OUT OF CONTROL…the Nuclear Industry

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*BRITAIN’S NUCLEAR INCOMPETENCE: 1,000 danger incidents reported*

*BRITAIN’S nuclear regulator has been accused of downplaying almost 1,000
dangerous incidents that have been recorded as “anomalies” at power plants
and military bases across the country. *

By Siobhan McFadyen
<http://www.express.co.uk/search/?s=%20Siobhan%20McFadyen&b=1&gt;

Daily Express: 10:27, Tue, Dec 27, 2016 |

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/747542/Nuclear-hazard-UK-as-1000-danger-incidents-reported

The nuclear regulator has been accused of turning a blind eye to incidents

The events appear to be serious and include a torpedo accidentally being
fired by HMS Argyll when it was moored at Devonport Naval base in Plymouth.

The 9ft missile shot through the air before blowing a hole in a perimeter
fence and smashing into a storage container.

Other incidents involve workers being contaminated at a nuclear warhead
base, the discarding of uranium sludge and the radioactive element caesium
in bin bags and more than 30 power station fires.

And it appears incidents have more than doubled since 2010 and are now
recorded on an almost daily basis.

“I do believe that the ONR downplays the incidents’ severity “ – Nuclear
Engineer

According to reports there has also been a number of incidents which could
have affected members of the public.

Those involve three serious traffic accidents, including a collision
between vehicle carrying nuclear material and a lorry on the M1 and a
transport lorry flipping over causing damage to two containers holding
radioactive chemicals.

Between 2012 and 2015 the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) recorded 973
“anomalies”.

However they were either rated zero or left unrated on the International
Nuclear Event Scale (INES) meaning they were regarded as having “no nuclear
safety significance”.

An engineer told The Times: “I do believe that the ONR downplays the
incidents’ severity and the incompetence that has led to these events.”

There have been more than 1000 recorded incidents in three years

However the ONR has denied it is turning a blind eye to serious incidents
and that it is acting in accordance with international law.

A spokesman said: “We are robust in upholding the law and use our
regulatory enforcement powers to hold the industry to account wherever
necessary.

“The rating of nuclear safety ‘events’ is based on agreed international
criteria and it is wrong to suggest that we would seek to ‘downplay’ these.

“The standards of safety we expect from the nuclear industry are extremely
challenging and the majority of events are of very minor nuclear safety
significance.”

Last summer Devonport naval base was warned of legal action amid a series
of safety breaches.

Radioactive cooling water was accidentally discharged into a submarine
reactor compartment, the ONR reported.

The UK has a number of nuclear submarines which patrol the waters

The site which refits Britain’s nuclear submarines, was warned that its
practices were “below standard”.

But defence contractor Babcock said in a statement: “Improvements relating
to the ONR enforcement notice and other recently reported incidents at
Devonport Royal Dockyard are being addressed through a broader nuclear
safety improvement programme to further enhance our current high levels of
safety, in agreement with ONR.”

The MoD added: “Safety at HM Naval Base Devonport, as with all Ministry of
Defence sites, is of paramount importance.

“Thorough investigations into these events were carried out and, where
necessary, measures were immediately put in place to prevent them from
happening again.”

According to research there has been six serious nuclear accidents in the
UK since 1957.

Contamination is par for the course with nuclear power

In 1957, radioactivity contaminated about 800 farms and introduced
Strontium 90 to domestic milk supply.

Milk was sold to the public without any warnings after the incident in
Windscale, Sellafield.

That same year on 8 Oct 1957 a fire ignited plutonium piles, contaminating
surrounding dairy farms in the worst Nuclear accident in British history
and was recorded as 5 on the INES scale.

In May 1967 there was a partial meltdown at Chapelcross nuclear power
station in Dumfries and Galloway after graphite debris partially blocked a
fuel channel causing a fuel element to melt and catch fire.

In September 1996 a fuel reprocessing plant was shut down after elevated
radiation levels were detected in waste-water discharged to the sea at
Dounreay, Scotland.

2 thoughts on “OUT OF CONTROL…the Nuclear Industry

  1. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/nuclear-safety-watchdog-under-review-after-series-of-accidents-w8x79d8q3.

    Dozens of nuclear blunders ‘ignored’
    Nuclear Safety

    Whitehall is investigating the nuclear regulator after The Times revealed that several serious accidents had been dismissed as posing no safety risk. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has come under fire from experts who argue it is too close to the industry to police it rigorously.

    Yesterday an investigation disclosed that the inadvertent discharge of a torpedo at a nuclear submarine docks in Plymouth, a complete power cut at the country’s nuclear weapons base and the contamination of at least 15 workers with radioactive material were among the events it had said were of no concern. Officials at the Department for Work and Pensions, which is responsible for the ONR, are understood to be looking into whether the regulator is doing enough to keep the country’s reactors, nuclear processing sites and military bases safe. Although the number of publicly acknowledged accidents has been stable for more than a decade, the rate of incidents judged to be “of no nuclear safety significance” has crept up to more than one a day over the last five years.

    Nuclear experts, however, called on the government to launch a review. Stephen Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, said the news had reinforced his suspicions that “the first priority for the ONR is not to frighten the horses”. He said the body had previously ignored warnings about the safety of extending the lifespan of the AGR, an old reactor design that is still in use at seven sites in the UK, as well as the reliability of the newer EPR model, the latest version of which is due to be installed at Hinkley Point C. “Ironically, since they became an independent body rather than being part of the Health and Safety Executive [in 2014], they seem to have got worse,” Professor Thomas said. “Independence is just a cheap and easy way for government to wash its hands of its rightful responsibility.” Earlier this year the ONR appointed as its chief executive a career civil servant with no background in nuclear engineering.

    David Toke, reader in energy politics at the University of Aberdeen and a member of the Nuclear Consulting Group, said this suggested that nuclear safety issues were a “low priority” for the organisation. “Of course there should be more attention to this issue and a discussion about whether the de facto slide towards less nuclear safety in the UK is a good one,” he said.

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