Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 52

Jan 20, 2013

Activelink Power Loader Gives HAL Some Competition, but Who’s Going to Fukushima?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, defense, military, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

LEFT: Activelink Power Loader Light — RIGHT: The Latest HAL Suit

New Japanese Exoskeleton Pushing into HAL’s (potential) Marketshare
We of the robot/technology nerd demo are well aware of the non-ironically, ironically named HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) exoskeletal suit developed by Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai’s also totally not meta-ironically named Cyberdyne, Inc. Since its 2004 founding in Tsukuba City, just north of the Tokyo metro area, Cyberdyne has developed and iteratively refined the force-amplifying exoskeletal suit, and through the HAL FIT venture, they’ve also created a legs-only force resistance rehabilitation & training platform.

Joining HAL and a few similar projects here in Japan (notably Toyota’s & Honda’s) is Kansai based & Panasonic-owned Activelink’s new Power Loader Light (PLL). Activelink has developed various human force amplification systems since 2003, and this latest version of the Loader looks a lot less like its big brother the walking forklift, and a lot more like the bottom half & power pack of a HAL suit. Activelink intends to connect an upper body unit, and if successful, will become HAL’s only real competition here in Japan.
And for what?

Well, along with general human force amplification and/or rehab, this:

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Jan 13, 2013

Water, Bombs, WE CAN GO NOW

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, existential risks, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, policy, space, transparency

I was recently accused on another blog of repeating a defeatist mantra.

My “mantra” has always been WE CAN GO NOW. The solutions are crystal clear to anyone who takes a survey of the available technology. What blinds people is their unwillingness to accept the cost of making it happen.
There is no cheap.

Paul Gilster comments on his blog Centauri Dreams, concerning Radiation, Alzheimer’s Disease and Fermi;

“Neurological damage from human missions to deep space — and the study goes no further than the relatively close Mars — would obviously affect our planning and create serious payload constraints given the need for what might have to be massive shielding.”

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Jan 3, 2013

Explaining Space Travel

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, defense, engineering, ethics, existential risks, finance, geopolitics, habitats, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, space, transparency

I recently posted this on the only two other sites that will allow me to express my opinions;

I see the problem as one of self similarity; trying to go cheap being the downfall of all these schemes to work around human physiology.

When I first became interested in space travel several years ago I would comment on a couple blogs and find myself constantly arguing with private space proponents- and saying over and over again, “there is no cheap.” I was finally excommunicated from that bunch and banned from posting. They would start calling me an idiot and other insults and when I tried to return the favor the moderator would block my replies. The person who runs those two sites works for a firm promoting space tourism- go figure.

The problem is that while the aerospace industry made some money off the space program as an outgrowth of the military industrial complex, it soon became clear that spaceships are hard money- they have to work. The example of this is the outrage over the Apollo 1 fire and subsequent oversight of contractors- a practice which disappeared after Apollo and resulted in the Space Shuttle being such a poor design. A portion of the shuttle development money reportedly went under the table into the B-1 bomber program; how much we will never know. Swing wings are not easy to build which is why you do not see it anymore; cuts into profits.

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Jan 1, 2013

Cosmic Ray Gorilla

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, defense, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

Excerpt: “Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts,” said M. Kerry O’Banion, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy and the senior author of the study. “The possibility that radiation exposure in space may give rise to health problems such as cancer has long been recognized. However, this study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

It appears when Eugene Parker wrote “Shielding Space Travelers” in 2006 he was right- and all the private space sycophants claiming radiation mitigation is trivial are wrong.

Only a massive water shield a minimum of 14 feet thick and massing 400 tons for a small capsule can shield human beings in deep space on long duration missions. And since a small capsule will not have sufficient space to keep a crew psychologically healthy on a multi-year journey it is likely such a shield will massive over a thousand tons.

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Dec 28, 2012

Forty Tons of Plutonium for Bomb Propulsion?

Posted by in categories: defense, engineering, existential risks, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, space

A half century after being developed, nuclear pulse propulsion remains the only practical system of interplanetary travel. What is required to launch a bomb propelled mission to the outer solar system? Well, first you need.…..bombs.

There is no shortage of bomb material on planet Earth. The problem is lack of a vehicle that can get this material to the nearest place a nuclear mission can be launched; the Moon. For over a quarter of a century a launch vehicle capable of sending significant payloads (and people) to the Moon has been lacking. The Space Transportation System, aka the space shuttle, was a dead end as far as exploration due to the lack of funding for a Sidemount cargo version.

Now we wait on the SLS.

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Nov 11, 2012

The Kline Directive: Technological Feasibility (2c) … continued

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, general relativity, nanotechnology, nuclear energy, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, scientific freedom, space

I was about to discuss the third of three concepts, but thought a look back would be appropriate at this time. In my earlier post I had shown that the photon/particle wave function could not be part of the photon/particle as this would violate the empirical Lorentz-Fitzgerald transformations and therefore, Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. The wave function is only the photon/particle’s disturbance of the spacetime it is in, and therefore explains why photons/particles have wave properties. They don’t. They disturb spacetime like a pebble dropped into a pond. The pond’s ripples are not the pebble.

In the recent findings, Dr. Alberto Peruzzo, University of Bristol (UK) the lead author of the paper and quoting “The measurement apparatus detected strong nonlocality, which certified that the photon behaved simultaneously as a wave and a particle in our experiment, … This represents a strong refutation of models in which the photon is either a wave or a particle.” This is a very important finding and another step in the progress of science towards a better understanding of our Universe.

Those of you who have been following my blog posts will recognize that this is empirical validation using single structure test that shows that both wave and particle properties occur together. What is required next, to be empirically rigorous, is to either confirm or deny that this wave function is a spacetime disturbance. For that we require a dual structure test.

If this wave function is a spacetime disturbance, then Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is upheld, and we would require a major rethink of quantum physics or the physics of elementary particles. If this wave function is a not spacetime disturbance but part of the particle structure, then there is an empirical exception to the Lorentz-Fitzgerald transformation and we would require a rethink of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

Continue reading “The Kline Directive: Technological Feasibility (2c) . . . continued” »

Oct 26, 2012

Radioactive Pollution: Fishing for Answers off Fukushima

Posted by in categories: engineering, nuclear energy, policy, sustainability, treaties

A recent article in Science Daily reported on efforts to measure Cesium-137 and Cesium-134 in bottom dwelling fish off the east coast of Japan to understand the lingering effects and potential public health implications. As the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history, it is not surprising that many demersal fish are found above the limits for seafood consumption. What is more significant is that the contamination in almost all classifications of fish are not declining — suggesting that contaminated sediment on the seafloor could be providing a continuing source. This raises a concern that fallouts from any further nuclear accidents would aggregate over time.

One would question if the IAEA is taking a strong enough position on the permitted location of nuclear power stations. It perplexes me that the main objections to Iran attaining nuclear power are strategic/military. Whilst Iran is not at risk to the threat of tsunamis as Japan is, Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, where destructive earthquakes often occur. This is because it is crossed by several major fault lines that cover at least 90% of the country. How robust are nuclear power stations to a major quake? The IAEA needs to expand its role to advise countries on what regions it would be unsuitable to build nuclear power stations — such as Iran and Japan. Otherwise we are risking a lasting environmental impact to eventually occur — it is only a matter of time.

How the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which sits just miles away from the notoriously active San Andreas fault was allowed to be located there let alone operate for a year and half with its emergency systems disabled (according to a 2010 safety review by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission). It seems as if there’s a missing link worldwide between the IAEA and regional planning authorities. Or perhaps it is simply down to responsible government.

Oct 22, 2012

New whitepaper on Nuclear Industrial Safety

Posted by in categories: engineering, existential risks, nuclear energy, transparency

New whitepaper/critique on Nuclear Industrial Safety — International Nuclear Services Putting Buisness Before Safety and Other Essays on Nuclear Safety — Asserts specific concern over the 2038 clock-wrap issue in old UNIX/IBM Control Systems. This is an aggregation of previous contributions to Lifeboat Foundation on the topic of Nuclear Safety.

Comments welcome.

Oct 1, 2012

Liquor & Glass — Sellafield/BNFL Keeping a Lid on It

Posted by in categories: engineering, ethics, nuclear energy, policy, sustainability, transparency

Fukushima reawakened the world to the dangers of nuclear power, and reading back over Fearing Sellafield (2003) by Colum Kenny recently, I reflect back on how deflective and dishonest industry can be to steer clear of critical opinion. Seeing parallels suggested in other industries today, I wonder if much has really changed.

Highly Active Liquor (HAL) produced by the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel at Sellafield, reached a level of 1,500 cubic meters in storage at its peak circa 2001, the capacity of a 50 meter Olympic swimming pool. Particularly unstable, a disruption to electricity & water coolant could result in such liquor boiling, overloading the ventilation filtration systems and leading to a nuclear accident. Containing about 80 times the amount released during the 1986 Chernobyl accident according to a report for the European Parliament at that time, we are rather fortunate such a serious accident never occurred. This analysis was provided by what became known as The WISE Report — so called due to associated with the World Information Service on Energy (WISE) in Paris. In response BNFL set out to reduce this liquor to a solid form known as ‘glass’ — borosilicate glass — much safer than when kept in liquid form, and put in storage — though much of it still remains to be vitrified.

In 2000/2001, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) of the HSE published a number of reports on aspects of Sellafield that led to causes of concern. One report in particular entitled ‘an investigation into the falsification of pellet diameter data in the MOX demonstration facility at the BNFL Sellafield site and the effect of this on the safety of MOX fuel in use’ suggested deliberate dishonesty in keeping records. BNFL subsequently complied with most of these recommendations.

Authors of the WISE report however still had concerns regarding increases in levels in certain sea discharges and aerial releases, and inconsistent with the UK’s obligations under the OSPAR Convention. It stated that the deposition of plutonium within 20km of Sellafield attributable to aerial emissions has been estimated at 160–280 billion becquerels — several times the plutonium fallout from all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, and that 250kg-500kg of plutonium from Sellafield has been absorbed as sediments on the bed of the Irish sea ‘representing a long-term regional hazard of largely unknown proportions’. The report had been treated with caution by the European Commission and conveniently dismissed by the National Radiological Protection Board in the UK by claiming that some of the conclusions drawn in the report were based on ‘lacking objectivity’. It seems that governments are always bent towards safeguarding industry first, leaving environmental concerns and the health of our Mother Ship as a secondary issue.

Sep 10, 2012

International Nuclear Services Putting Business Before Safety

Posted by in categories: business, economics, ethics, nuclear energy

Whilst I was checking up on C.O.R.E. (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment) this weekend, I read of latest plans to ship plutonium MOX fuel assemblies from Sellafield to the small German port of Nordenham near Bremerhaven on the NDA’s (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) ageing ship Atlantic Osprey.

The Atlantic Osprey, built in 1986, is a roll-on roll-off ferry purchased third hand by British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL) in 2001 and converted to carry radioactive materials. It is the only ship not to be custom-built of the UK’s designated nuclear cargo ships, and so is not double-hulled, and has only a single engine, among other short-comings.

According to CORE it has a chequered history as a nuclear carrier that includes an engine-room fire and breakdowns at sea, and equivalent sister ships have historically been retired at or before a standard 25 years of service. Whilst the ship is soon to finally brought to the scrapyard, it is due to be replaced by a 25-year old ship Oceanic Pintail recently saved from the scrap yard itself — and one would get the impression that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority are cutting corners on safety to save on expenditure.

CORE spokesman Martin Forwood has pointed out that INS (International Nuclear Services — a subsidiary of the NDA) appears hell-bent on shipping this MOX fuel to Germany on a third-hand ship with second class safety and kept afloat on first class INS PR alone” and on learning about the current state of affairs, one would be inclined to agree.

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