Kazakhstan to host international uranium bank

MOSCOW (AP) — The International Atomic Energy Agency and Kazakhstan have signed an agreement to establish a low-enriched uranium bank in the Central Asian country, a move that supporters say could reduce concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation.

An IAEA statement on Thursday said the bank will be able to hold up to 90 tons of low-enriched uranium, which would be available to IAEA member states if they're unable to obtain nuclear fuel on the commercial market.

Arizona uranium mining prospect pushes groups to seek new rules

The Hill

New federal standards are needed ahead of a restart for uranium mining around the Grand Canyon in Arizona, according to a coalition of environmental groups and Native American tribes, The Hill reports.

Virginia company sues state in hopes of mining uranium

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A mining company that wants to tap one of the world's largest uranium deposits sued Virginia on Wednesday to end a decades-long state moratorium on mining the radioactive ore.

Virginia Uranium Inc., which puts a market value of $6 billion on the deposit, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court to have the 1982 ban lifted so it can begin mining the 119 million-pound deposit near the North Carolina line.

U.S. investigating Ohio executive over Russian contracts

The Wall Street Journal

The federal government is investigating whether an executive of an Ohio firm that manufactures shipping containers for uranium bribed Russian energy officials to win contracts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Nun likely to remain free; no appeal in sabotage case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists will likely remain free after government prosecutors told defense attorneys they will not seek to have a sabotage charge reconsidered.

Sister Megan Rice was originally sentenced to three years and Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to nearly five years for vandalizing the outside of a Tennessee bunker storing bomb-grade uranium. They painted the walls with slogans and splatted them with blood.

Cleanup of Ohio uranium plant expected to take decades more

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The cleanup of a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio is expected to take another three decades or more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman had asked whether the administration was committed to decontaminating and decommissioning the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon at an accelerated rate and finishing by 2024, as announced by former Energy Secretary Steven Chu. In a response sent earlier this month and shared Tuesday by Portman, the department said the 2024 goal "is not achievable."

Senate OKs bill giving Congress review of Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate muscled its way into President Barack Obama's talks to curb Iran's nuclear program, overwhelmingly backing legislation Thursday that would let Congress review and possibly reject any final deal with Tehran.

The vote was 98-1 for the bipartisan bill that would give Congress a say on what could be a historic accord that the United States and five other nations are trying to finalize with Iran. Under the agreement, Iran would roll back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economy penalties.

GAO, House knock DOE on uranium management issues

The Energy Department’s program for managing excess uranium through transfers and sales is riddled with problems, including legal issues and inconsistent methods for valuing sales, according to a government auditor, who added that the DOE isn’t properly assessing impact sales and transfers have on the domestic uranium market.

In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior Wednesday, Government Accountability Office Natural Resources and Environment Director David Trimble said the GAO has identified issues with the program since 2006.

Obama says Iran could cut nuke time to near zero in 13 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defending an emerging nuclear deal, President Barack Obama said Iran would be kept a year away from obtaining a nuclear weapon for more than a decade, but conceded Tuesday that the buffer period could shrink to almost nothing after 13 or more years.

Obama, whose top priority at the moment is to sell the framework deal to critics, was pushing back on the charge that the deal fails to eliminate the risk because it allows Iran to keep enriching uranium. He told NPR News that Iran will be capped for a decade at 300 kilograms — not enough to convert to a stockpile of weapons-grade material.

U.S. Congress Photo

Two DOE nuclear fuel projects axed in Markey-Blumenaeur proposal

The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at Savannah River and the Uranium Processing Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory would be killed under legislation to slash spending on nuclear weapons, proposed Monday by two Democratic lawmakers.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Earl Blumenaeur, D-Ore., would cut $100 billion from nuclear weapons activity over the next decade, including termination of construction of the MOX facility at the Energy Department's Savannah River Site in South Carolina and cancelation of construction of the upgraded nuclear processing facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.


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