Planet Business

This week: Nuclear news, “electronic blood”, the FT’s new power list and the art of Detroit

Image of the week: Nuclear politician
Nuclear power is safe in this man's hands – it's David Cameron, going the full jumpsuit as he gives a speech to workers at Hinkley Point B in Somerset on Monday. The British government has signed an agreement with French energy company EDF to build the first new nuclear power station in Britain in 20 years on an adjacent site.

"Hinkley Point C" will begin operating in 2023, or at least that's the plan. The two planned pressurised water reactors will be the first to start construction in Europe since Japan's Fukushima disaster and the first in Britain since the Sizewell B power station came online in 1995. The "Stop Hinkley" pressure group, meanwhile, counts former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, Monty Python actor Terry Jones and creator of the Snowman, Raymond Briggs, among its supporters.
Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA wire

In numbers: Bankruptcy city
Size of the municipal liabilities in Detroit, Michigan – the city's lawyer argued in a federal court this week that there was a "mountain of evidence showing the insolvency of the city".

Estimated market value of the 38 most important pieces in the Detdroit Institute of Arts collection, prompting fears that city authorities – which own the works of arts – will flog them off to pay the bills.

Number of vacant and abandoned plots in the city, an amount of land roughly the size of Manhattan, according to the Detroit Future City report.

The lexicon: Electronic blood
It all sounds a bit Blade Runner, but electronic blood is something that should eventually bring joy to office workers everywhere. It's all down to the quietly brilliant people at IBM who have unveiled a prototype of a new "brain-inspired" computer powered by what it calls "electronic blood".

The human brain, as Dr Bruno Michel from IBM's Zurich lab pointed out, is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today. So if IBM is to achieve its mission of fitting "a supercomputer inside a sugarcube", it needs to learn from the organ's network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy.


In other words, it should circulate liquid – "electronic blood" – around tiny channels built into computer chips, so that the chips are both fuelled and cooled down (avoiding unpleasant frying of the components inside). Result: much more powerful, more efficient computers that you don't want to hurl against the walls.

Getting to know: Antonio Simoes
The Financial Times published its first ever "ranking" of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business people this week – "we are not called the 'pink paper' for nothing!" tweeted one of its bureau chiefs – and topping this OUTstanding in Business Top 50 list was Antonio Simoes, HSBC's head of UK banking and head of retail banking and wealth management for Europe.

Simoes won based on criteria that included seniority and influence, acting as a role model for others and contribution to the LGBT anti- discrimination cause. The 38-year-old Portuguese businessman is a former partner at McKinsey & Company, a graduate of Goldman Sachs and was four years ago appointed a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Next year's winner prediction: Christopher Bailey, the incoming boss at Burberry, who is on track to become the first "out" chief executive of a FTSE 100 company.