Construction work at the new Olkiluoto reactor in Finland, being built by Areva of France, continues apace, as some spectacular photos show.
The pictures are a sign that anyone hoping that the reactor will be such a huge commercial disaster that it will deter all other investment in nuclear power is likely to be disappointed.
The Olkiluoto OL3 project has been dogged by problems, most recently the dispute between Areva and TVO, the Finnish electricity company that will own and run the reactor.
As Areva put it in its results statement at the end of last month:
Areva has sent the client documents detailing the methods of execution for the final phases of the project that are in accordance with standard industry practices for the construction of turnkey power plants. Areva will only commence the final phases of the construction when TVO has agreed upon the proposals that have been made or issued contract amendments that provide for the requested modifications, both in terms of costs and time lines.
That did not mean that work was coming to a halt immediately, but it faced the prospect of an indefinite delay. Read more
Is China about to leap into a big Venezuelan oil deal? On past experience, it doesn’t sound at all unlikely – and if it is true, it would be further confirmation that energy security is trumping political risk in the scramble to tie up energy resources.
Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez says he is about to do a $16bn deal that will boost the country’s oil production by hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.
Uncertainty, however, abounds. Read more
The CFTC, the US commodities market regulator, has been signalling its intent to impose tighter regulation on energy commodities markets for a few months now. Back in July, after initial hearings on whether to impose limits on the number of energy commodity positions that certain traders can hold, CFTC chairman Gary Gensler said there was no longer a question of whether to set position limits – only a question of who should set them, who should be exempted, and at what level they should be set.
But not everyone agrees that speculators are to blame for soaring energy prices. CME, which owns the world’s biggest commodities exchange Nymex, published its response yesterday. Read more
Finance groups demand tough climate targets
Call on rich nations cut emissions by between 25-40% by 2020 (FT)
National smog standards to be reviewed by US
EPA to reconsider standards set under the Bush administration (Bloomberg)