Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 72

Sep 29, 2019

Are 3-mile-deep boreholes the long-term answer for nuclear waste stalemate?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nuclear energy

Result: Some 6 million pounds of spent nuclear waste, generated over a half-century, remain in seismically sensitive spots on the California coast, at both San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. That’s among some 200 million pounds of radioactive waste languishing at 80 reactor sites in 35 states from sea to shining sea, where it will remain for the foreseeable future.

“We’ve so tainted this whole process because of fear,” said James Conca, a controversial nuclear energy advocate with a doctorate in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. “You get everyone so scared you never do anything.

”Look, we know where to put this stuff,” he said. ”We’ve known for 60 years. We have an operating deep geologic repository right now — but it’s only for bomb waste.”

Sep 28, 2019

The ‘Perfect Way to Make Energy’ Is Attracting Major Investors

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Nuclear fusion could be the clean energy the world needs—and private companies are now working on machines to harness it.

Sep 27, 2019

What’s a molten salt reactor and why do we need it

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

A molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of nuclear reactor that uses liquid fuel instead of the solid fuel rods used in conventional nuclear reactors. Using liquid fuel provides many advantages in safety and simplicity of design.

The figure above shows one type of MSR design. As shown towards the left, the reactor contains “fuel salt”, which is fuel (such as uranium-235) dissolved in a mixture of molten fluoride salts. After a fission chain reaction starts in the reactor, the rate of fission stabilizes once the fuel salt reaches around 700 degrees Celsius. If the reactor gets hotter than 700 degrees, the resulting expansion of the fuel salt pushes some of the fuel into the circulation loop; this, in turn, decreases the fission rate (since fission cannot be maintained in the loop), causing the fuel to cool.

Unlike conventional reactors, the rate of fission in an MSR is inherently stable. Nonetheless, should the fuel salt become too hot to operate safely, a freeze plug (made of salts kept solid by a cooling fan) below the reactor will melt and the liquid content of the reactor will flow down into emergency dump tanks where it cannot continue to fission, thus allowing it to cool safely.

Sep 23, 2019

Russia Begins Commissioning of Floating Nuclear Power Ship

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, sustainability

  • The floating power unit Akademik Lomonosov has arrived at the port of its permanent location in Pevek, Chukotka, in Russia’s Far East, where it is being docked to start operations by the end of this year.
  • Once commissioned, it will become the world’s first operational nuclear power plant based on small modular reactors (SMRs) technology and a ‘working prototype’ for reliable source of low-carbon energy supply in remote areas.

“It’s maybe one small step for sustainable development in the Arctic, but it’s a giant leap for the decarbonisation of remote off-grid areas, and a watershed in the development of small modular nuclear power plants in the world,” said Rosatom CEO, Alexey Likhachev.

Director General of the World Nuclear Association, Agneta Rising, commented: “To meet the nuclear industry’s Harmony goal of supplying at least 25% of the world’s electricity by 2050 we will need to bring the benefits of nuclear energy to more people in a wider range of locations.

Sep 19, 2019

The Future Looks Like Salt Reactors

Posted by in categories: futurism, nuclear energy

They just might change how you see nuclear energy.

Sep 18, 2019

How Close Are We to Downloading the Human Brain?

Posted by in categories: life extension, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

Downloading your brain may seem like science fiction, but some neuroscientists think it’s not only possible, but that we’ve already started down a path to one day make it a reality. So, how close are we to downloading a human brain?

How Close Are We to Fusion Energy? —

Continue reading “How Close Are We to Downloading the Human Brain?” »

Sep 16, 2019

The Guardian GT exoskeleton is a crazy strong robot

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

I get to try the Guardian GT big-arm robot, which is like a real-life Power Loader from Aliens. It’s controlled by a human and has incredible precision, but it’s also incredibly strong. Made by Sarcos Robotics, the GT can be used in situations that are too dangerous for humans to enter, like decommissioning nuclear power plants.

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Sep 11, 2019

Students make neutrons dance beneath UC Berkeley campus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy

In an underground vault enclosed by six-foot concrete walls and accessed by a rolling, 25-ton concrete-and-steel door, University of California, Berkeley, students are making neutrons dance to a new tune: one better suited to producing isotopes required for geological dating, police forensics, hospital diagnosis and treatment.

Dating and forensics rely on a spray of neutrons to convert atoms to radioactive isotopes, which betray the chemical composition of a substance, helping to trace a gun or reveal the age of a rock, for example. Hospitals use isotopes produced by neutron irradiation to kill tumors or pinpoint diseases like cancer in the body.

For these applications, however, only nuclear reactors can produce a strong enough spray of neutrons, and there are only two such reactors west of the Mississippi.

Sep 8, 2019

Jupiter Magnetic Field Simulated Using CERN High Energy Electron Beam

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

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, is most famous for its particle collider, but it also has facilities that can test for other high-energy environments similar to those found in space. Now those facilities are being used to test future spacecraft to see if they are radiation-proof.

The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or JUICE, mission in 2022. Before then, ESA scientists wanted to know what kinds of environmental stresses the explorer will be subjected to when it braves Jupiter’s massive magnetic field. The magnetic field has a volume of a million times that of Earth’s magnetosphere, and trapped within the field are energetic charged particles. These particles form radiation belts which bombard visiting craft with high levels of radiation, which can be harmful to electronics.

To see how the JUICE hardware will handle this radiation, the ESA has borrowed the world’s most intense radiation beam — one located at a CERN facility called VESPER (Very energetic Electron facility for Space Planetary Exploration missions in harsh Radiative environments). Now it is working alongside CERN to develop the testing protocol for other future missions too, such as the proposed Ice Giants mission to Neptune and Uranus.

Sep 5, 2019

How America’s First Digitally Operated Reactor Could Push Nuclear Technology Forward

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, geopolitics, internet, nuclear energy

“We can send signals to areas, such as schools in developing countries, that do not have the luxury of their own nuclear reactor facility and the associated educational infrastructure.” said Seungjin Kim, head of the Purdue’s School of Nuclear Engineering, in a July announcement. “As long as they have internet and this partnership with Purdue, they can see and study how the reactor works.”

PUR-1’s completion comes amidst a hunt for the next generation of nuclear tech. There are traveling wave reactors, which would hypothetically consume today’s nuclear waste and has garnered the interest of investors like Bill Gates. Then there are thorium reactors, which would would use less uranium and produce far less waste in the first place and has been promoted by Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Neither technology has been put into civilian practice yet.

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