Kate O'Connell, WXXI


WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail

Kate O’Connell comes to WXXI from Melbourne, Australia, and studied journalism at Royal Melboure Institute of Technology.

During her studies, Kate was a freelance journalist, reporting from Nepal and Haiti, and worked with the media team of the United Nations partner group, International Organization for Migration.

Kate's experience also includes work for the Shepparton News, Australian Broadcasting Company, Melbourne’s Channel 31, RRR radio and WIN television.

Ways to Connect

Jim Day/WXXI

The U.S. is the world’s largest nuclear power producer, and more than a quarter of New York’s electricity is supplied by atomic energy. As older nuclear plants in the state, and across the US, reach the end of their operational life, managing the nuclear waste left behind has become an ongoing national issue.

For nearly half a century, western New York has been home to one of the nation’s most unique nuclear facilities. The West Valley nuclear site, 30 miles south of Buffalo, is the only commercial nuclear reprocessing plant to have operated in the United States. (Video tour of the facility after the jump)

Some rights reserved by Antonio Garcia

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized their Federal emission standards for cars and gasoline Monday, putting them in line with programs already in place in California.

The cleaner fuel and car standards will be rolled out starting in 2017. Once fully in place, the EPA estimates they’ll lower overall pollution levels and help avoid up to 2,000 early deaths per year.


A year ago, environmental groups won a court injunction against the village of Painted Post, preventing them from continuing water shipments for fracking operations in Pennsylvania.

Monday morning, the case was brought before the State Supreme Appellate Division Court in Rochester, with officials from the town in Steuben County vying for a different outcome.

Kate O'Connell

AT&T has thrown its support behind a two-month virtual hackathon aimed at creating smartphone apps that serve community needs in upstate New York. The AT&T Rochester Civic App Challenge was launched Thursday in partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). And, it will have an $18,000 prize pool to attract local developers.

United States Government Work

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a citation to the owners of the Ginna nuclear power plant in upstate New York. Preliminary inspection findings released Tuesday cited the plant for failure to address a long-standing flood risk. The issue is considered a low-to-moderate level safety concern.

It all comes down to an improperly sealed manhole at the plant, which could have allowed flood waters to breach the rooms housing emergency batteries.