Portugal protests Spain's stockpiling of nuke waste near border

The Japan Times

LISBON – Portugal has accused Spain of stockpiling nuclear waste close to its border without evaluating the environmental impact, in a complaint filed Monday with Brussels. The dispute stems from the Spanish government's decision in late December to authorize the building of a nuclear waste depot at the Almaraz plant in central-west Spain, around 100 km (60 miles) from the Portuguese border. Lisbon contends that Madrid violated a 2014 European directive requiring states to "initiate consultations" on "potential transborder repercussions" to the environment in their public projects. "The complaint was filed this afternoon," a spokesman for the Portuguese environment ministry told AFP. Referring the matter to the European Commission is "normal when there are different interpretations of community legislation," the foreign ministry said, adding it did not threaten the good relations between the two countries.


Massive lake drained for hydropower leaves dry bed and no fish

New Scientist

A large artificial lake in the Balkan state of Bosnia and Herzegovina totally vanished this month and with it an estimated 2 million fish. Following rains and snowmelt, Jablanica lake has now started to reappear, but the ecological damage might take years to repair, say environmental groups and local fishers. Water levels in the lake are usually regulated to keep enough water to generate hydroelectricity and to avoid floods in the city of Mostar, which lies downstream. So it came as a surprise to local people, especially fishers, to see the lake completely drained last week, and with it all its life gone, too. Normally, the lake is 30 kilometres long, around a kilometre wide with a depth of about 70 metres.


The Papers: Brexit fears, and short prison terms 'end'

BBC News

Prisons minister Rory Stewart tells the Daily Telegraph that "very short" jail terms are long enough to damage, but not long enough to heal. Mr Stewart admits his plan - to scrap jail sentences shorter than six months for most crimes in England and Wales - could provoke a backlash from the public and some Conservative MPs, but he insists "it's a debate I have to win". The paper says the proposal is a significant shift in thinking towards a greater emphasis on rehabilitation, noting that simply jailing offenders has caused the prison population to double to 80,000 since the 1990s. The Financial Times reports that the Japanese firm Hitachi is on the verge of abandoning a plan to build a nuclear power station on Anglesey, threatening hundreds of jobs. Sources close to the project in Wylfa tell the paper that Hitachi will announce it is pulling the plug next week because of problems with financing.



Toshiba must buy French stake in British nuclear venture NuGen for $139 million

The Japan Times

The French group Engie is requiring Toshiba to buy its 40 percent stake in their British nuclear joint venture, NuGen, for about ¥15.3 billion ($139 million). The troubled Japanese conglomerate said Tuesday that the deal was prompted by the bankruptcy of Toshiba's U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse. NuGen plans to build three reactors at the Moorside site near Sellafield in Cumbria, northwest England. The AP-1000 models are designed by Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy protection last week. Engie in December said it was studying the economic viability of its nuclear projects, especially in Britain, following news reports suggesting it wanted to withdraw from them.