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Radiation levels in seawater off Japan at record levels; plants will get safety upgrade

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan ordered an immediate safety upgrade at its 55 nuclear power plants on Wednesday in its first acknowledgement that standards were inadequate when an earthquake and tsunami wrecked a facility nearly three weeks ago, sparking the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. As operators struggle to regain control of…

US launches review of nuclear plant safety

WASHINGTON – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday it was launching a two-pronged review of US nuclear power plant safety amid the crisis at a Japanese complex hit by an earthquake and tsunami. The US regulator called for an agency task force to be set up to conduct “both short-…

U.S. plans more nuclear inspections after Japan crisis

WASHINGTON – U.S. nuclear regulators are launching additional inspections and considering a 90-day review of the country’s 104 nuclear reactors in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis, officials said on Monday. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission met on Monday to discuss how to respond to the disaster at the Fukushima…

WHO sees Japan food safety situation as “serious”

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and South Korea announced on Monday they will toughen checks of Japanese food for radioactivity, hours after the World Health Organization said the detection of radiation in some food in Japan was a more serious problem than it had expected. China will monitor food imported from…

GE defends nuclear plant design

WASHINGTON — General Electric defended its 40 year old Mark 1 reactors at the center of Japan’s nuclear crisis Friday, saying that early questions about reactor’s safety had long been addressed. GE rejected recent reports of possible design weaknesses in the Mark 1, which accounts for five of the six…

Rand Paul’s budget eliminates agency that regulates nuclear safety

WASHINGTON – As radiation particles from the nuclear hazard in Japan send residents fleeing and make their way across the Pacific Ocean, one U.S. senator introduced a plan to get rid of the agency that regulates nuclear safety. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) unveiled his five-year budget plan Friday, a radical…

IAEA warned Japan that quakes could be too much for nuclear facilities, leaked cable reveals

The international nuclear watchdog warned Japan in 2008 that powerful earthquakes could be too strong for their nuclear reactors, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks Tuesday night. During a December 2008 G8 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) meeting in Tokyo, an official from the International Atomic…

China freezes nuclear approvals after Japan crisis

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s vast nuclear push is likely to slow after the government ordered a safety crackdown on Wednesday in the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear crisis. The announcement by the State Council, or cabinet, was the clearest sign yet that the crisis at a quake-ravaged nuclear complex in northeast…

EU plans ‘stress test’ of all nuclear reactors

Concern over a nuclear crisis developing in Japan has led the European Union to agree to “stress test” all of their nuclear reactors. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Tuesday that “there was a general agreement” to conduct the stress tests. “Nobody spoke against the stress test proposal,” he said.…

Leaked cable: Japanese lawmaker pointed to cover-up of nuclear accidents

As engineers and scientists struggle to control six Japanese nuclear reactors, three of which are in near-meltdown status, the world watches with horror. But even as efforts continue in earnest across Japan, the search for why this is happening has already begun. At least one man might have some theories.…

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