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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category: Page 62

Apr 5, 2016

Federal legislation to jumpstart space solar power

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, food, government, law, nuclear energy, security, solar power, space, sustainability

The United States is transitioning from a primary reliance on fossil fuels to greater use of sustainable natural and nuclear energy sources. There are two reasons for this transition. The first reason is that the abnormally high and increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has created scientific uncertainty and concern as to the detrimental impact this may have on the environment and, consequentially, human civilization. Almost certainly, this abnormal level is due to anthropogenic causes linked to the tremendous expansion in the human population since the early 1700s, the growth of human civilization (e.g., agriculture and industrialization), and the increasing use of fossil fuels. Although fossil fuels have enabled worldwide progress in elevating the standard of living, most of the world’s nations have reached the conclusion that the world should transition entirely to sustainable energy by 2100 (see “The Paris climate agreement and space solar power”, The Space Review, February 29, 2016). It is, however, very important to manage this transition carefully to avoid economic hardship or energy deprivation.

While the United States has large remaining fossil fuel resources, only some are technically recoverable with current safe, legal, and profitable extraction methods. The remaining known and yet-to-be-discovered domestic technically recoverable fossil fuels are inadequate to sustain US fossil fuel energy needs to the end of this century, especially given likely continued immigration-driven US population growth (see “US fossil fuel energy insecurity and space solar power”, The Space Review, March 7, 2016). While the United States has an ethical environmental obligation to end its use of fossil fuels by the end of the century, the reality of having inadequate oil and natural gas resources makes the urgency of transitioning successfully to new sustainable energy sources a clear matter of national energy security. This warrants federal government leadership and strong American private sector engagement.

Unfortunately, due to its large and growing population and per capita energy needs, the United States lacks sufficient suitable land to utilize terrestrial renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. (see “US terrestrial non-fossil fuel energy vs. space solar power”, The Space Review, March 14, 2016). While the United States will utilize terrestrial domestic renewable energy to the extent it is politically acceptable, many factors will likely limit their scale-up. The expansion of nuclear fission energy is also not a satisfactory approach, given the large number of reactors needed. These factors lead to the conclusion that only space-based sustainable energy, such as space solar power, will enable the United States to practically transition away from fossil fuels.

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Mar 28, 2016

Scientists Made a New Metal, and it Makes Nuclear Reactors Even Stronger

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

An international team of researchers has developed a new type of metal alloy that could make nuclear reactors safer and more stable in the long term. The new material is stronger and lasts longer than steel.

Scientists have developed a new kind of high quality metal alloy that is suitable to use in building nuclear reactors. While it might not be a metal that has been invented entirely from scratch, it’s only recently that we have been able to produce this kind (this quality) of metal. And it could mean great things for nuclear technologies.

Harvesting Nuclear Power

Continue reading “Scientists Made a New Metal, and it Makes Nuclear Reactors Even Stronger” »

Mar 25, 2016

Nuclear fusion needs a ‘Wright brothers’ moment, says firm closing on the target

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy, sustainability

Nuclear fusion needs a “Wright brothers” moment, to convince the world of its promise of unlimited clean and safe energy and so unlock significant private investment, according to a physicist whose says his company is closing in on that goal.

David Kingham, the chief executive of Tokamak Energy, has announced his company’s target of producing its first electricity by 2025 and feeding power into the grid by 2030, as well as investment from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Harnessing the nuclear energy which powers the sun has long been touted as the ultimate solution to the challenge of powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a decade or two away for many years.

Continue reading “Nuclear fusion needs a ‘Wright brothers’ moment, says firm closing on the target” »

Mar 7, 2016

Multi-scale simulations solve a plasma turbulence mystery

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

Solving the turbulence plasma mystery.


Cutting-edge simulations run at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) over a two-year period are helping physicists better understand what influences the behavior of the plasma turbulence that is driven by the intense heating necessary to create fusion energy. This research has yielded exciting answers to long-standing questions about plasma heat loss that have previously stymied efforts to predict the performance of fusion reactors and could help pave the way for this alternative energy source.

The key to making fusion work is to maintain a sufficiently high temperature and density to enable the atoms in the reactor to overcome their mutual repulsion and bind to form helium. But one side effect of this process is turbulence, which can increase the rate of plasma, significantly limiting the resulting energy output. So researchers have been working to pinpoint both what causes the turbulence and how to control or possibly eliminate it.

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Mar 3, 2016

Zoom to Mars in 6 weeks with new Russian nuclear-fission engine

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

A nuclear power propulsion system could propel a spacecraft to Mars in just over a month, a huge step forward from the current 18 months required. Russia might test a nuclear engine as early as 2018, the head of the Rosatom nuclear corporation revealed.

Another advantage of a nuclear engine is that it enables a spacecraft to maneuver throughout the flight, whereas existing technology only makes a defined trajectory flight possible.

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Feb 26, 2016

Scientists happily surprised to find truffles free of Chernobyl radiation

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

This will make friends Vladimir and Marina happy.


Mushrooms and game meat in European regions where Chernobyl fallout was most intense still have excess radiation, but Burgundy truffles get the green light; foodies rejoice.

It’s been 30 years since the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine in which a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant unleashed a slew of radioactive particles into the atmosphere. Swept along by winds and settled by heavy rains, radioactive particles, especially caesium-137 (137Cs), polluted large stretches of the European continent. And we all know the problem with radioactive things, they’ve got lasting power.

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Feb 21, 2016

Bisbos.com :: Aerospace Illustration

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

The first serious attempt to design a ship capable of travelling to the nearest stars. Weighing 50,000 tonnes, powered by nuclear fusion, travelling at 12% of the speed of light, the journey time would be close to 50 years.

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Feb 15, 2016

82 Percent of Energy Sector IT Pros Say a Cyber Attack Could Cause Physical Damage

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

82% of Energy Industry (power grids, nuclear, solar, gas, etc.) say that a Cyber Attack Could Cause Physical Damage — and they didn’t highlight those on some sort of life support or machine to help patients, etc. to live.


According to the results of a recent Tripwire survey of more than 150 IT professionals in the energy, utilities, and oil and gas industries, 82 percent of respondents said a cyber attack on operational technology (OT) in their organization could cause physical damage.

The survey, conducted in November 2015 by Dimensional Research, also found that almost 60 percent of respondents said they aren’t able to track all the threats targeting their OT networks, either because they don’t have the visibility necessary to track all threats (16.2 percent), because they only track threats that directly target their department (8.1 percent) or because there are just too many threats (35.4 percent).

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Feb 8, 2016

China Close To Creating ‘Artificial Sun’ That Could End Reliance On Fossil Fuels

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

One way or another, via government research or the countless new startups, fusion is well on it’s way.


Chinese scientists have managed to create a hydrogen gas that is three times hotter than the sun.

The artificial solar energy could eventually be used as an inexhaustible source of power, ending reliance on fossil fuels and solving the world energy crisis.

Continue reading “China Close To Creating ‘Artificial Sun’ That Could End Reliance On Fossil Fuels” »

Feb 8, 2016

China’s nuclear fusion machine just smashed Germany’s hydrogen plasma record

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

Just last week, we reported that Germany’s revolutionary nuclear fusion machine managed to heat hydrogen gas to 80 million degrees Celsius, and sustain a cloud of hydrogen plasma for a quarter of a second. This was a huge milestone in the decades-long pursuit of controlled nuclear fusion, because if we can produce and hold onto hydrogen plasma for a certain period, we can harness the clean, practically limitless energy that fuels our Sun.

Now physicists in China have announced that their own nuclear fusion machine, called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), has produced hydrogen plasma at 49.999 million degrees Celsius, and held onto it for an impressive 102 seconds.

While this is nowhere near the hottest temperature that’s been produced by an experiment — that honour goes to the Large Hadron Collider, which hit a whopping 4 trillion degrees Celsius (250,000 times hotter than the centre of the Sun) back in 2012 — the team from China’s Institute of Physical Science in Hefei managed to recreate solar conditions for well over a minute.

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