Watchdog: Uncertainty surrounds recovery at nuke dump

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository say it could be more than three years before all operations resume at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico.

The repository has been closed since February 2014, when a canister of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory leaked in one of its underground storage rooms. Twenty-two workers were contaminated, and the indefinite closure has stalled efforts around the nation to clean up tons of Cold War-era waste.

Kerry in Geneva for nuke talks with his Iranian counterpart

GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva for talks with his Iranian counterpart on how to speed up nuclear negotiations. The talks come as a March target date approaches to conclude a deal.

Kerry arrived in Geneva late Tuesday and is to meet Wednesday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. A new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany begins Thursday.

Department of Energy challenges $54M in fines over nuke dump

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy is contesting more than $54 million in fines, the largest penalty levied by New Mexico for numerous violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.

The Energy Department and the contractors paid to operate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and Los Alamos National Laboratory said Friday that they want a hearing on the matter, according to a statement.

Kerry to meet Iran FM next week in Geneva

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Iran's foreign minister in Switzerland next week to discuss the current state of nuclear negotiations as a March target date for the outline of a deal approaches, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

After a trip to South Asia, Kerry will see Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday, just days before negotiators resume with detailed talks in Geneva, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not yet been publicly announced. En route to India this weekend, Kerry will stop in Munich, Germany for a private meeting with the Sultan of Oman, whose country played a key role in the secret U.S.-Iran talks that led to an interim nuclear accord with Tehran, the official said.

Exelon’s woes to mean higher Illinois utility bills: Report

Chicago Tribune

A 269-page report on the impact of Exelon’s ailing nuclear plants in Illinois – compiled by state agencies at the request of the legislature and the behest of the company – outlines different policy options but electricity bills will likely increase no matter what action is or isn't decided on, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Uranium M&A: Energy Fuels acquiring Uranerz


Two uranium producers are joining in a $150 million deal: Energy Fuels Inc. is acquiring Uranerz Energy Corp., Bloomberg reports.

US calls for improved ventilation at troubled nuclear dump

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy says more needs to be done to improve ventilation for workers at the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southern New Mexico.

The contractor that operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has already acknowledged that air filters used to remove particles following a radiation leak in February have restricted the airflow in the underground working area.

3 SKorea workers die at nuke plant construction site

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Three South Korean workers died last month after apparently inhaling toxic gas at a construction site for a nuclear plant being built by South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company, which has come under recent threats by hackers, a company official said.

The Dec. 26 accident at the construction site in the southeastern city of Ulsan came as the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. was on high alert over a series of threats by hackers who claim they can disable the control systems of its plants. Choi Hee-ye, a company spokeswoman, said there was no reason to believe that the accident was linked to the cyberattack threats.

Iran's president: Nuclear talks a matter of heart

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that ongoing nuclear negotiations with world powers are a matter of "heart," not just centrifuges ahead of talks next week in Geneva.

Speaking to an economic conference in Tehran, Rouhani both countered hard-line critics worried Iran will give up too much while also attempting to signal his administration remains open to negotiation with the six-nation group leading the talks.

Feds deny performance pay to nuke dump operator

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The contractor that runs the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository is being denied millions of dollars in performance pay as part of the financial fallout from a radiation leak that forced the closure of the facility.

Federal officials have said it could take years and a half-billion dollars to restart operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project Plant near Carlsbad because of the February leak.


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