AMEC, AREVA, contractors, dangers of nuclear industry, Elections, France, government waste, NDA, NMP, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, nuclear industry, Nuclear Management Partners, nuclear regulation, nuclear waste, plutonium, private sector, privatization, public sector, radioactive waste, Sellafield, Sellafield Sites Ltd, subcontractors, Taxpayer, UK, URS, US, WIPP
Sellafield: Most Dangerous Nuclear Facility in Europe; Densest Concentration of Plutonium in the World.
More pictures here: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2611216/leaked_sellafield_photos_reveal_massive_radioactive_release_threat.html
Wow…! Wow…! Wow…! BBC says it is so. The Guardian says it is so. The Union says that it is so. However, too good to be true, often is. Perhaps it has to do with elections coming up? [Update: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/nda-biggest-nuclear-slum-lord-in-europe-head-civil-servant-makes-508000-770000/ ]
Nuclear Management Partners, that is the consortium of URS, a US corp., AMEC, a British corp., and 89% French State owned AREVA, may be stripped of their Sellafield clean-up contract? Won’t the UK have to pay a penalty to get out of the contract? Or do they have evidence of fraud or some other means to nullify the contract? There should be a UK government statement today.
Who did this ever make sense to anyway?
“Sellafield Ltd is owned and operated by Nuclear Management Partners on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority” and “The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body created through the Energy Act 2004.” http://www.sellafieldsites.com/profile/ (What they claim to bring can be found at the link). It is actually much worse than it appears, however, because there are subcontractors and probably sub-subcontractors. My grandfather had this worked out well before there was a nuclear industry. He used family ties to get a government contract and then paid a cousin half the amount to do the job. This means that the government might have just hired the cousin and saved a lot of taxpayer money! Another term for this sort of thing is farming out contracts.
Did the UK finally figure out that for profit entities have no place in the management of long-lived, deadly, costly nuclear waste? For profit layers of contractors and subcontractors only means more cost at each layer, or that corners are cut, or both! As far as liability goes, “Limited Liability Company” should be clear enough!
Has any company or corporation been in existence longer than the English state? Only some Japanese companies and a restaurant in nuclear free Austria pre-date Alfred the Great (849-899).
Mentioned by Alcuin, in 803 (1,212 yrs ago), Stiftskeller St. Peter within the monastery walls of St. Peter’s Archabbey, Salzburg, Austria is believed to be the oldest inn in Central Europe and the oldest restaurant in Europe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiftskeller_St._Peter An Inn and Restaurant run by monks can hardly be compared to the challenges of nuclear waste limited liability companies, however! The oldest company in the world was a Japanese construction firm, specializing in Buddhist temples, which lasted 1,400 years before being absorbed by another firm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kongō_Gumi
Plutonium 239 has a half-life of 24,110 years; Plutonium 240 of 6,563 years; Plutonium 241 of 14 years, but it becomes Americium 241 with a half-life of 432.6 years.
There must, of course, be a will for governments to spend the needed money, too, which doesn’t seem to have been the case when Sellafield was publicly owned and run. But, it is clear that a willing government can do it better and cheaper, because there are no profits to be made; no dividends to be paid. Government can spend the same amount and do it better. Or do it the same for cheaper. This requires transparency and no corruption, however.
For profit nuclear waste is simply contractor pigs to the taxpayer trough and the worst thing for safety. There’s no Walmart or McDonald’s style economies of scale that can be imagined for nuclear waste except for waste storage containers, and a government can certainly buy them for cheaper in large quantities on its own!
For profits have started the deadly practice of dust-binning nuclear waste. The government health care sector will pay for this dust-binning of nuclear waste and other radioactive waste “management” done on the cheap, in the long run. This health care cost issue is what led France to suddenly outlaw smoking in public buildings, and provide smokers with nicotine patches, at a time when almost all French people smoked. It happened suddenly as a bolt of lightening from the blue.
Of course for-profit costs more! Each layer of contractors and subcontractors adds costs. If the UK axes these private sector firms, will the US government learn anything from it? How much longer will the US government be able to run up huge budget deficits at the behest of corporate campaign donors, who feed like pigs at the taxpayer trough?
While one might be tempted to blame this strange set-up of private operators for government entities on Reagan and Thatcher, it seems to be much, much older. It even predates the nuclear age. And, when the US needed to make a nuclear bomb, it looked to both universities and the private sector to run its labs. In the US, there have been dangerous nuclear pigs to the trough ever since. One doesn’t have to look much into US government documents to see that, from the start, the US nuclear labs have been mostly run by bloated contractors, who have endangered workers, the environment, and even treated citizens as guinea pigs.
For Profit Nuclear Waste Packaging in the USA – Plutonium and More
WIPP Waste “Facility” for US Government Labs. For profit at work: WIPP waste packaging was subcontracted to EnergySolutions, owned and run by former Goldman Sachs investment bankers.
URS and AREVA were among the contractors at the US government WIPP dump. URS was even sold subsequently to the WIPP disaster. AREVA is in trouble almost everywhere. It is even behind at La Hague, the French twin to Sellafield. The French Nuclear Regulatory produced a 15 page document last December, giving AREVA new deadlines. The challenges at La Hague appear similar to those faced at Sellafield: “Décision n°2014-DC-0472 de l’Autorité de sûreté nucléaire du 9 décembre 2014 relative à la reprise et au conditionnement des déchets anciens dans les installations nucléaires de base n°33 (UP2-400), n°38 (STE 2), n°47 (ELAN IIB), n°80 (HAO), n°116 (UP3-A), n°117 (UP2-800) et n°118 (STE 3), exploitées par AREVA NC dans l’établissement de La Hague (département de la Manche)” (15pp.)
French State owned AREVA needs to stay home and get its own house in order. Instead, AREVA is providing equipment for the Angra 3 Nuclear reactor in Brazil. AREVA is ear deep in radioactive trouble with the Uramin scandal, too. And, why won’t anyone say what the former CEO of AREVA, Luc Oursel, died of? Did he die of lung cancer from the time he spent at France’s uranium mine in Gabon? Or was he killed? There is a deafening silence around his death.
As reported by BBC, the Guardian and the GMB Union
“Sellafield firm set to lose £9bn clean-up contract“, 12 January 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30785623
“GMB Welcome Expected Announcement That NMP Contract At Sellafield Is To Be Terminated Monday, January 12, 2015
NMP and the Tories have failed the local community, the workforce and the taxpayer and the minister responsible for extending the contact in 2013 must be held to account says GMB.” http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/nmp-out-at-sellafield
“NMP set to lose contract to clean up Sellafield nuclear waste
Government expected to announce termination of £9bn contract awarded to private consortium Nuclear Management Partners“, Monday 12 January 2015 17.39 GMT http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/12/nmp-lose-contract-clean-up-sellafield-nuclear-waste