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Following the filing of a lawsuit alleging that Westinghouse Electric Co. violated labor laws by laying off hundreds of workers without proper notice, the bankrupt nuclear company confirmed Friday that it has furloughed 870 employees across the company. The number represents all full-time Westinghouse employees who had been working on the VC Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina and includes 125 workers at Westinghouse’s Cranberry headquarters. The majority of the furloughs took place at the site of the VC Summer nuclear power plant construction project. The project was canceled last week by two South Carolina utilities. Years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, the project was expected to cost another $8 billion to complete. In addition to the Westinghouse layoffs, thousands of contractors working on the South Carolina site also lost their jobs. The lawsuit, filed in bankruptcy court on Thursday by Andrew Fleetwood, a field engineering manager at VC Summer, claims Westinghouse employees like him were furloughed “without being given any indication that his employment or that of his co-workers would ever recommence.”

Pittsburgh Gazette 11th Aug 2017 read more »

Gov. Henry McMaster is reportedly considering selling state-owned electric utility Santee Cooper as a way to pay for at least one of two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that McMaster is “pursuing several options” to raise the money needed to finish the project, which Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas abandoned last week in the face of rising costs and the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse Electric. McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes would not confirm that the possibility of selling Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper to another utility is on the table, but he said the governor is looking for ways to complete the nuclear project.

Post & Courier 7th Aug 2017 read more »

In the early days of atomic energy, the federal government powered up an experimental reactor in Idaho with an ambitious goal: create a “wonder fuel” for the nation. The reactor was one of the nation’s first “breeder” reactors — designed to make its own new plutonium fuel while it generated electricity, solving what scientists at the time thought was a looming shortage of uranium for power plants and nuclear weapons. It went into operation in 1964 and kept the lights burning at the sprawling national laboratory for three decades. But enthusiasm eventually waned for the breeder reactor program owing to safety concerns, high costs and an adequate supply of uranium. Today, its only legacy is 26 metric tons of highly radioactive waste. What to do with that spent fuel is causing the federal government deepening political, technical, legal and financial headaches.

LA Times 11th Aug 2017 read more »

Nineteen years after work began to empty the thick, radioactive sludge in Hanford’s C Farm tanks, the end may be in sight. Work was expected to resume Thursday night for a final campaign to remove the remaining sludge in the last of the 16 tanks in the group called C Farm. If work goes as planned, Tank C-105 could be emptied by the end of the year.

Tri-City Herald 10th Aug 2017 read more »

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Published: 13 August 2017