Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 62

May 26, 2020

New material could be used to make a liquid metal robot

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, engineering, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

Eric Klien

A liquid metal lattice that can be crushed but returns to its original shape on heating has been developed by Pu Zhang and colleagues at Binghamton University in the US. The material is held together by a silicone shell and could find myriad uses including soft robotics, foldable antennas and aerospace engineering. Indeed, the research could even lead to the creation of a liquid metal robot evoking the T-1000 character in the film Terminator 2.

The team created the liquid metal lattice using a special mixture of bismuth, indium and tin known as Field’s alloy. This alloy has the relatively unusual property of melting at just 62 °C, which means it can be liquefied with just hot water. Field’s alloy already has several applications – including as a liquid-metal coolant for advanced nuclear reactors.

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May 21, 2020

Arms control experts concerned by Saudi nuclear reactor push

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead to complete its first nuclear reactor, according to satellite images that have raised concern among arms-control experts because the kingdom has yet to implement international monitoring rules.

May 12, 2020

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a 3D printed nuclear reactor core

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, nuclear energy

Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are developing a nuclear reactor core using 3D printing.

As part of its Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) Demonstration Program, which aims to build an additively manufactured microreactor, ORNL has refined its design of the reactor core, while also scaling up the additive manufacturing process necessary to build it. Additionally, the researchers have established qualification methods to confirm the consistency and reliability of the 3D printed components used in creating the core.

“The nuclear industry is still constrained in thinking about the way we design, build and deploy nuclear energy technology,” comments ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia.

May 11, 2020

Physicists Think They’ve Found a New Way to Stabilise And Control Fusion Reactors

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

A team of research physicists at Princeton University may have found a new way to control fusion reactions inside doughnut-shaped tokamak reactors — an incremental step towards making fusion energy, the ‘holy grail of energy production’, a reality.

Many fusion reactors today use light elements in the form of plasma as fuel. The problem is that this elemental plasma is extremely hot — practically as hot as the Sun — and extremely unpredictable and difficult to control.

But there may be a way to force the plasma into doing what we want more predictably and efficiently, as detailed in a new theoretical paper published in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

May 10, 2020

A Polywell Fusion Reactor Designed for Net Power Generation

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Circa 2017

A brief history of Polywell progress is recounted. The present PIC simulation explains why the most recent Polywell fusion reactor failed to produce fusion energy. Synchronized variations of multiple parameters would require DC power supplies, not available in historic model testing. Even with DC power, the simulation showed that the trapping of cold electrons would ruin plasma stability during start-up. A theoretical solution to this trapping problem was found in Russian literature describing diocotron-pumping of electrons out of a plasma trap at Kharkov Institute. In Polywell, diocotron-pumping required matching the depth of the potential-well to the electron-beam current falling on a special aperture installed in one of the electromagnets. With diocotron-pumping the reactor was simulated to reach steady-state, maximum-power operation in a few milliseconds of simulated time. These improvements, validated in simulating small-scale DD reactors, were scaled up by a factor of 30 to simulate a large, net-power reactor burning p + 11 B fuel. Power-balance was estimated from a textbook formula for fusion power density by numerically integrating the power density. Unity power-balance required the size of the p + 11 B reactor to be somewhat larger than ITER.

May 9, 2020

Nuclear fusion scientists just solved a major problem in harnessing plasma hotter than the Sun

Posted by in categories: innovation, nuclear energy

Circa 2018 face_with_colon_three

Jong-Kyu Park and colleagues predicted a set of distortions that could control ELMs without any additional instabilities. They then tested these distortions at the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR)—a ring-shaped magnetic fusion confinement device. Their experiments worked.

“We show for the first time the full 3D field operating window in a tokamak to suppress ELMs without stirring up core instabilities or excessively degrading confinement,” Park said. “For a long time we thought it would be too computationally difficult to identify all beneficial symmetry-breaking fields, but our work now demonstrates a simple procedure to identify the set of all such configurations.”

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May 8, 2020

Radio Wave Breakthrough Helps Stabilize Fusion Reactions

Posted by in categories: innovation, nuclear energy

Scientists from Princeton University and the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have used radio frequency waves and temperature to stabilize the white-hot and volatile plasma that swirls inside of fusion reactors like tokamaks and stellarators.

The radio waves disrupt the magnetic islands that form and disrupt the plasma flow, and temperature magnifies the stabilizing effect. As the saying goes, the disruptor of your disruptor is your friend.

May 8, 2020

Physicists Discover New Trick to Stabilize Fusion Reactors

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

Also could do a magnonic fusion reactor.

Magnetic Islands

But there may be a way to force the plasma into doing what we want more predictably and efficiently, as detailed in a new theoretical paper published in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

Continue reading “Physicists Discover New Trick to Stabilize Fusion Reactors” »

May 7, 2020

Alloy clear for use in high-temperature reactors

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

Alloy 617 — a combination of nickel, chromium, cobalt and molybdenum — has been approved by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for inclusion in its Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. This means the alloy, which was tested by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), can be used in proposed molten salt, high-temperature, gas-cooled or sodium reactors. It is the first new material to be added to the Code in 30 years.

The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code lays out design rules for how much stress is acceptable and specifies the materials that can be used for power plant construction, including in nuclear power plants. Adhering to these specifications ensures component safety and performance.

INL spent 12 years qualifying Alloy 617, with a USD15 million investment from the US Department of Energy. A team at INL, in collaboration with groups at Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as industry consultants and international partners, has now received approval from ASME for the alloy’s inclusion in the Code. Designers working on new high-temperature nuclear power plant concepts now have more options when it comes to component construction materials.

May 4, 2020

Study reveals single-step strategy for recycling used nuclear fuel

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, nuclear energy, sustainability

A typical nuclear reactor uses only a small fraction of its fuel rod to produce power before the energy-generating reaction naturally terminates. What is left behind is an assortment of radioactive elements, including unused fuel, that are disposed of as nuclear waste in the United States. Although certain elements recycled from waste can be used for powering newer generations of nuclear reactors, extracting leftover fuel in a way that prevents possible misuse is an ongoing challenge.

Now, Texas A&M University engineering researchers have devised a simple, proliferation-resistant approach for separating out different components of . The one-step chemical reaction, described in the February issue of the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, results in the formation of crystals containing all of the leftover nuclear elements distributed uniformly.

The researchers also noted that the simplicity of their recycling approach makes the translation from lab bench to industry feasible.

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