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and BP had agreed it would be inappropriate for the company to be involved: “Wwth the Greenpeace ship already harassing Cairn off Greenland — a company which has an exemplary safety record – everyone realised it would be political madness to give the green light to BP,” one source says.738

UK nuclear reactor programme has fallen behind schedule over safety, the HSE admits, reinforcing concerns that the first reactor will not be built on time. Guardian: “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it would probably have to issue an "interim" decision on the safety of the two new proposed reactor designs next June, the deadline for its assessment programme. The regulator expects significant chunks of extra work will remain before it can finally approve or reject the designs, but did not say how long this would take. Kevin Allars, director of the assessment programme at the HSE, said that companies could continue planning and carry out preparatory construction on proposed nuclear sites while they waited for a final decision. But he insisted that construction of a reactor could not start without its consent. Allars promised there would be no repeat of the chaotic construction in Finland of what was supposed to be Europe's first new reactor in decades. The Areva plant is more than three years behind schedule and more than €2bn (£1.6bn) over budget, with the Finnish regulator trying to approve each component of the design while it is being built. …. The HSE said the companies behind the designs – French consortium Areva, EDF and US firm Westinghouse – had been repeatedly submitting information which was incomplete and late. In turn, the companies are blaming the regulator for not having sufficient resources to carry out the work. … "Significant issues" are also flagged for Westinghouse's planned control and instrumentation systems to operate the reactor. The company missed a June deadline to provide information on reactor chemistry, "which does not help our confidence that Westinghouse will meet future delivery dates", said the HSE.”739

China's monster traffic jams show the true cost of coal. A 60-mile jam that has lasted 10 days on the border between Hebei and Inner Mongolia has been dubbed the “biggest traffic jam in the world.” Guardian: The fact that “almost every vehicle in the jam was a coal truck and almost every driver said they were used to mega-jams suggests the congestion was as much caused by the strains on China's energy supply as its transport system. …. Almost all of the drivers I spoke to were on their way from mines in Inner Mongolia, which last year became the biggest coal-producing region in the country. …. But there are signs of change, even on G110. While the traffic south was jammed with coal trucks, the most striking sight in the opposite direction were several long convoys of taking giant wind turbine blades up to the grasslands and deserts of Inner Mongolia. The Beijing Times today also published pictures of a traffic-beating electric bus that is being designed in China to glide above jams.”740

French solar feed-in tariff cuts may be followed in the U.K., Czech Republic, and Ontario, Bloomberg New Energy Finance says. “When the tariffs were set, governments did not realize modules and systems would become so low-cost, so fast,” says Jenny Chase, lead solar analyst for BNEF, in Zurich. Bloomberg: “Feed-in subsidies to ground-mounted stations in the north and south of France and French overseas territories will be lowered by 12 percent, according to a statement yesterday. These will fall to 33.12 euro cents (42 U.S. cents), 27.6 euro cents and 35.2 euro cents a kilowatt-hour. Chase said the cuts would be unlikely to hamper the rate at which ground-mounted systems were installed. “This is expected to have little effect on installation volumes, as most types of systems will still be economic at the lower rates, though it will reduce developer margins a little,” Chase said. Also included in the cuts are residential building integrated installations of more than 3 kilowatts, building integrated installations on education or health-care structures and “simplified building integration” installations on all buildings. Residential building integrated installations with a capacity of less than 3 kilowatts dodged the changes, keeping the highest tariff at 58 cents per kilowatt-hour.”741

26.8.10. “Questions hang over future of Big Oil”, write Sylvia Pfeifer and Sheila McNulty in the FT. “The crisis that has engulfed (BP) since the accident in April has brought into sharp relief a question that has worried the world’s integrated oil majors for some time – is Big Oil still delivering? The answer for many energy commentators and shareholders is ‘no’. “Big Oil is a busted model as long as the market demands short-term, high-value growth,” said one long-term industry adviser.”742

John Westood, Chairman of Douglas Westwood, points to another problem for Big Oil in response to the above article, on 1 September: most of the IOCs are beyond their production peaks. “Examination of the annual production figures listed in the industry’s own journal, Petroleum Review, suggests that this may be the case for nine out of the top 10 publicly quoted oil companies. Top of the heap ExxonMobil seems to have peaked in 2006, BP in 2005, Shell in 2003, Chevron in 2002, and so it goes on. Within the top 10 the only company that has not yet peaked is Brazil’s state-controlled Petrobras, which, to introduce another subject, is due to its considerable amount of deepwater production. Deepwater is now one of the few remaining opportunities for Big Oil to find large reserves, hence the focus of BP and its peers. But the bottom line should be of concern to us all. In the early 1970s Big Oil effectively controlled 80 per cent of the world’s oil reserves. Today the position is reversed, the world’s national (state-owned) oil companies control about 78 per cent. Security of global energy supplies is in danger of becoming increasingly compromised as those supplies are progressively concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.”743

UK safety regulator tells nuclear reactor makers they aren’t working hard enough to avoid delay. Telegraph: “It is increasingly unlikely that the UK's first nuclear reactors will get full regulatory approval by mid-2011, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Areva's reactor is further ahead with the process than Westinghouse's reactor, but there are outstanding problems with both companies' designs. Areva, the French atomic specialist, and Westinghouse, its Japanese rival, had been hoping to gain full permission for their designs by next June, after a lengthy and meticulous assessment process.744

IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri cleared of financial misdealings. KPMG’s independent review finds no evidence for claims that the chairman of the UN's climate panel abused his position for financial gain with carbon-trading firms. In the Sunday Telegraph, Richard North accused him of making millions. He made nothing beyond a basic £45,000 TERI salary and a few thousand pounds of legitimate speaker’s fees, royalties from books and so on. The Sunday Telegraph has issued an apology.745

29.8.10. Russia opens China pipeline for Siberian oil amid fears of production drop next year. FT: “Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, on Sunday opened a new pipeline to export east Siberian oil to China that will help Russia reorientate its oil trade towards the east. The pipeline, running 67km from Skovorodino in east Siberia to China’s north-eastern frontier, is an offshoot of a new oil export route Russia is building to the Pacific

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