Thursday Briefing

Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves new reactors for the first time in 33 years. The commission today gave the go-ahead to two reactors at Southern Company’s Alvin W. Vogtle plant near Augusta, Ga. It was the first such construction license approval since 1978, a year before the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the project. But NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko dissented, saying he was concerned that the reactors would not meet safety requirements authorized after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi accident. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The New York Times

Minnesota doctors escape discipline. An investigation found that, since 2000, at least 46 Minnesota doctors went unpunished by the state after authorities in other states took action against their licenses. The offenses cited in other states included committing crimes, patient care errors or having sexual or other inappropriate relationships with patients. In addition, more than half of the 74 doctors who lost their privileges to work in Minnesota hospitals and clinics over the past decade never were disciplined by Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Doctors often sugarcoat the news for patients. A survey of nearly 1,900 U.S. doctors conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers found that 55 percent said in the last year they had been more positive about a patient’s prognosis than the medical history warranted. In addition, 34 percent of the doctors said they did not completely agree that they should disclose medical errors to patients, and 40 percent said they didn’t feel the need to disclose financial ties to drug or device companies. Time, Los Angeles Times

Indiana workplace safety officials propose $81,000 in fines in state fair stage collapse that killed seven. Mid-America Sound Corp., the company that owned the scaffolding and supervised the construction, was assessed with most of the penalties. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Mid-America failed to inspect the rigging during construction or after it was erected for last summer’s state fair. Authorities also faulted the stagehands union and the state fair commission. The Indianapolis Star

California regulators launch “confined space” workplace safety initiative. The program was spurred in part by the deaths of seven workers in the state last year in confined space accidents, including two brothers killed in Kern County after being overcome by toxic gases in a recycling drainage tunnel. Confined space work areas include tanks, silos, pipelines, sewers, storage bins, drain tunnels and vaults. Cal/OSHA

After 37 reports of consumers suffering second-degree burns, recall launched for single-cup coffee makers. The action applies to 835,000 Tassimo brewers in the U.S. and 900,000 in Canada. Consumers reported that the brewers sprayed hot liquid, coffee grounds or tea leaves on them. Also being recalled are 4 million packages of Tassimo espresso T-discs. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the coffee packages also pose a burn hazard because they can become clogged and rupture. The Associated Press, CPSC

Recalls: Crystal chandeliers

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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