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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category

Oct 21, 2021

Nuclear waste can be extremely harmful to humans, so it should be stored safely

Posted by in categories: engineering, nuclear energy

But how? ⚛ 🛢

# engineering.

Oct 19, 2021

Covert Cognizance: A Novel Predictive Modeling Paradigm

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, economics, information science, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

(2021). Nuclear Technology: Vol. 207 No. 8 pp. 1163–1181.


Focusing on nuclear engineering applications, the nation’s leading cybersecurity programs are focused on developing digital solutions to support reactor control for both on-site and remote operation. Many of the advanced reactor technologies currently under development by the nuclear industry, such as small modular reactors, microreactors, etc., require secure architectures for instrumentation, control, modeling, and simulation in order to meet their goals. 1 Thus, there is a strong need to develop communication solutions to enable secure function of advanced control strategies and to allow for an expanded use of data for operational decision making. This is important not only to avoid malicious attack scenarios focused on inflicting physical damage but also covert attacks designed to introduce minor process manipulation for economic gain. 2

These high-level goals necessitate many important functionalities, e.g., developing measures of trustworthiness of the code and simulation results against unauthorized access; developing measures of scientific confidence in the simulation results by carefully propagating and identifying dominant sources of uncertainties and by early detection of software crashes; and developing strategies to minimize the computational resources in terms of memory usage, storage requirements, and CPU time. By introducing these functionalities, the computers are subservient to the programmers. The existing predictive modeling philosophy has generally been reliant on the ability of the programmer to detect intrusion via specific instructions to tell the computer how to detect intrusion, keep log files to track code changes, limit access via perimeter defenses to ensure no unauthorized access, etc.

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Oct 19, 2021

Validation of Covert Cognizance Active Defenses

Posted by in categories: mathematics, nuclear energy, robotics/AI, security, space

(2021). Nuclear Science and Engineering: Vol. 195 No. 9 pp. 977–989.


Earlier work has demonstrated the theoretical development of covert OT defenses and their application to representative control problems in a nuclear reactor. Given their ability to store information in the system nonobservable space using one-time-pad randomization techniques, the new C2 modeling paradigm6 has emerged allowing the system to build memory or self-awareness about its past and current state. The idea is to store information using randomized mathematical operators about one system subcomponent, e.g., the reactor core inlet and exit temperature, into the nonobservable space of another subcomponent, e.g., the water level in a steam generator, creating an incorruptible record of the system state. If the attackers attempt to falsify the sensor data in an attempt to send the system along an undesirable trajectory, they will have to learn all the inserted signatures across the various system subcomponents and the C2 embedding process.

We posit that this is extremely unlikely given the huge size of the nonobservable space for most complex systems, and the use of randomized techniques for signature insertion, rendering a level of security that matches the Vernam-Cipher gold standard. The Vernam Cipher, commonly known as a one-time pad, is a cipher that encrypts a message using a random key (pad) and can only be decrypted using this key. Its strength is derived from Shannon’s notion of perfect secrecy 8 and requires the key to be truly random and nonreusable (one time). To demonstrate this, this paper will validate the implementation of C2 using sophisticated AI tools such as long short-term memory (LSTM) neural networks 9 and the generative adversarial learning [generative adversarial networks (GANs)] framework, 10 both using a supervised learning setting, i.e., by assuming that the AI training phase can distinguish between original data and the data containing the embedded signatures. While this is an unlikely scenario, it is assumed to demonstrate the resilience of the C2 signatures to discovery by AI techniques.

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Oct 15, 2021

Ex-SpaceX Engineers Are Building a Cheap, Portable Nuclear Reactor

Posted by in categories: military, nuclear energy

Nuclear power is going portable in the form of relatively lightweight, cost-effective microreactors. A team of former SpaceX engineers is developing the “world’s first portable, zero-emissions power source” that can bring power to remote areas and also allows for quick installation of new units in populated areas, a press statement revealed.

Last year, the team secured $1.2 million in funding from angel investors for their startup Radiant to help develop its portable nuclear microreactors, which are aimed at both commercial and military applications.

Oct 9, 2021

Solar Panels Plus Farming? Agrivoltaics Explained

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

Could combining solar panels plus farming be a viable solution to the growing demand for food production and energy demand? Let’s take a closer look at electrifying our crops (not literally electrifying crops) … well, adding solar to our farm land as well as some of the side benefits and challenges it creates.

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Oct 8, 2021

Researchers create ‘self-aware’ algorithm to ward off hacking attempts

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, information science, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

It sounds like a scene from a spy thriller. An attacker gets through the IT defenses of a nuclear power plant and feeds it fake, realistic data, tricking its computer systems and personnel into thinking operations are normal. The attacker then disrupts the function of key plant machinery, causing it to misperform or break down. By the time system operators realize they’ve been duped, it’s too late, with catastrophic results.

The scenario isn’t fictional; it happened in 2,010 when the Stuxnet virus was used to damage nuclear centrifuges in Iran. And as ransomware and other cyberattacks around the world increase, system operators worry more about these sophisticated “false data injection” strikes. In the wrong hands, the computer models and data analytics—based on artificial intelligence—that ensure smooth operation of today’s electric grids, manufacturing facilities, and power plants could be turned against themselves.

Purdue University’s Hany Abdel-Khalik has come up with a powerful response: To make the computer models that run these cyberphysical systems both self-aware and self-healing. Using the background noise within these systems’ data streams, Abdel-Khalik and his students embed invisible, ever-changing, one-time-use signals that turn passive components into active watchers. Even if an is armed with a perfect duplicate of a system’s model, any attempt to introduce falsified data will be immediately detected and rejected by the system itself, requiring no human response.

Oct 5, 2021

New nuclear fusion reactor design may be a breakthrough

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

“The twisted coils are the most expensive and complicated part of the stellarator and have to be manufactured to very great precision in a very complicated form,” physicist Per Helander, head of the Stellarator Theory Division at Max Planck and lead author of the new paper, told Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory News.

The new design offers a simpler approach by instead using permanent magnets, whose magnetic field is generated by the internal structure of the material itself. As described in an article published by Nature, Zarnstorff realized that neodymium–boron permanent magnets—which behave like refrigerator magnets, only stronger—had become powerful enough to potentially help control the plasma in stellarators.

Oct 5, 2021

Eric G Meyer — Founder & Director — Generation Atomic — Advanced Nuclear Power Advocacy For Humanity

Posted by in categories: climatology, media & arts, nuclear energy, policy

Advanced Nuclear Power Advocacy For Humanity — Eric G. Meyer, Founder & Director, Generation Atomic


Eric G. Meyer is the Founder and Director of Generation Atomic (https://generationatomic.org/), a nuclear advocacy non-profit which he founded after hearing about the promise of advanced nuclear reactors, and he decided to devote his life to saving and expanding the use of atomic energy.

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Oct 4, 2021

A Company Is Producing Thousands of Cheap, Floating Nuclear Reactors

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

While wind turbine and solar power platforms are beginning to take to the sea, another, more established form of power might also avoid hiking real estate costs.

A Copenhagen-based startup just raised funding to the sum of eight figures in Euros to begin construction of a new kind of cheap, flexible, portable, and unyieldingly safe nuclear reactor, according to a press release shared by the company, Seaborg Technologies.

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Oct 3, 2021

How close is nuclear fusion power?

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

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How close is nuclear fusion to break-even? If you trust the headlines we’re getting close and the international project ITER is going to be the first to produce energy from fusion power. But not so fast. Scientists have, accidentally or deliberately, come to use a very misleading quantity to measure their progress. Unfortunately we’re much farther away from generating fusion power than the headlines suggest.

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