May 2006

The European Court of Justice has found that Ireland breached European Union law by taking a case to a United Nations tribunal in an effort to get Britain to close the Sellafield nuclear fuel plant.

Ireland says radioactive waste from Sellafield in northwest England is polluting the Irish Sea. It brought the case to the tribunal under UN maritime law.

A UN tribunal responded with recommendations to solve the long-running dispute.

However, the executive of the European Commission said Ireland should not have complained to the UN tribunal because the dispute concerned mainly EU agreements and should have been dealt with in European courts.

The judges warned: “A breach of this nature involves a manifest risk that the jurisdictional order laid down in the Treaties and, consequently, the autonomy of the Community legal system may be adversely affected.”

Looks like the Irish upset the ECJ, what does it take to make an international court flex its muscle in this way, wouldn’t it be great to see it rule on the substantive issue of MOX in Sellafield itself (ECJ) some day soon.
[utv] [rte] [sunday business post] [reuters]

[via] The Rokkasho-mura reprocessing plant in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture opened for testing on March 31st, 2006. Less than two weeks later, in the early morning hours of April 11, 40 liters of radioactive water containing plutonium and uranium were spilled inside the plant. Fortunately, the official response was that there was no contamination outside the plant.

In response to the opening of the Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant and the associated dangers that go along with the plant’s operation, on May 16th, electronic musician Ryuichi Sakamoto launched an international awareness campaign that is currently available as a podcast.

Several free MP3 tracks are available for download at the Stop-Rokkasho site, and Sakamoto has even provided an a capella for remixing. more

The Sinn Féin European department will hold a half day conference entitled “Sellafield – Still a Danger? on Saturday 20th May ’06 in the Fairways Hotel, Dublin Road, Dundalk from 10am to 1.30pm.

Among the speakers who will be taking part in the conference are Mr Lennart Varmby, Board Member Swedish Energy Agency, Cllr George Regan, Scottish Vice-chair Nuclear Free Local Authorities, member of Dundee City Council (Scottish Labour) and Ms Rea Street, Vice Chairperson, CND Britain.

Bairbre De Brún, MEP will chair the session “Why Sellafield Must Close? and Arthur Morgan TD will chair the session “How to organise for the closure of Sellafied?.

Other speakers will include Caitriona Ruane MLA for South Down and Louth County Councillor Tomás Sharkey.

Speaking today Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Deputy Morgan said, “This conference is open to everyone concerned about the continued threat from the Sellafield plant in Cumbria, the most discredited nuclear facility in Western Europe.

“The people of County Louth and indeed the whole island have always had serious health concerns around Sellafield. We want a complete closure of the Plant, on a phased basis. We want a proper clean-up operation and we want more openness and no more cover-ups from the British Government on this issue.

“The threat of a new wave of nuclear power plants across Britain is also of grave concern. On a recent visit to Brussells it was evident to me that there is a very large pro-nuclear lobby at work promoting nuclear energy. Nuclear power can never be a viable option. The devastation caused twenty years ago at Chernobyl and the after-effects, which will be felt for many more generations should be enough to make us stop in our tracks and think again.

Concluding Deputy Morgan said, “I am looking forward to the contributions from the various speakers and I invite anyone interested in hearing what they have to say and who would like to make their own contribution to please come along.?

[BBC] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is giving his strongest signal yet that he backs the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK.

The prime minister is telling the CBI annual dinner that the issue is “back on the agenda with a vengeance”.

He says Britain faces the prospect of being largely reliant on foreign gas imports for its future energy needs.

Critics claim Mr Blair had decided to opt for nuclear power even before the government energy review launched.

Earlier No 10 said Mr Blair would say he had seen a “first cut” of the government-commissioned energy review, due by the end of July. more

Blair has been seeking a legacy to see him into his next job. 1000+ years of legacy is that enough? £70bn cleanup cost every ten years. Blair will go down in history.

[The Guardian] Washington Group International yesterday became the first US business to state categorically it wants to take over management of Sellafield and build new atomic plants in Britain.

Just weeks ahead of an expected recommendation for a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK, Washington directors said they planned to put in a bid for British Nuclear Group, the operating arm of the state-owned BNFL. The group will be sold in 2007 for an expected price of £500m to £1bn.

Article continues
The US firm, stock-listed on Nasdaq in New York, is also interested in managing the intermediate atomic waste site at Drigg in Cumbria. It could also volunteer to manage any high-level repository, deep underground, should that solution get the final authority from government. more

[news & star] NEW warning systems are being introduced to protect the public and workforce if there is a serious radiation incident at Sellafield.

A lower-level siren will sound if nuclear workers have to take shelter on the site, and a telephone hotline will be launched later this year which the public can call to find out what is happening.

The county’s emergency planning officer, David Humphreys, also thinks that another warning system should be investigated: firing maroons (a form of explosive device) or distress rockets across the site to warn of an incident which has caused radioactivity to spread into the local community. more

[Whitehaven news] COPELAND’S Labour Member of Parliament Jamie Reed has criticised the recent spate of propaganda from anti-nuclear pressure groups.

He said, “I take particular exception to recent claims from CORE that Sellafield “may have been responsible for some of the thyroid problems in Cumbria.” There is not one shred of evidence to support this claim.

“It’s about time that the anti-nuclear lobby stopped trying to demonise West Cumbria and West Cumbrians – we’re sick and tired of it.

“Recently, Greenpeace criticised the £18 million cash injection into the local health economy by the NDA describing it as being ‘like the feudal system.’ Where was the Greenpeace cheque? Where is their support for the area? They are extremely well funded so how about donating some of their money – with no strings – to the cause of regeneration in West Cumbria? At the same time, they should publish a list of their funders so that the general public can see exactly who it is that funds these groups. more

A new report reveals that the Sellafield site in Cumbria, northwest UK, would be a potential option for new nuclear build, but that the transmission network would have to be substantially reinforced in order to distribute the output to the national grid. more

or Sellafield could be moved closer to the grid, seriously Sellafield never really was properly connected to the main UK grid, its power generation capability was local and most of its power went into the plant itself to power the atomic bomb business. There is a huge decommissioning programme on going, the debate about new build nuclear is intensifying. Perhaps guitar playing PM Tony Blair will remember this hit tune from 1981 by the fun boy three
‘The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum)’

“go nuclear the cowboy told us
and who am i to disagree
‘cos when the madman flips the switch
the nuclear will go for me”

Perhaps The UK govt. should swallow the advice they are giving to Iran. Stop it. Shut it down. Do it now.

Memorial Concert for Guy Monteilhet
Supporting East Clare Chernobyl Children’s Project and St. Nicholas’ NS, Adare. Augustinian Abbey, Adare

Tickets available from Savins Music Store, Limerick
Vokes Foodmarket, Adare
Ashlings Foodmarket, Cratloe

Full Details here

[Telegraph] The Government will consider spinning off the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority into the private sector as part of its push to divest nuclear assets from public ownership.

Dipesh Shah, chief executive of UKAEA, is working on a management buyout of the nuclear decommissioning body in a deal that could value the business at about £450m. more

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