Johns Hopkins University researchers are using the International Space Station to test a radiation shield made of fungus-grown melanin embedded in plastic polymers, which could be used to protect humans and equipment in space. Researchers say the material could also be used by "healthcare providers and patients during radiation imaging, radiation therapy and similar procedures."
Exelon plans to buy French utility Electricite de France's 49.99% stake in the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland, as well as both the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in New York. The acquisition is expected to take at least one to two years and will give Exelon full ownership of the facilities.
A leaky pipe valve that was dripping radioactive coolant water at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina has been fixed. The leak prompted the facility's shut-down in early November, but Dominion Energy spokesman Ken Holt said no radioactive water escaped the reactor's containment building.
The National Nuclear Security Administration has reached a settlement agreement with three firms involved with the cancelled Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The NNSA says the $186 million settlement allows the agency to "fully focus on our proposal to repurpose MOX for plutonium pit production."
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing the University of Missouri's demolition plan for its radiation-contaminated Pickard Hall, an approval process that could take from 12 to 24 months. The NRC is most concerned with limiting radiation exposure during the demolition to "adequately protect the public health and safety and the environment," said NRC's Region 3 senior decommissioning inspector Michael LaFranzo.
After hearing two hours of testimony, Williams County, N.D., Commissioners are putting off making a decision on whether to allow Secure Energy Services to use a landfill to dispose of oilfield waste containing Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. A motion to issue the permit was tabled until the commissioners review a law firm's recommendations.
The Nigerian Senate is pushing for the addition of nuclear power to the country's energy mix, and is looking to increase the power of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and revitalize the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission. The Senators are urging the Nigerian federal government to "expedite action on the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards Bill currently with the Senate; and pass into law all treaties and protocols on nuclear energy as ratified by Nigeria."
The new US International Development Finance Corp. should support financing of civil nuclear projects abroad rather than banning such investments, six senators wrote in a letter to the DFC. The senators wrote that the financing ban "sends a harmful signal that American primacy in the civil nuclear sector is waning."
Idaho National Laboratory operations contractor Battelle Energy Alliance is seeking private industry partners to build the fast-neutron-spectrum-testing Versatile Test Reactor, the first new test reactor to be constructed in the US in decades. The Department of Energy says the test reactor will be located at INL or Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with work slated to start in 2022 if Congress appropriates the funding.
The Colorado Court of Appeals has reversed a Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board's "temporary cessation" status extension for the dormant Van 4 uranium mine, ordering the mine closed and directing the owners to comply with reclamation requirements. Groups pushing for the closure say the ruling sets a precedent for dealing with "zombie" uranium mines in the West.
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