Crane problems halt Fukushima operation, worker dies in separate incident


Problems with a giant crane have led to suspension of an operation to remove spent fuel rods from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, Reuters reports, adding that a worker died in a separate incident, after being buried under gravel while digging.

Crews preparing to enter WIPP underground nuke dump

CARLSBAD, New Mexico (AP) — The Department of Energy said Thursday it expects to get underground next week to begin investigating the cause and extent of a mysterious radiation leak from the U.S. government's nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

Officials said the inspections of the shafts that workers will use to access the half-mile-deep repository are complete, and they are preparing to send an initial crew of eight into the mine early next week.

Customer refunds proposed in San Onofre nuke plant deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Utility customers would see an estimated $1.4 billion in savings, including $600 million in refunds, in a proposed settlement over costs tied to the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California, officials said Thursday.

If approved by state utility regulators, the agreement could end a long-running dispute over who gets the bill for the defunct seaside plant, which was closed permanently in June after a bitter, costly fight over whether it was safe to restart.

Customer settlement proposed in Calif. nuke plant closure

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Utility customers would see an estimated $1.4 billion benefit in a proposed settlement over costs tied to the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California.

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. have been negotiating with consumer advocates over how to divide a long list of costs from the twin-domed plant.

The Office of Ratepayer Advocates — an arm of the state Public Utilities Commission — said in a statement Thursday that the benefit for Edison customers would be $1.1 billion.

Deal pending for refunds tied to closed Calif. nuke plant

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California closed for good, there's little doubt utility customers will see refunds for rates paid for the promise of power. The question is how much they could be.

Consumer groups and two Southern California utilities plan to meet behind closed doors Thursday to discuss an agreement on divvying up costs tied to the now-shuttered plant, which could top $3 billion.

Czechs, US start nuclear energy research center

PRAGUE (AP) — The United States and Czech Republic are increasing cooperation in civilian nuclear energy, opening a joint research center in Prague for nuclear scientists and engineers from both countries.

About one-third of the Czech Republic's energy comes from nuclear power, and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Wednesday that the center would be "a catalyst" in the field.

Oversight chair questions safety at WIPP nuke dump

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The recent truck fire and radiation release from the government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico were "near misses" at a facility whose workers proved unprepared to respond to the emergencies, the head of an independent oversight agency said.

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Chairman Peter Winokur also said the Feb. 5 underground truck fire at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was preventable, and that the initial response to a radiation release that contaminated 17 workers nine days later was unsatisfactory.

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


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.


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