published Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Biz Briefs: VW sales up 9 percent

VW sales up 9 percent

The Volkswagen brand sold 893,400 vehicles, up 9 percent, in the first two months of 2013 globally over a year ago on stronger results in North America and Asia, the company reported Monday.

However, the sales level in February was almost unchanged, with the brand handing over 401,400 vehicles, up less than 1 percent.

Christian Klingler, board member for sales and marketing for the Volkswagen Group, said VW compensated for weak markets in Western Europe with growth in the Asia-Pacific region and in Central and Eastern Europe.

History Center awarded grant

Chattanooga History Center is the recipient of a $250,000 challenge grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

All individual and corporate contributions of any amount will be matched dollar-for-dollar for the remainder of 2013 up to $250,000. The center will use the challenge grant to encourage individuals, families and corporations to join one of its annual giving clubs that support the center's ongoing capital campaign.

"With this challenge grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation, we are one step closer to the completion of Chattanooga's next big idea -- the Chattanooga History Center," said Cannon and Rick Montague, co-chairmen of its capital campaign.

Gas prices dip 4 cents a gallon

Chattanooga motorists are getting an unusual price break at the pump during March. After fuel prices jumped nearly 40 cents a gallon from December through February, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in Chattanooga on Monday fell below $3.51 a gallon, or 4 cents a gallon less than the price of a week ago. Nationwide, the AAA fuel gauge survey found average gas prices Monday were down 5 cents a gallon from a week ago. The national average price of nearly $3.70 a gallon is 19 cents a gallon above the average price in Chattanooga.

Gas prices usually rise in March, but analysts said speculators pushed up gas prices faster than oil prices last month.

NRC rejects bid for nuclear unit

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday upheld last summer’s licensing board denial of a construction and operating license for the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear reactor in Maryland.

The decision marks the first time in history that the NRC commissioners have upheld the denial of a license for a commercial nuclear reactor. In a seven-page decision, the NRC denied UniStar Nuclear’s request for a review of an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) ruling, which said last year that federal law prohibits foreign “ownership, control or domination” of a U.S. nuclear reactor. UniStar Nuclear is wholly owned by Electricite de France, which itself is 85 percent owned by the government of France. Calvert Cliffs-3 was to be an EPR reactor manufactured by the French firm Areva, also 8 percent owned by the French government.

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