Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 19

Aug 15, 2022

Bill Gates’ company TerraPower raises $750 million for nuclear energy and medicine innovation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy

TerraPower, the nuclear innovation company founded by Bill Gates, announced a $750 million funding raise co-led by Gates himself and SK Group from South Korea.

Aug 14, 2022

Meet ‘Copernicus’: TAE’s planned billion-degree, hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion reactor

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

TAE’s latest backers include the likes of Google and Chevron

TAE has earned the backing of forward-thinking investors and, so far, has raised a total of $1.2 billion for its commercial fusion development thanks to a track record of exceeding milestones and performance capability. TAE’s mission is to provide a long-term solution to the world’s rapidly increasing electricity demand while ensuring global energy independence and security.

To that end, the company recently closed its Series G-2 financing round, in which it secured $250 million from investors in the energy, technology, and engineering sectors. By avoiding carbon and particulate emissions, TAE’s safe, non-radioactive method minimizes any negative effects on the environment or the effects of climate change.

Aug 12, 2022

Nuclear fusion breakthrough confirmed: California team achieved ignition

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

If we could harness fusion to generate electricity, it would be one of the most efficient and least polluting sources of energy possible.

A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed a year after it was achieved at a laboratory in California.

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) recorded the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.

Continue reading “Nuclear fusion breakthrough confirmed: California team achieved ignition” »

Aug 11, 2022

How artificial intelligence could lower nuclear energy costs

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

Nuclear power plants provide large amounts of electricity without releasing planet-warming pollution. But the expense of running these plants has made it difficult for them to stay open. If nuclear is to play a role in the U.S. clean energy economy, costs must come down. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are devising systems that could make nuclear energy more competitive using artificial intelligence.

Nuclear power plants are expensive in part because they demand constant monitoring and maintenance to ensure consistent power flow and safety. Argonne is midway through a $1 million, three-year project to explore how smart, computerized systems could change the economics.

“Operation and maintenance costs are quite relevant for nuclear units, which currently require large site crews and extensive upkeep,” said Roberto Ponciroli, a principal nuclear engineer at Argonne. “We think that autonomous operation can help to improve their profitability and also benefit the deployment of advanced reactor concepts.”

Aug 10, 2022

Could Hydrogen Help Save Nuclear?

Posted by in categories: economics, nuclear energy

A lack of market value and historically low natural gas prices are just some of the reasons making it hard for nuclear to compete in certain markets.

And with the rise of more renewables coming onto the grid, many utilities are considering a hybrid or integrated systems approach to improve the economics for baseload energy sources like nuclear reactors.

One opportunity is to utilize nuclear’s thermal heat and electricity to produce hydrogen.

Aug 9, 2022

Nuclear power’s biggest problem could have a small solution

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

For decades, if you asked a fusion scientist to picture a fusion reactor, they’d probably tell you about a tokamak. It’s a chamber about the size of a large room, shaped like a hollow doughnut. Physicists fill its insides with a not-so-tasty jam of superheated plasma. Then they surround it with magnets in the hopes of crushing atoms together to create energy, just as the sun does.

But experts think you can make tokamaks in other shapes. Some believe that making tokamaks smaller and leaner could make them better at handling plasma. If the fusion scientists proposing it are right, then it could be a long-awaited upgrade for nuclear energy. Thanks to recent research and a newly proposed reactor project, the field is seriously thinking about generating electricity with a “spherical tokamak.”

“The indication from experiments up to now is that [spherical tokamaks] may, pound for pound, confine plasmas better and therefore make better fusion reactors,” says Steven Cowley, director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Aug 6, 2022

Friends of NASA

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

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Friends of NASA

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Aug 6, 2022

The First Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Was Just Approved by US Regulators

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

While some SMRs under development rely on exotic new designs that use molten uranium or thorium salts as a fuel, the NuScale reactor, which has been named VOYGR, is not dramatically different from traditional full-scale ones. It is based on a design developed at Oregon State University in the early 2000s called the “Multi-Application Small Light Water Reactor.”

The design consists of a 76-foot-tall, 15-foot-wide cylindrical containment vessel that houses the reactor. Water is passed over a series of uranium fuel rods that generate heat through fission reactions. The heated water then rises up towards steam generators, which use the heat from the water to produce superheated steam. This is then used to drive a turbine that generates electricity.

Each module is designed to generate 50 megawatts of energy, but the company plans to combine up to 12 SMRs to achieve similar outputs to conventional nuclear plants. The SMRs come with novel safety features designed to prevent the kind of disasters that have hardened public opinion against nuclear power.

Aug 5, 2022

DARPA moving forward with development of nuclear powered spacecraft

Posted by in categories: military, nuclear energy, space travel

WASHINGTON – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on May 4 issued a solicitation for proposals for the next phase of a demonstration of a nuclear powered spacecraft.

The project, called Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO), started over a year ago when DARPA selected a preliminary design for a rocket engine reactor developed by General Atomics, and chose two conceptual spacecraft designs by Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin.

The next phases of the program will focus on the design, development, fabrication and assembly of a nuclear thermal rocket engine. DARPA will conduct a “full and open competition” so this opportunity is not limited to the companies that participated in the first phase, a spokesperson told SpaceNews. Proposals are due Aug. 5.

Aug 3, 2022

Small Modular Nuclear Quickly Becoming a Reality in the Quest for Net Zero

Posted by in categories: economics, nuclear energy

Nuclear power’s revival is being led by small modular reactor technology.

Small Modular Reactors or SMRs may revive the nuclear fission reactor industry around the world. These nuclear power plants are a fraction of the size of existing facilities. They take less time to build and have safety features that make a Fukushima or Chornobyl-like event next to impossible.

As the world pivots from burning fossil fuels to generating electricity and heat, SMRs may have a role to play to get the global economy to carbon neutrality or what is referred to as the net zero 2050 target date.

Continue reading “Small Modular Nuclear Quickly Becoming a Reality in the Quest for Net Zero” »

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