2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Nuclear

The Cultybraggan shelter is up for auction with bids starting at £200,000 (US$300,000)

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

A metallic case called a hohlraum holds the fuel capsule for the NIF experiments (Photo: E...

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

The MHI-Super Giraffe can handle 15 degree slopes and works for 5 hours on a rechargeable ...

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

Laser enrichment of isotopes has major potential to reduce the cost of nuclear power (Phot...

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

The TWI 5 kw laser torch in operation (Photo: TWI)

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

View of MIT's new neutron microscope looking back along the beam path (Photo: MIT)

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

A schematic drawing of the Q-Weak experiment, showing how the scattered electrons are anal...

Researchers at the Jefferson Accelerator Laboratory have measured the weak charge of the proton for the first time. Early results from the Q-Weak experiment find the weak charge of the proton and the neutron to be consistent with predictions of the Standard Model.  Read More

A nuclear submarine could replace Austrlia's aging diesel fleet, such as HMAS Collins (Ima...

A green paper published by University College London (UCL) argues that it is entirely feasible for Australia to replace its aging fleet of diesel submarines with nuclear-powered craft.  Read More

Nukemap3D produces virtual mushroom clouds

Feeling cheerful? Why not remedy that by going online and seeing what would happen if someone dropped an H-bomb on your hometown? The browser-based Nukemap3D uses a Google Earth plug in to produce a 3D graphic of the effects of a nuclear weapon on your city of choice. All you have to do is pick your target, select your favorite thermonuclear device, and you can see an animated mushroom cloud rising over ground zero. Gizmag caught up with the creator, Dr. Alex Wellerstein, to talk about Nukemap3D.  Read More

The arm's 11 joints allow it to snake in between pipes to get a better view of the damaged...

The Tokyo Electric Power Company's decommissioned Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is still under investigation. Progress has been slow due to lethal radiation preventing workers from accessing the site, and a lack of industrial robots ready to tackle the job. Now Honda and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have unveiled a High-Access Survey robot that began work inside the reactor building last week.  Read More

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