kind of wider discussion, social science can undertake its trickiest – but arguably most useful – task in any controversy. The stakes in this particular case transcend nuclear debates alone – and raise questions about the overall health of British democracy.

Hinkley C shows the value of social science in the most toxic public debates

Social science can help explain why people disagree over controversial technologies and – most importantly – surface hidden assumptions, Guardian,  and Phil Johnstone, 24 Oct 16,  t’s been another turbulent month in the long-running saga over the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Having looked as if she might be contemplating a rethink, Theresa May unveiled an apparently decisive approval just before the Conservative Party conference. But with longstanding issues still unaddressed– and new problems emerging even since the PM’s announcement – the debate over Hinkley is far from over…….

Social science can provide a better understanding of why different perspectives disagree – and help (when possible) to identify common ground. Hard-pressed policymakers often find it useful to understand how to foster trust, confidence and “acceptance” of their institutions and procedures.

For powerful interests in any setting, social research can also play a useful role in helping to justify, present or implement favoured policies. Here, social science can be part of the closing down of debate – helpfully enabling political attention to move on.

But what if, on deeper reflection, powerfully-backed policies are a bad idea (perhaps as with the Hinkley decision? History is replete with examples – like asbestos, heavy metals, carcinogenic pesticides, chlorine bleaches, toxic solvents and ozone depleting chemicals – where it only emerged in retrospect that the pictures being given of “sound science” or the “evidence base” at the time were unduly shaped by vested interests or constrained imaginations.

It is here that social science can play a further crucial role: helping to open up policy debates where they are being prematurely “locked-in”. This focuses less on society as a target for policymaking, and more on the processes of policymaking themselves. The production and interpretation of evidence is, after all, as much a social phenomenon as public attitudes or political mobilisation.

It is a striking feature of the Hinkley example that even the government’s own evidence base is strikingly damning. The assessment of value for money itself acknowledges Hinkley C to be more expensive than other low carbon energy strategies. And the picture in other official sources is even more negativeWith nuclear costs rising and renewable costs falling – and a worldwide turn towards wind and solar power – global trends compound the picture.

With the UK enjoying the best renewable energy resource in Europe and holding a competitive advantage in offshore industries, industrial policy arguments are also manifestly stronger for renewables. The same applies to prospective jobsCompared to nuclear safety and security challenges, renewables are less vulnerable. And simplistic “baseload” arguments are shown by numerous official reports to be superseded by technology – and repudiated even by the National Grid. So the officially-stated reasons for nuclear enthusiasm simply don’t stack up………

our research suggests there is a further – seriously neglected – factor that may underlie the intense attachment of successive UK governments to civil nuclear power. This involves parallel UK commitments to maintain nuclear submarine capabilities. Without the cover provided by lower-tier contracts in civil nuclear construction, the diminished UK nuclear manufacturing sector would simply not be able to build these formidable technological artefacts. Nor could they easily be operated without civil infrastructures for nuclear research, design, training, maintenance and regulation.

So a consequence of withdrawing from nuclear power might also be very serious for a particular version of British identity – especially in the coming post-Brexit era. It is nuclear military prowess that supposedly allows the UK to “punch above its weight” on the world stage. Yet, although this rationale for continued UK nuclear commitments is clearly documented on the military side, it is unmentioned anywhere in official civil nuclear policy statements – and in energy debates more widely.

What this might mean for policy is a moot point. But by opening up this kind of wider discussion, social science can undertake its trickiest – but arguably most useful – task in any controversy. The stakes in this particular case transcend nuclear debates alone – and raise questions about the overall health of British democracy.

Phil Johnstone is a research fellow and Andy Stirling is a professor of science and technology policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. https://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2016/oct/24/hinkley-c-shows-the-value-of-social-science-in-the-most-toxic-public-debates

October 31, 2016 Posted by | culture and arts, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power ‘dangerous and dirty’ – People Against Wylfa B

Protest-No!flag-UKWylfa Newydd protesters brand nuclear power ‘dangerous and dirty’, Daily Post, 28 Oct 16 

People Against Wylfa B say it’s ‘ironic’ the Japanese company behind the new plant are not building in their own country. Nuclear is an “old fashioned, dangerous and dirty technology” according to a group opposed to a new plant being built on Anglesey.

Pawb (People Against Wylfa B) have responded to Horizon Nuclear Power’s latest consultation by questioning the Japanese firm’s commitment to construct the £12bn power station in view of no new nuclear plants being planned in Japan……..

Last year, the Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the disaster, Naoto Kan, visited Anglesey and urged residents to oppose the Wylfa plant.

Dylan Morgan, a founding member of Pawb, said Hitachi, who own Horizon, are being “totally irresponsible” in persisting with its nuclear “obsession”. He added: “The technology is old fashioned, dirty, dangerous and very expensive.

“It’s ironic that a Japanese company are so adamant that a reactor is built here in Wales, when they can’t do so in their own country.

“Due to the high levels of heat and radioactivity, the waste will have to be stored on site for decades.”…..http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/wylfa-newydd-protesters-brand-nuclear-12093470

October 29, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

British opinion – rising support for renewables, opposition to nuclear and fracking

poster renewables not nuclearPublic support for renewables rises as nuclear and  fracking falls, Edie.net   27 October 2016, source edie newsroom

Public backing for nuclear energy and fracking has fallen in recent months while support for clean energy continues to surge, according to the latest opinion tracker from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The new figures highlight a negative impact on support for nuclear and shale gas exploration in the wake of Government energy policy decisions, with the majority of people across the UK voicing support for the use of clean technologies.

Public backing for the use of nuclear energy significantly fell in the past three months, with support falling to 33% from 36% in the previous quarterly review. A quarter were opposed to nuclear strategy, in the wake of the Government’s recent controversial decision to give the go-ahead to the Hinkley Point C power station.

In terms of support for shale gas extraction, half of respondents stayed neutral (48%) or said they were unsure (2%), reflecting a general lack of detailed public knowledge. One-third were opposed to fracking, while only 17% provided their backing, representing the lowest level of public support since the tracker began in 2012. The report identified the loss or destruction of natural environment as a major reason for a shift towards opposition.

Nuclear picnic?

Renewable energy continued its high level of popularity at 79%, up two points from the previous tracker in May. Opposition to clean technologies was very low at 4%, with only 1% strongly opposed. Solar technology achieved the highest support at 82%, while back for wave and tidal energy remain very high at 75% each.

Commenting on the results, renewable energy company Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “Renewable energy still remains the UK’s favourite form of energy – it’s local, it’s sustainable and it’s pioneering.

“Government should listen to public opinion, champion renewable energy and throw its weight behind tackling climate change. What would you rather picnic next to – a wind turbine or a nuclear reactor? I know which one I’d choose.”

The tracker revealed a record high of 71% of people supporting onshore wind, up from the previous high of 70% in 2014. This echoes the findings of opinion poll carried out by market research and consultancy firm ComRes last week, which revealed the British public’s overwhelming support for onshore winddespite Government cutbacks……http://www.edie.net/news/10/Public-show-support-for-renewables-revolution/

October 27, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Reheating the cold war between Russia and the West

Cold war 2.0: how Russia and the west reheated a historic struggle
As chasm grows between a resurgent Russia and a divided US and Europe, diplomats say conflict is now more dangerous, with ‘no clear rules of the road’,
Guardian,  and   Washington 25 October 2016

Shirreff, then deputy supreme allied commander Europe, was at Nato’s military HQ in Mons, Belgium, when an American two-star general came in with the transcript of Putin’s speech justifying the annexation. “He briefed us and said: ‘I think this just might be a paradigm-shifting speech’, and I think he might have been right,” Shirreff recalled.

The Russian president’s address aired a long list of grievances, with the west’s attempts to contain Russia in the 18th to 20th centuries right at the top.

The French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said: “The reality is that behind the appearance of consensus … a form of world disorder took hold. We are now paying the price for that error of assessment that gave westerners a feeling of comfort for two decades”.

In the UK, the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said in his party conference speech that the west had been mistaken in its belief that “the fall of the Berlin Wall meant the world had come to a moment of ideological resolution after seven frozen and sometimes terrifying decades of communist totalitarian rule”.

Others such as Sir John Sawers, the former head of MI6, warned: “We are moving into an era that is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, as the cold war because we do not have that focus on a strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington.” But unlike the cold war, there are now “no clear rules of the road” between the two countries.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an advocate of dialogue, made the same point: “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the cold war. The current times are different and more dangerous.”………

Many acknowledge the west must take its share of the blame for the collapse of relations. The mistakes are real, notably the scale of Nato expansion to the east and in the Baltics. Russia also feels deeply that it was duped into accepting a UN resolution criticising Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, only to find it was used as cover for regime change. Hillary Clinton, then at the State Department, did little to mange the Russians. Russia has not voted for humanitarian action at the UN since……….

The issue in Europe and the US now is how to respond to Putin? Some believe Russian statehood requires a more aggressive foreign policy. The Kremlin, faced by an ailing economy and declining population, needs external threats of war and violence in the media because Putin “has no civilian project to offer to society”, said Dr Andrew Monaghan at Chatham House. Putin instead offers a mobilisation strategy. The answer is to confront and push back, acknowledging that Putin sees offers of dialogue as a sign of weakness.

Others insist the west must continue to engage and keep pressing the reset button because coexistence is the only option.

In the US and Europe, the question about what to do with Russia is far from settled, something Putin is likely to continue to exploit……

The German chancellor, who has probably devoted more hours to the Putin relationship than any other western politician, is exasperated. She is a dealmaker, but in 2014 – following a conversation with Putin on Ukraine’s annexation – she told Obama that the Russian president was “living in a different world”. But a second round of sanctions in an election year is not attractive.

In Britain, the pre-eminent home for anti-Russian rhetoric since Cameron’s failed attempt at detente in 2011, Johnson has warned Russia that if it continues on its path it could be deemed a rogue nation.

But there are British voices urging calm. Tony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow from 2004 to 2008, calls for realism. He argues that the post-war international system – or “liberal hegemony” as he puts it – no longer works. “We have failed with Russia and we are failing with China,” he said.

Brenton’s answer is to accept the limits of 21st-century western influence. “We are going to have to moderate our own ambitions. We can defend ourselves. We can protect our interests. But telling other bad countries how they should behave is less and less possible,” he said.

What’s next? How the west could respond to Russian threatsThe EU, in search of a policy response, is reaching again for sanctions. They have been estimated to have cost the Russian economy $280bn in capital inflows and to be taking roughly 0.5% a year off the GDP. In a society devoid of internal political and institutional constraints on the behaviour of the elite, extended sanctions could weaken Putin’s grip on power………

ultimately the key decisions will be taken in the new White House. Anthony Cordesman, a strategic analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the new administration must confront three realities. “First, Russia is a now broad strategic rival and is likely to remain so at least as long as Putin is in power. Second, the US can’t rebalance to Asia away from Europe or the Middle East. And third, short of being chased off the stage, the United States will have to play out a weak hand in Syria to limit and contain Russian influence.”

“There are no easy answers to the Russians,” said a Washington-based European diplomat. “They are deploying such aggressive rhetoric and policy. During the cold war there was an accepted vocabulary between the sides. There was a game, there was an accepted game,” the diplomat said. “Now the danger is there is no order. There is no accepted language. We are not talking the same language”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/24/cold-war-20-how-russia-and-the-west-reheated-a-historic-struggle

October 27, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, UK, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scottish power plant forced offline for a week by swarm of jellyfish

Power plants seek nuclear option to end jellyfish raids, Sunday Times, There are plenty of problems for those in charge of nuclear power stations to worry about when they look out to sea, from rising sea levels, erosion, storm surges, even in some cases tsunamis, but few are as ever present, or as irritating, as jellyfish.

Swarms of them have plagued coastal power plants worldwide by clogging their water intakes and cooling systems. In June 2011, Torness in the east of Scotland was forced offline for a week after moon jellyfish blocked its filters.

Yet they are fiendishly difficult to stop, track or predict because jellyfish have no hearts and thus… (registered readers only) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/power-plants-seek-nuclear-option-to-end-jellyfish-raids-tqjzf7bst

October 24, 2016 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

UK suppresses freedom of speech, blocks RT bank accounts

civil-liberty-2smflag-UKUK’s Attack on RT’s Accounts is a ‘Basic Crackdown on Freedom of Speech‘ https://sputniknews.com/world/201610171046421488-russia-britain-rt-bank-accounts/ The blocking of RT’s bank accounts is nothing but a crackdown on freedom of speech, Steve Topple, independent journalist and commentator, told Sputnik. n an interview with Sputnik, Steve Topple, independent journalist and commentator, lashed out at the blocking of the accounts of the RT broadcaster in the United Kingdom which he slammed as a crackdown on freedom of speech.
The interview came as Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said on Monday that the RT broadcaster’s accounts have been blocked in Britain. “The decision is not subject to revision’. Long live freedom of speech!” Simonyan wrote in her Twitter page. She was echoed by Steve Topple who minced no words when commenting on the matter.

“This is a basic crackdown on freedom of speech. If RT UK incited terrorism or cultural violence, the blocking of its bank accounts could have been understandable,” he said. In this vein, he pointed to the UK’s current bad record of press  freedom, saying that among such countries as Latvia, Ghana and Uruguay in terms of backsliding on human rights.

Citing anti-Russian feeling in the UK, Topple did not rule out that the move is part of the West’s efforts to contain Russia in Syria.

“It looks like another stage in a propaganda war between the two sides,” he pointed out. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the issue by saying that London has seemingly abandoned all of its freedom of speech obligations. According to RT UK, National Westminster Bank said its parent organization Royal Bank of Scotland Group would refuse to service the broadcaster and was “not prepared to enter into any discussion.” Earlier, a member of the Russian Lower House’s International Affairs Committee told Sputnik that Russian lawmakers will demand an explanation from UK authorities over the actions. “We will also demand that international organizations, including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, clarify their stance on the issue,” Sergey Zheleznyak said.

Simonyan, for her part, said that the blocking of the accounts of the RT broadcaster in the United Kingdom will not lead to the company halting its operations in the country.

Following Simonyan’s statement on Twitter earlier in the day, RT UK said it had been informed by National Westminster Bank that it “will no longer provide” banking arrangements for the broadcaster. RT operates a number of cable and satellite television channels in a multiple languages and is directed at a foreign audience. The channels provide 24-hour news coverage, as well as airing documentaries, talk shows and debates.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

French nuclear company EDF lobbies Scottish party SNP. Environmental groups strongly oppose it

text-Noflag-ScotlandCharities reject case for nuclear extensions as EDF begins lobbying of SNP, Common Space, Nathanael Williams  18 Oct 16 As the SNP ends its autumn conference, green groups resist attempts to extend nuclear power in Scotland

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have come out in opposition to attempts by the energy company EDF to persuade the SNP to extend the lives of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland has also dismissed claims by the energy giant that the only way for Scotland to meet its energy demands was to invest more in nuclear power.

Instead, campaigners have emphasised the importance of renewables as the main source of economic growth, jobs and sustainability.

“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland.” Lang Banks

Speaking to CommonSpace, Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland said: “Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.

“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland. The analysis also shows that Scotland would maintain security of supply and its position as an electricity-exporting nation.

“From opinion polling, we know that the majority of the Scottish public support the view that all of our nation’s electricity should be generated from pollution-free renewables.

The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

“Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits that would come from a transition toward a zero-carbon society.”

“Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.” Lang Banks

WWF was responding to the French energy company, which owns two Scottish nuclear power stations, announcing at an SNP fringe event that it will re-started its lobbying the Scottish Government for an extension of the lives of both power stations.

Paris-based EDF took over the plants at Torness and Hunterston when previous operator British Energy plc went into administration over mounting costs of storing the highly radioactive residue created………

“The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.” Lang Banks

Last month, WWF Scotland was among a number of charities including Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) which protested the decision to give a go-ahead to the new nuclear plant at Hinkley in Sussex. The main reason for campaigners objections to the Hinkley plant were the vast costs of construction and the better deals for customers if solar and hydro were invested in.

They additionally argue that Scotland’s progress in renewables capacity warrants further development of wind, hydro, solar and tidal and a rejection of nuclear. WWF Scotland’s research showed that this year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption. The Scottish government in turn has set a target that by 2020 the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption will be renewables derived.

From a legal perspective, the building of any new nuclear power station in Scotland would require consent from Scottish Government Ministers under the Electricity Act of 1989.

The Scottish Government at the moment has stated it will not seek new nuclear facilities but has not been explicit in its rejection of extensions to existing ones. However, they were not avalible to comment when contacted by CommonSpace.  https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9670/charities-reject-case-nuclear-extensions-edf-begins-lobbying-snp

October 19, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons transports through Lancashire a safety risk

radiation-truckIs Lancashire ‘at risk of nuclear contamination’? Langashire Evening Post , 12 Oct 16 Nuclear convoys carrying warheads routinely drive on the M6. If one crashed, or was attacked by terrorists, more than 260,000 people could be in danger of contamination, according to a new report. Nuclear bomb convoys on the M6 are putting more than a quarter of a million people at risk from radioactive contamination in Lancashire, according to a report by campaigners.
Anti-nuclear campaigners warn 165 schools, seven hospitals and four railway stations could all be affected if transporters carrying Trident warheads crashed along the route through the county. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons UK, which compiled the report, is demanding an end to the road convoys which routinely pass close to the city en route from the South of England to Scotland. It claims an accident or an explosion could pose a serious threat to people in a 10-kilometre radius. That puts Fylde coast towns and villages including Pilling, Garstang, Great Eccleston, Elswick, Inskip, Wharles, Treales, Newton, and Clifton, within the radius.
There is a fully-prepared and well-tested major incident plan for the whole of Lancashire which is co-ordinated by Lancashire County Council in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and all Lancashire-based councils. “Yet most of the millions of people in the communities they pass by are unaware of what’s happening – and the risks they could be facing,” said the report’s author Rob Edwards. The “Nukes of Hazard” reveals that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed there were eight accidents involving nuclear weapons convoys between 1960 and 1991.
But, following Freedom of Information requests, the MoD has now revealed a further 180 “safety incidents” have happened between 2000 and 2016. The report says convoys have crashed, broken down, got lost and have suffered brake failure and other mechanical problems. “A terrorist attack on a nuclear convoy, according to the MoD, could cause considerable loss of life and severe disruption both to the British people’s way of life and to the UK’s ability to function effectively as a sovereign state.
“ Convoy accidents could spread radioactive contamination over at least 10 kilometres, depending on the direction of the winds. “Hundreds of thousands of people could find their lives seriously disrupted as communities are evacuated, essential infrastructure disabled and emergency services overwhelmed. “Contamination and worries about cancer would linger for decades.”……….
The campaign group Nukewatch says the 20-vehicle convoys, made up of huge dark green trucks accompanied by military Land Rovers and police, carry warheads from a bomb factory at Berkshire to the Royal Navy armaments depot near Glasgow. The 900-mile round trip is carried out between two and six times a year and has two routes, one via Leeds and Newcastle and the other past Birmingham and Preston heading north to Glasgow. Components for the warheads are made at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire. From there they are transferred to nearby AWE Burghfield to be assembled, before making the long road journey north to Coulport on Loch Long, north of Glasgow. At Loch Long the carriers are unloaded and the warheads placed in underground bunkers. When needed they are moved to the explosive handling jetty at Coulport and fitted into the Trident submarines………. http://www.lep.co.uk/your-lancashire/south-ribble/bamber-bridge/is-lancashire-at-risk-of-nuclear-contamination-1-8176201

October 18, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

With progressive policies, Scotland could be 50% fuelled by solar and wind, within 15 years

Half of Scotland’s energy could be produced by wind and sunlight in less than 15 years, report says http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scotland-energy-renewables-half-by-2030-report-wind-solar-a7353831.html Analysis paints a picture of Scotland where fuel poverty is ‘eradicated’, air pollution is slashed and green electricity is a major export Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent, Monday 10 October 2016 Half of all the energy used in Scotland could be produced by renewable technology in less than 15 years, according to a new report.

It painted a picture of a country that exports vast amounts of electricity to the rest of the UK by producing 40 per cent more than it needs, where half of the buses and a third of cars are electric – improving air quality and public health – and where fuel poverty is “eradicated”.

However the report, called The Energy of Scotland, warned that while a low-carbon future was “achievable and desirable”, Scotland was currently on track to miss its climate targets, getting less than 30 per cent of energy from renewables by 2030. title=”10 October 2016 11:03 London”>Writing in the report, commissioned by the Scottish branches of WWF, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB, Lang Banks, WWF-Scotland’s director, said: “Scotland is in the enviable position of having fantastic renewable energy potential.

“Successfully unlocking this potential will not only secure our climate goals but provide the means to deliver economic opportunities across Scotland, bring social benefits and improve public health.”
However he said bringing about this future would require “significant changes to the way we heat our homes and organise our transport” and “new, bold policies”.The report, by consultants Ricardo Energy and Environment, found emissions from electricity power stations could drop to near zero with an “almost entirely renewable” supply, creating 14,000 new jobs.

“A 40 per cent drop in the use of petrol and diesel improves air quality in cities, resulting in better public health,” the report said.

“People are also fitter and healthier thanks to more walking and cycling in renewed cityscapes that are less dominated by cars.

“There is less congestion, with fewer and quieter vehicles on the road.”

 

October 17, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Britain slips down in sustainable energy ratings

UK loses top 10 spot in global energy ranking for the first time
World Energy Council warns of potential gap in energy supply due to government’s lack of clarity and myriad changes,
Guardian, , 11 Oct 16, The UK has fallen out of the top 10 of a respected international league table of countries’ energy sectors for the first time.

The World Energy Council blamed the government’s lack of clarity and myriad changes which it said have left the country facing a potential gap in energy supply.

The UK has previously been one of the top performers in the council’s “Trillema Index”, which has ranked countries on energy security, costs and decarbonisation efforts for the last six years.

But the Brexit vote, cuts to renewable energy subsidies and planned changes on foreign ownership have created investment uncertainty and significant challenges for the UK, according to the latest edition of the index for the London-headquartered agency, whose members include energy companies across the world…….

Despite the recent decision to go ahead with new nuclear reactors at Hinkley in Somerset, the UK had a “distinct lack of policy direction”, the council’s chief said……..

The result of the EU referendum vote in July has also cast a cloud over thegovernment’s pledge last year to phase out coal power by 2025, as leaving the single market as part of a hard Brexit “could significantly increase the cost of its energy imports”. Imports via interconnectors to the continent accounted for around 6% of the UK’s electricity supply last year.

Planned changes to rules on foreign ownership of energy infrastructure, announced during May’s review of Hinkley Point C contract, added to the investment uncertainty, the report said.

The council also highlighted government cuts to onshore wind and solar subsidies since it took power, which Office for National Statistics figures showed last week had led solar power installations to crash. The changes could hinder investments in those sectors, the council said. ….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/11/uk-loses-top-10-spot-in-global-energy-ranking-for-the-first-time?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

October 14, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s uneconomic Hinkley nuclear project really connected with its nuclear weapons aims

Britain’s Nuclear Cover-Up, NYT,  OCT. 10, 2016“………If the Hinkley plan seems outrageous, that’s because it only makes sense if one considers its connection to Britain’s military projects — especially Trident, a roving fleet of armed nuclear submarines, which is outdated and needs upgrading. Hawks and conservatives, in particular, see the Trident program as vital to preserving Britain’s international clout.

A painstaking study of obscure British military policy documents, released last month by the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, demonstrates that the government and some of its partners in the defense industry, like Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, think a robust civilian nuclear industry is essential to revamping Britain’s nuclear submarine program.

For proponents of Trident, civilian nuclear projects are a way of “masking” the high costs of developing a new fleet of nuclear submarines, according to the report. Merging programs like research and development or skills training across civilian and military sectors helps cut back on military spending. It also helps maintain the talent pool for nuclear specialists. And given the long lead times and life spans of most nuclear projects, connections between civilian and military programs give companies more incentives to make the major investments required.

One might say that with the Hinkley Point project, the British government is using billions of Chinese money to build stealth submarines designed to deter China.

One can certainly say that the British government is using an ill-advised civilian nuclear energy project as a convoluted means of financing a submarine program.

The British government must be more transparent about its military spending, if only so that those expenditures can be measured against the needs of other public programs. According to the Science Policy Research Unit study, the government itself estimated in 2015 that renewing the Trident deterrent force will cost nearly $38.5 billion. In comparison, the deficit of the National Health Services for the fiscal year 2015-6, a record, was about $3 billion.

Hiding the true costs of a project like Trident by promoting a questionable and ruinous project like Hinkley Point C distorts the economics of both the defense and the civilian energy sectors. It also skews energy policy itself.

If Britain’s energy policy were solely about energy, rather than also about defense, the nuclear sector would be forced to stand on its own two feet. And the government would have to acknowledge the growing benefits of renewable energy and make hard-nosed comparisons about cost, implementation, environmental benefits and safety.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The inherently immoral nuclear industry and its radioactive trash problem

There’s been the usual evasion and wilful dishonesty on the part of both EdF and the Government as to exactly how the costs of managing that waste over the projected 30-year lifetime of Hinkley Point will be paid for. In the first instance, how best should EdFbe required to accrue for a sufficient share of revenue to cover those costs arising during the reactor’s lifetime – and then for decades/centuries beyond that once HinkleyPoint has stopped generating?

This is such a huge issue – financially and morally. The sums of money involved in treating, storing and finally disposing of nuclear waste are eye-watering, and if they were properly factored into the day-to-day operating costs of all nuclear power stations, it would make the whole ludicrous edifice finally topple over.

this is not just a managerially incompetent, technologically redundant, financially bankrupt and wilfully dishonest industry – it is inherently immoral.

The Hinkley Horror Story: Don’t Mention the Waste! http://www.jonathonporritt.com/blog/hinkley-horror-story-dont-mention-waste I haven’t been able to bring myself to write anything about Hinkley Point since the UK Government gave the go-ahead on 15th September. I suppose I’ve lived for so long with the inevitability of this insane project being approved, at some point, notwithstanding the endless delays, that I wasn’t particularly surprised when it happened. Just a weird mixture of resigned, weary and enraged.

Deep down, I still don’t believe that Hinkley Point will ever be completed. I’ve no doubt work will start in one or two years’ time (just as soon as a mountain of continuing problems at EdF’s project at Flamanville have either been resolved or permanently buried), but it won’t be long before the inherent ‘unconstructability’ of this particular reactor design (the EPR) sees exactly the same inevitable delays and cost overruns kick in – and keep on kicking in from that point on.

And somewhere along the way, there’s an equally strong likelihood of EdF/Areva going bust – or having its role comprehensively redefined by the French Government so that it focusses solely on managing upgrades in the French reactor fleet and dealing with all the legacy issues.

And those legacy issues are vast. As they are for all nuclear operators all around the world. Which is the main reason, I suspect, why hardly anyone has been talking about what’s been agreed in terms of dealing with all the new nuclear waste that would be generated by Hinkley Point.

There’s been the usual evasion and wilful dishonesty on the part of both EdF and the Government as to exactly how the costs of managing that waste over the projected 30-year lifetime of Hinkley Point will be paid for. In the first instance, how best should EdFbe required to accrue for a sufficient share of revenue to cover those costs arising during the reactor’s lifetime – and then for decades/centuries beyond that once HinkleyPoint has stopped generating?

This is such a huge issue – financially and morally. The sums of money involved in treating, storing and finally disposing of nuclear waste are eye-watering, and if they were properly factored into the day-to-day operating costs of all nuclear power stations, it would make the whole ludicrous edifice finally topple over.

Nobody’s thought more about these legacy issues, going back to the origins of the nuclear industry here in the UK in the 1950s, than Andy Blowers. His new book, ‘The Legacy of Nuclear Power’, has just been published, and even for those who have been tracking this particularly wretched aspect of an almost entirely wretched industry, it’s a pretty mind-boggling story that emerges.

Here are the words that I contributed by way of an endorsement for ‘The Legacy of Nuclear Power’:

“The nuclear industry invites us, all the time, to look forward – never to look back. Andy Blowers’ compelling study shows why: its legacy, all around the world, is a shocking one, with no long-term solutions to the problem of nuclear waste in sight, and countless communities blighted, in one way or another, by the nuclear incubus in their midst.”

Unbelievably, the UK’s dismal record in managing its nuclear waste (for both military and civilian facilities) is no worse than that of the USA (with the Hanford site in Washington State posing equally horrendous, ongoing legacy issues as Sellafield here in the UK) or of France, with its reprocessing waste management facilities at La Hague. Only Germany can demonstrate a rather better record – though that has little to do either with the industry or with the German Government, and everything to do with an implacably hostile anti-nuclear movement which has fought for decades to ensure that Germany’s nuclear waste should not be dumped at the designatedGorleben site and then forgotten about.

Andy has written an excellent summary article about these four sites.

(And for the story about what’s going on at Sellafield – in terms of the UK’s nuclear fuel reprocessing debacle – check out this article from Ian Fairlie, commenting on BBC Panorama’s recent exposé.)

What I most admire about Andy’s analysis is that it not only covers the all-but-unbelievable financial consequences of our nuclear legacy, but forces people to confront the moral implications of an industry that defers costs not just into the future but across generations.

One of the reasons why I’m still passionate about the concept of sustainable development (rather than the environment per se) is its unwavering advocacy ofintergenerational justice: being explicit about what any one generation owes to all those generations that succeed it. The nuclear industry today only survives by ruthlessly ignoring those intergenerational obligations: the economics of nuclear power only ‘work’ because it dumps the intractable problems of managing its waste onto future generations.

In other words, this is not just a managerially incompetent, technologically redundant, financially bankrupt and wilfully dishonest industry – it is inherently immoral.

And yet, even now, there are a few misguided environmentalists who tell us that our low-carbon future depends on investing yet more countless billions of dollars in this failed horror story of an industry.

October 8, 2016 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment