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Jul 24, 2021

‘Advanced’ Nuclear Reactors? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Posted by in categories: climatology, government, nuclear energy, sustainability

According to the UCS report, however, sodium-cooled fast reactors such as Natrium would likely be less uranium-efficient and would not reduce the amount of waste that requires long-term isolation. They also could experience safety problems that are not an issue for light-water reactors. Sodium coolant, for example, can burn when exposed to air or water, and the Natrium’s design could experience uncontrollable power increases that result in rapid core melting.


Unlike light-water reactors, these non-light-water designs rely on materials other than water for cooling. Some developers contend that these reactors, still in the concept stage, will solve the problems that have plagued light-water reactors and be ready for prime time by the end of this decade.

The siren song of a cheap, safe and secure nuclear reactor on the horizon has attracted the attention of Biden administration officials and some key members of Congress, who are looking for any and all ways to curb carbon emissions. But will so-called advanced reactors provide a powerful tool to combat climate change? A Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) analysis of non-light-water reactor concepts in development suggests that outcome may be as likely as Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss’ famous 1954 prediction that electricity generated by nuclear energy would ultimately become “too cheap to meter.” Written by UCS physicist Edwin Lyman, the 140-page report found that these designs are no better—and in some respects significantly worse—than the light-water reactors in operation today.

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Jul 22, 2021

Russia’s Nica: Big Bang Questions | RT Documentary

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

RT Documentary’s new film Russia’s NICA: Big Bang questions takes you to the Russian nuclear facility in Dubna where a collider is being built as part of the NICA mega-science project. It can recreate the beginning of the world 14 billion years ago.

This research can be used to learn how the universe was formed, according to the Big Bang theory, and the data obtained in the process will be essential to many other areas of science.
The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna has been operating since Soviet times, and this is where the Synchrophasotron elementary particle accelerator was built in the 1960s. It is still functional and can be used, but it takes an excessive amount of energy. Nevertheless, it remains a monument to Soviet science and the attempts to learn about the universe.

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Jul 21, 2021

The US Army tried portable nuclear power at remote bases 60 years ago – it didn’t go well

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Part of a portable nuclear power plant arrives at Camp Century in 1960. Bettmann Archive/Getty ImagesIn a tunnel 40 feet beneath the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, a Geiger counter screamed. It was 1964, the height of the Cold War. U.S. soldiers in the tunnel, 800 miles from the North Pole, were dismantling the Army’s first portable nuclear reactor. Commanding Officer Joseph Franklin grabbed the radiation detector, ordered his men out and did a quick survey before retreating from the reactor.

Jul 19, 2021

Armed guards protect tons of nuclear waste that Maine can’t get rid of

Posted by in categories: climatology, government, nuclear energy, sustainability

The canisters can’t stay on the 11-acre storage site on Bailey Peninsula in Wiscasset forever. And the specter of climate change and ocean level rise adds urgency to the hunt for a solution.


That’s a problem because the waste — 1400 spent nuclear fuel rods housed in 60 cement and steel canisters, plus four canisters of irradiated steel removed from the nuclear reactor when it was taken down — is safe for now, but can’t stay in Wiscasset forever.

The situation in Wiscasset underscores a thorny issue facing more than 100 communities across the U.S.: close to a hundred thousand tons of nuclear waste that has no place to go.

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Jul 19, 2021

China unveils design for first waterless nuclear reactor

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, nuclear energy, solar power, space travel, sustainability

CHINA’S NEW THORIUM-BASED NUCLEAR REACTOR is well situated for being adopted for Space applications.

China is slowly but steadily positioning itself to leap ahead of the US Space program. It is doing this without pomp and fanfare, and without the idea of a “space race,” simply based upon what it requires for its future.

1) Recent noteworthy progress on molten salt thorium reactors could be a key component of future Chinese space-worthiness. Originally designed by the USA’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960’s, they were planned to be used for nuclear powered strategic bomber planes, before the nuclear submarine concept became adopted as more feasible. They were chosen because they can be miniaturized to the size of an aircraft. By the same token, they could conceivably be used in advanced atmospheric or space propulsion.

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Jul 14, 2021

China launches first commercial onshore small reactor project

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, transportation

SMRs are cheaper and quicker to build than traditional reactors, and can also be deployed in remote regions and on ships and aircraft. Their “modular” format means they can be shipped by container from the factory and installed relatively quickly on any proposed site.


SHANGHAI, July 13 (Reuters) — China has started construction of the first commercial onshore nuclear project using its homegrown “Linglong One” small modular reactor (SMR) design, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said on Tuesday, about four years later than planned.

CNNC originally aimed to start building the project at the Changjiang nuclear reactor complex on the island province of Hainan in 2017, but it has been subject to regulatory delays.

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Jul 14, 2021

Nuclear-powered spacecrafts? NASA taps Blue Origin, GE to try it

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

NASA and the US Department of Energy awarded three $5m contracts to produce reactor-design concepts for trips to Mars.

Jul 14, 2021

“Nuclear Batteries” Offer a New Approach to Carbon-Free Energy

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

Jacopo Buongiorno and others say factory-built microreactors trucked to usage sites could be a safe, efficient option for decarbonizing electricity systems.

We may be on the brink of a new paradigm for nuclear power, a group of nuclear specialists suggested recently in The Bridge, the journal of the National Academy of Engineering. Much as large, expensive, and centralized computers gave way to the widely distributed PCs of today, a new generation of relatively tiny and inexpensive factory-built reactors, designed for autonomous plug-and-play operation similar to plugging in an oversized battery, is on the horizon, they say.

These proposed systems could provide heat for industrial processes or electricity for a military base or a neighborhood, run unattended for five to 10 years, and then be trucked back to the factory for refurbishment. The authors — Jacopo Buongiorno, MIT’s TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering; Robert Frida, a founder of GenH; Steven Aumeier of the Idaho National Laboratory; and Kevin Chilton, retired commander of the U.S. Strategic Command — have dubbed these small power plants “nuclear batteries.” Because of their simplicity of operation, they could play a significant role in decarbonizing the world’s electricity systems to avert catastrophic climate change, the researchers say. MIT News asked Buongiorno to describe his group’s proposal.

Jul 13, 2021

Russia Proposes Nuclear Power Plant on Mars

Posted by in categories: alien life, nuclear energy

Case in point, a subsidiary of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency is now proposing a nuclear power station on Mars, intended to power a future Russian base on the Red Planet, state-run news agency Sputnik reports.

The Arsenal Design Bureau, the subsidiary, is recommending using the same technologies destined for Zeus, a proposed interplanetary space tug, to power a nuclear reactor on the Martian surface as well.

The massive space tug is designed to make use of a nuclear-powered electric propulsion system to deliver payloads throughout the solar system. Earlier this year, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin suggested that Zeus could also visit other planets, including Jupiter, to search for alien life. Russia is hoping to begin flight-testing it starting around 2030.

Jul 7, 2021

New clues to why there’s so little antimatter in the universe

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Imagine a dust particle in a storm cloud, and you can get an idea of a neutron’s insignificance compared to the magnitude of the molecule it inhabits.

But just as a dust mote might affect a cloud’s track, a can influence the energy of its molecule despite being less than one-millionth its size. And now physicists at MIT and elsewhere have successfully measured a neutron’s tiny effect in a radioactive molecule.

The team has developed a new technique to produce and study short-lived radioactive molecules with neutron numbers they can precisely control. They hand-picked several isotopes of the same molecule, each with one more neutron than the next. When they measured each molecule’s energy, they were able to detect small, nearly imperceptible changes of the nuclear size, due to the effect of a single neutron.

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