Nuclear Meltdown


Brian Wilson in standard mode this week: apoplectic. The sense of self-importance and enshrined right-to-rule is most evident with Unionist politicians like Wilson but the sheer hypocrisy is breathtaking. Last week he used his regular platform in the Scotsman to pour disdain on the Scottish Government’s use of consultants to give expertise on defence, referring to “paying consultants substantial sums of public money” as if such a thing was anathema.

This week he is bemoaning the fact that the nuclear industry doesn’t have the feather-bedding it does in England. He cheers for the idea of a Hinkley C and calls Scotland’s energy policy “Salmond’s nuclear fatwa” (memo to Brian, it’s called a mandate).

But of course this week and last week’s articles are linked.

Last week Mr Wilson was foaming at the mouth about secrecy, yet this week he seems to have avoided to mention that in October 2005, he was appointed non-executive director of AMEC Nuclear Holdings Ltd, the nuclear services arm of AMEC plc. The announcement boasted that the firm is the UK’s largest private nuclear services business.

He presents nuclear power as some kind of magic fairy dust solutions to energy problems, yet last November, the lone journalist who really cares about this stuff revealed that more than 400 of the recommendations made to improve the safety of British nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan last year still have to be implemented, according to the Brit government’s own Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Earlier this year it was announced that to clean up Sellafailed was going to cost around £70 billion. 

That’s £70 billion, just to clean it up.

A report told that Britain is storing an “extraordinary accumulation of hazardous nuclear waste” in “outdated facilities” which will cost nearly £70bn to clean up, MPs warned.

In fact earlier this year the UK government was accused of “failing to keep its word” after an official document revealed that the cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants had been underestimated to the tune of £16 billion.

According to a House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s estimated cost of civil nuclear decommissioning increased by around £16 billion to £53 billion between 2007 and 2011.

According to the report: “The Treasury acknowledged that not considering these costs when the power stations were built had been a mistake.”

Pause a second and ask yourself, what solar, tidal and win energy could you get for £70 billion investment? With Germany threatening Britain by the threat of a good example, the sharp divide between Westminster and Holyrood on English energy policy may become more of an issue in the weeks ahead.

In February 2009 Labour’s man in Scotland Jim Murphy announced Labours commitment to a new generation of nuclear power stations in Scotland. In March of the same year Iain Gray – Scotland’s Homer – was broadcasting from Torness Power station. Of course that didn’t quite work out and it’s one of the reasons why Wilson is so bitter.

Labour’s nuclear links were legendary.

When he was ‘Environment Secretary’ (sic) David Miliband got himself all embroiled in a sleaze row over his links to nuclear industry lobbyist Alan Donnelly who chaired the minister’s local constituency party. Donnelly’s lobbying firm, represents the US multinational Fluor, one of the world’s biggest nuclear companies, which was hoping to win a stake in the £70 billion British nuclear waste market. Donnelly also founded and helps to run the Transatlantic Nuclear Energy Forum (Tanef), an organisation that aims to foster “strong relationships” between nuclear power companies and governments.

But Miliband and Wilson aren’t alone.

Yvette Coopers father, ex-trade union official Tony Cooper, is the former chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, and was director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Former Chancellor Gordon Brown (you know the one who’s sorting out Dalgety Bay?) – his brother, Andrew, is EDF’s head of media relations in the UK. Labour peer Lord Cunningham, Tony Blair’s former “cabinet enforcer” and the ex chairman of the Friends of Sellafield campaign was also “legislative chair” of the Transatlantic Nuclear Energy Forum.

So let’s not blame the Tories.

It’s clear that it’s impossible to disentangle nuclear power from the military, but as a proud and unrepentant backer of the Iraq war (he was Blair’s special envoy) Wilson would no doubt spare no blushes over that either. What a fraud.

Comments (15)

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  1. Piobaire says:

    Doesn’t Brian look so old, embittered and past it, now? Almost a dinosaur? No change, did you say?

  2. Murray McCallum says:

    When you consider the full life costs of a nuclear power plant surely any science behind it is a bit like alchemy? You are searching for something (cheap electricity) that will never materialise.

    “Costs” also do not include the moral issue of producing hazardous waste that you cannot indefinitely store.

  3. Ken MacColl says:

    He was much more appealing when he was young, scruffy and radical. The “mature” Brian,sleek of suit, sleekit in his right wing politics and severely corrupted by the lure of boardroom lucre is best avoided

  4. J.MacLeod says:

    Govt Lobbying – Brian Wilson Special Government Envoy in Iraq – & Award of contracts to AMEC

    The notion that Brian Wilson cares about local communities is disproved by the blatant lobbying by Wilson in Iraq for British companies.

    “In 2004, the year prior to becoming an AMEC director and while a prime ministerial Special Government Envoy in Iraq The Guardian reported on Thursday 25th March 2004:

    ‘Amec has won part of a $1bn (£550m) contract to rebuild water and sewerage networks in Iraq.’

    ‘the UK’s contribution through this and previous contracts won by Amec is worth $750m out of a total of $10bn. Mowlem, another UK hopeful, confirmed yesterday it had failed to clinch any deals; Carillion said it was still waiting to hear.’

    ‘The Amec deal, worth £300m to the UK company’

    ‘Brian Wilson, the prime minister’s special envoy in Iraq who lobbied in Washington with Mr O’Brien, said: “This is a US-funded contract and I have no doubt that, as funding sources diversify, British companies will play an even bigger part in rebuilding Iraq.”‘

    The following year, on 26th October 2005, Brian Wilson became an AMEC director:

    A British colonialist, who pursued his own interests in Iraq.

  5. cynicalHighlander says:

    What increasingly annoys me about Wilson is the free rein he is given by the media to spout his and the nuclear industry nonsense about how clean, virtually CO2 free and that it is a baseload generation supplier.

    No nuclear plant can work or be kept safe under its own steam as it requires an outside fossil fuel supply of electricity to start it up, keep it running, shut it down and keep it safe 24/7 all year for decades. It is an add on supply and not a baseload generator.

    The CO2 claims are laughable unless one discounts the massive amounts of energy in mining uranium ore, reprocessing that ore, manufacturing into fuel rods etc.

    Present nuclear CO2 emission

    As to Fukushima our media is keeping fairly stum on the catastrophe which is getting worse and has the potential to affect all life in the northern hemisphere. Now where is that violin from the Titanic as someone needs to start playing it.


  6. bellacaledonia says:

    Wind Energy at 87% of Danish national electricity supply (it’s due to go up on Monday!):

  7. Lochside says:

    Brian Wilson is a lying fraud. He was howled down into silence at a an ‘Aye Write’ seminar by a disparate non-political crowd just last year. His brother-in-law Raymond Buchanan tries his biased best on BBC in Scotland. I suggest that on Independence Day, a Scotland grateful for his hateful diatribes against his native land which contributed to the Referendum victory, donate a piece of land with a comfortable retirement bungalow in a pleasant plot not un-adjacent to Fukushima for this British ‘patriot’.

    1. airdforce1 says:

      KInd of weakens your case if you dont do the basic checks, though. Raymond Buchanan is not Wilson’s brother in law. Nor is he with the BBC either. Might still be working for Weir Pumps.

  8. Iain says:

    Some years ago when Brian Wilson was the Government’s energy or nuclear spokesperson, the Government were planning an extension to Sellafield. During a visit there, Wilson agreed to do a radio interview with RTE’s Marian Finucane to explain why developments at Sellafield posed no threat to the citizens of the Irish Republic. During the interview, whilst Wilson was explaining why Sellafield was so safe that there could be no danger of emergencies, leaks or alarm of any kind, the alarms bells started ringing and the building had to be evacuated due to a suspected leak. The interview was abruptly and embarrassingly terminated, but couldn’t be hushed up because Wilson was talking live to a foreign broadcaster. That was an interesting event.

  9. Iain says:

    I wish I had an apartment in Manhattan.

  10. john young says:

    Perchance a fortnight in Fujiyama a la boxers/barefeet.

  11. David Mapley says:

    How is it okay for the Westminster government to use consultants but wrong for the Scottish Government? What’s good enough for one is surely good enough for the other?

  12. Chris Ballance says:

    And, of course, the go-ahead for Torness was given by Labour’s Tony Benn

  13. George S Gordon says:

    Slightly surprised to receive this in a Nov 2021 email, but welcome nevertheless.

    An update would also be welcome, to take a look at the nuclear connections of the current sleazy mob in Westminster.
    (along with a reminder of the Brian “Nuclear” Wilson background)

  14. George S Gordon says:

    Slightly surprised to receive this in a Nov 2021 email, but welcome nevertheless.

    An update would also be welcome, to take a look at the nuclear connections of the current sleazy mob in Westminster.
    (along with a reminder of the Brian “Nuclear” Wilson background)

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