Tag Archives: nuclear

Hinkley tower collapse: what did you expect from this duff, expensive, USELESS project?

Hinkley C: does this look like safe construction to you?

The dust has probably settled by now – physically, if not metaphorically.

The decision to build a third nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset was hugely controversial and had been fought for 40 years before the Tories finally had their way in 2016.

They signed complex financial agreement with Électricité de France (EDF), the energy giant that is 83% owned by the French government, and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), a state-run Chinese energy company for the provision of the reactor, in a new design that has never been made to work, anywhere in the world.

For this, the UK is paying £20.3 billion and when it is working – if it ever does – the UK will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour, which is roughly twice the current market rate for this kind of energy.

In a comment that typifies the scandal that has been Tory privatisation of UK utilities like energy, former EDF director Gérard Magnin has described Hinkley C as “a way to make the British fund the renaissance of nuclear in France”.

And now part of it has collapsed, sending a huge dust cloud into the skies above Somerset:

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.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang at around 7.30am, but energy supplier EDF has denied that a blast occurred, Somerset Live reports.

In a statement the company said no one had been hurt.

The energy supplier stated: “At around 7.30am a silo in the concrete batching plant at Hinkley Point C suffered structural damage, releasing a dust cloud around the area.

“Nobody has been injured and the emergency services were not required.

“An investigation is underway to understand the cause of the event.”

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?

Source: Huge dust cloud released at UK nuclear power site after tower ‘collapses’ – Mirror Online

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Swinson’s nuclear disdain for Jeremy Corbyn shows she doesn’t know her history

Amazing. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson’s first response when asked why she can’t go into a pact with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is that he wouldn’t press the nuclear button:

She needs to check her history.

While she is right that new prime ministers’ first job is to write a letter to the captains of the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet, telling them what to do with their missiles in the event of a conflict, she should also know that they don’t have to order the use of those missiles.

Indeed, Edward Heath – of the Conservative Party that Ms Swinson supported so wholeheartedly in the Coalition Government – told them to sail to Australia or New Zealand rather than use their missiles.

He said if a nuclear strike was launched on the UK, there would be nothing to defend and it would be better for them to seek a new life elsewhere.

That is just one example.

For all I know, every UK prime minister has done the same.

But we know now that Jo Swinson would launch nuclear missiles, even if it was pointless to do so.

And this psychopath thinks the electorate will put her in a position to do so.

No thank you – let’s have a Corbyn-led Labour government that will help people live, not plan to enable their deaths.

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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.

If you care about your environment, your health and that of your children enough to do something about it, you can add to the crowdfunding scheme that is financing the legal battle.

Please visit the website here to make your contribution.

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Welsh petitioners lead the way with plan for a low-pollution, NON-NUCLEAR energy policy

Artist’s impression of a six-mile sea-wall with turbines to generate low-carbon electricity at Swansea Bay, south Wales. The Conservative Government wants to ring Wales with nuclear waste instead. [Image: Tidal Lagoon Power].

Why does a certain kind of politician have to try to destroy our natural resources? What is this fascination they have with trashing our homes? And what can we do about it?

While the first two of those questions remain subjects for debate, an organisation in Wales may have the answer to the third.

Much of Wales remains startlingly unspoiled after nearly three centuries of industrialisation across the United Kingdom, but current plans by the Conservative Government would ring that country of the UK with the worst kind of polluters.

The Tories are keen to flood the UK with the nuclear waste generated by no less than 13 nuclear power plant rebuilds, including eight which will impact on the western coast of Britain: two at Hinkley in Somerset, two at Oldbury in the Severn estuary, two on Anglesey, three planned at Moorside, Cumbria, plus a recently-announced plan to build a Small Medium Reactor inland at Trawsfynydd.

There is also the issue of radioactive mud from the Hinkley A and B reactors being dumped in the sea just off Cardiff, and the rejection by Westminster of the Swansea Tidal lagoon – a renewable energy scheme that could have powered the equivalent of 155,000 Welsh homes.

And let’s not forget the attempt to bribe communities anywhere in Wales to host radioactive waste burial sites – literally sitting on some of the most toxic substances known to humanity.

The plan, it seems, is to cut back on renewable energy and increase nuclear pollution – at huge expense to the taxpayer.

So not only do they want to poison us – they want to make us pay for them to do it. Charming!

The Westminster government’s policy conflicts (deliberately?) with that of the Labour-run Welsh Government, which has three objectives:

  • Reduce the amount of energy used in Wales.
  • Reduce Welsh reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels.
  • Actively manage the transition to a low-carbon economy.

This plan means nuclear energy should be cut as it is neither low-carbon nor renewable. Considerable amounts of carbon are released in the mining, milling and separation of the Uranium which powers nuclear plants from the ore in which it is found – and then it has to be transported. So in the case of Hinkley C, for example, 50g of carbon dioxide are likely to be released for every unit of electricity generated – breaching the Climate Change Committee’s recommended limit for new sources of power generation beyond 2030.

And, of course, supplies of Uranium are limited. This means poorer ores would be processed as supplies run out, increasing the amount of CO2 generated by the process and, once the supply is depleted, we will have prevented future generations from using it in new – and maybe less harmful – ways in the future.

So the Welsh Government should be utterly opposed to the Westminster government’s plan – right?

Of course it isn’t as easy as that. Energy is not a devolved issue, meaning Westminster still has full control over the policy – across the UK.

But the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance has devised a way of getting around that problem:

The organisation has launched a petition, on the National Assembly for Wales website. It does not call for opposition to the Westminster government’s policy because this would be pointless.

It calls for the Welsh Government to take action that will make nuclear power proliferation unnecessary.

The petition asks the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to invest in green renewable energy sources, thus reducing the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy in Wales. Specifically, this means:

• Supporting emerging low carbon technologies that could put Wales at the forefront of renewable energies and help to slow climate change; and
• Investing in energy sources that do not leave a legacy of radioactive waste, spoil heaps and damage to health and the environment.

If the Welsh Government was able to show Westminster that it was actively engaging in such activity, it may be possible to persuade the political polluters to put away their plans. Remember, these are long-term schemes and it is possible to demonstrate that one course of action may make another unnecessary.

Here’s what you can do:

Sign the petition.

You don’t have to live in Wales; anyone can sign and the numbers will count towards those needed for a debate in the Welsh Assembly.

Get in touch with your friends and relatives, and get them to sign the petition.

And share the petition – or at least share this article – and urge anybody who may read it to sign.

This is a major opportunity – not just to oppose a hugely dangerous plan to pollute one of the UK’s great natural landscapes but also to become a world-leader in the development and exercise of non-polluting, renewable energy supplies.

Let’s take it.


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There’s an obvious reason Theresa May won’t sign a treaty to ban nuclear weapons

The UK and other nuclear powers support a non-proliferaton treaty, which prevents the spread of nuclear weapons – but it has been criticised as ineffective [Image: Getty].

You’ve probably already guessed why Theresa May is unlikely to sign any treaty limiting arms sales of any kind.

It’s for this reason:

Her defence secretary, Michael ‘Bomber’ Fallon, is already looking forward to selling them for a huge profit to anybody with the cash, regardless of their credentials.

And, as Billy Connolly once famously said, the brilliant part is that they could fill any so-called nuclear missiles they sell with doughnuts – anybody insane enough to try using them would get their just desserts (literally).

Even in the shadow of the crisis provoked by North Korea, greed will win over human lives every time.

People who voted for this lunatic’s idea of “strong and stable” leadership should have known that.

Pressure is mounting on Theresa May to sign up to a UN treaty calling for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

More than 120 nations endorsed the global treaty at a summit in July, which warns that a complete ban is the only way to prevent the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of the use of nuclear weapons.

Britain and other nuclear nations opposed the move, but critics have called on the Prime Minister to change course this week when the treaty will be opened for signatures at the UN’s annual general assembly.

Read more: Theresa May under growing pressure to sign UN anti-nuclear treaty


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Nuclear workers will strike after Tory promises on pensions prove worthless

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston in Berkshire [Image: PA].

Here are another couple of arguments against privatisation: Private firms raid your pensions.

Oh, and a Tory government will always make promises about the conditions in which privatisation is taking place – and then those promises will be broken.

Usually at huge cost to workers, the state… anybody apart from the people responsible.

Nuclear workers will go on strike after this month, Unite union has confirmed

Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment are to stage two 48-hour strikes in a long-running dispute over pensions.

Unite said 600 of its members at AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire will walk out for 48 hours from January 18 and 30.

The union said workers felt “deeply betrayed” as promises made a quarter of a century ago guaranteeing their pensions, when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the private sector, have been broken.

The union is protesting at plans to close the defined benefit scheme at the end of the month and replace it with a defined contribution one.

Source: Nuclear workers will strike as they vote for two 48-hour walkouts in row over pensions

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Trump voters think he’d start a nuclear war – but still prefer him to Clinton

161108-donald-trump-war-aav

This, from Another Angry Voice, seems a bitterly accurate representation of the US presidential race:

“It’s extraordinary that almost a quarter of Donald Trump supporters hate Hillary Clinton so much they’d rather have him trigger nuclear Armageddon than have her as their President!”

This Writer hesitates to think what’s going to end up in the White House.If the last six years have been rocky, the next four look set to be an avalanche.

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Just to be awkward, Russia is bombing Syria

This is about the least-distressing image I could find to describe the situation in Syria.

This is about the least-distressing image I could find to describe the situation in Syria [Image: BBC].

Russia is bombing parts of Syria in raids that appear to have been planned, not to relieve the suffering of innocent people there, but to cause logistical and diplomatic problems for the USA and its allies.

According to the BBC, Russia has claimed it is targeting Islamic State, but a US official has said none of the targets appear to be in IS-held territory. War planes have attacked what appears to be territory held by rebels against Syrian President Assad in the Homs and Hama provinces.

This has created serious complications in what are already seriously-complicated hostilities.

Russia gave the US an hour’s notice that it would be launching air strikes, along with a demand that America and its allies, in effect, get out of the way – but we don’t know who the targets are.

America is, in its usual bullish manner, saying it won’t halt any of the operations it has already planned with its own allies.

This makes it possible that US and Russian forces will end up shooting each other – even if they say they don’t mean to. Americans have an extremely poor record in this regards – as their British allies in the Second Gulf War learned to their cost.

In the midst of all this, the UK’s damned-fool Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has asserted that this country will continue bombing IS, in Syria, for “as long as it takes” – even though the Conservative Government has no Parliamentary mandate to do anything of the kind.

MPs rejected military action in Syria, almost exactly two years ago. They have since approved strikes against IS in Iraq, but the ban on raids in Syria is technically still in force. Our personnel should not be there.

In the light of the new development, there is even more reason for the UK to pull out of Syria – but of course our Defence Secretary is a damned fool.

This is a situation that could escalate into a shooting war between America and Russia, if damned fools like him are allowed to continue running around like bulls in front of red rags. That should be the last thing anybody wants – but do you see anybody trying to stop it?

And what about the innocent parties in all this – the Syrian citizens who just want to be left in peace? Nobody seems to care about them, even though the addition of Russia into this apocalyptic mess means even more refugees streaming into Europe.

If anybody has any ideas about how to restore sanity, could they please make those ideas known – before we’re all blown to smithereens?

It all makes the fuss over Jeremy Corbyn saying he would not launch a nuclear missile look a bit silly, doesn’t it?

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What’s wrong with ‘Labour’s biggest independent grassroots e-network’?

This blog was going to let Jeremy Corbyn’s Andrew Marr Show interview pass without comment – it’s a BBC show and therefore unlikely to have anything approaching useful to say. It seems others couldn’t bring themselves to exercise such restraint – to their shame.

According to the Graun, here’s Conor Pope of LabourList, which styles itself as ‘Labour’s biggest independent grassroots e-network’:

150927conorpope
What’s he trying to say? That Corbyn should be in another party, not Labour, if he’s going to spout such strong, traditional Labour views?

Corbyn was elected Labour leader with an overwhelming mandate. The Labour Party wants his policies. So, if Mr Pope has different opinions and cannot reconcile them with the prevailing view, perhaps he should go to a different party himself – along with anyone who agrees with him.

And perhaps he should stop writing for LabourList – along, again, with anyone who agrees with him. That site needs to represent the views of the Labour Party, not just a few creeps who think they’re part of some non-existent elite.

I’ve been wondering for some time exactly who LabourList is supposed to represent. Perhaps its time we were told.

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Explained: The EU vote that could set corporations above countries. But do you care?

150711apathy

Note: This article is aimed at people whose response to TTIP (and other serious issues) is to ignore it and hope it will go away. If you are not one of these people, please share this article with someone who is.

Details have emerged about the vote in the European Parliament on the secret EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will affect UK citizens so harshly – but which gathered very little interest from any of you last week.

The European Parliament voted by a majority of 436 to 241, effectively to allow the deal to go ahead – ignoring repeated and widespread protest from their own constituents, according to Lee Williams in The Independent.

TTIP is about reducing and removing regulations that hamper trade – but protect the public and the environment. Once it is in place, you can expect to eat growth hormones in your beef that have been linked to cancer, your cosmetics will be filled with formerly-banned chemicals, GM foods (copyrighted by the firms that created them) will be forced onto your plate and pesticides will be filled with endocrine disruptors that can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and other developmental disorders.

Critics have pointed out that the deal would lock privatisation into the UK’s National Health Service, meaning your treatment for any of the disorders created by these profitable enterprises would vary in effectiveness, depending on where you live. Once the deal is signed, there will be no way to ensure that we all receive a high standard of care; no UK government minister has any duty to provide it.

Are you interested now? Or is it still not worth worrying your pretty little head about it?

Fortunately for you, many other people have been working hard on your behalf. Unfortunately, your representatives in the European Union are doing all they can to silence this dissent. But that’s nothing to do with you either, one supposes.

The European Commission’s public consultation on one of the most controversial parts of TTIP – the Investor-State Dispute Settlement section that would allow corporations to sue nation states if legislation was passed that might restrict profits – received a resounding no from a staggering 97 per cent of respondents – but this was ignored.

A European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP currently stands at over 2,300,000 signatures, but has been dismissed as “illegitimate” by the unelected European Commission.

If the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system is included in the deal, there will be nothing you can do to prevent fracking or phase out nuclear power. Look at the Australian court case on limiting cigarette advertising for a current example.

Lots of you say you oppose fracking. Why aren’t you interested in this?

And commentators say the vote was rigged by some creative procedural changes from EU President Martin Schulz, meaning nobody voted on a plan to cut ISDS from the deal altogether, while a watered-down ISDS scheme won MEPs’ approval.

What happened on Wednesday was proof that democracy has no power in the European Union and big business trumps the rights of citizens.

But you’re not bothered, are you?

Tell you what – you go back to watching Coronation Street, Britain’s Got Talent, or the media anaesthetic of your choice. Enjoy a game of Criminal Case.

Leave the heavy lifting to those of us who actually care about our health, the environment and democracy. There aren’t enough of us but obviously you’re more interested in other things.

Just remember, when the deal is in place and there’s nothing you can do:

You had a chance to stop it.

But you couldn’t be bothered.

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