Sofia News Agency: Bulgarians, Romanians Building Nuclear Reactor in France Face Ruthless Exploitation
The foreign workers – including many Bulgarians and Romanians – on the construction site of EDF's new-generation nuclear reactor in Flamanville – face severe working conditions, according to French media. Some one-third of the total number of 3 200 workers of the French state energy company EDF on the site in Flamanville are foreigners – mostly Romanians and Bulgarians but also Spanish and Portuguese, reported French news site Europe 1 citing the France Soir newspaper. A few days ago, some of its foreign workers have placed a bumper sticker on the site to express their despair and frustration with their working conditions saying "stress, oppression, despair, we're tired." French trade unions have expressed concern over the working conditions of foreign workers. "They are not quite the same as for French workers, but it is now impossible to know how much they are paid and how many hours they actually do," Jacques Tord of CGT told France Soir, CGT on the Flamanville project.

The Mainichi Daily News: MOX fuel-powered reactor operations set back by possible radioactive material leak
SAGA -- Kyushu Electric Power Co. has put the operations schedule for Japan's first plutonium-thermal nuclear reactor on hold after radioactive iodine levels in the reactor coolant soared, raising the possibility the atomic fuel is leaking radioactive material. On Jan. 11, the company also gave the media a look at the No. 3 reactor facility at its Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in Saga Prefecture as the atomic fuel was withdrawn from the reactor and moved to a holding pool as a safety precaution while technicians attempt to track down the source of the increased levels of radioactive iodine. Sixteen of the 193 fuel units are mixed plutonium and uranium MOX fuel, and attention is now focused on whether the radiation problem is related to the controversial fuel.

NC Warn: Reactor Flaws Neglected as Regulators Rush to License New Nuclear Plants, Says Engineer
Despite the discovery of a continuing series of cracks and holes in protective structures at the nation’s nuclear power plants, federal regulators are bowing to industry pressure and forging ahead to approve new nukes despite a critical design flaw. Federal nuclear regulators are neglecting similar vulnerabilities with Westinghouse’s new reactor in order to accommodate industry pressure for design approval. […]“A large body of work indicates that radiation releases from containment failures in the AP1000 could exceed federal safety limits by up to 1000-fold,” said Arnold Gundersen, chief engineer at Fairewinds Associates today. “But the NRC staff chose to ignore five key areas of containment failures in their rush to fast-track the design approval process – in a clear capitulation to industry pressure.”

The Times of India: 'Jaitapur not a done deal'
The Indo-French civil nuclear energy pact-expected to install state-of-the-art technology in India in generating electricity-is not yet a done deal, according to Luc Oursel, the chief operating officer of French major Areva. Oursel on Tuesday told TOI in an exclusive chat that the Japanese government is throwing spanner in the works in respect of the estimated 7-9 billion twin reactor envisaged to be commissioned by 2018 at Jaitapur in coastal Maharashtra. Each reactor is expected to generate 1,600mw. The best India produces today is about 250mw from a reactor. A critical component in Areva's architecture is "extra-large forgings", which, according to a diplomatic source, is only available in Japan.

Mass Live: Radioactive leaks from 2 pipes at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant did not prompt personnel to inspect other pipes, engineer says
MONTPELIER, Vt. – A high-ranking engineer for the company that owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant said Tuesday that leaks of radioactive water from two pipes didn’t prompt plant personnel to inspect other pipes at the Vernon reactor to see whether they might show similar problems. Entergy Corp. engineer Timothy Trask made the comments as the state Public Service Board began a four-day hearing requested by two environmental groups. One of the groups asked that Vermont Yankee be shut down until it can be fully inspected to guard against leaks like the ones first reported last January. Trask maintained that the leaking pipes were merely a “contributing cause” of tritium – a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is a carcinogen when ingested in high amounts – reaching test wells on the Vermont Yankee plant. But he said they were not the most important, or “root cause,” of radioactive water reaching the environment. That was a gap in the wall of the concrete underground enclosure where the pipes were located, he said. “What root cause analysis was done with regard to the creation of the hole in the pipe?” Public Service Board member John Burke asked during Trask’s testimony. “None,” Trask answered. “It was a contributing cause.”

DC Bureau: Dangerous High-Level Nuclear Waste with Nowhere to Go 
Many nuclear power advocates appeared in front of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future in Augusta, Georgia, on Friday in support of a permanent repository for nuclear waste and supported the concept of reprocessing nuclear waste. Environmentalists opposed reprocessing because there is no permanent waste repository and reprocessing creates more waste. They believe reprocessing wastes taxpayer dollars on special interests. BRAC went to Augusta because the Department of Energy’s massive nuclear facility, the Savannah River Site, and the Southern Company’s two huge new nuclear power plants under construction are nearby. In opposition to reprocessing, environmentalist Tom Clements, the Southeast Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina on the Green Party ticket last year, told the Commission, “There is really no rush concerning high-level waste. There is time to make the right decision.” According to Clements, “the path forward in a medium term is to secure on-site storage, it’s not recycling or reprocessing.