Tag Archives: EDF

Is this the Tory plan to stuff up Suffolk with nuclear waste?

Hinkley C tower collapse: this happened on a site EDF is constructing, as recently as June this year. Despite this demonstrable failure of safety precautions, Boris Johnson’s corner-cutting Conservative government wants to pay the same outfit to build another one, next to a National Trust site and an RSPB bird sanctuary.

Those geniuses in the Conservative government are out to pollute our countryside with nuclear waste again.

Presumably they think Fukishima was long enough ago that everybody has forgotten about it.

Come to that, they probably think we’ve all forgotten about the collapse of part of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear generator, under construction in Somerset, in June.

Maybe that’s why they have announced that they are in talks with France’s government-owned EDF Energy firm about building a new £20 billion nuclear reactor at Sizewell in Suffolk.

According to the BBC,

The Sizewell C site could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to provide 7% of the UK’s energy needs.

The announcement is part of the long-awaited Energy White Paper, which ministers say will support up to 220,000 jobs over the next decade.

The policies should remove 230 million metric tonnes of emissions – equivalent to taking 7.5 million petrol cars off the road, the government says.

The paper… will also provide at least £6.7bn in support to the fuel poor and most vulnerable over the next six years.

Yes, but…

Hinkley Point C… has been hit with delays and rising costs, and is set to cost up to £2.9bn more than originally thought and be up to 15 months late.

The latest estimate for the project is between £21.5bn and £22.5bn, with EDF blaming “challenging ground conditions”.

Were those “challenging ground conditions” responsible for the collapse of a tower there last June? I wrote,

The 35-metre tower, weighing around 5,000 tonnes, suffered “structural damage” at around 7.30am, when onlookers claimed to have heard what sounded like an explosion.

Energy supplier EDF has denied that a blast occurred.

Commenting on the event, I stated:

I reckon the cause is obvious: bad design, substandard construction materials, corner-cutting in order to maximise profits.

So not only is this project a hugely expensive white elephant, it is a nuclear disaster waiting to happen.

Are we looking at the West Country’s future Fukushima?

And now the people of Suffolk are looking forward to all of this.

Already the announcement has been greeted with… shall we say trepidation?

It’s a good point. The price of renewables is plummetting, and could bring far more benefits for employment and the economy.

And also, who are we giving the money to, again?

Yes indeed; so much for Brexit. After more than five years of jingoism and sabre-rattling, it turns out that all that talk was just for show and the UK is going to continue selling every single nationally-owned asset it has to Johnny Foreigner.

It means that in the future, more than 10 per cent of the money we pay on our energy bills will go to the French government, where it will be invested in that country’s own energy policies.

Judging by what has happened with the privatised water firms, we already know that not a single penny will be spent on the UK.

I am also interested in this, which seems to be an expert view:

Finally, there’s this:

So this nuclear threat will be right next to a National Trust site and a bird sanctuary.

Is this part of the plan – to breed mutant birds?

Source: Sizewell C: Government in talks to fund £20bn nuclear plant – BBC News

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Legal challenge to stop nuclear waste dumping near Cardiff

Don’t drink the tap water if you live anywhere near Somerset, Bath, Bristol or southern Wales – especially Newport and Cardiff.

That was the advice of net-based activist Tracy Kelly, in response to the announcement that 300,000 tonnes of nuclear waste is to be dredged from the seabed near Hinkley Point and dumped a mile off the Cardiff shoreline.

But a legal battle has been launched to stop this environmental disaster from being inflicted on the people of south Wales and the West Country.

Here’s the situation, courtesy of Ms Kelly: “Millions of cubic metres of radioactive sludge is being dumped in the Bristol Channel, contaminating inland waters, fisheries, oysters, seals, and will stay radioactive for the next – wait for it – 12,000 years!

“The sludge will create a whole new toxic sandbank which will be so big it’ll be picked-up on marine Radar and will be viewable by space satellites… George Osborne, the former chancellor who couldn’t answer a kid what six times seven was, made the cheap decision to just dump the toxic mud one mile offshore from Cardiff.

“The toxic sludge comes from the Hinkley A nuclear reactor. This is one of several dangerous old reactors in the west of England and western Scotland which have created no less than 19 million tonnes of toxic waste.

“About four million tonnes of that waste is dumped into the Irish Sea from outflow pipes near Windscale where there are high numbers of children with blood diseases and cancer.

“The French company building Hinkley C in North Somerset are the same people building a mega-reactor in Normandy which had to be stopped because the concrete dome cracked.

“Theresa May gave the French EDF company a ‘marine licence’ to dump radioactive waste in Cardiff Bay. Nice. Protestors in their thousands have written letters, staged demonstrations and also submitted petitions – however, BBC current affairs has refused to broadcast a single second of a single protestor’s views on national prime-time news – even though there have been concerned resident meetings happening since the year 2000.”

A barge made its first trip to dump radioactive mud off the coast near Cardiff yesterday evening (September 10).

That is the situation.

Here‘s what’s being done about it:

Opponents to a controversial scheme to dump mud from a nuclear plant off the coast of Cardiff have launched a last-minute legal challenge.

The Campaign Against Hinkley Mud Dumping submitted an application to the High Court in Cardiff on Monday seeking an interim injunction.

Campaigners have argued Natural Resources Wales (NRW) failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment and said core samples were insufficient under international rules and did not cover all significant radioactive substances from the Hinkley plant.

Here‘s some evidence in support of that statement:

Independent Assembly Member Neil McEvoy said… only 5 samples of mud had been taken from a level lower than 5 centimeters for analysis. The Welsh Assembly petitions committee had asked Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to require the French energy company  EDF (who are building the new nuclear power station) to carry out additional analysis, but this had been refused.

I imagine the petitions committee had made its request after receiving the petition publicised by This Site, here.

The Labour-run Welsh Government said NRW made its decision based on “expert advice”. It also concluded the material was within “safe limits” and posed no “radiological risk” to human health or the environment.

But it seems the tests on which this “expert advice” was given did not assess whether uranium, plutonium and other alpha-emitting elements were present in minute “particulate” form. As such, they can be more easily inhaled into the deep lung and the lymphatic system, and will emit more radiation.

The injunction is an interim measure – if the mud dump is to be stopped for good, protestors will have to fund a costly judicial review.

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Profiteering energy firms would be stupid to believe they can hold Labour to ransom

Miliband's cost-of-living crusade starts here. [Picture: Metro - from an article in August headlined 'Energy company profits rise 74 per cent in 48 months']

Miliband’s cost-of-living crusade starts here. [Picture: Metro – from an article in August headlined ‘Energy company profits rise 74 per cent in 48 months’]

The UK’s private energy companies will be playing a very dangerous game if they think they can call Ed Miliband’s bluff on price-freezing.

According to The Guardian, Mr Miliband’s announcement that energy prices will be frozen for 20 months under a Labour government has sparked a chorus of protest from the affected firms.

In the first skirmish in the new political battle over the cost of living in the UK, Mr Miliband wants to “reset” what he sees as a “failing” energy market in which customers had paid £3.9 billion more than necessary since 2010. The measure would save families an average of £120 and businesses £1,800.

Energy firms say it would lead to blackouts similar to those seen in California. They say it will stall investment in new power stations.

Energy UK, which represents the largely foreign-owned energy firms, said: “It will… freeze the money to build new power stations, freeze the jobs of 600,000 people dependent on energy industry and [make] the prospect of energy shortages a reality.”

Here’s Centrica: “If prices were to be controlled against a backdrop of rising costs, it would simply not be economically viable for Centrica or indeed any other energy supplier to continue to operate and far less to meet their sizeable investment challenges the industry is facing.”

And Ian Peters, head of residential energy at British Gas, said: “If we have no ability to control what what we do in retail prices and wholesale prices suddenly go up within a single year that will threaten energy security.”

Labour has said the claims were “patently absurd” and “nonsense” put about by the large energy companies.

Mr Miliband said: “There’s a crisis of confidence in the system. It’s time we fixed it and they can either choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. I hope they choose to be part of the solution.”

Suppliers say prices have gone up to cover their rising environmental and social obligations and in response to commodity price rises – sums paid on wholesale markets. So let’s examine the profits made by the “big six” – British Gas, EDF, E.On, npower, Scottish Power and SSE – over the last few years (figures courtesy of the BBC): In 2009, £2.15 billion. In 2010, £2.22 billion. 2011 – £3.87 billion (a massive hike of £1,870,000,000 in a single year). And in 2012 – £3.74 billion. That’s £11.98 billion in profits over four years – a huge and unwarranted amount in these times of supposed austerity.

And let’s not forget – this is pure profit. None of that money will have been reinvested into the companies. It goes to the shareholders.

It is while sitting on such huge amounts that these companies are trying to tell us they won’t be able to afford theinvestments to which they have signed up; that they won’t be able to increase employee pay. And it is while sitting on this massive pile of cash that they are threatening us with blackouts if they aren’t allowed to continue demanding huge price rises.

Well, it won’t wash.

Doesn’t it seem more likely that, faced with threatened blackouts, Mr Miliband will choose to re-nationalise the energy firms, rather than back down?

After all, they would be reneging on their contract to provide energy to the United Kingdom. This could be just what Mr Miliband needs to bring them back under State control, where energy generation and distribution belongs. And it would show he is serious about having the strength to “stand up to powerful vested interests”.

Naysayers may point out that this would only put him back in a position of being at the unions’ mercy, instead of under the thumb of big business, but this isn’t true either – the Tories restricted the unions’ power massively back in the 1980s.

Besides, new structures have come into being since then. What if the energy companies were re-constituted as Nationalised Workers’ Co-operatives? This would entail every employee receiving a percentage of any profits – possibly along the lines of the successful John Lewis model – with the remainder ploughed back into the Treasury to reduce income tax bills.

Such an arrangement should silence any dissent among workers as they would receive two slices of the pie – a profit-driven bonus and a tax cut – while everyone else has lower energy bills, together with the tax cut.

If it were proven to be successful, then employees of the other privatised utilities could soon be queueing up to have their companies re-nationalised as well.