Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent, Nuclear Power Debacle

22nd October 2015 / Opinion, United Kingdom
TruePublica

George Osborne has hailed the new Hinkley nuclear station as good value for consumers. How he has come to this conclusion is a mystery given the financial data.

The agreement with the Chinese and French also sets up a wider UK partnership to develop new nuclear power stations at Sizewell and Bradwell. While they have reached Strategic Investment Agreements for all three plants, only Hinkley has a target date – it is supposed to start generating in 2025.

Apparently, the Bradwell project is also planned to include a Chinese-designed reactor. BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed says the final investment decision, which should largely be a formality, by EDF and CGN will now be taken in the next few weeks.

Is this good value for consumers? It will add £17 billion to the deficit or national debt depending on what line it’s parked on and impose £2 billion a year on household bills for a very long time, meanwhile, supporting Chinese and French state industries to pay for their pensioners and deficits. Let’s be clear, they would not be investing if there wasn’t a profit to be made.

Hinkley would be the most expensive power station in the world, costing a minimum of £24.5 billion project.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Allan Jeffrey said: “This is an extraordinarily bad deal, locking consumers into high prices (in fact double) until almost 2060. Worse still, it will use up most of the money available to subsidise non-fossil fuel energy leaving almost nothing available for renewables at a time when their costs are plummeting”.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) started off its press release in July by stating the intended measures of huge subsidy cuts were “to deal with a projected over-allocation of renewable energy subsidies.”. Sold by the government as a measure to reduce energy costs on hard working families – cynically, this subsidy has simply been moved to the nuclear deal. So we get nuclear instead of renewable at a far worse cost and considerably greater risk.

UK Security sources  are so concerned about this deal, that unusually, they have gone public and expressed alarm at giving the People’s Republic of China (PRC) such intimate access to Britain’s energy infrastructure, warning the “UK could be rushing into an agreement with Beijing without considering the threats”.

“There is a big division between the money men and the security side,” a security source told the Times. “The Treasury is in the lead and it isn’t listening to anyone — they see China as an opportunity, but we see the threat.”

Osborne simply dispensed with any concerns as advised by security officials, despite critics claiming it could enable China to use “trapdoors or backdoors” which could allow them to gain control of the nuclear power plant in the event of an international dispute.

“No one else in Europe would cut this deal. America wouldn’t dream of letting China have such a part in its critical national infrastructure,” said government advisor Paul Dorfman of University College London’s Energy Institute. “The idea the UK is prepared to do so is, frankly, astounding,” he added.

Bristol University’s International Development professor Jeffrey Henderson expressed similar alarm. “There is no other major developed economy on the planet where I can imagine this being allowed to happen,” he said.

And how real is that international dispute? David Cameron has been reckless in his constant grand-standing and sanctions regime against the Russians over Ukraine and Syria without thinking of the consequences.

Now we have a Chinese aircraft carrier docked at the Syrian city of Tartus to support a Russian/Iranian military buildup. In addition China has sent military “advisers” to Syria to help fight ISIS and support its allies, just as Britain and America has done in opposition. Britain and America have also sent veiled threats to Russia over Syria including retaliatory attacks whilst seeing a NATO build up in the region.

As TruePublica reported just last month with the headline “All Four Hemispheres Of The World Now Engaged In A Single War“- meaning a proxy war for control in the region is being conducted between the super-powers of the world. That being the case, after escalation, it could easily be that China ends up being our enemy. For now, that is not the case but who knows.

It appears that the Conservative Party world view of security is very confused and disorganised. In the blue corner is the very real risk of an all out nuclear war and Britain has to defend itself from such an event by leasing a £100 billion nuclear deterrent leased from the Americans – presumably in defence against either Russian or Chinese aggression or attacks. In the red corner we have a massive Chinese manufactured bomb, masquerading as a rather expensive power plant, nestled between Exmoor’s national park, the North Wessex Downs and the Brecon Beacons National Park – ready to wipe out our Royal Navy HQ down the road at Bristol and vaporising both bridges that connect Wales to England. All this at a price be we’ll be asking our grand-children to pay for – bargain.

Of course, the Chinese could simply blackmail us. They could switch off the power, shut the plant down or other such chess playing manoeuvres to ensure we behave as they see fit. A bit like the security services keeping tabs on politicians having sex with minors/animals etc so they can control them at will at a more convenient time.

Trident is not independant. It is manufactured and maintained by the Americans. What happened if they got into conflict with China that was not in the national interests of the UK. Could the Americans take control of our nuclear weapons systems? And what if it was the other way round?

One has to ask the question, what’s the point of Trident then.

Don’t think this is a serious question? For years, everyone warned that microchips made in China and installed on American military hardware could contain viruses or secret backdoors granting the Chinese military cyber access to U.S. weapons systems. Three years ago that prediction came true. A scientist at Cambridge University in the UK developed a software program proving that China — and anyone else — can, and is, installing cyber backdoors on some of the world’s most secure, “military grade” microchips.

Most alarming is that the chip in question, the PA3, is considered to be one of the “most impenetrable” designs on the market. The chip is used in military “weapons, guidance, flight control, networking and communications” hardware, according to Skorobogatov’s report on his findings that was published to much embarressment.

To be precise, the Scientist said “The backdoor is close to impossible to fix on chips already deployed because, unlike software bugs in a PC Operating System, you cannot issue a patch to fix this. Instead one has to replace all the hardware which could be extremely expensive. It may simply be a matter of time before this backdoor opportunity, which has the potential to impact on many critical systems, is exploited. Having a security related backdoor on a silicon chip jeopardises any efforts of adding software level protection. This is because an attacker can use the underlying hardware to circumvent the software countermeasures.

America is now spending billions to replace these systems, much as the Chinese have outlawed the use of American chips in government offices and agencies, military equipment and infrastructure.

This means that both Trident and nuclear power plants built by foriegners are effectively out of Britain’s control. This has been confirmed by Britain’s own security services who, as stated earlier, are so concerned they’ve gone on record, in the public domain to say so.

When the Chinese are done, we’ll have a significant percentage of power being delivered by a foreign super-power whose political beliefs are conflicting to ours. We already have a massive nuclear ‘deterrent’ controlled by another super-power whose disastrous foreign policy is at odds with the British public.

Just a few weeks ago, David Cameron had the audacity to scoff and guffaw at Jeremy Corbyn for questioning Trident and calling him a “Security Threatening, Terrorist-Sympathising, Britain-Hating” Ideologue“. At that moment a senior British army general declared; “Put a maverick in charge of the country’s security – the Army just wouldn’t stand for it and would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that.” This unnamed general, who, threatening mutiny of Britain’s armed forces has not been identified by by the British government and has not been arrested by the authorities for an act of treason.

The army it seems, is prepared for military action against its own government because of a British born politician it thinks is at odds with national security but is not acting in defence of the country in future real threats of national security.

The answer is that if Britain needs a nuclear deterrent and nuclear power plants it should build it’s own – it has the capacity, technology, skills and workforce to do so. Both are a matter of national security and only Britain should be in control of them.

Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica

 


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