DOE starts investigation into WIPP radiation leak

Los Angeles Times

The Energy Department has launched an investigation into the radiation leak at the WIPP nuclear waste site near Carlsbad, New Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Associated Press

Moniz set to announce nuclear loan guarantees

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was expected to announce Wednesday the government's financial backing for the first new nuclear reactors in the U.S. in nearly 20 years, being built by Southern Co. in Georgia.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., on Tuesday lauded approval of billions of dollars in loan guarantees sought by Southern to back the expansion of its Vogtle nuclear power station.

Vogtle Station/NRC photo

Landrieu: DOE approves Southern Co. nuclear loan guarantee

The Energy Department has finalized a pending $8.3 billion loan guarantee for two new reactors being built by Southern Co. at its Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Mary Landrieu said Tuesday.

"I welcome the news of the Department of Energy's approval of Southern Co.'s loan guarantee to construct the long-planned expansion of the Vogtle nuclear facility," said Landrieu, D-La., in a statement.

The department earlier said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is to make a major energy announcement on Wednesday in Washington. Officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Whistle-blower fired from Hanford nuclear site

SPOKANE, Washington (AP) — A whistle-blower who raised safety concerns at the most polluted nuclear weapons production site in the U.S. was fired Tuesday from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Donna Busche's complaints are part of a string of whistle-blower and other claims related to the design and safety of the waste treatment plant at Hanford, created by the federal government in the 1940s as part of the top-secret project to build the atomic bomb. Today, it is the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, where cleanup costs about $2 billion each year.

Busche, 50, said she was called into the office Tuesday morning and told she was being fired for cause.

Iran at talks: No scrapping any nuclear facility

VIENNA (AP) — Iran drew a red line on Tuesday on how far it would go at landmark nuclear talks, saying as the meeting opened that it would not buckle to pressure from the U.S. and five other world powers to scrap any of its nuclear facilities.

The statement by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi suggested tough talks ahead, constituting a rejection of a central demand by the six countries.

At the same time, neither side can afford to have the talks fail. Lack of agreement would leave Iran struggling under the weight of harsh economic sanctions and a threat of military strikes by Israel, which sees Iran's nuclear program as an unacceptable security threat primarily designed to develop weapons.

Difficult nuke talks begin between Iran, 6 powers

VIENNA (AP) — Iran and six world powers are back at the negotiating table, eager to come to terms on a comprehensive nuclear deal but deeply divided on what it should look like.

The two sides began meeting Tuesday in attempts to build on a first-step accord that temporarily curbs Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for some sanctions relief. Implemented in January, the first-step deal is in effect for six months and can be renewed.

The six seek to minimize concerns that Tehran could use a peaceful nuclear program to make weapons. The Islamic Republic denies wanting — or ever working on — nuclear weapons.

DOE: Crews monitors NM nuclear site for radiation

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy stressed Sunday that no surface contamination has been found after airborne radiation was detected underground at a southeastern New Mexico site where the government stores low-grade nuclear waste.

The department says that tests were taken at several sites around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after a monitor found radiation on underground levels late Friday night.

No workers were underground and no injuries or damages have been reported.

Boxer threatens suit against NRC unless San Onofre documents turned over

Orange County Register

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., threatened a lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission unless the agency turns over documents to her Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the radioactive gas leak that led the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the Orange County Register reports.

IAEA: Four new countries may begin nuclear power use


An official for the International Atomic Energy Agency said four countries, Bangladesh, Jordan, Turkey and Poland, may soon move to develop their first nuclear reactors within five years, Reuters reports.

Nuclear fusion project takes key step in lab test

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists say they've taken a key step toward harnessing nuclear fusion as a new way to generate power, an idea that has been pursued for decades.

They are still a long way from that goal. The amount of energy they got out of their experimental apparatus was minuscule compared to what they put into it.

Still, the new work reached some significant milestones along the path to a cleaner and cheaper source of electricity, the researchers and experts said.


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