Thursday, 9 December 2010

A cry from the heart about the destruction caused by nuclear new build

" Dear Sirs

I will be as brief as I can be in telling a complex story that I hope you will consider worth pursuing on any one of the issues that arise from it.

I will not pretend that I am writing exclusively to you; rather, I am writing to all and sundry on behalf of the small hamlets of Shurton, Burton and Wick and by extension, every hamlet in the country in the hope that, as one neighbour put it, “we might find ourselves to be rather more than a few voices crying in the wilderness of injustice that EDF are currently proposing to create”.

This area of West Somerset is unassuming, virtually unknown and simply, magically beautiful apart from the two nuclear power stations that squat on the coast.  A third is proposed, not least because the population already lives with the first two.  The early stages of EdF’s proposals were not resisted, partly because people felt that they had no choice and that the new station would be like the first two.  It was thought that local benefits might accrue to the host parish and the county, but as the true extent of the development and the crushing, barely mitigated impact on the locality was revealed, the residents have turned from resignation and acceptance to horror and antipathy. 

Much of the blame for this can be laid at EdF’s door.  The consultation process has failed to give the detail an informed response requires and it has ignored local feedback (as all the official responses from Local Government confirm).  The company has resisted all efforts made by local people to engage with them at anything other than the most superficial level.  The company’s representatives do this with consummate charm and very sophisticated PR support but nobody is fooled that any real modification to the company’s original scheme is contemplated.

In effect, these three small hamlets on the southern boundary of the proposed development will be crushed.  Their way  of life will vanish over-night and for ten years or more they will be marooned in a noisy, dusty, polluted and spot-lit industrial wasteland, with little more than the qualified offer of double-glazing to off-set the damage, all for the sake of what the IPC may identify as “over-riding public interest”.

It is not just us.  The rest of the county will suffer as well to a lesser but still damaging degree.  Whitehall is watching.  We are the first in the country; what happens here will happen everywhere that new nuclear power stations are proposed.   If we - few in number, far from wealthy, and without spheres of influence - cannot make our voices heard, other communities will be compromised from the outset.

Now, before the main submission to the IPC has been submitted, let alone granted, EdF proposes to begin ‘preliminary works’.  It hopes to do this beginning in March 2011.  It seeks to uproot hedgerows and copses over 500 acres, fill in a valley, excavate and level the coastal hinterland, build a massive jetty next to a fossil beach, drive roads across fields and pile mountains of spoil around the hamlets, all before the design of the reactor is approved, let alone the development itself.  The company says that if it fails to get planning permission from the IPC and the Secretary of State, it will ‘restore’ what it has destroyed. We wonder how.

There are so many issues that we wish the national press would take up – political, economic, social and community, manipulation and management of public awareness, heritage and culture, the environment.   If the country is complacent about nuclear power, it should not be complacent about nor ignorant of the true cost. 

Please get in touch, if only to discover whether or not there is anything more in this that your paper could use to sell copies.  We will organize access to all the information and support you might want. EdF of course will fall over itself to tell you how wonderful it is.

Yours sincerely 
Lesley Flash 
Myrtle Farm, Shurton, Stogursey, Somerset TA5 1QE   01278 732417"

Uranium Price surges as Beijing goes nuclear

How cheap will it be to run nuclear plants as China and India begin a huge expansion of nuclear new build?

We are already seeing a huge rise in the price of uranium, before they even begin their building programme. But as "good" sources of uranium (i.e. 0.1%) run out and mining companies are forced to mine rock with a far lower yield, costs will spiral.

Mark Robinson in Investors Chronicle said on the 8th Dec
"Spot prices for uranium have recently bubbled up to around the $67 (£42.38) mark following confirmation that China's plans for its nuclear industry are far more ambitious than previously thought. At the recent International Nuclear Symposium held in Beijing, Chinese authorities announced that the People's Republic intended to construct up to 245 reactors over the next 20 years , at a projected cost of $511bn (£323bn).
China's ambitious urbanisation programme, coupled with unrelenting industrial demand, have placed great strain on its existing power infrastructure. Currently it is reliant on coal-fired power stations for 65 per cent of its energy needs, but as demand steadily rises, the country is facing the prospect of perpetual energy deficits unless alternate sources are brought on stream.  
By 2020, it is estimated that China will require at least 35 per cent of the world’s current output of uranium ore, and that’s before the majority of the new reactors come on stream. Other countries, such as India, are also determined to expand nuclear capacity.
The recent hike in the spot price for uranium means it has now risen around 45 per cent since the start of this year. And come 2013, the supply of 'above-ground' uranium that has come from the gradual decommissioning of a vast arsenal of Sovier-era missiles will cease. That could throw the underlying supply-demand picture into sharp relief and have significant implications for the spot price."