Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 8

Jan 3, 2023

The Universe Is More in Our Hands Than Ever Before

Posted by in categories: alien life, nuclear energy, particle physics

Pity the poor astronomer. Biologists can hold examples of life in their hands. Geologists can fill specimen cabinets with rocks. Even physicists get to probe subatomic particles in laboratories built here on Earth. But across its millennia-long history, astronomy has always been a science of separation. No astronomer has stood on the shores of an alien exoplanet orbiting a distant star or viewed an interstellar nebula up close. Other than a few captured light waves crossing the great void, astronomers have never had intimate access to the environments that spur their passion.

Until recently, that is. At the turn of the 21st century, astrophysicists opened a new and unexpected era for themselves: large-scale laboratory experimentation. High-powered machines, in particular some very large lasers, have provided ways to re-create the cosmos, allowing scientists like myself to explore some of the universe’s most dramatic environments in contained, controlled settings. Researchers have learned to explode mini supernovas in their labs, reproduce environments around newborn stars, and even probe the hearts of massive and potentially habitable exoplanets.

How we got here is one of the great stories of science and synergy. The emergence of this new large-scale lab-based astrophysics was an unanticipated side effect of a much broader, more fraught, and now quite in-the-news scientific journey: the quest for nuclear fusion. As humanity has worked to capture the energy of the stars, we’ve also found a way to bring the stars down to Earth.

Jan 2, 2023

A big problem with fusion is solved leading us near to a perpetual energy source

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics, sustainability

Image credit: Max Planck Institute of Plasma physics. Cutaway of a Fusion Reactor.

A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) and the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wein) have discovered a way to control Type-I ELM plasma instabilities, that melt the walls of fusion devices. The study is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

There is no doubt that the day will come when fusion power plants can provide sustainable energy and solve our persistent energy problems. It is the main reason why so many scientists around the world are working on this power source. Power generation in this way actually mimics the sun.

Dec 31, 2022

UK plans a fleet of small nuclear reactors to fight energy crisis

Posted by in categories: government, nuclear energy

The U.K.’s desire to expand nuclear energy as greener power has gone beyond its November acquisition of China’s nuclear power plant and a 50 percent share in the company planning the megaproject on England’s east coast.

The government is also looking for proposals from teams in the construction and development sectors for small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) technologies, according to a report published by Engineering News-Record on Friday.

Dec 31, 2022

Solar power can offer a superior alternative to nuclear fission for generating oxygen on the moon

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

NASA’s unmanned Artemis mission to the moon was a small step toward the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars and beyond.

The second goal was to figure out how to settle and exploit the resources of the moon for research teams by the middle of the following decade.

Dec 31, 2022

Thermonuclear neutron emission from a sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, nuclear energy, transportation

Year 2021 viable fusion reactor in a z pinch device which is compact enough to fit in a van or airplane ✈️ 😀

The fusion Z-pinch experiment (FuZE) is a sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch designed to study the effects of flow stabilization on deuterium plasmas with densities and temperatures high enough to drive nuclear fusion reactions. Results from FuZE show high pinch currents and neutron emission durations thousands of times longer than instability growth times. While these results are consistent with thermonuclear neutron emission, energetically resolved neutron measurements are a stronger constraint on the origin of the fusion production. This stems from the strong anisotropy in energy created in beam-target fusion, compared to the relatively isotropic emission in thermonuclear fusion. In dense Z-pinch plasmas, a potential and undesirable cause of beam-target fusion reactions is the presence of fast-growing, “sausage” instabilities. This work introduces a new method for characterizing beam instabilities by recording individual neutron interactions in plastic scintillator detectors positioned at two different angles around the device chamber. Histograms of the pulse-integral spectra from the two locations are compared using detailed Monte Carlo simulations. These models infer the deuteron beam energy based on differences in the measured neutron spectra at the two angles, thereby discriminating beam-target from thermonuclear production. An analysis of neutron emission profiles from FuZE precludes the presence of deuteron beams with energies greater than 4.65 keV with a statistical uncertainty of 4.15 keV and a systematic uncertainty of 0.53 keV. This analysis demonstrates that axial, beam-target fusion reactions are not the dominant source of neutron emission from FuZE. These data are promising for scaling FuZE up to fusion reactor conditions.

The authors would like to thank Bob Geer and Daniel Behne for technical assistance, as well as Amanda Youmans, Christopher Cooper, and Clément Goyon for advice and discussions. The authors would also like to thank Phil Kerr and Vladimir Mozin for the use of their Thermo Fisher P385 neutron generator, which was important in verifying the ability to measure neutron energy shifts via the pulse integral technique. The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, under Award Nos. DE-AR-0000571, 18/CJ000/05/05, and DE-AR-0001160. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. U.

Dec 30, 2022

Breakthrough Material Separates Heavy Water From Normal Water at Room Temperature

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, nuclear energy

A flipping action in a porous material facilitates the passage of normal water to separate it out from heavy water.

A research group led by Susumu Kitagawa of Kyoto University’s Institute for Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), Japan and Cheng Gu of South China University of Technology, China have made a material that can effectively separate heavy water from normal water at room temperature. Until now, this process has been very difficult and energy intensive. The findings have implications for industrial – and even biological – processes that involve using different forms of the same molecule. The scientists reported their results in the journal Nature.

Isotopologues are molecules that have the same chemical formula and whose atoms bond in similar arrangements, but at least one of their atoms has a different number of neutrons than the parent molecule. For example, a water molecule (H2O) is formed of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. The nucleus of each of the hydrogen atoms contains one proton and no neutrons. In heavy water (D2O), on the other hand, the deuterium (D) atoms are hydrogen isotopes with nuclei containing one proton and one neutron. Heavy water has applications in nuclear reactors, medical imaging, and in biological investigations.

Dec 30, 2022

World’s largest laser used to initiate groundbreaking fusion reaction

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, sustainability

This is a historic milestone in the quest for a clean nuclear energy source.

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have made a major breakthrough in the field of nuclear fusion, sparking hope for a new carbon-free power source.

How did they do it?

Continue reading “World’s largest laser used to initiate groundbreaking fusion reaction” »

Dec 27, 2022

Giant laser from ‘Star Trek’ to be tested in fusion breakthrough

Posted by in categories: innovation, nuclear energy

The breakthrough came in an impossibly small slice of time, less than it takes a beam of light to move an inch. In that tiny moment, nuclear fusion as an energy source went from far-away dream to reality. The world is now grappling with the implications of the historic milestone. For Arthur Pak and the countless other scientists who’ve spent decades getting to this point, the work is just beginning.

Pak and his colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are now faced with a daunting task: Do it again, but better—and bigger.

That means perfecting the use of the world’s largest laser, housed in the lab’s National Ignition Facility that science-fiction fans will recognize from the film “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” when it was used as a set for the warp core of the starship Enterprise. Just after 1 a.m. on Dec. 5, the laser shot 192 beams in three carefully modulated pulses at a cylinder containing a tiny diamond capsule filled with hydrogen, in an attempt to spark the first fusion reaction that produced more than it took to create. It succeeded, starting the path toward what scientists hope will someday be a new, carbon-free power source that will allow humans to harness the same source of energy that lights the stars.

Dec 27, 2022

More Energy Output Than Input Marks a Leap Forward for Fusion Energy Research

Posted by in categories: innovation, nuclear energy

Lawrence Livermore National Lab fires 192 lasers at a fuel pellet and yields 1.5 times more energy output than input, a fusion breakthrough.

Dec 18, 2022

Hot salt, clean energy: How artificial intelligence can enhance advanced nuclear reactors

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

Technology developed at Argonne can help narrow the field of candidates for molten salts, a new study demonstrates.

Scientists are searching for new materials to advance the next generation of nuclear power plants. In a recent study, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory showed how artificial intelligence could help pinpoint the right types of , a key component for advanced nuclear reactors.

The ability to absorb and store heat makes important to and national climate goals. Molten salts can serve as both coolant and fuel in nuclear power reactors that generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. They can also store large amounts of energy, which is increasingly needed on an electric grid with fluctuating sources such as wind and solar power.

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