Labor issues hamper Fukushima cleanup

The New York Times

The cleanup at Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is being carried out by unskilled workers with little training, experience or supervision, The New York Times reports.

Scientists expect traces of ocean radiation soon

Scientists have crowdsourced a network of volunteers taking water samples at beaches along the U.S. West Coast in hopes of capturing a detailed look at low levels of radiation drifting across the ocean since the 2011 tsunami that devastated a nuclear power plant in Japan.

With the risk to public health extremely low, the effort is more about perfecting computer models that will better predict chemical and radiation spills in the future than bracing for a threat, researchers say.

NRC: Western Pa. nuclear dump may have more waste

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A nuclear dump in western Pennsylvania could contain far more waste than originally thought, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's inspector general said in a new report.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Thursday released the report, which found that missing or incomplete records make it impossible to know how much nuclear material is buried at the site about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The NRC said the former president of a company that made nuclear fuel at the site believes that the documents used for the current cleanup plan "grossly underestimate" the material buried there.

Colorado: Cotter negotiating uranium contamination cleanup

The Denver Post

Cotter Corp. is negotiating ways to finish cleanup of 15 million tons of radioactive uranium tailings while it copes with two recent contamination spills, leaving residents concerned about the quality of their groundwater, The Denver Post reports.

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.


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