The Euratom Basic Safety Standards Directive was agreed upon by members of the European union in 2013, and member states have until February 2018 to explain how they will implement the Directive into national law.

The UK Government has stated that the decision to leave the European Union will not impact on its implementation of the Directive into UK law, as “it is committed to the highest standards in defence and civil nuclear and radiological safety – including standards for emergency preparedness and response”.This will require likely legislative change to the Radiation (Emergency Planning and Public Information) Regulations 2001, often known as REPPIR, which govern offsite emergency plans at nuclear sites. In light of this the government held a public consultation on Revised requirements for radiological protection: emergency preparedness and response.

The Nuclear Free local Authorities (NFLA) Secretariat prepared a report to provide an overview and model response to the consultation. As referenced in the report, TASC has been corresponding with the Government and the Office of Nuclear Regulation over which Euratom Directives are actually being consulted upon, because both TASC and NFLA share concerns over the way the consultation has been framed and run.

You can download a copy of the NFLA report in entirety here:

 

The conclusions are copied and pasted below.

 

Conclusions

The Euratom Basic Safety Standards Directive 2013 is a welcome initiative to improve generic nuclear emergency planning across Europe. NFLA is disappointed that the UK Government has implemented various parts of the Directive and not consulted on it in its entirety. It has also given just a relatively short amount of time to receive responses from stakeholders. NFLA does not think this consultation has been publicised adequately, and is aware that a number of local authority emergency planning units have not been pro-actively made aware of the consultation document. To only hold this consultation just four months before measures are supposed to being put in place is also very disappointing, and a much wider level of consultation should have taken place, for example through the BEIS NGO Forum or through local government forums like the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum or the Scottish Councils Committee on Radioactive Substances, both of whom are interested in such matters.

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The 'World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017" has been published. It suggests that, given the financial difficulties of EDF, Sizewell C has become 'implausible'.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here

Three members of TASC went along to The Burston Strike School Rally near Diss on Sunday 3rd Sept with our new TASC flag/banner and the TASC Petition. We were lucky enough to bump into The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnel and hand over a copy of the TASC response to EDFE’s second consultation, our leaflets and a covering letter. He seemed happy to pop it into his rucksack and said he would read it on the train journey home, let’s hope he did. We also managed to hand over a copy of our latest TASC leaflet to Len McCluskey who also said he would read it but could not be persuaded to sign our petition. One can only try.

An inspiring event with lots willing to sign the petition. We plan to have a stand there next year if the Government and EDFE have not changed their plans for this disastrous build  on our heritage coast.

Just to remind our supporters, please download the petition here, get as many signatures as you can as we still have a way to go. Thanks 

 

National Audit Office report highlights that the Hinkley Point C is a risky venture and a bad deal for Britain – investing in renewables must now be prioritised

NFLA media release 23rd June 2017

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) responds to today’s National Audit Office’s damning report on the UK Government’s deal with EDF to build a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C with little surprise, as it has been consistently saying the deal is overly expensive and a bad deal for the taxpayer.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has analysed in detail the financing agreement that was made between the UK Government and EDF for Hinkley Point C, which was essential for EDF to go ahead with the deal. The decades-long deal gives EDF a guaranteed rate of return and locks the country into paying electricity prices which are currently double the existing rate for many years to come.

The NAO could not be more damning in its criticism of the Hinkley Point deal. It states:
“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits. (When) the Department finalised the deal in 2016 its value-for-money tests showed the economic case for Hinkley Point C was marginal and subject to significant uncertainty. Less favourable, but reasonable, assumptions about future fossil fuel prices, renewables costs and follow on nuclear projects would have meant the deal was not value for money according to the Department's tests.

The NAO also note EDF may have to seek further financial assistance from the UK Government as their reactor design is ‘unproven’ and the company is in a financially weakened state. The NAO calculate expected costs to the taxpayer of the indirect subsidies to EDF has increased from £6 billion to a huge £30 billion. Today’s report finds that the Department has not sufficiently considered the costs and risks of its deal for consumers. It only considered the impact on bills up to 2030, which does not take account of the fact that consumers are locked into paying for Hinkley Point C long afterwards. It also did not conclude whether the forecast top-up payments are affordable.”

The most damning statement by the NAO is that: “The government has increasingly emphasised Hinkley Point C's unquantified strategic benefits, but it has little control over these and no plan yet in place to realise them.” (1)

NFLA call on the new Government to urgently reconsider this overly expensive deal, which is still subject to a legal challenge from the Austrian Government currently going through the European courts.

2017 has truly seen the global renewable energy and decentralised energy revolution take off. The costs of onshore and offshore wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy are rapidly decreasing. These energy industries are now regularly producing copious amounts of electricity as fossil fuels and nuclear generation decline. In addition, there are hundreds of local authorities developing innovative low carbon energy schemes (2), and thousands of community energy cooperatives producing enough energy to power 130,000 households alone. (3)
Even the ‘Big Six’ utilities see the game is almost up. Just this week Centrica (the owner of British Gas) offloaded two large gas plants for £318 million so that it can invest in the generation of power at a smaller and local level. (4)

Following the inconclusive election result, NFLA calls on all political parties to understand the reality of the heavy financial costs of new nuclear in comparison to the rapidly declining costs of renewable and decentralised energy. With EDF also enduring major problems with its nuclear business, and under a huge debt burden, time has surely come for a completely different direction in UK energy policy.

As Paul Dorfman, NFLA’s representative to the EPA Radiation Issues Committee notes:
“The UK Parliamentary finance watchdog has to weigh its words carefully. But in civil service terms, the NAO has justly and effectively damned the Hinkley nuclear deal. The reality is that new nuclear is, quite simply, too costly. The nuclear industry rhetoric is for nuclear plus renewables. But given the reality of the economics it's nuclear or renewables. And the fact of the matter is that renewables wins hands down."  
 
NFLA Steering Committee Vice-Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“This NAO report is a devastating blow to the Government and to EDF of a dodgy deal that quite clearly does not stand up to effective scrutiny. It is clear the deal to build Hinkley Point C would lock in the taxpayer to huge financial risks that could total tens of billions of pounds. With Toshiba’s Westinghouse project at Moorside effectively mothballed, Hitachi struggling to reduce costs for Wylfa B, and the content of this NAO report on Hinkley Point, UK new nuclear is in a sorry state. At the same time renewable and decentralised energy is driving forward developing new schemes with rapidity and drastically reducing costs year on year. The Government and opposition parties urgently need to come together and completely review UK energy policy because at present it is not fit for purpose. It is time to embrace the renewable energy revolution instead.”

Notes for editors:
(1)        National Audit Office media release, 23rd June 2017 http://www.nao.org.uk/reports/hinkley-point-c
(2)        NFLA reports on decentralised energy. See http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/A273_NB160_Decentralised_energy_update.pdf and http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-conrent/uploads/2016/11/A265-_NB152_-Decentralised-energy-best-practice.pdf
(3)        Business Green 20th June 2017
https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3012277/report-community-energy-powering-130-000-uk-homes
(4)        Financial Times, 21st June 2017
https://www.ft.com/content/1c7db78a-30fe-3d9e-a06e-6fb970de4a5f?mhq5j=e3