Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 58

Apr 9, 2021

This Nuclear Reactor Just Made Fusion Viable by 2030. Seriously

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

This means 6 years after TAE began to reach “long enough,” Norman has finally reached “hot enough” frequently enough that it can begin to scale up for commercial power plants. And this is why the company says it feels it can build that kind of power plant by the end of the decade in 2030.

Nuclear fusion has long felt like decades away. Today, the timeline accelerates.

Apr 8, 2021

DARPA Prepares for the Subterranean Challenge Final

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, robotics/AI

Three years of underground robotics competitions culminate in a final event in September with $5 million in prize money.

The DARPA Subterranean Challenge Final Event is scheduled to take place at the Louisville Mega Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky, from September 21 to 23. We’ve followed SubT teams as they’ve explored their way through abandoned mines, unfinished nuclear reactors, and a variety of caves, and now everything comes together in one final course where the winner of the Systems Track will take home the $2 million first prize.

It’s a fitting reward for teams that have been solving some of the hardest problems in robotics, but winning isn’t going to be easy, and we’ll talk with SubT Program Manager Tim Chung about what we have to look forward to.

Continue reading “DARPA Prepares for the Subterranean Challenge Final” »

Apr 8, 2021

Claiming a landmark in fusion energy, TAE Technologies sees commercialization by 2030

Posted by in category: nuclear energy


In a small industrial park located nearly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, one company is claiming to have hit a milestone in the development of a new technology for generating power from nuclear fusion.

The twenty year old fusion energy technology developer TAE Technologies said its reactors could be operating at commercial scale by the end of the decade, thanks to its newfound ability to produce stable plasma at temperatures over 50 million degrees (nearly twice as hot as the sun),.

Continue reading “Claiming a landmark in fusion energy, TAE Technologies sees commercialization by 2030” »

Apr 7, 2021

Plasma Thruster Could Dramatically Cut Down Flight Times to the Outer Solar System

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

I just finished the most recent season of The Expanse – my current favourite Sci-Fi series. Unlike most of my other go-to Sci-Fi, The Expanse’s narrative is (thus far) mainly contained to our own Solar System. In Star Trek, ships fly about the galaxy at Faster-Than-Light speeds giving mention to the many light years (or parsecs *cough* Star Wars) travelled to say nothing of sublight journeys within solar systems themselves. The distances between stars is huge. But, for current-day Earthling technology, our Solar System itself is still overwhelmingly enormous. It takes years to get anywhere.

In The Expanse, ships use a fictional sublight propulsion called The Epstein Drive to travel quickly through the Solar System at significant fractions of light speed. We’re not nearly there yet, but we are getting closer with the announcement of a new theoretical sublight propulsion. It won’t be an Epstein drive, but it may come to be known as the Ebrahimi Drive – an engine inspired by fusion reactors and the incredible power of solar Coronal Mass Ejections.

Rocket engines have been the backbone of space exploration lifting humans to the Moon, rovers to Mars, and sending probes outside the Solar System. However, for all their blast-offy awesomeness, they are inherently inefficient and bulky. You can only get so much energy out of rocket fuel. As a result, most of your entire spacecraft is a giant fuel tank. The mass of a rocket destined for Mars could be as much as 78% fuel. To reduce weight, we need more efficient engines.

Apr 7, 2021

Jellyfish-Like Organisms Halt Two South Korean Nuclear Reactors

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Sea salps — gelantinous, marine organisms that look like jellyfish — have clogged water systems used to cool nuclear reactors in South Korea, forcing two units offline.

It’s the second time in less than three weeks Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. shut the Hanul No. 1 and No. 2 units, after salps clogged water intake valves. The reactors, which each have a capacity of 950-megawatts, resumed operation last week before shutting again Tuesday.

Apr 6, 2021

Satellite images show huge Russian military buildup in the Arctic

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

Russia is amassing unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to the climate emergency, in a bid to secure its northern coast and open up a key shipping route from Asia to Europe.

Weapons experts and Western officials have expressed particular concern about one Russian ‘super-weapon,’ the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo. Development of the torpedo is moving fast with Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting an update on a “key stage” of the tests in February from his defence minister Sergei Shoigu, with further tests planned this year, according to multiple reports in state media.

This unmanned stealth torpedo is powered by a nuclear reactor and intended by Russian designers to sneak past coastal defences — like those of the US — on the sea floor.

Apr 5, 2021

Faster Fusion Reactor Calculations Thanks to AI

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

Fusion reactor technologies are well-positioned to contribute to our future power needs in a safe and sustainable manner. Numerical models can provide researchers with information on the behavior of the fusion plasma, as well as valuable insight on the effectiveness of reactor design and operation. However, to model the large number of plasma interactions requires a number of specialized models that are not fast enough to provide data on reactor design and operation.

Aaron Ho from the Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion group in the department of Applied Physics at Eindhoven University of Technology has explored the use of machine learning approaches to speed up the numerical simulation of core plasma turbulent transport. Ho defended his thesis on March 17th.

The ultimate goal of research on fusion reactors is to achieve a net power gain in an economically viable manner. To reach this goal, large intricate devices have been constructed, but as these devices become more complex, it becomes increasingly important to adopt a predict-first approach regarding its operation. This reduces operational inefficiencies and protects the device from severe damage.

Apr 2, 2021

Surprising Evidence for PeVatrons, the Milky Way’s Most Powerful Particle Accelerators

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, space

The Tibet ASγ experiment, a China-Japan joint research project on cosmic-ray observation, has discovered ultra-high-energy diffuse gamma rays from the Milky Way galaxy. The highest energy detected is estimated to be unprecedentedly high, nearly 1 Peta electronvolts (PeV, or one million billion eV).

Surprisingly, these gamma rays do not point back to known high-energy gamma-ray sources, but are spread out across the Milky Way (see Figure 1).

Scientists believe these gamma rays are produced by the nuclear interaction between cosmic rays escaping from the most powerful galactic sources (“PeVatrons”) and interstellar gas in the Milky Way galaxy. This observational evidence marks an important milestone in revealing the origin of cosmic rays, which has puzzled mankind for more than a century.

Apr 1, 2021

Diamond battery powered by nuclear waste runs for 28,000 years

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, nanotechnology, nuclear energy

Would you use one in your phone though?

A U.S. startup combined radioactive isotopes from nuclear waste with ultra-slim layers of nanodiamonds to assemble a ridiculous battery that allegedly can last 28000 years.

According to the California startup in question, called NDB (Nano Diamond Battery), their product is a “high-power diamond-based alpha, beta, and neutron voltaic battery.”

Continue reading “Diamond battery powered by nuclear waste runs for 28,000 years” »

Mar 30, 2021

US Researchers Design Compact Fusion Power Plant

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

New concept delivers continuous electricity with an approach that reduces cost and risk

San Diego, March 29, 2021 – Fusion energy is heating up. In the past few months, both the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released reports calling for aggressive development of fusion energy in the U.S.

Now, scientists at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility have released a new design for a compact fusion reactor that can generate electricity and help define the technology necessary for commercial fusion power. The approach is based on the “Advanced Tokamak” concept pioneered by the DIII-D program, which enables a higher-performance, self-sustaining configuration that holds energy more efficiently than in typical pulsed configurations, allowing it to be built at a reduced scale and cost.

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