News bites: Refinery blaze under review, NRC halts plant licensing, and more

The Associated Press reports on efforts to understand the big fire at a Chevron refinery in California.

“Investigators were looking at how a small, seemingly insignificant leak at one of the country’s biggest oil refineries quickly unraveled into an intense fire that sent acrid black smoke into the sky and hundreds of people to hospitals with health complaints,” AP reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it would stop issuing nuclear plant licenses while it addresses an appellate court decision on waste policy.

“The move, while not expected to affect any nuclear plants right away, shows how the standstill in finding a permanent American nuclear waste dump could undermine the expansion of nuclear power, which is already facing a challenge from cheaper natural gas,” the paper reports.

Reuters reports that U.S. officials are reaffirming their support for efforts to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. A senior official’s comment had appeared to suggest the United States was backing away.

AP has the latest on oil prices.