E&T's pick of engineering news from around the world
A furnace exploded at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site in southern France, killing one and injuring four others. The Centraco site is owned by French power utility EDF, but does not house any nuclear reactors, and France’s ASN nuclear safety watchdog said there was no leak of radioactive material outside the furnace.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced the government’s controversial carbon tax plans into parliament, which would force around 500 big polluting companies to pay for carbon emissions through a carbon tax. If the plans are enacted, Australia would join the European Union and New Zealand with national emissions trade schemes. The United States and Japan have smaller regional schemes.
Automaker Jaguar Land Rover announced it will build a new £355m engine plant in Wolverhampton, creating around 750 jobs. The luxury car maker is part of Indian group Tata Motors and already employs more than 19,000 people in Britain.
Gas exploration company Cuadrilla Resources said it can drill hundreds of wells in Lancashire to tap into vast shale gas resources underground. A percentage of the 200 trillion cubic feet of gas under the ground in the area could be recovered for use in the UK’s energy mix, providing up to 5,600 jobs at the peak of production.
Japan came under pressure to strengthen cyber security after defence contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was hacked. The US urged the country to bolster its information security as Japanese arms makers build US-designed missiles, warships and military aircraft.
The UN urged Turkish and Greek Cypriots to find a peaceful resolution in an escalating dispute over Cyprus gas exploration, offering its involvement as a mediator. Turkey has said it is exploring for gas in an offshore zone where Cyprus started drilling in a battle over Mediterranean oil and gas resources which risks overshadowing peace talks on the divided island.
China launched an experimental craft, named Tiangong 1 or ‘Heavenly Palace’, paving the way for its first space station. The government hopes for a successful Tiangong mission alongside other markers of its growing technological prowess, including the launch of a trial aircraft carrier. See p10.
The iPhone 4S was unveiled by Apple. It was thought the iPhone 5 would be launched at the event at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters, but instead an ‘all new’ iPhone was announced. The iPhone 4S has voice recognition software, an eight megapixel camera with five lenses, and a new A5 chip which allows it to use much faster graphics for gameplay and download data twice as fast.
The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists – American Saul Perlmutter, US-born Brian Schmidt, and US scientist Adam Riess – for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae. http://bit.ly/olB2o9. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was announced the next day, and was awarded to Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman for the discovery of ‘quasicrystals’.
A tablet computer claimed to be the world’s cheapest was launched in India by London-based developer Datawind and the Indian Institute of Technology. The Aakash lightweight touch-screen device is to be sold to students at a subsidised price of $35 and later in shops for about $60.