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Nuclear Power Whistleblowers Charge Federal Regulators With Favoring Secrecy Over Safety

nuclear whistleblowersRichard H. Perkins and Larry Criscione are precise and formal men with more than 20 years of combined government and military service. Perkins held posts at the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration before joining the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Division of Risk Analysis in 2008. Criscione landed at the agency a year later, after five years aboard the USS Georgia as a submarine warfare officer.

Now both men are also reluctant whistleblowers, stepping out publicly to accuse the NRC of being both disconcertingly sluggish and inappropriately secretive about severe -- and in one case, potentially catastrophic -- flood risks at nuclear plants that sit downstream from large dams.

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Possible generator tampering found at San Onofre nuclear plant

San Onofre nuclear plantOperators of the San Onofre nuclear power plant say someone may have tampered with an emergency generator but there's no danger because both reactors at the Southern California plant are shut down.

The Orange County Register ( http://bit.ly/U5Cfjs ) says the operator, Southern California Edison, announced Thursday that coolant was found in the oil system of the Unit 3 backup diesel generator.

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US may soon become world's top oil producer

US oil productionU.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.

Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.

The boom has surprised even the experts.

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Dept. of Energy confirms tank leak at Hanford nuclear reservation

Tank leak at HanfordThe Department of Energy has confirmed that its oldest double-shell tank is actively leaking radioactive and hazardous chemical waste from its inner shell.

DOE made the announcement Monday after a video inspection of the area between the shells Sunday showed more waste in one place than a video taken Thursday showed.

"It's a very, very small volume," said Tom Fletcher, DOE assistant manager for the tank farms. Although there's no good way to measure the amount, it could be a couple of tablespoons of additional waste between the video inspections.

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Leaked Report Suggests Long-Known Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants, Safety Advocates Say

NuclearAn un-redacted version of a recently released Nuclear Regulatory Commission report highlights the threat that flooding poses to nuclear power plants located near large dams -- and suggests that the NRC has misled the public for years about the severity of the threat, according to engineers and nuclear safety advocates.

"The redacted information shows that the NRC is lying to the American public about the safety of U.S. reactors," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and safety advocate with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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British engineers produce amazing 'petrol from air' technology

Petrol from airA small company in the north of England has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity. Experts tonight hailed the astonishing breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against climate change and a saviour for the world’s energy crisis.

The technology, presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before "electrolysing" the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.

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'Hundreds of problems' at EU nuclear plants

European nuclear plant problemsHundreds of problems have been found at European nuclear plants that would cost 25bn euros (£20bn) to fix, says a leaked draft report.
The report, commissioned after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, aimed to see how Europe's nuclear power stations would cope during extreme emergencies.

The final report is to be published on Thursday. The draft says nearly all the EU's 143 nuclear plants need improving. Anti-nuclear groups say the report's warnings do not go far enough.

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