Nuclear: Mickey Mouse energy solutionToday's big stories from the nuclear industry:

Shimane offline following faulty inspections

Operation of the two-unit Shimane nuclear power plant in Japan has been suspended following the discovering that some past inspections of equipment at the plant had not been properly conducted, Chugoku Electric Power Co announced. The utility said that it would shut unit 1 of its Shimane plant today in order to conduct a voluntary inspection. Unit 2 was last week shut for a planned maintenance outage. Chugoku said that it became aware that one of the motor-driven isolation valves outside of the high-pressure steam injection system had not been replaced. Although the motor was still working, the company subsequently discovered that other valves and motors at the plant had not been inspected and replaced as scheduled. In total, the company found 74 such cases at unit 1 and 49 at unit 2.

Japan Says Vietnam to Consider Japanese Nuclear Technology

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Vietnam will consider use of Japanese technology for nuclear energy, Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama told reporters in Tokyo. Hatoyama said he received a letter from Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Tan Dung on nuclear power plant construction. Hatoyama was to write a letter to his Vietnamese counterpart earlier this month to solicit a contract for a 1 trillion yen ($11 billion) nuclear power plant project, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said on March 1.

China's Hu to attend nuclear summit in Washington

BEIJING — China announced Thursday that President Hu Jintao will attend a summit on nuclear security in the United States this month, signaling an easing of strained relations between the countries. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Hu would stop in Washington for the April 12-13 summit on his way to Brazil, Venezuela and Chile. It had not been clear if Hu would attend the U.S.-hosted event because of Chinese unhappiness over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.'

U.S. commander reveals true purpose of troops in Okinawa is to remove N. Korea's nukes

The commander of U.S. Marine Corps troops in Asia has recently revealed to Japanese defense officials that the true purpose of stationing Marines in Okinawa is to remove North Korea of its nuclear weapons if its regime collapses, sources close to the government say. Ironically, confusion within the government over the selection of a relocation site for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture has helped extract the true intentions of U.S. forces. The question is whether it will pave the way for the building of an equal partnership between Japan and the United States as the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has pursued.'

Greenpeace and Dr. Helen Caldicott underscores health impacts of Vermont Yankee

Burlington – This afternoon, Dr. Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and anti-nuclear activist, spoke in Burlington on the dangers of nuclear energy. She took specific aim at Vermont’s aging nuclear reactor in Vernon–Vermont Yankee–and the reasons why it is not safe to operate past its scheduled closing date in 2012. Dr. Caldicott was joined by Susan Ritz, a member of the Vermont Natural Resources Council board and a Montpelier resident, who told an impassioned story of her experience being in the fall out zone of Chernobyl. Jarred Cobb, a Burlington-based organizer with Greenpeace also spoke.

Speaker warns of nuclear danger

Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, warned of the medical hazards posed by nuclear power and called on Vermont to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor in a lecture in Filene Auditorium on Wednesday. Making frequent use of the blackboard to illustrate her points, Caldicott described the ways in which each stage of the production of nuclear power, from the mining of uranium to the storing of nuclear waste, can release dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals into the environment. Radiation exposure can lead to uncontrollable cancerous cell growth, Caldicott said.

DOE may face new central Hanford cleanup deadlines

The Department of Energy and its regulators have tentatively agreed to changes in legal deadlines for cleanup of central Hanford and on a general framework to prepare for environmental cleanup work there. The revised deadlines under the legally binding Tri-Party Agreement won't be adopted until the public has a chance to comment. Under the proposed deadlines, DOE would face a tight schedule for coming up with a plan to clean up contaminated ground water in central Hanford. But DOE would have more time to come up with a plan to clean up contaminated soil deep underground. "It became apparent to us we needed more time for the deep vadose zone," said Dennis Faulk, Hanford program manager for the Environmental Protection Agency.