Sunday, 31 July 2016

Terror threat underpins Prime Minister May's atomic concerns‏

Letter sent to The New York Times

Your report headed "French Utility to Build Britain’s First Nuclear Plant in Years," July 29  misleads as it ignores the important delay announced by Prime Minister Theresa May  on the same day as the applicant utility company, EDF Energy, gave the green light to start the project.

Mrs May’s chief policy advisor Nick Timothy has  already raised security concerns (“The Government is selling our national security to China; October  20, 2015;
On July 13 , in a coruscating critique of the ballooning costs and unreliability of UK nuclear power, the British national financial watchdog, the National Audit Office issued report Nuclear power in the UK, (HC 511 SESSION 2016-17), in which it include the following observation in a section headed The challenges of nuclear power at para 2.11 “There are specific challenges in ensuring that nuclear power is on an equal footing in the market with other low-carbon technologies:  Nuclear power plants have very high upfront costs and take a long time to build. Costs have increased in recent years given the extra safety considerations following the Fukushima disaster and increasing terrorist threats. (
A week earlier, on July 7,  the official British nuclear safety and security regulator, The Office for Nuclear Regulation, published its  annual progress report. In a section headed  Civil Nuclear Security (pages 37-38) it revealed : “Overall, the civil nuclear sector met its security obligations. There are areas where the dutyholder’s security arrangements  did not fully meet regulatory expectations. (emphasis added) (
ONR has declined to elaborate what the problem is, on security grounds.
In Europe too, the nuclear terrorist spectre has been recently raised  by Europol, the EU’s  Dutch-based  counter- terror agency. In its annual report issued on July 20 it revealed under the chapter headed Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) substances: Nuclear power plants and nuclear weapon facilities in the EU also remain potential targets for terrorists.”
With the latest series of serious European terrorist attacks in France and Germany, Mrs May is surely being prudent.

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