The Japanese government on Tuesday said it would spend the equivalent of $470 million to try to tackle the toxic water crisis at the country's crippled nuclear power plant.
The government of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe is stepping in, as the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, struggles to deal with an array of problems.FULL STORY
Japan's nuclear watchdog on Wednesday said a toxic water leak at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant has been classified as a level 3 "serious incident" on an international scale.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said it had made the decision after consulting with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said Juntaro Yamada, a spokesman for the regulator.FULL STORY
Attempts by the operator of Japan's stricken nuclear power plant to deal with alarming leaks of toxic water are like a game of "whack-a-mole," the country's industry minister said Monday.
The time has come for the government to step in, Toshimitsu Motegi believes.
A litany of problems has beset the Fukushima Daiichi power plant since it was crippled by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan in 2011. The most troubling at the moment is how to contain the swelling volume of radioactive water flowing from the damaged reactor buildings.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday for a resolution strengthening sanctions on North Korea.
The Security Council resolution targeting North Korea and its nuclear program includes tough new financial sanctions, travel restrictions, and inspection powers.
"These sanctions will bite and bite hard," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told reporters after the unanimous resolution vote on Thursday.FULL STORY
The United States and China reached a tentative deal for a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution on more sanctions for North Korea after its latest nuclear test, a senior Obama administration official told CNN.
The full council is expected to deal with the issue on Tuesday.FULL STORY
Diplomats emerged Wednesday from an unusually secretive round of talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program with a joint announcement to hold a follow-up meeting within weeks.
In a joint statement after the meeting in Kazakhstan, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, announced that technical experts would meet in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 18.FULL STORY
A tank storing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is leaking liquids to the tune of 150-300 gallons per year, the governor said Friday.
"This is an extremely toxic substance and we have to have a zero tolerance policy for leaks of radioactive material into the ground, and potentially groundwater of the state of Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters.
He stressed the leak poses no immediate public heath risk, but said that fact should not be an excuse for complacence.FULL STORY
Two nuclear reactors on South Korea's southwest coast have been shut down after the government announced it had discovered "unproven" parts were being used in such plants, according to a report Monday from Yonhap news agency.
Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo said there's no threat of a radiation leak, saying the parts in question were "ordinary" - things such as fuses and power switches - and are unrelated to the reactors themselves but haven't met the requirements to be used in nuclear plants.
According to Hong, eight suppliers faked 60 warranties for 234 parts (involving a total of 7,682 items worth about 820 million won, or $750,000) since 2003, Yonhap reported.
August 6 is a day of anniversaries. Unfortunately, some of them are dubious milestones.
Topping the list is the first anniversary of the Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 U.S. service members, 22 of them Navy SEALs. Included were some members of Team 6, the unit credited with the raid that killed terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.
CNN.com's Ashley Fantz was able to find a heartwarming angle to this tragic anniversary, revisiting an iReport posted by Braydon Nichols, the son of Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols, who piloted the Chinook. The boy, now 11, asked that no one forget his father, and judging from the reaction to young Braydon's iReport post, no one has.
His brother, Monte, adds that Braydon is doing well in school and coping with the loss of his father as well as can be expected.
Monday also marks the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II.
President Barack Obama announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil Tuesday, warning Tehran that it faces "growing consequences" for refusing to answer international questions about its nuclear program.
The first set of sanctions announced will target the Islamic republic's energy and petrochemical industries, a move designed to "deter Iran from establishing payment mechanisms for the purchase of Iranian oil to circumvent existing sanctions," a White House statement explains.
The statement continues, "Sanctions are also authorized for those who may seek to avoid the impact of these sanctions, including against individuals and entities that provide material support to the National Iranian Oil Company, Naftiran Intertrade Company, or the Central Bank of Iran, or for the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the government of Iran."
The second set of sanctions will target banks, "a significant step to hold responsible institutions that knowingly enable financial transactions for designated Iranian banks," the statement said.
The Department of Treasury specifically targeted Bank of Kunlun in China and Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq. The two financial institutions are alleged to have facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars for Iranian banks that are under sanctions because of the country's nuclear proliferation activities, according to the statement.
A Japanese government report Monday heaped fresh criticism on the operator of the nuclear power plant where a disastrous accident was set off last year by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country.
The measures taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant operator, and the Japanese nuclear regulator to prepare for disasters were "insufficient," the report by a government-formed panel of investigators said, and the response to the crisis was "inadequate."
The crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
Even now, more than one year after the disaster began, TEPCO doesn't seem to be making much effort to clearly investigate the causes of the accident at the plant, the 10-member panel, led by Tokyo University engineering professor Yotaro Hatamura, said in the report Monday.FULL STORY
Embattled Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko announced Monday he is resigning.
Jaczko, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has been under fire after Democratic and Republican members of the commission complained about his management style earlier this year.
In his statement Monday, Jaczko said he would stay on until a successor is confirmed by Congress.FULL STORY
A U.N. nuclear inspector from South Korea was killed Tuesday in a car accident in Iran, state-run media reported.
Ok-Seok Seo was traveling with another inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency near the Khandab nuclear complex in central Markazi province when their vehicle overturned, state news agencies said, citing Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.
The IAEA has not commented on the report.FULL STORY
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors Thursday, the first authorized in over 30 years. CNN looked into safety at U.S. plants. There are 23 nuclear reactors in the United States that use the General Electric-designed Mark 1 containment housing, which is similar to the design at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. Readers talked about the safety of U.S. plants.
Some readers thought the concerns were overblown. This was the most-liked comment:
Jack Baker: "We have been using nuclear power for over 50 years, and there have been very few serious incidents, and only a couple of incidents with injuries or radiation release. And considering that the quantity of waste by-product is significantly less than any other type of power generation, including natural gas, how can people be so adamant against nuclear power?"
There were many who responded in turn to Jack Baker's coment.
MK54: "I believe that rendering a portion of the Earth uninhabitable for centuries, maybe more is a tremendous and unacceptable disaster, because of the persistence, even if no person is directly killed. The scale of a disaster is not always just in people killed. Earth is a beautiful and hospitable place, but it is up to us to keep it that way."
pwrphoto: "Many people would say that it's because of ignorance but I think it is mostly due to the subjective nature of how we, humans, perceive risk. Risk has two components: likelihood and impact. Your comment focuses on both risk and likelihood but most people only look at the impact. That is, they don't care if having a nuclear accident is very unlikely. They just care that if there is an accident the consequences are extreme. It is for the same reason that airplane accidents attract more attention than each individual road accident."
PatriotEagle: "Also, unlike Japan we don't get tsunamis. And France is completely energy because they run the whole country on nuclear energy and there's not been one nuclear problem to my knowledge in France."
One reader replied to the "Why?" and wondered why other kinds of energy aren't being explored. FULL POST
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors Thursday, the first authorized in over 30 years.
The reactors are being built in Georgia by a consortium of utilities led by Southern Co. They will be sited at the Vogtle nuclear power plant complex, about 170 miles east of Atlanta. The plant already houses two older reactors.
"Today marks an advancement in our nation's energy policy," Southern Company chief executive Thomas Fanning said at a press conference after the approval. "The project is on track, and our targets related to cost and schedule are achievable."
The five-member NRC voted in favor of the licenses four to one, with Chairman Gregory Jaczko dissenting.FULL STORY
Gravel quarried inside Japan's Fukushima nuclear evacuation zone has turned up in construction projects in the city of Nihonmatsu, including an elementary school and a condominium, according to Japanese media reports.
The Mainichi Daily News, citing government investigators, reports Thursday that the radioactive gravel has been shipped to more than 200 companies and may be in everything from bridges to homes for evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The disaster left more than 15,000 people dead and damaged the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, causing radiation leaks when three nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns.
The government established a 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone around the damaged plant on April 22. The suspect construction material came from a quarry in Namie, within the evacuation zone, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. But it was originally shipped to 19 companies between the time of the quake and the establishment of the zone, according to a Mainichi report.
A nuclear scientist was killed in a blast in Tehran on Wednesday morning, an Iranian news agency reported. It's the latest in a string of attacks that Iran has blamed on Israel.
A motorcyclist placed a magnetic bomb under Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's Peugeot 405, the state-run IRNA news agency said. The blast also wounded two others, IRNA said.
State television channel Press TV reported later Wednesday that Roshan's driver, named as Reza Qashqaei, had died in a hospital from his injuries.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned the attack and said it would not undermine Iran's resolve. "This is not the first time that arrogant powers adopt such futile measures," he said, according to Press TV.FULL STORY
Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan exchanged lists of their nuclear sites Sunday in accordance with a 1988 agreement that prohibits the neighboring countries from attacking the locations, officials in Islamabad said.
Pakistan's foreign ministry confirmed that it turned in its list to the Indian High Commission, and received the same from New Delhi. There was no immediate comment from Indian officials.
Both countries recently returned to talks on conventional and nuclear weapons, Indian officials have said.
No major developments were expected from the high-level talks, which were held in Islamabad last week. The discussions were aimed at building confidence between the two nuclear powers, according to a December statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.FULL STORY
Russian authorities seized radioactive material from the luggage of a passenger on a flight from Moscow to Tehran on Friday.
The luggage, belonging to an Iranian citizen, contained 18 metal objects packed in individual steel cases, Russia's Federal Customs Service said in a statement. The agency said the material, the radioactive isotope sodium-22, can be obtained in a nuclear reactor.
Initial tests showed that radiation levels of the objects were 20 times above normal, the customs service said.
The Russian atomic agency Rosatom, however, said sodium-22 is exclusively used for medical and scientific research and does not have a high radiation level. Rosatom contradicted the custom agency's claim that the material can only come from a nuclear reactor.FULL STORY
Officials in Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, are investigating soil samples after a radioactive substance was found in sediment atop an apartment building about 155 miles (250 kilometers) from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to news reports.
The discovery has raised concerns that leaked radiation from three Fukushima reactors that suffered meltdowns after the March earthquake and tsunami may be more widespread than thought, The Japan Times reported Wednesday.
The findings come after a travel alert issued by the U.S. government last week, warning Americans in Japan to avoid areas near the stricken reactors.
The alert recommends that U.S. citizens stay away from areas within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the nuclear facility. The State Department also admonished Americans to stay away from territory northwest of the plant in a zone that Japan calls the "Deliberate Evacuation Area." The zone includes Iitate-mura, the Yamagiya district of Kawamata-machi, Katsurao-mura, Namie-machi and parts of Minamisoma.
The radioactive isotope strontium-90 was detected on a rooftop by a private agency responding to a resident's request, The Japan Times reported.
Strontium-90 has been found in Japan at concentrations up to 20 becquerels before the nuclear crisis, The Japan Times said. The latest discovery found the strontium-90 level at 195 becquerels, according to the paper.
Since strontium-90, which has a half-life of 29 years, is widely dispersed in the environment and the food chain in trace amounts, external exposure is minimal, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. With internal exposure at high concentrations, strontium-90 can accumulate in the bones and is “one of the more hazardous constituents of nuclear wastes,” according to the EPA.
Meanwhile Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the embattled utility whose territory includes the nuclear crisis zone, held a disaster drill at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power, according to news reports.