Russian spy death linked to nuclear black market, and other glowings-on

Oh, nuclear — will it ever cease to amaze? As authorities probe the radiation-poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, they’ve suggested a link to Russia’s robust radioactive-materials black market. The market’s deals, said an International Atomic Energy Agency rep, “are of little concern [terrorism-wise], but they show security vulnerabilities at facilities.” That’s a comfort. In other storage news, incoming U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he’d rather leave 50,000 tons of waste at 65 plants in 31 states than pass the feds’ flawed plan to dump it all at his state’s Yucca Mountain. No doubt easing his mind, the U.S. EPA is expected to issue a waste-disposal rule soon that’s intended to cover the next million years. Meanwhile, in Australia, nuclear task force head Ziggy Switkowski (!) says the country’s first reactors could come online in a decade. Said Labor Party leader (and fun-stopper) Kim Beazley, “We are not a nation that needs to go down that road.”