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Inspection report falsification suspected at Monju fast-breeder

The operator of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture is suspected of falsifying its inspection report to regulators as they later found new pieces of equipment that had not been inspected there, Nuclear Regulation Authority sources said Thursday.

French prosecutor probes Areva buy of Canadian miner

France's financial prosecutor has opened a preliminary probe into state-controlled nuclear giant Areva's controversial 2007 purchase of a Canadian uranium miner, a judicial source said Thursday. The probe focuses on the $2.5 billion (1.8 billion euro) purchase by Areva of UraMin at a height of demand for enriched uranium. Areva was later forced to revalue its UraMin uranium mines to only 410 million euros. Canadian media reports have suggested the sale was preceded by suspicious stock trades.

Czech utility company CEZ cancels tender to build 2 nuclear blocs at Temelin plant

PRAGUE - Czech state-run power utility CEZ says it has cancelled a tender to build two more nuclear reactors at the Temelin power station because falling electricity prices have made the multi-billion dollar project less feasible. U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co. and a consortium led by Russia's Atomstroyexport were bidding to build the reactors. The U.S. embassy is Prague said in a statement the U.S. government was "deeply disappointed" by the decision. CEZ's statement Thursday came a day after the government refused to provide financial guarantees for the plan.

Czech energy firm scraps nuclear plant expansion

Czech energy giant CEZ said Thursday it was scrapping the planned construction of two new reactors at its Temelin nuclear plant, citing "turbulent" conditions in the European energy sector. "CEZ has cancelled the bidding process for the construction of two new units at Temelin. This decision has been announced to all parties," the firm said. It blamed turbulence in the European energy sector where power prices have been affected by new shale gas projects and a focus on renewable energy.

U.S. warns on Iran 'breakout' capability as nuclear talks start

By Justyna Pawlak and Parisa Hafezi VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday Iran has the ability to produce fissile material for a nuclear bomb in two months, if it so decided, as Tehran and six world powers swung into a new round of talks in Vienna on resolving their atomic dispute.

N. Korea nuclear reactor may have been temporarily shut down

North Korea may have temporarily suspended the operation of a nuclear reactor around February due to a cooling system problem, a U.S. institution monitoring the country said Monday. The U.S.-Korea Institute under Johns Hopkins University warned of the possibility of a fire or release of radioactivity at the plant in the Yongbyon nuclear complex, the centerpiece of the country's nuclear program, if a similar problem were to recur.

Radioactivity risk at N.Korea nuke site: US think tank

North Korea's main nuclear site appears to have suffered water supply problems that could lead to an escape of radioactivity in an accident, a US think tank said Monday. Citing recent satellite images, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said the Yongbyon complex seems to be struggling to ensure a stable water supply following heavy rain and floods last summer. The problems pose particular risks for North Korea's first light water reactor which is near completion, it said.

Estimating time to evacuate after nuclear accident behind schedule

Efforts to estimate the time required to evacuate from within 30 kilometers of a nuclear power plant in the event of a major accident are behind schedule in half of the affected prefectures, according to a Kyodo News survey. Local governments lying within a 30-km radius of a nuclear power plant are supposed to estimate the length of time needed for residents to get to safe locations if an evacuation is ordered. They are supposed to use the estimates to pinpoint crossings where congestion is likely in order to coordinate evacuation routes.

West Japan utilities planning to receive power from those in east

Two western Japan power utilities are planning to receive power supply from eastern Japan for the first time to secure a sufficient local supply in the absence of nuclear power generation this summer, industry sources said Friday. Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. may use frequency converters to receive supply from Tokyo Electric Power Co. and other eastern Japan power utilities that have traditionally adopted a frequency different from that for western Japan.

Ruling parties agree on draft energy policy after revisions

The ruling parties approved Thursday an energy policy currently being devised by the government after asking for revisions expected to add weight to boosting renewable energy in Japan. The approval means the government is close to deciding on the so-called Basic Energy Plan, the first of its kind after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis sent shockwaves through the country that was relying on atomic power for about 30 percent of its total electricity supply.
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