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.

Japan's nuclear authority criticizes TEPCO on incorrect radiation readings


Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority leveled criticisms at Tokyo Electric Power Co. for an incorrect measurement of radiation in contaminated groundwater at the Fukushima Dai-ichi site, Reuters reports.

Seeking nuclear cures, Air Force retraces old path

WASHINGTON (AP) — In launching a new search for cures to what ails its nuclear missile corps, the Air Force is considering proposals it tried five years ago, according to internal emails and documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Many of the proposals fell short when they were tried before, but the new effort is more far-reaching, on a tighter timetable and backed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. So it appears to hold more promise for an Air Force under scrutiny after a variety of embarrassing setbacks and missteps raised questions about whether some of the world's most fearsome weapons are being properly managed.

The earlier approach, shown in internal Air Force documents and emails from 2008-09, included some of the ideas being floated again today by a new set of Air Force leaders, including bonus pay and other incentives to make more attractive the work of the men and women who operate, maintain and secure an Air Force fleet of 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear-tipped missiles. Then, as now, the Air Force also looked for ways to eliminate the most damaging "disincentives" — parts of the job that can make missile duty onerous.

Iran's Rouhani calls for 'constructive' nuke talks

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — President Hassan Rouhani called Tuesday for "fair and constructive" nuclear talks with world powers as Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution with massive rallies that featured a new American target for their traditional "death to" slogans.

Besides the usual chants of "Down with the U.S.!" and "Death to Israel!" many demonstrators took aim at Wendy Sherman, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, who has frequently led U.S. delegations in nuclear talks with Tehran.

"Death to Sherman!" the crowd shouted — the first time that an undersecretary of state has been the target of invectives that are usually reserved for American presidents and occasionally U.S. secretaries of state.

Report: Iran successfully test-fires 2 missiles

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has successfully test-fired two missiles, including a long-range ballistic weapon, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

The report by IRNA quoted President Hassan Rouhani as congratulating the military.

The "children of Iran successfully test-fired a new generation" of weapons, he said.

WIPP's salt caverns seen as potential nuclear waste solution

The New York Times

Despite a recent fire at the Energy Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, officials say storage of spent nuclear fuel in its underground salt beds presents a possible solution to the current waste-storage debate, The New York Times reports.

New regulatory process slows Japan's nuclear relaunch


Increased scrutiny from the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan has slowed utilities' attempts to restart their nuclear reactors, as requests for more information from the agency caused utilities to miss a recent safety check deadline, Reuters reports.

UN: still a way to go in Iran nuke probe

VIENNA (AP) — U.N. inspectors looking into allegations Iran worked on nuclear arms cautioned Monday that — despite progress this weekend — their long-stalled probe still had a long way to go to determine whether such suspicions are valid.

Iran says it does not want such arms, and agreed Sunday to answer some questions on suspicions that it worked on a detonator that could set off a nuclear charge.

But senior inspector Terjo Varjoranta said Tehran's concession was only "the first step," with many issues remaining.

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.


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