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Southern Co. Advances; Atomists and Their Games

Rostov tennis tournament For those who have been following nuclear energy issues for the last 10-15 years, this kind of news can cause a bit of a tingle:

The utility recently cleared a couple of hurdles in the approval process for Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4. Last week, the NRC determined its new Westinghouse AP1000 design meets current federal and state safety requirements. After the Fukushima I disaster, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko had expressed concerns that Westinghouse, a unit of Japan-based Toshiba, had failed to properly measure the impact that earthquakes, tornadoes or other disasters could have on the new design.

Officials approved the plan after Westinghouse addressed those concerns. So far, the NRC has turned a deaf ear to anti-nuclear and other environmental activists who are urging the agency to halt new plant approvals like this one, as well as re-licensing older reactors.

Because we haven’t heard news like this before. It’s all new. And it’s very exciting. (The two reactors should begin operation in 2016 and 2017.)

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Although, the perambulations of stock prices don’t really mean that much to me, it’s interesting to see that investors don’t have a problem with Southern Co.’s nuclear ambitions:

With healthy sales growth and approval of its nuclear plants likely, there’s a lot to love about SO [the stock symbol for Southern] — for steady growth and solid income. SO just set a new 52-week high of $40.87 on July 21 and at $39.41, the utility is trading nearly 12% above its 52-week low of $35.19 last August.

Because really, why should they?

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Hard to say Russians don’t know how to have fun:

A competition held at Rostov to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the commissioning of reactor 1 saw some 48 participants from ten of Russia's nuclear power plants. During an opening ceremony, Ludmila Tkachenko, deputy chairman of the Volgodonsk city government, said: "I admire the work of Rosenergoatom Concern on the organization of sports competitions. There has already become a good tradition for atomists to hold various sports championships, competitions and tournaments in our city."

“Atomists.” I wonder what Russian word led to that translation, but I like it regardless. Looks like a lot of fun and a lot of medals were had by all. The story makes it clear that these are very competitive nuclear facility workers.

The plant has previously hosted and won medals in the All-Russia Hand-To-Hand Combat Tournament and its workers have cycled the 800 kilometre journey home from the Zaporizhzhya plant in Ukraine.

And here we play on softball teams. This video shows you what Russian hand-to-hand combat looks like.

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We’re a little surprised:

Ts. Damdinsuren, a senior Mongolian nuclear official, said Ulan Bator [Mongolia’s capital] has not changed its atomic plans despite the severe nuclear accident that occurred in Japan's Fukushima Daichi plant after the March earthquake and tsunami.

He said Mongolia has rich coal reserves, but using nuclear energy is favorable because fossil fuel could harm human health and the environment.

But only because the story ended up here:

A senior Japanese nuclear engineer said Japan would be glad to provide technology and safety control support for Mongolia's peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Surprised yes, pleased certainly.

The Rostov tennis team.

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