Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, July 31, 2010

U.S. Military Learns to Fight Deadliest Weapons * By Adam Higginbotham

Detonation of a MICLIC to destroy a 1km in dep...Image via Wikipedia
Photo: Tom Schierlitz
The tactics of today's insurgent bombmakers are the product of a long-simmering melting pot of global terrorism.
Photo: Tom Schierlitz; IED models: Based on actual bombs constructed by Prop House Weapons Specialists Ltd.
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Nuclear Forensics Skill Is Declining in U.S., Report Says

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase


Nuclear Forensics Skill Is Declining In U.S., Report Says -- New York Times

The nation’s ability to identify the source of a nuclear weapon used in a terrorist attack is fragile and eroding, according to a report released Thursday by the National Research Council.

Such highly specialized detective work, known as nuclear attribution, seeks to study clues from fallout and radioactive debris as a way to throw light on the identity of the attacker and the maker of the weapon. In recent years, federal officials have sought to improve such analytic skills, arguing that nuclear terrorism is a grave, long-term threat to the nation.

Read more ....http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/us/30nuke.html?src=me
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Governors ask Congress to bolster funding for nuclear projects

The Western Governors' Association called on members of Congress to approve a $36 billion increase in the federal loan-guarantee program for nuclear energy, as requested in President Barack Obama's budget for fiscal 2011. In a letter to the House and Senate appropriations committees, the governors wrote that the additional funds would help cover the cost of building several reactors. http://PowerGenWorldwide.com

US to press China, UAE, others on Iran sanctions




http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US_to_press_China_UAE_others_on_Iran_sanctions_999.html The United States announced Thursday that top officials will fan out starting next week to China, the United Arab Emirates, and other key countries in support of tighter sanctions against Iran. "China is of concern to us in this regard," Robert Einhorn, the US State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Einhorn said he and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser would visit China at the "end of August" as part of a push to "raise this at the highest levels."
"We need for them to enforce the Security Council resolutions conscientiously and we also need for them not to 'backfill' when responsible countries have distanced themselves from Iran," he said.
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US_to_press_China_UAE_others_on_Iran_sanctions_999.html

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nations Said to Court A.Q. Khan Associates

A number of foreign governments could be attempting to recruit some former members of the proliferation ring once operated by Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Washington Times reported yesterday (see GSN, March 25).
This has caused some concern in the U.S. intelligence community about the potential for the nuclear black market operation to be reconstituted.
Two sources from U.S. spy agencies and other officials familiar with reports on the matter said intelligence collected since early 2010 indicates that operatives from multiple foreign nations have reached out to engineers, scientists and money-men who were involved with the disbanded nuclear smuggling network. Those countries reportedly include Brazil, Iran, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
"They have propositioned them to get them to come out of retirement," a high-ranking U.S. intelligence officer said.






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Nuke-smuggling network in demand Agents seek to lure group 'out of retirement'

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/28/nuke-smuggling-network-in-demand/
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Official: U.K. is considering civil nuclear exports to India

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100728-714234.html?mod=dist_smartbrief
The U.K. government may ship its civil nuclear technology and knowledge to India despite earlier concerns that the nation is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, said Business Secretary Vince Cable. "There are sensitivities we are conscious of, as are the Indian government, but within those constraints, we want to really push ahead with civil nuclear cooperation," he said. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires
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Constellation wants progress on loan guarantee for Md. project

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-constellation-earnings-20100728,0,5646592.story?track=rss
Mayo Shattuck, CEO of Constellation Energy Group, said failure to secure a federal loan guarantee for the planned expansion of the Calvert Cliffs power station by summer's end could put the project at risk. The delay has started to hinder the possibilities for the Maryland project, Shattuck said, adding that the company has been forced to reduce spending. "We can't keep going at the rate that we're going without clarity on the loan guarantee," he added. The Sun (Baltimore)

N.M. uranium-enrichment plant will expand

http://www.oaoa.com/news/uranium-50655-plant-enrichment.html
Urenco USA has secured $1 billion from its parent company to construct a second phase of its uranium-enrichment facility in New Mexico, with the possibility of adding more phases. Once the second phase is completed in 2014, the plant could provide enrichment services for 50% of the fuel for the country's nuclear plants. "The whole idea is we will continue to expand as long as our orders and the economy and the marketplace allow that," said spokesman Don Johnson. Odessa American (Texas) (7/28)

US appeals court puts consideration of Yucca Mountain case on hold

US appeals court puts consideration of Yucca Mountain case on hold
A US appeals court said Wednesday it would wait until the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission rules on the Yucca Mountain appeal before the commission
before it hears oral arguments in a lawsuit over the planned termination of
the nuclear waste repository project.


http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews.aspx?xmlpath=RSSFeed/HeadlineNews/Nuclear/6222706.xml

Obama's Nuke Treaty Is MAD - Sen. Jim DeMint, National Review

Obama's Nuke Treaty Is MAD - Sen. Jim DeMint, National Reviewhttp://article.nationalreview.com/438845/the-treaty-is-mad/jim-demint

Nuclear Plants Operate At Exceptional Levels To Stabilize Grid

Nuclear Plants Operate At Exceptional Levels To Stabilize Grid
http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Nuclear_Plants_Operate_At_Exceptional_Levels_To_Stabilize_Grid_999.html
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 13, 2010 As the Eastern United States suffered through record-breaking triple-digit temperatures threatening brownouts and blackouts, the nation's nuclear power plants posted an average operating capacity of 97 percent July 4-7. Eighty-five reactors across the country ran at 100 percent operating capacity during the entire week. One hundred two of the nation's 104 nuclear power plants were operatio ... more
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Paris wants EDF and Areva to join forces

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Paris_wants_EDF_and_Areva_to_join_forces_999.html The French government has called for closer cooperation between utility EDF and reactor maker Areva to help the country regain its leadership in the nuclear power sector. Such closer cooperation would increase France's chances to win reactor contracts abroad, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Wednesday. "There must be a strategic partnership between Areva and EDF each time that it's necessary for exports," Lagarde told French radio station RTL. "Our two big nuclear champion ... read more
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Russia, Afghanistan and Starwars: Westward Hu by Eric Walberg / July 28th, 2010

President Obama & Russian President MedvedevImage by talkradionews via Flickr

The Atlantists are on the ascendant these days in Moscow. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s hamburger lunch with United States President Barack Obama during his visit to Silicon Valley last month apparently left a pleasant taste in his mouth. Now relations with NATO are on the mend, as Russia plans to send 27 Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan, NATO Military Committee Chairman, Giampaolo di Paola, said after a meeting with Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Nikolai Makarov, last Friday. Rosoboronexport has even offered to throw in the first three helicopters for free.
Makarov went further, telling di Paola …
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Moscow faces energy challenge
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is pressing for the country to improve its energy efficiency. Yet with US$92 billion needed merely to upgrade the aging power grid, the cost will be high - and private investment likely to be scarce. - Sergei Blagov
  http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/LG30Ag01.html
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S.Korea, US end drills as N.Korea hails war "victory"

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/SKorea_US_end_drills_as_NKorea_hails_war_victory_999.html
Seoul (AFP) July 28, 2010 - A full-scale US and South Korean military exercise designed to deter North Korea ended without incident Wednesday despite Pyongyang's threats of possible nuclear retaliation. The two allies, who accuse the North of a deadly submarine attack on a South Korean warship, said they staged the four-day naval and air exercise to send a "clear message" that any future provocations would not be toler ... more
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Vinson Uploads And Launches Missiles For Qualifications

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Vinson_Uploads_And_Launches_Missiles_For_Qualifications_999.html
USS Carl Vinson, At Sea (SPX) Jul 29, 2010 - USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) uploaded and launched Evolved Sea Sparrow Surface Missiles (ESSM) and Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) July 16 and 17 to support Combat Systems Ship's Qualification Trials (CSSQT). This is the first time Vinson has had missiles on board since the completion of a five-year refueling complex overhaul. "It's part of the qualifications for Combat Systems to test i ... more

Truck-borne laser weapon to be on way soon

Flag of the United States ArmyImage via Wikipedia

Washington (UPI) Jul 28, 2010 - A powerful laser weapon that can fit on a light truck is set to be the military's answer to the dilemma of overreacting to enemy attack and harming friendly forces in the process. The laser-beam weapon, being developed by the U.S. Army and Boeing, is seen to be a more focused alternative to artillery or rocket response to enemy action that usually results in innocent civilians or friend ... more
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Truck-borne_laser_weapon_to_be_on_way_soon_999.html
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Obama Halt to Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Slammed James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers:

 "Congress was warned Tuesday that the failure to build the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada could delay licensing of the country's first new nuclear power plants in a generation."
Read the Article
http://www.truth-out.org/obama-halt-yucca-mountain-nuclear-waste-site-slammed61782

B&W to build mPower test facility from World Nuclear News by Jeremy Gordon


mPower (B&W)
Babcock & Wilcox  is to construct a test facility for the mPower reactor design in Bedford County, Virginia. The facility - not far from B&W's headquarters in Lynchburg - will be used to support licensing activities for the small, modular reactor design.
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France considers its position


Sarkozy at FlamanvilleFrance is revising its nuclear strategy to improve reactor technology and boost cooperation between national champions Areva and Electricité de France. Up to 15% of Areva will be sold as optimisation takes place on the EPR design.
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Nuke energy is next big source of power: Expert

The map shows the commercial nuclear power pla...Image via Wikipedia

India aims for threefold boost in nuclear share by 2050

India is seeking to generate 10% of its power through nuclear energy by 2050, said Anjan Chaki, director of the Atomic Minera -More-
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Editorial: Energy bill represents a bipartisan failure

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-energy_0728edi.State.Edition1.1589dfa.html The stripped-down energy bill that is now in play in Congress falls short of what the U.S. needs, and both parties must share the blame for this failure, writes the Dallas Morning News, which is particularly bothered by the lack of support for nuclear power. "A nuclear expansion is essential to weaning ourselves from fossil fuels and to limiting emissions; Congress can't afford to excise that from our energy portfolio," the editorial argues. The Dallas Morning News



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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Russian-Iranian Road Map from RealClearWorld by Vladimir Radyuhin, The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article535182.ece
Moscow appears confident that its pledge of energy cooperation with Iran would not derail its new partnership with the West, but the deal may well have come at the wrong time.
 
The reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran. Moscow appears confident that its pledge of energy cooperation with Iran would not derail its new partnership with the West, but the deal may well have come at the wrong time.
AP The reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran. Moscow appears confident that its pledge of energy cooperation with Iran would not derail its new partnership with the West, but the deal may well have come at the wrong time.
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Iran’s Nuclear Standoff: Who Is the Loser?

http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/07/irans-nuclear-standoff-who-is-the-loser/
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Politics shouldn't drive Yucca Mountain decision

Decision to close Yucca Mountain is politically motivated

Politics, not science, is the driving force behind the Obama administration's efforts to abandon the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada, according to this editorial. A panel at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is refusing to follow the White House's lead, saying that the program can only be shut down by congressional action, according to the editorial. The Daily News (Longview, Wash.)
http://tdn.com/news/opinion/article_db594aa0-96a4-11df-90cb-001cc4c002e0.html
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Nuclear plants generate more than electricity Marvin Fertel Nuclear Energy Institute

The Tribune-DemocratImage via Wikipedia


Fertel: Nuclear plants help drive Pennsylvania's economic engine
Pennsylvania's nuclear plants are among the top-running power facilities in the country, writes Nuclear Energy Institute President and CEO Marvin Fertel. Aside from generating clean and affordable electricity, he argues, the plants have helped create jobs and spur economic growth for the surrounding communities and the state. Pennsylvania would benefit more from nuclear if new facilities are constructed, Fertel writes. The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)
http://tribune-democrat.com/editorials/x2105967625/Nuclear-plants-generate-more-than-electricity
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Nuclear experts seek to advance fusion project

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Nuclear_experts_seek_to_advance_fusion_project_999.html
Marseille, France (AFP) July 26, 2010 - An explosion in costs has cast a cloud over a multi-billion-dollar nuclear fusion project aiming to make the power that fuels the sun a practical energy source on Earth. Delays, rocketing costs and financing problems have hit the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) whose consortium members start a meeting on Tuesday aiming to get the project back on course. ITER was s ... more
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UN sanctions on Iran best option, unilateral move not effective, says U.S expert




Russia opposed additional sanctions levied on Iran by the European Union (EU) and the United States, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Russia opposes additional sanctions on Iran

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How likely is an American attack on Iran?



How likely is an American attack on Iran?

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-07/26/c_13415998.htm
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Debate On "New START" Seen Dragging Past August -- Global Security Newswire

President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Me...Image via Wikipedia
Debate On "New START" Seen Dragging Past August -- Global Security Newswire

A number of U.S. Senate staffers expressed doubt that the legislative body would vote on ratification of a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia before adjourning in two weeks for its August recess, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday (see GSN, July 23).

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April signed the replacement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The "New START" pact would obligate both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, down from the maximum of 2,200 allowed each country by 2012 under the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The deal would also limit U.S. and Russian deployed nuclear delivery vehicles to 700, with another 100 platforms allowed in reserve. The pact has been submitted for ratification by Russia's legislature as well as the Senate.

Read more ....

http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100726_3747.php
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S.Korea loans Jordan 70 million dollars for nuclear reactor from Nuclear Power Technology, Science And Industry News

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/SKorea_loans_Jordan_70_million_dollars_for_nuclear_reactor_999.htmlAmman (AFP) July 26, 2010
South Korea on Monday loaned energy-poor Jordan 70 million dollars to help build the kingdom's first nuclear research reactor, a project worth 130 million dollars. "Building the reactor is key to Jordan's peaceful nuclear programme," planning minister Jaafar Hassan told reporters after signing an easy loan agreement with South Korean officials.
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S.Korea, US stage anti-submarine drill in warning to N.Korea

US and South Korean warships staged anti-submarine drills Monday as part of a major naval exercise intended to send a warning to North Korea despite its threats of nuclear retaliation. The two allies, who accuse the North of sending a submarine to torpedo a South Korean warship, have assembled about 20 ships including the 97,000-ton carrier USS George Washington, 200 aircraft and 8,000 personnel.
Four F-22 Raptor

stealth fighters are flying in and around Korea for the first time to show Washington's strong commitment to deter and defeat any provocative acts, Lieutenant General Jeffrey Remington, commander of the US 7th Air Force, told reporters at Osan air base.
Seoul and Washington say the four-day exercise which began Sunday -- their biggest for years and the first in a series -- is designed to stress that future attacks will meet a decisive response.http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/SKorea_US_stage_anti-submarine_drill_in_warning_to_NKorea_999.html


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Monday, July 26, 2010

Burma is working on nuclear weapons programme, experts claim Burma is working on a nuclear weapons programme, experts have concluded, after its existence was exposed by leaked photographs.


An alleged nuclear factory to which the defector had access, near the capital, Naypyidaw, captured in a satellite image.

Burma Is Working On Nuclear Weapons Programme, Experts Claim -- The Telegraph

Burma is working on a nuclear weapons programme, experts have concluded, after its existence was exposed by leaked photographs.


Intelligence monitoring of the country’s arms purchases from North Korea has been intensified as a result.

Satellite tracking and electronic surveillance in particular have been stepped up. Concerns over the regime’s attempts to develop a nuclear bomb prompted the US State Department to demand last week that the ruling junta disclose an inventory of its nuclear technology.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/burmamyanmar/7909774/Burma-is-working-on-nuclear-weapons-programme-experts-claim.html
Satellite images of possible Myanmar N-site -- Hindustan Times
Myanmar's nuke site found? -- Today Online
Burma building nuclear weapons -- The Age
A loophole for Myanmar's nukes -- Asia Times
Burma building nuclear weapons, says Jane's defence weekly -- News Track India
Burma 'is developing nuclear weapons' -- Polijam Times
Myanmar is working on n-arms programme: Experts -- Myanmar News Net
Judging Myanmar’s Nuclear Ambitions and Likely Implications -- IDSA
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Special Report: Energy Nuclear Energy Loses Cost Advantage By DIANA S. POWERS

PARIS — Solar photovoltaic systems have long been painted as a clean way to generate electricity, but expensive compared with other alternatives to oil, like nuclear power. No longer. In a “historic crossover,” the costs of solar photovoltaic systems have declined to the point where they are lower than the rising projected costs of new nuclear plants, according to a paper published this month.
“Solar photovoltaics have joined the ranks of lower-cost alternatives to new nuclear plants,” John O. Blackburn, a professor of economics at Duke University, in North Carolina, and Sam Cunningham, a graduate student, wrote in the paper, “Solar and Nuclear Costs — The Historic Crossover.”
This crossover occurred at 16 cents per kilowatt hour, they said. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/business/global/27iht-renuke.html
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IHI, Toshiba Finalize Details On Nuclear Turbine Components Joint Venture

Toshiba and IHI have ironed out the details of a joint venture for manufacturing steam turbine parts for nuclear facilities in Japan and abroad. IHI will hold 52% in the partnership, while Toshiba will control 48%. Nikkei Business Publications/Dow Jones Newswires
http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20100723D23JF635.htm
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India eyes December startup for nuclear plant

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_first-unit-of-kudankulam-nuclear-plant-to-start-functioning-by-december_1414283
The first unit of the Kudankulam nuclear facility, which India is developing with Russia, will come online by December, regardless of whether India's lawmakers pass a nuclear-liability bill. The plant's second unit is expected to be running within six months after the first unit's launch. DNA (India)/Press Trust of India
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Four Ways to Kill a Climate Bill By LEE WASSERMAN

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/opinion/26wasserman.html
Opinion: 4 main factors led to demise of climate bill
The failure of the White House and Congress to deliver a broad climate bill this year can be traced to four major mistakes, writes Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund. The bill failed to progress because it downplayed the impact of global warming, contained too many concessions to special-interest groups, was overly complicated and did not receive adequate input from the public, Wasserman writes
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Administration has it wrong on nuclear waste, Hanford


Gov. Gregoire opposes shutdown of Yucca Mountain
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire told a panel that closing the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada is a mistake. Doing so would be "as dangerous as it is a shameful waste of resources," according to this editorial. The government has invested $10 billion and spent 25 years preparing to dispose of at least 77,000 tons of used nuclear fuel in Yucca Mountain. Any further delay in the site's opening increases the risk that hazardous waste from the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state will reach the Columbia River, this editorial warns.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/07/20/1534362/administration-has-it-wrong-on.html
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UPDATE: US Raises Safety Concerns Over New Areva Nuclear Design

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has told Areva to supply more details on the safety systems of its next-generation EPR reactor, particularly on whether the systems can operate on their own. "There are areas where the staff simply can't accept Areva's approach," said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100723-711601.html?mod=dist_smartbrief
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Nuke dump shutdown lacks master plan, report says The U.S. Department of Energy is moving quickly with no master plan to shut down a project that would have buried the nation's nuclear waste in Nevada, the department's inspector general said in a report made public Friday.

Energy Dept. official: No master plan for Yucca closure
The Department of Energy has no master plan to guide the closure of the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada, according to a memorandum from Gregory Friedman, the agency's inspector general. Friedman was reportedly informed in March that the agency was drafting a master plan for the project's termination. But in June, he added, he was told that "events were moving so quickly that no further action on the master plan was contemplated." The Seattle Times/The Associated Press
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012434426_apnvnuclearwastesite1stldwritethru.html
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