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The Morning Briefing: Nuclear plants, waste and politics

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"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's morning roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about nuclear energy -- plants, waste, and politics.

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's morning roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about nuclear energy -- plants, waste, and politics.

1.) Japan expected to report first trade deficit since 1980. Following the Fukushima disaster, official figures that are to be released haveaused speculation of a financial deficit. Following the loss of nuclear power, the sudden and expensive need to import energy to cover the sudden loss of reactor power will place Japan in deficit for the next few years. Japan's central bank said it expected the economy to shrink by 0.4 percent in the year, instead of expanding.

2.) Nuclear waste to be buried in Eastern Ontario? Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. have put forward a proposal to bury low and intermediate-level atomic waste in a rock repository two hours outside of Ottawa. Natural Resources Canada is currently seeking expert reviews of the potential environmental and health impacts of such a move. The waste could include contaminated industrial garbage, research and reactor operational waste, or 'legacy' waste.

3.) Californian drinking water potentially at risk from radioactive contamination. A new study released by the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and Environment California Research and Policy Center suggests that the drinking water for 2.3 million people in California could be contaminated from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant.

4.) 11 Japanese universities received nuclear energy research grants. Top universities in Japan, including Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo, accepted approximately 10.4 billion yen a year in research funds from 2006 to 2010, according to the Mainichi Shimbun. These grants were received from the government and players in the energy industry.

5.) Sellafield plutonium reactor plans rejected. A proposal to build a plutonium-burning reactor in Cumbria, UK, has been rejected by the government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Internal emails acquired by the Guardian shows that the NDA views the reactor technology as 'immature and commercially unproven'.

6.) Japan suspends another reactor. In the Niigata area, central Japan, another reactor's activities have been suspended for checkups -- leaving only four out of 54 reactors in service. Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), a power utility in Japan, currently only has one out of its 17 reactors in service -- with this singular power source scheduled to be suspended later in the year.

7.) Obama warns Iran that there are "no options off the table" concerning its nuclear program. The U.S. plans to maintain pressure on the country, although reportedly hopes to come to a peaceful resolution in terms of its plans to consider nuclear weaponry.

Image credit: Calus Rebler/Flickr

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure