An investigation is under way following a radioactive leak at the Torness nuclear power station.
Health and safety officials were alerted after the problem was found during a routine inspection.
The incident was one of three reported to ministers from UK plants which are now under investigation by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
Groundwater at the Dunbar plant was found to be contaminated with radioactive tritium, which was leaking from two pipelines.
They were serious enough to be reported to ministers under safety guidelines agreed after the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine 25 years ago.
According to the ONR, the response to the incidents from the companies that run the plants was “appropriate”.
The pipelines at Torness were put out of use after the leak was discovered.
A spokeswoman for EDF Energy, the French company which operates Torness, said there had never been any danger to staff or the public, and that the levels of radioactivity that leaked were “extremely low.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) added:
“SEPA was informed by British Energy Generation Limited (BEGL) in February 2011 that routine sampling had detected a very small leak in a pipe leading to raised level of tritium in a limited area of groundwater.
“The leak has been stopped and the levels of tritium in the ground water are returning towards normal levels.
“SEPA has investigated the matter and has requested that BEGL carry out further work on the pipe system to demonstrate its integrity in the longer term. This work is due to be completed later this year.
“The matter was discussed at the local liaison group meeting on March 23 which SEPA attended.”
The two-reactor plant began generating in May 1988 and is now over half way through its expected lifespan.
Torness is expected to be decommissioned by around 2023.
With an electrical output of 1250 MW, Torness is capable of supplying power to 1.5 million homes and is one of the biggest employers in the region, with more than 500 staff.
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 30 Mar 2015
A Labour councillor has claimed Russia’s President Putin is being advised by an alien race.
Simon Parkes told an audience of around 30 people in Wallsend, North Tyneside, that recent hostilities in Eastern Europe are down to extraterrestrial intervention.
Coun Parkes, who has previously claimed he has had ‘hundreds’ of alien encounters in his own life, blamed a group of aliens he calls the Nordics for President Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine.
The North Yorkshire councillor said the Nordics were supporting Putin against percieved American influences in the area.
“Putin had been part of a group advised by reptiles. Nordics made a counter offer to Putin.
“The technology the Nordics are giving to Putin is on a par with America.
“The Nordics have told Putin he no longer has to toe the American line, hence his resistance.”
The Whitby councillor also told the audience at The Vault that, in the eyes of universal law, his legal father is a reptile.
Ahead of the session Coun Parkes, who represents Stakesby, had also viewed a video taken on Tyneside which claimed to show a UFO hovering over the North Sea.
“The video strikes me as very genuine. To me, it looks like an alien craft. It appears to be a diamond shape.
“It seems funny the craft stayed there for so long, allowing him to see charge his camera. It meant they wanted to be see. Looking at the video, it is most definitely alien life.”
Tony Richardson, a self-employed artist from Durham, attended the Q&A with his girlfriend Carrie and son Daniel. The 49-year-old says he was brought up in a haunted house and praised Coun Parkes for making himself visible.
“First of all, it’s very brave of Simon. He has opened himself up to a lot of ridicule. People should come out and give a platform to other people to make us realise what we are seeing.
“I think it will bring more people forward.”
Coun Parkes sparked controversy in 2013 when he took to ITV’s popular daytime show This Morning claiming he lost his virginity to an alien at the age of five.
He says his first experience of alien life came when he was still in his mother’s womb, and he has sexual relations with an alien up to four times a year.
Source – Sunday Sun, 22 Feb 2015
Labour Party leaders and union chiefs who did not support the miners’ strike in the 1980s helped weaken the movement, a miners’ leader says.
Thousands of people will flock to Durham City on Saturday (July 12) for the 130th Durham Miners’ Gala, which marks 30 years since the start of the bitter dispute.
In his programme notes, Dave Hopper, general secretary of Gala organisers the Durham Miners’Association, says declassified documents reveal that the Thatcher Government was determined “to butcher the coalfields and smash the National Union of Mineworkers.”
He praises politicians and unions who supported the strike.
But he continues:“At the same time, these revelations should shame those trade unions and Labour Party leaders who did not support our strike.
“Those who refused to come to our aid bear a huge responsibility, not just for our defeat, but for weakening the whole trade union movement.
“They will be remembered in the former coalfield of Britain just as we remember those so-called leaders who betrayed the 1926 General Strike.
“The refusal of New Labour, during 13 years of government, to repeal the anti-trade union legislation, which was used to defeat us, only compounds their shame.”
Five new banners will be on display at the Gala – Fenhall Drift Mine, Lanchester; St Hilda Colliery, South Shields; New Brancepeth Colliery, County Durham; a UNITE Community Membership Banner and West Rainton Primary School’s Adventure Pit banner.
The parade through the city to the racecourse will start at about 8.30am.
There will be a funfair, various stalls and entertainment, including folk singer Benny Graham, on the field throughout the day.
Speeches will be made between 12.15pm and 2.30pm.
The speakers are Bolsover Labour MP Dennis Skinner, Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, Prison Officers Association general secretary Steve Gillan, NUT general secretary Christine Blower, and Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF.
Mr Hopper says Labour leader Ed Miliband was “sounded out” about attending the Gala, but nothing had been heard from him.
The blessing of banners service in Durham Cathedral starts at 3pm.
Delegations from Germany, Ukraine and Ireland are expected to attend.
Details, including events marking the strike anniversary, are at http://www.durhamminers.org
Source – Durham Times, 10 July 2014
The 130th Durham Miners’Gala will be tinged with sadness following the deaths of two leading figures of the Labour movement.
The event, on Saturday, July 12, is set to draw thousands of people to the city centre to watch the parade of banners and brass bands.
Tony Benn and Bob Crow, who died within days of each other in March, were popular speakers who appeared several times at the Big Meeting.
Mr Benn, the former veteran Labour MP who renounced his hereditary peerage, spoke at 20 Galas and also attended when he was not one of the speakers.
Mr Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, delivered a call from the platform at last year’s Gala for unions to form a new political party to fight for their interests.
Labour leader Ed Milliband once declined a Gala invitation because he didn’t want to share the platform with a “militant’’union leader.
Dave Hopper, secretary of the Durham Miners Association, which organises the event, said: “We will be saying goodbye to those comrades.
“Gresford (the miners’ hymn that is always played at the Gala) this year will have a special significance because we have had a number of funerals of good comrades.”
The 82-year-old former miner, who is renowned for his wit and entertaining speaking style, last addressed the event in 2011.
The line-up is completed by GMB general secretary Paul Kenny and Gala first timers Mick Whelan, general secretary of the rail union ASLEF, Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association, and Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.
Mr Hopper added: “We have a delegation of miners coming from the Ukraine and we are hoping one of them will say a few words about the very troubled and dangerous situation in that country.”
For details of the Gala and events in the run-up to it visit http://www.durhamminers.org
Source – Durham Times, 02 July 2014
I’ve been reading Mike Rapport’s book, 1848 – Year of Revolution (London: Little, Brown & Co 2008). This is about the ‘year of revolutions’, which saw uprisings against the old, Conservative orders and empires break out across Europe, in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Frankfurt, Milan, Venice, Prague, Krakow, Budapest and Galicia. Liberals and Democrats rose up in the hope of establishing more representative electoral systems, a wider franchise, or the abolition of the monarchies altogether. German and Italian Nationalists attempted to create a united Germany and Italy out of the various independent states in which their nations were separated, while Polish, Czech, Slovak, Magyar, Romanian, Serb and Croat nationalists attempted to forge their own states with a greater or lesser degree of autonomy and independence. This was also the year of the publication of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, when Europe was indeed haunted by workers’ protests and uprisings against…
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Iosip Vissarionovich Djugashvili, aka Stalin: Thuggish Dictator of the Soviet Union
Ian Duncan Smith: Thuggish Dictator of the Department of Work and Pensions
One of the other books I’ve been reading lately is Alex De Jonge’s biography of Stalin, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (Glasgow: Fontana/Collins 1986). During his career Stalin is estimated to have killed at least 30 million Soviet citizens – though the real figure may be a high as 45 million or over – through a series of purges and artificial famines as he transformed the Soviet Union into the military and industrial superpower that was to dominate half of Europe and challenge America for world mastery for the next fifty years. From his boyhood Stalin was a thoroughly nasty piece of work.
The son of a drunken, abusive father, who used to challenge his son to knife him when beating him and a…
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