U.S. federal and state officials sought to ease tensions over the fate of some sensitive nuclear waste, with talks between Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) that were scheduled for Tuesday, Fox News reported.
Federal officials have said the state agreed in a series of memos to accept 403 containers, each holding around six pounds of uranium isotopes 233 and 235, for disposal. However, Sandoval maintains that Nevada never made such a commitment. The materials were to have been transported from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Nevada earlier this year, but with the state rejecting the idea, the canisters never left the Tennessee lab, according to Fox.
“The state of Nevada is not aware of any signed memos between the state and DOE regarding the approval of the material in question,” the governor’s communication director, Mac Bybee, told the television network.
Moniz on Tuesday told reporters that “we agreed to do a different emplacement, a deeper emplacement. And we did that at the request of the state and we’re happy to do so,” Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The original DOE plan for the uranium waste — which is considered low-level risk for making a nuclear weapon but holds the potential for fashioning into a dirty bomb — was to bury it in a shallow landfill at the Nevada National Security Site, located 65 miles outside of Las Vegas, according to the Review-Journal.
In addition, Moniz said “we have agreed and did the analysis to look at a 10,000-year time horizon vs. our standard rule of looking at a 1,000-year time horizon.”
Meantime, the long embattled Yucca Mountain site is one step closer to receiving nuclear detritus, after an appeals court voted 2-1 that Obama administration efforts to abandon the location “violate the law” that designates Yucca Mountain as the national atomic waste repository.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."