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World News

E&T's pick of engineering news from around the world

17 February

France and the UK signed a raft of commercial deals and new agreements to cooperate on energy issues during a UK-France summit in Paris. The agreements would see the creation of more than 1,500 jobs in Britain. A £400m deal on nuclear reactors between Rolls-Royce and Areva, and a £100m-plus contract between EDF and Kier/BAM, were two of the deals signed.

2 March

Norweigan scientists created one of the most advanced radiation sensors in the world.Nanotechnologists at the Micro and Nano Laboratory in Gaustadbekkdalen in Oslo developed the X-ray detector, which can determine the composition of materials in a fraction of a second. The silicon drift diode sensor is already in great demand from the materials science industry, the researchers said.

5 March

Thousands gathered in Berlin to protest government cuts to solar power incentives. Concerned by rapid growth in Germany's solar sector, the government last month approved plans to slash state-mandated incentives for photovoltaic electricity. The solar industry says the cuts will reduce the market for new installations in Germany, the world's largest, to just a quarter of its size and result in massive job losses.

6 March

Chevron said a fire at a natural gas well just off the coast of Nigeria had gone out by itself. The fire had broken out at the Funiwa well after a gas explosion, killing large numbers of fish and polluting the air. Chevron said equipment failure may have been the cause of the fire.

8 March

Apple launches its 4G-ready iPad 3, boasting a quad-core graphics processor giving it a crisper screen. The high-end model of the latest iPad operates on a high-speed 4G LTE network, at speeds roughly 10 times faster than current 3G technology. Critics say its technology advances should safeguard its leading market share against rivals Amazon, Motorola and Samsung.

8 March

A solar storm was predicted to affect power grids, aeroplane routes and space-based satellite navigation systems. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the strong geomagnetic storm had been flung from the Sun at about 4.5 million miles per hour and could disrupt power grids, satellites, oil pipelines and GPS systems.

11 March

Japan marked the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. One year earlier a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami had killed nearly 16,000 people and wrecked the nuclear plant. The disaster was marked with a moment of silence, prayers and anti-nuclear rallies.

14 March

The EU, US and Japan have asked the World Trade Organization to settle a dispute with China over Beijing's restriction on exports of raw materials, including rare earth elements critical to electronics makers. EU trade chief Karel De Gucht said China's restrictions violated international trade rules and "must be removed". Beijing said the export curbs were motivated by environmental concerns and said it would defend itself.

16 March

Bulgaria's Prime Minister said the country could not go ahead with plans to build the Belene nuclear plant near the Danube River if it could not attract Western investors. Boiko Borisov told national BNT channel that ministers went to Moscow last month to tell Russian officials that Sofia would not build the Belene plant, for which it had contracted Russian state firm Atomstroyexport. Instead, it plans to pay for a 1,000MW nuclear reactor that has already been constructed and will try to install it at its operational 2,000MW Kozloduy nuclear plant.

20 March

India is to urge its airlines to boycott the EU's carbon charge scheme. A senior Indian government official said the country would soon ask local airlines not to share emissions data with the bloc or buy any carbon credits. The official, who has direct knowledge of talks between the EU and other countries on the issue, said: "We have lots of measures to take if the EU does not go back on its demands."

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