Why nuclear "Justification" isn't enough

New build nuclear reactors will escape proper Parliamentary scrutiny. That cannot be right.

The nuclear industry want to build over ten new nuclear reactors in the UK. Each of these reactors will have 2.5 times the radiological inventory of Sizewell B, the biggest reactor in the UK.

Government figures state that a substantial new nuclear re-build will provide 4 per cent of our energy, and so halt only 4 per cent of our CO2 emissions. The estimated cost to taxpayers of decommissioning our current reactors and dealing with our present nuclear waste has mounted from £50bn to £73bn over the last five years.

The actual costs will be over £100bn.

Nuclear "Justification" is a high level assessment about whether the benefits of new nuclear build outweigh the health detriments. Justification is a legal regulatory requirement under EU law - it must be done before reactors can be approved. Once the Justification decision has been taken it will be all but impossible to re-open nuclear policy.

This will not be subject to any Parliamentary scrutiny until after a decision has been made. However, if you don't know the reactor design and can't prove you can dispose of the radioactive waste, how on earth can you know the release?

And if this is so, which it is, how can you expect to be in compliance with the law? Unfortunately this is the position that the Office of Nuclear development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change find themselves.

This means that government is about to take a decision on the "Justification" of more nuclear power when significant "what if" issues that are tied to health impact - such as reactor design and siting, vulnerability to attack, radiation waste, radiation risk, reactor decommissioning - have not been resolved.

Failure to do this leaves the government open to legal challenge and leads to hostility and mistrust of any future energy policy decision.

At this politically sensitive and strategic time for UK energy futures, whether you are for, against, or haven't made your mind up about new nuclear reactors on the UK - this critical decision must be dealt with openly and fairly to get a better result for everyone by generating public trust in the outcome.

Because the Justification of new nuclear power in the UK represents a key issue for trust in government energy policy and the control of nuclear risk, we believe the Government should hold an Independent Inquiry, as allowed for under the regulations governing Justification: The Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004 (No. 1769), Regulation 17.

Join us.

Dr Paul Dorfman is Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust Energy Policy Research Fellow, facilitates the Nuclear Consultation Group, Member of MOD Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) Steering Group (MSDPSG), Steering Group Member SAFEGROUNDS (Safety and Environmental Guidance for Remediation of Nuclear and Defence Sites), and served as Secretary to the Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters (CERRIE).

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What David Hockney has to tell us about football

Why the sudden glut of blond footballers? A conversation I had with the artist back in 1966 gave me a clue. . .

In 1966, I went to interview David Hockney at a rather run-down flat in Bayswater, central London. He was 28 and had just won a gold medal at the Royal College of Art.

In his lavatory, I noticed a cut-out photograph from a newspaper of Denis Law scoring a goal. I asked if he was a football fan. He said no, he just liked Denis Law’s thighs.

The sub-editors cut that remark out of the story, to save any gossip or legal problems. In 1966 homosexual activity could still be an offence.

Hockney and a friend had recently been in the United States and had been watching an advert on TV that said “Blondes have more fun”. At two o’clock in the morning, slightly drunk, they both went out, bought some hair dye and became blond. Hockney decided to remain blond from then on, though he has naturally dark hair.

Is it true that blonds have more fun? Lionel Messi presumably thinks so, otherwise why has he greeted this brand-new season with that weird blond hair? We look at his face, his figure, his posture and we know it’s him – then we blink, thinking what the heck, does he realise some joker has been pouring stuff on his head?

He has always been such a staid, old-fashioned-looking lad, never messing around with his hair till now. Neymar, beside him, has gone even blonder, but somehow we expect it of him. He had foony hair even before he left Brazil.

Over here, blonds are popping up all over the shop. Most teams now have a born-again blondie. It must take a fortune for Marouane Fellaini of Man United to brighten up his hair, as he has so much. But it’s already fading. Cheapskate.

Mesut Özil of Arsenal held back, not going the full head, just bits of it, which I suspect is a clue to his wavering, hesitant personality. His colleague Aaron Ramsey has almost the full blond monty. Paul Pogba of Man United has a sort of blond streak, more like a marker pen than a makeover. His colleague Phil Jones has appeared blond, but he seems to have disappeared from the team sheet. Samir Nasri of Man City went startlingly blond, but is on loan to Seville, so we’re not able to enjoy his locks. And Didier Ndong of Sunderland is a striking blond, thanks to gallons of bleach.

Remember the Romanians in the 1998 World Cup? They suddenly appeared blond, every one of them. God, that was brilliant. One of my all-time best World Cup moments, and I was at Wembley in 1966.

So, why do they do it? Well, Hockney was right, in a sense. Not to have more fun – meaning more sex – because top footballers are more than well supplied, but because their normal working lives are on the whole devoid of fun.

They can’t stuff their faces with fast food, drink themselves stupid, stay up all night, take a few silly pills – which is what many of our healthy 25-year-old lads consider a reasonably fun evening. Nor can they spend all their millions on fun hols, such as skiing in the winter, a safari in the spring, or hang-gliding at the weekend. Prem players have to be so boringly sensible these days, or their foreign managers will be screaming at them in their funny foreign accents.

While not on the pitch, or training, which takes up only a few hours a day, the boredom is appalling, endlessly on planes or coaches or in some hotel that could be anywhere.

The only bright spot in the long days is to look in the mirror and think: “Hmm, I wonder what highlights would look like? I’ve done the beard and the tattoos. Now let’s go for blond. Wow, gorgeous.”

They influence each other, being simple souls, so when one dyes his hair, depending on where he is in the macho pecking order, others follow. They put in the day by looking at themselves. Harmless fun. Bless ’em.

But I expect all the faux blonds to have gone by Christmas. Along with Mourinho. I said that to myself the moment he arrived in Manchester, smirking away. Pep will see him off. OK then, let’s say Easter at the latest . . . 

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 22 September 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times