for photographs to illustrate our response to the consultation on
Post-2025 Nuclear Sites policy, we came across many illustrations
provided by NuGen in support of their "Moorside" site. What
is most notable is that they all seem to show only the main
site. There are no depictions of the true impact of the
proposed development: the massive pylons - which seem to
embarrass even the National Grid staff we spoke to at Beckermet reading
rooms a while back, no illustrations of cooling systems which may
include towers akin to those demolished at the Sellafield site across
the road. No apparent acceptance that all the enhancements
being put forward by the clever executives are not necessary other than
to mask the ugliness and risk that emanate from building the site in
the first place. There would be no need for all the massive
road/rail/environment "enhancements" without "Moorside".
Yet, despite the implied necessity for "Moorside", the area has coped
very well without NuGen and its impositions. It is very easy to
distort perspective. The use of a suitable camera angle can
include or exclude items which might embarrass if included;
whilst low camera angles can make things appear higher than they
would in reality and the converse with high camera angles. We
note the use of this subtle ruse in several of the pro-NuGen graphics,
as well as with the artist's impression of the new design pylons.
As an aside, we like to suggest that most of the scenery in
Canada is actually hidden by the vast number of trees. Almost
every picture promoting the scenic value is taken from above tree
height. Could this be where the nuclear industry got the idea?
We used this in our original illustration of the AP1000 reactor, to match the style of the "Toytown" depiction above.
Presumably a style used by the developers to enable the capture of the hearts if not the minds of children.
We are most concerned - almost amused - by the suggestion of a water
park, with designs illustrating massive fountains and huge pools, when
just across the road, Sellafield produces and discharges tritium which
has a natural affinity with water with which it combines readily to
form tritiated water. By deploying the spoil from their
excavations, it is proposed to "mitigate" some aspects of the huge
development by building artificial hills and bumps, which can then be
turned into some sort of theme park, complete with visitor centre.
What did happen to Sellafield's Visitor Centre? There
seems to be a possibility that the removed soil and rock could be
contaminated - as is the case just across the road, there may be a
different type of souvenir on offer. Given the exposed nature of
the site, and judging by our experiences of Braystones, there also
seems to be a danger that nature will object to the imposition and
attempt to level things off again.
However, perhaps other attractions could include the amusing
pastime? Here's a clue to the possible finds:
concentrations of Cs-137, tritium, Tc-99, Pu-239+240 and Am-241 in
representative materials from the Irish Sea were investigated with
reference to continuing remobilisation from sediments.
Artificial radionuclides in the Irish Sea from Sellafield:
remobilisation revisited. Hunt J1, Leonard K, Hughes L
Long time series of monitoring data since the 1960s were
employed.Cs-137 in sea water and fish shows peaks in concentrations
normalised to discharge rate (NACs) from 1985 to 1989. This is
consistent with the time needed for dispersion in sea water following
the preceding reductions in discharges; continuing enhancements of NACs
above pre-1970s levels follow, consistent with the effect of activity
remobilised from sediment.
It is estimated that about 300 TBq of Cs-137 was remobilised from the immediate tidal area around Sellafield from 1989 to 2009.
The enhancements in concentrations continue to this day, with the
effect of remobilisation at present being ~6 TBq y(-1), approximately
doubling the effect of direct discharges.
To provide an indication for the future, the rate of Cs-137
remobilisation is decreasing with a half-time of ~6 years. The
data for tritium and Tc-99 were examined in view of the interest in
these radionuclides. The concentrations broadly reflect the levels of
discharges and the need for dispersion.
As expected, there is no evidence of sustained remobilisation of
tritium, due to its mobility (or low Kd). The same lack of evidence was
found to apply for Tc-99 despite known sorption of a small proportion
of the discharged activity by Irish Sea sediments.Pu-239+240, by
contrast, shows much evidence of the effect of remobilisation;
concentrations in sea water near Sellafield have reduced much more
slowly than discharges. At Southerness, ~50 km away, there was no
significant reduction in sea water concentrations from 1985 to 1996,
and winkles showed an increase then decrease in concentrations over
this period, consistent with a spreading of activity. This effect was
replicated in mud at Garlieston, ~70 km from Sellafield.For Am-241, the
rate of grow-in from Pu-241 has dominated direct discharges since the
Grow-in continues today in the Irish Sea at the rate of ~8 TBq y(-1),
~200 times the rate of direct discharge. Winkles at Southerness show
evidence of a spreading effect of Am-241, with an increase then
decrease from 1985 to 1996. At Garlieston there was an increase
in concentrations in mud from 1985 to 1997, and at Carlingford in
Northern Ireland the concentration of Am-241 in mud appears to be
increasing still. This effect of the spread of activity
away from Sellafield may continue, at least in the near future.
the proposed hillocks and mounds, presumably what NuGen consider to be
mitigating features, will be comprised of soil and rocks which have
been exposed to Sellafield's pollution:
It is noteworthy, of course, that the slide depicted and the quantities
of polluted materials is in addition to the vast quantities of other
dangerous materials on the site. The above reference also
included the following information, which seems rather relevant to the
depth to bedrock beneath the superficial deposits varies from 3m to 60m
due to the presence of "channels" in the buried bedrock surface,
probably representing pre-glacial valleys that were infilled with
sediments during the Ice Age. The main buried channel or
valley lies to the north west of the site, roughly associated with the
route of the River Ehen. A side buried channel from this
extends east to run under the Separation Area in the middle of the
site. These channel features are possibly partially aligned
with faults or zones of weakness in the bedrock, and the top of the
sandstone generally can be weathered and in place broken up."
reprocessing is going to cease, the waste containment functions of
Sellafield will continue for another 110 years at an estimated cost of
up to £162 billion - at today's estimate. Then of course
there are the delays and breakdowns, inflation, etc. The true
cost is likely to increase at least in line with inflation.
state of the Sellafield site has been discussed in scores of critical
reports by various Commons Committees, by the NAO, by commissioned
consultancies, and by many environmental groups. Also by reports
from several European Governments, by the HSE, by RWMAC, and not least
by several TV programmes in the 1990s alleging political dirty tricks
and manipulation of Government Ministers. The latter being a
point we laboured in our submission to the NPS consultation on
Post-2025 1GW reactor siting.
Nuclear Management Partners stated in 2012:
is a mass of very hazardous [nuclear] waste onsite in storage
conditions that are extraordinarily vulnerable, and in facilities that
are well past their designated life."
The National Audit Office (NAO) stated "these tanks pose significant risks to people and the environment".
One official review published in The Lancet concluded that, at
worst, an explosive release from the tanks could kill two million
Britons and require the evacuation of an area reaching from Glasgow to
Liverpool. These dangerous tanks have also been the subject of
repeated complaints from Ireland and Norway who fear their countries
could be contaminated if explosions or fires were to occur.
Dr. Ian Fairlie.
Again we have to ask whether it is prudent to be planning to buld within the safety zone of such a plant?
Oct 23,2001, a report commissioned by the European Parliament’s
Scientific and Technological Option Assessment Committee, as part of an
ongoing inquiry into possible toxic effects of nuclear reprocessing at
these plants, said the level of radioactivity released into the
environment from the plants corresponded to “a large-scale
nuclear accident every year”. The report, "Possible Toxic
Effects from the Nuclear Reprocessing Plants at Sellafield (UK) and Cap
de la Hague (France)", was written by antinuclear campaigners
too, is the number of large companies lining up with fairly advanced
plans to be involved in the proposed construction at
"Moorside". From architects to landscape designers the list
is endless. How many of these companies and individuals
will be affected by their designs, or will suffer financially should
the project not be forthcoming? Still, in their latest
propaganda sheet, NuGen CEO Tom Samson said:
come a long way from the uncertain early months of 2017, when events
unconnected with the Moorside Project caused NuGen’s parent
companies to take a decision to leave the project, and sell the
company. Now, the certainty increases by the day as Toshiba, NuGen
and KEPCO move steadily towards concluding a deal which will see the
South Korean utility become the shareholder of NuGen."
Sorry? "Events unconnected with the Moorside
Project"? Is he referring to the deliberate, long-term
falsification of accounts by the main Moorside partner, Toshiba,
followed by their application for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in
America. How convenient to just wipe such corruption from
the record in a nice bland way. After all, Toshiba is the
sole remaining backer for NuGen since Engie backed out when Toshiba
filed for bankruptcy.
Other observers are somewhat more cynical:
consortium behind the plans to build a giant 3.8GW nuclear power plant
in Moorside in Cumbria was forced to defend the future of the
£10bn project after the Japanese conglomerate said it would scale
back its work outside of Japan after booking a 712.5bn yen (£5bn)
writedown in its nuclear power business."
No mention either of the withdrawal of other major contributors who have seen the folly of the project:
NuGen venture has been dogged by setbacks since it was formed in 2010
by SSE, GDF Suez and Iberdrola, targeting first power in 2023. SSE
withdrew a year later, selling its 25pc stake to the other two
partners, before cash-strapped Spanish utility Iberdrola quit in 2013,
selling its 50pc stake to Toshiba."
Nothing to do with us, guv, honest. We've never met him.
Energy Act 2008 stipulates that plant operators are required to submit
a Funded Decommissioning Programme (FDP) before construction on a new
nuclear power station is allowed to commence. The Funded
Decommissioning Programme must contain detailed and costed plans for
decommissioning, waste management and disposal. The government
will set a fixed unit price for disposal of intermediate-level wastes
and used fuel, which will include a significant risk premium and
escalate with inflation. During plant operation, operators will
need to set aside funds progressively into a secure and independent
fund. Ownership of wastes will transfer to the government
according to a schedule to be agreed as part of the programme.
Source of table: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/united-kingdom.aspx
is difficult to see how anyone can assess decommissioning costs 50
years in advance. Waste management costs seem similarly fraught,
whilst waste disposal is impossible - leastways until such time as a
viable method of safe disposal has been devised. Is shoving it
all down a leaky hole good enough? They haven't even managed to
find anywhere to do that yet! We aren't scientists, but seem to
recall being told that glass is not a solid, but a liquid. Not a
very viscous liquide, but liquid nonetheless. We were told about
the varying thickness of medieval window glass that was thicker at the
bottom than the top as a result of that viscosity. The time
period being around three or four hundred years. How much
distortion can be expected in the stored materials and how long before
the containers corrode sufficiently to permit egress of the contents? Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/02/14/toshiba-takes-5bn-nuclear-writedown-chairman-resigns/
There is surely a difference between putting a gloss on something and
deliberately misleading people? Then again, this isn't the first
time that the industry has set out to promote itself by ignoring or
distorting reports of bad news.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014
Elsewhere we find that :
Some of the key features of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, 2014, include:
• Declining role.
Nuclear power’s share of global commercial
primary energy production declined from the 2012 low of 4.5%, a level
last seen in 1984, to a new low of 4.4%.
The average age of the world’s operating
nuclear reactors to increase and by mid-2014 stood at 28.5 years.
• Construction Delays.
At least 49—including three quarters of the
Chinese projects—of the total of 69 construction sites have
encountered delays, many of them multi-annual. Construction of two
units in Taiwan was halted.
• Project Cancellations.
Several projects have been cancelled and new programs indefinitely delayed, including in the Czech Republic and in Vietnam.
• Operating Costs Soar.
Nuclear generating costs jumped by 16 percent in
real terms in three years in France, and several units are shut down in
the U.S. because income does not cover operating costs.
The economic survival of nuclear plants is also threatened in Belgium, Germany and Sweden.
• Renewables vs. Nuclear.
In 2013 alone, 32 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 37 GW
of solar were added to the world power grids. By the end of
2013, China had 91 GW of wind power and 18 GW of solar capacity
solar exceeding for the first time operating nuclear
capacity. China added four times more solar than nuclear
capacity in the past year, and Spain generated more power from wind
any other source, outpacing nuclear for the first
time. It is also the first time that wind has become the
largest electricity generating source over an entire year in any
country. Spain has thus joined
the list of nuclear countries that produce more
electricity from new renewables - excluding large hydro-power - than
from nuclear power that includes Brazil, China, Germany, India and
Source: The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 Mycle Schneider Consulting Project.
The fuill report can be found at: https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/IMG/pdf/201408msc-wnisr-exec-summary.pdf
It makes for an interesting counterpoint to the propaganda from
the vested interests of the nuclear industry and government.
Crystal Ball or Just a Guess?
Using a selective interpretation of some YouGov statistics, the above
document seeks to justify its pro-nuclear stance. A lovely
July 2012 a YouGov survey found that 63% of Britons supported the use
of nuclear power, and only 22% opposed building new plants on
brownfield sites. Twice as many supported electricity market reform
as opposed it (35% and 18% respectively) and interest in global warming
was low – 59% compared with 72% in 2008. A YouGov survey in October
2012 found that 40% of the 1734 people polled felt that the UK
government should use more nuclear power than at present, up from 35%
in November 2011. Maintaining current levels was preferred by 21%,
while 20% felt that there should be less nuclear power than at present
(down from 27% in 2011). 54% of men, and only 26% of women, felt that
there should be more nuclear. Of women, 23% supported the status quo,
25% called for a reduction in nuclear and 25% were unsure. Apart from
nuclear, 72% were in favour of increasing solar provision, 55% in
favour of more wind farms, and 45% wanted less coal-fired generation.
63% of Britons - really? How was this survey
conducted? YouGov are mainly an on-line polling
company. What was the sample size? Was every
British citizen's opinion sought or were the sample results merely
extrapolated - a completely different proposition? We must
be deemed either to be non-Britons or extra-terrestial, as we have
never been asked, neither have any of our acquaintances.
How did they obtain the data sources to permit them to contact
everyone? How did they contact foreign residents from
Britain? Did they genuinely contact all 65, 500,000
Britons? What was the specific question asked of all these
people and who framed it? In Cumbria we have seen some
classic examples of questions framed by the nuclear supporters that
produce an answer to a rather different question to that actually
posed, the result being deemed to be in favour of the nuclear industry,
of course. How were the credentials of respondents
confirmed? Was there any check on veracity of the findings,
or the integrity of those consulted? How did they confirm
the responses to even the basic question of male/female?
What about "others"? Above all, what does the matter of gender
Does the statement that 40% of the 1734 people polled [actually just
693.6 people - which equates to a mere 0.00001% of the population
- hardly representative or meaningful at all] felt that the UK
government should use more nuclear power than at present truly support
the planned expansion? Turn that around and one could
equally as well state that 60% did not feel that the UK government
should use more nuclear power than at present. The disparity
between this 40% and the 72% said to be in favour of solar, the 55% and
45% should surely indicate to the government that the alternative
methods of generation are more popular. Does this
misrepresentative sample suggest anything like a full
consultation? Over how long was the consultion
spread? Where did the consultees live? Had they
been questioned about their experiences of radiation-exposure related
health problems? Were they aware of the problems of waste
disposal, or the finfancial implications of nuclear expansion, or had
they been taken in by the kind of superficiality of data that this
survey so adequately exemplifies? The fluctuation in views
only demonstates the weaknesses of such surveys. Only by
questionning every citizen following an adequate explanation of the
facts can credence be given to the results, yet the government are
relying on such flawed data to formulate policies which will have
repercussions for thousands of years in the future.
As Mark Twain said, "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as
you please". The nuclear industry's questionnaires merely add to
the distortion by sharp practice and "clever" formulation of questions.
Read Between the Lines
his very interesting website, Dr. Fairlie examines the employment
opportunities within the nuclear industry and illustrates the
misconceptions arising as a result of what we are led to believe and
the reality. The number of jobs which NuGen will be able to
provide seem to range between 600 and 20,000. A lot of people
will need to be brought into Cumbria to cope with the demand, and wages
will have to be high. Have they factored this into their sums?
Dr. Fairlie explains:
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for 2014 indicated only
15,500 direct jobs in nuclear power compared with 43,500 direct jobs in
renewables – i.e. renewable energy companies provided
about three times more direct jobs than nuclear.
is important as a few large trade unions and the TUC use the jobs
argument as their main reason for defending nuclear power. These
unions influence Labour Party policies.
the ONS published a new updated study “UK environmental accounts:
Low carbon and renewable energy economy survey, final estimates:
study reveals that in 2015 the number of full-time equivalent (FTE)
direct jobs in nuclear had declined to 12,400, while the number of FTE
direct jobs in the renewable forms of electricity generation had
increased to 48,900 – in total about four times more than in
nuclear. The disparity between them is increasing.
These data are not printed physically in the report, but they are
electronically. Go to Figure 2 in the online version of the ONS
report and place one’s cursor on the relevant bars of the
histogram. The revealed percentage figures can easily be
converted to absolute numbers.]
the ONS figure for nuclear energy is inaccurate and misleading, as
about 9,400 of the 12,400 nuclear workers do not produce electricity at
all. They are engaged at Sellafield in Cumbria, mostly in
nuclear reprocessing. The reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is
a filthy, dangerous, polluting and essentially useless activity which
produces no electricity: instead, it consumes a great deal of it.
Reprocessing accounts for much of NDA’s annual operating
bill of approximately £3 billion for which taxpayers pick up the
In round terms, in 2015 nuclear electricity generation provided about
3,000 direct jobs and the renewable electricity generation provided
about 49,000 direct jobs, i.e. about 16 times more.