• 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

  • World heading for a uranium crunch

    Nuclear power has become more attractive as a result of fluctuating oil prices and growing concerns about the environment; trouble is, the world is running out of uranium

  • Better method to detect cracks in nuclear plants

    At the moment, cracks in nuclear plant components are detected by using ultrasonic scanners that carry a number of different probes; new device will use a single phased-array probe that will be safer, cheaper, and more accurate than existing systems

  • Nuclear leaks at Three Mile Island investigated

    There was another radioactive leak at Three Mile Island, the scene of the U.S. worst nuclear power accident; NRC said on Sunday there was no threat to public health or safety; investigators this weekend were trying to determine the cause of radiological contamination inside the nuclear facility’s containment building

  • Doubts raised on nuclear industry viability

    There are two problems facing the nuclear power industry: civilian and military stockpiles and re-enriched or reprocessed uranium sources contribute 25,000 of the 65,000 tons of uranium used globally each year; the rest is mined directly, but scientists say that nobody knows where the mining industry can find enough uranium to make up the shortfall; also, the cost per kilowatt of capacity generated by nuclear power is $4,000; generating identical capacity from coal costs $3,000, and the cost for natural gas generation is $800; this makes the nuclear option a big financial gamble