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Posted: Apr 17, 2014 16:47 CST
Only a total shift to low-carbon generation can effectively tackle climate change, according to a report published by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Improving the energy efficiencies of fossil power plants or shifting from coal to gas will not by itself be sufficient. The IPCC report confirmed nuclear energy among the lowest carbon forms of generation, taking into account both direct emissions and lifecycle, ranking alongside wind turbines at 12gCO/kWh. Hydro and s...
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 16:40 CST
The controversy over the Iranian nuclear program is in many ways a product of the US-Iranian conflict. The United States and Iran are in the grip of mutual negative perceptions that, in turn, have been reinforced by the escalatory dynamics of the nuclear dispute. After years of seeming diplomatic deadlock, these dynamics suddenly changed for the better in the autumn of 2013.
Although the de-escalation and the Joint Plan of Action are generally associated with the election of Hassan Rouhani a...
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 15:51 CST
France's nuclear watchdog singled out three of EDF's 19 nuclear power stations for having a below-average safety performance in its annual safety report, which also asked for more enforcement powers such as the ability to impose fines. The watchdog said on Wednesday the state of nuclear safety in France in 2013 was satisfactory overall but said the French utility's Bugey, Chinon and Civaux plants had recurring problems that required improvements.
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 15:40 CST
(originally published Apr 7, 2014)
Bio-remediation technologies often offer efficiency, cost and environmental impact benefits against physico-chemical technologies. Concerning the remediation of radionuclide-containing water, a few bio-based technologies have been proposed but none is currently operational in highly radioactive environments. A new radio-tolerant micro-alga, isolated from a nuclear facility, possesses properties that offer new decontamination prospects for the nuclear industry or for the clean-up of environmen...
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 15:40 CST
The Augusta Chronicle
(originally published Apr 16, 2014)
South Carolina has asked a federal judge to rule in the state’s favor in a lawsuit seeking to keep viable a nuclear reactor fuel project at the Savannah River Site near Aiken. The state is suing the U.S. Energy Department to keep the government from withdrawing funding from a multi-billion dollar project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into commercial reactor fuel. Gov. Nikki Haley has said that the closure of the mixed-oxide fuel project would harm an international nonproliferation agreement...
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 15:37 CST
South Korea and the United States agreed to hone their combined defense capabilities through more joint drills, as North Korea intensifies nuclear and missile threats, the allies said Wednesday after bilateral military talks here. "The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the combined defense posture to defend the Republic of Korea and to deter North Korean aggression by enhancing combined alliance capabilities, and continuing combined exercises," read the statement.
Posted: Apr 17, 2014 15:35 CST
For a rogue state under international sanctions, what is the penalty for threatening to carry out an illicit nuclear test? As North Korea is demonstrating, and Iran is no doubt closely observing, there is no serious cost. Last month, North Korea’s government stated that it would not rule out “a new form of nuclear test.” Asked for details of what form it might take, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the U.N., Ri Tong Il said: “Wait and see.” And that, it appears, is what the U.S. is doing: w...
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 18:41 CST
The Asahi Shimbun
Undeterred by a crushing election defeat, former Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa plan to set up an organization to abolish nuclear power and oppose Japan’s exports of nuclear technology. The group will promote renewable energy technologies, oppose the restarts of idled nuclear reactors and field candidates against pro-nuclear politicians in local elections.
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:45 CST
Chemical & Engineering News
(originally published Apr 14, 2014)
Efforts to develop materials that stand up to damaging radiation were the focus of a symposium in the Nuclear Chemistry & Technology Division at the American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas last month. In addition to the hunt for new materials, researchers discussed work to understand the mechanisms behind radiation damage. In some cases, they are finding that radiation isn’t damaging at all—it actually improves materials’ performance.
One place where materials must withstand radiation is ...
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:44 CST
World Nuclear News
Operations have started at the Nichols Ranch in situ leach (ISL) uranium project in Wyoming following final clearance from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), making Uranerz the newest uranium producer in America. Australian firm Alliance Resources has announced that all approvals to begin mining in the first stage area of the Four Mile East ISL project in South Australia had been received, effective 11 April. According to a company press release, project manager Quasar Resources had ...
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:43 CST
When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station—that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future. Such fl...
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:42 CST
Top U.S. and Chinese nuclear envoys had "productive" discussions on North Korea in New York, the State Department said Tuesday. "The United States and China agree on the fundamental importance of a denuclearized North Korea," the department's spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a readout about a meeting between Glyn Davies, special representative for North Korea policy, and his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei a day earlier.
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:41 CST
The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran's ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade uranium, diplomats said Tuesday. Under Iran’s commitments, Iran agreed to halt its 20-percent enrichment program and to turn half of its nearly 200-kilogram (440-pound) stockpile into oxide for reactor fuel. As well, it pledged to dilute the other half into low-enriched u...
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:41 CST
The Obama administration is sticking to a plan to develop controversial new warheads for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but opponents of the project are holding out hope that officials could still change course. The first such warhead, to be called the "IW-1," would replace both the existing W-78 warhead currently fitted on Air Force ground-based missiles, as well as the W-88 warhead currently used on Navy submarine-based missiles.
Posted: Apr 16, 2014 15:40 CST
Switzerland submitted its declaration of civilian plutonium stock as of the end of 2013. According to the document, as of December 31, 2013 Switzerland had less than 50 kg of separated plutonium, which is described as "held elsewhere." This has not changed since the 2012 Swiss declaration.
Posted: Apr 15, 2014 16:04 CST
Nigeria is is currently the world's 12th largest oil producer, pumping 2.25 million barrels per day. Nigeria in 2012 was also the world's fourth leading exporter of LNG. According to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration, "Nigeria has one of the lowest net electricity generation per capita rates in the world. Electricity generation falls short of demand, resulting in load shedding, blackouts and a reliance on private generators. Nigeria is in the process of privatizing the ...
Posted: Apr 15, 2014 16:02 CST
Government Accountability Office
(originally published Apr 11, 2014)
Since 2002, DOD has spent over $98 billion developing a ballistic missile defense system to protect the United States, U.S. forces, and allies against inbound threat missiles. In December 2011, DOD deployed the initial phase of a revised approach for Europe, with increased capabilities to be deployed in later phases. GAO has reported on potential risks to DOD’s implementation caused by the lack of a coordinated management approach and an absence of life-cycle cost estimates. Given DOD’s BMD i...
Posted: Apr 15, 2014 16:01 CST
So much for a world without the atomic bomb. Not so long ago, President Barack Obama said he believed such a future was in the cards. Now, after Russia's annexation of Crimea, not so much. Many states in Russia's neighborhood are giving new attention to nuclear protection. "Although there's a very small risk of Russia acting against Poland, that risk is much bigger now than it was just a few weeks ago," Stanislaw Koziej, head of Poland's National Security Bureau, tells Newsweek. The most impo...
Posted: Apr 15, 2014 16:00 CST
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the greatest danger to nuclear security comes from terrorists acquiring sufficient quantities of plutonium or highly enriched uranium (HEU) to construct a crude nuclear explosive device. The IAEA also notes that most cases of illicit nuclear trafficking have involved gram-level quantities, which can be challenging to detect with most inspection methods. According to a new study appearing this week in the Journal of Applied Physics, co...
Posted: Apr 15, 2014 15:59 CST
In a rare public warning to its unruly ally North Korea, China on Tuesday urged the North not to carry out a nuclear test, saying it does not support Pyongyang's "threat of a nuclear test." The public warning by China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying came as tensions on the Korean Peninsula spiked again, with the North continuing to threaten additional missile and a "new form," of nuclear tests. "We do not support the joint military drills (between South Korea and the U.S.) and do...