Last month, the British government signed off on what might be the most controversial and least promising plan for a nuclear power station in a generation. Why did it do this? Because the project isn’t just about energy: It’s also a stealth initiative to bolster Britain’s nuclear deterrent. For years, the British government has been promoting a plan to build two so-called European Pressurized Reactors (EPR) at Hinkley Point C, in southwest England. It estimates that the facility will produce about 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity from 2025, the year it is expected to be completed. The EPR’s designer, Areva, claims that the reactor is reliable, efficient and so safe that it could withstand a collision with an airliner. But the project is staggeringly expensive: It will cost more than $22 billion to build and bring online. And it isn’t clear that the EPR technology is viable. If the Hinkley plan seems outrageous, that’s because it only makes sense if one considers its connection to Britain’s military projects — especially Trident, a roving fleet of armed nuclear submarines, which is outdated and needs upgrading. Hawks and conservatives, in particular, see the Trident program as vital to preserving Britain’s international clout. A painstaking study of obscure British military policy documents, released last month by the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, demonstrates that the government and some of its partners in the defense industry, like Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, think a robust civilian nuclear industry is essential to revamping Britain’s nuclear submarine program.
New York Times 10th Oct 2016 read more »
THE first Nuclear Scientist Degree Apprentices will begin at Bridgwater and Taunton College in wake of Hinkley C being given the green light. Degree apprenticeships are at the forefront of the Government’s apprenticeship reform policy, and enable students to combine a full Honours degree with real, practical workplace skills and the financial security of a regular pay packet. They’re designed in consultation with employers to ensure that the education sector delivers the higher level skills that industry really needs, and produces graduates whose thorough understanding of workplace behaviours and cultures enables them to add value to the bottom line from day one.
Bridgwater Mercury 10th Oct 2016 read more »