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News stand What the papers say


The Independent

British Nuclear Fuels has admitted that its new £470M plant for the production of mixed plutoniumuranium (MOX) fuel at Sellafield, Cumbria, does not work. BNFL said production has not been able to start due to over-complex design. The admission severely weakens BNFL's bid to resume supply of MOX fuel to Japan's nuclear power industry following a quality control scandal which came to light in 2002.

Toxic algae have blanketed an area of the East China Sea, south of Shanghai, larger than 1.3M football fields. The bloom is a result of algae feeding on pollution from sewage, fertiliser, car emissions and industrial waste.

The Chinese government has warned people not to eat fish from the area.

The Independent on sunday

Delays in receiving £300M in government funding for the second phase of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link could jeopardise the project, warned client London & Continental Railways (LCR) this week. LCR needs government cash to build the rail depot at Temple Mills near Stratford, east London, which will service Eurostar trains after the terminus shifts north from Waterloo to St Pancras.

The Sunday Times

Royal Mail is angling to start using night trains for mail deliveries again, only six months after scrapping the service in favour of road haulage. The move is a desperate bid to restore public confidence in the postal network after the number of complaints about delayed deliveries soared.

City investor Guy Hands has bid to buy Devon water and sewage business Pennon for £1bn. Hands is said to be interested in Pennon's growing waste business, Viridor, which operates 21 regional landfill sites, recycling facilities and 80 waste processing sites.

The Times

The numbers of pupils taking science A levels is declining rapidly, threatening the government's 10 year science strategy. According to Lord May of the Royal Society, between 1991 and 2003 the number of chemistry, physics and mathematics candidates fell by an average of 25%.

The charge for cars using the M6 Toll Road is to go up 50% just as resurfacing work begins on the old M6. The move has prompted accusations from motoring groups that operator Midland Expressway is abusing its virtual monopoly.

Home Office figures have shown that men commit nine times more motoring offences than women. Women come out worst in collisions in car parks or with stationary vehicles.

Financial Times

National Grid Transco has forecast that Britain should have enough electricity and gas for next winter despite industry fears over Britain's North Sea gas reserves running short. If the domestic gas supply ran out, industrial consumers would be expected to sell their gas back to suppliers at significant profit.

The Scotsman

Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Electricity propose to raise £1bn from connection charges and possibly customers to help meet government targets for renewable energy. The two companies plan to upgrade the Scottish network to allow independent wind energy suppliers to connect to the national grid. Industry watchdog Ofgem is monitoring the situation.

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