The U.K. atomic regulator’s technical contracts have created conflicts of interest that threaten the office’s ability to do its job, the London Independent reports.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation currently receives support from some of the same firms it is required to regulate, including the U.S. engineering conglomerate Jacobs, which is a member of the Atomic Weapons Establishment consortium that designs and produces components of the British nuclear arsenal, according to the Tuesday article.
In April, the watchdog organization awarded Jacobs a five-year contract to provide technical assistance in such areas as examining decontamination and external risks related to ongoing work at atomic sites and new reactor designs.
Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates member David Lowry argued the regulator’s technical advice contracts clearly represent a “conflict of interest.”
“It’s such a straightforward conflict of interest. This is indefensible,” Lowry said.
While Office for Nuclear Regulation chairman Nick Baldwin acknowledged that “we have these concerns, too,” he said there existed only a “small gene pool” of companies with the ability to furnish the technical recommendations that his inspectors need to perform their jobs. He said no individuals that provide advice to the regulator also work on the projects that his agency is in charge of overseeing.
“ONR would not tolerate a situation in which a person carrying out an assessment for ONR is also working on a related matter for a current or prospective licensee,” an unidentified spokesman from the regulator said. “Should a potential conflict of interest emerge, we have a clear protocol that provides a robust process and defines clear criteria against which the emerging conflict can be judged.”
What We're Following See More »
A Navy destroyer sailed within 12 miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, one of several such islands at the center of territorial disputes with other nearby nations. The U.S. called it a "freedom of navigation exercise." Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang "said China had lodged stern representations to the U.S over the patrol and that such moves were not conducive to peace and stability in the South China Sea."
"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican candidate for the state's lone House seat, was cited for misdemeanor assault Wednesday night after he allegedly body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. Jacobs entered a room in which Gianforte was preparing to give an interview to Fox News, and asked Gianforte about the recently released CBO score on health care legislation, at which point, according to an account from Fox News's Alicia Acuna, Gianforte put both hands around Jacobs's neck and slammed him to the ground. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office put out a statement saying there was probable cause for the citation but not the injuries required for it to be considered a felony. Gianforte's aide put out an erroneous statement saying Jacobs grabbed Gianforte by the wrist after aggressively putting a recorder in Gianforte's face.