France wants to help expand Czech nuclear program

PRAGUE (AP) — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says his country's major energy companies are interested in developing the Czech Republic's nuclear program.

Unlike some other European countries, such as Germany and Austria, the Czech Republic and France are both heavily relying on nuclear energy. The Czech government is expected to approve a plan this year to build new reactors in both Czech nuclear plants, Temelin and Dukovany.

Baran, Williams confirmed by Senate

The Senate on Monday confirmed Jeffery M. Baran to an extended term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Ellen D. Williams to head the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy at the Energy Department.

Baran's term was to end next June. A Democrat, Baran was confirmed to a term through June 2018 by a 52-40 vote.

Williams was confirmed on a voice vote. Her nomination had been pending since late last year.

Baran will complete the term of NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane, who is stepping down at the end of the year to join George Washington University.

Nuclear industry could get boost from GOP Congress

The Hill

A change in the chair at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. and a supporter of nuclear power is taking over, could offer assistance to the industry, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., The Hill reports.

Mishaps at nuke repository lead to $54M in fines

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — New Mexico on Saturday levied more than $54 million in penalties against the U.S. Department of Energy for numerous violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the only U.S. underground nuclear waste repository.

The state Environment Department delivered a pair of compliance orders to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, marking the state's largest penalty ever imposed on the federal agency. Together, the orders outline more than 30 state-permit violations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

NRC: 6 workers inhaled uranium at Wyoming mine

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Six workers at a Wyoming uranium mine inhaled the radioactive element while cleaning up a spill inside a processing building just days before the mine delivered its first shipment last year, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The workers' urine tested positive for uranium at close to seven times the federal agency's permissible level, the federal agency alleges in a Nov. 14 violation notice against Lost Creek LLC ISR, a subsidiary of Littleton, Colorado-based Ur-Energy.

Finland clears nuclear venture with Russian firm

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland has taken a major step toward approving the construction of a nuclear plant by Finnish-Russian consortium Fennovoima that would be the Nordic country's sixth reactor.

In a 115-74 vote, lawmakers re-endorsed the project Friday. The 1,200 megawatt plant was originally approved by lawmakers in 2010 but fell through after it did not find enough local investors. Finland requires that domestic investors own at least 60 percent of Fennovoima.

US officials list Iran's concessions in nuke talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is telling members of Congress it has won significant concessions from Iran for extending nuclear talks, including promises by the Islamic republic to allow snap inspections of its facilities and to neutralize much of its remaining uranium stockpile.

Those terms are included in a document that U.S. officials say represents the terms for a seven-month extension in nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran, agreed to when the last deadline of Nov. 24 passed without an accord. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.

Extension for nuclear pact with UK heads to President

The Hill

The Senate has passed and sent on to President Obama H.R. 5681, which extends for another ten years the nuclear security agreement the U.S. has with Britain, The Hill reports.

New Iran sanctions supporters seek veto-proof bloc

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional hawks are struggling to build a veto-proof majority for new sanctions on Iran despite lawmakers' widespread discontent with a year of nuclear talks with Iran. The talks were recently extended an additional seven months.

After world powers and Iran failed to meet their own deadline for a deal, many in Congress are decrying the stalemate and what they perceive as major concessions by the U.S. and its partners for few steps by Iran to dismantle its nuclear program.

French nuclear executive dies after leading Areva

PARIS (AP) — The former head of France's Areva, a leading world nuclear manufacturer going through a difficult turnaround, has died, less than two months after illness forced him to step down from the company.

French President Francois Hollande and top government ministers hailed Luc Oursel's contribution to promoting France's nuclear energy expertise on the global market. State-controlled Areva announced Oursel's death Wednesday night.


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