• Metal mist will not choke off controlled nuclear fusion

    Fusion reactors — experimental reactors called tokamaks — are doughnut-shaped devices that contain ionized gas, or plasma, at temperatures of more than 100 million degrees; it was feared that fine metallic dust generated inside the containment vessel would choke off the controlled nuclear fusion; scientists now find this is not the case

  • U.S. reluctant to adopt new nuclear reactor technology

    Generation IV — or “pebble bed” — reactor is powered by fuel in the form of spheres rather than rods; the reactor runs far hotter than existing reactors, and produce 30 percent more electricity from a given amount of fuel; the drawback: weapons proliferation; to burn spent fuel in fast reactors, it has to be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which can also be used in weapons

  • Operator of shut-down Monju fast reactor seeks resumption of operations

    Japan’s only breeder reactor was shut down in 1995 after sodium coolant leak; the reactor’s operator now seeks to restart the reactor, saying that a vast remodeling effort would prevent a similar accident in the fufutre; critics are no so sure, pointing to glitches affecting the reactor’s leak detector and other defects which have caused its restart to be put off four times since the coolant was infused again in May 2007

  • Federal loans notwithstanding, Georgia nuclear power plant faces hurdles

    The Obama administration has signaled its interest in expanding the U.S. domestic nuclear power industry by giving $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for a Georgia nuclear power plant expansion; critics say that the American tax-payer is at risk; that the original nuclear reactor design has been rejected by the NRC, and that there is no solution for the nuclear waste problem

  • U.S. gives loan guarantees for new nuclear power reactors in Georgia

    Deal is major step toward restarting the U.S. domestic nuclear industry; the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized DOE to issue loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and employ new or significantly-improved technologies

  • U.K.: New nuclear reactors might not stand up to terrorist attacks

    Last September the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected the Westinghouse-Toshiba design for a new reactor because a key component might not withstand events like earthquakes and tornadoes; this week, the U.K.’s nuclear safety watchdog said it might decide to reject the same reactor design because it could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks

  • Obama signals shift to re-use of spent nuclear fuel

    The Obama administration is making two big moves on the nuclear power front: in order to boost the U.S. nuclear power industry, the administration will include $54 billion of loan guarantees in the 2011 budget request to Congress, up from $18.5 billion; the administration will also reverse a 50-year U.S. ban on reprocessing nuclear waste: fearing the creation of more weapon-grade fissile material, the United States, since the late 1950s, has opposed the reprocessing of nuclear waste, preferring to find a permanent burial site for the waste instead; the administration has pulled the plug on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project, indicating it would reconsider the issue of reprocessing the waste

  • Hospital scanner could curb nuclear waste threat

    Medical gamma-ray cameras were used for the first time to track radioactive isotopes in soil samples from a U.S. civil nuclear site; the technique, which is used in hospitals for heart, bone, and kidney scanning, is now being used to study the environmental behavior of nuclear waste — and its success could help scientists find new ways of using bacteria to control the spread of radioactivity

  • New blue ribbon commission on America’s nuclear future

    The commission, led by Lee Hamilton and Brent Scowcroft, will provide recommendations on managing used fuel and nuclear waste; Secretary of Energy Steven Chu: “Nuclear energy provides clean, safe, reliable power and has an important role to play as we build a low-carbon future. The Administration is committed to promoting nuclear power in the United States and developing a safe, long-term solution for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste”

  • Lithuania shuts down nuclear plant

    Lithuania closes Chernobyl-style facility which supplies 80 percent of the country’s electricity; closure is a condition of EU membership

  • U.S. organize an international meeting on bolstering nuclear plant security

    The fluctuation in oil prices and concerns about climate change have renewed interest in building nuclear power plants; this fact, and the fact that more nuclear material may become available as a result of deep cuts in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, increase worries about the safety of nuclear materials

  • Florida Power and Light reacts sharply to reports of illegal intruders at nuclear power plant

    FP&L maintains that the Cuban migrants landing on its property did not pose a risk to the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant; still, the fact is that 30 Cubans landed in a secure area of the nuclear plant and spent six hours there without being detected by plant’s security personnel; FP&L became aware of the intruders only when they themselves called to control room to announce their arrival

  • INL develops safer, more efficient nuclear fuel for next-generation reactors

    The advanced nuclear fuel, which would be used in next-generation high-temperature gas reactors, has set a particle fuel record by consuming approximately 19 percent of its low-enriched uranium; this is more than double the previous record set by German scientists in the 1980s, and more than three times that achieved by current commercial light water reactor fuel

  • Power glitch, natural radon caused TMI alarm

    Naturally occurring radon and a power glitch caused radiation monitors to sound false alarms at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant; still, more than five hours passed before state officials were made aware of the incident; the incident severity, however, did not approach the level that would have required Exelon, under federal rules, to notify state emergency officials within fifteen minutes

  • Security questions raised by Cuban migrants landing at Turkey Point nuclear plant

    Thirty Cubans fleeing Cuba landed near the off-limits cooling canals for the Turkey Point nuclear power plant; the migrants stayed — undetected — in the high-security area for about six hours; Florida Power & Light learned the Cubans had landed on its property only when a member of the group phoned the plant’s control room hours after the group’s arrival