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A Bunch of Cuts

Chris Huhne faces legal challenge over nuclear link to cancer in children

Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster, has won legal aid to launch the unprecedented case.
Walker lives close to Heysham where two new reactors are planned, and says he is worried about having children who could suffer an increased risk of leukaemia.
"It is folly beyond belief, and almost genocidal, to build new nuclear power stations," he said. "Nuclear power is unsafe, uneconomic and a dangerous distraction."
Walker's decision to go to court predates the Fukushima nuclear crisis following the Japan tsunami, though Walker said it has reinforced his fears.
He is an active member of the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance, and works on a project to help local people grow more food on a community allotment.

Public sector cuts – the truth | Society | The Guardian
A week today the cuts will start to bite. As the financial year ends, grants will run out, contracts will wind up, and charities and services will begin to shut their doors. After months of anxiety about the impact of the cuts, the consequences of the government's rapid deficit reduction programme will begin to be real.

Trafalgar has much in common with Tahrir | Priyamvada Gopal | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

This Saturday, one iconic square, Trafalgar, is to be turned into another, Tahrir – where Egyptians transfixed the world when, with collective determination, they overthrew a powerful regime. British protesters' call to transform Trafalgar acknowledges that the struggles in the Middle East and those gathering momentum in Britain share a profound connection.

Britain has seen policies destroying public services hastily enacted without a clear mandate...

This not about the "us" of the west versus the "them" of the Middle East, but that more fundamental clash between the barbarism of economic plutocracy and the civilisation of social justice.

Ignore the sneers. This march is a real alarm-clock moment | Polly Toynbee |

Cynics of the right sneer at the absurdity. Gleefully they seize on the silly comparisons of a few self-deluders: no, this is not Tahrir Square and no, Cameron is not Hosni Mubarak. Such exaggeration is as embarrassing as 1968 anti-Vietnam protesters in Grosvenor Square comparing themselves with the tragic Czech uprising.
But there are moments when protests catch the public mood. Will this be such a moment? It feels like the beginning, a marker put down for a turn in public attitudes.

My public attitude is changing - where are the bloody cuts we were promised?

What cuts?

If only there were some cuts, even a few titchy, little ones would do, but there aren't any. As John Redwood points out using Office of Budget Responsibility(OBR) figures:
Total borrowing will be £165.5 billion in 2010-11, and £167.4 billion in 2011-12. £261.6 billion of this is additional borrowing for extra spending. (My emphasis)

Needless to say, the almost entirely useless media fail to ram this point into the public consciousness by endlessly repeating it in the way they endlessly repeat equally useless pictures of jet fighter-bombers wasting their time, and our money, over Libya. These figures should writ large on every headline in every newspaper - but don't hold your breath:

2011-12 spending increase of £10.6 billion

2012-13 spending increase of £9.2 billion

2013-14 spending increase of £8.1 billion

2014-15 spending increase of £6.1 billion

I can only repeat, borrowing is increasing not decreasing, as Redwood and the OBS make clear:

Total borrowing will be £165.5 billion in 2010-11, and £167.4 billion in 2011-12. £261.6 billion of this is additional borrowing for extra spending.


Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster, gets legal aid and member of the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance.
This story incensed me. This wanker is simply a modern day Mary Whitehouse. If he really believes this crap then perhaps he and his family, his friends and his fellow Alliance members would be better off moving.... to Mars or find a nother source of income other than the taxpayer to peddle his .

I live across the water from Heysham in a town that has a shipyard that builds and 'makes live' nuclear powered submarines which is just down the coast from Sellafield. I am 50 so have lived my entire life with these nuclear facilities as I was born the year HMS Dreadnought was launched. She was Britain's first nuclear powered submarine.

Coming to the point
Let's get the causes of harm in perspective for Mr Walker...

The Fukushima plant was forty years old, near retirement. Its staff did a fantastic job under the circumstances. There was no disaster. No people outside the plant got injured, no property outside the plant was damaged by nuclear material. Give the reactor crew a round of applause. Nuclear power just got a whole lot better and safer. Nuclear power survived the onslaught well, and we learned a great deal. The lessons learned will be shared with the rest of the world to the betterment of all. Current designs could withstand even this worst-case scenario. Nuclear power remains, safe, viable and vital.

We should also compare the harm done from this and other nuclear power emergencies with past power plant disasters.

Look at the following list (from “What is the worst kind of power plant disaster? Hint: It's not nuclear” by Annalee Newitz):

1975: Shimantan/Banqiao Dam Failure
Type of power: Hydroelectric
Human lives lost: 171,000
Cost: $8,700,000,000
What happened: Shimantan Dam in China's Henan province fails and releases 15.738 billion tons of water, causing widespread flooding that destroys 18 villages and 1500 homes and induces disease epidemics and famine.

1979: Morvi Dam Failure
Type of power: Hydroelectric
Human lives lost: 1500 (estimated)
Cost: $1,024,000,000
What happened: Torrential rain and unprecidented flooding caused the Machchu-2 dam, situated on the Machhu river, to burst. This sent a wall of water through the town of Morvi in the Indian State of Gujarat.

1998: Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Jess Oil Pipeline Explosion
Type of power: Oil
Human lives lost: 1,078
Cost: $54,000,000
What happened: Petroleum pipeline ruptures and explodes, destroying two villages and hundreds of villagers scavenging gasoline...



Totally support everything from William.

I used to work at a nuclear power station as a Senior Engineer (now retired). We had a "local" protest group except none of them lived locally. None were from a town a few miles away: the closest IIRC was about 20 miles. When a senior high-up made a visit, the protestors were all out in force, IIRC 10-20 in number. The "high-up" noticed that we had some protestors. The Station Director looked around and comments, "Yes, they're All here today for your visit".

The locals (as distinct from our distant armchair campaigners) had lived with nuclear power for decades and I rarely heard a word of complaint from them. We had local liaison meetings with the local people and the furthest I can remember the complaints going were a small number of noise abatement issues. (Steam valves on non-nuclear plant lifting at odd times. The issue was explained and dealt with. As far as could be achieved, such routine operations were re-scheduled for non-sleeping hours.)

Incidentally, I was involved on the margins, with the Nuclear Safety Case. This seemed to me to be considerably more robust than the Japanese (remembering, of course, these reactors were 40 years old and on the verge of retirement). One of the things we had to consider were earthquakes and we trawled back through all the scientific, historical and anecdotal information we could find. One such case was, centuries ago, the local lord of the manor was riding home and unexpectedly fell off his horse. Could this have been caused by an earthquake and, if so, what would the likely magnitude be? (The alternative that he was drunk and incapable was not considered as an excuse, despite the expression, "Drunk as a lord"!)

Mind you, I do not live on the "Ring of Fire" - the last English volcano I am aware of (and, no, I wasn't there) was in the Carboniferous. We do still have the occasional earthquake that can be felt but the worst of these are several orders of magnitude less powerful than the Japanese experience.

" ... Folly beyond belief and almost genocidal ... " is simply irrational.

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