CARLSBAD, New Mexico (AP) — Crews made their first trip into the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico on Wednesday to begin investigating a radiation release in February that contaminated 21 workers, the U.S. Department of Energy said.
Two crews of eight made the initial descent into the half-mile deep Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, and no airborne radiation was detected, the agency said.
Officials called the entries a critical first step toward figuring out what caused the leak. But they said more expanded trips will be needed to continue the probe and assess the extent of damage.
LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is under a tight deadline to get nuclear waste of its northern New Mexico campus before wildfire season peaks, has begun trucking the remainder of the waste to Texas.
Los Alamos and Department of Energy officials say the first shipments arrived at a commercial nuclear waste dump in Andrews County in west Texas on Wednesday.
Removal of the waste was halted in February after a truck fire and radiation leak shuttered indefinitely the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico. But federal officials last month reached an agreement to temporarily move the waste to Waste Control Specialists.
CORDOVA, Ill. (AP) — Operators of the Quad Cities Generating Station in western Illinois declared an "alert" after smoke was observed in a plant electrical system.
Exelon Generation spokesman William Stoermer says Exelon's technical experts are looking into the cause of the smoke. According to Stoermer, Quad Cities Unit 2 was removed from service on Monday to replace a valve on the control rod drive system. The unit was in the startup process Wednesday when smoke was detected. The unit is stable and shut down. Unit 1 remains at full power.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there have been no abnormal releases of radioactive material as a result of the event at the plant. Agency officials say fire equipment and ambulances were summoned to site as a precaution. There were no injuries.
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry has asked lawmakers to explore establishing a location in Texas to store the state's high-level radioactive waste.
Citing a report from the state's environmental agency, Perry told Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus in a letter that Texas is suited to store spent nuclear fuel from the state's four commercial reactors and that a solution is needed.
Texas waste is now stored on site by the utilities that operate the reactors. But Perry wants to develop a single storage location until a national repository for nuclear waste is established.
Foreign policy hawks in the Senate protested the selection of Hamid Abutalebi to serve as Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, saying the selection of the diplomat with connections with the Iranian hostage crisis will make negotiations on Iran's nuclear program more difficult, Reuters reports.
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has postponed plans to get a crew underground to begin investigating a radiation leak from the federal government's nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.
Officials on Monday said a crew of eight would enter the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant on Tuesday. But spokesman Ben Williams said that has been postponed until later this week because the real-time radiation monitors they want the team to be wearing haven't arrived.
The regional administrator for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the Star Tribune that Xcel Energy's Monticello nuclear power plant needs to do more to improve inadequate procedures, after it was cited last year for failing to have sufficient flood defenses in place.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Lawmakers are again calling on the Obama administration to keep open a South Carolina facility to process weapons-grade plutonium into commercial reactor fuel, arguing that plans to close the plant would jeopardize an international nonproliferation agreement and could trigger millions in federal penalties.
On Monday, House members including all of South Carolina's seven representatives — six Republicans and one Democrat — wrote to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stressing the importance of the mixed-oxide processing plant at the Savannah River Site.
U.S crude prices racked up their first weekly gain since September, as news that China cut interest rates to boost its economy raised expectations of increased oil demand in the future. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery was up 66 cents to finish Friday’s Nymex session at $76.51 a barrel, while in London Brent jumped $1.03 to settle at $80.36, Bloomberg reports.
Royal Dutch Shell, Hess Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. are among major oil companies with new drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico, a number in deep water, although a continued decline in oil prices could slow development, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Phillips 66 Partners and Paradigm Energy Partners will join forces to construct the 76-mile Sacagawea Pipeline and a 710-acre rail terminal aimed at transporting Bakken crude from North Dakota more effectively, FuelFix reports.
Customers will see substantially higher energy prices as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants, according to a study commissioned by coal company Peabody Energy and conducted by Energy Ventures Analysis, which offers a state-by-state breakdown of costs, the San Antonio Business Journal reports.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., is expected to carry the flag for environmental issues -- fighting climate change, in particular -- as he becomes his party’s ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee in the next Congress, E&E reports.
No matter the winners in significant battleground states in the 2014 elections, voters there support the fight against climate change, the Sierra Club said, citing statistics from a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates, The Hill reports.
Most Americans believe poorer, less developed parts of the world will bear the brunt of climate change, rather than the U.S., according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the American Academy of Religion, E&E reports.
The world spent less money -- $331 billion -- on fighting climate change in 2013, the second year in a row the figure dropped, according to a study from the Climate Policy Initiative, which attributed the fall in part to the lower cost of solar energy, Reuters reports.
Only 3.87 billion cubic meters of natural gas heading to Europe from Russia moved through pipelines in Ukraine in October, a little over half of the amount transiting in the year-ago period, Platts reports.