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UK approves controversial Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images By New Scientist Staff and Press Association The UK government has given go-ahead to the first new nuclear power station for a generation — the controversial £18 billion Hinkley Point C project. Ministers ended uncertainty over Hinkley by saying they had reached a “new agreement” with French energy giant EDF, imposing “significant new safeguards” for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure.

“Following a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project, and a revised agreement with EDF, the Government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation,” the government said. Advertisement “Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security,” said Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Here’s the lowdown: How much energy will Hinkley Point C generate? Hungary holds referendum on EU mandatory migrant plan. Image copyright AP Polls have closed in Hungary in a referendum on whether to accept mandatory EU quotas for relocating migrants. Early indications show most who voted overwhelmingly rejected the quota system but turnout could be less than 50% which would make the vote invalid.

Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban opposes plans to relocate a total of 160,000 migrants across the bloc. Under the scheme Hungary would receive 1,294 asylum seekers. During last year's migrant crisis, Hungary became a transit state on the Western Balkan route to Germany and other EU destinations. In an effort to curb the influx, it sealed its border with Serbia and Croatia. As voting ended, a poll conducted by think-tank Nezopont indicated that about 3.2 million voters had rejected the quotas while 168,000 voters voted for them.

Gergely Gulyas, an MP of the governing Fidesz party, predicted that about 95% had voted "No" and the turnout would be about 45%. BBC iPlayer - The Comet's Tale. Westfield London Expansion Plans. Carbon emissions 'postpone ice age'. Image copyright Ittiz The next ice age may have been delayed by over 50,000 years because of the greenhouse gases put in the atmosphere by humans, scientists in Germany say. They analysed the trigger conditions for a glaciation, like the one that gripped Earth over 12,000 years ago. The shape of the planet's orbit around the Sun would be conducive now, they find, but the amount of carbon dioxide currently in the air is far too high. Earth is set for a prolonged warm phase, they tell the journal Nature.

"In theory, the next ice age could be even further into the future, but there is no real practical importance in discussing whether it starts in 50,000 or 100,000 years from now," Andrey Ganopolski from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said. "The important thing is that it is an illustration that we have a geological power now.

Earth has been through a cycle of ice ages and warm periods over the past 2.5 million years, referred to as the Quaternary Period. Planet rock. Smoking rates in England fall to lowest on record. Image copyright PA Smoking rates in England have fallen to the lowest on record, Public Health England (PHE) has said. In 2015, 16.9% of adults described themselves as smokers, compared with 19.3% in 2012. Experts say the decrease may be partly thanks to the availability of e-cigarettes. More than a million people said they vaped as they tried to quit and 700,000 used a licensed nicotine replacement product such as patches or gum. Out of the 2.5 million smokers who tried to kick the habit, a fifth were successful. According to Public Health England, this is the highest recorded successful quitting rate to date - six years ago the success rate was around one in seven.

Source: Annual Population Survey Image copyright Thinkstock The biggest decreases in smoking over the last four years were seen in the South West (18.7% to 15.5%), the North East (22% to 18.7%) and Yorkshire & Humber (21.9% to 18.6%). Despite the fall, there are wide variations across the country and a north-south divide. Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth's wilderness in 25 years – study | Environment. Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study. Researchers found a vast area the size of two Alaskas – 3.3m square kilometres – had been tarnished by human activities between 1993 and today, which experts said was a “shockingly bad” and “profoundly large number”.

The Amazon accounted for nearly a third of the “catastrophic” loss, showing huge tracts of pristine rainforest are still being disrupted despite the Brazilian government slowing deforestation rates in recent years. A further 14% disappeared in central Africa, home to thousands of species including forest elephants and chimpanzees. The loss of the world’s last untouched refuges would not just be disastrous for endangered species but for climate change efforts, the authors said, because some of the forests store enormous amounts of carbon. “They are the jewels in the crown. Opencast coal mine application 'called in' over climate change concerns | Environment. An application for an opencast coal mine in Northumberland has been “called in” by the Government on climate grounds. The proposals by Banks Mining for a surface mine for coal, sandstone and fire clay at Highthorn, between Widdrington Village and Druridge Bay, were given the green light by Northumberland county council in July.

Now it will be subject to a planning inquiry after the application was called in for consideration by communities secretary Sajid Javid. The application will be examined to see if it is compatible with Government policies on meeting the challenge of climate change and protecting the natural environment, and with plans to phase coal-fired power stations in the UK by 2025. The Government made the pledge to phase out polluting coal power last December ahead of United Nations talks in Paris, which secured the world’s first comprehensive climate deal that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century. Tsunami simulator recreates devastating waves for first time in a lab | Environment. The full and devastating power of tsunamis has been recreated in lab for the first time, revealing valuable secrets about the little-understood waves. The work will lead to vital improvements to sea defences, coastal buildings and evacuation plans, ultimately saving lives.

Five major tsunamis have struck coasts around the world since 2004, killing 300,000 people, and the risks are rising as coastal cities expand. But the terrible violence of the giant waves means any scientific instruments present are almost always destroyed. The result is little knowledge of the huge forces with which tsunamis hit coasts. Now researchers have created the world’s most realistic tsunami simulator at the HR Wallingford research centre in Oxfordshire. The 70m-long tank can, for the first time, replicate the shape and long duration of the tsunamis that wrought havoc around the Indian Ocean in 2004 and smashed into Japan in 2011. The new tsunami simulator is built at 1:50 scale and is 4m wide. EU hits energy reduction target six years early | Environment. Europe has met a landmark goal of slashing its energy consumption six years ahead of time, cutting greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to switching off about 400 power stations.

In 2014, the EU’s 28 member countries consumed 72m tonnes of oil equivalent less than had been projected for 2020, according to a report by the EU’s science arm, the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The figure matches Finland’s annual energy use. Environmental campaigners described the achievement as “remarkable”. and “incredible” but the European commission was restrained. “Final energy consumption is currently below the 2020 target,” a spokeswoman for the commission said. “The EU-28 are are also on a good pathway to achieving the primary energy consumption target for 2020 if current efforts are maintained.”

Major energy savings were reported across all sectors in the study, with EU legislation driving efficiency gains in electrical products, industry installations, fuel economy and the housing sector. Ited Nations Millennium Development Goals. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The UN is also working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

News on Millennium Development Goals Launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals As the MDGs era comes to a conclusion with the end of the year, 2016 ushers in the official launch of the bold and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders last September at the United Nations. The MDG Gap Task Force Report 2015 is now available Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 now available. The Global Goals. Primary school for all 'not until 2042', says Unesco.