May 24, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports

MONTPELIER, Vt.

States with nuclear plants press NRC on waste issues

Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut are petitioning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a more thorough review of issues connected with storage of highly radioactive nuclear waste at plant sites.

Thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel are stored at reactors like New York's Indian Point, the Vermont Yankee plant, the Pilgrim nuclear station in Massachusetts and the closed Maine Yankee plant in Wiscasset, as the federal government's 30-year-old promise to find a permanent waste site remains unfilled.

The states' petition asks the NRC to consider a broader range of possible solutions, including a possible industrywide shutdown so no new waste is generated.

The petition comes nearly a year after a federal appeals court ruled that the NRC had not adequately analyzed the risks of storing spent fuel at individual reactor sites.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Agency given grant to rid homes of lead-based paint

The federal government is giving a Rhode Island housing agency $2.5 million to find and eliminate the threat of household lead paint.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the grant Thursday. The money will pay for the removal of lead-based paint and other sources of lead in an estimated 200 housing units occupied by low-income families. Another 180 homes will receive lead hazard assessments.

The Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp. will administer the funds, which are part of a national $98 million initiative to fight lead poisoning.

CONCORD, N.H.

Tree-killing beetle found in 5 percent of forest trees

New Hampshire forest officials say an invasive beetle that destroys ash trees has been found in about 5 percent of trees surveyed in central Concord.

Officials discovered the beetle earlier this year in Concord and Bow. Agencies have been testing ash trees within a six-mile radius.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has declared this Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. The state has put a permanent quarantine in place since the insect was detected earlier this year. No ash materials can be moved out of Merrimack County, and other materials are subject to regulation, such as ash hardwood firewood, lumber and wood chips.

Lawyer who used daughter to make porn is sentenced

A New Hampshire woman has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually exploiting her teenage daughter to produce child pornography.

The woman -- a 43-year-old Manchester lawyer -- was convicted in January of transporting her daughter across state lines to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography and six counts of sexual exploitation to produce child pornography. She had faced up to 100 years in prison at her sentencing hearing Thursday.

The Associated Press doesn't typically identify victims of sexual assault and is not naming the mother to avoid identifying her daughter. A jury convicted the woman after a two-day trial that featured a series of sexually explicit videos she made of her 14-year-old daughter.

BRAINTREE, Mass.

Abuse claim unfounded, so Catholic priest is reinstated

A Roman Catholic priest suspended a year ago after he was accused of child sexual abuse has been reinstated after the allegation was found to be unsubstantiated.

The Boston Archdiocese announced Thursday that the Rev. Joseph Byrne has returned to ministry and been granted senior priest status.

Byrne was suspended last May after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that was alleged to have occurred in the 1970s. It was reported to law enforcement.

Byrne was involved in limited ministry at a Falmouth church when he was suspended.

 

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