Massachusetts governor has nuclear plant concerns

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick pledged on Monday to write a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, expressing concerns about the safety of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth.

Patrick made the promise after meeting briefly with the head of a group of Cape Cod residents seeking to shut down the plant. The governor said he shares the group's safety concerns about the plant and has expressed them both publicly and to the federal agency overseeing nuclear power in the past.

DOE criticized for delay in pumping tank

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Hanford watchdog group is criticizing the federal government's plan to take at least two years to pump out a nuclear waste storage tank that is leaking.

The group Hanford Challenge says that delay is too long.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday presented the state of Washington with a plan for emptying the double-walled storage tank known as AY-102. The underground tank is located within the Hanford reservation near Richland.

Contaminated water still troubles Japan nuke plant

OKUMA, Japan (AP) — The radioactive water that has accumulated at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant remains the biggest problem hampering the cleanup process three years after the disaster.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has stabilized substantially since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami destroyed its power and cooling system, triggering meltdowns. Massive amounts of water are being used to cool the melted cores at three reactors, but some of the contaminated water has seeped through the ground into the Pacific and leaked repeatedly from storage tanks.

Plant chief Akira Ono said Monday that improving water management is crucial not only to the plant cleanup but also decontamination of the area so evacuees can return to their homes.

Workers preparing to enter New Mexico nuke dump

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Specially trained workers are finalizing plans to enter the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump after two separate incidents forced its closure weeks ago, including a leak that exposed more than a dozen workers to low levels of radiation.

Officials with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant say initial testing shows there's no contamination at an air intake shaft that leads into the mine or at the bottom of the mine's salt shaft.

What remain uncertain are the radiation levels deep in the repository where plutonium-contaminated clothing, tools and other waste from federal nuclear sites around the country are stored.

Hitachi develops robots to probe Fukushima nuclear plant

TOKYO, March 10 (Kyodo) — Hitachi Ltd. and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. said Monday they have developed robots to detect cooling water leakage points and the condition of nuclear fuel at the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

One robot can move through narrow pipes by changing shape and the other robot can move through radioactive water to perform research related to work to remove melted nuclear fuel. The robots can thus move around inside the containment vessels of reactors that experienced meltdowns, and whose dismantling poses never-before-confronted engineering challenges.

The robots are to be used to go inside containment vessels through pipes to check pressure vessels or probe the bottom of the containment vessels where contaminated water accumulates, the companies said.

U.S. nuclear companies prepare costly post-Fukushima plant upgrades

The New York Times

U.S. utilities are preparing to make expensive investments to improve nuclear plant safety to meet new post-Fukushima standards, with Exelon expected to spend as much as $500 million across its 17 reactors, The New York Times reports.

Lingering fears keep Fukushima-area children indoors


Though outdoor activity limits have been lifted since the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in 2011, some children in the area suffer from muscular weakness, anger issues and lingering fear of going outside, Reuters reports.

Russia resumes nuclear fuel transit through Ukraine


Russian company Rosatom will resume shipments of nuclear fuel to Europe via Ukraine after transportation was halted during anti-government protests in January and February, Reuters reports.

Energy Dept. offers plan for leaking Hanford tank

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has given the state of Washington a plan for emptying a leaking nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The Tri-City Herald reports that while the Energy Department will start buying equipment and making other plans to remove the radioactive sludge from the double-shell tank with a leak between its shells, actual waste pumping would start no sooner than March 2016.

The plan for emptying Tank AY-102 was given to the state near the close of business Friday. The state has not yet reviewed the plan to comment on it.

EU's Ashton: No guaranteed success in Iran deal

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The European Union's foreign policy chief said Sunday that there is "no guarantee" that Iran and world powers will reach a final deal over the country's nuclear program.

Catherine Ashton was in Tehran for meetings with Iranian officials on ongoing negotiations over the country's nuclear program, as well as the civil war in Syria and other issues. She spoke to reporters in a joint briefing with Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Separately, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani advocated pursuing "new relations" with European countries that for years have been at odds, alongside the United States, with Tehran over Iran's disputed nuclear program.


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