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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category

Apr 27, 2016

Biology May Hold Key to Better Computer Memory

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, engineering, nuclear energy, sustainability

Of course bio technology holds the key for better memory.


Newswise — A group of Boise State researchers, led by associate professor of materials science and engineering and associate dean of the College of Innovation and Design Will Hughes, is working toward a better way to store digital information using nucleic acid memory (NAM).

It’s no secret that as a society we generate vast amounts of data each year. So much so that the 30 billion watts of electricity used annually by server farms today is roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants.

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Apr 21, 2016

What Should the World Do With Its Nuclear Weapons? — By Joseph Cirincione | The Atlantic

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, governance, government, nuclear, nuclear energy, policy, weapons

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“At the possible brink of a new nuclear arms race, questions answered during the Cold War will need to be reopened.”

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Apr 15, 2016

SLAC researchers recreate the extreme universe in the lab

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics, space, supercomputing

Conditions in the vast universe can be quite extreme: Violent collisions scar the surfaces of planets. Nuclear reactions in bright stars generate tremendous amounts of energy. Gigantic explosions catapult matter far out into space. But how exactly do processes like these unfold? What do they tell us about the universe? And could their power be harnessed for the benefit of humankind?

To find out, researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory perform sophisticated experiments and computer simulations that recreate violent cosmic conditions on a small scale in the lab.

“The field of is growing very rapidly, fueled by a number of technological breakthroughs,” says Siegfried Glenzer, head of SLAC’s High Energy Density Science Division. “We now have high-power lasers to create extreme states of matter, cutting-edge X-ray sources to analyze these states at the atomic level, and high-performance supercomputers to run complex simulations that guide and help explain our experiments. With its outstanding capabilities in these areas, SLAC is a particularly fertile ground for this type of research.”

Apr 5, 2016

Federal legislation to jumpstart space solar power

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, food, government, law, nuclear energy, security, solar power, space, sustainability

The United States is transitioning from a primary reliance on fossil fuels to greater use of sustainable natural and nuclear energy sources. There are two reasons for this transition. The first reason is that the abnormally high and increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has created scientific uncertainty and concern as to the detrimental impact this may have on the environment and, consequentially, human civilization. Almost certainly, this abnormal level is due to anthropogenic causes linked to the tremendous expansion in the human population since the early 1700s, the growth of human civilization (e.g., agriculture and industrialization), and the increasing use of fossil fuels. Although fossil fuels have enabled worldwide progress in elevating the standard of living, most of the world’s nations have reached the conclusion that the world should transition entirely to sustainable energy by 2100 (see “The Paris climate agreement and space solar power”, The Space Review, February 29, 2016). It is, however, very important to manage this transition carefully to avoid economic hardship or energy deprivation.

While the United States has large remaining fossil fuel resources, only some are technically recoverable with current safe, legal, and profitable extraction methods. The remaining known and yet-to-be-discovered domestic technically recoverable fossil fuels are inadequate to sustain US fossil fuel energy needs to the end of this century, especially given likely continued immigration-driven US population growth (see “US fossil fuel energy insecurity and space solar power”, The Space Review, March 7, 2016). While the United States has an ethical environmental obligation to end its use of fossil fuels by the end of the century, the reality of having inadequate oil and natural gas resources makes the urgency of transitioning successfully to new sustainable energy sources a clear matter of national energy security. This warrants federal government leadership and strong American private sector engagement.

Unfortunately, due to its large and growing population and per capita energy needs, the United States lacks sufficient suitable land to utilize terrestrial renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. (see “US terrestrial non-fossil fuel energy vs. space solar power”, The Space Review, March 14, 2016). While the United States will utilize terrestrial domestic renewable energy to the extent it is politically acceptable, many factors will likely limit their scale-up. The expansion of nuclear fission energy is also not a satisfactory approach, given the large number of reactors needed. These factors lead to the conclusion that only space-based sustainable energy, such as space solar power, will enable the United States to practically transition away from fossil fuels.

Mar 28, 2016

Scientists Made a New Metal, and it Makes Nuclear Reactors Even Stronger

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

An international team of researchers has developed a new type of metal alloy that could make nuclear reactors safer and more stable in the long term. The new material is stronger and lasts longer than steel.

Scientists have developed a new kind of high quality metal alloy that is suitable to use in building nuclear reactors. While it might not be a metal that has been invented entirely from scratch, it’s only recently that we have been able to produce this kind (this quality) of metal. And it could mean great things for nuclear technologies.

Harvesting Nuclear Power

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Mar 25, 2016

Nuclear fusion needs a ‘Wright brothers’ moment, says firm closing on the target

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy, sustainability

Nuclear fusion needs a “Wright brothers” moment, to convince the world of its promise of unlimited clean and safe energy and so unlock significant private investment, according to a physicist whose says his company is closing in on that goal.

David Kingham, the chief executive of Tokamak Energy, has announced his company’s target of producing its first electricity by 2025 and feeding power into the grid by 2030, as well as investment from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Harnessing the nuclear energy which powers the sun has long been touted as the ultimate solution to the challenge of powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a decade or two away for many years.

Continue reading “Nuclear fusion needs a ‘Wright brothers’ moment, says firm closing on the target” »

Mar 7, 2016

Multi-scale simulations solve a plasma turbulence mystery

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, supercomputing

Solving the turbulence plasma mystery.


Cutting-edge simulations run at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) over a two-year period are helping physicists better understand what influences the behavior of the plasma turbulence that is driven by the intense heating necessary to create fusion energy. This research has yielded exciting answers to long-standing questions about plasma heat loss that have previously stymied efforts to predict the performance of fusion reactors and could help pave the way for this alternative energy source.

The key to making fusion work is to maintain a sufficiently high temperature and density to enable the atoms in the reactor to overcome their mutual repulsion and bind to form helium. But one side effect of this process is turbulence, which can increase the rate of plasma, significantly limiting the resulting energy output. So researchers have been working to pinpoint both what causes the turbulence and how to control or possibly eliminate it.

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Mar 3, 2016

Zoom to Mars in 6 weeks with new Russian nuclear-fission engine

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

A nuclear power propulsion system could propel a spacecraft to Mars in just over a month, a huge step forward from the current 18 months required. Russia might test a nuclear engine as early as 2018, the head of the Rosatom nuclear corporation revealed.

Another advantage of a nuclear engine is that it enables a spacecraft to maneuver throughout the flight, whereas existing technology only makes a defined trajectory flight possible.

Feb 26, 2016

Scientists happily surprised to find truffles free of Chernobyl radiation

Posted by in categories: food, nuclear energy, particle physics

This will make friends Vladimir and Marina happy.


Mushrooms and game meat in European regions where Chernobyl fallout was most intense still have excess radiation, but Burgundy truffles get the green light; foodies rejoice.

It’s been 30 years since the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine in which a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant unleashed a slew of radioactive particles into the atmosphere. Swept along by winds and settled by heavy rains, radioactive particles, especially caesium-137 (137Cs), polluted large stretches of the European continent. And we all know the problem with radioactive things, they’ve got lasting power.

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Feb 21, 2016

Bisbos.com :: Aerospace Illustration

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

The first serious attempt to design a ship capable of travelling to the nearest stars. Weighing 50,000 tonnes, powered by nuclear fusion, travelling at 12% of the speed of light, the journey time would be close to 50 years.

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