Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 2

Nov 1, 2020

$70 Million Nuclear Fusion Machine Is Turned on in the U.K

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

A new spherical tokamak in the U.K. could overcome one of the biggest hurdles to nuclear fusion power: the “exhaust problem”.

Oct 30, 2020

United Kingdom lights up its unusual fusion reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

The United Kingdom’s revamped fusion reactor, known as the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) Upgrade, powered up for the first time yesterday after a 7-year build. The £55 million device will be a testbed for technologies critical to all future fusion reactors, and may provide a stepping stone to a new design of energy-producing facility.

Tokamaks are the frontrunners in the decadeslong effort to generate energy by fusing light elements together. These doughnut-shaped vessels contain a superhot ionized gas—or plasma—of hydrogen isotopes that is constrained with powerful magnets and heated by microwaves and particle beams. (ITER, a gigantic tokamak under construction in France, is a major focus of global efforts to realize fusion power.)

MAST is a variation on the standard tokamak; it is shaped more like a cored apple than a doughnut. Researchers believe that shape can confer greater stability in the roiling plasma than a doughnut-shaped tokamak, but it is less well understood than the traditional design. MAST first tested the concept on a large scale starting in 1999 and has now been upgraded with extra heating power, new technology for extracting heat from the plasma, and other improvements. A parallel effort at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, called the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), was similarly upgraded. Soon after restarting in 2016, however, NSTX suffered a magnet failure and is now being rebuilt.

Oct 28, 2020

Russia Hacks Into U.S. Power Plants, But Nuclear Reactors Should Be Impervious

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, internet, nuclear energy

But what about nuclear? Are we at risk of cyber-induced meltdowns or releases of radiation?


Fortunately, while the Russians may be able to disrupt electricity transmission in general, and electricity generation from many power plants like natural gas and wind farms, they can’t hack into nuclear power plant operations. Nuclear plants are still mostly analog and not connected to the Internet.

Continue reading “Russia Hacks Into U.S. Power Plants, But Nuclear Reactors Should Be Impervious” »

Oct 27, 2020

Record neutron numbers at Sandia Labs’ Z machine fusion experiments

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

A relatively new method to control nuclear fusion that combines a massive jolt of electricity with strong magnetic fields and a powerful laser beam has achieved its own record output of neutrons—a key standard by which fusion efforts are judged—at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z pulsed power facility, the most powerful producer of X-rays on Earth.

The achievement, from a project called MagLIF, for magnetized liner inertial fusion, was reported in a paper published Oct. 9 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

“The output in neutrons in the past two years increased by more than an order of magnitude,” said Sandia physicist and lead investigator Matt Gomez. “We’re not only pleased that the improvements we implemented led to this increase in output, but that the increase was accurately predicted by theory.”

Oct 25, 2020

The Future of Fusion is Radiationless Hydrogen-Boron

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Professor Heinrich Hora from UNSW in Australia has successfully produced Hydrogen-Boron fusion with the use of lasers and no radioactivity.

Oct 25, 2020

New nuclear engine concept could help realize 3-month trips to Mars

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

Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has developed a concept for a new Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine and delivered it to NASA. Claimed to be safer and more reliable than previous NTP designs and with far greater efficiency than a chemical rocket, the concept could help realize the goal of using nuclear propulsion to revolutionize deep space travel, reducing Earth-Mars travel time to just three months.

Because chemical rockets are already near their theoretical limits and electric space propulsion systems have such low thrust, rocket engineers continue to seek ways to build more efficient, more powerful engines using some variant of nuclear energy. If properly designed, such nuclear rockets could have several times the efficiency of the chemical variety. The problem is to produce a nuclear reactor that is light enough and safe enough for use outside the Earth’s atmosphere – especially if the spacecraft is carrying a crew.

According to Dr. Michael Eades, principal engineer at USNC-Tech, the new concept engine is more reliable than previous NTP designs and can produce twice the specific impulse of a chemical rocket. Specific impulse is a measure of a rocket’s efficiency.

Continue reading “New nuclear engine concept could help realize 3-month trips to Mars” »

Oct 25, 2020

Chernobyl fungus could shield astronauts from cosmic radiation

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nuclear energy, space

Will astronauts have fungi shields as protection against radiation in the future? 😃

When astronauts return to the moon or travel to Mars, how will they shield themselves against high levels of cosmic radiation? A recent experiment aboard the International Space Station suggests a surprising solution: a radiation-eating fungus, which could be used as a self-replicating shield against gamma radiation in space.

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Oct 22, 2020

AL_A reveals plans for world’s first magnetised fusion power plant

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Amanda Levete’s firm AL_A is partnering with Canadian energy company General Fusion to design a pioneering power plant that will use nuclear fusion.

The prototype plant will act as a demonstration facility for the technology, which uses hydrogen as fuel, with onsite facilities for experts and the general public to visit.

General Fusion wants to transform how the world is energised by replicating the process that powers the sun and the stars,” said AL_A.

Oct 21, 2020

‘Quark Fusion’ Could Outperform Nuclear Fusion

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Circa 2017

In a few decades, we might get all our power from nuclear fusion. Researchers have been working to build functional nuclear fusion reactors, which mimic the fusion reactions that occur in the sun to generate power. Once we figure out fusion power, we could use these generators to power our lives for decades.

Continue reading “‘Quark Fusion’ Could Outperform Nuclear Fusion” »

Oct 20, 2020

This Molten Salt Reactor Is the Next Big Thing in Nuclear

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

It’s fast, cheap, safe, and eats up waste. What’s not to like?

A new molten salt reactor design can scale from just 50 Megawatts electric (MWe) to 1,200 MWe, its creators say, while burning up nuclear waste in the process.

☢️ You like nuclear. So do we. Let’s nerd out over nuclear together.

Continue reading “This Molten Salt Reactor Is the Next Big Thing in Nuclear” »

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