Ben Bradford en Toxic Leak Taints North Carolina Coal Plants, And Regulators A broken pipe funneled 30,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina earlier this month, turning it gray. The pipe has been plugged, but <a href="">the spill</a> has reignited a fight over storage of coal ash, and scrutiny of the state regulators responsible for monitoring it.<p>The U.S. Justice Department began a criminal investigation into North Carolina's coal ash ponds and the state's environmental officials last week. Thu, 20 Feb 2014 08:45:00 +0000 Ben Bradford 54367 at Banks Try To Save Big With 'ATMs Of The Future' There's a drive-thru ATM in Charlotte, N.C., that looks pretty standard, but it has an extra function: a button that says "speak with teller."<p>The face of a woman wearing a headset sitting in front of a plain blue background flashes onto the ATM screen. "Good afternoon," she says. "Welcome to Bank of America. My name is Carolina. How are you today?"<p>She's one of a cadre of Bank of America employees in Florida and Delaware call centers, where they remotely control ATMs across the country. Wed, 01 Jan 2014 07:58:00 +0000 Ben Bradford 51258 at Furloughs Cut Into Classtime At U.S. Military Bases Civilian furloughs have begun at U.S. military installations worldwide. The mandatory days off without pay, prompted by the current round of budget cuts known as sequestration, are looming over Defense Department-run schools that serve the children of military families. For teachers at the nation's most populous Army base, Fort Bragg, cuts mean no new textbooks and a loss of school days. Thu, 18 Jul 2013 20:24:00 +0000 Ben Bradford 39856 at Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power? The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.<p>Development of these reactors are already in the works, and at one office park in Lynchburg, Va., where one of these reactors is being assembled, the traditional signs of nuclear reactors are nowhere to be found. Mon, 04 Feb 2013 08:33:00 +0000 Ben Bradford 28512 at