Tokyo chooses governor in test for anti-nuke vote

TOKYO (AP) — Two charismatic former prime ministers joining forces on a rare anti-nuclear power ticket are pitted against a former health minister and a human rights activist in the election Sunday to lead Japan's capital.

The outcome of the vote for Tokyo governor is likely to influence national policy as Japan goes through soul-searching on energy options after the March 2011 nuclear disaster — the worst since Chernobyl.

Morihiro Hosokawa, prime minister in the 1990s, who had retired to become a potter, is trying to make a comeback. He is backed by Junichiro Koizumi, who remains enormously popular. Both are pushing for an end to nuclear power.

Iran official says oil contracts to be revised

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran said Sunday it plans to introduce a new generation of oil contracts by June that promise to be more attractive to foreign investors as it seeks to significantly boost production should international sanctions hobbling its vital energy industry be lifted.

The new terms being developed signal the OPEC member's eagerness to attract outside expertise and capital, and are a response to oil and gas companies' frustration with earlier terms that they felt offered little upside reward.

Mahdi Hosseini, head of the contract revision committee in the Petroleum Ministry, told reporters that the new terms are being designed for a post-sanction era and aimed to better align Tehran's needs with the interests of international investors. He said officials were seeking a "win-win" setup that would better balance companies' risks with rewards.

Iran signals readiness for more nuke concessions

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran signaled an apparent readiness for more concessions over its nuclear program, this time over its heavy-water reactor at Arak, local media reported on Friday.

The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted the country's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as saying that Tehran could modify the reactor's design so it would produce less plutonium to reduce concerns by the West.

"We are able to apply changes in the design of the reactor to produce less plutonium, to reduce concerns in this regard," Salehi said.

Nuclear industry urges market shift to prevent closed plants


Executives from Entergy Corp. and Exelon Corp. renewed industry calls for a shift in the current electricity market, which they argue now gives too much power to cheap natural gas and subsidized wind, in order to prevent future nuclear reactors closings, E&E reports.

Hungary lawmakers OK Russia nuclear plant deal

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's parliament on Thursday authorized a deal with Russia to build two reactors at the country's only nuclear power plant in the southern city of Paks.

Russia will loan Hungary up to 10 billion euros ($13.5 billion) — around 80 percent of the construction costs — and 40 percent of the job will be carried out by Hungarian suppliers and subcontractors.

The deal was approved 256-29 Thursday by lawmakers from the governing Fidesz party and the far-right Jobbik opposition party. Most left-wing lawmakers voted against it.

Minimal damage from NM nuclear repository fire

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Crews declared a blaze at an underground nuclear repository in southeastern New Mexico snuffed out and determined that there was minimal damage after a truck hauling salt caught fire and prompted an evacuation.

Two mine rescue teams went into the earth at the Carlsbad-area Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, where the federal government seals away its low-grade nuclear waste, including plutonium-contaminated clothing and tools. The teams determined the fire was no longer burning and reported the air was clear and safe to breathe, a news release and Susan Scott, a spokeswoman who answered an emergency line, said late Wednesday.

All employees were evacuated from the underground site after the fire broke out about 11 a.m. Wednesday, and none of the radioactive waste was affected, plant officials said. Six people were treated for smoke inhalation and released a short while later.

Iran: US 'wishes won't come true' at nuclear talks

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday that Washington's "wishes are unlikely to come true" in talks between the Islamic Republic and world powers over its nuclear program, the government's latest apparent attempt to deflect criticism from hard-line skeptics who say that President Hassan Rouhani will give up too much for too little in upcoming negotiations over a final comprehensive deal.

Mohammad Javad Zarif indicated the U.S. wanted Iran to give up major parts of its nuclear program but said such demands won't be carried out.

"America has wishes and those wishes are unlikely to come true and that's why they are negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve a solution based on realities," he told a news conference in Tehran.

DOE official warns nuclear closures could strain climate goals


Energy Department Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Pete Lyons said a recent string of nuclear reactor closures could pose a threat to the administration's greenhouse gas reduction goals by increasing the amount of fossil fuels used to generate power, E&E reports.

NRC to require information trove on Vermont Yankee despite closure plan

The Barre Montpelier Times Argus

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it would not exempt Entergy's Vermont Yankee plant, set to be voluntarily shuttered, from safety studies and improvements unless it submits additional information on plant operations, The Barre Montpelier Times Argus reports.

NRC names Pilgrim among nation's worst-performing plants

Cape Cod Times

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission named Entergy's Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass. as one of the  nine worst-performing plants in the nation based on unplanned shutdowns, opening the door for closer scrutiny at the plant, the Cape Cod Times reports.


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