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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jan 7, 2020

Using relativistic effects for laser fusion: A new approach for clean power

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

A team of researchers at Osaka University has investigated a new method for generating nuclear fusion power, showing that the relativistic effect of ultra-intense laser light improves upon current “fast ignition” methods in laser-fusion research to heat the fuel long enough to generate electrical power. These findings could provide a spark for laser fusion, ushering in a new era of carbonless energy production.

Current nuclear power uses the fission of heavy isotopes, such as uranium, into lighter elements to produce power. Yet, this fission power has major concerns, such as spent fuel disposal and the risk of meltdowns. A promising alternative to fission is . Like all stars, our sun is powered by the of light isotopes, notably hydrogen, into heavier elements. Fusion has many advantages over fission, including the lack of hazardous waste or risk of uncontrolled nuclear reactions.

However, getting more energy out of a fusion reaction than was put into it has remained an elusive goal. This is because hydrogen nuclei strongly repel each other, and fusion requires and pressure conditions—like those found in the interior of the sun, for instance—to squeeze them together. One method, called “inertial confinement” uses extremely high-energy laser pulses to heat and compress a fuel pellet before it gets the chance to be blown apart. Unfortunately, this technique requires extremely precise control of the laser’s energy so that the compression shock waves all arrive at the center simultaneously.

Jan 3, 2020

Iran discovers new oil field with over 50 billion barrels

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has discovered a new oil field in the country’s south with over 50 billion barrels of crude, its president said Sunday, a find that could boost the country’s proven reserves by a third as it struggles to sell energy abroad over U.S. sanctions.

The announcement by Hassan Rouhani comes as Iran faces crushing American sanctions after the U.S. pulled out of its nuclear deal with world powers last year.

Rouhani made the announcement in a speech in the desert city of Yazd. He said the field was located in Iran’s southern Khuzestan province, home to its crucial oil industry.

Jan 3, 2020

Sustainable supply of minerals and metals key to a low-carbon energy future

Posted by in categories: governance, nuclear energy, sustainability, transportation

The global low-carbon revolution could be at risk unless new international agreements and governance mechanisms are put in place to ensure a sustainable supply of rare minerals and metals, a new academic study has warned.

The amount of cobalt, copper, lithium, cadmium, and rare earth elements needed for solar photovoltaics, batteries, electric vehicle (EV) motors, wind turbines, fuel cells, and nuclear reactors will likely grow at a rapid pace in the upcoming years. Even if alternatives are found for one metal, there will be reliance on another as the scope of possibilities is inherently limited by physical and chemical properties of elements.

However, with global supplies often heavily monopolized by a single country, confronted by social and environmental conflict, or concentrated in poorly functioning markets, there is a real possibility that a shortage of minerals could hold back the urgent need for a rapid upscaling of low-carbon technologies. In some cases, markets are providing misleading signals to investors that can lead to poor decisions. In other cases, the countries or regions supplying minerals are politically unstable.

Jan 3, 2020

From dream to reality: Russia’s ‘Silicon Valley’ to mark 10-year anniversary with new projects

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

Russia’s Skolkovo innovation center, which is marking 10 years since its founding, has ambitious plans for 2020 and beyond to continue promoting technology and helping small innovative startups grow into profitable companies.

Skolkovo Technopark was built from scratch almost a decade ago to create a platform for research and innovation in key spheres such as energy, IT, space, biomedicine, and nuclear technology. Now the complex has facilities spread around 800,000 square meters and hosts around 500 startups, while there are an additional 1,500 enterprises beyond its campus. Skolkovo hosts around 50 research centers employing more than 15,000 people.

Jan 2, 2020

BWX Technologies, Inc. | People Strong, Innovation Driven

Posted by in categories: government, nuclear energy

NUCLEAR THERMAL PROPULSION


BWX Technologies, Inc. is a leading supplier of nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government, also providing components and services to the commercial nuclear power industry.

Jan 2, 2020

Laser-heated nanowires produce micro-scale nuclear fusion

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

Nuclear fusion, the process that powers our sun, happens when nuclear reactions between light elements produce heavier ones. It’s also happening — at a smaller scale — in a Colorado State University laboratory.

Using a compact but powerful laser to heat arrays of ordered nanowires, CSU scientists and collaborators have demonstrated micro-scale nuclear fusion in the lab. They have achieved record-setting efficiency for the generation of neutrons — chargeless sub-atomic particles resulting from the fusion process.

Their work is detailed in a paper published in Nature Communications (“Micro-scale fusion in dense relativistic nanowire array plasmas”), and is led by Jorge Rocca, University Distinguished Professor in electrical and computer engineering and physics. The paper’s first author is Alden Curtis, a CSU graduate student.

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