News January 2014

31 January 2014

Sellafield site incident – non-essential workers told to stay at home

Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment 31st January 2014

Sellafield Limited has this morning advised that elevated levels of radioactivity are being detected at one of the site’s perimeter fence radiation monitors. Despite telling non-essential workers not to come to work, the company is assuring the wider world that there is no risk to either to the public off-site or to operational workers on site.

Yet the official version of the ongoing incident, via the mixed messages being issued by local media, is doing little to instil public confidence. Confirming that the elevated levels of radioactivity ‘above background levels’ are being detected at the the perimeter fence – and that the raised levels pose no risk to the general public are not sufficient to trigger any extra action by the company, Sellafield Ltd’s  Stakeholder Relations spokesman’ statements strongly suggest that if measured at the fence itself, elevated levels of radioactivity will indeed have escaped be present ‘off-site’ and that the warning to non-essential staff to stay home is an action by the company well above and beyond normal action.

CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood has said this morning:

“We understand that it may take some time for the Company to track down the exact source of the raised activity but the sooner they level with the public by providing a more coherent explanation of what’s going on the better. The world and his dog will remember well that some the world’s worst nuclear accidents were initially portrayed as being of no consequence and no risk to the public”  

For further information contact CORE on 01229 716523 or mobile 0789 999 1146

Posted: 31 January 2014

31 January 2014

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD has asked that only “essential workers” come into work this morning because of an ongoing “operational condition”. It is understood a monitor has detected elevated levels of radiation at the north end of the site. A message issued to employees states: “In response to an operational condition on the Sellafield Site a conservative and prudent decision has been taken, to operate the site at reduced manning levels, commensurate with safe operations. “The decision to suspend day operations has taken with the safety and security of the workforce as a priority

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Posted: 31 January 2014

30 January 2014

Nuclear Liability

The Conference on Nuclear Third Party Liability and Insurance, co-organised by the European Commission (EC), the European Economic and Social Committee and the Brussels Nuclear Law Association, took place on 20–21 January 2014. The recommendations outlined at the conference follow a consultation last year that closed in October. They are subject to confirmation of EU competence under article 98 of the Euratom Treaty, to subsidiarity and proportionality principles and to their compatibility with the revised Vienna Convention (1997) (VC) and the revised Paris Convention (2004) (PC).

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Posted: 30 January 2014

29 January 2014

Hinkley

The huge scheme to build a new nuclear power station in Somerset will be the main driver behind an expected 31,850 additional jobs that will created in the wider South West in the next five years. Fuelled by demand for 245,000 new homes across the UK each year, CITB’s Construction Skills Network forecast shows that average output for private housing in the South West will grow 5.1% annually to 2018.

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Posted: 29 January 2014

28 January 2014

GE Hitachi

With the ongoing specter of the triple reactor core meltdowns and exploded containment buildings of the GE-designed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors nearing its third year, nuclear safety should be of upmost importance. Both nuclear suppliers and operators should be held liable for risks they create. Yet, on 23 January 2014, the DOJ announced it accepted $2.7 million dollars to settle the government’s lawsuit against GE Hitachi for false statements to both the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for their new design, the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). GE Hitachi says the allegations haven’t been proven and that it settled to resolve the matter. The U.S. government accused GE Hitachi of, “conceal[ing] known flaws in its steam dryer analysis and falsely represented that it had properly analyzed the steam dryer in accordance with applicable standards and had verified the accuracy of its modeling using reliable data.” This analysis specifically related to demonstrating that vibrations of the steam dryer wouldn’t cause damage to the nuclear reactor.

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Posted: 28 January 2014

27 January 2014

Energy Costs

An energy boss who said that high energy bills were the result of draughty British homes has been accused of committing the same offence at his two British houses. Paul Massara, the chief executive of npower, accused British homeowners last week of failing properly to insulate their properties. “The actual unit price of energy in the UK is one of the lowest in Europe, but bills are high because British homes waste so much energy,” Mr Massara said. Heat images of his own properties, a 16th-century country house in Upper Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, and a terrace house in Clapham, South London, were alleged to indicate poor insulation and “nasty drafts”. Andy Smale from Expert Energy, an independent consultancy, told The Sun on Sunday newspaper that the images showed that Mr Massara’s houses were “far less energy-efficient than the average family home”.

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Posted: 27 January 2014

26 January 2014

Sellafield

Damning criticism of the consortium overseeing the expensive clean-up of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been revealed in a series of hostile letters written by John Clarke, head of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Mr Clarke accused Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) of undermining confidence and damaging the entire project’s reputation, as well as criticising Tom Zarges, the consortium chairman, of setting “unduly conservative” targets. In one letter, written in November 2012, Mr Clarke attached slides that outlined the NDA’s frustrations with NMP’s decontamination work at the Cumbrian facility, including concerns about the “quality of leadership” and the “pace of change”, which it said “feels too slow”. The harsh tenor of the letters – one of which demanded “improved performance in a number of key areas, including schedule delivery” – adds weight to suggestions that Mr Clarke did not want NMP to continue at Sellafield. The NDA looked at bringing the decontamination back under the management of the public sector. A critical 292-page report by the accountancy firm KPMG last year showed that nine of the 11 biggest projects on the site, including the construction of a storage facility for radioactive sludge, were a combined £2bn overbudget. Seven were also behind schedule, while KPMG argued that the structure of NMP’s contract was “inappropriate” and was designed in a way that sought to “maximise shareholder returns”. NMP is a consortium of California-based URS, France’s Areva and British engineer Amec. Dr David Lowry, an independent environmental policy and research consultant and a member of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, obtained the letters. He said: “This is a massive indictment of NMP’s failure to deliver – and then to give them an extension is almost inexplicable.

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Posted: 26 January 2014

25 January 2014

Dungeness

Campaigners against the expansion of an airport because it is too close to a nuclear power station have been accused of raising “misconceived” fears. Appeals by the Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) and the RSPB have been heard at the High Court in London. Lydd Airport officials said concerns about its proximity to Dungeness B power station were “without any merit”. Mr Justice Ouseley reserved a ruling on Friday after analysing evidence at the four-day hearing.

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Posted: 25 January 2014

24 January 2014

Sellafield

A HERD of deer is set to be culled after being trapped between two fences at Sellafield. The wild roe deer are to be shot after it emerged that their habitat has been enclosed in a large area between two newly-erected security fences at the site’s south perimeter. Sellafield Ltd is acting on the advice of experts from the Deer Initiative Partnership (DIP), who say that the most humane and practical course of action is to cull the animals, thought to be between five and 15 in number. The cull will take place between February and April. However, neighbouring Seascale Parish Council has strongly objected to the “unnecessary” move.

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Posted: 24 January 2014

23 January 2014

Hinkley

The Irish National Trust who launched the Hinkley Point C challenge have appealed Mrs Justice Patterson’s judgment of their case to the Court of Appeal, lodging their claim on Christmas Eve. The appeal is on four grounds, all essentially that the interpretation of Article 7 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (on transboundary effects) is sufficiently unclear on various points (e.g. does ‘significant’ include ‘cannot be excluded’?) that reference should be made to the European Court of Justice to interpret it.

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Posted: 23 January 2014