Saturday, 1 August 2020

Nuclear secrecy and cover-ups are unacceptable

Two letters sent to the press from my hospital bed on Friday Ed Conway is so correct that that the U.K. would be so much better governed if its governance were more transparent and not so secretive. (“ Britain needs to cure its secrecy obsession," The Times, July 31; Tony Blair once said that the worst decision he took as Prime minister was to enact freedom of information legislation. He was wrong: the Freedom of Information Act 2000 was his best political legacy. But the Act does not go far enough. It has too many convenient exclusion clauses, allowing government departments and other public bodies to hide behind exclusion clauses to avoid disclosing Inconvenient information. I have been battling with nuclear regulators for nearly 12 months to secure release of details of its evaluation of a new sort of mini nuclear plant called a small modular reactor(SMR). Details of potential vendor designs have been withheld due to “ commercial confidentiality” and “ protection of international relations” exclusions. But surely if these designs are ever to be licensed for deployment in the U.K. they will require examination in detail in a public inquiry, so I can see no justification in keeping such details secret. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Your detailed report “ Ministers challenged in future of nuclear energy,“ Financial Times, 31 July 2020; ) rightly focuses on whether nuclear power is any longer regarded as an essential strategic infrastructure asset by British ministers, or is perceived, especially by the Treasury, as an atomic albatross around the neck of a new, nimble and flexible energy policy. Just this week Electricite de France (EdF), the parent company of EdF, constructors and co-financiers ( with another foreign company, China General Nuclear) of the £24 billion Hinkley Point C (twin reactor)nuclear power plant, have been fined €6,000,000 for telling lies to the French authorities about the development of the plant. While the fine is a small percentage of the cost of constructing the plant, it is a significant dent in the corporate reputation of EdF. EdF has also Ben less than candid in accurately reporting the impact of the Coronacrisis on the construction of this plant. In late March, photographs were covertly taken off several breaches of safe-spacing by construction workers queuing to enter via security controls and exiting the HPC construction area. Similar pictures were taken of over congestion inside the works canteen . EdF asserted to regulators they had sorted this out, but insiders have made clear to local campaigners of the Stop Hinkley! group that this is not the case. Moreover, many HPC workers living in dormitory accommodation have breached regulations covering out door gatherings by reportedly holding ( alcoholic) drinks parties in public spaces of the communities near the plant. EdF made the boastful promise a decade ago that it would be generating electricity from HPC by two years ago cooking the Christmas turkeys for millions of households. The only turkey cooked at HPC is itself. It has prove a technical, logistical and disaster, with a seemingly never ending cost escalation( already more than double its original projected cost) The Government should cut the growing loses of this atomic white elephant and cancel it, along with the other two new nuclear plants at Sizewell C and Bradwell B both involving EdF and CGN, which doubles up as a nuclear weapons builder for Beijing.

No comments:

Post a Comment