Utility Week

UTILITY Week 16 05 14

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UtILIty WEEK | 16th - 22nd May 2014 | 31 Community Disconnector Editor: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen.bennett@fav-house.com; News editor: Jillian Ambrose, t: 01342 332061, e: jillian.ambrose@fav-house.com Energy editor: Megan Darby, t: 01342 332087, e: megan.darby@fav-house.com; Features editor: Karma Ockenden, t: 01342 332086, e: karma.ockenden@fav-house. com; Reporter: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house.com; Reporter: Conor McGlone, t: 01342 332083, e: conor.mcglone@fav-house.com; Business development manager: Ed Roberts, t: 01342 332067, e: ed.roberts@fav- house.com; Sales executive: Nicky Shaw, t: 01342 332070, e: nicky.shaw@fav-house. com; Publisher: Amanda Barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Subscriptions: UK £577 per year, Overseas £689 per year, t: 01342 332011.ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by: Faversham house Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex Rh19 1UZ Nothing to fear but fear itself How dangerous is dangerous? What degree of risk is accept- able? Disconnector muses thus on reading about research sug- gesting that mountain climbers scaling Mount Everest receive a dose of radiation five times the average annual exposure of someone working at a nuclear power plant in the UK. The discovery was made by Scottish mountaineer Bob Kerr, whose full-time job is a radiation protection adviser. He went on an expedition to Mount Everest pursuing his hobby, but decided to measure the amount of radioactive radiation his body had absorbed on the trip. The findings were published by The Society for Radiological Protection. This raises some intriguing questions. Should mountain climbers hoofing up Mount Everest wear radiation suits as well as breathing apparatus? Or are we being nannyish about what constitutes a "safe" dose of nuclear radiation when the natural environment can blast out five times that level? Terror alert Perhaps our fear of nuclear radiation is driven as much by emotion as rationality. It's the modern day equivalent of witch- cra: invisible, improbable and very dangerous. And it spawned Godzilla, which was bad news all round. Disconnector But while getting a poten- tially dangerous dose of radia- tion might cut short your old age, it's the prospect of a nuclear accident – à la Fukushima or Chernobyl – that really gives people the heebie-jeebies. Or worse yet, a terrorist attack. On that latter point we should be reassured that it's not that easy to deliberately cripple a nuclear power plant unless you know what you're doing. You might want to first blow up the pylons connecting it to the grid, thus isolating it, and then disable the back-up generators controlling the cooling systems. Should be a shoo-in from there. Before vigilant readers are tempted to dob Disconnector in to MI5, the great man should point out that this knowledge comes to him courtesy of a book published last month called The Day England Died, about a group of terrorists who attack a nuclear power plant in the UK. The book was penned by Barrie Skelcher, who used to be a technical safety officer at Sizewell B, so he should know what he's talking about. Barrie insists that the book is purely a work of imagination and is certainly not a how-to guide. Aer all, the real Sizewell is located in the Suffolk country- side near the small fishing village of the same name, whereas the fictional Deephole is located next to a fictional small fishing village of the same name in, er, Suffolk. Whatever. Disconnector is reliably informed that the book is available immediately from all good booksellers. Get it while you can. Monstrous alarmism Meanwhile, over at Dunge- ness in Kent they have just completed the first phase of new coastal flood defences, a 1.5m-high concrete wall running for 1.3km around the site, and built at a cost of £2.3 million. The next phase of works will be to install a rock armour wall behind the shingle bank, expected to be completed by winter 2014. This will provide protect against a "1 in 10,000 year external flood", according to the company. Ah yes, ponders Discon- nector gloomily. But would it stop determined terrorists? And what about Godzilla? The great man has filed a Freedom of Information request to find out, and will report back. Lines of resistance Disconnector was tickled to read in The Sunday Times that a Drinking Water Inspectorate report found that cocaine use in the UK is now so widespread that traces of the drug have contaminated the drinking water supply and are proving impossible to remove. It puts the whole halal controversy into some sort of perspective, doesn't it? 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2013 Subscriptions: UK £577 per year, Overseas £689 per year fhcustomerservices@ abacusemedia.com Karen Wenborn @BearskinNy Great round table yesterday with @UtilityWeek discussing customer experience in utilities. @WaterWatchdog @Ofwat among speakers. #thoughtpr… Emily Gosden @emilygosden 2014 will be first year since 2009 that British Gas doesn't raise prices. But with wholesale costs down, will surely face calls to cut them Laura Kuenssberg @bbclaurak Centrica selling bits of biz and warning on lower profits – doesn't quite fit political narrative! 3WhitehallPlace @3WhitehallPlace Today we've revised our renewables subsidy eligibility criteria ranking: 1. Big Six 2. Attacks on Labour 3. Donations 4. Photo ops 5. Eton Doug Parr @doug_parr Fallon says application time for 'low risk' #fracking through Envt Agency will be reduced from 30 weeks to 2 weeks British Gas @BritishGas We're aware of the festive message on our phone lines and are currently investigating. We can confirm Santa is NOT on his way! Steve Hawkes @steve_hawkes Everyone freezing domestic bills – makes me wonder if bills should be falling Matt O'Connell @matt_oconnell1 @CommonsPAC supposedly to investigate Government spending on the #GreenDeal, DECC has spent £36m in 12 months that's 17k per home #ukhousing Franck Latrémolière @DcmfFranck I like the idea of doing horrible things to DNOs about new connections. But is failing Ofgem's strange tests really a sign of misconduct? Richard Hall @richonlyinname Suppliers have been keen to point the finger at network costs as causing inflation, so it's a shame only two responded to ECCC's inquiry Top Tweets

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