Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 67

Feb 4, 2020

Fungi That ‘Eat’ Radiation Are Growing on the Walls of Chernobyl’s Ruined Nuclear Reactor

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy

Back in 1991, scientists were amazed when they made the discovery…

In the eerie environment inside the abandoned Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, researchers remotely piloting robots spotted pitch black fungi growing on the walls of the decimated No. 4 nuclear reactor and even apparently breaking down radioactive graphite from the core itself. What’s more, the fungi seemed to be growing towards sources of radiation, as if the microbes were attracted to them!

More than a decade later, University of Saskatchewan Professor Ekaterina Dadachova (then at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York) and her colleagues acquired some of the fungi and found that they grew faster in the presence of radiation compared to other fungi. The three species tested, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Cryptococcus neoformans and Wangiella dermatitidis, all had large amounts of the pigment melanin, which is found – among many places – in the skin of humans. People with a darker skin tone have much more of it. Melanin is known to absorb light and dissipate ultraviolet radiation, but in the fungi, it seemed to also be absorbing radiation and converting it into chemical energy for growth, perhaps in a similar fashion to how plants utilize the green pigment chlorophyll to attain energy from photosynthesis.

Feb 2, 2020

ThorCon Advanced Nuclear Reactor — More Than Worth Its Weight In Salt

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

ThorCon is a nuclear reactor with molten salt fuel containing thorium+uranium that is walk-away-safe. ThorCon would be completely manufactured in 150 to 500 ton blocks in a shipyard, assembled and towed to a site, with order of magnitude improvements in productivity, quality control, and build time.

Jan 29, 2020

Scientists develop a concept of a hybrid thorium reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Russian scientists have proposed a concept of a thorium hybrid reactor in that obtains additional neutrons using high-temperature plasma held in a long magnetic trap. This project was applied in close collaboration between Tomsk Polytechnic University, All-Russian Scientific Research Institute Of Technical Physics (VNIITF), and Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of SB RAS. The proposed thorium hybrid reactor is distinguished from today’s nuclear reactors by moderate power, relatively compact size, high operational safety, and a low level of radioactive waste.

“At the initial stage, we get relatively cold using special plasma guns. We retain the amount by deuterium gas injection. The injected neutral beams with particle energy of 100 keV into this plasma generate the high-energy deuterium and tritium ions and maintain the required temperature. Colliding with each other, deuterium and tritium ions are combined into a helium nucleus so high-energy neutrons are released. These neutrons can freely pass through the walls of the vacuum chamber, where the plasma is held by a magnetic field, and entering the area with nuclear fuel. After slowing down, they support the fission of heavy nuclei, which serves as the main source of energy released in the hybrid ,” says professor Andrei Arzhannikov, a chief researcher of Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of SB RAS.

The main advantage of a hybrid nuclear fusion reactor is the simultaneous use of the fission reaction of heavy nuclei and synthesis of light ones. It minimizes the disadvantages of applying these nuclear reactions separately.

Jan 29, 2020

Switzerland switches off nuclear plant as it begins exit from atomic power

Posted by in category: nuclear energy


MUEHLEBERG, Switzerland (Reuters) — Switzerland’s Muehleberg nuclear power station went off the grid on Friday after 47 years, marking the end of an era as the shutdown starts the country’s exit from atomic power.

Jan 28, 2020

5 Big Ideas for Making Fusion Power a Reality

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

After decades of not happening, fusion power finally appears to be maybe possibly happening.

The joke has been around almost as long as the dream: Nuclear fusion energy is 30 years away…and always will be. But now, more than 80 years after Australian physicist Mark Oliphant first observed deuterium atoms fusing and releasing dollops of energy, it may finally be time to update the punch line.

Over the past several years, more than two dozen research groups—impressively staffed and well-funded startups, university programs, and corporate projects—have achieved eye-opening advances in controlled nuclear fusion. They’re building fusion reactors based on radically different designs that challenge the two mainstream approaches, which use either a huge, doughnut-shaped magnetic vessel called a tokamak or enormously powerful lasers.

Continue reading “5 Big Ideas for Making Fusion Power a Reality” »

Jan 28, 2020

Nuclear waste recycled into diamond batteries with ‘near-infinite power’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy, space travel

Thousands of tonnes of radioactive materials could be used to power everything from pacemakers to spacecraft.

Jan 23, 2020

Helium-3 mining on the lunar surface

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

The idea of harvesting a clean and efficient form of energy from the Moon has stimulated science fiction and fact in recent decades. Unlike Earth, which is protected by its magnetic field, the Moon has been bombarded with large quantities of Helium-3 by the solar wind. It is thought that this isotope could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products.

The Apollo programme’s own geologist, Harrison Schmidt, has repeatedly made the argument for Helium-3 mining, whilst Gerald Kulcinski at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is another leading proponent. He has created a small reactor at the Fusion Technology Institute, but so far it has not been possible to create the helium fusion reaction with a net power output.

This has not stopped the search for Helium-3 from being a motivating factor in space exploration, however. Apart from the traditional space-faring nations, the India has previously indicated its interest in mining the lunar surface. The use of Moon resources was also part of Newt Gingrich’s unsuccessful candidacy for the Republican party’s nomination for the US presidency in 2012.

Jan 22, 2020

Navy Files Patent for Compact Fusion Reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, space travel

Essentially beyond this is a higgs boson reactor essentially a universe of power in a jar.

Scientists have longed to create the perfect energy source. Ideally, that source would eventually replace greenhouse gas-spewing fossil fuels, power cars, boats, and planes, and send spacecraft to remote parts of the universe. So far, nuclear fusion energy has seemed like the most likely option to help us reach those goals.

Jan 22, 2020

Dead sailors stopped a ‘planetary catastrophe’ aboard a secret submarine, a top Russian naval officer said at their funeral

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Circa 2019

Their heroism prevented the submarine fire from being a broader disaster, a likely reference to their actions to prevent a nuclear reactor meltdown.

Jan 21, 2020

‘Radiation-eating’ Fungi Finding Could Trigger Recalculation Of Earth’s Energy Balance And Help Feed Astronauts

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, nuclear energy, space

Scientists have long assumed that fungi exist mainly to decompose matter into chemicals that other organisms can then use. But researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found evidence that fungi possess a previously undiscovered talent with profound implications: the ability to use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth.

“The fungal kingdom comprises more species than any other plant or animal kingdom, so finding that they’re making food in addition to breaking it down means that Earth’s energetics—in particular, the amount of radiation energy being converted to biological energy—may need to be recalculated,” says Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chair of microbiology & immunology at Einstein and senior author of the study, published May 23 in PLoS ONE.

The ability of fungi to live off radiation could also prove useful to people: “Since ionizing radiation is prevalent in outer space, astronauts might be able to rely on fungi as an inexhaustible food source on long missions or for colonizing other planets,” says Dr. Ekaterina Dadachova, associate professor of nuclear medicine and microbiology & immunology at Einstein and lead author of the study.

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