EXECUTIVES in charge of a £22bn nuclear decommissioning contract were yesterday criticised after their expenses claims came to light – showing they billed the taxpayer £714 to provide a taxi for a cat. The publicly-funded Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) consortium ran up hundreds of thousands of pounds in problematic claims at the Sellafield site in Cumbria between 2008 and 2012. An internal audit report shows that – in addition to cabs for felines – NMP executives expensed £2,795 for flights to the US Masters golf tournament, claimed an £82 per person dinner in France, and billed £719 for Amazon purchases without providing a receipt.
City AM 9th Sept 2013 read more »
The taxpayer-funded consortium that runs the Sellafield nuclear site has been forced to hand back thousands of pounds worth of expenses incorrectly claimed by executives. Nuclear Management Partners — made up of Britain’s Amec, the American company URS and Areva, of France — is already in danger of losing the £1.6 billion-a-year contract due to concerns over work being delayed and over budget. An internal audit of a sample of 606 Sellafield expenses has been flagged “red” due to “serious deficiencies in the control framework”. It found that £236,781 of expense claims were inadequately described; £30,557 related to personal expenditure and £42,711 should have been lodged with NMP not the taxpayer funded body. The claims included £2,795 for flights to the US Masters golf tournament, rooms for 17 unidentified people that cost more than £3,000 and a £2,316 Apple computer. The most eye-catching claim was a £714 taxi bill for the repatriation of an executive “and the cat”.
Times 9th Sept 2013 read more »
A former government minister says creating west Cumbria’s next generation of nuclear leaders is a key national issue. And The University of Manchester’s “world class” £20m Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF), at Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven, will play an “indispensable” part in the UK’s low-carbon future, the launch event heard. Lord John Hutton, a former Cumbrian MP who was at the forefront of UK energy policy, officially opened the facility, a joint investment between the university and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
News and Star 8th Sept 2013 read more »
Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom has teamed up with Finnish utility Fortum and UK-based Rolls-Royce to explore opportunities for the construction and operation of VVER nuclear power plants in the UK. The companies will work together on preparation for the VVER reactor generic design assessment and assessing the opportunities for licensing of a nuclear power plant construction site, Rosatom said. The UK government and Rosatom have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate this commercial work.
Modern Power Systems 8th Sept 2013 read more »
Europe’s industry is being ravaged by exorbitant energy costs and an over-valued euro, blighting efforts to reverse years of global manufacturing decline. “We face a systemic industrial massacre,” said Antonio Tajani, the European industry commissioner. Mr Tajani warned that Europe’s quixotic dash for renewables was pushing electricity costs to untenable levels, leaving Europe struggling to compete as America’s shale revolution cuts US natural gas prices by 80pc. “I am in favour of a green agenda, but we can’t be religious about this. We need a new energy policy. We have to stop pretending, because we can’t sacrifice Europe’s industry for climate goals that are not realistic, and are not being enforced worldwide,” he told The Daily Telegraph during the Ambrosetti forum of global policy-makers at Lake Como.
Telegraph 8th Sept 2013 read more »
The unsustainable, centralized energy paradigm illustrated by the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, was the very audible elephant in the room during IOC decision-making. The upstart alternative, distributed power generation, is the route that many are now aiming at. Hence, the 2020 games could usher in a “new Japan,” a very different country from the one PM Abe Shinzo described in his book “Towards a New Country” and has sought to realize via pressing for reactor restarts and overseas sales. Tokyo is on course to offer by 2020 a rapidly urbanizing and increasingly desperate world multiple models of sustainable, smart city technology. The only significant spoiler lurking in the wings is the degree to which the nuclear village can rally and close the door to green via nuclear power restarts. But even as it angrily demands the Abe government write a nuclear target into the new basic energy plan, the village may be in the midst of a political meltdown. Abe evidently felt subsidence shift the terrain of interests beneath his own feet: as of yesterday, he argues that Japan must lower its reliance on nuclear power and – over the next three years – accelerate the diffusion of renewable power and efficiency to the maximum.
Japan Focus 8th Sept 2013 read more »
SPRING’S threats of nuclear war have given way to a summer of mini-breakthroughs on the Korean Peninsula. But scratch the surface and Pyongyang’s charm offensive seems more about money than any great leap forward in diplomacy. North Korea’s recent string of concessions, including Friday’s restoration of a cross-border military hotline, simply puts the rival Koreas closer to where they were several years ago, before North Korean attacks, atomic and missile tests, and the warnings in March and April of nuclear and missile strikes.
Scotsman 9th Sept 2013 read more »
An AIM-listed oil and gas explorer will run the gauntlet of anti-fracking protesters this week when it names the precise location in Lancashire where it will drill the UK’s next shale gas well. IGas Energy will inform the local community before going public with the plan. It claims it has learnt the lessons of Balcombe, the Sussex village where activists disrupted drilling this summer by the rival shale gas explorer Cuadrilla Resources. In fact, Andrew Austin, chief executive of IGas, is fed up with the comparisons with the high-profile company that has become synonymous with fracking.
Times 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Green New Deal
The updated 2013 version of the GND has six themes: the need for a green infrastructure programme providing jobs with living wages in every constituency in the UK; tackling tax evasion and avoidance; a programme of green quantitative easing (QE) to ensure that money created by the Bank of England benefits the environment; controls to ensure that the banks bailed out by the taxpayer invest in green projects at low rates of interest; encouragement for pension funds and other institutions to invest in the GND; and buying out the private finance initiative (PFI) debt using green QE and diverting some of the huge repayments into investment in tackling climate change. In one sense, the timing could hardly have been worse for the new GND report. The economy is growing again. Memories are short. But ask the following questions. Do you think a recovery that currently requires households to get deeper into debt is for real? If it isn’t, how long before the age-old problems of the UK economy reassert themselves? Are we any closer to grappling with the triple crunch than we were five years ago? If the solution is not a GND then what is it?
Guardian 8th Sept 2013 read more »