REVOLT News 

12/07/2004

Text Version 

1.  Early warnings tell of the risk of blackouts as gas imports are
over-stretched (Appendix 1).
2.  New nuclear power station for Scotland (Appendix 2).
3.  More on the developing picture for nuclear power, in UK and around
the world (Appendix 3).
4.  New safer type of nuclear reactor (Appendix 4).
5.  NG acquire telecoms mast business (Appendix 5).
6.  Another example of northern windfarm proposals and objections
(Appendix 6).
7.  Some progress at the meeting with government departments on EMF
(Appendix 7).
8.  Notes on NGT Annual Report (Appendix 8). The statement on EMF is
disappointing spin and somewhat in contrast to the more constructive
approach taken by NGT at the stakeholder meeting (item 7 above).
9.  Ofgem report criticises NGT over blackouts last year (Appendix 9).
10.  Editorial overview:    
Revolt is FOR rational energy distribution policy (in the wider sense of
distribution) and against unnecessary and excessive overhead powerline
development. Revolt is FOR an efficient and reliable public electricity
service. Revolt has no position on nuclear power per se. Revolt has
criticised aspects of government energy policy, not least its over-
reliance on remote wind power and the ineffectiveness and insecurity
problems that would bring. Revolt generally favours energy efficiency,
distributed generation, CHP and regional balance of generation and
demand, which tend to support each other.  
Without prejudice, we have called for a feasibility study into the
possibility of using distributed small-scale nuclear generators based on
nuclear submarine engines (news162.9 and 156.7). Perhaps the political
force of climate change arguments, together with improving government
awareness of the limitations of wind power, is beginning to show in more
positive attitudes to nuclear generation. Without necessarily supporting
nuclear power, it is important that proper scrutiny and consideration is
given to nuclear options. Revolt would naturally incline to small
distributed generation rather than giant remote nuclear power stations
with their transmission implications, but at least let's have the
discussion opened up.
************************************************************************
APPENDIX 1  Bad winter 'will test gas supply'  
Ceefax, # 112, 24.06.2004
 
The gas market may not be able to meet demand for supplies if
temperatures drop
in severe winter conditions, say an all-party committee of peers.
 
The Lords Committee on the EU says in a report that pipelines bringing
gas into
Britain have little spare capacity.
 
By 2010, it says, the UK will import around 50% of its gas and this is
likely to rise to
around 70% in 2020.
 
France, Germany, and Italy have storage capacity equal to 20% of annual
demand or
more.
 
In the UK, the figure is 4%.
********************************************************************
APPENDIX 2. New nuclear power station for Scotland  
Scotland on Sunday 11-7-04:
MURDO MACLEOD and EDDIE BARNES 
IN A major U-turn on energy policy, Scotland is in line to have a new
nuclear power
station built in order make sure that Britain can reduce its output of
greenhouse
gases without Californian-style massive power cuts. 
The two front-runners for the new stations are the current nuclear power
station
sites of Hunterston in Ayrshire and Chapelcross, at Annan, in Dumfries
and
Galloway, with Torness in East Lothian as the outsider. 
The move has come in the wake of Tony Blair admitting to MPs that
Britain is likely to
need a new generation of nuclear power stations in order to meet the
challenge of
climate change. 
Previous energy policy had targeted renewables such as wind farms to
make up the
shortfall in supply caused by the need to reduce harmful carbon dioxide
emissions. 
The move could result in a clash between Labour ministers in the south
who see no
alternative to a nuclear programme, and the Scottish Executive Labour-
Lib-Dem
coalition whose Liberal Democrat ministers have threatened to veto
planning
permission for new nuclear power stations. 
A senior nuclear industry source last night confirmed that Scotland was
set to have a
nuclear power station built, but that the location was still to be
decided. 
He said: "It's a toss-up between a new unit at Hunterston or one at
Chapelcross, with
Torness being an outsider, but still having a chance." 
"Hunterston and Chapelcross both have their good points, but it is still
to be decided
which it will be. The final decision will be for the government,
although they will take
our recommendations into account." 
The source said that the government could not hope to meet ambitious
targets to
reduce the nation's output of polluting gases such as carbon dioxide,
the main gas
which is linked to global warming. 
The move marks a major rethink by ministers. Last year's Energy White
Paper in
February 2003 came down firmly in favour of energy efficiency and
renewables being
given priority as the best option for Britain's future. Nuclear energy
was not ruled out
forever but put on hold for at least five years. 
Blair last week signalled to the Commons that the government believed it
had no
option but to commission a new generation of nuclear power stations. 
Blair said the evidence was now overwhelming that climate change was the
biggest
long-term problem facing the country, and conceded the world was nowhere
near
finding a mechanism to cut carbon dioxide emissions by the government's
target of
60% by 2050. 
Over the next 20 years, all but one of the UK's 16 nuclear power
stations will close,
leaving the British energy market looking to find a substitute for the
23% of the
country's electricity which is generated by nuclear power. Scotland
relies even more
on atomic power, with a third of power north of the Border being nuclear
generated. 
In Scotland the Chapelcross power station was closed last week and the
Hunterston
B plant will close in 2011. The Torness station will close by 2023. 
The main advantage of the Hunterston site is its closeness to a deep-
water port,
meaning it has a readily available supply of water for cooling.
Chapelcross is better
situated to be able to supply power to England when needed. 
Brian Wilson, the former energy minister, said: "I very much welcome
Tony Blair's
comments and it might well be a significant landmark in the whole
debate. My view is
that this issues will have to re-visited sooner rather than later. 
"If we are going to keep the emphasis on carbon reduction then this is
the only
reliable source of carbon free energy that we have. Over the next few
years, thinking
environmentalists would start to recognise that fact." 
Wilson, who is also an enthusiastic backer of wind energy, said: "It is
very silly to
think renewables can fill the gap. I am pro-renewables but the worst
thing we can do
is to exaggerate what they can deliver." 
Bill Tynan, the chairman of the House of Commons all-party group on the
nuclear
industry last night welcomed the signals that a new station would be
built north of the
Border, and said that he believed Hunterston was the best option for the
new plant. 
Tynan said: "Scotland needs a new nuclear power station. 
We face becoming increasingly reliant on imported energy which comes
from
countries which are not always very stable." 
But the Labour MP warned that the biggest hurdle the power station may
face may
be Scotland's Labour-Lib Dem coalition executive. The anti-nuclear
Liberal
Democrats have threatened to use their position in the Executive to veto
any
planning permission for new nuclear plants. 
And the Scottish Green Party reacted with fury to the suggestion that
Scotland was
in line for a new nuclear plant. 
A spokesman said: "It is a stupid idea. The answer is renewables and a
focus on
saving energy. It is utterly illogical to try and substitute one kind of
pollution for
another. Nuclear power is hugely expensive in addition to being
environmentally
disastrous." 
A spokesman for the Nuclear Industry Association said: "The existing
stations have
been looked at (for future development). You would not want to be
building a new
station on a green field site. There is enough land on the existing
sites to expand.
There is also a degree of local support in these areas because they are
employers." 
A Scottish Executive spokesman said that nuclear power was a reserved
matter and
each planning application would be decided on its own merits.
********************************************************
APPENDIX 3  More on nuclear power (Sunday Telegraph 11.7.04)
Time for Blair to go nuclear?
(Filed: 11/07/04)
As demand for power soars, even 'green' nations are building nuclear
plants.
Britain faces an energy crisis unless it follows suit, says Andrew
Murray-Watson.
On a quiet outcrop of land on the windswept Somerset coastline, an old
power plant
is slowly, and very carefully, being taken apart.
Hinkley Point A, a nuclear power station owned by BNFL, came to the end
of its
working life in 2000. A few hundred workers, where once there were
thousands, are
decommissioning the plant. Its radioactive fuel rods are being
dismantled and the s
ite will be used to store spent radioactive material in a safe
environment.
Hinkley A is a symbol of the state of the UK nuclear power industry. The
plant, which
once generated 470MW of electricity, is one of 12 older Magnox nuclear
plants
owned by BNFL, which will all be decommissioned by 2011.
British Energy, the UK's other nuclear power company, owns eight nuclear
plants.
The company is nearly wholly owned by its bondholders and would have
collapsed
entirely had it not been for a Government handout <
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2003/02/15/cnben1
5.xml
> . The British nuclear industry appears to be on its last legs.
The Government, while not completely abandoning the nuclear power
industry,
appears to have decided that other forms of renewable energy such as
wind and
tidal power <
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2004/02/16/cnwind
16.xml
>  are to be encouraged at all costs.
Although renewables generate clean energy, they cause a different sort
of pollution.
Wind farms in particular are increasingly running into opposition from
local pressure
groups, who claim that they are a visual blight on the landscape.
Environmentalists
also claim that thousands of birds are killed every year by the turbine
blades.
But last Wednesday, supporters of the UK nuclear industry were heartened
by Tony
Blair's appearance before a committee of senior MPs. He admitted that
America was
pressing Britain to re-examine the case for building a new generation of
nuclear
power stations.
Blair said that he had "fought long and hard . . . to make sure that the
nuclear option
is not closed off". He told MPs that there was no way nuclear power
could be
removed from the agenda "if you are serious about the issue of climate
change".
Blair stressed, however, that no decision had been made in Government
and the
nuclear industry had to do more to meet the public's concerns about
safety and
costs.
Yet while the UK has now only just started to reignite the nuclear
debate, nuclear
power, for so long haunted by the ghosts of Chernobyl, has been making a
comeback throughout the rest of the world.
Its recovery is being led by countries that do not have historical hang-
ups about the
dangers of harnessing the power of the atom, and which need reliable
sources of
electricty to drive their power-hungry industries.
In total, there are 30 nuclear power stations currently under
construction around the
globe to add to the 438 already in existence. Together they will
generate 2610TWh of
power without emitting greenhouse gases. Coal-powered stations
generating the
same amount of power would spew 2.4bn tonnes of carbon into the
atmosphere
every year.
Asia is leading the way in building new nuclear plants. Of the 30 under
construction,
nine are in India, four are in China, three in in Japan and one is in
South Korea.
Why is new generating capacity required? According to the World Nuclear
Association, global energy use has grown by 50 per cent since 1980. The
United
Nations predicts that with the world's population growing from 6bn to
7.5bn by 2020,
demand for energy will continue to increase, probably by 85 per cent.
And it is fears of global warming that are turning the tide in favour of
the nuclear
industry. Even in parts of Europe dominated by "green" interests,
nuclear power is
again being increasingly viewed as a realistic option.
Sweden, for example, has 11 nuclear power plants, generating half the
country's
electricity. The bulk of the remainder is generated by hydro plants.
However, the Three Mile Island accident in the US prompted a referendum
in
Sweden to phase out nuclear energy and no new stations have been built
since
1985. And in 1988 the government decided to begin the phasing-out of
nuclear
stations.
But this decision was overturned three years later following pressure
from trade
unions. Since then, faced with the prospect of importing expensive
natural gas to
meet domestic demand, the Swedes have grown increasingly fond of the
country's
nuclear power stations.
In 1996 a survey conducted by the Confederation of Swedish Industries
found that 80
per cent of the public were in favour of nuclear power. A third of those
questioned
said that they favoured replacing older nuclear stations with new
plants.
In December last year a poll of Swedes found that 75 per cent gave top
environmental priority to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Only 10 per
cent
wanted nuclear to be phased out.
An official of the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate said: "Attitudes
towards
nuclear are changing dramatically. A proportion in government want to
build new
nuclear stations - but they are still in a minority."
In neighbouring Finland, a new nuclear station, financed by the
country's business
community, is being built to safeguard supplies of electricity. A
coalition of about 60
Finnish heavy industrial firms have formed a group called TVO and
believe the
1,000MW plant is vital.
Even in Germany, where the Green Party still hold the balance of power
in
government, an increasing number of voices are questioning whether the
country is
wise to phase out its nuclear generating capacity.
John Ritch, the former US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy
Agency
(IAEA), believes the change in public attitudes in Scandinavia could be
replicated in
the UK if there were a sensible debate.
Ritch, who is now the director general of the World Nuclear Association,
says:
"When you force the general public to face facts, the case for nuclear
becomes very
persuasive. In Sweden you have a classic case of public debate leading
to public
enlightenment."
Ritch describes this process as the "immunisation effect", where a
populace grows
to like nuclear power after seeing at first hand the benefits it can
provide over a long
period.
Ritch argues that the public opposition to nuclear power is irrational.
"Current nuclear
generation is enormously safe. Year after year it churns out electricity
without
incident. There has not been one instance in history where civil nuclear
plants have
been used as a means of getting nuclear weapons," he says.
Ritch also believes that the UK is heading for an energy crisis if it
does not embrace
the nuclear option again. "This Government will take the UK from being
completely
energy autonomous to completely energy dependent within a generation,"
he says.
Opponents of the nuclear industry in the UK do not believe the public
will ever accept
the prospect of new nuclear stations.
Friends of the Earth, among others, claims that other forms of renewable
energy can
provide all the power the country needs and reduce carbon emissions at
the same
time.
But the Government's target of generating more than 10 per cent of all
electricty from
renewable sources by 2010 is under threat. The power industry is already
lagging
well behind the 4.3 per cent target for 2004.
The growth in renewables is not cutting carbon emissions in the UK - it
is merely
replacing nuclear plants as they are decommissioned.
Meanwhile, a Government White Paper on energy last year found that deep-
rooted
fears about atomic energy remained etched into the public consiousness.
That said, the technical issues facing the industry, such as how to deal
with nuclear
waste, are being tackled. A spokesman for BNFL says: "These issues are
not
insurmountable by any means, and indeed are being solved around the
world at this
very minute.
"In the US, Yucca Mountain, an underground geological repository for
nuclear waste,
is under construction. Work on a similar facility in Sweden is about to
begin."
Supporters of nuclear power concede that the fear of terrorists getting
hold of
nuclear waste is prevalent, but highlight the fact that more radioactive
material exists
from the Cold War arms race than will ever be created by civil nuclear
power
stations.
Any decision about the future of the nuclear industry in the UK is
unlikely to be taken
until after the next general election. But even if the next
administration decides in
2006 to build new nuclear stations, the planning and contruction process
means that
new plants could not come on line until 2015 at the earliest.
But with renewables unable to provide security of supply and the
reserves of gas and
oil running out, nuclear appears to some to be the only viable option.
It may remain
unpopular, but it could become the least undesirable option to
fulfilling the UK's
energy needs while meeting its commitments on reducing greenhouse gases.
****************************************************************
APPENDIX 4  New safer type of nuclear reactor (Sunday Telegraph 11.7.04) 
 
Nobel prize-winner's reactor offers safer, cleaner nuclear power
By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent
(Filed: 11/07/2004) 
A revolutionary nuclear reactor that can recycle its own waste is being
studied by the Government as a future source of energy for Britain.
The reactor, which is being developed by a Nobel prize-winning Italian
scientist, is
said to eliminate the  risk of disasters of the type that devastated
Chernobyl in 1986.
It can also use radioactive waste from other reactors - as well as from
its own - as a
source of fuel, minimising any environmental problems and reducing the
cost of
generating electricity.
By offering these benefits, scientists believe that the reactor will
ensure that nuclear
power plays a greater role in future energy policy. Conviction is
growing among
governments and some environmentalists that without nuclear power the
world will
face an energy crisis.
Last week Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, indicated that Britain might
have to build a
new generation of nuclear power stations. Mr Blair said that the aim
would be to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions - as required by the Kyoto convention -
produced
by other forms of electricity generation and declared that the only
obstacles to
nuclear power were the issues of safety and cost. The reactor, which is
being
assembled near Rome by Prof Carlo Rubbia <
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1997/05/19/wn
uk19.html
> , an Italian physicist who won a Nobel Prize in 1984, addresses both
concerns.
In a conventional reactor, radioactive fuel - uranium - is used to
trigger a chain
reaction, in which atoms of the fuel break apart, releasing energy and
particles that in
turn break apart further atoms, sustaining the reaction. The challenge
has been to
prevent the chain reaction getting out of control and producing an
atomic explosion.
This has led to complex and expensive safety systems, which do not
always work,
as the Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union demonstrated.
Prof Rubbia's reactor, by contrast, can use other radioactive fuels -
such as
plutonium, neptunium and other high-level waste products from
conventional nuclear
reactors - that do not produce enough particles to sustain a chain
reaction.
Instead, the reactor has to be fed with particles from an external
source. If the supply
of particles is cut off - through a mistake or sabotage - the reactor
reverts to its
natural state, and switches off.
Since the start of nuclear power generation 50 years ago, thousands of
tons of hot
and toxic radioactive waste have accumulated, awaiting the discovery of
some
long-term disposal method. In Britain, it is turned into a glassy
material and kept in
huge, heavily protected cooling ponds.
Dr Kadi said that the new reactor, which is known as an "energy
amplifier", would be
able to dispose of waste produced by five conventional reactors, as well
as its own.
"With this reactor you can put in any type of radioactive waste, as long
as you can
get it into the right form," he said.
The first live test on the reactor will be conducted soon at the
Casaccia Research
Centre. Once the performance of the test reactor has been assessed, the
team
plans to upgrade to a bigger reactor and particle accelerator and
attempt the first
"incineration" of radioactive waste.
Nuclear power has had a chequered history since the opening of Britain's
Calderhall,
the world's first nuclear power station, in 1956. Incidents such as the
Windscale
reactor fire of 1957, Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl led many
countries to
halt their nuclear power programmes. Within 20 years Britain will have
just one
nuclear power station.
Despite its reputation, nuclear power is seen by many scientists as
offering
environmental advantages because it generates no carbon dioxide. Other
forms of
non-fossil fuel-burning energy generation - such as wind turbines - do
not produce
enough power to meet Britain's requirement to cut its greenhouse gas
emissions,
while electricity produced by nuclear power is likely to be less than
half as expensive
as that from offshore windfarms.
******************************************************************
APPENDIX 5  NG acquire telecoms mast business (news kindly passed on by
Chris Maile of Planning Sanity)
http://money.guardian.co.uk/businessnews/story/0,1265,-1249617,00.html
NGT climbs to top of phone and television mast ownership league
David Gow
Tuesday June 29, 2004
The Guardian
National Grid Transco yesterday became Britain's biggest operator of
mobile
phone towers and TV transmission masts after paying £1.1bn in cash for
the
UK operations of US group Crown Castle.
The American group paid £244m for the BBC's transmission infrastructure
and
services when these were privatised in 1997.
The acquisition adds 3,500 phone towers to NGT's existing 1,400 operated
by
Gridcom and attached to electricity pylons and gas-holders.
The business, to be known as Crown Castle UK, also owns 750 TV
transmission
towers and two of the six digital licences, providing infrastructure
services for the BBC, Freeview and Sky.
Crown Castle's UK operations made £101m profit last year on turnover of
£233m and NGT said the acquisition would enhance earnings in the full
year
after completion, due by September 30.
Gridcom, the NGT business which was forged after the merger of the
National
Grid with Transco, the monopoly gas pipeline operator, last year made
underlying profits of £6m, compared with a loss of £23m in 2002. It
employs
about 400 people.
It is seeking savings of £18m a year in the combined mobile
infrastructure
business, which is expected to expand rapidly through the shift to 3G
networks. These require up to four times the number of sites used by
earlier
networks. Phone operators such as Vodafone and T-Mobile are said to be
keen
to bypass the onerous planning control system, a process eased by NGT's
ownership of thousands of sites, many of them in rural areas with poor
mobile coverage.
The combined business will be headed by Peter Abery, chief executive of
Crown Castle UK, while Steven Marshall, Gridcom's chief executive,
becomes
chief operating officer.
It is understood that NGT plans to finance the acquisition out of
existing
facilities rather than raid the £5bn it is expected to raise from the
sale
of several local gas distribution zones. This is predominantly earmarked
for
shareholders.
John Kelly, chief executive of Crown Castle International, the world's
biggest operator of mobile phone towers, said the group saw this as the
right time to realise the value it had created in the UK and concentrate
on
the US.
It is understood to be planning to use the sale proceeds to reduce debt
in
advance of investment in America's explosive and belated expansion of
digital mobile telephony.
-- 
Planning Sanity (CfPS)
Local Community Support for Adverse Planning and Development
Applications
http://www.planningsanity.co.uk
Helpline 0161 278 3355 - 11am to 8pm Mon to Fri
For none planning related mast inquiries please contact Mast Sanity
http://www.mastsanity.org - webmaster@mastsanity.org
or call their helpline 08704 322377 - 1pm to 8pm Mon to Fri
**************************************************************
APPENDIX 6 Another example of northern windfarm proposals and
objections. 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1254260,00.html
The Guardian
Storm of protest over planned windfarm 
David Ward and Vikram Dodd
Monday July 5, 2004
Up to 400 people protested yesterday against plans for one of the
biggest windfarms and some of the tallest turbines ever planned for
England, staging walks to show how the scheme will blight views
from two national parks. 
If a planning inspector agrees at an inquiry due next year, 27 wind
turbines, each 115 metres (337ft) high, will rise on a ridge close to
the M6 near Tebay, between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales
national parks.
Opponents of the planned Whinash windfarm claim the turbines will
be clearly visible from both High Street, the breezy ridge south of
Ullswater, and the Calf, the summit of the Howgill Fells.
Kyle Blue, a chartered surveyor involved in the protests, said 400
people had attended a meeting opposed to the plans while 350
trudged across Cumbria's hills to protest.
"The point is to show what a precious gem this is and that we should
be looking after it, and not building on it," Mr Blue said. Speaking
from on top of a hill, he added: "This is one of the most exquisite
views. To imagine a 350ft turbine could be swishing around is
unthinkable."
The protesters say each structure will be three-quarters of the height
of Blackpool Tower with a blade diameter wider than the wingspan
of a jumbo jet. They claim the farm could inflict heavy damage on
Cumbria's tourism economy, now healthy after a spectacular
recovery from the ravages of foot and mouth disease. 
"It would be an absolute folly to destroy some of this country's most
precious landscape to meet government targets for renewable
energy," said John Dunning, a businessman who established the
service area at Tebay on the M6. 
But Stephen Molloy, project manager for Renewable Development
Company Ltd, which is promoting the scheme, said something had to
be done to create new sources of cleaner energy. 
"To do nothing is to cause more damage than any windfarm will do,"
he said.
"The wind resource in the region is in the national parks and the
Pennines area of outstanding natural beauty and we cannot build
there. There is not much wind in the Eden Valley so we have to go to
these foothills."
Mr Molloy argues that Whinash will produce one and a half times the
power of the 11 windfarms and 77 turbines that already turn in
Cumbria. "You can have a big one that produces a lot of electricity or
lots of little ones." 
Steve Connor, the managing director of Creative Concern, a
Manchester-based communications agency specialising in
renewable energy, said: "We need big schemes. It's either that or we
go for nuclear power." 
The row in Cumbria - home of Sellafield - echoes the debate across
the country as the government considers new energy policies. 
The Lake District national park authority, Cumbria county council
and Eden district council have all objected to the Whinash scheme. 
Sir Bernard Ingham, who opposes all windfarms, is against it but has
kept out of the fray. The Cumbrian peer Lord Bragg, the mountaineer
Chris Bonnington and the environmentalist David Bellamy all support
the campaigners. 
The television gardener Alan Titchmarsh said: "Now, more than ever
before, we need to stand up for the beauty of our landscape which
others would be all too ready to destroy in the name of [the]
economy." 
The Rt Rev John Oliver, the former bishop of Hereford and now the
church's environment spokesman, denounced the "deplorable plan"
as "utter folly". 
"Visual impact is a subjective thing," Mr Molloy added. "Personally, I
like wind turbines. We have had 1,000 letters of support, many of
them from people who find them quite attractive." 
He accuses protesters of guerrilla tactics, "throwing out mischievous
facts" and signing up 5,000 objectors through misinformation. 
One battle has raged over the photomontages each side produced
to give an impression of the completed windfarm. Mr Molloy claimed
his company's picture, required for the environmental impact
assessment of the scheme and subject to an independent check,
showed the development in its proper scale. By contrast, the one
(since modified) produced by opponents showed "41 turbines, twice
the real size and in the wrong place". 
Mr Molloy said the company had taken its case to the Advertising
Standards Authority and all its complaints had been upheld. 
The battle continues. "I have sympathy with the developers, because
this is a windy area and it is also easy to tap into main powerlines,"
Mr Blue said. "But the quality of the countryside here makes it a
totally inappropriate site. This is offshore technology brought
onshore." 
***********************************************************
APPENDIX 7   Some progress at the meeting with government departments on
EMF.
EMF Workshop 29.6.04 - personal summary (MJOC)
Following the meeting 2.3.04 (news160.5), the stakeholder group met
again on 29.6.04 to consider the future shape and role of the group.
There was general support for keeping the group going, for establishing
it on a firmer footing through DH, and for it to provide advice to
government on precautionary measures relating to ELF EMF. 
There was general support for the principle of inclusiveness, implying
the group might number 20 to 50 members, and for one or more smaller
executive subgroups to carry forward more detailed work which would come
back to the large group for acceptance. A name for the group was found:
SAGE (stakeholder advisory group on ELF EMFs), so BOB will be dropped.
While the DH basis for the group is explored, the existing group will
meet again around November. In the meantime work will be pursued through
a small steering group as nominated on the 29th June, including
government officials, Prof Denis Henshaw and myself, and John Swanson
from NGT.
In my report of the March meeting I highlighted the principle of stake-
holder agreement: if all the stake-holders accepted a process or
conclusion then this would be an effective test of its independence from
bias through interest. This could be a powerful tool, and perhaps easier
to achieve than agreement on scientific assessment.
There were short presentations on cost-benefit considerations, potential
health impacts other than childhood leukaemia, the role of NRPB,
practical cases of high EMF and wiring faults, and powerlines issues.
There was no dissent from the general aim of seeking to reduce exposures
to EMF by the ALARA approach (as low as reasonably achievable), at
levels below those officially recognised as hazardous and without any
particular lower limit. The word "reasonably" would imply that in
considering particular measures, reason would be applied, for example by
taking potential costs and benefits into account.
**********************************************************
APPENDIX 8   NGT Annual Report 2003/04
NGT <www.ngtgroup.com> has produced its Annual report and Accounts
2003/04 ready for its AGM Monday 26.7.04 at the International Convention
Centre, Birmingham.
The ordinary resolutions are as normal except for one to authorise the
directors to issue more shares, to allot securities up to a hundred
million pounds. The explanation says that the directors currently have
no intention of issuing new shares, other than in connection with the
exercise of options under the company's share schemes. 
There are three special resolutions. One of them, with long wording,
following on from the ordinary resolution to authorise directors to
issue shares, authorises directors to issue a limited number of shares
without offering them to shareholders first. Another special resolution
authorises directors to use company funds to buy back shares in the
market. The third special resolution is to amend the articles of
association, to tidy them up following the redemption of the Special
Share by Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 5.5.04. The SoS no
longer has a veto over the sale of the company.
NGT has a group turnover of just over nine billion pounds, including its
gas and electricity businesses in UK and overseas. Adjusted operating
profit last year was 2.238 billion pounds.
The Chairman's statement includes the following on security:
"2003 saw an unprecedented series of major blackouts in the US and
continental Europe and, while each of these occurrences involved unique
and specific factors, it is clear that all parties in the electricity
industry  can learn lessons for the reliability of supply in the future.
Although on a much smaller scale, we deeply regret the two power cuts
that occurred during last summer, affecting parts of South London,
causing disruption to rail services, and separately parts of the West
Midlands. We continue to work with Ofgem on its investigation which is
expected to conclude this summer. Despite these incidents, our UK
electricity reliability performance remains at world class levels -
delivering 99.9997% of the energy demanded during the year."
The Chief Executive's review also mentions it has been 11 years since NG
had a power cut of similar extent to that experienced in London. Its
electricity transmission system in England and Wales consists of
approximately 4,500 miles of overhead line, 410 miles of underground
cables, and 341 substations.
The new BETTA trading arrangements (scheduled for April 2005) place NGT
as designated Great Britain System Operator, which means they will
operate the market for buying power for the grid in Scotland as well as
in England and Wales, although NGT will own the transmission grid only
in England and Wales.
The report continues to see a trend towards greater use of gas in power
generation, although it notes that the UK will become a net importer of
gas. That points up the message of former Energy Minister Brian Wilson
(revolt news164.3) that "the real debate could be between imports and
indigenous".
On EMFs the report says: "The balance of scientific evidence is against
EMFs resulting in adverse health effects and, in our view, the benefits
vastly outweigh any potential risk. However the perception that EMFs may
do so is evident in parts of society, and we take this very seriously."
Let's examine that quote. The initial claim (the balance of evidence is
against) is made as an absolute assertion, distinguished from opinion by
the construction of the rest of the sentence. The quote suggests that
the company is being reasonable with its qualification "in our view"
applied to risk-benefit, but it also suggests surreptitiously that the
first part of the sentence is unchallenged and a universal assertion.
This conceals the fact that some respectable scientists take a very
different view, for example the most careful and thorough study by the
California DOH. 
Now look at the reference to perception. It plays the "perception" card,
i.e. suggesting that there is nothing real to worry about, there are a
few misguided people with groundless fears and the company nevertheless
takes them very seriously. The construction of the quote does this quite
exquisitely, if only too obviously to those of us who are familiar with
this technique of spin. The reference to "parts of society" is
particularly disparaging to the competent and serious scientists who
take a different view, well grounded in the scientific evidence and
thoroughly reported. 
The report goes on to say "We look to government and regulators to
identify any precaution measures that may be necessary, as they can
evaluate the science and weigh costs and benefits on behalf of society
as a whole. We continue to facilitate constructive dialogue between
parties that have an interest in EMFs."
That last quote would appear to refer to the stakeholder dialogue
pursued in the UK through the Environment Council and potentially
through the DOH. I welcome that constructive dialogue, and NGT's part in
it, but it is not helped by such a misleading public statement as
appears in the Annual Report.
MJOC  30.6.04
*************************************************************
APPENDIX 9   Ofgem critices NGC over blackouts last year.
Ofgem press release R45 of 25.6.04 describes the formal Statement on
NGC's role in the blackouts in London and Birmingham last year. The
Statement and a report by consultants PB Power can be obtained from
<www.ofgem.gov.uk>.
Press Release headline: "Ofgem finds NGC not in breach of legal
obligations but company not given clean bill of health over blackouts".
The London power cut on 28.8.03 lasted 37 minutes. The Birmingham power
cut on5.9.04 lasted 42 minutes. Cuts due to transmission failure are
very rare and cause widespread problems. For example, the London tube
service was stopped and took a long time to resume operation. Most
blackouts are local, due to faults in the lower voltage distribution
system. The Press release says the national grid network in this country
is between 99.9997 and 99.9999 % reliable (meaning it delivers that
percentage of power demanded) and compares very well with other
industrialised countries.
The blackouts occurred in the summer period when, not unusually, some
parts of the system are out of action for maintenance. There is enough
grid to cope with that. But then there were technical errors made which
caused the failures. In the London case, an oil leak was incorrectly
interpreted and a protection relay was wrongly installed. In the
Birmingham case, a fault was caused by wiring being cut incorrectly and
wrongly installed protection equipment then caused the system to shut
down.
NGC's response includes checking all 41,000 other protection relays,
some 50,000 alarm descriptions, 108 shunt reactor alarms and 560 multi-
function relays (of the type incorrectly set in Birmingham). Further,
procedures have been tightened and overhauled. No other faults seem to
have been found.
Ofgem's proposed new incentive scheme would penalise NGC automatically
in the event of similar power failures. Should similar blackouts be
repeated, the scheme would penalise NGC to the order of millions of
pounds.
On the face of it, Ofgem has dealt with the situation, and NGC are
reported as taking reasonable measures to avoid a repetition. 
Having said that, the longer term view is more worrying. Government
policy is driving forward escalation of wind power, which is
intrinsically intermittent as well as being remote. The result is
considerable extra stress on the grid system, which will require
reinforcement to the cost of some billions of pounds (ofgem's main
estimate was 2 billion, but there are others). Apart from the cost to
consumers, such reinforcement brings additional environmental impacts
and property devaluation (with extra costs borne by the public, not in
their role as consumers, but as residents unfortunate enough to be
affected). Then there is the added risk to consumers of power failure,
particularly because of the intermittence and rapid variability of wind
power. Reports by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of
Civil Engineers are examples of respectable sources expressing concern.
MJOC  12.7.04

  

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