Debate to grow as operators move to keep older nuke plants running

The New York Times

As operators like Exelon, Dominion and Duke Energy apply for extensions to keep older nuclear power plants in service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be faced with questions about their safety, The New York Times reports.

Kerry to host top Chinese diplomat in Boston

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry welcomes a top Chinese diplomat to Boston on Friday.

A week ago, Kerry hosted in his hometown the British foreign secretary. Now it's the turn of Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi to sample a bit of the city's history.

Japan reactor near active volcanos called unsafe

TOKYO (AP) — A prominent volcanologist disputed Japanese regulators' conclusion that two nuclear reactors were safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying Friday that such a prediction was impossible.

A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanos surrounding the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan could not only hit the reactors but could cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, University of Tokyo professor emeritus who heads a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction.

Vermont Yankee officials say decommissioning to cost $1.24B

The Associated Press

Entergy officials estimated that the cost to decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will be $1.24 billion, and the company has about half the needed value in its decommission fund, The Associated Press reports.

Murkowski, Scott seek vote on Yucca Mountain after report

The Hill

Following a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report that the proposed Yucca Mountain site could safely store nuclear waste for 1 million years, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Tim Scott, R-S.C., called for a Senate vote to resume the agency's approval process for the project, The Hill reports.

Islamic State, oil prices influencing Iran nuclear talks

The Wall Street Journal

Falling oil prices and the Islamic State are influencing nuclear talks between Iran and western powers, as oil prices are putting pressure on Iran's economy and military strikes against the terror group raise regional power concerns for Tehran, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Yucca report ignites new sparring

Proponents of the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada on Thursday praised positive safety findings by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even as the project continues to face technical and political obstacles.

The NRC's long-delayed report on safety after permanent closure of the site found that it meets federal standards for radiation protection and water leakage. That was good news to advocates, who won a suit to force the NRC to resume its licensing review process despite the Obama administration's attempt to cancel the project.

Iran looks at compromise nuke offer

VIENNA (AP) — Iran is considering a U.S. proposal at nuclear talks that would allow it to keep more of its nuclear infrastructure intact while still reducing its ability to make an atomic bomb, two diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday.

At issue is Iran's uranium enrichment program, which can make both reactor fuel and the fissile core of nuclear arms. Tehran insists the program is only for future energy needs. Iran is refusing U.S. demands that it cut the number of working enriching centrifuges from nearly 10,000 to only a few thousand. That dispute has been the main stumbling block to progress since the talks began early this year.

NRC safety report cheers Yucca Mountain backers

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday issued a long-delayed staff review that finds the Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel repository in Nevada meets federal safety requirements for radiation protection and water intrusion after permanent closure.

The findings in the second volume of a planned five-volume safety evaluation report were applauded by the project's backers in Congress and industry, but NRC cautioned they don't mean the project will ultimately be licensed.

Still, the review was called a critical milestone by proponents toward a final decision on whether to open the controversial site. Nuclear Energy Institute President Marv Fertel said the staff conclusions offered "strong support" for its view that the site is suitable for the permanent burial of spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

The project has been considered unlikely to open because of opposition in Nevada, led by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Obama administration withdrew its support for the project in 2009, based on that opposition, which led to the NRC stopping work on the licensing process. A federal court last year ordered it to resume.

U.S. says no wavering on Iran nuclear deal deadline

The Wall Street Journal

Officials said the U.S. plans to hold firm on a Nov. 24 deadline for a deal with Iran over its nuclear program after Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, The Wall Street Journal reports.


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