Thursday, 17 February 2011

France: The latest "Discovery" of a disturbing "anomaly" in a series of 34 reactors

Press Release / Sortir du nucléaire / Our press release from 11/02/2011
The news remained discreetly buried in the depths of the site of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN): Following recent studies, EDF has just "discovered" a disturbing "anomaly" standard on 34 of its reactors. In all reactors of 900 MW in case of major leakage from the  primary circuit, the water injection safety circuit  may be unable to prevent the meltdown of the reactor core.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) warns: "In an accident situation, for breach of certain sizes of primary pressure, the injection from the  high pressure safety system may not be sufficient enough to cool the reactor core" (i) ..
The water injection security system  is the only device that allows to delay a nuclear meltdown if there is a major leakage of primary circuit water. Its role is to inject massive quantities of boron water (ii) in this circuit to suppress the nuclear reaction and cool the core. 
So EDF has discovered this while the first series of 900 MW reactors have been running for over 30 years (iii), it is unable to assess whether the injected water through the system is uniformly distributed in the three loops of the primary circuit of the reactor; the ASN has admitted ,"it might not allow sufficient cooling of the reactor core" (iv).EDF has let 34 nuclear reactors run for a quarter of a century before to ensure the effectiveness of this primary prevention system against nuclear meltdown.
Why has this discovery occurred so late? It is extremely disturbing that a problem of this magnitude has been ignored for so long by EDF ...

The plants concerned are: Blaye (Gironde), Bugey (Ain), Chinon (Indre-et-Loire) Cruas (Ardèche), Dampierre (Loiret), Fessenheim (Haut-Rhin), Gravelines (Nord), Saint- Laurent des Eaux
(Loir-et-Cher), Tricastin (Drôme). Or all of the thirty four 900 MW nuclear reactors, some of which have already reached 30 years of operation.  EDF has put all its eggs in one basket, multiplying the risks as they go along....

Under the precautionary principle, the Network "Sortir du nucléaire" demands the closure of the reactors concerned. An accident caused by these "anomalies" would have catastrophic consequences. In a context where security concerns are increasing in recent years (v), this possibility must always be taken into account.  Especially considering that 21 reactors run on MOX fuel containing plutonium.

More than ever, the discovery of these failures shows vividly the need for a political energy transition  as quickly as possible, to finally get out of the French nuclear risk imposed on the population for decades.
In light of these security deficiencies, the Network "Sortir du nucléaire" has requested that the ASN plays its role, in requiring EDF, under the precautionary principle (vi), the closure without delay of the 34 reactors concerned.


i. Link to the opinion of the DSC security flaw:
ii. The borated water serves to moderate the nuclear reaction in the core.
iii. The first reactor of 900 MW was connected to the grid in April 1977, the Central Fessenheim (Alsace). The last of the 34 900 MW reactor was connected to the power grid in November 1987 at the Central Chinon (Indre-et-Loire).
v. Report "The view of the IRSN on the safety and radiation protection of French nuclear power plants in 2009"
vi. The precautionary principle is constitutional since the integration of the Environmental Charter into the Constitution in 2005.

No Nuke Dump Under Forests at Whinlatter

Published: February 17, 2011 10:34 by marianne

This Saturday from 1-3pm  there is a Rally at Whinlatter to Save the Forest.  It's heartening that celebrities and NGOs have tripped over each other to line up to save the forests from  government sell off.
Hearbreaking that there are no national NGOs and No celebrities lining up to encourage people to save the forests from having a high level nuke dump under them.

Where are Melvyn Bragg, Eric Robson, Chris Bonnington when you need them!!!

The proposed forest sell off is an excellent way for people to quite rightly get all steamed up under a banner that people feel comfortable with, while meanwhile.....

.....Allerdale  Borough Council have "expressed an interest" in a high level waste nuke dump in their area  - this  includes the area of Whinlatter.

Research shows that leaking low level nuclear dumps lead to foliage above the ground transpiring radioactive carbon and tritium.  What is proposed is a high level dump (or two) and the lakes geology is wonderfully

Campaigners working are all local volunteers - worryingly big NGO's have no concerted campaign on this.

We will be at Whinlatter with the NO NUKE DUMP petition - will have a banner and will be painting some red squirrels and have charcoals for people to do their own drawings.

ps:remember the Rusland Beeches campaign 15 years ago? No celebs lined to help - they were interested in helping ...-until being told that the trees were owned by the Lake District National Park with Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and others all supporting the National Park proposal for clearfelling -  ........the trees are still standing!! Links:


Energy bills to rise as nuclear gets £3.43bn for doing nothing

Treasury fail to stop rising energy bills as WWF and Greenpeace call for windfall tax on nuclear generators
Energy bills will rise because Government proposals will handover £3.43bn to nuclear generators for doing absolutely nothing different. The proposals to introduce a carbon floor price as part of the ongoing Electricity Market Reform (EMR) consultation could end up benefiting existing nuclear generators to the tune of £3.43bn between 2013 and 2026.
The windfall follows years of financial subsidies for nuclear energy (including a £10bn public bailout of British Energy in 2002) and makes a mockery of the Coalition government’s stated opposition to any form of public subsidy for nuclear. 
WWF and Greenpeace are urging the government to introduce a windfall tax on existing nuclear generators alongside the carbon floor price mechanism, that would be used to support energy efficiency and emerging renewable technologies through the Green Investment Bank.
The carbon floor price will operate as a tax on power companies with coal and gas-fired plants. As coal and gas are the dominant forms of power generation in the UK, the carbon floor price will have the effect of increasing the wholesale electricity price as a consequence of increasing the costs incurred by coal and gas-fired power stations.
Because existing nuclear power stations do not burn fossil fuels, they will not have to account for the carbon floor tax but will benefit from increased electricity prices and therefore increased profits. WWF and Greenpeace have obtained the data on potential windfall profits from the modelling work used to underpin the Treasury's consultation on the carbon floor price.
A carbon floor price reaching £40t/CO2 in 2020 (one of 3 options put forward in the carbon price support consultation) could result in windfall profits of £3.43bn over the 2013-2026 period, and £3bn until 2022. This is based on the average number of hours that the UK’s existing nuclear power stations are expected to operate at for the remainder of their operational life.
WWF and Greenpeace are calling for a windfall tax to be introduced to claw back these additional revenues. They also are arguing for a significant proportion of the revenues to be used to help consumers reduce their overall energy consumption and R&D investment in emerging renewable technologies possibly by channelling these funds to properly capitalise the Green Investment Bank.
Commenting on the proposals, Nick Molho, Head of Energy Policy, WWF-UK, said:
“At a time of fiscal austerity and rising energy bills, it seems crazy to be introducing a policy that gives huge windfall profits to the existing nuclear generators - especially when this sector has been bailed out by the taxpayer on several occasions in the past. The Government should find ways to prevent these windfall profits, and use the revenue to help householders reduce their energy needs.”
Dr Douglas Parr, Chief Scientific Adviser and Policy Director, Greenpeace UK said:
“This is yet another taxpayer handout to a failing nuclear industry. The economics of nuclear power have never added up and it has been continually propped up with money from hard-working families.

“The continued kowtowing of the Government to the nuclear industry beggars belief. Government policy should be backing the building of globally competitive industries based on clean, cutting-edge forms of energy and green growth, not an outdated industry that has never been able to stand on its own two feet.”

- Ends -

Editor's notes
1.       On nuclear, the Coalition Agreement states: “Lib Dems have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects and also provided that they receive no public subsidy. We will implement a process allowing the Lib Dems to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the Government to bring forward the NPS etc.” 

2.      Nuclear: A history of financial subsidies: The latest potential windfalls for existing nuclear generators are a reminder of how dependent this industry has always been on subsidies paid for by UK tax payers and electricity consumers. Billions of pounds of taxpayers money has already gone into supporting nuclear power. The idea that nuclear is a cheap energy source is wholly inaccurate.

·         In 1995 the Sizewell B nuclear power plant was completed at a cost to electricity consumers of more than £3bn, yet a year later when the newer nuclear plants were privatised as British Energy, it and seven other nuclear power plants of about the same size were sold for only about half this cost
·         In 2002, despite acquiring these eight plants for a fraction of their construction cost, British Energy went bankrupt and was saved only by the government committing £10bn of taxpayers’ money
·         The latest nuclear projects being built in Finland (currently 55% over budget and running 3 years late) and in France (€1bn over budget and running at least 2 years late) are the latest reminders that the costs of nuclear power stations remain extremely uncertain and very risky for consumers and tax payers.
3.      The Offshore Valuation Report recently prepared by government and major energy companies showed that by using just 29% of the UK’s offshore resource, the offshore renewables industry could allow the UK to become a next exporter of electricity by 2050, creating 145,000 jobs and £62bn of annual revenues in the process for the UK economy. This does not take into account other jobs that could be created through export opportunities.
4.      If everyone used natural resources and generated carbon emissions at the rate we do in the UK we would need three planets to support us. The way we live is leading to environmental threats such as climate change, species extinction, deforestation, water shortages and the collapse of fisheries. WWF’s One Planet Future Campaign is working to help people live a good quality of life within the earth’s capacity. For more information visit

For further information, please contact:

George Smeeton
WWF-UK tel: 01483 412 388, email:

Graham Thompson
Greenpeace UK tel: 020 7865 8255, email:

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Chernobyl birds have smaller brains

Another good reason to say NO to nuclear - while our brains are still big

Birds living around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have 5% smaller brains, an effect directly linked to lingering background radiation.
The finding comes from a study of 550 birds belonging to 48 different species living in the region, published in the journal PLoS One. Brain size was significantly smaller in yearlings compared to older birds. Smaller brain sizes are thought to be linked to reduced cognitive ability. The discovery was made by a team of researchers from Norway, France and the US led by Professor Timothy Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US, and Dr Anders Moller from the University of Paris-Sud, France.

Full article