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Monitors indicate 2nd, small radiation release from troubled nuclear waste dump in New Mexico

CARLSBAD, N.M. - New air sampling data from southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump indicates there has been another small radiation release. Department of Energy officials say a monitoring station picked up elevated radiation readings around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad on March 11. That's nearly a month after a Valentine's Day leak contaminated 17 workers and shut the only repository for toxic waste from the nation's nuclear bomb-building program.

Could Iran's Arak reactor be "de-fanged" to ease bomb fears?

By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran appears ready to help allay international concerns that a planned research reactor could yield nuclear bomb material, raising hope for a compromise on a tough sticking point in negotiations with world powers. How to deal with the Arak plant is expected to be among several thorny issues to be tackled in this week's round of talks between Iran and the six global powers in Vienna, with the aim of resolving the decade-old nuclear dispute by late July.

Greenpeace stages audacious protest at France's oldest nuclear plant

Dozens of Greenpeace activists sneaked into France's oldest nuclear power plant Tuesday in the latest break-in by the environmental group to highlight alleged security weaknesses at atomic facilities. The 60-odd activists broke into the Fessenheim plant in eastern France near the border with Germany and Switzerland and hung a banner reading "Stop risking Europe" on the side of one of its reactors. The action aimed "to denounce the risk of French nuclear power for the whole of Europe", the group said in a statement.

Greenpeace stages audacious protest at France's oldest nuclear plant

Dozens of Greenpeace activists sneaked into France's oldest nuclear power plant Tuesday in the latest break-in by the environmental group to highlight alleged security weaknesses at atomic facilities. The 60-odd activists broke into the Fessenheim plant in eastern France near the border with Germany and Switzerland and hung a banner reading "Stop risking Europe" on the side of one of its reactors. The action was "to denounce the risk of French nuclear power for the whole of Europe," the group said in a statement.

Factbox: Enrichment, Arak among key hurdles in Iran nuclear talks

(Reuters) - The future scope of Iran's uranium enrichment program and the fate of its Arak reactor - projects the West fears could yield atom bomb fuel - must be agreed if a decade-old dispute over Tehran's atomic activity is to be finally settled. Both issues are expected to be on the agenda during a March 18-19 meeting between Iran and six world powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - in Vienna. Iran says its nuclear work is peaceful.

World leaders seek action to counter nuclear terrorism risk-draft

By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - World leaders are expected to call next week for more action to minimize civilian use of highly-enriched nuclear fuel to help prevent al Qaeda-style militants from obtaining atomic bombs, a draft summit statement shows. Holding a third nuclear security summit since 2010, in The Hague on March 24-25, leaders from 53 countries - including U.S. President Barack Obama - will say much headway has been made in reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism in the past four years.

Asian editorial excerpts

Selected editorial excerpts from the Asia-Pacific press: KEEP TABS ON JAPAN PLUTONIUM (South China Morning Post, Hong Kong)

Iran's Zarif expects 'tougher' round of nuclear talks with world powers

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday he expects a more difficult round of nuclear talks with six world powers as the two sides try to iron out details such as Iran's Arak heavy water reactor and levels of uranium enrichment. The two sides are to meet again in Vienna on Tuesday to try to build on an interim agreement reached late last year in Geneva by reaching a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic's atomic activities by late July.

Operations resume at Halifax port after short-lived radiation scare

HALIFAX - A Halifax container port was bustling Saturday after being shut down for more than a day when cylinders carrying radioactive material fell about six metres as they were being unloaded from a ship. Calvin Whidden, senior vice-president for Cerescorp, said work at the Fairview Cove container terminal in the city's north end resumed at 8 a.m. Saturday after experts wrapped up their examination of the area and confirmed there was no leakage of granular uranium hexafluoride.

Safety lapses rapped after US nuclear plant fire

A fire which sparked the evacuation of a major underground US nuclear waste plant last month was preventable, according to a report out Friday highlighting safety lapses at the site. Poor training, badly maintained equipment and unclear procedures were criticized in the report into the subterranean blaze at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Eighty-six workers were underground when the fire broke out on a salt-hauling truck on February 5, in a rare accident at the site used to dispose of material including plutonium-contaminated waste.
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