Nuclear

Iran says serious about long-term nuclear deal

MUNICH (AP) — Iran's foreign minister said Sunday his country is prepared to move ahead in negotiations over its nuclear program, assuring Western diplomats that Tehran has the political will and good faith to reach a "balanced" long-term agreement.

Mohamad Javad Zarif told a gathering of the world's top diplomats and security officials that his country and Western nations were at a "historical crossroads" and just beginning to build the trust necessary for a long-term agreement.

"I think the opportunity is there, and I think we need to seize it," he said.

Clinton warns new Iran sanctions could upend talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says new tough sanctions on Iran could upend sensitive talks over its nuclear development and urged Congress to hold off.

In a Jan. 26 letter to Sen. Carl Levin, Clinton echoed President Barack Obama's plea to lawmakers. Levin is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Clinton said the penalties drove Tehran to negotiate, but now diplomacy should be given a chance to succeed.

UK nuclear alert: naturally occurring radiation

LONDON (AP) — Elevated radiation levels detected Friday at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in northwestern England were caused by naturally occurring background radon, not by any faults at the aging plant, the operating company said.

Only essential workers were asked to report for work as safety teams worked to pinpoint the cause of the elevated radiation, which was reported on one monitor in the northern end of the sprawling site — the largest nuclear site in Europe.

Sellafield Ltd. said its on-site monitors detected unusual activity overnight, leading it to reduce staffing levels Friday morning as a precaution.

UK nuclear station reports elevated radiation

LONDON (AP) — The largest nuclear site in Europe was being operated with reduced staffing Friday after monitoring found higher-than-normal levels of radiation.

The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in northwestern England said in a statement that elevated levels of radioactivity had been found at one of the on-site radiation monitors at the north end of the site. It added that there was "no risk to the general public or workforce."

Only essential workers are being asked to report for shifts Friday, but the station is continuing to operate normally, it said.

Rio Tinto unit sees uranium gaining by next year

Source: 
Bloomberg

Uranium prices could start recovering as early as 2015 on renewed demand in China and Japan, according to Rio Tinto-controlled Energy Resources of Australia Ltd., or ERA, Bloomberg reports.

NRC needs more speed in gauging reactors' quake risks: Boxer

Source: 
The Hill

"Earthquakes will not wait until the paperwork has been completed," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told nuclear regulators appearing before her Environment and Public Works Committee, as she chided them for delays in assessing seismic risks to reactors, The Hill reports.

GE, Toshiba, Hitachi named in Fukushima suit

TOKYO (AP) — About 1,400 people filed a joint lawsuit Thursday against three companies that manufactured reactors at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, saying they should be financially liable for damage caused by their 2011 meltdowns.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the lawsuit, filed at Tokyo District Court, is a landmark challenge of current regulations that give manufacturers immunity from liability in nuclear accidents. Under Japan's nuclear damage compensation policy, only the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has been held responsible for the accident, which was triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

The 1,415 plaintiffs, including 38 Fukushima residents and 357 people from outside Japan, said the manufacturers — Toshiba, GE and Hitachi — failed to make needed safety improvements to the four decade-old reactors at the Fukushima plant. They are seeking compensation of 100 yen ($1) each, saying their main goal is to raise awareness of the problem.

Hundreds sue makers of Fukushima nuclear plant

TOKYO (AP) — About 1,400 people have filed a joint lawsuit against three companies that manufactured Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, saying they should be financially liable for damage caused by its 2011 meltdowns.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the lawsuit, filed Thursday at Tokyo District Court, is a landmark challenge of current regulations which give manufacturers immunity from liability in nuclear accidents. Only the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has been held responsible for the accident, triggered by a powerful earthquake.

The plaintiffs, which include Fukushima residents and nearly 400 others from around the world, say the manufacturers — Toshiba, GE and Hitachi — failed to make needed safety improvements to the four decade-old reactors at the Fukushima plant. They are seeking compensation of 100 yen ($1) each.

UN inspectors visit key Iran uranium mine

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A group of U.N. inspectors visited a key uranium mine in southern Iran on Wednesday, as part of a deal to allow expanded monitoring of the country's nuclear sites.

Nuclear spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told the official IRNA news agency that the three-member team from the U.N. nuclear watchdog — the International Atomic Energy Agency — inspected the Gachin uranium mine, 50 kilometers west of the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

Iran and the IAEA struck a deal Nov. 11 in Tehran granting U.N. inspectors wider access to Iran's nuclear facilities. The deal was parallel to an agreement reached with world powers Nov. 24 in Geneva to have Iran halt its most sensitive uranium enrichment activities in return for an easing of Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.

SKorea OKs new reactors, first approval since Fukushima

Source: 
Reuters

South Korea has given the go-ahead for two new nuclear reactors to be built in the country at a cost of $7 billion, the first such approval since the accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi in neighboring Japan, Reuters reports.

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