One way to encourage EDF to go ahead with its £14 billion project to build a new nuclear power station in Somerset would be for the Government to provide a guarantee for some of the financing. Well, it turns out that EDF is in talks with the Treasury over just such an arrangement. But first the two sides need to agree a price for the power the new station would generate. Reports that the Treasury has offered £80 per megawatt hour while EDF is holding out for £100 suggest that it may be very hard to reach agreement. But some independent observers believe the real gap is much narrower. The politics remain tricky, however. The Liberal Democrats demanded the coalition agreement stipulate that new nuclear stations should receive no public subsidy. That is very hard to square with this week’s declaration by Henri Proglio, the chief executive of EDF, who said: “We will not move on without a formal guarantee on the profitability of our investments.” Don’t put the candles away yet.
Times 16th Feb 2013 read more »
British Gas owner Centrica plans to take the unusual step of drawing attention to the £1.1bn it pays in tax as it prepares for a backlash over a likely double-digit rise in profits from its consumer business.
Telegraph 17th Feb 2013 read more »
BRITAIN’S nuclear fleet suffered a dangerous setback after a submarine was docked for emergency repairs following a radiation leak off Scotland. HMS Tireless was taking part in a training exercise for new officers off the west coast 10 days ago when a problem developed in its ageing 30-year-old reactor system. The 4,800 tonne Trafalgar-class submarine was ordered to limp back to Faslane naval base on the Clyde, where engineers inspected the leak. She has now returned to her home base at Devonport and faces up to 10 months in dry dock while repair work is carried out. Last night, Angus Robertson MP, the SNP’s Westminster leader and defence spokesman, called on the Ministry of Defence to clarify exactly what had happened. He said: “This is the latest in a long line of alarming incidents involving nuclear submarines off the coast of Scotland.
Express 17th Feb 2013 read more »
AN IRANIAN lawmaker has said his country will never close the Fordo nuclear site in exchange for an easing of Western sanctions. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told the semi-official ISNA news agency Fordo is a “centre that will never be closed”. Fordo, south-west of Tehran, is producing uranium enriched to 20 per cent, which can be turned into weapons-grade material.
Scotsman 18th Feb 2013 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 17th Feb 2013 read more »
The decade-long stand-off between Iran and the west over Tehran’s nuclear programme has long been an excruciating spectacle to watch. Over the past 10 years, there have been many occasions when politicians and pundits predicted the impasse would be broken – that western military action against Iran was imminent or the Iranians were about to come up with serious concessions. On every occasion, the excitement proved unfounded and diplomacy was given more time.
FT 17th Feb 2013 read more »
Even as the world rightly condemns North Korea for its latest nuclear test, it behoves us to consider the view from the bunker. Not the one where South Korea’s hardline president Lee Myung-bak, who leaves office next week, hastily convened a security meeting to discuss how to react to the latest threat from his Northern nemesis. I mean, rather, the metaphorical bunker in which North Korea is permanently hunkered down, circumscribing how it sees the world. The world the Kims see is a nuclear one. North Korea was in a sense born from the only nuclear weapons ever used. In 1945, the fire visited on Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Japan surrender sooner than expected. A quick fix was needed for Korea, which had been harshly ruled from Tokyo for 40 years. The US suggested “temporarily” dividing the peninsula. Stalin agreed, and an ancient nation remains sundered to this day.
FT 17th Feb 2013 read more »