Nuclear

Millstone plant resumes operations after outage

WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — One of two reactors at Connecticut's only nuclear plant resumed operation Wednesday after a weekend power outage, but the other remained offline as the company investigated the release of water from a cooling tank.

Ken Holt, a spokesman for Millstone Power Station in Waterford, said Wednesday morning that Unit 2 was expected to return to 100 percent power within about a day. He said there was no estimate for when Unit 3 would be back online.

Texas storage takes precautions with NM nuke waste

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Dozens of containers of radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory are being packed as a precaution into concrete casks at a temporary storage facility in West Texas.

The waste was shipped to Andrews, Texas, due to the closure of the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico. The repository has been closed since February because of a radiation release.

Investigators have focused on a container from Los Alamos as the possible cause of the release.

Boxer: NRC 'irresponsible' in vote on transfers of spent nuke fuel

Sen. Barbara Boxer late Tuesday criticized as "irresponsible" a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission not to require removal of spent nuclear fuel from long term storage in cooling pools to dry casks.

"I am deeply troubled by the NRC’s vote today to allow reactor operators to leave dangerous nuclear fuel in spent fuel pools for an unlimited period of time, rather than requiring them to put the fuel into safer dry cask storage." said Boxer, D-Calif, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

NRC won't speed up move of spent fuel

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is rejecting calls from watchdog groups and some U.S. senators to speed up moving spent nuclear fuel from the pools where most of it is stored, weighing in on a debate over whether transfers should be made for safety concerns and not just logistics.

An NRC memo provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday shows the commission accepted its staff's recommendation to drop expedited transfer of the spent fuel from consideration.

Millstone says faulty relay cause of power loss

WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — A spokesman for the Millstone Power Station nuclear plant says a malfunctioning relay caused the loss of power over the weekend.

Ken Holt, spokesman for Connecticut's sole nuclear plant, on Tuesday blamed relay on a transmission line that carries power to and from the Waterford plant.

Power was restored Sunday, several hours after it failed. The plant, owned by Dominion Resources Inc., is still not operating and Holt said officials don't yet know when it will.

Audit: Lack of cost control at SC nuke fuel plant

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Officials have been unable to control costs at a multibillion-dollar nuclear reactor fuel project at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, according to a new audit released this month.

The inspector general of the U.S. Energy Department says in the report that the National Nuclear Security Administration and a private contractor have been "largely unsuccessful" in keeping tabs on the facility that would turn weapons-grade plutonium into commercial reactor fuel.

The project, known as MOX, is part of a nonproliferation agreement between the United States and Russia, with each country agreeing to dispose of 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium — an amount that officials have said is equal to 17,000 warheads. It would be the first of its kind in the United States.

License stay lifted for proposed SD uranium mine

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A federal panel has lifted a temporary hold on the operating license for a proposed uranium mine in western South Dakota.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in late April issued the stay on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license granted to Powertech Uranium Corp. The stay was to ensure historic and cultural sites in the Black Hills aren't damaged by work at Powertech's proposed Dewey-Burdock mine near Edgemont.

Is kitty litter to blame for nuke dump leak?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The investigation into a February radiation release from the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico has turned to a seemingly unusual suspect: cat litter.

Federal officials have zeroed in on a barrel of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory as the source of the leak, and one theory is that a change in the type of cat litter that it was packed with caused a leak that contaminated 22 workers with low levels of radiation on Feb. 14, shuttering the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, indefinitely.

Japan court rejects startup of 2 nuclear reactors

TOKYO (AP) — A court Wednesday refused to let two nuclear reactors restart operations in western Japan, saying their risk assessment is too optimistic and safety measures insufficient despite lessons from the Fukushima disaster.

The denial by the district court in Japan's nuclear hub of Fukui is the first since the crisis and comes as some Japanese reactors are in the final stages of safety screening before a restart, and plaintiffs and their anti-nuclear supporters say the court ruling could sway local acceptance.

UN probe of alleged Iran nuclear arms progresses

VIENNA (AP) — Iran has agreed to help a U.N. probe of suspicions that it secretly worked on nuclear weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday — a development that raises hopes the long-stalled investigation can finally make headway.

Iran has steadfastly dismissed such allegations as part of a campaign masterminded by the United States and Israel to discredit what it insists are Iran's peaceful nuclear intentions.

IAEA investigators recently came away disappointed after Iran told them that experiments with detonators were for civilian and conventional military use only. It was a similar answer to one six years ago, when the agency first linked such tests to work on setting off a nuclear weapon.

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