Thursday, 10 March 2011

The irony.

At this evening's Wylfa B Project Liaison Group meeting, Ieuan Wyn Jones was at pains to press Horizon representatives -- in front of the assembled audience -- to ensure that local Welsh companies are able to compete and tender for multi-sized parcels of work.

I completely agree.

But considering Ieuan's desire to see local companies getting a fair bite of the procurement cherry...

  • ...why was the construction of WAG's Llandudno Office for instance awarded to a non-local company?
  • ...and why have local Welsh construction firms been excluded from tendering on numerous North Wales school building projects?

Don't do as I do. Do as I say.

Incidentally, by way of comparison, the Coalition Government has introduced measures which would ensure that SMEs get at least 25% of government contracts. I would like to see WAG introduce similar procurement rules here in Wales.

47 comments:

GPJ said...

Paul, Simple....because big construction companies are slashing prices and are buying work but are supported by the banks.

and....The Local companies do not have the same accreditation / liquidity / funding...


However, why are WAG not supporting local companies with guarantees?

GPJ

kp said...

Get real, times have changed since the days of British Leyland and all the ludicrous buy British campaigns.

Yes, of course local companies must be allowed to tender (but not with taxpayer support).

And projects must be awarded solely upon merit.

plolaaalaa9 said...

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Anonymous said...

I wonder the same thing about the renovation on the Llangefni Town Hall, which we were assured was to be undertaken by local companies.

If the island can't produce suitably qualified contractors, maybe we should also be looking elsewhere for the people who award the contracts.

Anonymous said...

My mate did a lot of the IT wiring in Llangefni. It was sub-contracted to them by whoever it was that got the contract.. He lives in Spain and works for a Spanish company.

The fiorms that get the contracts often sub-contract out the work so even if Anglesey or just North Wales-based companies get awarded the contracts there is no guarentee it will end up actually being done by local workers.

Also as someone above pointed out, big companies can put in lower bids and WAG cannot subsidise anyway - it breaches EU.

It will be big companies that build Wylfa, with a largely foreign workforce. The initial recconaisance to site the accommodation units has already taken place. Some work will be awarded to local companies and employees, but only if they can compete.

Anonymous said...

All public service contracts are advertised in "The European Journal"

The Red Flag said...

Anon 11 Mar 08:04 - "The initial recconaisance to site the accommodation units has already taken place."

I don't think it was quite that detailed. although it was reported in the Holyhead Mail, I believe it was more of a cursory look at the lay of the land so to speak. But yes, they will build cuboid-type accommodation complexes similar to the ones at the oil sites in eastern and southern England (where they had the British Jobs For British Workers protests the other year) but that's if they bring in a largely outside workforce. They might not, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't all this sort of thing have been thought about/agreed before our politicians offered such such outrageous support for Wylva B.

Most sensible people I know do not envisage many well paid jobs for the local workforce ... and therein lies the rub, what better future could we build for this island (given the enormous government subsidies Wylva B will eventually suck in)?

Short term, short sighted political thinking yet again!

Paul Williams said...

All,

I had a meeting with Alan Smith, Horizon's Site Development Manager for Wylfa yesterday and I asked him regarding local jobs during the construction of Wylfa B and he told me:

"We need a willing and capable workforce; if you are willing and capable then you will get a job"

He went on to stress that the important words here are "willing and capable". Nobody should expect a job "out of right" -- but everyone who has the right skills in whatever trade will have an excellent opportunity of receiving a job.

Leon Flaxman, also of Horizon, added that they would not kick out local workers as expensive in order to bring in outside people.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the Horizon shareholders will want to ask Leon Flaxman a few questions...

Either that or, in response to your probing he was, perhaps, being rather economical with the actualite!

Anonymous said...

"Either that or, in response to your probing he was, perhaps, being rather economical with the actualite!"


Quite. Horizon will put the contracts out to tender. They in turn will be bid for by corporations and companies - quite large ones I should imagine given the size and complexity of the task. So you'll be looking at companies the size of Balfour Beatty - that sort of size. True they in turn will sub-contract, but most will be to their 'preferred' sub-contractors etc.

Whatever, we shall see in 5 years or so as it starts to gain momentum.

On another note, I see that there are serious problems at a Japanese nuclear powerplant due to the cooling system failing because of the earthquake and according to a spokesman "the reactor no longer behaving as it should".

Wonder how the Anglesey population will view Wylfa is this one in Japan burns.

Anonymous said...

If Anglesey residents had been better educated over the years they would never have shown support for another nuclear power station on this island.

Either they'd be competing for better jobs throughout the world or else they'd be setting themselves up in business here on the island.

Sorry guys, but I blame many of our current problems on a very sub-standard education system throughout Wales.

The Plaid Cymru people have got it spot on!

Anonymous said...

"All public service contracts are advertised in "The European Journal"

If they are big enough, yes.

All public service contracts over a certain threshold (which I forget) are openly advertised in the Official Journal of the EU.

In the same way, IoACC must invite competitive tenders for all contracts over a threshold (currently £30K?).

Basically, different rules apply to different sizes of contract.

Anonymous said...

re Japan and the eartquake and it's nuclear power plants.

Reuters as of midday:-

Residents near Fukushima Nuclear Plant told to evacuate.

Fire at Onagwa Nuclear Plant now under control.

State of Alert at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.

The Red Flag said...

Druid - No one you know in Japan has been hurt by this catastrophe I trust?

Paul Williams said...

Red Flag - Thanks very much for your concern. I do know some people who are close to the areas affected but due to the phone lines in Japan currently being down it is impossible to get through. They live some way inland so I hope they are safe.

The Red Flag said...

Fingers crossed

Anonymous said...

"due to the phone lines in Japan currently being down it is impossible to get through. "

Is email/Skype/etc also down? I suspect it will be, even if you have access to people on proper resilient commercial networks, but if you know folk who have access to that kind of thing... even if it's down today, it may be restored before the general phone system returns to normality.

[Many years ago, I was working in the USA when a *big* hurricane turned up. As it turned out there was less damage than expected, but the phone network was largely unusable, so I used the works data network, which was still operating, to get a message back to my family that I was OK]

Anonymous said...

I think Wylfa B has been consigned to the history books after that reactor problem in Japan.

Anonymous said...

"I think Wylfa B has been consigned to the history books after that reactor problem in Japan."

Maybe.

The nuclear lobby are already out.

Someone from Imperial College was just on BBC Breakfast saying that the design in question, a Boiling Water Reactor, is thirty years old, and modern designs have better characteristics when Bad Things happen. I'd guess the nuclear lobby have been saying similar things ("we'll get it right next time") for decades.

According to various reports the cause of the explosion was actually a failure of the relatively low-tech emergency core cooling system. The core cooling system requires electricity for water pumps (hundreds of kW, maybe?).

When the reactor shuts down (as it did), and the grid connection fails (as it did), on-site backup generators are supposed to take over power supply to the pumps (and they did, but then they failed).

The statistical chances of these failures happening independently in all three systems are extremely small, say the calculations, presumably conveniently ignoring the all too real possibility of an earthquake/tsunami-induced "common mode" (non-independent) failure" taking out all of them for the same reason at the same time. That would be my guess anyway.

There are modern equivalents to that kind of statistical miscalculation too. Modern reactor safety cases often conveniently ignore inconvenient possibilities e.g. the possibility of someone flying a 747 into a reactor. After all, statistically how likely is that, as a random event? Post 9/11, surely it should be considered not random but very very likely?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is statistics being small or not, unless it's gurenteed to be safe then it isn't. You can only seriously f***-up once with a reactor.

At the momet the Japanese seem to be coping with this however if it does actually fail and meltdown then you can forget any public desire for a Wylfa B. At the moment this is only a minor incident that seems fairly stable yet they've had to evacuate 12 miles/20Km around it. Draw a 12 mile circle round Wylfa and then consider that's for something that isn't (yet) serious.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is statistics being small or not, unless it's gurenteed to be safe then it isn't. You can only seriously f***-up once with a reactor.

At the momet the Japanese seem to be coping with this however if it does actually fail and meltdown then you can forget any public desire for a Wylfa B. At the moment this is only a minor incident that seems fairly stable yet they've had to evacuate 12 miles/20Km around it. Draw a 12 mile circle round Wylfa and then consider that's for something that isn't (yet) serious.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Japanese Nuclear technology is supposed to be the best in the world, it didn't stop the reactor exploding, it doesn't matter what people say, it wasn't the reactor it was the building, at the end of the day it blew up, and if this was to happen at Wylfa, would you believe the politicians who want to save their own, the nuclear lobby who sleep with the energy company, or would you believe your own eyes and say " Wow!" What do we do now? That is the question we should be asking ourselves, and don't waste you breath asking anyone else to answer it for you. Today, the case for Wylfa B was sunk, back to the drawing board, unless we already have a none discloure agreement with the Nuclear Industry.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time for the public to have a real consultation with Wylfa, not a "nicey nicey one", but a real discussion, and a comittment from Wyfa to disclose and tell people the truth about what exactly we should do if what happend today in Japan, happened tomorrow in Cemaes!

Anonymous said...

I was told that Wylfa 'A' had a 'meltdown'scare. An employee who's job it was to introduce Co2 into the cooling water fell asleep and the pipes froze solid and they had to replace the piping.

Anonymous said...

That is so funny, falling asleep in a nuclear power station, is this a plot for The Simpsons?

The poor bloke was probably rewarded with a new pair of trons!

Anonymous said...

Re : The thread being the Assembly NOT giving jobs to local companies.

Answer Racism!

In Scotland the priority is to give work to Scottish Companies.

In France, the priority is to give work to French Companies.

In Germany, the priority is to give work to German Comapnies, etc, etc, we get the drift don't we.

However, in Wales, we have an Assembly who doesn't understand what the people want, they want to play by the rules, in business and in national interest, there are NO fucking rules.

Being nice has cost us all our future, we haven't got one anymore.

We have only our own lack of PRIDE to blame, in France etc, any outside Company tendering for work, would have every obstacle thrown at it, in Wales, local business have every obstacle thrown at it, do we get the message?

The message is loud and clear, there's something wrong, isn't there, we should have first offer for any jobs, shouldn't we? but the likes of some of the powers to be, those who have the non disclosure agreements, these are the ones who let us down, treat Welsh businesses as incompetent, then give Welsh jobs and contracts out to strangers, what a joke, we all are!

Anonymous said...

[apologies for long post]

"unless it's gurenteed to be safe then it isn't. "

Do you fly?

Do you ride horses?

Do you drink tapwater?

Do you travel by car/bus/van/truck/train?

Do you visit town centres late on Friday/Saturday nights?

None of those are guaranteed to be safe. But lots of people accept the risk, usually willingly.

There are some people who can provide statistics to show that per GW of capacity, nuclear power is safer than coal. Suppose it's true (I'm a bit sceptical but they look convincing). Where does that leave coal vs nuclear?

Wrt "do you fly" and statistics of independent failure vs common mode failure: look up Air France flight AF447, from Paris to Rio. Crashed 1 June 2009, all 200+ on board killed. The summary is that a mathematically very unlikely (but far from impossible) condition happened. Like many commercial passenger aircaft, this aircraft has three airspeed sensors of two different types. If any one fails, voting makes it obvious which one is bust.

Unfortunately on AF447, the TWO identical ones failed identically, and worse, they failed identically at the same time (presumably due to a design shortcoming not identified in vendor testing or flight approval).

So the flight systems believed the failed sensors and ruled out the good one, because the chances of two failing the same way at the same time on a device which had been certified safe for use had been considered to be negligible. The resultant misinformation led to the death of all on board.

That's one example.

There's not much that's "guaranteed safe". And if someone claims something is "guaranteed safe", the likely options are they're lying or someone's misunderstood. (When in doubt, always remember to "follow the money").

"Acceptably safe"? Now that's a different question altogether.

Don't have nightmares. Do demand decent answers to sensible questions.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who used to weld pipes for nuclear power stations. He told me every weld was supposed to be checked by a supervisor, but often they didn't bother. Better to have a welder with family in the area, I think.

Anonymous said...

Do you fly? Couple of hundred dead, couple of weeks to clean up

Do you ride horses? maybe one or two dead, a horse shot

Do you drink tapwater? Not a cholera country, so at worst a dodgey stomach

Do you travel by car/bus/van/truck/train? agaon a handful of dead, nit of a clean-up

Do you visit town centres late on Friday/Saturday nights? Yep, you get the odd fracas.

But tell me what you get with a meltdown. You can make mistakes with cars, traoins, planes, horses etc and it pales into insignificance to a mistake made with a nuclear reactor.

Anonymous said...

If Wylfa goes into meltdown, our civic leaders will be sheltering underground in the Llanfairfechan Emergency Control Centre, situated in the grounds of the Psychiatric Hospital.

Fact.

Anonymous said...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/chernobyl--24-years-on-1954969.html?action=Gallery&ino=39

Anonymous said...

Accidents don't happen they are caused. We are asking for trouble by having Wylfa 'A' online despite it being well past it's decommissioning date.

The Government's Chief Scientific Officer reported that a second wave of Nuclear builds is necessary to fill the energy gap due to the lack of renewable energy.

In other words, Nuclear Power is not the answer to our long term energy needs but is merely a stepping stone until we can generate enough clean safe energy to meet our needs.

AH

Anonymous said...

According to BBC Politics Show on Sunday, decision due on Angelsey CBC due this week by minister

Scintillating said...

I've also heard plenty of stories of people falling asleep on the job at nuclear power stations. 'Not much ever needed doing' was one excuse I heard. Nice.

Anonymous said...

People here seem to forget first came the earthquake and then the tsunami....we had an earthquake in the early 1980's off Pen Lleyn but we never had the tsunami.

Nuclear plants are clearly the way to go, offering cheap, clean and reliable electricity.

Clean in the context of zero C02 so don't reply with the obvious jibes.

Anonymous said...

For those who need to know or want to know, the photon blog has an interesting article about the Cardiff clowns coming to take back the council from the cowboys. There is a link to go to Wales Politics on it, and you can hear Mc Gregor confirm what we knew, that the problems go back to the 80's, now, my little mind tells me, that some of the Councillors have been there since the 80's and so have some of the senior officers, you can deduce now, who to lay a lot of the " bad attitude" blame at. Facts known public now, the old boys that run both ends of the council, the councillors and old boys in the offices will be looking for a way out soon, let's see if their old deeds catch up with them, or will the Police be there first.

Paul Williams said...

Red Flag - Contact made this morning. Happily they are safe.

The Red Flag said...

Well done mate. Must be a weight of your mind.

Groundhog Day said...

I've tried to post this article from the Financial Mail regarding a "jobs bonanza" in the nuclear industry a couple of times now but it has disappeared each time,. Third time lucky hopefully, Horizon and other new projects and areas get a mention but nothing at all about Wylfa, make of that what you will.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1365575/Bonanza-nuclear-plant-project-create-100-000-jobs.html

The Red Flag said...

Groundhogday, your narrative is probably to big. I've notoced there is an upper limit to the size of a post and if it's to big it disappears after a couple of minutes.

To Japan and the nuclear issues. There are 6 reactors currently playiong up. 5 of them use just uranium as a fuel and 2 of those 5 have partially melted down with Fukishima No2 now reported to have exposed fuel rods. Because of the design and type, none of those 5 will 'do a Chernobyl' although No2 could concevably contaminate the water table if it burns through it's vessel and the concrete floor. The nightmmare is the 6th one - Fukishima No3. That uses uranium/plutonium mix and should it meltdown and burn it's casing the level of contamination will be truely horrific - potentially even - due to prevailing winds - contaminating the North American wheat crop beyond use. The potential of No3 has been described by one expert as so devastating is it's potential to contaminate that it will make the earthquake and the tsunami merely an entree. But that's just 'potential'.

The use of sea water as a coolant is a measure of last resort. None of those reactors that have sea water in them will ever be able to be used again.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago, some poweful American bankers were concerned about the trade deficit between America and Japan, one of the solutions was the shame that they the bankers couldn't get another couple of A- bombs to be dropped on japan, to "slow them down a bit", maybe the earthquake was the answer to the American way of thinking. Bit off topic for you, but the concerns are there, as far as the Nuclear Power issue, it's a wake up call for all of us, the danger of these things are real enough, it's our depnedency on them for power that is the concern, do we want Wylfa B? do we want Wylfa at all?????

Prometheuswrites said...

This is an excellent analysis of the situation at the nuclear plants at Fukushima. Well worth your time and patience:


http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/03/march-13-2011-how-black-is-japanese.html

Anonymous said...

Will there be an Anglesey Council this time next week?

Has David Bowles and Clive McGregor done enough damage to bring in full Intervention?

Will these two numpties be classed as enemies of the state for what they have done?

Anonymous said...

Will there be an Anglesey Council this time next week?

Has David Bowles and Clive McGregor done enough damage to bring in full Intervention?

Will these two numpties be classed as enemies of the state for what they have done?

Anonymous said...

Has the meltdown started yet? Not in Japan, Llangefni! There's me thinking Carl Sargeant was a superhero, flying in to save us like a caped crusader, guess I was wrong, looks like he is a toothless, chinless, big mouthed lout, all talk as usual, isn't it funny when these bullies get their bluff called they all run home to mam. Guess were on our own, we elected them, time for some serious ideas how we get rid of them.

Anonymous said...

Traitors to Democracy, Traitors to the People. Traitor to Anglesey. Traitors of Wales.