Nuclear advisers under pressure to quit after conflicts revealed

A A A

A third of the members of an important government nuclear committee have serious conflicts of interests, an Independent on Sunday investigation reveals today.

A third of the members of an important government nuclear committee have serious conflicts of interests, an Independent on Sunday investigation reveals today.

Four of the committee's 12 members work for its largest suppliers, The IoS has learnt. One former government minister said this breached the code of conduct on public committees and urged them to resign.

The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has a £4.9m budget and a brief to advise the Government on the best way to store Britain's 470,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste; it is due to report by summer 2006.

The publicly funded committee will play a central role in the debate over whether to build new nuclear reactors. Ministers recognise that to gain public support for a pro-nuclear policy, they first have to resolve the problem of what to do with existing nuclear waste. This is currently stored in 30 temporary locations around the country.

But the revelations about its members' conflicts of interest will dent public trust.

Committee member Mark Dutton is a paid consultant for NNC, which won the £1m contract to project-manage CoRWM's work. The committee disclosed the NNC contract, and Mr Dutton's links to the consultancy, but some members say he should have cut all ties to it.

Fred Barker, another member, is an associate consultant for Enviros Consulting, which has a contract worth £50,000 to £100,000 from the committee. He has also been employed by The Environment Council, to which the committee has given over £100,000 of work.

Professor Lynda Warren is an associate of the IDM consultancy, as is another member, Pete Wilkinson, a former chairman of Greenpeace UK. IDM has carried out £10,000 to £50,000 of work for CoRWM.

Organisations employing Mr Barker, Professor Warren and Mr Wilkinson are understood to have bid for the £1m project won by NNC. None of their links to the committee's suppliers have been publicly declared.

Michael Meacher MP, the former environment minister, said: "They should either step down or be asked to leave. I find it disturbing that people who have employment relationships with the industry should sit on an industry committee and then award large contracts to companies they are connected to."

But Gordon MacKerron, the committee's chairman, said there would be no resignations. Potential conflicts of interest were "inevitable" on a technical committee, he said, and he denied that they affected decisions.

NNC was appointed by the Department for the Environment, he said, and the other three cases were oversights, "but not an attempt to conceal".

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk