- - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BERLIN — The operators of Germany’s electricity grid said Wednesday the country must invest about $25 billion in new transmission networks over the next decade as the nation abandons nuclear power and uses more renewable energy.

About 2,500 miles of new transmission lines must be built to ensure the country’s energy switchover, and another 2,730 miles of high-voltage lines need to be upgraded, the four operators - 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT and TransnetBW - said in a report presented to the government.

Germany decided after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster last year to accelerate the shutdown of its atomic power plants, embarking on a transition to renewable energies.

An effective energy transmission infrastructure is a major issue because while much heavy industry is based in southern Germany, the coasts and plains of the country’s north are the main source of wind energy.


IRAN

Computer virus hit Iran’s oil industry

TEHRAN — Iran’s key oil industry was briefly affected by the powerful computer virus known as “Flame” that has unprecedented data-snatching capabilities and can eavesdrop on computer users, a senior Iranian military official said Wednesday.

The comment is the first direct link between the emergence of the new malware and an attack inside a highly sensitive computer system in Iran, which counts on oil revenue for 80 percent of its income.

The full extent of last month’s disruptions has not been given, but Iran was forced to cut Internet links to the country’s main oil export terminal presumably to try to contain the virus.

It would be the latest high-profile virus to penetrate Iran’s computer defenses in the past two years, boosting speculation that Israeli programmers could have struck again.

Experts see technological links between Flame and the highly focused Stuxnet virus, which was tailored to disrupt Iran’s nuclear centrifuges in 2010. Many suspect Stuxnet was the work of Israeli intelligence.

Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads an Iranian military unit in charge of fighting sabotage, claimed that Iranian experts had detected and defeated the “Flame” virus. He told state radio that the oil industry was the only governmental body seriously affected and that all data that had been lost were retrieved.

POLAND

Poles outraged over Obama’s ‘death camps’ gaffe

WARSAW — Poland’s prime minister said Wednesday he wasn’t completely satisfied with a White House explanation that President Obama misspoke when he referred to “Polish death camps” during a ceremony honoring a World War II hero, saying he wants a “stronger, more pointed” response.

Story Continues →