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In the papers today - Thursday 8 November

British Energy, the UK's largest electricity generator, yesterday confirmed that two of its nuclear reactors would remain shut for the foreseeable future – The Times

MPs called for a public inquiry into the collapse of Metronet yesterday after raising concerns of corruption at the failed London Underground contractor. The transport select committee rounded on Metronet's shareholders and urged the transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, to order an in-depth investigation - The Guardian

The final design for the £500M 2012 Olympic stadium, with its sunken bowl, removable seating and "steel crown" roof was unveiled by Lord Coe to muted applause and questions about the cost – The Times

Thousands of Cuban bananas were washed up on two Dutch North Sea islands, after containers fell off a cargo ship in a storm. A 1km stretch of beach on Terschelling Island, 115km north of Amsterdam, was littered with bunches of the unripe fruit – The Times

The cost of nuclear clean-up operations is to rise further amid increased problems at Sellafield, Britain's main reprocessing site – The Times

The Balearic Islands are to freeze all construction along the most delicate parts of coastlines and around the islands' capitals, which have been blighted by property developments since mass tourism first arrived in Spain in the 60s. The plan, set to be announced tomorrow, will come into force immediately in an effort to save some of the most beautiful coastlines on the islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca, from further development - The Guardian

Shell has once again been rapped over the knuckles by the Health and Safety Executive for safety problems on its North Sea platforms despite pledges from chief executive Jeroen van der Veer that he was determined to change the culture after problems in the past. The HSE confirmed last night that it had upheld various complaints made by trade unions about staffing and operational procedures on the Cormorant Alpha, Dunlin Alpha and three other platforms and asked the oil group to take immediate action - The Guardian

Plans to speed up the dismantling of Britain's atomic power stations were in disarray last night after the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority admitted it was slowing down the clean-up process owing to soaring costs and fuel reprocessing problems at Sellafield - The Guardian


The National Trust scored its first success in a bid to preserve the countryside last night as it announced the £1million purchase of 470 acres of Green Belt land under threat of development. It has bought the land on Divis and Black Mountain, the upland backdrop to Belfast, using money from the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment and Ulster Garden Villages - Daily Telegraph

Contingency funding has been set aside for construction of the London 2012 Olympic stadium, estimated to cost £496M - up £216M from the 2004 estimate. Olympic Development Authority chairman John Armitt said yesterday that he was determined to keep within budget and argued that the apparent price hike was purely due to VAT and inflation alone. The overall cost of staging the Games has climbed from £2.4bn to £9.3bn and includes a £2.7bn contingency. Architect Rod Sheard of HOK Sport which heads up the stadium design consortium revealed yesterday how the 80,000 seater stadium could be pared down to a 25,000-seater venue after the Games. The new stadium will be made up of a sunken bowl and cable net roof which covers two-thirds of spectators in the arena. Sheard said, "…it is an unbelievably complex stadium that is resolved in a simple and elegant way". Sheard was involved with Wembley and the Sydney Olympics Stadiums but said that the London Olympic venue was "not a stadium that's going to be screaming from the rooftops that it's bigger and more spectacular." A post Games tenant for the stadium has not yet been found - Financial Times

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's draft business plan for 2011 disclosed yesterday that due to prioritising "hazard reduction", the majority of funds over the next three years would be used to clean up Dounreay and Sellefield's plants. But this clashes with previous intentions to focus on cleaning up Magnox sites - Financial Times

Over £29M has been wasted on an unbuilt asylum centre in Bicester, Oxfordshire, the National Audit Office (NAO) said yesterday. The project was called off in June 2005 after spending two and a half years gaining planning permission for it. By then, the way asylum seekers were tackled meant that their numbers had reduced. The Bicester camp was supposed to be one of 10 such centres, none of which have been built. The Home Office has retained the site for future development - Financial Times

British Energy's shares went into meltdown yesterday after the UK's largest power producer found a second faulty wire on one of its nuclear reactors. The discovery of the failure of a "reinforcing wire" surrounding the cooling unit at its Heysham 1 nuclear reactor comes just two weeks after the same problem was uncovered at its Hartlepool reactors. British Energy's inability to predict when the problems would be resolved sent its shares down 7% yesterday , closing at 516p a share. "This is a legacy issue of the initial construction, identified during the course of baseline inspections," the company said. "while this component of the plant was not originally designed to be inspected, improved technology and innovative inspection techniques have been developed which have allowed inspection." Financial results will be reported on 13 November - The Independent

Film fans are lamenting the loss of one of the most memorable sites in British film-making - a 1960s car park in Gateshead. The multi-storey Trinity car park was the scene of the 1971 cult film "Get Carter" where the character Cliff Brumby is pushed off the building and killed by Jack Carter, played by Michael Caine. Local residents, however are welcoming the structure's demolition to make way for a new Tesco store - The Independent

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