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Nuclear chief’s despair over Sellafield firm NMP revealed in letters written by UK nuclear decommiss

Source: The Independent

Damning criticism of the consortium overseeing the expensive clean-up of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been revealed in a series of hostile letters written by John Clarke, head of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Mr Clarke accused Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) of undermining confidence and damaging the entire project’s reputation, as well as criticising Tom Zarges, the consortium chairman, of setting “unduly conservative” targets. In one letter, written in November 2012, Mr Clarke attached slides that outlined the NDA’s frustrations with NMP’s decontamination work at the Cumbrian facility, including concerns about the “quality of leadership” and the “pace of change”, which it said “feels too slow”.

The content of the letters has added to the confusion over why NMP was recently asked to continue overseeing the clean-up of one of the world’s most hazardous nuclear sites until 2019. The correspondence, which was obtained under a Freedom of Information request, covers a 21-month period to November 2013. During this time NMP and the NDA were locked in discussions over a five-year extension to a contract that was originally awarded in 2008.

Politicians and the deal’s numerous critics were shocked when the NDA awarded NMP the extension in October, despite a disastrous tenure during which Sellafield’s clean-up bill soared to over £70bn. The letters warn that a “re-baselining” of budgets will cause cost estimates to further spiral in April this year: “However presented, the extent of change was going to be extremely uncomfortable and difficult to sell.”


Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nuclear-chiefs-despair-over-sellafield-firm-nmp-revealed-in-letters-written-by-uk-nuclear-decommissioning-boss-9085512.html

EU regulator slams UK nuclear deal with EDF

Source: Financial Times

Britain’s new nuclear power station would be profitable even without the £17.6bn of potentially illegal state support provided, according to Brussels estimates that underline the uphill challenge ministers face in winning EU approval for the deal.

In a scathing 68-page initial assessment published on Friday, the EU’s top competition regulator raises fundamental concerns about the UK contract with French utility EDF for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

While the commission is now undertaking a more in-depth review of the project that is to provide 7 per cent of UK electricity needs, the severity of initial concerns will cast a dark shadow over government hopes to avoid big revisions to the deal terms.

The commission questions whether the intervention addresses a genuine market failure and suggests the terms will overpay EDF, shield it from almost all operational risk and crowd out alternative sources of energy supply.


Read more: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Fac6a7924-8a68-11e3-9c29-00144feab7de.html

U.K. nuclear employees ordered to stay home amid increased radiation levels

Source: NBC News

The United Kingdom's largest nuclear plant ordered thousands of workers to stay at home Friday after recording increased levels of radioactivity, its operator said.

The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site, in Cumbria, north-west England, told all non-essential employees not to come to work after the elevated levels were picked up by a monitor at the north end of the site.

"Levels of radioactivity detected are above naturally occurring radiation but well below that which would call for any actions to be taken by the workforce on or off the site," said a statement posted on Sellafield's website.

"The site is at normal status and employees and operational plants are continuing to operate as investigations continue. All our facilities have positively confirmed there are no abnormal conditions and are operating normally."


Read more: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/31/22518084-uk-nuclear-employees-ordered-to-stay-home-amid-increased-radiation-levels

Just saw this on the tv news crawler.

Level of security alert at Ukrainian nuclear power plants increased to the second level


News / 30 January 2014 | 13:12
Level of security alert at Ukrainian NPPs increased to the second level

The level of security alert at Ukrainian nuclear enterprises has been increased to the second out of three existing levels, head of the nuclear energy and nuclear industry department of the Energy and Coal Ministry Petro Chernov told the roundtable "Terrorist acts at power plants: how real is the threat".

"As of today the security alert level has been increased at all nuclear facilities. Now we have the second out of three levels of security, which are the regular security system, enhanced and crisis management systems. The enhanced security system provides for enhanced patrolling and health protection coverage area expansion," he said, a ForUm's correspondent reports.


As a reminder, the enhanced security level has been introduced at all nuclear facilities of Ukraine due to unstable political situation.

Angela Merkel warns US over surveillance in first speech of third term

Source: Guardian

Angela Merkel has used the first, agenda-setting speech of her third term in office to criticise America's uncompromising defence of its surveillance activities.

In a speech otherwise typically short of strong emotion or rhetorical flourishes, the German chancellor found relatively strong words on NSA surveillance, two days before the US secretary of state, John Kerry, is due to visit Berlin.

"A programme in which the end justifies all means, in which everything that is technically possible is then acted out, violates trust and spreads mistrust," she said. "In the end, it produces not more but less security."

Merkel emphasised the need for wider access to the internet for citizens: "We want to make sure the internet retains its promise. That's why we want to protect it".


Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/29/angela-merkel-us-surveillance-speech-germany-chancellor

Koreas accuse Japan of history distortion at U.N.

Source: Yonhap

South and North Korea displayed rare unity on the U.N. Security Council Wednesday, as they fiercely condemned Japan for history "distortions."

The two Koreas, backed by China, said that Japan's conservative leadership is fully responsible for escalating tensions in Northeast Asia over history and territorial issues.


His remarks reflected uproar in South Korea over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in December and his administration's decision to teach students that Dokdo, a pair of rocky outcroppings in the East Sea, is part of its territory.

With its patience wearing thin, South Korea's Park Geun-hye government has launched a more aggressive international campaign to make the case that Japan is distorting history and is the main culprit for soured ties between the neighboring nations.

Japan has a history of aggression against Korea, China and other neighboring nations, including the colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.


Read more: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140129/koreas-accuse-japan-history-distortion-at-un

Putin Prize to Be Offered in Martial Arts Contest in London


Putin Prize to Be Offered in Martial Arts Contest in London

LONDON, January 28 (R-Sport) – A martial arts tournament in honor of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is set to be held in London in October, organizers say.

The tournament in the Russian martial art of sambo, which is little known in Britain, is described as offering “prizes of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

The competition will be “sporting diplomacy,” according to Vasily Shestakov, who is the head of sambo’s world governing body FIAS and a Russian politician with close links to Putin.

At a meeting to launch the event Monday, the Russian ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, said: “British art is welcomed cordially in Russia. We know that Russian cultural traditions are welcome in Britain. I believe that our peoples will only benefit from the strengthening of cultural and human relations.”

Putin has a black belt in judo and was presented with an honorary ninth-degree black belt in taekwondo, the highest rank possible, during a visit to South Korea in November. He regularly attends martial arts events and visited the London 2012 Olympic judo competition with British Prime Minister David Cameron.


Roundtable On Threat Of Terrorist Attacks At Power Plants

Source: Ukrainian News Agency

A ROUNDTABLE on the topic “Terrorist Attacks At Power Plants: How Real is the Threat?” will take place at the PRESS CENTER of the Ukrainian News information agency at 11:00 on Thursday, January 30.

Topics for discussion:
  • The Security Service of Ukraine has announced an increase in the number of anonymous threats to blow up hydroelectric and nuclear power facilities. Is the threat of damage or destruction of power plants real?

  • How is security maintained at is Ukrainian power generating facilities? Are terrorist attacks possible at Ukrainian power generating facilities?


Accreditation is required Until 10:00 on January 30, 2014.
For accreditation, please contact Maksym Medynskyi by the telephone number (097) 483 65 76 or the e-mail address [email protected]

The address of the press center: 20, Esplanadna Street (Palats Sportu subway station), first floor.

Read more: http://un.ua/eng/article/488191.html


Time in Ukraine is defined as UTC+02:00 and in summer as UTC+03:00. Locally it is referred to as the Kiev Time

Canada Restricts Entry For Ukrainian Government Officials

Source: Ukrainian News Agency

Canada has restricted entry to Canada for Ukraine's key government figures as a direct result of their actions in recent days.

Ukrainian News learned this from a joint statement of Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

"Given the violent repression of legitimate protest and the intimidation of opposition voices, we will be restricting entry to Canada - effective immediately - for key government figures as a direct result of their actions in recent days," the statement reads.


As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on January 22 the United States canceled visas for certain citizens of Ukraine in the wake of the actions against protesters in the center of Kyiv.

Read more: http://un.ua/eng/article/488545.html

Congress wants answers on health impacts of Japan disaster relief


Congress wants answers on health impacts of Japan disaster relief
By Matthew M. Burke
Stars and Stripes
Published: January 27, 2014

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Congress has instructed the Defense Department to launch an inquiry into potential health impacts on Navy first-responders from Japan’s March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

The request, made in the explanatory statement from the House that accompanied the fiscal 2014 budget bill that passed Congress this month, comes as a growing number of sailors and Marines have joined a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co.


The statement gives Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson until April 15 to ...


The original eight complainants were on the USS Ronald Reagan, but the suit has since expanded to include those who served aboard the USS Essex and USS Germantown as well as attached Marines.


The statement directs Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to ...


Lawyers for the plaintiffs praised Congress for looking into the issue.

“It feels like maybe there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Paul Garner, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said. “But we shall see.”


Sailors who were onboard the Reagan have claimed that they were drinking contaminated desalinated seawater and bathing in it until the ship’s leadership came over the public address system and told them to stop because it was contaminated. They claim the ventilation system was also contaminated. Furthermore, some claim they were pressured into signing forms confirming they had been given iodine pills when none had been provided.


Via http://www.nukefree.org/stars-stripes-congress-awakens-us-sailors-fukushima-suit

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