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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

quarter of the country's electricity.178

14.2.10.

Lobby group including BP and Shell challenge California’s tar sands legislation in court. The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association says it is illegal for reasons including “undue and unconstituional burdens on interstate commerce.”179

Sellafield has similarities to Texas City, new ex-BP chief executive of NDA says. Tony Fountain admits there is still a long way to go. “If you look at Texas City, there were many kinds of practices, operating practices among them, where people had become habituated to a state of affairs that, if you stepped in from outside and took a look, was not appropriate for the nature of the activity. I think that is absolutely true of what happened at Sellafield… Legacy companies had a different set of priorities. There was clearly a set of practices that developed round those [untreated waste] silos that, if you stepped in there, did not have the right level of priority, did not have the right level of challenge, did not have the right level of spend – which is why it is where it is now and needs to be dealt with with the priority it is getting.” Asked if he has been shocked by anything he has seen so far, he says: “Shock is a strong word. But it would be right to say that the ponds and silos at Sellafield are attention-grabbing; striking in nature.” Sellafield consumes almost half of the total NDA budget.180

UK issues first licence to build a storage cavern for gas under the Irish Sea. Twenty salt caverns each around the size of the Albert Hall will be filled with 1.5 bn cubic metres, about 2 days supply, 750m below the seabed. When complete in 2014, the nations storage will have risen by a third.

16.2.10. BP and ConocoPhillips quit US Climate Action Partnership lobbying Congress to pass climate law, undercutting Obama's efforts to cast his climate and energy agenda as a pro-business, job-creation plan. “Cap-and-trade legislation is dead in the US Congress and that global warming alarmism is collapsing rapidly,” says Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.181

Obama announces $8.3bn (£5.3bn) loan guarantees for nuclear: a company building the first new nuclear reactors in America in nearly 30 years. The pledge to the nuclear industry (made just a couple of hours before the oil companies quit the CAP) is seen as part of a strategy to win Republican support for the climate and energy bill. 182

Barclays top bosses forego bonuses and say they want to be part of the bank regulation debate. But Varley and Diamond made huge amounts the previous year.

17.2.10. Steven Chu is finding it hard to sway Congress with rational arguments. Describing how companies are not making investments and banks are not supplying loans because of the uncertainty about when, or whether, a cap on carbon will be imposed, he says: “We’re in a crazy never-never land situation. Let’s recognise that we’re postponing an inevitability,” and “[The Chinese] missed the first industrial revolution. They missed in large part the computer and biotech revolutions. They don’t want to miss this one.” 183

San Francisco now require all homes and offices to be wired for electric car chargers. This is written into new building codes. Obama will be able to deliver on his promise to put 1m electric vehicles on the road by 2015.But beyond Washington, a number of American cities and states are driving ahead. Nissan's president, Carlos Ghosn, has predicted that as many as 10% of sales will be electric vehicles by 2020. At Google, employees can already drive to work in one of the modified Priuses owned by the company – and then pull into one of 100 solar-powered parking spots and charge up.184

NII says AP1000 needs to be able to withstand a crashing airliner to get a licence. This is a blow to the Toshiba-Westinghouse group.185

French nuclear watchdog says EDF would face “massive investment” in extending life of reactors beyond 40 years. EDF is hoping to secure 60-year life-cycles for its plants, a term that is already applied in the US. Even then, he says, the plants might not be able to actually keep going that long. EDF has already been forced to invest hundreds of millions of euros replacing ageing steam generators on 34 of its 58 reactors. There is no set term for the life of reactors in France, where extensions are granted or not after inspections every 10 years. At the beginning of next year the two oldest plants in operation come up for a review to take them to 40 years. 186

Most US utility executives favour nuclear power and are climate sceptics, a poll suggests. More than 70 percent a survey of 329 executives oppose the current Obama legislation and 52 percent say the United States cannot afford the proposal. More than 75 percent think there is a future for coal-fired power plants. 44 percent don’t believe global warming is caused by human activity, and 7 percent don’t believe the planet is warming at all.187

18.2.10.

Michael Grunwald in Time magazine describes “Why Obama’s nuclear bet won’t pay off.” If you want to understand why the U.S. hasn't built a nuclear reactor in three decades, the Vogtle power plant outside Atlanta is an excellent reminder of the insanity of nuclear economics. The plant's original cost estimate was less than $1 billion for four reactors. Its eventual price tag in 1989 was nearly $9 billion, for only two reactors. But now there's widespread chatter about a nuclear renaissance, so the Southern Co. is finally trying to build the other two reactors at Vogtle. The estimated cost: $14 billion. And you can be sure that number is way too low, because nuclear cost estimates are always way too low.”188

Fourth generation nuclear reactors are “no clean energy secret bullet,” FT notes. Fourth generation reactors are those targeting the idea that reactors use spent nuclear fuel as a feedstock depends. One version, fast reactors, relies on sodium cooling. The International Panel on Fissile materials has produced a resport on these saying that risk of sodium fire is very high.189

19.2.10 Polls and evidence favour carbon tax over cap and trade. Robert Shapiro, a principal economic advisor  to Bill Clinton in 1991-2: “A national poll by Hart Research found that two out of every three U.S. voters now favor a straight carbon tax over a cap-and-trade system. And the record shows clearly that it works. Sweden adopted a carbon-based tax in 1990; today, the Swedish economy is about 50 percent larger (adjusted for inflation), and the nation's carbon emissions are 8 percent less than they were in 1990. By contrast, emissions have risen sharply across the European Union over the last five years, despite its adoption of a cap-and-trade program.”190

21.2.10.China’s Saudi oil imports now exceed those of the US. In 2009, the US sank below 1 mbd for the first time in 20 years, and China’s exceeded 1 mbd for the first time.191

RBS CEO is forced to forego his bonus for 2009, echoing the Barclays duo last week. State-owned RBS will still pay its investment bankers £1.3 bn 28% of revenues (compared to 30-40% in competitors cases).192

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