Saturday, 18 February 2012

Nuclear Secrets

Published: 17th February 2012

A HEALTH and safety boss has lost a secret report on a nuclear power station — that could find its way into the hands of terrorists.

The extraordinary blunder is a deep embarrassment to the Government — with the PM planning to talk up nuclear safety TODAY.
The "stress test" report into weaknesses at the Hartlepool plant was illicitly downloaded on to a USB memory stick and then mislaid while the official was at a nuclear conference in India.
It contained sensitive technical details and maps of the power station.
The loss was considered so serious that ministers were immediately informed.
The culprit was a senior inspector at the Health and Safety Executive, working for one of its agencies, the Office for Nuclear Regulation. Last night an ONR spokesman said: "The use of unencrypted USB pen drives is not permitted by ONR for transporting documents with a security classification."
Action has been taken against the inspector but last night the Health and Safety Executive refused to say whether he was still employed by them.

'Stress test' ... Hartlepool nuclear power station
'Stress test' ... Hartlepool nuclear power station
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said: "The safety of the UK's nuclear industry is of paramount importance. It is extremely disturbing that sensitive information about a UK nuclear power station has been lost overseas. I will be urgently writing to the Energy Secretary to get answers."
The latest in a series of data loss blunders is revealed as David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy share a platform in Paris today to champion nuclear power to Europe's doubters.

Concerned ... Caroline Flint
Concerned ... Caroline Flint
At the Anglo-French summit, they will announce how their governments will work together on civil nuclear projects and safety initiatives. But in a further shaming for British diplomats in Paris, the Hartlepool plant is owned by FRENCH firm EDF.
All of Britain's ten operating nuclear power stations were ordered to carry out the urgent safety tests following the Fukushima disaster in Japan 11 months ago. Hartlepool is one of the biggest.
Last night an EDF spokeswoman said any safety or security concerns sparked by the data stick loss were not "significant".
The ONR also insisted the stick had no "significantly" sensitive information on it. But officials confirmed the full report — later published in redacted form — is not the sort of thing they want in the public domain.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

DECC's nuclear cops spend £1m on weapons, ammo... and a new tank

by ClickGreen staff. Published Sat 11 Feb 2012 12:00, Last updated: 2012-02-11
£78.5 million bill to guard nuclear energy sites
£78.5 million bill to guard nuclear energy sites
A DECC quango has spent over £1 million on stockpiling weapons, ammunition and vehicles as it guards the nation's civil nuclear energy sites against attack.

The shocking figures were discovered within an annual budget of nearly £80 million that is operated by the eight-man Civil Nuclear Police Authority.

The panel was set up in 2004 to govern the work of the UK's Nuclear Police Constabulary but because it's a quango, it's spending is not scrutinised in the normal way by the National Audit Office but by accountancy firm KPMG.

The vast spending bill, which includes £14,000 for bottled water, is underwritten by DECC but paid for by the nuclear energy industry, which in turn is recovered through consumers' bills.

Analysis of the accounts, shows that the £14k water bill is part of a larger £781,000 spend on “subsistence” - and the overall 25-year cost for providing round-the-clock armed protection is more than double the entire Feed-in Tariff budget.

According to the CNPA's latest set of accounts, the authority this year has an annual budget of £78.5 million, which it uses to pass on to the nuclear site police force it independently governs.

The Nuclear Constabulary is responsible solely for safeguarding civil nuclear energy locations and material and is not involved in defence-related work and the majority of its officers are allowed to carry weapons as Authorised Firearms Officers.

As part of its remit, the agency is required to recover its full operating costs from the licensed operators of the UK's civil nuclear locations.

The audited accounts reveal the costs incurred last year by the police squad include £174,000 for an armoured vehicle, £674,000 for 22 replacement vehicles and £613,000 for a new control room.

The DECC-run body says it has “committed additional funds to increasing tactical and marksmanship skills” and its budget reveals around £435,000 was spent last year on weapons, spares and ammunition.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince told GreenWeek the budget highlighted the recent differences exploited between the nuclear and green energy industries.

He added: "With plenty of talk recently from the pro nuclear, anti renewables lobby, about the hidden costs of green energy - it's interesting to note that we Britons stump up some £80 million a year to 'protect' nuclear sites - to the UK's Nuclear Police Constabulary - yes they have their own Police force.

“That sum is of course dwarfed by the nearly £3 billion a year being spent right now on the clean up of nuclear waste - something set to continue for the next hundred years or so.

“Compared to that the costs of green energy support are truly microscopic... and no policemen required of course."

Full story can be found at:

Thursday, 9 February 2012

India's Nuclear Madness: 560 Million at Risk

Arun Shrivastava   Feb-02-2012 10:43  

Narora nuclear power plant is 93 kilometers east of Delhi; Tarapur and Madras stations are closer to Bombay and Chennai, respectively.

(NEW DELHI, India) - When mad men and women run the world, to be sane is dangerous. An American psychologist Dr. Harvey Cleckley, professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Medical College of Georgia, wrote ‘The Mask of Sanity’ published in 1941. In this book Dr. Cleckley talks of psychopathic personalities, humans that are without conscience. But we are confronted with men and women who decimate societies; they are not  psychopaths who kill a few individuals; they are sociopaths who kill entire societies.
The Indian Government operates 20 nuclear reactors at seven locations in India; the contentious Koodankulum has yet to go critical. These are located in northern, western and southern parts of  India in an arc of nuclear apocalypse. The reactors operate under ‘OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT,’ colonial India's anti-espionage act to protect and preserve British annexation of India, that states that one cannot approach, inspect, or even pass over a prohibited government site or area. The nuclear reactors operate on prohibited government area and hence common citizens are barred from entering, inspecting or even asking the questions from the forecourt attendant.
India is 1/3 the size of the USA with three times as many people; nine times as densely populated as the USA.  These reactors are all located close to densely populated urban regions and close to natural water bodies like rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Fukushima or Chernobyl in India
Let us assume the worst case scenario that one of these stations with their cluster of encased bombs blows up a la Fukushima. Note that the Japanese Government has behaved in the most criminal manner by withholding information from its people. They had known the consequences and had prepared an evacuation plan for Tokyo last year. Now, Tokyo is about 206 kilometers from Fukushima.
Narora nuclear power plant is 93 kilometers east of Delhi; Tarapur and Madras stations are closer to Bombay and Chennai, respectively.
In case of a major accident in any of the stations, 26 to 154 million people will be affected or need to be evacuated. {Table 1] Over half a billion are endangered living on borrowed time.
Table 1 Nuclear power stations Population within 250 kilometer radius
1 Narora Atomic Power Station   154,252,500
2 Rajasthan Atomic Power Station  39,250,000
3 Tarapur Atomic Power Station  118,044,375
4 Kakrapar Atomic Power Station   54,753,750
5 Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant   80,462,500
6 Madras Atomic Power Station   89,097,500
7 Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant   25,905,000
Grand total  561,765,625
Data from Chernobyl suggests that vast swathe of lands will remain uninhabitable for at least 600 years. Pripyat city remains highly radioactive today, no one can live there. Where the millions living in Delhi, Bombay or Chennai would be relocated? Can India afford the cost of 40-50 million mega city relocation?
We know that no reactor is safe and they all leak low level radiation. Most vulnerable are people downwind of the reactors. But we in India have both easterly and westerly, strong surface winds. So people all around are continuously exposed to low dosing of radiation. Is it causing the massive growth in abortions, pre-mature births, birth defects and an explosive growth in diabetes and cancers among the adults? Or, is the low dosing making us healthier as claimed by post-Fuku Japanese Government shills and Indian and American perps? The people will soon know and then rat holes will be in short supply.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

New energy secretary’s appointment underlines unhealthy relationshipbetween government and nuclear sector

Anti-nuclearcampaigners have slammed the decision to appoint Ed Davey as the new Energy andClimate Change Secretary as further evidence of the unhealthily closerelationship between the government and the nuclear energy sector.

Campaign group,Kick Nuclear, has learned that Davey’s brother, Henry, is a partner at HerbertSmith, a law firm that has a long-standing relationship with the nuclear giantEDF Energy. Herbert Smith’s website declares that it is, ‘proud to be at thevanguard of next generation nuclear in the UK’.

Kick Nuclearspokesperson, Nancy Birch, said EDF Energy’s official and unofficial influencewithin government is extremely worrying. She said: ‘Davey’s brother advised EDFon trading contracts relating to the company’s acquisition of British Energy in2008.  Herbert Smith has sinceworked with EDF to gain development consent for the construction and operationof a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Only yesterday EdDavey made a dramatic U-turn by declaring he is now pro-nuclear. The connectionwith his brother’s professionals interests is simply too close for comfort.’

It is becomingincreasingly clear that the nuclear sector  - and EDF Energy in particular – has an excessive influenceon the energy agenda both within Whitehall and Westminster. An independentreport launched last week by Unlock Democracy and The Association for theConservation of Energy, claims the government’s own data has been skewed tosupport the ‘new nuclear’ option. The report concludes: ‘Either it’s amonumental series of mistakes or the ‘nuclear lobby’ has got control of theWhitehall machine.’

Since the lastgeneral election, EDF executives have met government ministers on six occasionsto discuss energy policy and related issues. Only last June, The Guardiannewspaper accused government officials of colluding with nuclear companies,including EDF Energy, to play down the effects of the Fukushima nuclearaccident in Japan.

Anti-nuclearcampaigners’ concerns were also heightened during Gordon Brown’s premiership whenit transpired that his brother, Andrew, was head of EDF’s media strategy. Kick Nuclear isnow calling for an independent inquiry into the nuclear lobby’s influence onenergy policy.  Nancy Birchconcluded: ‘There is growing evidence that the ‘new nuclear’ option is neithersafe nor affordable. It’s time for the public to stand up and say we don’t buythe nuclear greenwash. Germany is showing that we can have a nuclear-freefuture that is affordable and environmentally sound. New nuclear will takeinvestment away from truly renewable forms of energy and drag us backward intonuclear dependence.’

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Anti nuclear protestors attacked at TIRUNELVELI: South India

Feb 01, 2012 at 07:48am IST
Anti-KKNPP ativists attacked
Express News Service

TIRUNELVELI: Tension gripped areas around the Collectorate here on Tuesday following an attack on anti-Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Project (KKNPP) protestors.
The vehicle of the protestors was also damaged in the attack. As many as 14 members of the Hindu Munnani were arrested in connection with the incident. The fourth round of talks between the Central Expert Committee and the nominees of the State panel from the anti-KKNPP protest committee, was scheduled for 11 am. Led by convener A E Muthunayagam, the Central panel arrived at the Collectorate before the scheduled time.

Meanwhile, Hindu Munnani state vice president V P Jayakumar, who was accompanied by his outfit members, was addressing journalists in front of the Collectorate. This was when anti-KKNPP protest leaders Pushparayan, M P Jesuraj and the PMANE’s S P Udayakumar, arrived at the spot in a vehicle. As they were entering through the second gate, Hindu Munnani men rushed towards their vehicle and pelted stones at it in the presence of the police. A contingent of anti-KKNPP protestors, most of them women, who subsequently arrived in another vehicle, fought off the Hindu Munnai men, with some hurling footwear, and chased them away. A few Hindu Munnani members, who stayed back, and the anti-KKNPP activists were engaged in a scuffle, when the police managed to separate them. As the situation continued to be tense, more cops arrived to control the situation at the collectorate.
According to CoP Karunasagar, the anti-KKNPP protestors came in through the second gate instead of the first gate. This led to a minor problem, he said.
‘Bid On Our Lives to Break K-Stir’

Alleging that the attack on the anti-KKNPP activists at the Collectorate on Tuesday was an attempt on their lives meant to end the anti-KKNPP protest, Udayakumar said, “We will continue our protest until the KKNPP is shut down.” Three women protesters-Leela, Milread and Vijayapathi panchayat ward member Initha were attacked, he said.

“A compliant was given to the Tirunelveli police. Though cops were present at the Collectorate, they were overpowered by the attackers. As we had no security, the protest committee nominees of our State panel did not meet the Central Panel,” he added.
Further, the PMANE leader said the Central Expert Committee members, who had not invited them for talks, was yet to give them the documents regarding the Koodankulam Plant, including the detailed project report and site evaluation study. Calling the Central Expert Committee a ‘joke’, Udayakumar said the panel members were yet to meet the people living in a 30 km radius of the K-plant.
“We had no faith in the Centre or the Central Expert Committee,” he said. “We will not come to next round of talks, if the Central Expert Committee or the Centre invites us.” However, “if the State government invites us, we will come,” he added.

Prior Info on Attack
Anti-KKNPP protest committee member M Pushparayan indicated that they got prior information about the attack. “Based on prior information about the attack, we came with other protesters in two vehicles,” he said. “We also informed the Collector’s PA, who told us that police would be deployed at the spot.”

Lawyers hold demo
Tiruchirapalli | Wednesday, Feb 1 2012 IST

A section of lawyers, owing allegiance to the members of the anti-nuke protestors, led by J Kennedy staged a demonstration in front of court complex here today. The demonstration was to protest the attack against the Anti-Koodankulam activists by Hindu Munnani activists at Tirunelveli Collectorate yesterday. They also wanted suitable action against the erring Hindu Munnani activists.

Attack on PMANE a conspiracy, claims anti-nuclear group
Tirunelveli | Wednesday, Feb 1 2012 IST

The attack on the activists of People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE),spearheading a non-violent movement against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), before the District Collector's Office yesterday by an outfit was a conspiracy to create tension and turn the movement violent, an anti-nuclear support group alleged. In a fax message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Indian National Congress Office, a copy of which was released to media here today, Mr N Subramanian, Convener of Koodankulam Anti-Nuclear Protest Support Group, Kerala (an umbrella organization of various anti-Nuke organizations of Kerala) said the representatives of PMANE and 20 women accompanying them 'were attacked by hired thugs inside the Tirunelveli Collectorate' compound when they were on way to attend the fourth round of talks with the Central Expert Committee. The women, who tried to shield the PMANE representatives, were also beaten up. Along with the thugs were local Congress leaders also, he alleged. 'The police were mute spectators when the attack was staged against the PMANE representatives,' he alleged.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Press statement                                                                                                                                                   February 1, 2012


People’s Union for Civil Liberties is shocked at the incidence of brutal violence, on 31-1-2012, at Tirunelveli, against people’s representatives of PMANE (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy), including twenty women, opposing the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), by  democratic and peaceful means, to preserve their right to life, livelihood and safe environment. The attack was reportedly carried out by local thugs, members of Hindu Munnani and the local Congress. It occurred just prior to a scheduled fourth meeting between representatives of PMANE and members of the Central Government Expert Panel on KKNPP.
What makes this attack particularly vile and reprehensible, is that it occurred in the premises of Tirunelveli Collectorate, while the collector was present in his chambers, and in presence of police force, thereby making both effectively complicit to this attack.
PUCL condemns all forms of violence, in particular, violence which scuttle democratic processes by the State, in a variety of ways, especially by the use of violence – direct, sponsored or tacitly supported.

PUCL demands strictest action to be taken against all individuals and groups charged with direct violence.  Disciplinary action must also be taken against all police officers present, who, in a dereliction of duty, did not sufficiently safeguard PMANE members from physical harm against hooliganism on government premises. District Collector , R Selvaraj, as the Chief Executive of the District Administration, must accept final responsibility for this grievous incidence, occurring within his jurisdiction and in his office premises.
Pushkar Raj
General Secretary, PUCL
PUCL National Office:
270-A, Ground Floor, Patpar Ganj, Mayur Vihar-I, Delhi-110091
Ph. 011-22750014, 09810656100

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pakistan’s rush for more bombs — why?

by Pervez Hoodbhoy     January 29, 2012

On January 24, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon vented his frustration at Pakistan’s determined opposition to a treaty that would limit fissile material production for use in nuclear weapons. For three years, Pakistan has single-handedly — and successfully — blocked the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva from discussing an effort that would reduce nuclear weapons globally. Consequently, within diplomatic circles, Pakistan has acquired the reputation of an outlier that opposes all efforts towards this end.

The opposition comes in the backdrop of news that Pakistan has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal. This claim — which still reverberates around the world — was first published in a Bulletin of Atomic Scientists report entitled “Pakistan’s nuclear forces — 2011”. The authors, Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris, say although the numbers of Pakistani warheads and delivery vehicles is a closely-held secret, yet “we estimate that Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 90-110 nuclear warheads, an increase from the estimated 70-90 warheads in 2009”. They reckon that if the expansion continues, Pakistan’s stockpile could reach 150-200 in a few years. By this count, Pakistan’s arsenal may have already exceeded India’s, and will soon rival Britain’s.

The Bulletin report has not been denied by Pakistan. Its stockpile of highly enriched uranium is increased daily by thousands of centrifuges whirring away at the Kahuta Laboratory (and possibly elsewhere). This is augmented by plutonium producing reactors at Khushab; two are already at work and a third is undergoing trials. Google Earth photos show that a fourth one is under construction. The plutonium has no commercial purpose. Instead, the goal is to produce lighter but deadlier bombs to be fitted on to missile tips.

Pakistan’s position is that it needs to produce still more bombs — and hence more bomb materials — because of India. It cites the US-India nuclear deal, along with older issues related to verification problems and existing stocks. Indeed, that infamous deal is Pakistan’s strongest argument and a correct criticism: the US has committed itself to nuclear cooperation with a state that is not a signatory to the NPT and one that made nuclear weapons surreptitiously. Now that the sanctions once imposed are long gone, India can import advanced nuclear reactor technology as well as natural uranium ore from diverse sources — Australia included. Although imported ore cannot be used for bomb-making, India could in principle divert more of its scarce domestic ore towards military reactors. Pakistan also says that “Cold Start” — an operation conceived by the Indian military in response to more Mumbai-type attacks — requires it to prepare tactical nuclear weapons for battlefield use. But the US-India nuclear deal may actually be a fig leaf. Pakistan’s rush for more bombs has as much to do with its changing relationship with the United States as with Indian military modernisation.

This racing reflects a paradigm shift within Pakistan’s military establishment, where feelings against the US have steadily hardened over many years. Post-bin Laden, the change is starkly visible. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s. This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.
First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.
But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.

The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.

This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.

To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.
[The above article from The Express Tribune is reproduced here for non commercial and educational use.]