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Civil engineering in the news today - Friday 21 November

Oxford and Cambridge universities yesterday gave a boost to vocational qualifications by agreeing to accept candidates studying one of the six controversial new diplomas...

...Their decision to consider pupils who have studied the diploma in engineering is good news for ministers who have struggled to win acceptance for the qualifications - designed as a more work-relevant alternative to A-levels. Geoff Parks, director of admissions for Cambridge and an engineering lecturer, said the advanced engineering diploma "may prove to be a better preparation" than the typical spread of A-levels a student would take before an engineering degree - The Financial Times

The next two decades will see a world living with the daily threat of nuclear war, environmental catastrophe and the decline of America as the dominant global power, according to a frighteningly bleak assessment by the US intelligence community. “The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons,” said the report by the National Intelligence Council, a body of analysts from across the US intelligence community - The Times

National Grid, the electricity and gas transmission company, reported a 4 per cent rise in operating profits for the first half of the year and confirmed that it would raise its interim dividend by 8 per cent, in line with its policy. Operating profits rose from £1.039bn to £1.079bn in the six months to September 30, on the back of a 28 per cent increase in revenues from £1.54bn to £1.97bn. Shares in National Grid closed down 10p to 680p - The Times

E.ON, the German energy group, has been buying up farmland in south Gloucestershire as it firms up plans to build a £4bn nuclear power station beside the River Severn. A spokeswoman for E.ON confirmed that it had acquired several tracts of privately owned land in recent months around an existing nuclear site at Oldbury-on-Severn, north of Bristol, which is owned by the Government through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The NDA site has two 225MW Magnox reactors that have been operating since 1967 but are scheduled to be retired from service at the end of the year. Buying extra land around the current compact site could allow E.ON to build a far bigger so-called EPR reactor, which would generate 1,600MW of electricity - enough to power a city of a million people - The Times

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