From the UK Braidwood Collaborators

From: Steven Biller (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2006 - 18:51:39 CDT

  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 and 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.


                           The UK Braidwood Collaborators

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