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Guest Post from Gordon Frederick Coggon – a Nuclear Test Veteran’s Experience — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Gordon Frederick Coggon ·26 Nov 21,  

Guest Post from Gordon Frederick Coggon – a Nuclear Test Veteran’s Experience — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND       During 1957 and 1958 I was one of 20,000 British serviceman sent to the central Pacific testing ground of British Hydrogen bomb tests which in my own case involved being at Christmas Island.(now named Kiritimati). During my year there I was subjected to radiation contamination. I witnessed two hydrogen bombs, the first being Operation Grapple X with a 1.8 megaton yield on Nov 8th. 1957 and the second bomb being on 28th. April 1958. Which had a yield of 3 megatons.( Both these devices were dropped by a Valient ‘V’ bomber about 20 miles off the southern tip of the Island.)

After the Grapple X test I was sent to hand wash a Canberra Aircraft,s engine nacelles after it had flown through the cloud of the hydrogen bomb collecting samples. I was set to work using a small bore hosepipe and a scrubbing brush, (the Aircraft had been hosed down with high pressure jets of water before I was employed on a gantry cleaning where the jets of water were not directed at the intakes of the engines.) Initially, I was given a pair of denims, wellingtons, rubber gloves and a remote breathing apparatus (which consisted of a face mask attached to 38 feet of corrugated rubber hose and connected to a fresh air filter which was fastened down as far away as possible from the aircraft. The face mask head straps were broken so the man in the white suit and gas mask said it was useless for the job in hand so I was given a crude homemade mask made from cotton wool sandwiched between a silver paper foil.

Whilst working on the gantry the mask got wet through and I wasnt able to breathe, so I had to move it from my mouth and nose to enable myself to breathe. I continued to work for between 20 to 30 minutes before I was replaced by someone else and I was then sent to the decontamination tent where I showered several times until the man in the white suit and Geiger counter said I was ok to get dressed in the clean side of the tent and was given a new set of kd shorts and shirt. This showering and decontamination took at least one and a half hours, My contaminated clothing was put in a yellow barrel marked with radiation signs in the dirty side of the facility. I have to say also that some of us were given other dangerous tasks like picking up dead fish and birds after the tests and some guys had to dump contaminated equipment in the ocean or bulldoze contaminated earth. After the Grapple Y bomb on 28th.April 1958, there was a massive downpour of rain, which came from the bomb cloud, a lot of the young innocent troops stood outside bathing in it like one normally did during the rain showers, but unlike the normal rain this was said to be contaminated because there was no other clouds in the sky at the time.

At that time I was 18 years old (picture of me above whilst there) and most of us had no idea what radiation was. Nor was I told anything about it until later in my career when I remustered into the Fire, Crash and rescue trade, where I was trained up to an advanced stage about radiation and biological warfare and every Monday I was teaching an induction course to new arrivals on the station that I was posted too. That was when I began to worry about my own health. Had I been put at an high risk of radiation whilst on Christmas Island ??. The Aircraft that I had helped to decontaminate was still emitting Gamma radiation, to what extent?? Also, did I swallow, inhale Alpha particles.?? ( Alpha radiation cannot penetrate human skin but they can be swallowed in water droplets, eaten if on food, or more commonly inhaled.)

These Alpha particles may remain inside your body for your whole life, attacking cells of your body for decades and could take many years before irrepairable damage becomes apparent. Recently it has been associated with radiation caused diseases and malformities in new born descendants of nuclear test veterans. I have had Cancer and several other illnesses which most lightly have been caused by atomic radiation, so far, even after seventy years, the successive British Governments have continued to deny that their troops were subjected to radiation during their atomic and hydrogen tests in the fifties and sixties. And yet, many of the nuclear armed countries have acknowledged the troops that was sent to take part in their experiments with nuclear fission and have been recognised by being given a medal and/or compensation.

I have only mentioned my own experience at Christmas Island (Kiritimati) but during a period 1952 – 1968 there have been many such tests in Australia, other testing areas of the Pacific where a lot of fellow veterans were irradiated by atomic fallout and nuclear poisoning from various clean-up operations after the tests, many of these young men never got to grow old because of their contamination from the tests. Many test sites were carried out where local people lived, these same people have since lost their homes and way of life by the poisoning effects of radiation . Since; atomic radiation contamination illnesses have continually been killing test veterans and clean-up veterans nothing has been done so far to help the families of these brave innocent troops and civilians by the British Government, who were subjected to experiments during the trials.

It is now becoming more alarming by the number of offspring who have also inherited their veteran father’ s damaged cells genetically. * reference to these tests are also available in two books that I have published on Amazon. The first one is titled :- ‘ Christmas Island 1957-1958 ‘ an Ebook on Kindle. The other is a paperback, titled:-‘ The Life of a Yorkshire Lad’ on Amazon and an ebook on kindle.

All royalties for the (latter paperback/ebook have been donated to LABRATS INTERNATIONAL for their continued valuable work in helping test veterans and their descendants come together from all over the world in their fight for justice.

November 27, 2021 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hunterston nuclear reactor 3 closed, but there will be decades from defuelling through dismantling

SafeEnergy E Journal  No.92. December 2  Hunterston Reactor 3 is expected to come off line at the end of November and Reactor 4 before 7th January 2022. There would then be 2 months of statutory outage and then defueling would commence. EDF is hoping to despatch 4 rather than 2 spent fuel flasks every week to Sellafield during defueling.

Defueling will take around three years and will continue to draw on the skills of EDF’s specialist staff and contractors. It will then take around 5 or 6 years to prepare the plant for a period of 40 to 50 years of care and maintenance. Final dismantling could begin around 2070.

November 27, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

What might trip up the Rolls Royce plan for small nuclear reactors?

Fix the Planet newsletter: Can small nuclear power go big? Small modular reactors are being pitched as an affordable and fast way to decarbonise power grids but questions about the technology abound, New Scientist  EARTH, 25 November 2021, By Adam Vaughan

”……… nuclear power did have a showing in Glasgow, at official events in the conference, deals on the sidelines and cropping up as a subject during press briefings.

One new technology popped up a few times: small modular reactors (SMRs), mini nuclear plants that would be built in a factory and transported to a site for assembly. A UK consortium led by Rolls-Royce wants to build a fleet in the country to export around the world as a low carbon complement to renewables. During COP26 the consortium received £210 million from the UK government. More private investment is expected soon.

Yet questions abound. Why should this technology succeed where large nuclear plants have failed to take off in recent years, beyond China? If they are small, will they make a sizeable enough dent in emissions? And will they arrive in time to make a difference to a rapidly warming world?……

What exactly is planned?

The reactors that Rolls-Royce SMR wants to build have been six years in development, with their roots in ones the company previously built for nuclear submarines. Despite being billed as small, the new reactor design is fairly large. Each would have 470 megawatts of capacity, a good deal bigger than the 300 MW usually seen as the ceiling for an SMR.

The consortium hopes to initially build four plants on existing nuclear sites around the UK. Ultimately it wants a fleet of 16 , enough to replace the amount of nuclear capacity expected to be lost in the UK this decade as ageing atomic plants retire. Later down the line, the SMRs could be exported around the world too.

 Alastair Evans at Rolls-Royce SMR. says the first SMR would cost about £2.3 billion and could be operational by 2031. Later versions may fall to £1.8 billion, he claims. That may seem cheap compared to Hinkley, but an offshore wind farm with twice the capacity costs about £1 billion today, and that figure will be even lower in a decade’s time………….

What might trip them up?

SMRs have been in development for years but have made little inroads to date. The UK government has been talking about them for much of the past decade, with nothing to show. Progress elsewhere around the world has been slow, too. Outside of Russia there are no commercial SMRs connected to power grids. Even China, one of the few countries that has built new nuclear plants in recent years, only started construction of a demo SMR earlier this year, four years late. It wasn’t until last year that leading US firm NuScale had its design licensed by US authorities.

Paul Dorfman at the non-profit Nuclear Consulting Group, a body of academics critical of nuclear power, says the nuclear industry has always argued economies of scale will bring down costs so it is hard to see why going small will work. He says modularisation – making the reactors in factories – will only bring down costs if those factories have a full order book, which may not materialise. “It’s chicken and egg on the supply chain,” he says. He also notes the plants will still create radioactive waste (something another potential next gen nuclear technology, fusion, does not). And he fears nuclear sites near coasts and rivers will be increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as storm surges as seas rise.

What’s next?   The Rolls-Royce SMR group this month submitted its reactor design for approval by the UK nuclear regulator, a process that could take around five years. It now needs to pick three locations for factories and start constructing them. The group also needs to win a Contract for Difference from the UK government, a guaranteed floor price for the electricity generated by the SMRs……..

November 27, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear fusion for UK – to save the dying nuclear industry, and UK as a nuclear weapons state?

SafeEnergy E Journal  No.92. December 21,  Fusion Four sites in England and one in Scotland are on the final shortlist of sites to be the home of the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant. The government is backing plans for the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (Step) with a final decision on its location expected at the end of 2022. The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) hope the plant will be operational by the early 2040s. The five shortlisted sites are: Ardeer, North Ayrshire; Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire; Moorside, Cumbria; Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire; Severn Edge, Gloucestershire; They were whittled down from a longlist of 15 sites, which included Chapelcross near Annan and Dounreay. (1  …………

  The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said that this latest effort to extol the virtues of nuclear fusion as a “low carbon” source of energy is to keep the industry “alive” due to the UK being a “nuclear weapon state”. (5)………

November 27, 2021 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

Nicola Sturgeon reaffirms the Scottish Government’s opposition to nuclear power

Nicola Sturgeon has renewed the Scottish Government’s opposition to
nuclear power as part of the country’s drive towards net zero. The First
Minister ruled out any new nuclear power stations in Scotland in direct
opposition to calls from trade unions, backed by Labour’s Anas Sarwar,
for nuclear to be considered as a replacement to fossil fuels.

At First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood Sturgeon insisted it was was an
expensive option for taxpayers. She told SNP MSP Bill Kidd: “Renewables,
hydrogen and carbon capture and storage provides the best pathway to net
zero by 2045 and will deliver the decarbonisation we need to see across
industry, heat and transport. “We believe that nuclear power represents
poor value for consumers.”

 Daily Record 25th Nov 2021

November 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson avoids detail on how China will be removed from Sizewell C deal.

Boris Johnson avoided details when specifically asked about China’s
state-owned energy company’s role in Sizewell C – and how they will be
removed from the nuclear project amid concerns over national security. EDF
and China General Nuclear (CGN) are joint developers of Sizewell C taking
80% and 20% shares respectively, though the Financial Times has previously
reported that Whitehall is looking to push out CGN.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, shadow business secretary Matthew Pennycook told Mr Johnson that
“the Government’s Integrated Review concluded the Chinese state poses a
systemic challenge to our national security” and asked him to explain
“precisely how and when his Government intends to remove the CGN’s
interest from the Sizewell C nuclear project?”

Mr Johnson responded: “We
don’t want to see undue influence by potentially adversarial countries in
our critical national infrastructure and so that’s why we have taken the
decisions we have.” The National Security and Investment Bill, currently
going through parliament, is looking to give the government further powers
to screen and potentially block sensitive foreign investments.

Mr Pennycook later responded on Twitter: “We need certainty on the future of China’s
involvement in UK nuclear power and clarity about how and when the
Government intends to remove China’s state-controlled nuclear energy
company from involvement in any future UK project.”

 East Anglian Daily Times 25th Nov 2021

November 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Labour has called for clarity on how the government plans to remove China’s state-owned energy company from nuclear power projects in the UK.

Labour has called for clarity on how the government plans to remove
China’s state-owned energy company from nuclear power projects in the UK.
Asked about Chinese involvement in nuclear projects at Bradwell and
Sizewell during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) yesterday, Boris
Johnson said the UK “do[es] not want to see undue influence by
potentially adversarial countries in our critical national
infrastructure” and highlighted new national security rules on investment
that come into force in January. Johnson added that more information would
be “forthcoming” about what it will decide about the Bradwell B

 Construction News 25th Nov 2021

November 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New nuclear for Scotland- would be a tragic mistake?

SafeEnergy E Journal  No.92. December 21,    New Nuclear in Scotland Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Anas Sarwar, says nuclear power should be part of the mix on energy. He has also called for a statutory “just transition commission” to be established to help workers move out of the oil and gas industry. He said: “I think we have to be honest about future opportunities and I think nuclear power has to be part of the mix. “I’m not saying nuclear power has to be the priority, or the lead. But it has to be part of the mix to have a diverse energy supply.” Sarwar insisted nuclear power could mean lower fuel bills for consumers at a time of rising inflation. 

  In September Sarwar announced plans for a Scottish Energy Transition Commission to outline how Scotland can protect and create highly skilled jobs in the transition to a net-zero economy. The commission will be chaired by pro-nuclear former Labour Energy Minister Brian Wilson. It will support the development of Scottish Labour energy policy and advise on how the transition to netzero can deliver for the working people of Scotland. It will also look at the failures of the current energy market, which has led to spiking prices this winter, the role of public energy companies and Scotland’s energy mix. (2) 

The Bella Caledonia website described Wilson as “a devout nuclear enthusiast”. Sarwar told the BBC that “I think we should consider potential new (nuclear power) plants” (3) and certainly with a nuclear lobbyist chairing this is where they’ll end up. Journalist Dominic Hinde points out: “This is a little odd in that Scotland already meets almost a hundred per cent of its electricity needs from renewables and is set to surpass this. Most emissions now come from heating, agriculture and transport.” (4)  

 Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, called Scottish Labour’s drift towards nuclear power “a tragic mistake”. Nuclear is slow to build, eye-wateringly expensive and dangerous. There is still no agreed solution for nuclear waste, which will need monitoring for many thousands of years. It is neither a solution to short-term energy needs nor to the climate crisis.   

  Dixon said the Scottish Energy Transition Commission is Scottish Labour’s plan to keep the pressure up on the Scottish government’s official Just Transition Commission, and should have been welcome, but giving it to the former ‘Minister for Hunterston’ devalues it. Anas Sarwar was quoted saying he supports a “diverse energy supply”, which is standard union code for more nuclear – and thinks “nuclear is a key part of that and it’s something that I think we should fundamentally explore”. For many years the Scottish Conservative manifesto for every election said we should have two new nuclear power stations in Scotland. It became a running joke because they knew it was never going to happen and they quietly dropped any mention of nuclear a couple of elections ago. The tragedy of Labour finding a new enthusiasm for the ultimate unsustainable form of energy is that it was a Labour First Minister who put a stop to the nuclear industry’s ambitions in Scotland. Jack McConnell, despite massive pressure from Tony Blair’s government, said in 2005 that Scotland would use planning powers to block any proposals for new reactors in Scotland unless there was an answer to the question of permanent storage of radioactive waste, something that is no closer today than it was then. Scottish Labour’s drift into being pro-nuclear will please no-one but the GMB union and Brian Wilson. It is a betrayal of one of their greatest achievements in government in Scotland. (5)

Meanwhile, North Ayrshire Conservative councillor Tom Marshall has called for a new state-of-theart ‘mini’ nuclear reactor to be built at Hunterston. (6) 

According to a Panelbase survey for The Times 37% of Scots asked about the idea of building nuclear power stations in Scotland as fossil-fuel use is cut back expressed support, while only 32% were opposed. When asked if they supported nuclear power to replace energy currently produced by fossil fuels, 57% of respondents felt it was probably or definitely necessary while 26% indicated it was not or probably not necessary. A further 17% were undecided. Liam Kerr, net-zero and energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, called on the SNP to abandon its opposition to nuclear energy. (7)   

 Others joining a pro-nuclear clamour include Magnus Linklater who complains that “Without Torness, in a wind-free summer like this year’s, Scotland will have to rely on oil and gas courtesy of Vladimir Putin, imports from Norway or — irony of ironies — nuclear power from France.” (8) 

And Lord Bird, co-founder of The Big Issue, has somehow got the misconceived idea that nuclear power can help to solve fuel poverty. Brian Wilson, the former UK energy minister, has supported his call. (9)  

Unsurprisingly, the GMB union is also demanding the Scottish Government thinks again on nuclear power. (10)
 See 1 page briefing on why nuclear power isn’t a solution to climate change here:

November 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Ministry of Defence makes unprecedented attempt to dismantle dead nuclear submarines.

SafeEnergy E Journal  No.92. December 21 , Submarine Dismantling The UK’s Submarine Dismantling Project hopes to dismantle 27 of the UK’s de-fuelled, nuclearpowered submarines after they have left service with the Royal Navy. 

A demonstrator submarine is being used to define and refine the dismantling process. At Rosyth, the removal of low-level radioactive waste from the first two submarines, Swiftsure and Resolution, has been successfully and safely completed. As the unique approach is developed, work continues with the removal of low-level radioactive waste from a third submarine, Revenge. A fully developed process for steady state submarine dismantling should be ready by 2026. As the demonstrator programme progresses, the outcomes will provide more certainty in the future costs to dismantle the Devonport-based submarines. It is not MoD policy to pre-announce the funding of its projects for reasons of protecting commercial interests.”  

  REVENGE, entered the dry dock in Rosyth in late March 2020 to commence its LLW removal. The intent is to remove all LLW including large components such as steam generators and pressurisers. No nation has yet attempted this complex and challenging undertaking, so the MoD is currently putting in place the techniques necessary to remove all LLW for the first time to comply with safety and sustainability standards.

November 27, 2021 Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK government tries to save its nuclear skin by turning to dubious Regulated Asset Base funding

At a time of rising energy bills in the UK, it certainly seems risky of the government to commit to increasing them further and opening themselves up to a downside risk that could prove very costly.

The National Infrastructure Commission, a body designed to give impartial advice to the government, said in March 2020 that a “renewable-based system looks like a safer bet” and a “substantially cheaper” option than the construction of multiple new nuclear power plants.

The UK’s nuclear plan is a financial, environmental and political risk, Investment Monitor,   Jon Whiteaker , 16 Nov 21,” …………..The problem with financing nuclear power

…… Hinkley Point C has been a bit of a nightmare for the UK government. It is already seven years behind schedule, has controversial Chinese investors that the government is understood to be trying to get rid of, and is widely agreed to be far too expensive.

It was financed under the contracts for difference (CfD) model used for offshore wind. This guarantees a ‘strike price’ for the power plant owner, allowing them to raise capital for construction by having certainty of revenues.

Using the same funding model as offshore wind has, however, allowed for simple comparisons of the costs of the two power types. While the latest round of offshore wind projects saw strike prices of about £40 per megawatt-hour (MWh) over a 15-year contract, the owners of Hinkley are guaranteed at least £89.5/MWh over 35 years.

The reasons the Hinkley strike price is so much higher is because the capital costs are much higher, but also because the risks involved in developing them are much greater.

At least Hinkley Point C is being built. A number of planned projects, including the Moorside power station in West Cumbria and Wylfa Newydd plant on Anglesey, have been cancelled or shelved in recent years.

With the need to develop the UK’s next generation of nuclear plants increasingly urgent, the government has turned to the RAB model to save its skin.

UK government turns to the RAB model

The RAB model is known mostly for its successful use on the Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT), the new super sewer in London that is helping to clean up the Thames River. The government says that like that project, nuclear power plants are complex, have high capital costs and long operating lives.

The RAB model allows developers of infrastructure to earn immediate revenues by adding charges to consumers’ utility bills during the construction. Bill payers will have to buy before they try their lovely new nuclear power.

This in theory widens the pool of potential investors, making the government less beholden to a small group of companies who typically invest in and build nuclear plants, lowering the cost of financing, and ultimately saving money for bill payers.

The government predicts that using the RAB model to build a new nuclear plant will save energy bill payers £10 per year compared with the CfD model.

Legislation allowing the introduction of the RAB model for new nuclear was introduced in October 2021 and is moving through the House of Commons. The government has pledged to reach a final investment decision on at least one new nuclear plant by the end of this parliament in 2024.

It is hoped by government that the previously stalled 3.2GW Sizewell C, owned by EDF Energy, will be the first nuclear project to use the RAB model.

The problems with RAB for nuclear

While this all sounds like a perfect panacea for the government’s problems, there are several downsides to using the RAB model.

The depth of investor interest in new nuclear power stations is yet unknown. As the UK government should be painfully aware, having just hosted COP26, the conversation about what does and does not meet different investors ESG standards is a live one. Whether nuclear power is seen as a sustainable investment is debatable.

Trying to get any of the investors in TTT to make clear their stance on nuclear power is not easy, and I have tried. For the government to achieve its goals, institutional investors, like those that supported TTT, should want to invest in new nuclear too.

Asset manager Aviva Investors, a major investor in UK infrastructure, has called on the government to present a robust ESG case for new nuclear, which it says is lacking at present.

Many investors will be concerned over whether nuclear meets the criteria of an environmentally sustainable activity. Institutional investors are incredibly cautious by nature and the shadow cast by the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 is still long.

All energy suppliers will have to contribute to the costs of RAB nuclear plants, whether they want to or not, before passing those costs on to bill payers. That seems a retrograde step for an energy market that has been diversifying to provide customers with ‘green only’ options in recent years. Whether you have ethical objections to nuclear power or not, you will have to use a supplier that helps fund that technology.  

Hinkley Point C is seven years behind schedule. You would be brave to bet against any delays to the first RAB model nuclear plant too.

The government says that there would be a cap on how much extra investors could charge consumers but that this cap could be increased by the government if deemed necessary. If the costs became excessive, the government would have the option of covering the costs itself, although this is ultimately taxpayer money too.

At a time of rising energy bills in the UK, it certainly seems risky of the government to commit to increasing them further and opening themselves up to a downside risk that could prove very costly. Perhaps the government thinks these are all costs worth shouldering to ensure its net-zero plans stay on track.

The National Infrastructure Commission, a body designed to give impartial advice to the government, said in March 2020 that a “renewable-based system looks like a safer bet” and a “substantially cheaper” option than the construction of multiple new nuclear power plants.

That sounds like advice worth considering again.

November 25, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Powerful greenhouse gases emitted from Hunterston A nuclear station

THE release of a refrigerant gas during the ongoing decommissioning of Hunterston A has been revealed at a recent nuclear summit.

Hunterston ‘A’ bosses reported two environmental incidents at the station during its decommissioning phase linked to their air conditioning units. Earlier this year, the release of fluorinated gases was noticed.

These are powerful man-made gases that can stay in the atmosphere for centuries and contribute
to a global greenhouse effect. The incidents formed part of a report to the recent Hunterston site stakeholders meeting.

 Largs & Millport News 22nd Nov 2021

November 25, 2021 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

The UK’s nuclear plan is a financial, environmental and political risk

The UK’s nuclear plan is a financial, environmental and political risk, Investment Monitor,   Jon Whiteaker , 16 Nov 21,    If the UK government thinks the RAB model will solve all its nuclear power problems, it may have a nasty surprise coming its way.

As the dust settles on COP26, the UK government will turn its attention away from global discussions and towards what it is doing domestically to help mitigate the climate crisis.

The government’s Net Zero Strategy sets aside £120m towards developing new nuclear power plants, which it says “could support our path to decarbonising the UK’s electricity system” by 2035.

Could’ is doing a lot of work in that sentence, because although nuclear power plays a prominent role in the government’s decarbonising strategy, bringing additional nuclear capacity online is far from straightforward.

The government says nuclear is a continuous, reliable and low-carbon form of energy that has been part of the UK electricity system for 65 years. Nuclear is also controversial, hugely expensive in comparison to other fossil fuel alternatives, and often proves challenging to develop.

According to the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report, between 1951 and 2021, of the 783 nuclear reactor projects launched, 12% have been cancelled. Delays and cost overruns are also very common when constructing nuclear plants.

The UK government is hoping to kickstart development of new nuclear in the UK through the introduction of the regulated asset base (RAB) funding model. This model is intended to widen the investor pool for nuclear power, reduce financing costs, and ultimately save bill payers money.

While the RAB model has proved successful for other large UK infrastructure projects, it comes with risks for the government. It is unclear which investors will be happy to support new nuclear projects, and there are potential political costs if UK citizens are made to pick up at least part of the tab if things go wrong.

The government expects electricity usage to increase by 40–60% by 2035. It has mapped out several scenarios for how this demand can be met solely by renewables, all of them dependant on building new nuclear power capacity.

Yet in 2020, while generation from all other renewable energy sources increased, generation from nuclear power actually declined in the UK due to a decision not to restart operations at the Dungeness B plant in Kent, which had been suffering a prolonged outage since 2018.

The UK nuclear fleet is old, suffering performance issues and largely due to be decommissioned. By 2035, the UK will lose almost 8GW of nuclear power plants to decommissioning.

The only new nuclear plant under construction is the 3.26GW Hinkley Point C plant, which is now due to be completed in 2026.

All this means the government needs to quickly develop new nuclear capacity. It seems very taken by new small modular reactors, particularly if they are developed by UK companies such as Rolls-Royce.Yet this and another new technology, advanced modular reactors, are not due to reach the demonstration phase until the early 2030s.

So, the government has been seeking a way to deliver several new Hinkley Point Cs…………………

The National Infrastructure Commission, a body designed to give impartial advice to the government, said in March 2020 that a “renewable-based system looks like a safer bet” and a “substantially cheaper” option than the construction of multiple new nuclear power plants.

That sounds like advice worth considering again.

November 25, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson quizzed over future of Bradwell, (Essex) nuclear plant

Boris Johnson quizzed over future of Essex nuclear plant

By Jessica Day-ParkerTrainee Reporter   PRIME Minister Boris Johnson told MPs he does not want to “pitchfork away” all investment from China in response to a question about Bradwell B.

Matthew Pennycook, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, pressed the Prime Minister on Bradwell B – the proposed nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea put forward by China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) – in the House of Commons.

Mr Pennycook said: “The Government’s Integrated Review concluded the Chinese state poses a systemic challenge to our national security and the Prime Minister has made clear that when it comes to China we must remain vigilant about our critical national infrastructure.

General Nuclear to own and operate its own plant in Bradwell in Essex have been abandoned?”

Mr Johnson confirmed the Government doesn’t want to see “undue influence by potentially adversarial countries in our critical national infrastructure” and insisted “there will be more information” coming on Bradwell.

But he added: “What I don’t want to do is pitchfork away wantonly all Chinese investment in this country or minimise the importance in this country of having a trading relationship with China.”


November 25, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New film: The ‘Mothers of the Revolution’ Who Stared Down Nuclear Weapons

The ‘Mothers of the Revolution’ Who Stared Down Nuclear Weapons,   The doc ‘Mothers of the Revolution’ chronicles the women who spent years protesting the nukes at RAF Greenham Common. One of those brave women, Rebecca Johnson, tells their story.   Daily Beast, Rebecca Johnson Nov. 21, 2021  In September 1981, a ten-day walk from Wales under the banner of Women for Life on Earth arrived at the main gate of RAF Greenham Common, sixty miles west of London. Home to the 501st Tactical Missile Wing of the U.S. Air Force, this nuclear base was designated by NATO to deploy nuclear-armed cruise missiles in Europe. We called for this decision to be publicly debated.

When ignored, Women for Life on Earth grew into the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. I began living there in 1982 and stayed until the 1987 U.S.-Soviet Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned and eliminated all land-based medium-range nuclear weapons from Europe, including Cruise, Pershing and SS20s.

After years of being airbrushed out of histories of the Cold War, Greenham’s actions, struggles and legacy are being spotlighted in a new film, Mothers of the Revolution, from acclaimed New Zealand director Briar March. Showing contemporaneous news footage from the 1980s along with dramatized vignettes and reflections from women who got involved with the Greenham Women’s Peace Camp in the 1980s, the film weaves an illustrative narrative from the experiences of a small cross section of activists—not only from Britain, but Russia, East and West Europe, the United States, and the Pacific.

Though it’s taken a long time for our contribution to the INF Treaty to be publicly recognized, other treaties have been influenced by Greenham’s feminist-humanitarian activism and strategies, most notably the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into international law in January 2021.

While living at Greenham for five years I came to understand what we really need: Not weapons and power over others, but communities that are empowered to love, question and create. We took forward new theories and practices of nonviolence that were feminist and assertive. We didn’t suppress deep human emotions like fear, love and anger, but channelled them into power for change. We needed to be activist and analytical, passionate and diplomatic, stubborn and flexible, courageous and truthful—no matter who tried to silence us.

The cruise missiles arrived in November 1983, which felt like a bitter defeat at first. Yet we refused to give up. …………….

Were we mothers of a revolution? If anything, I think we were part of a long continuum of struggles for women’s rights and safety, following in the footsteps of the women who fought so hard to vote and live free from oppression, slavery, and misogyny. Not mothers but daughters—of all those brave feminist revolutionaries.

I’m so glad Mothers of the Revolution ends with such an inspiring call to action showing the faces and voices of a new generation of fierce Daughters who are campaigning for girls’ education, climate justice, peace, and women’s rights to live free of patriarchal perpetrators and their greedy, oppressive systems of violence. Together we can stop the destroyers and strengthen the naturally diverse, interdependent lives that share and protect our beautiful Mother Earth. That’s our revolution, and we are not finished yet.

November 22, 2021 Posted by | Reference, Resources -audiovicual, UK, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

“Rather than contributing to net zero, Bradwell B nuclear plant would be ‘ideally placed’ to become the casualty of climate change.”

CAMPAIGNERS fighting against plans for a new nuclear power station have hit out at claims it is a key asset in the fight against climate change. The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has refuted a statement saying the Bradwell B power station would be Essex’s “biggest contribution to climate action”. The statement from Bradwell B Power Station came in relation to the COP26 climate discussions in Glasgow and said the project was “ideally placed” to play a “major part” in achieving net zero by 2050 emission goals.

But BANNG has claimed, due to the nuclear power station being on a low-lying site, rising global
temperatures would see it become vulnerable to rising sea levels and other weather events by the end of the century. BANNG’s secretary Varrie Blowers added: “Rather than contributing to net zero, Bradwell B would be ‘ideally placed’ to become the casualty of climate change.”

 Braintree & Witham Times 17th Nov 2021

November 20, 2021 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment