Washington nuclear plant operator wins $19 million

Tri-City Herald

A federal court has ordered the Department of Energy to pay Energy Northwest $19 million for the company's continued costs from the government's failure to open a national repository for spent fuel from the nuclear power plant, the Tri-City Herald reports.

Report: WIPP nuke dump fire preventable

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The truck that caught fire a half mile underground at a southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste dump was 29 years old, improperly maintained and operating without an automatic fire-suppression system, according to a report to be released Friday.

The report also will detail deficiencies in emergency training and responses at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

"It was preventable," Ted Wyka, a Department of Energy official who led the investigation, told a community meeting on Thursday evening as he previewed the findings of the probe into the first of two back-to-back incidents at the federal government's only permanent repository for waste from the nation's nuclear bomb-building facilities.

NRC's watchdog raises issues with Pennsylvania SLDA radioactive waste dump

The Wall Street Journal

A report by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's inspector general points to incomplete records and other problems at the Shallow Land Disposal Area, a radioactive waste dump in western Pennsylvania, and questions whether cleanup plans are adequate, The Wall Street Journal reports.

New power sources planned to replace Calif. nuclear plant

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California regulators Thursday approved a plan for two utilities to develop replacement power to help fill the void left by the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, but environmentalists warned it could open the way for more dirty energy.

The nuclear plant between San Diego and Los Angeles, which stopped producing power in January 2012, once generated enough electricity for 1.4 million homes. The unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission opened the way for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to find ways to plug that gap.

Leadership change at troubled WIPP nuclear dump

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The president of southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump has been ousted as investigations into a truck fire and radiation release near completion.

URS Corp., the company that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project for the Department of Energy, says Farok Sharif has been replaced as head of the Nuclear Waste Partnership. In a statement Thursday, the company says Bob McQuinn has been named president and project manager. Sharif has been moved to a new job overseeing the program for transitioning nuclear waste to other locations while WIPP is not operational, and working with other U.S. Department of Energy sites to develop plans for the temporary storage of their waste.

The change comes as teams are investigating back-to-back incidents that shuttered the nation's only deep underground nuclear waste repository last month.

Quicker safety checks coming on 2 Japanese reactors


Regulators in Japan say two reactors in the southwest that are owned by the Kyushu Electric Power Co. will be getting safety checks, increasing the likelihood nuclear power may be part of the electricity mix for the country during this summer's peak demand season, Bloomberg reports.

US ex-nuclear chief: Fukushima lesson is phase-out

TOKYO (AP) — As radiation spewed from Japan's nuclear disaster three years ago, the top U.S. atomic energy regulator issued a 50-mile evacuation warning for any Americans in the area, a response some found extreme.

Gregory Jaczko, who stepped down as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, still believes he was right, and says the events at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant show that nuclear power should be phased out in Japan and worldwide.

Report: Iran, Russia discuss adding nuclear plants

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official news agency is reporting that Iran and Russia have discussed a draft agreement to build two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.

The report Wednesday by IRNA said visiting Russian official Nikolai Spassky and Iranian nuclear officials reached an initial agreement about building two new nuclear power plants for Iran. Each plant would have 1,000-megawatts capacity plus water purification capabilities.

It said a formal agreement would be signed later. It did not elaborate.

Companies waiting on Wyoming uranium projects until the market improves

Casper Star-Tribune

Several companies, including Canada-based Cameco Corp., say they won't begin production at several insitu uranium mines in Wyoming even though they've received permits, as they are waiting for market prices to increase, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

Obama to host new Ukrainian PM at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a diplomatic dig at Russia, President Barack Obama is hosting the new Ukrainian prime minister at the White House, a high-profile gesture aimed at cementing the West's allegiance to Ukraine's fledgling government.

The meeting Wednesday between Obama and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk comes as a pro-Russian area of Ukraine readies for a referendum Sunday to determine its future. Voters in the Crimean Peninsula will be given two options: becoming part of Russia, or remaining in Ukraine with broader powers.


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