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Russia is seeking to build Europe’s nuclear plants

MOSCOWThe Russian nuclear industry has profited handsomely from building reactors in developing countries, including India, China and Iran. Now it is testing the prospect of becoming a major supplier to the European Union, too.

Shrugging off the legacy of Chernobyl, the Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, is preparing a bid on its second new project in the European Union, at the Temelin station in the Czech Republic, potentially worth $8 billion. Rosatom is already building a smaller unit in Bulgaria.

And the Russians, already major suppliers of low-enriched uranium fuel to the European Union under a venture with Areva, the French nuclear group, are planning independently to enter the market of fuel for Western-designed plants. Rosatom now provides 100 percent of the fuel used in Switzerland, for example, and 30 percent of all reactor uranium used in France, the Continent’s biggest consumer.

Rosatom has been promoting another singular advantage, one that also shows the Russians’ peculiarly high comfort level with all things nuclear, even after Chernobyl: a willingness to take nuclear waste off the hands of clients, particularly if they buy Russian reactors.

Of the 60 reactors under construction worldwide, Rosatom is building 15 — 10 in Russia and 5 abroad — according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade group in Washington.

Europe may ease jet carbon fees for U.S.-based airlines

BRUSSELSThe transportation chief of the European Union said Monday that airlines based in the United States could receive an exemption, at least in part, from European carbon regulations if Washington moved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home.

“We are ready to negotiate and to talk about these issues and not only make declarations,” Siim Kallas, the European commissioner for transportation, said during a news conference. “Adequate measures from other countries can be taken into account.”

The EU agreed two years ago to include in the regulations all airlines taking off from, and landing in, the EU starting Jan. 1, 2012.

The law is the boldest move yet by the bloc to push the rest of the world to comply with its climate policies. It has led to widespread criticism from the airline industry, especially from carriers in the United States.

Under the law, airlines would be charged for only about 15 percent of the cost of permits needed to cover their emissions until the end of the decade. Still, compliance would cost the industry at least 2.4 billion euros, or about $3.3 billion, a year, according to the International Air Transport Association, a trade group

For women in France, dim outlook on equality

PARISCourtesy of the state, French women seem to have it all: multiple children, a job and, often, a figure to die for.

What they do not have is equality. France ranks 46th in the World Economic Forum’s 2010 gender equality report, trailing the United States and most of Europe, but also Kazakhstan and Jamaica.

Eighty-two percent of French women ages 25 to 49 work, many of them full time, according to the national statistics office INSEE, but 82 percent of seats in the National Assembly are occupied by men. French women earn 26 percent less than men but spend twice as much time on domestic tasks, according to INSEE; few make it to the top of business or politics.

They have the most babies in Europe, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, but are also the biggest consumers of antidepressants, various studies show.

A recent 22-country survey by the Pew Research Center summed it up: Three in four French people say they believe that men have a better life than women, by far the highest share in any country polled.

The French Republic made equality a founding principle, but it gave women the right to vote in 1944. While a 1998 law obliged political parties to have an equal number of male and female candidates on their party lists, parties have tended to pay fines rather than comply.

U.S. grenade may have killed British hostage of Taliban

LONDONPrime Minister David Cameron said Monday that a British aid worker killed in an American rescue raid in Afghanistan last week may have been killed by a grenade detonated by a U.S. special forces unit — not by a suicide bomber’s vest from her Taliban captors, as the American command in Afghanistan suggested when it confirmed her death on Saturday.

A grim-faced Cameron appeared at a news conference to say he had learned of “this deeply distressing development” on Monday from the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who told him that an American-led review of the raid to rescue the aid worker, Linda Norgrove, “has revealed evidence to indicate that Linda may not have died at the hands of her captors as originally believed.”

Cameron added: “That evidence and subsequent interviews with the personnel involved suggest that Linda could have died as a result of a grenade detonated by the task force during the assault. However, this is not certain and a full U.S./U.K. investigation will now be launched.”

On Monday American officials in Kabul and at the Central Command Headquarters in Tampa, Fla., announced that a senior officer in the U.S. Special Operations command, Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, had been appointed to lead an investigation into Norgrove’s death, and that he would work “in close cooperation” with British officials.