Hinkley Point C

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn should be commended in opposing and Prime Minister Theresa May should be commended in showing caution and wisdom in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. There are so many causes for concern in these proposals. Hinkley Point C should not proceed at any cost and there should be thorough, clear and sober assessment.

The proposed Hinkley Point C reactors (2 of them) are a new and unproven design of reactor, the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR). EPRs are a form of Pressurised Water Reactor.

The four EPRs already being built have all experienced construction problems and are all uncompleted, over-budget and delayed by years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPR_(nuclear_reactor)

Four EPR units are under construction. The first two, in Finland and France, are both facing costly construction delays (to at least 2018). Construction commenced on two Chinese units in 2009 and 2010.[1] The Chinese units were to start operation in 2014 and 2015,[2] but are now expected to come online in 2017.[3]

Olkiluoto 3 in Finland was scheduled to go online in 2009. It is currently expected to start operation in 2018. source It is hugely over-budget. source

Flamanville 3 in France was due to start operation in 2012. It is currently delayed until late 2018. source

These dates of 2018 should be regarded as optimistic spin likely to be superseded with later dates.

Flamanville‘s lid and base to the reactor vessel are flawed and below the required standard, weakened by excessive carbon content in the steel. There are suggestions that the French nuclear safety authority (ASN) may require that the vessel is replaced or even that the project is abandoned.

Areva aware ‘as early as 2006’ of serious fault in nuclear reactor destined for UK

UPDATE 2-French regulator delays decision on EDF Flamanville reactor to end-2016

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Commentary on and analysis of recent political events

Why did Jack Straw try to make it illegal for children at childrens’ homes to speak out about abuse? Was Jack Straw influenced by the fact that some of his friends and fellow politicians were paedophiles? Was this a desperate attempt to stop the truth coming out not only that Labour politiicans are paedophiles but highest level politicians of ALL parties?

Fifty new nuclear plants could be goal in official energy plans

Up to 50 nuclear power stations could be built under plans being looked at by the government. The remarkable figure – 10 times the number the government is openly discussing – is revealed in documents submitted to the Department of Energy and Climate Change by one of its own advisory bodies.

The documents are likely to raise questions as to what extent the government’s energy policy is weighted in favour of nuclear and away from renewables such as wind turbines. It comes as Brussels begins an investigation into whether Britain is providing up to £17bn of potentially illegal public guarantees for the first nuclear power plant in a generation, Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which aims to provide 7% of the country’s electricity.

Image of GCHQ donught building

NSA leaks: UK and US spying targets revealed

More details of people and institutions targeted by UK and US surveillance have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel.

The papers say that the list of around 1,000 targets includes a European Union commissioner, humanitarian organisations and an Israeli PM.

The Guardian writes that GCHQ targeted the UN development programme, Unicef, German government buildings and the EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

Latest Snowden revelations expose Obama’s lies on NSA spy programs

Just hours after receiving a report from his hand-picked advisory panel on National Security Agency surveillance operations, President Barack Obama used his end of the year press conference Friday to deliver an Orwellian defense of unrestrained US spying both at home and abroad.

“I have confidence that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance and snooping around,” Obama said, despite the cascade of revelations proving just the opposite. These revelations, including the latest from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have established that the agency is collecting and storing billions of files recording the phone calls, text messages, emails, Internet searches and even the daily movements of virtually ever US citizen, not to mention those of hundreds of millions of people abroad.

“The United States is a country that abides by rule of law[!], that cares deeply about privacy[!], that cares deeply about civil liberties[!],” he added. Who, at this late juncture, does the American president think he’s fooling? One only has to read the ruling by a Washington, DC Federal District Court judge—which was then stayed in the interest of “national security”—finding the surveillance methods of the NSA to be “almost Orwellian,” and its activities unconstitutional, i.e., criminal.

UK reneges on promised independent inquiry on rendition, torture

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has abandoned its promise to carry out an independent inquiry into Britain’s involvement in “extraordinary rendition”, detention”and torture carried out by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Instead, the inquiry will be undertaken by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), whose record is one of covering up the activities of the intelligence services.

Only last month, the ISC questioned the head of the internal security service MI5, Andrew Parker; the director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Sir Iain Lobban; and Sir John Sawers, head of the foreign intelligence department MI6. The hearing was meant to demonstrate unprecedented openness and accountability to Parliament of the secret state apparatus, after revelations by US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden that the UK agencies worked with the US to monitor the Internet and phone activity of most of the world’s citizens.

 …

Clare Algar, executive director of the human rights organisation Reprieve, criticised the decision to hand the investigation to the ISC: “If the government takes this course, it will be breaking its promise to hold a genuine, independent inquiry into the UK’s involvement in torture.

‘Megrahi was my friend. He did not kill my daughter’: Lockerbie father says British government is not telling the truth about the bombing

The father of one of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing has asked mourners to pray for the “innocent family” of the only person convicted of the worst mass murder in British history, as the nation marked its 25th anniversary.

In his address to a memorial service at Westminster Abbey yesterday evening attended by relatives of the victims, Dr Jim Swire also accused the British government of failing to tell “all the truth they know about this terrible tragedy”.

Before the service, the UK, US and Libyan governments in a joint statement promised to work together to “reveal the full facts of the case”, saying that they wanted “all those responsible for this most brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed”. [BS: positive identification]

Employment tribunal claims fell by more than half after introduction of fees

Theresa May strips citizenship from 20 Britons fighting in Syria

Abandoned: Theresa May turns back on American-held terror suspect

Labour should “do god” BS …

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Today’s politics news …

Hinkley Point Nuclear Deal With EDF Faces Probe

An inquiry has been launched into whether a £16bn government deal with French energy giant EDF to build a nuclear plant in the UK meets EU rules.

Britain has agreed to subsidise the project to build two reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, promising guaranteed power prices from the plant for 35 years.

The European Commission said it wanted the views of third parties because of the unprecedented nature and scale of the Hinkley deal.

It said it had “doubts that the project suffers from a genuine market failure” and it would assess whether the nuclear plant could in fact be built without government support.

Theresa May, citizenship and the power to make people stateless

Theresa May has already used her power to revoke citizenship to brutal effect. Now it is believed she wants to re-write the law so that she can make people stateless. The implications are worrying.

Now May is believed to be planning a dramatic expansion of her powers to revoke citizenship by rewriting the law so that she can issue orders even where it will make people stateless, which is currently illegal under the British Nationality Act, and even though Britain is a signatory to international treaties aimed at reducing statelessness.

This would put Britain in uncomfortable company, alongside nations such as Bahrain, which has been criticised by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights for making dissidents stateless. In the US, the government is banned from removing the nationality of its citizens since a Supreme Court ruling in 1967, when judges ruled the US constitution did not allow for ‘fleeting citizenship, good at the moment it is acquired but subject to destruction by the Government at any time.’

HMRC ‘loses nerve’ chasing big firms, says MP

The UK tax authority “seems to lose its nerve” when chasing multinational companies for owed tax, the head of a committee of MPs has said.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said that the approach was firmer when HMRC was pursuing small businesses.

A report by the committee said HMRC failed to demonstrate it was on the side of people who paid tax in full.

The committee said that HMRC failed to use the full range of sanctions at its disposal to vigorously pursue all unpaid tax.

It said it should pursue prosecutions to test the boundaries of the law, the committee said, and had yet to test how existing tax law impacted on global internet-based companies.

“The lack of prosecutions against multinational corporations seems at odds with HMRC’s stance on pursuing tax debt from small and medium-sized businesses in the UK,” the committee said.

MI5/MI6 torture collusion report published: Politics live blog

Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including the publication of the Gibson inquiry report into allegations that MI5 and MI6 colluded in torture, and Kenneth Clarke’s statement about it to parliament

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