Re: Additional UK letter

From: Richard K. Yamamoto (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2006 - 16:09:39 CDT

Hi Steve,

     Your letter reads very well as is.

Best regards,


On Mon, 17 Apr 2006, Steven Biller wrote:

> Sorry for the lateness of this... here is a first draft
> for a proposed letter from the UK to be sent in addition.
> Please send me comments ASAP (especially if any of you
> other UK guys happen to be logged in!).
> Cheers,
> - Steve
> Dear Member of P5,
> Our groups at Oxford and Sussex universities in the
> United Kingdom recently secured funding from PPARC
> equivalent to ~$150k to undertake R&D with regard to
> the Braidwood reactor project. This was no easy task,
> particularly given the current funding crisis in the
> UK, in which several high-profile projects are having to
> be terminated early and future projects, including
> LHC exploitation, will have to cope with less support
> than anticipated. Despite this, the scientific merit
> of the Braidwood project and the strength and organisation
> of the collaboration were recognised by a multidisciplinary
> review panel and two international referees. One of the
> more difficult issues we had to address was with regard
> to the reliability and intent of US partners. In Europe,
> the US has, sadly, gained somewhat of a reputation for not
> following through projects in a timely manner, where
> the process for obtaining funding is unpredictable and
> not easily comprehensible to the outside observer.
> We obtained our UK funding with the understanding that
> a well-defined review process was, in fact, taking place
> in the US to which we would contribute. We certainly do
> not expect that the Braidwood project be guaranteed of
> approval, but we did have every expectation that the decision
> would be based on a careful assessment of the scientific
> merit, cost, technical feasibility and the abilities of
> the collaboration members in question to successfully carry
> out the project. We are very dismayed at the recent letter
> from Robin Staffin which appears to bypass peer-review
> at the last moment to make a decision without clear
> justification which is certainly not supported by the
> NUSAG report. If this decision is allowed to stand,
> it would put us in a very difficult position in the UK
> and would certainly jeopardise future US/UK collaborative
> efforts. We therefore urge you to reconsider this position
> and allow projects such as Braidwood to undergo fair and
> proper peer review in a manner which is transparent to
> prospective international partners.
> Sincerely,
> The UK Braidwood Collaborators

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