The Westcountry’s only nuclear power station will not be running at full power until at least March 2008, it emerged last night. Two reactors at Hinkley Point B have been out of action for two months after cracks were found in reactor pipes. Work to repair them is due to be completed in the New Year – but British Energy has admitted that they will run only at 70 per cent of full capacity. Identical problems have also blighted Hinkley Point’s sister station – Hunterston B, in Scotland – which will also run at below-capacity for another 15 months.
Western Morning News 16th Dec 2006
China has awarded a multibillion nuclear reactor contract to Westinghouse Electric, the US nuclear power company owned by Toshiba of Japan, giving its technology a central role in the ambitious expansion of the country’s atomic energy sector. The decision is severe blow to France, whose Areva company had been in competition with Westinghouse and Atomstroiexport of Russia to supply the reactors, which are to be used at power stations in eastern and southern China and have previously been valued at about $8bn (€6bn, £4bn).
FT 18th Dec 2006
BBC 17th Dec 2006
France will this week attempt to salvage a role for its nuclear industry in China’s multi-billion dollar energy programme after Beijing opted for third-generation power plants designed by Westinghouse of the US rather than the French Areva. Chinese officials arrive in Paris on Tuesday to discuss future industrial cooperation with the French government, which is hoping to secure a role for its EDF electricity group in the construction and operation of the plants. EDF is one of the world’s biggest nuclear operators with 59 reactors in France providing roughly 80 per cent of the country’s electricity needs.
FT 18th Dec 2006
Six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear program resumed Monday for the first time in more than a year, a test of whether the secretive communist regime is willing to negotiate after its surprise atomic test rattled the region this fall.
Guardian website 18th Dec 2006
Talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme have reached a “fork in the road” between diplomacy and sanctions, America’s top envoy on the issue said yesterday. US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill called for progress at the talks, which are set to resume after a 13-month hiatus during which the North detonated an atomic bomb.
Independent 18th Dec 2006
Iranian voters delivered a warning to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, at the weekend when his allies performed poorly in two elections seen as a test of his ultra-conservative rule.
Telegraph 18th Dec 2006
British investigators believe that Alexander Litvinenko’s killers used more than $10 million of polonium-210 to poison him. Preliminary findings from the post mortem examination on the former KGB spy suggest that he was given more than ten times the lethal dose.
Times 18th Dec 2006