Nuclear

Obama hails 'fundamental shift' on nuke security

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — President Barack Obama hailed a "fundamental shift" in international efforts to fight nuclear terrorism as 35 countries pledged Tuesday to turn guidelines on nuclear security into national laws.

At the close of a two-day summit, the group also agreed to open up their security procedures to independent review, a further step toward creating an international legal framework to thwart nuclear terrorism.

The move is a joint initiative sponsored by host country the Netherlands, along with past summit hosts the United States and South Korea.

Fukushima nuke worker life gets recorded as manga

TOKYO (AP) — First off, no one who works at Japan's wrecked nuclear power plant calls it Fukushima Dai-ichi, comic-book artist Kazuto Tatsuta says in his book about his time on the job. It's ichi efu, or 1F.

It's not "hell on earth," but a life filled with a careful routine to protect against radiation. A good part of the day is spent putting on and taking off protective layer after layer: hazmat suits, gloves, boots and filtered masks. Even bus and van interiors are covered in plastic.

China concerned by Japan's nuclear reprocessing goals

Source: 
Bloomberg

Japan plans to invest $21 billion in a nuclear reprocessing plant, a move that caused Chinese officials to voice concern that the project could be diverted to develop atomic bomb fuel, Bloomberg reports.

Japan to turn over nuclear material to US

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Japan plans to turn over to the United States more than 700 pounds of weapons grade plutonium and a supply of highly-enriched uranium, a victory for President Barack Obama's efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world.

American and Japanese officials confirmed the plan Monday, ahead of a formal announcement at a Nuclear Security Summit set to get underway in the Netherlands.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said the two countries had been discussing the transfer for some time as part of efforts to resolve concerns over Japan's large stockpile of spent nuclear fuel and plutonium. The U.S. and Japan also are discussing ways to reduce the quantity and toxicity of the radioactive material, the official said.

World leaders gather for Hague nuclear summit

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Nuclear terrorism is officially the main topic for world leaders at a two-day summit in the Netherlands starting Monday. In practice, the Ukraine crisis will likely overshadow those talks.

The Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague will form the backdrop for an emergency meeting of Group of Seven leaders on Russia's annexation of Crimea. It's a confrontation between Russia and the West reminiscent of the Cold War.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending, instead sending Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is expected to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Workers prepare return to New Mexico nuke dump

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Employees at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico are preparing to enter the facility's underground mine for the first time since a radiation leak contaminated workers last month.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Saturday that 35 workers have undergone training simulations at a Potash mine before re-entry next week into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Employees went through a two-hour underground session using protective gear and air-breathing units, officials said.

NRC: Vermont Yankee security violated procedures

VERNON, Vt. (AP) — Federal regulators say security officials at the Vermont Yankee plant violated Entergy Nuclear's safety procedures last November in how they dealt with a suspected pipe bomb.

The item turned out to be a discarded pump, said Neil Sheehan, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

An anonymous internal report filed by a plant employee says the item was found a couple hundred yards away from the reactor building, the Rutland Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1kStc5W ). Police were called, but there was never a threat to employees or public safety, said Entergy spokesman Robert Williams.

Environmentalists oppose nuclear plant extension

FULTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri environmental group is urging federal regulators to hold off on issuing a 20-year extension for a central Missouri nuclear power plant until questions about future storage of fuel rods are answered.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted public meetings in Fulton on Wednesday to discuss the first draft of an environmental impact statement for Ameren's Callaway Energy Center, the Fulton Sun (http://bit.ly/1epqq6j ) reported.

The report is connected to Ameren's December 2011 application for a 20-year extension to its current 40-year operating license that expires in 2024.

California utility in talks over San Onofre nuclear plant costs

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Settlement talks are underway to decide who pays the huge bill tied to the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant on the Southern California coast.

The costs at issue could exceed $3 billion.

Edison International — the parent of operator Southern California Edison — disclosed in a government filing Friday that a meeting would be held next week to discuss a possible deal.

Feds to investigate small fire at Fermi nuke plant

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will investigate a small fire that burned insulation for an emergency generator at the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant in southeastern Michigan.

The owner, DTE Energy, says the fire occurred Thursday during routine testing and was quickly extinguished. The fire was near an air intake system on one of the station's four diesel generators.

No one was injured, and the NRC says no radiation was released. An alert was issued and remained in effect for almost 90 minutes. The alert is the second-lowest emergency level in the commission's emergency classification system.

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