Calls to use a proposed nuclear site, now deemed safe
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday released a long-delayed report on the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a disposal spot for nuclear waste, finding that the design met the commission’s requirements, laying the groundwork to restart the project if control of the Senate changes hands in the elections next month.
Study chides U.S. over loan default by solar business
WASHINGTON — Long before the Energy Department lost $68 million on Abound Solar, a manufacturer that went bankrupt two years ago, it should have known that the company’s chance of repaying the loan it had guaranteed was deteriorating, according to a report by the department’s inspector general.
Asiana airlines: secondary cause of San Francisco crash was bad software
WASHINGTON — While the world has been fixated on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the investigation in the crash of another Boeing 777, the Asiana flight into San Francisco last July, is plodding forward, and the Korean carrier is raising arguments that threaten to put another question mark over the jetliner.
Speculation widens over missing jet’s fate as search area expands
WASHINGTON — Watching a seat-back display with a plane-shaped icon gliding across the map, it is easy to forget that in true scale, the airplane is very small and the route very large. As the hours and days drag by with no trace of the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand early Saturday, the world is getting a reminder that if something goes wrong on a jet five miles up in the sky, traveling at 10 miles a minute, it can cover a lot of ground — or water — before it comes down to earth.
IRS focus on conservatives gives GOP issue to seize on
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service’s special scrutiny of small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status went beyond keyword hunts for organizations with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names, to a more overtly ideological search for applicants seeking to “make America a better place to live” or “criticize how the country is being run,” according to part of a draft audit by the inspector general that has been given to Capitol Hill.
Flights delayed amid budget-cut furloughs of air controllers
WASHINGTON — Flights were delayed by up to two hours across the country Monday, the first weekday that the nation’s air traffic control system operated with 10 percent fewer controllers. Pilots, gate agents and others were quick to blame furloughs caused by mandatory across-the-board budget cuts, but the Federal Aviation Administration said it was too soon to assign blame.
Flawed US reactors
WASHINGTON — All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives.
Energy Department to rouse a loan guarantee program
WASHINGTON — Six months after the expiration of a federal loan guarantee program that backed $16 billion in loans to solar, wind and geothermal energy projects, the Energy Department has decided to offer a smaller set of similar guarantees by tapping another pot of money appropriated by Congress last year.
US pushes nuclear energy, but its projects lag
WASHINGTON — In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed giving the nuclear construction business a type of help it has never had, a role in a quota for clean energy. But recent setbacks in a hoped-for “nuclear renaissance” raise questions about how much of a role nuclear power can play.
The oil spill: tackling questions of liability, cleanup, & consequences
On the evening of April 20, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and injuring 17. Two days later it sank in 5,000 feet of water.
Disposal of plutonium from accord likely to take decades
The plutonium that is the key ingredient in thousands of nuclear weapons sidelined in the new arms control treaty between the United States and Russia is likely to be around for decades at least, according to experts. They say the process for destroying plutonium has not yet started to whittle down the surplus created by previous agreements.
Report Links Vehicle Exhaust To Health Problems
Exhaust from cars and trucks exacerbates asthma in children and may cause new cases as well as other respiratory illnesses and heart problems resulting in deaths, an independent institute that focuses on vehicle-related air pollution has concluded.
Air Traffic System Fails, Causing Delays in Flight in Eastern U.S.
Flights over much of the eastern United States were delayed Thursday by a predawn failure in a fairly new communications system, which led to the shutdown of a computer that accepts flight plans from the airlines and feeds them to air traffic controllers.
Energy Dept. Aid Goes to Cutting-Edge Research
The federal Energy Department will make good on a pledge for a bolder technology strategy on Monday, awarding research grants for ideas like bacteria that will make gasoline, enzymes that will capture carbon dioxide to counter global warming and batteries so cheap that they will allow the use of solar power all night long.
Pilots Who Missed Airport Cite Computer Distraction
Any employee at a company that has gone through a merger knows how distracting it can be when the new owner imposes new rules. That distraction, not a nap, was what two Northwest Airlines pilots insist caused them to fly far beyond the Minneapolis airport last week, federal investigators reported Monday.
A Nuclear Advisory Panel Now Focusing On Waste Recycling
With a federal plan to handle nuclear waste in deadlocked disarray, an advisory panel that has spent 20 years studying a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain turned Wednesday to discussing ways of reusing the fuel instead.
Stimulus Puts ‘Clean’ Coal Projects on Faster Track
Near the middle of a dusty construction site here stands a patch of land, about the size of two football fields, notable because it is empty.
In Washington, Car Companies Plead for Bailout
Executives of Detroit’s Big Three automakers traveled to Washington on Thursday to press their case for more financial aid from the federal government because of the bleak prospects for their industry.
Nuclear Research Reactors Perilous, Says GAO Report
The risks of a terrorist attack on a nuclear reactor on a college campus, and the potential consequences, have been underestimated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, congressional auditors say in a report.
For Airlines, Runways Growing Increasingly Dangerous
The recent groundings of thousands of flights have raised flags about skipped airplane inspections and botched repairs to wiring.
Move From Coal to Gas Raises Risk of Price Increase
Stymied in their plans to build new coal-burning power plants, American utilities are turning to natural gas to meet expected growth in demand, risking a new spiral in the price of that fuel.
Commercial Airlines Given Priority In Military Airspace to Cut Delays
A week before the peak Thanksgiving travel period, the White House got involved at an unusually detailed level with air traffic, as President Bush announced Thursday that airlines will be able to make fuller use of military airspace to relieve congestion and cut delays.
5 Nuclear Facilities To Miss Upcoming Security Deadline
More than a year after Congress told the Energy Department to harden the nation’s nuclear bomb factories and laboratories against terrorist raids, five of the 11 sites are certain to miss their deadlines, some by many years, the Government Accountability Office has found.