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BP wins 24 tracts in Gulf of Mexico lease sale after U.S. lifts ban

Gulf of mexicoBP Plc rejoined bidders for exploration and production leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and won 24 tracts after the U.S. government lifted a 16-month ban barring the company from new federal contracts.

The Environmental Protection Agency in late 2012 barred BP from bidding on new federal contracts, citing a "lack of business integrity." The action came after the company's 2010 Macondo oil well blowout killed 11 rig workers and unleashed more than 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf in the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

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US nuclear site fire 'was preventable'

US nuclear fire Maintenance and safety lapses were at the root of a lorry fire that shut down the only US underground nuclear waste repository in February, a report says.

The report also cited problems with emergency response and oversight at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), outside Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The state's two senators called the findings "deeply concerning". WIPP, which holds specific kinds of defence nuclear waste, remains closed after a radiation leak last month.

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U.S. top court rules against Argentina in arbitration fight

US Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled for British company BG Group Plc in its effort to reinstate a $185.3 million arbitration award against Argentina that a U.S. appeals court threw out.

On a 7-2 vote, the court said the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., did not show sufficient deference to arbitrators in deciding the case. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority.

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Thirteen workers test positive for radiation at New Mexico waste site

New Mexico nuclear wasteThirteen workers have tested positive for radiation exposure tied to an accidental release earlier this month of high levels of radiation in an underground nuclear waste repository in New Mexico, the U.S. Department of Energy said on Wednesday.

No workers were underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in southeastern New Mexico when air sensors half a mile below surface in an ancient salt formation triggered an alarm on February 14 indicating excessive amounts of radioactive particles.

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Shiny And New: World's Largest Solar Plant Opens In Nevada

solar plantThe world's largest solar power plant, made up of thousands of mirrors focusing the sun's energy, has officially started operations in Nevada's Mojave Desert.

The $2.2 billion, 400-megawatt , which covers 5 square miles near the Nevada-California border and has three 40-story towers where the light is focused, is a joint project by NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy. The project received a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee.

The plant, which went online Thursday, is to power 140,000 homes. It was dedicated by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

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Surveillance network built to spot secret nuclear tests yields surprise scientific boon

international systemIt records sounds that no human ear can hear, like the low roar of a meteor slicing through the upper atmosphere, or the hum an iceberg makes when smacked by an ocean wave.

It has picked up threats invisible to the human eye, such as the haze of radioactive particles that circled the planet after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in 2011.

The engineers who designed the world’s first truly planetary surveillance network two decades ago envisioned it as a way to detect illegal nuclear weapons tests. Today, the nearly completed International Monitoring System is proving adept at tasks its inventors never imagined.

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Nuclear power: why US nuclear 'renaissance' fizzled and plants are closing

nuclear plantsA funny thing happened on the way to a nuclear renaissance: For the first time in 15 years, operating nuclear plants are being forced to close, and energy companies are scuttling plans for new plants and upgrades to existing ones.

In addition to four closures of nuclear plants so far this year, two other US nuclear plants are at a crossroads, and dozens more at risk of early retirement.

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