more top stories »


— Environment

Hitachi developing reactor that burns nuclear waste

The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it’s safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements. Read More
— Science

Can crowdfunding give us safe fusion power by 2020?

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
— Science

Floating nuclear plants could prove tsunami-proof

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
— Science

Polaris-H detector maps nuclear radiation in real time

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
— Architecture

What's your bid for a British Cold War bunker?

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
— Science

Scientists announce breakthrough in quest for fusion power

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
— Robotics

Mitsubishi adapts EV batteries for Super Giraffe robot

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