A proposed levy on power suppliers that could add £10-20 to a typical household’s annual electricity bill is being considered by the Treasury, The Times has learnt. Officials are attracted by the idea of an electricity tax that would help to create a fund to finance green power projects. The tax could generate capital for the Lib-Con Government’s proposed green investment bank and is being debated within Whitehall as concern mounts over the reluctance of power companies to commit funds to new power generation projects. Within the past month, three gas-fired power stations have been suspended because the projects were uneconomic.The Government wants a third of Britain’s power to come from renewables but weakening enthusiasm among utilities for building conventional fossil fuel plants is highlighting the greater burden of financing more expensive nuclear and renewable power projects.
Times 31st May 2010 more >>
You lead a rising economic superpower, with ambitions for global political power. You have pledged to pursue a “peaceful rise” and to work through the United Nations wherever possible to maintain international stability. Out of the blue, your unruly neighbour, an ally and quasi-dependant for the past 60 years, torpedoes a warship of its own neighbour, killing 46 sailors, and then, when accused of this crime, threatens all-out war. What do you do? Virtually nothing, is China’s answer so far, for that is the superpower and the neighbour is North Korea.
Times 31st May 2010 more >>
The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, today warned of an urgent need to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, but appeared to brush off calls to take a tougher line towards North Korea.
Guardian 31st May 2010 more >>
many countries at the meeting, held every 5 years, are calling for action on an underappreciated but pressing risk: getting rid of the legacy of hundreds of research reactors, mainly civilian, that use weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU). The total quantity of HEU in research reactors is small compared with military stocks, but still amounts to a few hundred tonnes more than enough to pose a threat, as a nuclear bomb can be made with just a few dozen kilograms. Security can often be lower at research reactors, which are typically operated by universities and civilian labs, raising fears that nuclear material could fall into the hands of terrorists.
Nature 25th May 2010 more >>
Israeli leaders have mounted a concerted effort to defend the country’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity” after 189 countries backed a United Nations declaration calling for a Middle East without nuclear weapons and demanding international inspections of Israeli nuclear facilities. Issuing a sharp reaction to the closing statement of a UN conference to review the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which ended on Friday, the Israeli government called the resolution “deeply flawed and hypocritical” and said it “ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world”.
FT 31st May 2010 more >>
Morning Star 30th May 2010 more >>