Inquiry launched into ‘deeply embarrassing’ nuclear contract. Chris Huhne, former energy secretary for the coalition government, said the remit for the enquiry was not broad enough and it needed to look at the total cost of nuclear decommissioning. “It is a complete mess, it’s deeply embarrassing but it’s actually I’m afraid only the latest in a long line of embarrassments,” Huhne told BBC Radio 4. “We’re not even scraping the surface with the problem that this legal case has exposed.” Huhne, who was energy secretary between 2010 and 2012 and left the before the contract was awarded, said the cost of decommissioning the UK’s old nuclear fleet had increased £107bn in the last five years to £161bn. “In terms of industrial strategy this makes every other disaster in the post-war period pale into insignificance.” He said the problem stemmed from how early reactors stations were complex bespoke constructions made without consideration to how they would later be disassembled. “We ordered a whole series of Savile Row suits rather than a bunch of work-a-day Marks & Spencer suits… Every single one of those reactors is different. Even the fuel rods in every single one of those reactors are different – crazy.” The inquiry into the procurement process will be headed by Steve Holliday, former chief executive of National Grid.
Supply Management 28th March 2017 read more »
Former energy minister Chris Huhne has called on the government not to allow subsidies for the nuclear industry. Since leaving Parliament, Huhne has forged a career as an energy expert. He was commenting on the termination of a multi-billion-pound nuclear contract, due to abotched tendering process. No subsidies for nuclear. That was the coalition government policy. It should be the policy again but the government seems to be relenting and saying ‘no, maybe we should give a few subsidies’, and it’s opening the door to exactly a repetition of the sort of disaster that we see today. It is genuinely the case that for example in Sellafield where there are a lot of research facilities, and which accounts for about 70% of the cost of total decommissioning, a lot of things were thrown away in the 1950s in the urgency to generate plutonium for the atom bomb programme, as well as generating electricity. Those things weren’t properly logged. We don’t know what’s in the silos, and therefore you need to have a really extensive investigative programme to find out what the problems are before you can clear them up. And if you find out they are worse than you could conceivably have expected, that’s going to cost more money, so that’s basically what’s been happening, and we’ve got this enormous increase in the cost of clear up.
ITV 28th March 2017 read more »
Workers at Berkeley, Oldbury, Hinkley and other nuclear power stations at the heart of a botched decommissioning deal will not be under threat, Energy Secretary Greg Clark has said. Mr Clark offered reassurances over the future of the workforce after he announced a £6 billion contract to dismantle 12 redundant Magnox nuclear power sites had been scrapped and a Government inquiry would be held into its “flawed” tendering process.
Bristol Post 28th March 2017 read more »