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Campaign
Nuclear Power - a pressing issue for the environment
The UK Government has come out firmly in favour of nuclear energy as part of the ‘energy mix’ to reduce reliance on foreign imports of gas and assist their climate change strategy of carbon dioxide reduction. But nuclear energy is not clean and green. It is dirty, dangerous and extremely expensive. The nuclear industry has engaged in a campaign of deceit and propaganda to convince the public that nuclear power is needed to end global warming and that they can do it cheaply and safely. But at every stage the nuclear industry is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, CFCs and water. The mining of uranium, a finite resource, is so water intensive that just one mine in S Australia uses 30 million litres a day. At the end of the process we are left with a toxic legacy, currently 500 million tons of radioactive waste tailings and over 10,000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent fuel discharged from nuclear reactors each year. And after 5 decades there is still no solution to the world’s nuclear waste.    
Campaign Update
Winter 2017

No Need for Nuclear: the Renewables are Here
Did you know that solar panels produced more electricity than Britain’s eight nuclear power stations for the first time May?  And wind & solar together provide for the UK’s entire energy needs on one day in June? As the infrastructure gets more efficient, the UK is better able to take advantage of sunny and windy days.
Government research has consistently shown that renewable are now the most popular of energy amongst the general public, yet the government wrongly claims that they fail to win public support and remains committed to building a new generation of nuclear power plants.

A panel of internationally renowned experts addressed the issues, presenting papers on radiation and radioactivity dangers, comparative analysis of nuclear and renewable costs, UK energy demand and supply and the politics of nuclear power. The scientific information presented in these papers demonstrates the importance in campaigning alongside other groups concerned about the impacts of human activity on the environment, contributing to global warming which is the other existential threat to all life on this planet.

In the East Midlands area there is a direct link to the current campaigns against fracking around the region.

Conference web site: cnduk.org/NoNeedForNuclear

Campaign Update
Autumn 2017

Nuclear Industry – post Brexit crisis looms
Britain’s nuclear industry has issued its strongest warning yet on the problems it faces if the government is unable to strike new international atomic power deals during Brexit talks. Failure to put in place alternative arrangements to replace the existing European nuclear treaty, Euratum, which the UK is quitting as part of the Brexit process, would have a ‘dramatic impact’ on Hinkley Point & other new power stations, on existing operations and the waste & decommissioning sectors which all depend on cooperation with other nuclear states.
Our reputation for co-operation is, however, not good. On the 20th March this year a UN committee asked the Government to suspend all work on Hinkley Point because of their failure to consult with other European countries about the transboundary environmental impacts of the project. The body said the government should wait until it has heard back from countries including Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. Hinkley is just one of a fleet of new nuclear power stations that the government hopes will be built over the next 15 years.
But a cloud has been cast over one of the biggest projects, at Moorside in Cumbria, because one of its key backers, Toshiba, has suffered financial problems and promised to review future overseas nuclear projects as a result
'No Need for Nuclear: the Renewables are Here' conference
Did you know that solar panels produced more electricity than Britain’s eight nuclear power stations for the first time May?  And wind & solar together provide for the UK’s entire energy needs on one day in June? As the infrastructure gets more efficient, the UK is better able to take advantage of sunny and windy days.
Government research has consistently shown that renewable are now the most popular of energy amongst the general public, yet the government wrongly claims that they fail to win public support and remains committed to building a new generation of nuclear power plants.

It's vital that we set the agenda on this topic at the beginning of the new government's term in office. That's why we have called a major conference to focus on the crucial question of nuclear power on June 17thin London. Expertswill explore a number of topics including what's wrong with nuclear power; the politics of nuclear power; energy demand, energy efficiency; and the scope of renewables in the UK.

‘No need for nuclear: the renewables are here’ on Saturday 17 June 2017 from 10.15 - 5pm
at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Conference web site: cnduk.org/NoNeedForNuclear
Campaign Update
Summer 2017

Nuclear Industry – post Brexit crisis looms
Britain’s nuclear industry has issued its strongest warning yet on the problems it faces if the government is unable to strike new international atomic power deals during Brexit talks. Failure to put in place alternative arrangements to replace the existing European nuclear treaty, Euratum, which the UK is quitting as part of the Brexit process, would have a ‘dramatic impact’ on Hinkley Point & other new power stations, on existing operations and the waste & decommissioning sectors which all depend on cooperation with other nuclear states.

Our reputation for co-operation is, however, not good. On the 20th March this year a UN committee asked the Government to suspend all work on Hinkley Point because of their failure to consult with other European countries about the transboundary environmental impacts of the project. The body said the government should wait until it has heard back from countries including Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. Hinkley is just one of a fleet of new nuclear power stations that the government hopes will be built over the next 15 years.
But a cloud has been cast over one of the biggest projects, at Moorside in Cumbria, because one of its key backers, Toshiba, has suffered financial problems and promised to review future overseas nuclear projects as a result.

'No Need for Nuclear: the Renewables are Here' conference
Did you know that solar panels produced more electricity than Britain’s eight nuclear power stations for the first time May?  And wind & solar together provide for the UK’s entire energy needs on one day in June? As the infrastructure gets more efficient, the UK is better able to take advantage of sunny and windy days.
Government research has consistently shown that renewable are now the most popular of energy amongst the general public, yet the government wrongly claims that they fail to win public support and remains committed to building a new generation of nuclear power plants.

It's vital that we set the agenda on this topic at the beginning of the new government's term in office. That's why we have called a major conference to focus on the crucial question of nuclear power on June 17th in London. Expertswill explore a number of topics including what's wrong with nuclear power; the politics of nuclear power; energy demand, energy efficiency; and the scope of renewables in the UK.

‘No need for nuclear: the renewables are here’ on Saturday 17 June 2017 from 10.15 - 5pm
at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Conference web site: cnduk.org/NoNeedForNuclear


Campaign Update
August 2016

So, after the political turmoil in the summer had produced a new leader of the Tory Party, Theresa May called an unexpected halt to the deal with EDF & the Chinese to build a new Nuclear Power Plant at Hinkley Point. The ostensible reason for the delay was to review was the security implications of Chinese involvement in the project, but it would have been more sensible to have addressed the central issue of whether the project should proceed at all.

The technology is unproven and all similar projects are massively behind-hand and over-budget. Evidence from Finland (Olkiluoto), France (Flamanville), and China (Taishan, twice) has shown the EPR to be unviable, way overdue for delivery and way over budget. EDF is on the verge of financial insolvency. The agreement we have just signed could cost energy consumers £30bn in ‘top-up’ payments due to falling wholesale prices. The National Audit Office has expressed fears that taxpayers could end up with a range of other payments under debt guarantees agreed with EDF and there are potential liabilities for disposing of spent fuel and meeting claims in the event of an accident, suggesting that renewables would be a much cheaper and safer option in order to meet our energy needs.

France has long been looking for someone to help with the astronomical cost of maintaining and decommissioning its vast nuclear power industry. With 58 reactors in France and 8 in the UK, many of them ancient, EDF – largely state owned- has liabilities like no other company on Earth. The lavish Hinkley Point C electricity sales agreement could be seen as the British tax-payer subsidising them. To pull out of the deal would have caused annoyance in France and maybe Theresa May feels she needs to keep French goodwill to help her with the tricky Brexit negociations ahead.

Kate Hudson said of Hinkley Point C: "The nuclear power deal is hugely expensive - a £30 billion subsidy will be handed to the French state in addition to what consumers pay. It is dangerous: cancer clusters, nuclear accidents and disasters like Fukushima, and there is still no safe way to store nuclear waste. It amounts to burdening future generations with an environmental and social disaster that cannot be compensated for with the expensive electricity the plant will produce.
Renewables offer a clear alternative. If Hinkley were scrapped, billions could be invested in the UK developing the technology we need to tackle climate change and secure a cheap and reliable energy supply."

Campaign Update
July 2016

The new Nuclear Power Plant at Hinkley Point is set to be the most expensive infra-structure project ever undertaken in this country. In a deal signed last October EDF agreed a deal whereby China Genera Nuclear Power Corporation would pay a third of the cost of £18bn project in exchange for a 33.5% stake.

But it is apparent that EDF faces major financial challenges: its share price has halved in the past year as falling French power prices have hit earnings; its current nuclear build projects in Finland and at Flammenville are £5.7m over-budget and delayed; and its existing 58 nuclear plants are nearing the end of their lives and facing a costly refurbishment programme. Nuclear power plants have huge hidden costs in the dismantling and dealing with the nuclear waste, and EDF has less than half the £18b their existing dying plants will cost them to decommission. EDF is facing a financial black hole, and in Hinkley Point C it would be committing to a project that will cost more than its current market capitalisation.

It is hardly surprising therefore that the key French workers’ unions are opposed to the project. Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of central works committee, said staff feared that the high cost of Hinkley Point would cripple EDF: “we have reservations about several aspects of the project – organisation, supply chain, installation and procurement.” The former EDF finance director told a French parliamentary hearing that he had resigned his job in March because he believed Hinkley threatened the group’s financial health.

Given these uncertainties Tim Yeo, former chair of the Commons energy committee & now of the pressure group New Nuclear Watch Europe, says the government should consider whether the Russian state operator Rosatom or Britain could build new atomic plants. He also suggested that other projects such as China’s Bradwell could be speeded up, while acknowledging that there was concern about the Chinese proposal to use its own unproven technology there.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has refused to disclose the arrangement with EDF for dealing with radioactive waste at the plant and the Information Officer has turned down a FoI request for state aid arrangements between the UK and the European Commission to be made public because ‘disclosure would adversely affect international relations, defence, national security or public safety’. Dr Paul Dorfman, of the Nuclear Consulting Group, said: “There is a key public interest in all of us knowing exactly the economic case for how or if radioactive waste from the proposed reactors at Hinkley Point C may be dealt with.”

Safety
A further problem facing the project is that a UN committee has ruled that Britain “is in non-compliance with its obligations” to discuss the possible impact of any accident or other event that could affect those nations in proximity to Hinkley. The British government argues that there is little or no risk of “significant trans-boundary environmental impacts” but Austria, the Netherlands, Norway & Ireland insist they should have been consulted.

Moreover nuclear experts are concerned: Belgium has just restarted two ancient and cracked nuclear power plants that threaten another Chernobyl disaster right in the heart of Europe. One of the aging reactors suffered a fire and explosion weeks ago and Belgium’s own nuclear safety chief called for checks after discovering 16,000 cracks. Neighbouring countries are raising the safety alarm. The Chernobyl site is still not decontaminated and some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times normal.

Campaign Update
Spring 2016

On 11 March anti-nuclear campaigners and activists round the country commemorated  the ongoing disastrous effects of the nuclear accident that took place in Japan five years ago. The Japanese government remains unable to contain the problem. Radioactive leaks at the site mean that thousands of people continue to be displaced and the consequences for the health of the population exposed to the radioactive contamination have yet to be assessed.

It is 30 years since the accident at Chernobyl (the anniversary will be marked by a vigil at the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby on 28 April). The citizens were told they would be gone for days, but the city will not be safe for 24,000 years. There is no formal estimate of the number of deaths, but local people are well aware of the friends & relatives they have lost to cancer. The EU is only now nearing completion of the ‘sarcophagus’ being built to encase the lead & concrete shell hastily thrown over what was left of Reactor Number4.

Nuclear accidents like this have widespread and long-lasting consequences, yet the UK government retains its commitment to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Concerns are escalating on all fronts about the safety and economic viability of the proposals to go ahead with Hinkley Point. The project has been battered by financial warnings and resignations at its prime backer EDF.  In January the French regulators delayed a decision about what to do about safety flaws in a similar reactor. The deal the government has agreed with EDF commits the British public to pay subsidies of up to £40 bn in real terms and provides state guarantees on nuclear waste disposal and insurance, while allowing the plant to begin producing electricity from as late as 2033. In addition a shutdown, which could be forced by the EU or International Atomic Agency regulators would trigger a £22bn compensation payment to EDF.

The Information Commissioners Office has been blocking freedom of information requests to publish subsidy documents held by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, although EDF’s chief executive is to face a grilling by MPs about the £18bn cost of Hinkley. However David Cameron & Francois Holland strongly back the project as ‘a pillar of the bilateral relationship’.

At the Global Climate Summit in Paris in December David Cameron and other leaders promised to take ambitious action on climate change. And yet the government has slashed support for wind and solar while the huge subsidies involved in nuclear power will only result consumers paying twice the prevailing wholesale price for their energy as the price of wind & solar reduce. Moreover wind & solar consume fuel that is cost-free, using 100% of its potential, whereas nuclear and fossil power waste about a third of its fuel.

Campaign Update
November 2015

Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power and Climate Change
CND has condemned a UK-China deal that will see nuclear power stations built at Hinkley Point in Somerset, Sizewell in Suffolk, and Bradwell in Essex. Nuclear power is a dangerous and expensive energy source, and is not a sustainable solution to our energy needs.

The announcement comes after a 2014 European Commission investigation that looked into state subsidies of nuclear power. Despite state aid being illegal under EU law, the commission gave the Hinkley Point C project the go-ahead.The Austrian government filed a legal challenge against the Commission’s decision in July 2015, which could delay progress by five years. Greenpeace, along with several utility companies selling renewable energy, have also launched legal action with the European Court of Justice.

 Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:
"This deal with China is the wrong sort of deal for the 21st century. International agreements should promote co-operation on climate change and security - this deal does precisely the opposite. Nuclear power is expensive, a source of greenhouse gases, and a target for terrorism. Nuclear power also makes the proliferation of nuclear weapons far more likely. As the supply of enriched uranium increases, the possibility of using uranium to develop weapons is made easier. The alternative is clear. Renewable sources of energy are clean, they create more jobs, and they're sustainable.”

The future for nuclear power, however, is bleak, with experts predicting that we will run out of easily accessible uranium in 50 years’ time. As arguably the most expensive infra-structure project in British history, we are committed to huge subsidies, estimated to amount to £20bn. We will be paying twice the current market rate for our electricity, rising with inflation over the next 35 years. A report for the OECD says that the UK’s projected nuclear costs are the highest in the world, with the cost of a nuclear plant in Britain projected to be almost three times higher than in China or South Korea.

So why?  Renewables manifestly outperform nuclear power as low carbon energy sources. Successive UK and international studies show they are already more competitive than nuclear; and renewable costs continue to fall while nuclear costs keep rising. But the government abruptly slashes support for renewables at the cost of jobs and a sustainable future.

The key lies in the strong correlation between those countries most eager to construct new nuclear with those expressing a desire to maintain nuclear weapons. In part the motive may be the possibility for diverting nuclear weapons materials like highly enriched uranium and plutonium, but equally the civil nuclear industry is known to provide key expertise and skills for the UK to remain part of the military nuclear club. The technological systems required to run our associated nuclear submarines, developed at Roll-Royce, rely on very particular kinds of design expertise, engineering skills, supply chains and regulatory capabilities.

Climate change is the real existential threat to human life and possibly all life on this planet. Evidence of the effect of it is now overwhelming and scientists agree we need a dramatic cut in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Nuclear power is not a carbon free energy source, nor do we know how to deal safely with its waste products. We need investment in renewable energy and we need to campaign vociferously to persuade governments and corporations to change their policies. We must press for the Global Climate Summit in Paris in December to reach binding targets for the reduction of carbon emissions worldwide.
Join the CND bloc on the People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs in London on 29th November, ahead of the Global Climate Summit in Paris in December.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
August 2015

Hinkley Point: Ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change have reached an agreement with the French energy company EDF to develop Hinkley Point C, near Bridgwater in Somerset, and are ready to approve the project after parliament’s summer recess. David Cameron and China’s president, Xi Jinping, are expected to sign the deal at a meeting in the UK in October. More than two thirds of the upfront investment costs for the controversial project will be provided by two Chinese companies. Beijing is keen to secure a greater stake in further nuclear power plants.

But at £24.5bn criticism of this heavily subsidised project is intensifying from both the energy industry and the City. A report from HSBC’s energy analysts describes the European Pressurised Reactor  model proposed as ‘too big, too costly and still unproven’, saying its future is bleak following ‘a litany of setbacks’ in Finland, France and China with the same type of reactor. Paul Massara, chief executive of RWE npower, criticised Hinkley Point’s economics, saying ‘We will look back and think that nuclear was an expensive mistake’.

At the same time as committing to what is arguably the most expensive infra-structure project in British history, the Government is pressing on with a similarly eye-watering commitment to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Britain remains one of only a handful of countries committed to a “nuclear renaissance, and this may help to explain the strength of UK’s nuclear lobby.

The reality is that renewables manifestly outperform nuclear power as low carbon energy sources. Successive UK and international studies show they are already more competitive than nuclear. And renewables costs continue to fall. Yet after more than half a century of development (and far greater levels of cumulative public support), nuclear costs keep rising. The performance gap just keeps on growing.
Nor is there any good excuse for ignoring such overblown nuclear promises. Problems of reactor safety, nuclear waste and weapons proliferation remain unsolved. Nuclear security risks are uniquely grave. With finance in question and technical difficulties mounting, the deteriorating prospects of the Hinkley project are the latest episode in a familiar pattern.
See: http://stophinkley.org/ and http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/

And in Japan the restarting of one of the Sendai nuclear plant’s reactors has been greeted with disquiet, with 60% of the population opposed after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant 4 years ago.It has been revealed that the operator, Tepco, was aware of the risks more than two years before the disaster in 2011 – the worst since Chernobyl which led to massive radiation leaks and forced more than 150,000 people to evacuate the area, most of whom have yet to return to their homes.

It is not surprising that the hibakusha survivors of Hiroshima have called on Brazil to abandon plans to build more nuclear plants. They are seeking to raise awareness of the radiation risks posed by power plants, waste dumps, mines, factories and mineral dumps – including more than 1,000 tonnes of uranium and thorium residues still held at a site close to the densely populated neighbourhood of Sao Paulo.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
June 2015

The Conservative manifesto pledged a "significant expansion" in new nuclear energy as a contribution to a supposedly low-carbon energy programme. Low-level construction has already begun at the new Hinkley Point site but EDF caused a stir by halting all work on its ground preparation just before the election, ostensibly “waiting for the result," before tackling the next hurdle - signing off with their Chinese partners and starting proper construction.

It doesn’t seem that this partnership is going to be good news for us, either.The leading Chinese scientist, He Zuoxiu, says that China’s nuclear programme is insane because they are not investing enough in safety controls. The risks include ‘corruption, poor management abilities and decision making capabilities’. The Chinese government say nuclear technology has improved since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, but He says this ignores the role of human error and flawed safety regimes.

And at the end of April a Japanese court halted the restart of two nuclear reactors, dealing a blow to the re-launch of nuclear power generation, four years after the Fukushima meltdown. At the same time decommissioning work at the Daiichi plant suffered a setback when a robot sent into a damaged reactor to locate melted fuel stalled hours into its mission and had to be abandoned. Radiation levels inside the reactors are still too high for humans to enter.

Moreover the plans for Hinkley Point may also be put in doubt following  the discovery of a potentially catastrophic flaw in the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Normandy. The fault could undermine the finances of the French owned nuclear construction firm, Areva, and scare off the Chinese investors from covering part of the cost of the £14bn Hinkley project.

The remaining nuclear power stations in Britain have all been given a life extension by the government, so they will continue to generate electricity for the best part of five to seven years, despite safety questions arising because of their age.

It is hardly surprising, then, that thousands of people have signed a petition and marched in protest against a proposed nuclear power plant in West Cumbria. Nugen proposes to build the £10bn new power plant near Sellafield. A ‘Stop Moorside’ campaign is fighting  to raise public awareness, in spite of the new restrictive rules surrounding public participation in planning decisions on national infra-structure projects.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
March 2015

New Nuclear: The French energy group EDF has again delayed an investment decision on the £16bn project to build two nuclear energy reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset. The company reported a 25% slump in operating profits in the UK in 2014 due to unplanned closures for boiler inspections at two of its stations. Last month, the firm said it expected to sign an agreement in March but an array of uncertainties involving the UK government, China and Austria suggest it is unlikely before June, if then.

The Chinese investors are said to be hardening the terms under which they would be willing to underwrite some of the costs and are also pushing for commitments to build and operate their own plant at Bradwell in Essex. And the plans are also facing a potential legal challenge from Austria, which claims the governments’ proposed long-term guaranteed price under the ‘contract for difference’ in the deal amounts to an illegal subsidy under EU law. It is clear that the project will be subject to the same delays, technical problems and higher costs as has happened in France and Finland, probably requiring more government bailouts. Originally government said that as an established technology ‘new nuclear’ would not need any subsidies but its spectacular u-turn commits the taxpayer to pay double the price for electricity from nuclear than from other sources for the foreseeable future.

And  nuclear power is not in any case a ‘carbon-free’ source of energy. The UN’s Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change warns that 80% of proven fossil fuels must remain in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change. Truly renewable green energy should be focus of future plans yet the Government has amended planning law to ease the path for fracking and minister Pickles has turned down more than 90% of wind turbine applications. Tim Yeo, chairman of parliament’s energy committee echoes UN warnings to the fossil fuel industry but as chair of the New Nuclear Watch Europe lobby group (which he Chairs) presses for a solution in the dangerous, unreliable and expensive nuclear sector.

Nuclear Hazards: An important new study has examined the meta-data from studies of childhood leukaemia rates near Nuclear Power Stations. A  large study in Germany in 2009 found a 60% increase in total cancers and 120% increase in childhood leukaemia in the under 5s living near nuclear installations and more recent studies by the French, British and Swiss governments reveal a 37% increase in leukaemia near all the reactors in all four countries, but without coming to agreement on a causal link. The new study, by independent experts in the field, provides a plausible scientific explanation of the processes involved and makes it harder for the industry and government bodies to argue about the causes of these cancers.

Fukushima: 4 years after the triple meltdown at Fukushima, TEPCO, the plant operators, admit that 2 trillion bequerels of radioactivity has been flowing into Fukushima harbour every month. The attempts to build an ‘ice wall’ around the wrecked reactors to stop the contamination of groundwater have had to be abandoned, while the cracked concrete tunnels from the turbine buildings continue to fill with highly radioactive water. Groundwater from test wells show an astounding 50,000,000% increase in strontium 90 in just one year. A huge pool of extremely radioactive water is oozing towards the ocean 100 metres away and will continue to do so indefinitely as there are no methods or plans to stop it.
This radioactive water will travel by ocean currents to the west coast of America and Canada, with unknown effects on marine life, and at the same time the Japanese government also plans to dump into the Pacific 400,000 tons of water poisoned with plutonium and uranium dust from the explosion of reactor 3 in March 2011.
Keith Baverstock, former WHO radiation expert, has said that the IAEA exerts constant pressure to downplay radiation effects, but many experts consider that Fukushima is exponentially worse than Chernobyl and the deteriorating plant threatens mass extinctions round the world.
Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
October 2014

In July we reported on the problems at the Dungeness-B nuclear power station. On 5 September it was reported that two nuclear power stations (Heysham 1 & Hartlipool) were likely to remain offline until the end of year as a result of faults in the safe operation of the boilers. And on 7 October BBC news reported that, as at Dungeness, new cracks in the graphite fuel bricks in the Hunterston-B reactor’s core had been found which could threaten EDF’s plans to extend the Scottish power station’s life to 2023 and beyond. These "Keyway root cracks" are said to be more serious than previously identified fractures and could mark the beginning of the end all the older Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs), which generate around 15 % of UK electricity.

Meanwhile the UK is pushing for huge state subsidies for the new nuclear power station at Hinkley C in Somerset. the European Commission is to do a U turn on its original view that aid would be incompatible under EU state aid rules. Nuclear power is a mature technology in that it has been around for decades. It should by now be commercially viable without state aid. In contrast the UK plans to scrap support for the younger and more economically robust industry of solar installations over 5MW. The argument that new nuclear will provide security of electricity supply is untenable given that the earliest new build proposed would not take place until 2023 for Hinkley C in Somerset and 2024 for Moorside (next to the world’s largest stockpile of plutonium at Sellafield). Uranium for the new build reactors would come from for example Peru, Australia, Canada, Russia.

Horizon Nuclear Power has just launched a consultation on its plans to build and operate a new power station on Anglesey. The ten week consultation is the first step in the planning process for the Wylfa Newydd development and will cover all aspects of Horizon’s proposals from construction to transport to how it might affect the Welsh language and the economy of the region. Find out more: www.horizonnuclearpower.com/consultation
Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
July 2014

Security at Britain’s nuclear power stations is being breached eight times every month, sparking safety fears. An investigation by The Sunday Post has discovered lapses such as broken CCTV cameras or door alarms, which may have left incredibly sensitive plants open to trespassers. But the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which released the data, has been accused of a cover-up after it refused to release details of the breaches. Figures obtained under freedom of information (FOI) laws revealed there have been 398 security breaches since 2010. Experts fear the number could be even higher because the ONR has changed its definition of what poses a security risk to the UK’s nuclear power stations

A key safety limit at Dungeness B in Kent is being raised to allow the life of the reactor to be extended. The regulator has agreed to increase the amount of weight graphite bricks at the core of the reactor will be allowed to lose. The bricks, which degrade over time due to radiation, are vital for safety. The nuclear reactor at Dungeness B would have breached the safety margin within months which could have forced the ONR to prosecute or even shut it down. The safety margins cover thousands of graphite bricks at the core of Britain's 14 elderly Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs). Prof Paul Mummery of Manchester University said: "There was more weight loss than expected in Dungeness B and that has led to some uncertainty about the continued operation." EDF want the old AGR reactors to last until next generation of nuclear power stations come on line after 2023 but they may not last that long  and there are still real doubts about the plans to build the new reactor at Hinkley C in Somerset. The AGR reactors contribute about 15% of Britain's electricity.

Meanwhile it appears that EDF could be in line for an £800m tax-payer subsidy through the Government’s ‘capacity market’ scheme to pay power plants to be on standby from 2018 to deal with peak demand, originally a scheme intended to keep threatened gas-fired power stations open and cope with fluctuations in supply from other sources.

And although the Government professes concern about the UK reliance on gas supplies from potential enemies such as Russia, they have been keen to give China a decisive stake in the next stage of Britain’s energy infrastructure as part of the agreement signed during the Chinese premier’s visit in June. Chinese companies have won the right to own and operate a Chinese- designed nuclear power station.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
April 2014

The government is pressing ahead with the plans for ‘new nuclear’ and hopes to get European Union agreement for the vast subsidies it is going to have to give to foreign companies to invest in high risk nuclear energy generation. In October 2013, Government submitted the State Aid Notification for the Hinkley Point C investment contract to the European Commission following the announcement of the commercial agreement on key terms with EDF. The Commission has now begun a consultation on its Opening Decision which will last for four weeks until Monday 7 April 2014 and provides an opportunity for third parties to contribute to the debate. The government is trying to assert their case is consistent with State Aid rules. They are claiming the nuclear can be part of a ‘low carbon’ energy mix  to meet our legally binding carbon targets while maintaining security of supply and keeping consumer bills down. “New Nuclear, alongside renewables and Carbon Capture and Storage equipped generation, will play an important and critical role in addressing this challenge.”

Quite apart from these misleading claims about nuclear being ‘low carbon’, cheap and creating jobs, the report in March this year that Dungeness nuclear power station had been quietly taken offline for five months over fears of Fukushima-style flood disaster hardly inspires confidence in the security of nuclear energy. The closure of the 550-megawatt reactor – one of two at Dungeness – followed an internal EDF report which found that the shingle bank sea defences were “not as robust as previously thought”, raising fears that they could be overwhelmed in extreme weather. Friends of the Earth said: “It’s astounding that the shutdown of EDF’s reactor wasn’t better publicised and calls into question the transparency of the nuclear industry.” EDF notified the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in December 2012 that it “no longer had confidence” in its primary sea defence.

There are urgent lessons we should be heeding in all this. The meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan occurred after a tsunami overwhelmed a 10m-high seawall, flooding the rooms which housed the emergency generators needed to ensure the cooling systems protected the reactors from meltdown. In March British and Japanese anti-nuclear campaigners demonstrated together in London to commemorate the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. CND’s General Secretary, Kate Hudson said: ‘Japanese officials have come clean that 160,000 people who were displaced in the wake of the disaster may never return to their homes. The area remains a wasteland, where contamination is seeping out quicker than Tepco can control it. Miles O’Brien, a science correspondent, who recently visited the site, described it as “a post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned towns, frozen in time”. The decontamination operation – overseen by Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) – is expected to last at least 30 years. ‘Three years on, it is both a moral obligation and a logical conclusion to heed the lessons of the Fukushima disaster. Nuclear power has shown itself to be a dirty, dangerous and expensive form of energy. Instead of subsidising nuclear power and building new reactors, we call on the British Government to get serious about renewable energy.’

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
February 2014

Last November the Government reached a commercial agreement with the French EDF group for a nuclear power new build at  Hinkley Point C in Somerset, following a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Government involving the UK agreeing to buy electricity for 35 - 40 years at roughly twice the current market rate. Most commentators say the contract is economically INSANE.

Now the Government has signed another joint ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the French Government involving small and medium sized firms in the nuclear supply chain with cooperation between researchers on both sides of the Channel So why does our Government push nuclear when other countries are turning to renewables? Last year the scandal of political lobbying was so evident the Government is introducing a new ‘gagging law’, which will silence environmental groups campaigning while doing nothing to prevent the disgraceful influence of multi-national corporations on government policy. Up to 15 private sector executives with links to the atomic sector have been seconded to this government; commercial corporations are the largest funders of Research & Development and the largest employers of scientists and engineers.

On Monday 6 January 2014, The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency announced that they are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of a new nuclear reactor design for the UK. The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR) is proposed to be used in new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire. The assessment follows nine months of preparatory work by the reactor designer, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, and the regulators.

Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy have launched a comment process, as part of the early phases of this regulatory assessment, which enables anyone to submit comments and questions to the company for their response. Visit at their website: www.hitachi-hgne-uk-abwr.co.uk.
for an explanation of the reactor design and the opportunity for comments or questions on the design of the reactor, or on the submissions which have been made to the regulators.

Notification of this process is being sent to elected representatives, councils, officials, community groups and NGOs across the UK and beyond
Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
November 2013

The UK Government and EDF Group have reached commercial agreement on the key terms of a proposed investment contract for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset. This paves the way for the construction of the first new nuclear power station in the UK in a generation. EDF Group has also announced that two Chinese companies, CGN and CNNC, will invest in Hinkley Point as minority shareholders. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on civil nuclear energy cooperation between the UK and Chinese Governments by the Chancellor.

The UK will be agreeing to buy electricity from Hinkley Point for 35-40 years at roughly twice the current market rate for electricity. Ministers insist that the commitment to provide a guaranteed price at double the market rate is not a subsidy, but critics accuse them of providing subsidies to an old technology that should not need handouts, and point out the safety dangers and the unsolved waste disposal problems raised by new nuclear. There is still no decision of where a deep-level waste repository can be sited.
Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, says EDF have the government "over a barrel" and the contract may be an "absolute disaster" for taxpayers. Critics warn guaranteeing the group a price for electricity at twice the current level will raise bills.

The size of the loan guarantees given to EDF and the Chinese could leave the UK taxpayer firmly on the hook. EDF's recent construction experience in France is of massive cost over-runs and Centrica, the UK's supposed energy champion, dropped out of the EDF-led consortium, preferring to take a £200m hit than continue down a nuclear path where the costs and risks only ever seem to increase. Regulatory frameworks have proved inadequate to the task of ensuring safe operation of nuclear facilities.

The subsidies for alternative, sustainable green energy sources are set to fall in the long term, and they carry none of the risks inherent in the nuclear industry. Craig Bennett, director of policy at Friends of the Earth, said it was astonishing that the government was planning such a long-term subsidy for foreign nuclear operators. "This is just another big bailout. It is an unbelievable wasted opportunity to spend this money in this way when the UK itself is an acknowledged leader in energy efficiency”.

For more information please visit the website

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
September 2013

On 20 July the Government announced a new scheme to bribe local communities to host new nuclear power stations. Communities around 8 sites in England & Wales could receive benefits from when the nuclear plant starts operating, “with funds tailored to specific localities and managed locally to bring long-term economic and social benefit” Once again it comes with “kind regards from the Office for Nuclear Development” and promises the funds will be tailored to specific localities; will be managed locally to bring long-term benefit and focus on ensuring an economic and social legacy arising from the development. It could be worth up to £128m to the area around the proposed twin-reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset. They suggest local authorities hosting new nuclear power stations could benefit for up to the first 10 years from a share of the increase in business rate, “in addition to the investment, jobs and use of local services that major infrastructure projects bring, and in addition to agreements between developers and communities under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act which include substantial mitigations during construction.”
No mention of the downside risks to the local environment!!  More information can be found here

Meanwhile in Japan the nuclear crisis continues at the Fukushima Daiichi site. This month it was disclosed that radiation near a water storage tank at the nuclear plant is 18 times higher than previously reported. Radioactive water has leaked into the ground and radiation around the site is at 1,800 millisieverts per hour, a level that is "enough to kill an exposed person in four hours." Previously, the owners had said the leaking water was at around 100 millisieverts per hour. Last month Tepco said another storage tank had leaked 300 tonnes of radioactive water, possibly into the sea.

Japan’s nuclear watchdog raised the severity of the leak from 1 to 3 (serious incident), but there is little trust that the company, the regulator or the government will be honest or competent. The Japanese government has said it will spend more than £300m in an attempt to contain the leaks and decontaminate the highly toxic water, with proposals to construct a 1.4km underground frozen wall round the 4 damaged reactors – an untested and expensive technique. The new funding was announced days before selection of host city for the 2020 Olympics!

The continuing problems and reluctance of voters to back a badly managed industry has led to more than 50 nuclear plants being closed, the last reactor being switched off on 16 September. Until Fukushima, the risk of catastrophic meltdown like Chernobyl was supposed to be one in 100,000 – now the estimate is one in 5,000. The whole risk and safety assessment must be redesigned and new regulatory authorities forced to consider the consequences of a succession of accidents. Britain and France are the only European countries still determined to expand nuclear, but costs are soaring. The Coalition is now offering £10bn of financial guarantees and may offer hidden subsidies in guaranteed electricity prices. This is madness!

Hiroshima Day vigil outside the Rolls-Royce Raynesway factory where the reactors and fuel rods for Trident and Astute class submarines are manufactured.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
June 2013

The recent revelations of widespread political lobbying scandals demonstrate how susceptible governments and political parties are to the influence of big multi-national corporate interests, particularly the major energy companies. And the secondment to government of up to 15 private sector executives with links to the atomic sector must also be influential in driving the whole question of hidden subsidies to the nuclear power industry, which even the boss of RWE says could force the next three generations of British consumers to pay unexpected, unnecessarily high bills for the next 40 years. At the same time investment in green energy in the UK has fallen to a 7 year low. It is essential that the Energy Bill which comes before MPs at the beginning of June sets a clear target date for ‘decarbonising’ the energy sector without recourse to highly damaging and dangerous nuclear technology.
Meanwhile the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011 continues to be a salutary warning that neither the technologies nor the operating companies can be trusted. The three melted-down nuclear reactors on Japan’s Pacific Ocean coast continue to release 10 million becquerels per hour of Caesium 134/137, mostly as steam. The fish in the reactor’s harbour are contaminated with 240,000 bqs/kg - the official safe limit is 100 bqs/kg. The soil from a river bed in Fukushima city, 80 kms from the plant, was shown to have contamination of 430,000 bqs/kg. Updated plans of the plant are inaccessible, because they were stored in a part of the building too radioactive to enter.
The precise impact of the radiation on the population is contested, but as with findings from Cherbobyl, there appears to be a significant increase in the numbers of thyroid cancers. The problem with all the research in this area is that statistics are skewed because of governments’  need to play down the disaster. So while Professor Suzuki claims his recent study of 95,000 children shows no relationship between cancer and the nuclear accident, parents point to the finding of thyroid ultrasound ‘abnormalities’ in 35% of the children who lived in the most contaminated area around the plant. Many insist that they no longer have any faith in the official reassurances.
For more information about the Japanese campaign against nuclear power see: http://januk.org/english/message.html
See also Campains: Nuclear Waste


Fukushima children’s exhibition Artist Geoff Read was living in a remote area of Fukushima at the time of the on-going nuclear disaster. He has since worked with 100 children who were living in high radiation areas, or had evacuated with their families, to make a visual testimony of their experience using collaborative portraiture.
Their pictures have since been exhibited on four continents, in Japan, America, Australia, and the UK – including at a meeting the House of Commons. By looking at their pictures you assure the children that their lives are important and that they are not forgotten as they struggle to cope with living in areas that should have been evacuated, or with the big changes in their lives that evacuation brings.
For more information: http://strongchildrenjapan.blogspot.com/; http://www.facethestreet.com/
http://www.geoffread.com/; Blog about living in Fukushima http://livinginaizu.blogspot.com/

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
April 2013

On 6 December the Government published the Nuclear Supply Chain and Skills Action Plan which has been developed by Government in partnership with developers, professional bodies, trade associations and industry. The Government wants to ensure that the new nuclear build programme delivers not only so called ‘low carbon’ electricity at competitive prices, but also economic benefits to the UK including ensuring the nuclear supply chain is well positioned to access UK and long term export opportunities.
The key objectives are to maximise UK economic activity and growth from the nuclear sector at national and local level, including employment and business opportunities for the UK supply chain, and to ensure that potential skills shortages do not act as a barrier to the future development of the industry in the UK. It also seeks to use the domestic nuclear market to provide a platform to access export opportunities.
Planning permission for preliminary works has now been granted for Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station. Nuclear energy is neither safe nor economical, and there are highly competitive alternative sources of green energy. Sign the petition: www.goodenergy.co.uk
And in March this year there were uncomfortable reminders of just how dangerous reliance on this energy source is.
At the beginning of the month reporters were allowed to visit the Fukushima plant, catastrophically damaged in the tsunami and earthquake of March 2011. What they found was not reassuring. Inside shattered reactor building number 4, more than 1,500 spent fuel rods were still sitting inside a cooling pool. They were still highly radioactive and the pool was outside the reactor's steel and concrete containment vessel, perched high on the third floor. A race is now on to get the fuel rods out but that operation will not start until the end of this year, and will then take two more years to complete. If another large earthquake strikes during that time there is real concern the building could collapse.
And then on Monday 11 March a power cut shut down the cooling systems for four spent fuel ponds at reactors 1, 3 and 4.The cause of the power failure was still being investigated, as Tepco made restoring power the priority, but it could have been a faulty power switchboard. A spokesman for Tepco said it was the first time so many facilities had been affected by electrical failure at the same time since the plant was brought under control in December 2011. The company was criticised for its delay in announcing the incident, which took three three days to bring under control.
The ponds store spent fuel from the nuclear reactors, cooling the fuel which generates intense heat and providing shielding from radiation. There was no immediate threat of a radiation release, but if cooling systems had not been restored, it is possible that the water in the ponds could have started to boil. That could have led to a loss of water and eventually to the exposure of the spent fuel rods to air, releasing radiation.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
February 2013

Centrica have decided to abandon plans for building new nuclear reactors in the UK, blaming rising costs and construction delays. EDF, French government owned, is now in talks with the Chinese owned Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation and may well pick up the Centrica option. EDF is still apparently going ahead with the Hinkley Point project and is trying to agree a price for the electricity which will be ‘fair and balanced’ – by which is meant ‘attractive to investors’!
In spite of the withdrawal of E.ON, RWE and SSE as well as Centrica, the government is still bent on building new nuclear power stations. A spokesman for the Department of Energy & Climate Change said: ‘The decision reflects the company’s investment priorities and is not a reflection on UK government policy. The recent purchase of Horizon Nuclear Power by Hitachi is clear evidence of the attractiveness of the new nuclear market in the UK’.

However the need to rely on nuclear energy as part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions while still meeting the energy needs of the Country is given the lie by the experience of Germany. At a seminar organised by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities in Manchester in December a convincing case was made for a new approach to generating all energy from renewable, sustainable sources. Under massive popular pressure, the German government decided to end its nuclear programme on moral grounds: it was felt to be unethical to put its people under threat from a Fukushima-type disaster. Their success is the result of creating a new social framework with energy sustainability at its core, where the local communities are fully involved in the development of the new technologies and profit directly from any surplus generation, without the need to satisfy the financial demands of the huge multi-national companies who dominate the energy market elsewhere.

The consequences of the Fukushima disaster are still reverberating around the world and have a continuing impact on the lives of ordinary Japanese, from the trauma of evacuation, the fear and mistrust of ‘official’ dogma and the political dilemma of how to develop an economy previously so heavily dependent on nuclear energy. (There will be an illustrative event at Chesterfield MayDay)
But there is  almost no awareness of other catastrophic accidents which result from different stages of processes involved in generating nuclear energy. In Finland the dams of a tailing pond of the Talvivaara nickel and uranium mine have been leaking hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of toxic waste waters into the rivers and lakes since the beginning of November.  Activists speak of it as Finland's largest environmental disaster. There is a webpage on the Talvivaara spill

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
November 2012

The Government’s determination to press ahead with new nuclear build sounds increasingly senseless. While manipulation of the energy markets in order to provide hidden subsidies to nuclear power damages the renewable energy sector (and any pretence of ‘Green’ agenda), the nuclear industry itself is increasingly in trouble. In October the chief executive of EDF Energy told a Select Committee of MPs that he had still not made up his mind to go ahead with the construction of new nuclear power stations. He said they needed assurances on the disposal of waste and the decommissioning of plants at the end of their life, and a regulatory regime that  would favour nuclear power through the provision of long-term ‘contracts for difference’ that penalise fossil fuels in favour of low carbon energy.

So there must be concerns that Hitachi, facing nuclear shutdown in its home market after the Fukushima disaster, has agreed to buy the nuclear consortium Horizon which the German utilities RWE and E.ON put up for sale when they decided to bow out of the UK nuclear energy projects in March.

Meanwhile recent reports in the journal Science show that fish from the sea around Fukushima could be too radioactive to eat for a decade, as samples show radio-activity levels remain elevated with little sign of coming down. Campaign : Nuclear Waste

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
September 2012

A special meeting of the international Convention on Nuclear Safety has taken place to review learning from last year's nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor complex in Japan. The meeting, which was co-ordinated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), took place in late August 2012 at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria (Nuclear Safety & Security).

The Convention on Nuclear Safety aims to legally commit participating States operating land-based nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by setting international benchmarks to which signatory states subscribe, covering matters such as emergency planning and the siting of nuclear facilities.

The meeting, the Second Extraordinary Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, was attended by representatives from the 75 nations which have signed the Convention to date. Despite considerable public interest in nuclear safety issues arising from the Fukushima accident and discussions at previous meetings on the need for openness and transparency in the nuclear industry, no non-government organisations were permitted to attend the meeting as observers.

Discussions at the conference were expected to inform and shape UK nuclear emergency planning arrangements, which are currently in a state of flux following the Fukushima accident. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is currently reviewing its ‘Consolidated Guidance’ on nuclear accidents – the national-level guidance provided to all organisations required to have plans in place for dealing with a nuclear emergency in the UK (Nuclear Emergency Planning Document). Arrangements for sizing evacuation zones are also under review

Nuclear Power: Ten Killer Facts
from Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt, Charles Secrett
  1. “We have not been able to identify any single independent commentator or expert who believes it will be possible to undertake a new build programme without massive, ongoing public subsidy.”
  2. The 2010 / 2011 liability for cleaning up our existing nuclear programme was around £7 billion. This translates into a liability of £350 per household per annum – 8 times the subsidy that is available for renewables. Total liabilities for the nuclear power programme (including decommissioning) amount to more than £70 billion.
  3. The French company EDF is proposing to bring forward a new build programme based on the EPR. The estimated cost for the EPR reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland was £3.3 billion. Current projected cost for Olkiluoto is £5.3 billion. The estimated cost of the EPR reactor at Flamanville in France was £3.3billion. Current predicted cost is £6 billion. The Government wants to build ten of these reactors.
  4. Areva is the French company that will deliver the new programme for EDF. The average time from start of construction to full grid connectivity for Areva’s last four reactors was 17.5 years.The estimated cost of constructing a nuclear power plant has increased at a rate of around 15% per annum. Depending on the technology involved, the cost of renewables continues to come down yearon year.
  5. Best estimates of the clean-up costs for Fukushima indicate a liability of not less than $250 billion. Japan’s national debt will increase by as much as $150 billion as part of this.Corporate liability for serious nuclear accidents in the UK will be limited to €1.2 billion. The Government (ie UK taxpayers) will cover any costs above that limit. If the industry had to bear that cost (rather than UK taxpayers), the market cost of nuclear power would rise by at least twice as much as its present price.
  6. The best estimates show that a like-for-like investment in wind power will create at least 12 times as many jobs as that same investment in nuclear; a like-for-like investment in solar power will create at least 360 times as many jobs as that same investment in nuclear. Investing in energy efficiency creates more jobs than investments in any form of generation.
  7. Despite ongoing protestations that there will be ‘no subsidy’ for new nuclear power stations, the Treasury has acknowledged that the nuclear industry will receive ‘an average of £50 million per annum through to 2030’. Environmental NGOs have estimated that this annual subsidy will in fact be as much as £260 million a year.
  8. Nuclear energy is often cited as a low-carbon or even a very low-carbon source of electricity generation. This is highly debateable. Researchers at Stanford University have calculated that nuclear power emits between 9 and 25 times more greenhouse gases than wind power, depending on the quality of the uranium ore that is used.
  9. Nuclear energy is often cited as a very reliable source of electricity generation. This is highly debateable. Of the 132 nuclear plants constructed in the US, 21% have been prematurely and permanently closed due to reliability or cost-effectiveness issues. A further 27% have completely failed at least once for a year or more.
  10. Germany has already installed more windpower than the entire UK nuclear capacity. Every year it installs the windpower equivalent of one new nuclear reactor. It will be building no more reactors.
Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
July 2012

The Government is investing heavily in Rolls Royce manufacturing capability for new build nuclear power, in spite of the lessons that should be learnt post-Fukushima.

The  US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) review of lessons for the US nuclear power industry in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis has left the issue of expanding emergency planning zones around US reactors to be dealt with “outside of that process”
Non-government organisations in the USA have called for an expansion of the emergency zones and improvements to emergency response planning around US nuclear reactors. A coalition of 38 groups is proposing that the current 10 mile emergency planning zone should be extended to include the area within a 25-mile radius of a reactor site. An emergency evacuation zone should be established within a 50-mile radius around a reactor site, and the radius of the zone within which countermeasures should be taken against the ingestion of radioactive materials should extend to a 100-mile radius.

NRC has stated that emergency preparedness is one of the areas being addressed as part of a holistic review as a result of the work of its Fukushima 'lessons learned' task force, and that there will be a re-evaluation of the basis for defining emergency planning zones and the distribution of potassium iodide tablets to the public.

Acting on behalf of Nuclear Information Service, independent consultants Large & Associates have reviewed arrangements for defining emergency planning zones around Atomic Weapons Establishment sites in the UK and concluded that they should be reviewed in the light of the Fukushima emergency.

East Midlands CND would like to know what emergency plans have been made for the Rolls Royce Raynesway site.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
May 2012

At the beginning of April RWE and E.on announced plans to sell their UK nuclear power plant joint venture  and later that month the government’s energy policy suffered a fresh blow when GDF Suez, the French firm behind plans to build a new nuclear plant in Cumbria, said it needed more financial incentives if it was to proceed. However this only exacerbates concerns about the undue influence of companies owned partly by the French state, such as EDF, Areva and GDF. Jonathon Porritt, of Forum for the Future, said ‘UK energy policy is being manipulated and subverted to make it possible for French nuclear power companies (EDF and Areva) to start building four new reactors in the UK – two at Hinkley Point in Somerset and two at Sizewell in Suffolk’ Documents leaked to the Guardian lay out plans to use ‘contracts for difference’ for nuclear energy, which would allow nuclear operators to reap higher prices for their energy than fossil fuel power stations – despite promises not to subsidise nuclear power.

Dr Gerry Wolff, Coordinator of Energy Fair, (www.energyfair.org.uk)  has issued a new report “The financial risks of investing in new nuclear power plants”, which describes five major sources of financial risk associated with new-build nuclear plants: market risk, cost risk, subsidy risk, political risk and construction risk. Any one of these provides good reasons for caution.

Despite this some European countries have called on the EU to allow nuclear power to get the same kinds of subsidies as solar and wind power and that the UK government has indeed asked the European Commission to approve at least one of the proposed new subsidies for nuclear power in the Government’s proposals for electricity market reform. So  please write to the Director-General for Competition, Alexander Italianer (alexander.italianer@ec.europa.eu), Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger (guenther.oettinger@ec.europa.eu), and President José Manuel Barroso (jose-manuel.barroso@ec.europa.eu), asking them to do all in their power to ensure that nuclear plants will NOT be eligible for any new subsidies, and to remove existing subsidies for nuclear power.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
March 2012

Recently a few journalists have been allowed to visit the devastated Fukushima site of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 26 years ago. One year on it is clear the impact on the population and the environment is at least as serious as Chernobyl. And a leaked report from the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation reveals that it could have been an even worse catastrophe unleashing a chain reaction of plant meltdowns requiring the evacuation of Tokyo. The problems resulting from Japan’s over-reliance on nuclear power should give us pause for thought. Britain is going down the same route, but it can’t be assumed the same thing couldn’t happen here. That’s what they said in Japan after Chernobyl! In 2009 the Institution of Mechanical Engineers reported that existing nuclear sites such as Sizewell will need considerable investment, or even relocation, to protect them against rising sea levels. How much more costly to protect new nuclear from the impacts of climate change! Email your MP to ask them to sign EDM 1615, a motion calling on the government to suspend plans for new nuclear power stations.

Greenpeace have released an interactive, on-line map showing all operating nuclear reactors around the world and how many millions of people are threatened by a Fukushima-like disaster at any one of these ticking time bombs. With more than 400 nuclear reactors producing electricity in the world, the interactive map highlights that hundreds of millions of people live within areas around reactors that could become highly contaminated and would have to be evacuated in the event of a nuclear accident. The interactive map, with data from Nature magazine, works with Facebook and Twitter to let users alert others to the risk of a nearby nuclear accident. Click here for interactive map

In February in the High Court of Justice, EDF Energy failed to win an injunction against a number of anti-nuclear power campaigns. The energy giant is seeking permission to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset but is facing major opposition at a local and national level. In a clear attempt to suppress opposition to its highly controversial plans, EDF not only sought the eviction of individual protestors occupying farm land near to the proposed site, but also attempted to secure an injunction against four anti-nuclear groups (South West Against Nuclear, Stop Nuclear Power Network UK, Stop Hinkley and Stop New Nuclear) to prevent them protesting on the land in future. Although Mr Justice Floyd granted a possession order against the defendants camping on the land, he refused to grant the injunction application against the four anti-nuclear groups describing it as ‘inappropriate’

This was a victory for the right to freedom of speech and protest. On 10/11 March 2012 were ready to surround and blockade Hinkley Point to say "No more Fukushimas!", and a clear and loud "no to Hinkley C, no to new nuclear in Britain!" There is a more detailed information pack (PDF) available at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/briefing

Sizewell Camp, 20-23 April 2012 Spend a sunny weekend camping on the beach at Sizewell and learning about the plans for the new power station. Come and show your opposition to nuclear power and your support for sustainable energy solutions. The weekend includes a protest at the nuclear power station entrance, workshops and skill shares, woodland and beach walks, vegan food and networking. Now is the time to take action against new build – come join us to say ‘Nuclear power – No thanks!’
More information at http://stopnuclearpoweruk.net/content/sizewell-camp-2012.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
December 2011

We might have thought the consequences of the huge earthquake and tsunami  in Japan in March would derail the Coalition’s plans for a ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ The immediate consequences - explosions, irradiated leaks and radioactive fires at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors - were broadcast on prime time television across the world. But since then other news stories have grabbed the headlines while the International Nuclear Industry, politicians and much of the media have sought to play down the significance of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

But the human and environmental tragedy at the stricken Fukushima plant continues. The catastrophic meltdown has already caused widespread radioactive contamination; the units are still emitting radioactive gases, polluting the food chain, water supplies and neighbouring seas.TEPCO is still struggling to bring the situation under control - it will be at least a year before the  reactors stop boiling, and it may take 15 years to dismantle them  - little can be done to mitigate the long term effects of this disaster. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president has said   ‘With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started - but they never end’.    

Meanwhile the UK government has decided to press ahead with plans for new nuclear power stations at 8 sites by 2025 even  before the site in Japan has been stabilised and lessons learned. While many Governments around the world are planning a measured exit from the sector, our Government has rushed out two reports to deny the health and safety risks inherent in nuclear power  Dr Mike Weightman of the Government Health & Safety Executive, after an interim assessment, concluded that  UK nuclear plants would not be exposed to the same extreme events as Japan, and Chris Huhne  says ‘there is no reason why nuclear should not be part of our energy mix’. Moreover government has changed planning procedures to expedite nuclear construction and provide hidden subsidies to the nuclear industry while reducing incentives for renewable sources of energy.

The integrity of nuclear power plants is not only vulnerable to extreme natural events but to malicious attack, human error, manufacturing defects and the impacts of climate change on nuclear sites. New reactors and their radioactive waste stores will be located on coasts, vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding & storm surge The nuclear industry has a poor record on safety and cost over-runs and  there remains no solution to  radioactive waste disposal.

The calculations of risk as defined by the industry are entirely fallacious as they misstate the nature of risk. A one in a thousand chance sounds reassuring, but remember -if it can happen it will – if not now some other time. Usually what causes a catastrophe is not one failure but a number happening simultaneously plus one unforeseen eventuality. It is impossible to eradicate risk from any manmade system. But the consequences of a nuclear accident are infinitely more threatening to the survival of life on this planet than any conceivable consequence  of renewable energy source failure.

There is a close relationship between the civil and military uses of nuclear energy, fully understood by the West in its anxiety to stifle civil nuclear industry in Iran. Moreover  the international scamble for scarce resources, including  the finite amount of uranium required by the nuclear industry increases the probability of almost continuous  warfare, in which the ease nuclear fissile material can be converted to ’dirty bombs’  available for terrorist.

And long after their useful life is nuclear power plants threatens the environment. In October decommissioning work at Dounreay had to be halted because of a leak of radioactive material and it was admitted that the seabed would remain contaminated for ever.                                    

And the nuclear industry’s past record is not reassuring. Between 2001 and 2008 there were 1,767 safety breaches at British nuclear plants. Half of these were considered by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to ‘have the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system’. In a leaked report to Ministers it was reported that there have been two radioactive waste spillages - at Sellafield and Torness - and a breakdown in an emergency cooling system at Hartlepool, in the first 3 months of 2011. A routine inspection on April 18th found a leak containing plutonium at a concentration exceeding the statutory limit by about five times at Sellafield.                                                                                                         
Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
August 2011

After Fukushima. Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsumani that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to  hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced the evacuation of those living within a 20km radius of the plant. Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent radiation scientist on CND Council, gave graphic evidence of the extent of the damage at a meeting in Leicester in July. Scientific experts believe Japan's nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public.

Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president believes Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind. The units are still emitting radioactive gases and an enormous amount of radioactive liquid. It will be at least a year before they stop boiling, and  it may take 15 years to dismantle the reactors, which meanwhile will continue to contaminate the environment - Strontium is 250 times the allowable limits in the water table at Fukushima and contaminated water tables are extraordinarily difficult to clean up. The final consequences of the nuclear disaster in Japan are unknowable but, like Chernobyl, catastrophic meltdown has caused widespread radioactive contamination with long term environmental, economic and human impacts, while TEPCO struggles to bring the situation under control. ‘With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started - but they never end’.       

Japan’s Prime Minister has resigned in the face of cover-ups and failure and public opinion against nuclear energy grows worldwide. The governments of Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, and Malaysia have cancelled planned nuclear power stations. Germany is seizing the  economic opportunities of  in investment in renewable energy technologies. Dr David Toke of Birmingham University has demonstrated that nuclear power is totally uneconomic and unsustainable as compared with renewable energy.

The integrity of nuclear power plants is not only vulnerable to extreme natural events but to malicious attack, human error, manufacturing defects and the impacts of climate change on nuclear sites. The nuclear industry has a poor record on safety and cost over-runs and  there remains no solution to  radioactive waste disposal. At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6, Hiroshima’s mayor  spoke of  the public's desire to break with nuclear power generation in the wake of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima. He quoted the words of the late Ichiro Moritaki, who said: “Humanity and nuclear power cannot coexist.” Mr. Moritaki was the first chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations.

Meanwhile the UK government has decided to press ahead with plans for new nuclear power stations at 8 sites by 2025 even before the Government’s official report on  the lessons Fukushima is completed and before the site in Japan has been stabilised. Moreover government has changed  planning procedures to expedite nuclear construction and provide hidden subsidies to the nuclear industry while reducing incentives for renewable sources of energy.

The  Stop New Nuclear campaign is organising a non-violent one day blockade at the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. Hinkley Point is the first of the eight proposed sites for nuclear new build to go ahead. Join the blockade at Hinkley Point on 3 October: see forthcoming events or http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/pledges for more information.
There will also be a debate at the Green Party National Conference on ‘The Future of Nuclear Power Post Fukushima’ on 11 September at 6pm at Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield. The panel includes Professor Masae Yuasa, Hiroshima City University; Kate Hudson, General Secretary CND; Professor Neil Hyatt, University of Sheffield. For further information contact: enquiries@solar-active.com

Campaign Update - Nuclear Power
June 2011

In October 2010, reversing his anti- nuclear position before the General Election, Energy Minister Chris Huhne gave the go-ahead for a so-called ‘nuclear renascence’. Green initiatives were abandoned in the name of deficit reduction while hidden incentives in a rigged market were designed to encourage the revival of the nuclear power industry.

On 10 March this year grim reality intervened in the disastrous form of a huge earthquake and tsunami which decimated coastal towns in North East Japan. The immediate consequences - explosions, irradiated leaks and radioactive fires at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors - were broadcast on prime time television across the world. Ever since then the International Nuclear Industry, politicians world-wide, the regulatory bodies and much of the media have sought to play down the significance of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Three months after the disaster the Japanese have just admitted that there was more than twice as much initial radiation leak as originally claimed.

But the human and environmental tragedy in Japan is not over. It now appears there was meltdown in 3 of the plants at the outset and radioactive pollution continues to be dispersed contaminating air, land and water - little can be done to mitigate the long term effects of this disaster. Despite repeated official denials the human impacts become clearer each week. 80,000 people have been uprooted by the nuclear disaster (possibly forever, certainly long-term) from an area 12 miles around the reactors, with more from neighbourhoods outside the exclusion zones. There has also been a wider, voluntary flight from the region. The food chain, water supplies and the neighbouring seas have been polluted by iodine-131 (with a half-life of days) and caesium-137 (with a half life of 30 years). These dangerous radionuclides are used as indicators but they are not the only ones. The spent fuel rods in the cooling pools lost their safety cover of water and they include isotopes of plutonium, uniquely produced in reactors, that are very poisonous and very long-lived.

 Attempts to play down the disaster do not convince. There is a danger of more hydrogen explosions, spewing radioactive materials into the air. There are about 60,000 tonnes of contaminated water in the basements of the reactor buildings that have to go somewhere. Ground water is contaminated. On the 18th April the company acknowledged it may take as long as 9 months to get the reactors ‘under control’, let alone encase buildings full of radioactive material. Traces of radioactive nucleids from the Fukushima catastrophe were found soon after the initial disaster as far away as Russia, the US and the UK.

25 years after the catastrophe at Chernobyl that reactor is still not safe. The sarcophagus over the tons of radioactive waste is cracked and billions of dollars are required to build a steel shell which will only hope to contain the radiation for a further 100 years.

Some governments, like Switzerland, Italy and Germany, are planning a measured exit from the sector under pressure from their public, but our Government has rushed out two reports to deny the health and safety risks inherent in nuclear power.

Dr Mike Weightman of the Government Health & Safety Executive, after an interim assessment, concluded that UK nuclear plants would not be exposed to the same extreme events as Japan, and Chris Huhne, who ordered the review, says ‘there is no reason why nuclear should not be part of our energy mix’ But there are many other risks to the security of nuclear installations; from malicious attack, human error, manufacturing defects and, of course, the impact of climate change on nuclear sites. New reactors and their radioactive waste stores will be located on coasts, vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding & storm surge. In contrast renewable energy does not have the high-impact threat of nuclear.

 And the nuclear industry’s past record is not reassuring. Between 2001 and 2008 there were 1,767 safety breaches at British nuclear plants. Half of these were considered by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to ‘have the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system’. In a leaked report to Ministers it was reported that there have been two radioactive waste spillages - at Sellafield and Torness - considered by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to ‘have the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system’, and a breakdown in an emergency cooling system at Hartlepool, in the first 3 months of 2011. A routine inspection on April 18th found a leak containing plutonium at a concentration exceeding the statutory limit by about five times at Sellafield. Stop the next generation of nuclear power stations with a blockade at Hinkley Point

Stop New Nuclear is a new campaign to stop new nuclear power stations in Britain. It is an alliance of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop Nuclear Power Network UK, Kick Nuclear, Stop Hinkley, Sizewell Blockaders, Shutdown Sizewell, South West Against Nuclear, and Trident Ploughshares. Our first focus is a big non-violent blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset on 3 October 2011.

Hinkley Point is the first of eight proposed sites for nuclear new build to go ahead. We stopped them here before, and we can do it again. If they fail at Hinkley, it is unlikely the “nuclear renaissance” will have the momentum to continue.

Email: campaign@stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Web: http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-New-Nuclear/228971750452013
Phone: 0845-2872381

April 2011

The Government has made radical changes to planning law to smooth the path for the nuclear power industry, while back-peddling on investment in renewable energy. The Nuclear Consultation Group (academics funded by the  Joseph Rowntree charitable Trust) is demanding a public inquiry into the government’s nuclear policies, pointing out that the consultation process which gives decisive powers to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change is flawed as he has already given a commitment to nuclear power.

At a workshop in Manchester organised by Nuclear Free Local Authorities in September 2009 we learnt of the hidden subsidies in the contracts with the power companies, the unreliability and untested nature of the ‘new build’ installations, the cost and time over-runs and the suppression of critical evidence. The Finnish nuclear safety authority has halted construction of the pilot European Pressurised Reactor because of safety concerns. A Cumbrian group spoke of a ‘pandemic of nuclear carelessness at Sellafield’ following further ‘level two’ radioactive leaks and delegates from Scotland and Wales had equally alarming examples of the appalling risks inherent in this rush to go ‘nuclear’.

In spite of  Liberal Democrat espousal of  ‘No Nuclear Power’ in opposition, on joining government they have broken  yet another pre-election promise. Initially claiming there would be no subsidies for the Nuclear industry they have quietly gone along with hidden subsidies, and rigging the market with promises of assured carbon prices to favour the nuclear industry and further eroding safeguards in the planning system.

Other information - No to nuclear power:

Listen to Ian Fairlie discussing the KIKK report, the new COMARE study which the government is sitting on, and some of the most relevant arguments against nuclear power in an interview with General Secretary Kate Hudson on CND's Reality Radio at http://realityradio.org.uk/09-02-11-interview-with-dr-ian-fairlie
Also No Need for Nuclear, set up last year, have website with really useful for information on cost and intermittency arguments among other things http://www.noneedfornuclear.org.uk

The Stop Nuclear Power Network and Kick Nuclear group are organising a teach-in skills share weekend near London on the 19/20th February to help people get active against nuclear power http://stopnuclearpower.blogspot.com/2011/02/nuclear-resistance-teach-in-and-skills.html

Read more about this subject by clicking here

Download Haunted by History: Nuclear New Build in Britain - Part 111: After Fukushima by clicking here

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