Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Reassuring that Kazakhstan is Biggest Supplier of Uranium for NPPs

This article is from Reuters
* Expects global shortage by 2016

ALMATY, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will produce 13,900 tonnes of uranium this year and 18,000 tonnes in 2010, state nuclear company Kazatomprom said on Wednesday, raising earlier forecasts.

The Central Asian state became the world's largest uranium producer this year and has been responsible for the bulk of global output growth in the last few years.

"As the nuclear energy industry develops and supplies from secondary sources decrease, a global shortage of uranium is forecast starting from 2016," Kazatomprom said in a statement.

"To cover the expected shortage, an increase in uranium production in Kazakhstan to 18,000 tonnes is planned in 2010."

The company has earlier said it would produce 13,500 tonnes of uranium this year and a state welfare fund official in charge of mining said this month 2010 output would be 15,000 tonnes.

Kazakhstan produced 8,521 tonnes of uranium last year, up from 6,637 tonnes in 2007.

Kazatomptom's joint ventures with companies such as France's Areva (CEPFi.PA) and Canada's Uranium One (UUU.TO) account for a large share of Kazakh output. (Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kim Coghill)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Nuclear Free Virginia: Infant Leukemias near all German Nuclear Power Stations is not an Example of Bad Science#links#links#links#links#links#links#links#links#links

The Shepperdine message is going global!

This article was picked up from and presented in Nuclear Free Virginia--Also an article about the trip to Finland was featured in USA Today.

Nuclear Free Virginia: Infant Leukemias near all German Nuclear Power Stations is not an Example of Bad Science#links#links#links#links#links#links#links#links#links

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mr McLevys letter is an example of ignorance around KiKK

Infant Leukemias near all German Nuclear Power Stations is not an Example of Bad Science

John Mclevy (letters Dec 24) alleges that the German study on infant leukemias near all German power stations is an example of bad science being used for political purposes. However he fails to back this claim with any evidence from the study itself. It is doubtful whether he has read the study.

In fact, the German study is extremely robust: it was commissioned by the German Government and carried out by a expert team of epidemiologists at the University of Mainz. These scientists actually supported nuclear power, so there was no "political purpose" as he falsely alleges. The reality is that the German study is thoroughly competent and its findings are scientifically valid, as vouchsafed by the German Government itself.

Contrary to Mclevy's view, the study is not bad science, but very good science. The problem is that its findings are, in the words of Al Gore, "An Inconvenient Truth" for Mclevy and his pro-nuclear bias.

Faced with this incontrovertible evidence of infant leukemias near nuclear reactors, what should we do? Should we, as the cigarette companies did for decades, seek to distort, deny, and smear the clear evidence of increased cancers, as Mclevy seems to do? Or should we seek safer healthier alternatives to generate electricity?

Mclevy states that he supports nuclear as "we need to stop burning carbon". But does he consider the huge amounts of carbon released during the nuclear fuel cycle, especially by uranium mining, uranium milling, and uranium fuel enrichment?

Renewable energy and energy efficiency measures are a better future for us, not the old-fashioned dangerous WW II technology of nuclear power.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Carbon Pricing is the key issue.

This article was written by nukeguy who is based up near Wylfa--the other Horizon site.

It’s all about Carbon

December 23rd, 2009 The Nuke Guy Leave a comment Go to comments

Hi everyone,

I get asked all the time when I think there will be a Wylfa B. First of all, don’t ever call it Wylfa B. Think of a better name. One that evokes the 21st century attitudes and behaviours that will be required to successfully operate the beast. More about that in a later post!

To answer the ‘when’ question, though, I thought I would start a thread here about the conditions needed for any company to seriously consider putting 4-7 billion notes on the nuclear construction table to build just one of the modern beasts currently seen as the favourites. It is not about land…it is not about public support…it is not even about digging some exploratory bore holes around the sites selected for “potential” new build (you would be amazed how many existing Wylfa employees are comforted by the fact their cars are getting dirty as they use the approach road to work!).

No…It is all about CARBON, or to be more precise, making existing pollutors pay for the privelige of producing it. In simple terms, there is a market where carbon intensive industries buy the rights to pollute the environment. It operates like the stock market. At the moment the carbon price is too low to support major nuclear investment, and the forecast for carbon prices going forward is also low. This means that for the foreseeable future it will be cheaper to burn gas than it will be to allocate huge sums of capital for the construction of (business) risk laden nuclear plant which may not be able to compete in commercial terms with this carbon intensive energy source in the future.

That is why Copenhagen was so important. And with that opportunity missed other forums will now have to be exploited to try and move the price of carbon to 3, 4 or even 5 times where it is now.

Companies interested in getting something built with “nuclear” in the title need to be able to see a world where it is not acceptable to burn the second dirtiest form of fuel (coal being first), Gas.

I urge each of you to google ‘carbon’ and start to learn a bit more about the market and it’s issues (see the link under blog roll at the right!). After that, mention it to every politician you can bother as they have been quite clear that no ‘Nuclear Levy” will be allowed. In that case, the only way forward is to make the polluters pay. Quite right too! After all, new nuclear will have to account, plan and fund for the waste they will create right up front. So should your local CCGT or oil/ coal plant.

Trust me…the only folks who will ultimately determine whether new nuclear happens are the accountants. And the only thing the accountants will be interested in is the business case bottom line. At the moment that line is not dominated by waste, security, safety or political issues around nuclear. No…it is purely focussed on the economics 10-60 years in the future and the price the energy industry will have to pay to generate a ton of CO2.

Tell your friends to visit and get involved in this blog. Ask a question and I will give you an answer.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Must be horrible to see small pylons out of your windows---Massive industrial buildings will be OK though!!

Some people around Berleley are very lucky, Views of the Cotswolds will be enhanced--Views of The Severn can be comprimised!

Plan to remove overhead Gloucestershire cables19 12 2009

A £1.6 million plan to remove disused overhead lines across the Cotswolds is underway.

The project, being carried out by Southern Electric Power Distribution, is set to improve views in Berkeley, Breadstone and Cam.

The project, which will see 41km of overhead lines and around 140 80ft pylons removed, is due to finish by December 2010.

Project design manager, Jonathan Ebel, said: “The lines have been superseded by more modern versions on a different grid, so we are confident we have no need for this part of the network any more.

“While we’re removing the network for operational reasons, the bonus for residents on the edges of Berkeley, Breadstone and Cam is that they may prefer the new and improved views from their back windows.”

The redundant lines and pylons run from Berkeley village to Minety village, west of Swindon and are linked to a disused power station in Berkeley.

Special care has been taken to avoid harming the environment and wildlife along the way.

“In advance of removing each pole or pylon, we conducted hand searches of the ground, clearing the vegetation first, then searching for any sign of the protected amphibians,” said Mr Ebel.

The first phase of the work, which took two years to plan, has already been completed.

The work crossed the A38, including a motorway and two railway crossings.

Steve Wyatt co-ordinated the search for amphibians during the phase.

Mr Wyatt, of environmental consultancy Wardell Armstrong, said: “The vegetation was cleared very carefully and our ecologist was able to check each pylon footing as it was dug out to ensure we didn’t miss anything.”

The second phase of the dismantlement, involving a 15km stretch from Cam to Chavenage Green, near Tetbury, will start early next summer.

The remaining phase from Chavenage Green, past Tetbury through to Minety, will start in the autumn.

Monday, 21 December 2009

No New Nuclear for Bristol City Council??

Bristol City Council could oppose the building of new nuclear reactors at nearby Oldbury and Hinkley Point.
A motion has been submitted for debate by Liberal Democrat councillor Dr Mark Wright (Cabot ward) that notes the many problems that nuclear power presents and that none of the public consultations on the new reactors have come to Bristol even though Oldbury is just 8 miles from the city boundary.

The motion would commit the Council to opposing the building of new reactors, and calls for all future rounds of consultation to come to Bristol so that residents can have their say too
"Nuclear power is hopelessly uneconomic once you factor in all the costs of decommissioning and radioactive waste disposal. No nuclear power plant has ever been built without considerable public subsidy and guarantee - without those, no company will touch it. If we are going to subside energy then we should develop the vast renewable resources we have here in the South-west instead," said Cllr Wright.
"Diverting our cash and attention to nuclear power will very likely cripple the fledgling renewable power industry. There will be no point in companies investing in developing technologies when multinationals are flooding the energy market with tax-payer subsidised power."
"Then there is the overlap between the technologies of nuclear weapons and nuclear-fission power, which allows countries to hide weapons programs inside civil power programs; the fact that nuclear power stations will arrive too late to fill a possible energy gap; the remaining uncertainties on health and safety issues; the lack of an agreed solution to nuclear waste - the list of problems goes on!"
Alan Pinder of Friends of the Earth said "This is really good news. There is growing anger about the nuclear proposals and the narrowness of the consultations. It is as if they were trying to keep it secret. There should have been exhibitions in Bristol about the proposals. These power stations will affect Bristol, so the City Council and people of Bristol should be closely involved at every stage."
Jim Duffy, Coordinator of Stop Hinkley said: "People from Bristol were very involved in the previous Hinkley C inquiry in 1988-89. It will be an important message if the City Council votes to oppose the new development. Being downwind from Hinkley and so close to Oldbury, Bristolians should not be excluded from deciding on something that could profoundly affect them."
Reg Illingworth of Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy (SANE) a local group concerned at the development of a new nuclear power plant at Oldbury added, "This motion leads the way for Bristol to be a truly green city showing concern for the earth and its inhabitants."
The motion will be on the agenda at the Council meeting on 19th January 2010
Text of the Motion:


New Nuclear Reactors

Council notes that:

1. The Government has announced plans to encourage the nuclear industry to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain, including new reactors at Oldbury and Hinkley.

2. Preliminary "scoping" consultations are under way for those near both planned sites, but will not be coming to Bristol - despite Oldbury being just 8 miles from the city boundary.

3. The South-west has the best renewable sources of energy in the UK, little of which is currently used.

4. There has been - and always will be - considerable overlap between the technologies of nuclear weapons and nuclear-fission power, which allows countries to hide weapons programs inside civil power programs.

5. No nuclear power plant has ever been built without considerable public subsidy and guarantee.

Council believes that:

1. There is a real risk that focusing on new nuclear plants will undermine attempts to find a safer, cleaner, more sustainable and secure solution to our energy needs and that we should be concentrating our efforts by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

2. New nuclear power stations will arrive too late to fill a possible energy gap.

3. There remain uncertainties on health and safety issues and there is no agreed solution to nuclear waste.

4. Putting pressure on foreign powers to limit their own nuclear programmes and halt nuclear weapons proliferation becomes much easier when we have demonstrated that civil nuclear power is not needed in the UK.

This Council therefore resolves to:

1. State its opposition to the development and expansion of nuclear fission power, and oppose the planned nuclear reactors at Oldbury and Hinkley where possible.

2. Request that the Chief Executive writes to the applicants and to the likely decision-making body, the Infrastructure Planning Commission, seeking assurances that Bristol City Council and the general public in Bristol are fully consulted in all future stages.

Dr Mark Wright

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Cabot, Bristol

Cabinet Member for Housing, Service Improvement and IT

Friday, 18 December 2009

Interesting website about Olkiluoto

For the latest news on Olkiluoto 3 have a look at

Trip to Olkiluoto in Finland---Honesty and Truthfulness?

I travelled with Councillor Matthew Riddle to meet with Council Officials in Eurajoki and to visit the site of Olkiluoto.on Tuesday of this week returning yesterday.

There is a very good relationship between Eurajoki council and TVO and they consider trust and honesty as important. Is this possible with Horizon?

A summary of information gleaned is as follows:-

Olkiluoto is an Island of 1000 hectares in area on The Gulf of Bothnia.

Olkiluoto 3 is being built at present and features a n EPR reactor from Areva ---one of the two rectors being considered by Horizon for the Oldbury development.

The owner of the site is TVO ( own 900 hectares of land on Olkiluoto. In my opinion more land will be required in Shepperdine to fulfill the requirements of the project.

Apparently nobody lives within 5km of the site.

They have invested in a new purpose built 15km road into the site from the Rauma road..

The council at Eurajoki is in favour of the development as they receive 9 million euros in property taxes per annum from the site.---Central Government takes no money from the site.

They are also raising 7.5 million  euros in local income tax from the foreign workers onsite. 30% of the workers are Polish--20% are Finnish.

200 full time operational positions will be created when Olkiluoto 3 opens.

The Council want a fourth nuclear power station on site as this would raise considerably more money.

Only 6000 people live in Eurajoki..

Olkiluoto 3 is further behind schedule and will not open in the Summer of 2012 as recently anticipated.

Siemens and Areva are no longer in partnership-- Siemens are however obliged to satisfy the contract fotr the turbine building.

TVO and Areva are involved in a court of arbitration to determine who is responsible for the ever increasing costs associated with the site.

The electric pylons and cables are creating problems for the owners and the Council.

The sea in the Gulf of Bothnia is warming considerably due to the discharges from the plant and part of it does not now freeze in the Winter.--They have a crayfish farm on site.

The Councillors said they would not permit the construction of 200m high cooling towers on the site.

With the sea being deep there is an excellent wharf for delivering materials by sea.

4,300 workers work on the site, but a total of 16,300 people have worked on site between 2005 and  to date. English is the official language of the site--All supervisors speak English and translate into the foreign languages (17) for their workers. There are 55 nationalities on site.

The site works 7 days a week and has been up to 3 shifts--now it is 2 shifts per day. They have very strong floodlights for working in the dark.

Beware of Nuclear Power?

We must not ignore dangers of nuclear power

Bristol evening Post   Monday, December 14, 2009
Thank you for Lynne Hutchinson's piece on Dr Ian Fairlie's talk in Oldbury last week about a recent study sponsored by the German government into the incidence of childhood leukaemia near German nuclear installations.
The study provoked public outcry and media debate in Germany because it indicates that increased risks of childhood leukaemia are very large; are unequivocally linked to proximity to nuclear reactors; appear to extend as far as 70 km from the nuclear reactors, and are accepted by the German Government, which has decided NOT to build any more nuclear reactors in that country.
And yet the results of this study have been given very little attention in the UK. What a contrast with the UK government, which has always ignored any suggestion of any link between nuclear power plants and leukaemia, despite numerous studies showing such a link. Our leaders are bent on pursuing the nuclear option, despite the fact nuclear power can do nothing to improve Britain's energy security or help it meet the urgent challenge of climate change, as the government argues.
Furthermore, the waste disposal problem is still not resolved, and it is already clear that the nuclear companies will not be able to build their plants without massive subsidies from the taxpayer. I'm old enough to remember the slogan used by the nuclear industry when the first generation of stations was built – "Electricity too cheap to meter". We've been conned by the nuclear industry before – don't let it happen again.
Tony Harding,

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Bristol City Council Leader in Copenhagen

Bristol City Council Leader Barbara Janke on Copenhagen and Palm Oil

Monday, December 14th 2009 00:00

The leader of Bristol City Council is heading out to a mini climate summit in Copenhagen today - but it's reported she's flying.

Liberal Democrat Barbara Janke has been invited because Bristol was one of eight finalists for the Green Capital of Europe Award earlier this year.

Over the next three days she'll be talking with leaders of those other cities how they can work together to reduce carbon emissions.

Janke recently stood up against a palm oil biofuel power station in Avonmouth. While it could power 15% of Bristol's homes, the councillor pointed out that questions still need to be asked about how sustainable palm oil is.

Palm oil plantations are responsible for massive illegal rainforest deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, leading to the loss of many habitats, including those of the endangered Orangutan.

Sustainable palm oil is just a few pence cheaper and there's enough of it to fulfil global demands, but unsustainable sources are still favoured by biofuel producers and supermarkets, who put it into 10% of all grocery products.

Dozens of people from Bristol are joining mass demonstrations in Copenhagen, including a team from Oxfam in the city and the Stop Hinkley group from North Somerset, who want to see renewable engery sources like wind and wave power favoured over new nuclear power plants.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

BBC Newsnight Report on Nuclear Power

This was a programme broadcast in January 2008 and featured a discussion with some eminent people including Prof Tom Burke and Zac Goldsmith.

and also

With the this Governments plight and the severe future financial burdens we will have to deal with, it is not plausible or rational that new nuclear power staions will be built as they will be uneconomic and non viable without subsidy.

What do tou think?

Special Parish Council Meeting---Oldbury----Thursday 17th December


Thanks to Paul Feltham our Councillor from Oldbury Naite please note:-

 There is a special parish council meeting to be held in the Oldbury village hall on Thursday 17th December starting at 7:30pm
Unfortunately ,I will not be able to attend as I am involved in a meeting with Councillors and MPs in Bristol about the new NPP.
It is important that anybody who has any issues with regard to the Horizon Proposals turn up to voice your opinions.
Please get this message through to as many in the Oldbury Parish as poss.

Zac Goldsmith ---The Constant Economy An Excellent Read

Zac Goldsmith raises some really valuable pointers as to what the world should do to preserve ourselves from the many challenges we all face---

The Constant Economy

Since the industrial revolution, our economies have grown at the expense of the natural world. But as pressure mounts on the earth’s finite resources, we can no longer pretend that business-as-usual is a realistic option. One way or another we will have to change. The longer we delay, the more our societies will be at the mercy of events and the harsher the eventual adjustments.

There is an alternative: a constant economy. A constant economy is one in which resources are valued not wasted, where food is grown sustainably and goods are built to last. It is a system whose energy security is based on the use of renewable sources, and where strong communities are valued as a country’s most effective hedge against social, economic and environmental instability. The constant economy operates at the human scale and, above all, it recognises nature’s limits.

The author shows that almost everything we need to do, is already being done somewhere in the world. Where governments, communities or companies have done the right thing, they have been rewarded. Solutions exist, and they are brought together and set out in this ground-breaking book.

The Constant Economy was released on September 1st and is available to order here at Amazon.


Thursday, 10 December 2009

Article from Germany on Olkiluoto---The First of the New Generation????

As Matthew and I get ready to visit Olkiluoto I thought it was a good time to remind us what is apparently happening on this Areva project

Problems Plague Launch of 'Safer' Next-Generation Reactors
By Dinah Deckstein, Frank Dohmen and Cordula Meyer

The executives of electric utilities worldwide are dreaming of a renaissance in nuclear power. But problems with a new, state-of-the-art reactor in Finland suggest that this is unlikely to happen. The industry's alternative strategy is to modernize older plants to drastically extend reactor lifetimes.

The managers at Finnish electric utility TVO expressed one last wish before ordering what would be the world's largest nuclear power plant from Siemens and the French nuclear power conglomerate Areva. They wanted the reactor to be painted oxblood red and white, the traditional colors of the picturesque summer homes on Finland's western coast.

At least the two companies have managed to fulfill that request. Workers are currently securing colored panels to the turbine building. Otherwise, not much is going as it should be on Europe's biggest nuclear construction site.

TVO and the two manufacturing companies are involved in a heated dispute, as they battle over billions in out-of-court settlements. Costs have exploded, and the project is already several years behind schedule. Critics accuse the consortium of having made dangerous mistakes. The concrete, they say, is porous, the steel is brittle and some of the design principles seem so risky that experts from the Finnish nuclear regulatory agency can only shake their heads in wonder.

TVO and Areva are doing their best to create the impression that everything about the project is fine. Floodlights illuminate the future reactor building, convoys of cement mixers criss-cross the site, and workers wearing protective jackets walk around, speaking Polish, Finnish, German, French, Slovak and Serbo-Croatian. In the administration building next to the construction site, TVO project manager Jouni Silvennoinen recites one superlative after the next. According to Silvennoinen, the world's first third-generation nuclear reactor, a European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR), is being build at this site near Olkiluoto on the Gulf of Bothnis. The most powerful nuclear power plant in the world, he says, will be capable of generating enough electricity to support a city of one million inhabitants.

Silvennoinen is adept at working with a laser pointer and big numbers. He says that 4,300 workers from 60 countries, working for 700 subcontractors will pour 200,000 cubic meters (7,057,510 cubic feet) of concrete on their multinational construction site. "It's impressive to see all these thousands of people working to achieve a common goal," says Silvennoinen.

Bad News for the Nuclear Industry

Areva project manager Jean-Pierre Mouroux isn't particularly worried about the construction problems. "We've learned a lot and have acquired experiences that we can use for the next EPR," he says.

In reality, however, the problems with this showcase plant are bad news for the nuclear industry, which has been hoping for a comeback of its large-scale technology. Olkiluoto was meant to be its model for the future, but now those hopes appear to have been dashed.

Nuclear industry executives in the industrialized countries are not pinning their hopes on new plants as much as on a sort of low-cost renaissance. The want to see their aging plants, built in the days when VW was still making the Beetle in Germany, simply continue to produce electricity well beyond the end of their originally planned lives. Even in Germany, where nuclear power is not very popular, the future administration of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) wants to make it possible for the nuclear industry to extend the lifelines of its plants.

Modernization instead of new construction. Is the new strategy to launch a renaissance through the back door? At first, the chaos surrounding the Olkiluoto reactor reveals that the industry is by no means ready to build new power plants cheaply and safely in the Western world. Utilities, with their massive financial risks, can no longer support such mammoth projects -- unless the government steps in.

Hardly anyone had expected a disaster when the French state-owned company Areva and Germany's Siemens Group offered the Finns a turn-key version of their EPR prototype: for a total price of €3 billion ($4.47 billion). The French assumed responsibility for the nuclear portion and the control technology, while Siemens' main role was to supply steam turbines and transformers. It was December 2003, and it seemed like a good deal to the TVO managers.

The plant was originally scheduled to go into operation this spring. But now its grand opening has been rescheduled for 2012 -- perhaps. Whether the project will succeed "depends on the behavior of my clients," says Areva executive Mouroux. He is referring to TVO.

Besides, the construction will cost at least €2.3 billion more than originally planned. The reserves for anticipated losses are eating up virtually all of Areva's corporate profits. Siemens, for its part, has already been forced to set aside sums numbering in the triple-digit millions.

Drawn-Out Court Cases

This prompted Areva to sue TVO for €1 billion in damages at the beginning of this year. The suit alleges that TVO spent too much time processing blueprints and other documents. TVO has filed a countersuit, demanding €2.4 billion in damages for lost earnings as a result of delayed completion of the plant. The court cases will likely continue long after the construction is complete.

Meanwhile, executives at both companies have taken to constantly attacking one another. Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon recently threatened to stop construction in Olkiluoto unless TVO agreed to fixed rules of cooperation and approved everything more quickly. A Siemens spokesman was unwilling to comment on Lauvergeon's threat, citing the ongoing arbitration proceedings. Nevertheless, senior Siemens executives have also privately criticized their Finnish client, saying that TVO was partly at fault for the delays because the company took far too long to pass on the construction documents to regulatory authorities.

The accusations were all false, TVO board Chairman Timo Rajala shot back more than two weeks ago, saying that Areva first "sold the reactor and then began its detailed planning." According to Rajala, there are no longer normal business relations between the two companies. And the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) has halted construction in Olkiluoto several times, citing the companies' failure to comply with its requirements.

3,000 Construction Mistakes To Date

The EPR, the first reactor in the so-called third generation, is the world's most modern nuclear machine, a hybrid of German and French reactor development. The EPR has an internal steel shell reinforced with concrete, which is designed to safely seal off the external concrete dome, as well as a ceramic basin underneath the reactor. All of these innovations are intended to absorb the intense heat generated in the event of a meltdown or other serious accident.

But hybrids are complicated things, which helps to explain the more than 3,000 mistakes that have occurred in construction to date. The most important unanswered question relates to "the senses, nerves and brain of the reactor," or the automatic control system in a nuclear power plant, says STUK director Petteri Tiippana.

In a letter of protest STUK General Director Jukka Laaksonen sent to Areva CEO Lauvergeon last December, he wrote that he could see no "real progress" in the "design of the control and protection systems," and complained that "evident design defects" are not being corrected. According to Laaksonen, the "attitude or lack of professional knowledge" of Areva representatives is obstructing progress. Unfortunately, Laaksonen wrote, his authority was still waiting for "a proper design that meets the basic principles of nuclear safety." According to Areva, the sharply worded letter is simply part of a normal dialogue over safety issues.

Tiippana, the STUK director overlooking the project, is a 37-year-old engineer with a shock of hair and frameless glasses. He says that the manufacturers still haven't produced an updated design. In mid-year, the British nuclear regulatory agency also found fault with the design of the control system. This leads experts to believe that Areva will not succeed in building an EPR in Great Britain within the next eight years.

Construction problems began to accumulate from the very beginning. A supplier had made mistakes in processing pipes that are used in the main cooling cycle and lead directly to the reactor, and the defects prevented the pipes from being tested with ultrasound. Areva had the pipes replaced. The next pipes could be tested, but then cracks were discovered on the surface.

The company that built the reactor foundation used a different type of concrete than had been specified. Although the material was easier to process, it was more porous and therefore required an additional seal. Welding defects were found in the steel used to reinforce the interior of the concrete shell. A Polish company cut holes in incorrect locations, which then had to be welded shut again. These deficiencies had no effect on reactor safety, says Tiippana, because they were all corrected.

Inexperienced Subcontractors

Very few of the hundreds of subcontractors have any experience in reactor technology. Many go about their work as if they were quickly erecting a double garage somewhere. In one case, one of the subcontractors' workers summarily decided to install a tube for a sensor in a different location than planned, because they felt that the original location was too difficult to reach. The only problem is that the device was intended to take readings in precisely the location specified by the design engineers. "The employees have to know why they have to stick to the plans," says nuclear inspector Tiippana. "They have to understand the safety significance of their work, but it does not mean that every employee has to become a nuclear scientist."

The only problem with that approach is that it is difficult to make even the most basic assumptions, as evidenced by notes displayed at the construction site that read, in four languages, "Please do not relieve yourself in the building."

"This is not a model project but a model disaster," says Mycle Schneider, a German nuclear expert who lives in Paris and was a winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Anti-Nuclear Movement Remains Quiet

Ironically, the conditions couldn't have been better. Finland's relatively small anti-nuclear movement is unlikely to get in the way of construction. The town of Eurajoki has 6,000 inhabitants and three nuclear reactors: Olkiluoto One, Two and Three. Mayor Harri Hiitiö is very enthusiastic about the reactors.

Hiitiö has traveled to Helsinki several times in recent months to attempt to convince the government to approve the construction of a fourth reactor in Olkiluoto. The town already collects €8 million in taxpayer funds each year, revenues that support eight local schools. Are there any protests?

"There were protests a while ago," says Hiitiö, "but the people weren't from here."

TVO is also considered to be one of the most reliable nuclear power plant operators worldwide, and its reactors are almost never shut down because of problems. But when TVO project manager Silvennoinen is asked what he would say to someone purchasing the Areva reactor who wants to avoid the same problems, he smiles and says: "Good luck."

Global Renaissance off to a Slow Start

The French state-owned company isn't the only one having trouble building new nuclear power plants. Last year, for the first time since the beginning of the nuclear age, not a single new reactor went into service worldwide. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, 52 reactors are "under construction," although 13 of them have been under construction for more than 20 years now. And in the case of 24 reactors, it is not even clear when exactly they can be put online.

More importantly, 36 of the new reactors are to be built in China, India, Russia and South Korea rather than the safety conscious West. "It makes me dizzy to think that 16 power plants will be built at the same time in China, and that all you hear from China is that there are no problems," says nuclear critic Schneider.

Other than in Finland, only one other new nuclear reactor is currently under construction in the Western world. At the reactor construction site in Flamanville in Normandy, the French are experiencing problems similar to those in Finland.

In the United States, the administration of former President George W. Bush drastically lowered the bar for new plant construction, and in 2007 it earmarked more than $20 billion for loan guarantees. But the industry isn't interested. It hasn't started construction on a single new reactor in more than three decades.

"A number of US companies have looked with trepidation at the situation in Finland and the magnitude of investment there," says American economist Paul Joskow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2003, the US Congressional Budget Office assessed the risk that loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power plants could come due at "more than 50 percent." In 2007, six major investment banks wrote to the US Department of Energy that money for new construction could only be raised if the government guaranteed these loans "at 100 percent, and without conditions."

Extended Lifespans a Boon for Utilities

Electricity from nuclear sources has only been cheap in the past when old reactors were in operation for long periods of time and without complications -- and when governments addressed what remains an unresolved question in Germany: end storage facilities. The Berlin-based Eco Institute has calculated that an electric utility can earn from €800,000 to €2.2 million with an old nuclear reactor for each day the power plant continues to run after its scheduled decommissioning. If all German reactors remain up and running for another eight years, the utilities could collect up to €84 billion, depending on the price of electricity.

But is it really that easy to extend the life of a nuclear reactor? In the past, the industry defined 40 years as the technical life of a nuclear power plant. Following the nuclear phase-out announced by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's SPD-Green Party government in 2002, the 19 German reactors in operation at the time would remain connected to the grid for an average of only 32 years.

"There is zero experience with pressurized water reactors with lifetimes of more than 40 years," says nuclear expert Schneider. But Jürgen Grossmann, the CEO of German electricity utility RWE, believes that Germany's reactors could also last for 60 years. Similar ideas have been raised in the United States, Sweden and France, but strong reservations about the idea remain.

"We found it funny that the first time EDF began talking about extending the lifetime of reactors past 40 years was to financial analysts in London," says French nuclear regulatory agency chief André-Claude Lacoste. "It wouldn't be a bad thing for them to bring us a technical file on this."

At Areva, spokesman Christian Wilson claims: "Aside from the reactor vessel, one can actually replace and renew everything ... Technically speaking, 60 years are possible."

Even before Germany's recent election, Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear to energy suppliers that she would only extend plant lives if the reactors were upgraded to satisfy the strictest safety standards. But that could cost billions at the Biblis or Krümmel reactors, which have both been shut down because of accidents, and perhaps would not even be worth it in the end. The major electric utilities are now focusing on the obvious: They are trying to delay, for as long as possible, the shutdown of very old power plants like Biblis and Neckarwestheim I, which are scheduled to be shut down within the next two years.

But can the nuclear sector be trusted to perform any modernization when it makes as many mistakes in new construction as it did in Finland? Not a single nuclear power plant has been built in the Western world for more than a decade. Nuclear regulators see the lack of know-how as a cause of the series of breakdowns. "Some supervisors lack experience," says engineer Tiippana. "Many companies are new to the nuclear sector, and their employees must be trained to comply with the standards."

The problem will only get worse. Forty percent of employees at US nuclear power plants are set to retire soon. The industry will have to find jobs for 26,000 new employees in the next 10 years -- even if it doesn't build a single new nuclear power plant. However, only 841 nuclear engineers completed their studies in the United States in 2008.

The situation is even more dramatic in Germany. Between 1998 and 2002, only two students graduated with an emphasis on nuclear engineering. This prompted Areva to set up a postgraduate course in nuclear engineering in Karlsruhe in February. The students are paid by Areva and are even guaranteed a job upon graduation.

Despite everything, Areva manager Mouroux still has a lot of faith in a reactor renaissance. The engineer is sitting in the conference room of a construction container, wearing a well-cut suit and paying little attention to doubts. "We will build the reactors all over the world," says Mouroux. What difference does it make if the machine becomes more expensive and the construction takes a little longer. "In return," says Mouroux, the EPR is supposed to operate for 60 years.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan.





Bristol Evening Post---About Consultation in February

The Bristol Evening Post has featured this article in the newspaper yesterday

Recent frustrations of Jonathan Porritt.....Is this democracy???

Jonathan Porritt: Right now, those who still feel that nuclear power has no role to play in a genuinely sustainable world are completely downcast at having to fight those same old battles all over again – this time with the added problem of a growing number of serious environmentalists who’ve thrown in their lot (holding their noses as they go) with the nuclear option. It has to be said that there’s no enthusiasm for the fight. How could there be? And at the moment, there’s no clear sense of where the leadership is going to come from. Who is going to rub people’s noses in the continuing scandal of nuclear waste mismanagement, and remind people that this government promised time after time that there would be no expansion of nuclear power in this country until it had sorted out the problems of nuclear waste? Who is going to hold to account politicians and industry leaders for whom secrecy remains ! the default mindset? Who is going to expose the near-fraudulent accounting practices endemic within the nuclear industry that continue to blind people to the true economic costs and penalties involved in nuclear power? Who is going to interrogate the philosophical and moral implications of one generation imposing on the next a set of problems and security hazards for which they themselves have absolutely no solution? And who is going to take on those sincere but utterly misguided environmentalists who’ve “gone nuclear” over the last few years because they feel there’s no alternative?

24 Dash 8th Dec 2009

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Who wants this nuclear power station?????

Fair play to Steve---we know where he stands!!

Thanks for including me in on your e-mails regarding the planning process
for Oldbury.

I very much share the view that the whole process is undemocratic and indeed
that a new station at Oldbury should not go ahead. But the current
consultation is not by any means the only one - whilst it's important to
respond at all stages, this is one of several. In particular *no planning
application has yet been submitted* - I met Eon last week and they haven't
even decided yet what reactor design to go for, haven't decided how many or
what height of cooling towers would be needed etc. All of this will need
to be decided before they submit a planning application next year.

Hope this helps to clarify things.

Best wishes,

Steve W.

Letter from Steve Webb MP--No to nuclear power at Oldbury

Steve confirms he does not want another nuclear power plant at Oldbury:---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for the message.

I'm more than happy to ask further factual questions of the Minister, and
will get these off shortly. I'll let you know when I hear any more.

Regarding the IPC, we vigorously objected to this mechanism when it was
introduced under the Planning Bill, precisely because it bypasses local
democratic accountability. As you will appreciate, the Government has the
votes to force things through and it did so. However, when the Secretary of
State made his recent statement on nuclear in the House, my response to him
was precisely about the point that if local people objected to what was
going on they seemed to have relatively little voice in the process. This
is what I said and this is his response:

"Steve Webb (Northavon) (LD): The proposed Oldbury B power station, unlike
the existing one next to it in my constituency, would have a very high
cooling tower. If my constituents objected to that because of the visual
impact and other factors, would they actually be listened to-not just
heard-or would their views be overridden? The document states that the
national need for stations is the most important factor.

Edward Miliband: The distinction I have tried to draw is between the
national need, which is important to establish, and specific developments,
on which it is important that the IPC can take a view. To reassure the hon.
Gentleman, the IPC will absolutely take a view on whether that specific
development is appropriate."

Best wishes,

Steve W.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Letter from Martin Whiteside at Stroud

I wonder how many people in our area realise that they are downwind of the site for a huge new nuclear power station?

What is proposed is a power station of around 3,300Mw capacity - over seven times the current output of the existing Oldbury power station. This will involve either two French designed Areva EPR reactors, of which the first examples currently under construction in Finland and France are both beset with problems, or three of the American Westinghouse AP1000. Both designs are based on the pressurised water design (or PWR), which will rely on the integrity of its steel pressure vessels for its up to 60 years design life. Finally, even our mighty Severn seems insufficient to supply the cooling requirements. It may need three or four cooling towers that could be nearly 700 feet tall, with a steam plume on top.

So there will be a considerable visual impact. But that is not what worries me. I am worried about the safety of the pressurised water design, which, over the years, has given us both the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown, admittedly by another manufacturer (Babcock & Wilcox), and many scares concerning problems with corrosion and metallurgy. Yes, lessons will have been learned from these incidents, yes, we have an independent nuclear regulation and inspection system. But for a proposed sixty year reactor life?

A serious accident at the Oldbury nuclear sites would give rise to airborne contamination, and the prevailing south-westerly winds will bring any contamination to us first. Nuclear power carries with it a massive potential risk and it is not right that those of us who are concerned about such issues won’t get our say at a public enquiry. Additionally after over 50 years of nuclear energy production there is still no site identified for the long-term internment of nuclear waste. Apparently this merely requires a technical solution. Well where is it?

It beggars belief that the government still spends far more on nuclear power research than it does on benign, natural sources such as wave power and that the energy agenda is only ever really addressed and meaningfully funded in terms of increasing capacity and never in terms of smart ways to decrease demand.

As a country we do need to plan for the energy gap as many of our current power stations come to the end of their lives, North Sea oil runs out and gas supplies risk political interruption. We need a coherent programme of large-scale renewable installation, AND a programme of meaningful energy efficiencies measures. Without these in place the case for new nuclear has not been made.

Martin Whiteside – Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud
Thrupp, Stroud

Is this what the Cooling Towers will look like?

One of our Community has taken some photos from Grovesend Road in Thornbury looking to the current power station. They have then superimposed the 200m high cooling towers based on the height of the current building being 70m high---A figure mentioned to us by Eon representatives.

It is not pretty!!!!! What do you think.....????

Monday, 7 December 2009

Allan Taylor--Letter to The Gazette--Are People Aware????

Are people aware??
I have been attending a number of very informative lectures in Oldbury, given by eminent specialists in a variety of fields, which have really opened my eyes to the inherent dangers of what Horizon is proposing, to replace Oldbury Nuclear Power Station, both to us as local residents and to the environment.
Having seen Horizon’s exhibition, based on their proposal, the most in your face concern is its size and impact on the local area. It is seven times the current output of the existing Oldbury power station. The land acquired is five times the size of the existing site. Either two French designed reactors, of which examples currently under construction in Europe are beset with problems, or three of an American design, are proposed. Both have major cooling requirements. These will need either three or four cooling towers, each of which will be, 200 metres (700 feet tall) and 150 metres in diameter. That’s 2/3rds the height of the Eiffel Tower. Further more, when they are in use, there will be a steam plume on top making it even more visible!!
This proposal is MASSIVE and will affect everybody in this area. The beauty of the River Severn and the Severn Vale will be blighted by the enormity of this structure which, according to Horizon’s own Scoping Report, will be visible downstream as far as Cleveden, up stream to Bishops Cleve, as well as affecting the whole of Thornbury and anybody on the opposite bank from Chepstow through to Gloucester!
So don’t think “well the existing power station is OK so why not have another one.” The above is just one reason why.
We have also learnt, that a recent German government backed study (known as the KiKK report) has confirmed, that there is a severe risk of leukaemia to pregnant women and young children living near Nuclear Power Stations. These findings were such that the German government have apparently decided they will not build any more nuclear facilities. Notwithstanding Eon, which is a German based company, feels free to come and build in the UK. Apparently a report was subsequently issued by HMG and came up with similar findings. However we were told that they decided to leave out a major site, namely Sellafield, from the statistics!! This must lessen the impact and if that is true then you must draw your own conclusions as to the real truth of the matter.
We have also seen reports that the current financial case for these proposals is totally unfounded. One outcome could be that, in the end if these stations are built, the companies involved will have to ask for a UK Government subsidy. It is suggested that this may only happen when the work is well advanced and the UK will be totally reliant on the work being completed to support our future energy needs.
There are many further issues such as, which independent body in the UK will oversee Nuclear safety in future and how little we are spending on renewables (3rd lowest in Europe after Luxembourg and Malta) despite being No1 for natural resources e.g. we have the longest coastline, highest tides, strongest winds etc etc.
I recognise that we have to have power and that we need an urgent solution but my plea is that everybody should inform themselves on these projects so that a considered judgement can me made and it is not solely based on past experience of the Oldbury site. This proposal is VERY different.
Everybody will have an opportunity to make their voice heard over the coming months, in various forums, and I only hope that many more people will take an active interest in this massive topic and its affect on us and our environment.
Allan Taylor
Oldbury on Severn

Letter to The Gazette from one of our Community

To: ""
Dear Sir
Last Wednesday, December 2, I attended a talk in Oldbury by Dr Ian Fairlie, who is an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, who has
degrees in chemistry and radiation biology, and who has worked in the past for various UK government departments and
regulatory agencies. Given the significance of what Dr Fairlie had to say, and the fact that the Gazette was not represented, due to a clash of commitments I understand,
I thought you might appreciate a brief comment on the talk.
Dr Fairlie's main topic was a recent study sponsored by the German government which has dramatically rekindled the childhood leukaemia debate, because it directly
associates increased incidences of childhood leukaemias with proximity to German nuclear installations. The study provoked public outcry and media debate in Germany
because it indicates that the increased risks of childhood leukaemia are very large, are unequivocally linked to proximity to nuclear reactors, appear to extend as far as 70 km
from the nuclear reactors, and are accepted by the German Government, which has decided NOT to build any more nuclear reactors in that country.
What a contrast with the UK government, which has always ignored any suggestion of any link between nuclear power and leukaemia, despite the numerous studies
which show such a link, and which is bent on pursuing the nuclear option, despite the fact that nuclear power can do nothing to improve Britain’s energy security or
help it meet the urgent challenge of climate change, as the government argues. Furthermore, the waste disposal problem is still not resolved, and it is already clear that
the nuclear companies will not be able to build their plants without massive subsidies from the taxpayer. I'm old enough to remember the slogan used by the nuclear industry
when the first generation of stations was built. 'Electricity too cheap to meter'! We've been conned by the nuclear industry before - don't let it happen again!
Yours etc
Tony Harding

Consultation in Thornbury

Please note that the Government are running a consultation exhibition and meeting at The Turnberries Centre in Thornbury on Saturday February 6th.

It is probably one of the last chances to discuss the potential plans for the Horizon proposals.

A large group of us will be attending on that day and we welcome you all to come with us.

Please register via the link below:

If you can keep in touch as you register.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Look Whats on the Horizon...............

Is this what The Severn at Shepperdine may look like
Under the new plans as well as two or three very powerful reactors there will also be three or four cooling towers which will be to 200m high.....Fact not Fiction!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

From tiny acorns......

Many thanks to all of the people who turned up to our latest lecture at Oldbury Memorial Hall last evening. I am sure we found Dr Ian Fairlies talk extremely illuminating but also sad. Sue D'Arcy spoke from the heart about the death of Gemma,her daughter, which brings home the fact that statistics are people.

We started our group in August with 13 of us and I am glad to say that we now have over 50 names on our database. In a few months it will be hundreds.

As agreed, we will take our message to Thornbury and then to the people of Bristol, who as of yet have not been allowed a say in the siting of a new 3300 megawatt nuclear power station within 16 miles by road from the City Centre (10 miles by crow).

Interestingly enough, Stroud that mega conurbation , 16 miles by road, has been included in the Horizon presentation days.
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