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Justices skeptical of argument to overturn ban on mining radioactive uranium in Virginia

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court seemed reluctant Monday to agree with companies seeking to overturn a decades-old Virginia ban on mining radioactive uranium. The justices heard arguments in a case brought by the owners of a massive uranium deposit in Virginia's Pittsylvania County, which borders North Carolina. It's the largest known uranium deposit in the United States, and its owners have said it contains enough uranium to power all of the country's nuclear reactors continuously for two years. Virginia says nothing in the federal Atomic Energy Act keeps it from banning uranium mining, which it has done since the 1980s. But the uranium companies argue that the state's purpose in passing the ban was improper.

Artificial sponges could pull uranium from seawater for nuclear power

New Scientist

A specialised sponge could harvest uranium from seawater for use as fuel in nuclear power plants, and could also be used to help clean waste from those plants. The easiest way to get uranium is to mine it from ores in Earth's crust. There are about 7.6 million tonnes of uranium that should be relatively simple to mine, which is projected to be enough to cover global needs for about a century. Seawater holds more than 4.5 billion tonnes of uranium, making it potentially an excellent backup source.

Uranium Mining's Past Colors Mount Taylor Mine's Future

U.S. News

Lowery shared her experience with the New Mexico Mining Commission at a two-day hearing May 7-8 in Santa Fe. Petitioners Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment and Amigos Bravos challenged a permit signed Dec. 29 by the director of the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division, allowing the Mount Taylor Mine to emerge from standby status. The groups contend that Rio Grande Resources, owner of the mine, has postponed cleanup by obtaining permits allowing it to remain on standby for two decades.

Iran Passed Its Uranium Limit. What Happens Next?

NYT > Middle East

Iran insists its nuclear work remains peaceful, as guaranteed under the accord. But it also insists that the country has the right to stop honoring some or all of the provisions because the United States has reimposed sanctions in violation of the accord. Here are questions and answers on whether Iran has violated the agreement, the possible consequences, and what could happen next. Iran is permitted to keep up to 300 kilograms, or about 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent purity, a level that can be used for civilian purposes like nuclear power fuel. This is a fraction of the uranium stockpile it had once amassed, which was shipped out of the country after the nuclear agreement took effect.

Nuclear Chief Says Iran Exploring New Uranium Enrichment

U.S. News

The head of Iran's nuclear program says the Islamic Republic has begun "preliminary activities for designing" a modern process for 20-percent uranium enrichment for its 50-year-old research reactor in Tehran, signaling new danger for the nuclear deal.