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Nuclear

A group of researchers at New Jersey-based LPP Fusion is turning to crowdfunding to demonstrate net power gain from a nuclear fusion reactor. The scientists plan to do this using a technique which is relatively little-known, but which they claim is scientifically sound and only relies on well-established science. Given enough funding, the researchers say they could design a US$500,000, 5 MW reactor that would produce energy for as little as 0.06 cents per kWh, all by the end of the decade. Read More
The most frightening part of a tsunami hitting a nuclear power plant is what comes after – radioactive leaks that contaminate the water around the plant are exceedingly difficult to contain. The clean up of the radioactive water around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, which was struck by a tsunami in 2011, is expected to take decades. MIT researchers have come up with an alternative; they propose building floating nuclear plants, far enough offshore to simply ride out a tsunami and emerge unscathed. Read More
Turn on any old science fiction film and odds are that you'll see someone listening to the ominous chirping of a Geiger counter. It's very dramatic, but not very precise and, unfortunately, nuclear scientists and engineers of today are stuck with the same problem. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a faster, cheaper way for nuclear power plants to detect and map dangerous hot spots and leaky fuel rods using a camera that maps radiation in real time. Read More
The best advice for surviving a nuclear bomb is to be somewhere else when it goes off. If that doesn't work out for you, though, a recent study carried out at the USDOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provides some simple guidance for maximizing your chances of survival. Read More
You can never be too careful, and if you have a upwards of £200,000 (US$330,000) laying around, you could sleep a little easier as the new owner of a nuclear bunker. Built by the British government during the Cold War to ride out a Soviet attack, the decommissioned Cultybraggan Camp bunker is being put on the block as part of a plan to preserve and redevelop the former British Army camp. Read More
In a perfect example of beating swords into plowshares, a team of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California reached a milestone in the quest for practical fusion power using a process designed for the development and testing of nuclear weapons. The announcement in the February 12 issue of Nature claims that the team used the world’s most powerful laser barrage to produce a controlled fusion reaction where more energy was extracted from the fuel than was put into it. Read More
While the world watches anxiously as the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) begins its most dangerous operation yet in the ongoing clean-up of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, large Japanese corporations continue to design and build robots to help go where people cannot. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has built a new remote-controlled robot called the MHI-Super Giraffe, which has an extendable arm capable of reaching up to 8 m (26 ft), and borrows battery technology from Mitsubishi Motor's electric vehicles. Read More
With the world’s first laser enrichment plant having received a construction and operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, the stage has been set for a radical change in the industry. So how does laser enrichment work, and what commercial benefits, along with proliferation concerns, does this new process present compared to current methods? Read More
To address the challenges encountered in decommissioning a nuclear facility, the UK-based firm TWI has since 2009 been developing laser tube-cutting methods for the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. It has now demonstrated a 5 kW fiber laser projector, configured rather like a rifle, that can be wielded by a single person. Read More
Neutrons have a set of unique properties that make them better suited than light, electrons, or x-rays for looking at the physics and chemistry going on inside an object. Scientists working out of MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory have now invented and built a high-resolution neutron microscope, a feat that required developing new approaches to neutron optics. Read More
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