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Iranian commander warns against threats to Iran nuclear sites

Deutsche Presse-Agentur via M&C News
Tehran – A senior Iranian military commander on Wednesday warned that any military threats against Iran’s nuclear sites could endanger the security of the Persian Gulf and hence global oil export.

‘The security of the Persian Gulf and security of global energy (supply) are directly linked to the security of Iran and we would therefore defend ourselves in a broad-based manner if threatened,’ General Rahim Safavi, the commander of the para-military revolutionary guards, told state television.

Iran has several times warned that military attacks against its nuclear sites would have grave consequences, including a global oil crisis.

There have also been several indications that Iran might block the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf which is a vital gateway for global oil export.

…The commander proclaimed that there would be a navy manoeuvre next week in the Persian Gulf to show Iran’s strength in defending its territories.
(29 March 2006)
Oil rises as Iran defies UN call (Reuters)
U.N. Warns Iran to End Nuclear Work

Exxon’s new CEO: the new face of an oil giant

Jad Mouawad
If Rex W. Tillerson has his way, Exxon Mobil will no longer be the oil company that environmentalists love to hate.

Since taking over as Exxon’s chairman three months ago from Lee R. Raymond, his abrasive predecessor who dismissed fears of global warming and branded environmental activists “extremists,” Mr. Tillerson has gone out of his way to soften Exxon’s public stance on climate change.

“We recognize that climate change is a serious issue,” Mr. Tillerson said during a 50-minute interview last week, pointing to a recent company report that acknowledged the link between the consumption of fossil fuels and rising global temperatures. “We recognize that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors affecting climate change.”

But despite the shift in style to a less adversarial tone, the substance of Exxon’s position has not changed with the new chairman. The company said the recent report only clarified its long-held position on global warming. Indeed, Mr. Tillerson noted that he, like Mr. Raymond before him, remained convinced that there was “still significant uncertainty around all of the factors that affect climate change.”

To Fadel Gheit, a longtime industry analyst at Oppenheimer & Company in New York, Mr. Tillerson certainly presents a kinder, gentler face for Exxon. But in the end, Mr. Gheit cautioned, do not expect much difference between Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Raymond.

…In contrast to rivals at BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which plan to invest billions of dollars in the next decade to develop renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, Mr. Tillerson sees Exxon’s future as still firmly tied to oil and natural gas.
(30 March 2006, thanks to ODAC)

Can we afford to go nuclear?

Tony Juniper, The Guardian
Expect history to repeat itself if the government gives the go ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The official body charged with the clean up of Britain’s nuclear sites today revealed (pdf) that the estimated costs for dealing with the country’s radioactive legacy has soared again. The Nuclear Decomissioning Authority (NDA) now says that there could be an additional £14bn of necessary expenditure, taking the total to near £70bn.

That is not millions, that is 70 billions, 70 thousand million pounds. And that is just for the clean up and decommissioning costs, never mind all the money that was (and is still being) ploughed into nuclear research and development. And then there was the cost of building the reactors in the first place. Whichever way you look at it, this has got to be a crazy way of generating power. It’s especially crazy if you are a taxpayer, as most of that £70bn will be paid by you.

As ever, with the nuclear costs saga, this is not the end. In 2008 the NDA plans to publish a further and fuller assessment of clean up costs: “work in progress” the NDA calls it. The track record of this industry does not suggest that it will be a lower figure than the one we saw today. It seems that every time there is a review of the costs of this aspect of nuclear power, the estimated figure goes up, and up – and up. In 2008, I have no doubt that we will see an increase again. Who knows what it will be by then – £80bn, £90bn, £100bn?

Nuclear power proponents are aware of the damage that announcements like this do to their cause. That is why the spin is now crafted to suggest that new nuclear technologies can avoid the cost overruns, and since the new designs produce less waste, cut costs of radioactive materials management in the future. Who says? Well the nuclear industry of course.
(30 March 2006)
Related: Government to sell British Nuclear Group

Companies going green with energy alternatives
High cost of fossil fuels sparks efforts to identify savings, new markets

With rising energy prices squeezing profits, corporate managers are looking for alternatives. And there are signs that conservation measures – even those that don’t cost a lot of money – are beginning to pay off.

As CNBC reports this week, companies are finding new ways to save money and expand their markets by looking for ways to use less fossil fuel.

The potential savings are huge. Industrial use accounts for about a third of energy consumed in the U.S., according to Energy Dept. estimates. And by cutting back on just 20 percent of that consumption, American businesses could save close to $19 billion a year at 2004 energy prices, according to a recent report by the National Association of Manufacturers. About 30 percent of those savings can be achieved with no capital investment, the report said.
Story continues belo
(29 March 2006)

Senate Foreign Relations Cmte: “The Hidden Cost of Oil”

Professor Goose, The Oil Drum
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Richard Lugar (R-IN), has just released its hearing transcript on “The Hidden Cost of Oil.”

Here is a link to Lugar’s introductory statement (.pdf).

Witnesses called included (click on name for testimony):
Milton R. Copulos (.pdf), President, National Defense Council Foundation, Alexandria, VA

Dr. Hillard Huntington (.pdf), Executive Director, Energy Modeling Forum, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Dr. Gary W. Yohe (.pdf), John E. Andrus Professor of Economics, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
(30 March 2006)