• U.S. keeps collecting money for a nuclear waste repository – but has no plans to build one

    Illinois utility customers have paid the U.S government $1.9 billion to store spent nuclear fuel from nuclear plants in the state in a permanent national nuclear waste repository; in the last thirty years, the U.S. government has collected $30 billion from utilities toward this permanent storage, and it keeps collecting $750 million a year; trouble is, in February 2009 the Obama administration decided to “defund” the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository project, and the U.S. government no longer has active plans for a centralized nuclear waste storage facility

  • Y-12 Nuclear Complex’s uranium processing facility to be redesigned

    Weeks after the inadequacy of security measures at the Y-12 Nuclear Complex came to light — an 82-year old nun and her two senior citizen colleagues eluded the facility’s fences and security to spend a few hours on the site’s grounds and spray-paint anti-nuclear slogans on its walls – criticism is directed at the design shortcomings of a new uranium processing facility; among other things, the roof of the new facility will have to be raised by thirteen feet because the designers did not take into account the size of the equipment the new facility will house 

  • NRC sees no evidence of bad security practices at Michigan nuclear plant

    The Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) released  information last week about a leak earlier this summer at the Palisades plant near South Haven, Michigan; the plant has been mired in controversy this year, as at least three water leaks have occurred in the past several months, and the plant has one of the worst safety ratings in the United States

  • Environmentalists concerned about earthquakes tests near California nuclear plant

    The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) wants to use air guns to emit strong sound waves into a large near-shore area which includes parts of marine reserves; the purpose: creating three dimensional maps of fault zones near its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California; the plans have federal and state officials concerned about marine life and public safety

  • U.S. nuclear industry believes its on the threshold of a renaissance

    Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, doubts were raised about  the future of the U.S. nuclear power industry; now, eighteen months later, a new poll, and changes in NRC’s reactor design approval procedure, have convinced industry leaders that nuclear power could become a significant source of power in the United States

  • Helping improve microbes’ ability to remediate toxic metal contamination

    Naturally occurring bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico did a great job helping to clean up 2010’s huge Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but bacteria can do even heavier lifting; routinely used to help clean up toxic metals at contaminated sites, bacteria and other soil microbes are fed to boost their ability to turn soluble metals into solids that will not leech into streams or aquifers

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  • Georgia’s Plant Vogtle reviving hopes for nuclear power in U.S.

    Plant Vogtle, located in Burke County, Georgia, is one of the most watched construction projects in the world; it is currently going through a $14 billion dollar expansion, which includes the first new commercial reactors built in the United States in decades

  • DOE promotes small-nuclear reactors (SMRs)

    South Carolina’s Savannah River Site (SRS) located in Aiken, along with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), have announced three partnerships to develop three small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) at the SRS facility; SMRs produce less energy than a regular reactor, but they produce enough energy to power small cities and remote areas

  • Seventy-four nuclear reactors in tsunami-risk areas

    Researchers have, for the first time, identified those nuclear power plants which are more vulnerable to suffering the effects of a tsunami; in total, twenty-three plants, in which there are seventy-four active nuclear reactors, are located in dangerous areas in east and southeast of Asia

  • Seventy-four nuclear reactors in tsunami-risk areas

    Researchers have, for the first time, identified those nuclear power plants which are more vulnerable to suffering the effects of a tsunami; in total, twenty-three plants, in which there are seventy-four active nuclear reactors, are located in dangerous areas in east and southeast of Asia

  • Lessons learned: Cheech and Chong at the Y-12 security breach

    On 28 July 2012, an 82-year old nun and her two confederates — both senior citizens themselves – breached the vaunted and supposedly impregnable perimeter protection system at the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, where uranium for nuclear weapons is processed and stored (the Y-12 complex is not affiliated with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory [ORNL]); a report on the incident by the Inspector General of the Department of Energy is couched in bureaucratic jargon, but it reveals that the Y-12 security system and practices were much worse than Cheech and Chong could have ever portrayed in their wildest stand-up comedy routines or loopy films

  • Harvesting fuel for nuclear reactors from the sea

    Uranium floats in Earth’s oceans in trace amounts of just 3 parts per billion. It is not much, but it adds up; combined, our oceans hold up to 4.5 billion tons of uranium — potentially enough to fuel the world’s nuclear power plants for 6,500 years; researchers propose ways to harvest this uranium

  • Dry-run experiments confirm key aspect of Sandia nuclear fusion concept

    Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific “break-even” energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to researchers

  • Thorium to play limited role in U.K. future power supply

    Worldwide, there has for a long time been a sustained interest in the thorium fuel cycle and presently there are several major research initiatives which are either focused specifically on the thorium fuel cycle or on systems which use thorium as the fertile seed instead of U-238; the U.K. National Nuclear Laboratory examined the topic and concluded that thorium has theoretical advantages but that these benefits are often overstated; as a result, thorium fuel cycle at best has only limited relevance to the United Kingdom as a possible alternative plutonium disposition strategy and as a possible strategic option

  • Nuclear waste-burning technology to make nuclear energy more appealing

    Toxic nuclear waste is stored at sites around the United States, and the need to store nuclear waste is widely considered to be a major disadvantage associated with nuclear energy; physicists have been granted a U.S. for patent for a novel fusion-fission hybrid nuclear reactor which would use nuclear fusion and fission together; the invention could drastically decrease the need for any additional or expanded geological repositories, making nuclear power cleaner and more viable