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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 6

Apr 6, 2022

Oxford spinoff demonstrates world-first hypersonic “projectile fusion”

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Oxford spinoff First Light Fusion says its novel “projectile” approach offers “the fastest, simplest and cheapest route to commercial fusion power.” The company is now celebrating a significant breakthrough with its first confirmed fusion reaction.

The nuclear fusion space is heating up, if you’ll pardon the pun, as the world orients itself toward a clean energy future. Where current nuclear power plants release energy by splitting atoms in fission reactions, fusion reactors will release energy in the same way the Sun does – by smashing atoms together so hard and so fast that they fuse into higher elements.

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Apr 4, 2022

JET’s record result and the quest for fusion energy

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, robotics/AI

Physics World Stories podcast, Andrew Glester catches up with two engineers from the UK Atomic Energy Authority to learn more about this latest development. Leah Morgan, a physicist-turned-engineer explains why JET’s recent success is great news for the ITER project – a larger experimental fusion reactor currently under construction in Cadarache, France. Later in the episode, mechanical design engineer Helena Livesey talks about the important role of robotics for accessing equipment within the extreme conditions inside a tokamak device.

Mar 30, 2022

HB11 Energy demonstrates nuclear fusion using high-power lasers

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Australia’s first fusion energy company HB11 Energy has demonstrated a world-first ‘material’ number of fusion reactions by a private company, producing ten times more fusion reactions than expected based on earlier experiments at the same facility. The technology utilizes high-power, high-precision lasers to start non-thermal fusion reactions between hydrogen and boron-11 rather than heating hydrogen isotopes to hundred-million-degrees temperatures.

This approach was predicted in the 1970s at UNSW by Australian theoretical physicist and HB11 Energy co-founder Professor Heinrich Hora. It differs radically from most other fusion efforts to date that require heating of hydrogen isotopes to millions of degrees.

Nuclear fusion powers the Sun and other stars as hydrogen atoms fuse together to form helium, and the matter is converted into energy. The Sun accomplishes fusion by having a huge amount of hydrogen atoms packed into a plasma that’s superheated to tens of millions of degrees at its core. At these temperatures, the hydrogen atoms move so fast and eventually reach speeds high enough to bring the ions close enough together that they smack into each other and fuse, releasing the energy that warms our planet.

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Mar 29, 2022

HB11’s hydrogen-boron laser fusion test yields groundbreaking results

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

HB11 is approaching nuclear fusion from an entirely new angle, using high power, high precision lasers instead of hundred-million-degree temperatures to start the reaction. Its first demo has produced 10 times more fusion reactions than expected, and the company says it’s now “the only commercial entity to achieve fusion so far,” making it “the global frontrunner in the race to commercialize the holy grail of clean energy.”

We’ve covered Australian company HB11’s hydrogen-boron laser fusion innovations before in detail, but it’s worth briefly summarizing what makes this company so different from the rest of the field. In order to smash atoms together hard enough to make them fuse together and form a new element, you need to overcome the incredibly strong repulsive forces that push two positively-charged nuclei apart. It’s like throwing powerful magnets at each other in space, hoping to smash two north poles together instead of having them just dance out of each other’s way.

The Sun accomplishes this by having a huge amount of hydrogen atoms packed into a plasma that’s superheated to tens of millions of degrees at its core. Heat is a measure of kinetic energy – how fast a group of atoms or molecules are moving or vibrating. At these temperatures, the hydrogen atoms are moving so fast that they smack into each other and fuse, releasing the energy that warms our planet.

Mar 27, 2022

How is the war affecting Russian clout in nuclear energy?

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Mar 24, 2022

A Talk Sponsored

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, policy

It’s a big ask to tell countries with very little access to electricity to accept the same level of responsibility as electricity-rich nations in striving to achieve the net-zero 2050 emissions target set by the United Nations. And nuclear energy has to be in the mix.


Is the IPCC goal of getting to net-zero by 2050 aspirational or legitimate? A Foreign Policy Review panel tackles the question.

Mar 22, 2022

Nuclear Energy Company Proposes a New Reactor to Take Care of the Waste Problem

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

Transmutex is reinventing nuclear energy from first principles using a process that uses radioactive waste as a fuel source.


Transmutex, a Swiss company, states on its website that it is “reinventing nuclear energy from first principles” by using a process that uses radioactive waste as a fuel source.

Its transmitter is a particle accelerator that produces nuclear energy with fewer contaminants than any reactor on the market today. The technology represents a valuable tool in the transition to intermittent renewables by providing baseload energy-producing alternatives to fossil-fuel thermal power stations.

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Mar 20, 2022

Finland Will Store Nuclear Waste in an Underground Tomb for 100,000 Years

Posted by in categories: futurism, nuclear energy

Finland is building a nuclear waste disposal site deep under the tiny city of Eurajoki. Called Onkalo, meaning “deep pit” in Finnish, the nuclear waste repository is slated to open in 2024. If all goes to plan, copper casks will safely store spent uranium fuel rods for at least the next 100,000 years. But what happens when we bury nuclear waste, and how does this fit into Finland’s nuclear future?

Finland is a Scandinavian country about the size of Montana with about five times the population at 5.5 million residents. (That said, Finland is the 216th nation in the world by population density, showing just how sparse Montana really is.) The population is concentrated in the south, with just 200,000 people living around and above the Arctic Circle in northern Finland.

Mar 17, 2022

China’s Artificial Sun Creates a New Record!

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Mar 14, 2022

New record temperature for spherical tokamak

Posted by in categories: government, nuclear energy

Tokamak Energy, based near Oxford, UK, has demonstrated a world-first with its privately-funded ST40 spherical tokamak. The reactor achieved a plasma temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius, the threshold required for commercial fusion energy.

At nearly seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun, this is by far the highest temperature ever generated within a spherical tokamak and also by any privately-funded tokamak. The ST40 had previously achieved a temperature of 15 million degrees in June 2018. While several government laboratories have reported plasma temperatures above 100 million degrees in conventional tokamaks, this milestone has been achieved in just five years, for a cost of less than £50m ($70m) and in a much more compact fusion device. This provides further proof that spherical tokamaks are a viable route to the delivery of clean, secure, low cost, scalable fusion energy.

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