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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category

May 18, 2017

Mini Reactors Could Make Affordable Fusion Power a Reality by 2030

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

  • The small, spherical Tokamak ST40 reactor is on track to reach its next goal of hitting the 15,000,000 °C (27,000,000 °F) mark this autumn.
  • When it does, we will be one step closer to achieving fusion power on a commercial scale.

Earlier this month the newest fusion reactor in the U.K., Tokamak Energy’s ST40, achieved first plasma. This milestone event on the road to fusion energy signals the viability of the company’s overall timetable. The more immediate aim for the ST40 is to achieve a temperature of 15,000,000 °C (27,000,000 °F), as hot as the center of the sun — this should happen in autumn of 2017 based on the progress thus far.

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May 10, 2017

Germany breaks renewables record with coal and nuclear power responsible for only 15% of country’s total energy

Posted by in categories: government, nuclear energy, sustainability

Germany has broken a new record for renewable energy, with low-carbon sources nearly obliterating coal and nuclear power last weekend.

At one point on the sunny and breezy Sunday, sustainable energy from wind, solar, biomass and hydro power provided a record 85 per cent of the country’s total energy.

Germany has been investing heavily in renewables, as part of the government’s Energiewende initiative to transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply by 2050.

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May 2, 2017

Lockheed compact fusion reactor design about 100 times larger than first plans

Posted by in categories: engineering, nuclear energy, transportation

There is updated technical information on the Lockheed compact fusion reactor project. It was originally believed that the compact reactor would fit on a large truck. It looked like it might weigh 20 tons. After more engineering and scientific research, the new design requires about 2000 ton reactor that is 7 meters in diameter and 18 meters long. This would be about one third the length of a Dolphin diesel submarine and it would be slightly wider and taller. It would be similar in size to a A5W submarine nuclear fission reactor. We would not know for sure because the A5W size is classified but based on the size and likely configuration of a nuclear submarine this size estimate is likely.

They have performed simulations. In simulations, plasma confinement is achieved in magnetic wells with self – produced sharp magnetic field boundaries. • Design closes for 200 MW th reactor, 18 meters long by 7 meters diameter device assuming hybrid gyro – radii sheath and cusp widths and good coil support magnetic shielding. • Neutral beam heats plasma to ignited state. • The dominant losses are ion losses through the ring cusps into stalks and axially through the mirror confined sheath. • Good global curvature gives interchange stability.

Lockheed believes they can get better confinement at the cusps than the EMC2 polywell reactor.

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May 1, 2017

The UK Just Switched on an Ambitious Fusion Reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Maybe 10 years away instead of 20?


The UK’s newest fusion reactor, ST40, was switched on last week, and has already managed to achieve ‘first plasma’ — successfully generating a scorching blob of electrically-charged gas (or plasma) within its core.

The aim is for the tokamak reactor to heat plasma up to 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) by 2018 — seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun. That’s the ‘fusion’ threshold, at which hydrogen atoms can begin to fuse into helium, unleashing limitless, clean energy in the process.

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Apr 23, 2017

Britain powered 24 hours without coal for first time in 135 years in ‘watershed moment’

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

The UK’s first 24 hours without using coal as part of its energy mix has been hailed “a watershed” moment.

For the first time since the industrial revolution, the country fulfilled all of its energy needs without using coal for a full day. It is bound to happen more frequently, the National Grid said.

Around half of energy came from natural gas and about a quarter came from nuclear plants, according to Grid Watch. Wind, biomass and imported energy made up the difference.

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Mar 25, 2017

Liquid energy storage system gets the “MOST” out of the Sun

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

Solar power is potentially the greatest single energy source outside of controlled nuclear fusion, but the Sun is literally a fair weather source that relies on daytime and clear skies. To make solar energy a reliable, 24-hour source of energy, a team of scientists at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg is developing a liquid energy storage medium that can not only release energy from the Sun on demand, but is also transportable.

The Chalmers team has been working on variants of its system, called a MOlecular Solar Thermal (MOST), for over six years, with a conceptual demonstration in 2013. It differs from other attempts to store solar energy in things like heated salts and reversing exothermic reactions in that the MOST system stores the energy directly in the bonds of an organic chemical.

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Mar 6, 2017

How To Build A Home Fusion Reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

The tale of a teen physics prodigy.

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Mar 5, 2017

New path suggested for nuclear fusion

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

Controlled nuclear fusion has been a holy grail for physicists who seek an endless supply of clean energy. Scientists at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile offered a glimpse into a possible new path toward that goal.

Their report on quantum-controlled fusion puts forth the notion that rather than heating atoms to temperatures found inside the sun or smashing them in a collider, it might be possible to nudge them close enough to fuse by using shaped laser pulses: ultrashort, tuned bursts of coherent light.

Authors Peter Wolynes of Rice, Martin Gruebele of Illinois and Illinois alumnus Eduardo Berrios of Chile simulated reactions in two dimensions that, if extrapolated to three, might just produce energy efficiently from deuterium and tritium or other elements.

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Feb 21, 2017

We’re One Step Closer to Pulling Nuclear Fuel Straight Out of the Ocean

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Karl Schab


Pulling uranium out of seawater could be a cost-effective way to source nuclear fuel, scientists have found, and the technique could pave the way for coastal countries to switch to nuclear power.

With the International Atomic Energy Agency currently predicting an increase of up to 68 percent in nuclear power production over the next 15 years, finding a new, more environmentally friendly source of uranium — the most critical ingredient in nuclear power — could give this alternative to fossil fuels a boost.

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Feb 14, 2017

Nuclear Reactors to Power Space Exploration

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, space travel, sustainability

For the past five decades—from the Apollo-era lunar science experiments to the Mars Curiosity and the New Horizons missions—Pu-238 Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTG) have served as a power source. While some of the NASA’s forays will continue to rely on these RTGs, others will require larger power sources to enable human space and planetary exploration and establish reliable high bandwidth deep-space communications. Solar power cannot handle this goal. A larger nuclear-based power source is required.

In a recent Washington Post article, Jeff Bezos, founder of amazon.com and creator of Blue Origin space project said, “I think NASA should work on a space-rated nuclear reactor. If you had a nuclear reactor in space—especially if you want to go anywhere beyond Mars­—you really need nuclear power. Solar power just gets progressively difficult as you get further way from the sun. And that’s a completely doable thing to have a safe, space-qualified nuclear reactor.”

Calls for space nuclear power are not new. In fact, numerous reactor concepts have been proposed in the past. Their development is often dampened by the perception that nuclear is too hard, takes too long and costs too much.

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