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Nuclear ‘incidents’

British government denies information about nuclear ‘incidents’ to placate American owners

An earlier PCU post reported:

On January 6th Her Majesty’s Government was asked about five incidents referred to in the Director of Civil Nuclear Security’s report The State of Security in the civil nuclear industry and the effectiveness of security regulation April 2008 to March 2009 that “warranted further investigation and subsequent follow up action”. The Minister of State refused to give it.

Despite an undertaking on the Sellafield website that ”Information will only be withheld when necessary and in line with legislation, taking into account public interest and protecting legitimate confidential information, such as personal and commercially sensitive information” the minister had refused to answer questions in Parliament about incidents which were clearly of interest to the public.

Two days earlier Nuclear Management Partners, a consortium of US, French and British companies was reported to have told ministers that it would walk away from the deal unless it was fully indemnified against the costs of cleaning up an accident at what is one of the world’s most hazardous nuclear sites.

VIP blogger has reminded PCU of an exemption rushed through in 2008:

Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, is to exempt from the Freedom of Information Act the new US-led private consortia taking over the running of Britain’s biggest nuclear facility at Sellafield next Monday.

“The move comes on top of a decision by Malcolm Wicks, the former energy minister, to make the taxpayer liable for any accidents at Sellafield, which is in Cumbria, exempting the firm from the national requirement to pay the first £140m of any bill for leaks or radioactive contamination . . .

“The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority confirmed yesterday that Sellafield Ltd – as the new organisation will be known – would be exempt from the FOI laws because it is a private company.

Surely private companies should be fully accountable for their actions?