Nuclear power

  • Dry-run experiments confirm key aspect of Sandia nuclear fusion concept

    Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific “break-even” energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to researchers

  • Thorium to play limited role in U.K. future power supply

    Worldwide, there has for a long time been a sustained interest in the thorium fuel cycle and presently there are several major research initiatives which are either focused specifically on the thorium fuel cycle or on systems which use thorium as the fertile seed instead of U-238; the U.K. National Nuclear Laboratory examined the topic and concluded that thorium has theoretical advantages but that these benefits are often overstated; as a result, thorium fuel cycle at best has only limited relevance to the United Kingdom as a possible alternative plutonium disposition strategy and as a possible strategic option

  • Nuclear waste-burning technology to make nuclear energy more appealing

    Toxic nuclear waste is stored at sites around the United States, and the need to store nuclear waste is widely considered to be a major disadvantage associated with nuclear energy; physicists have been granted a U.S. for patent for a novel fusion-fission hybrid nuclear reactor which would use nuclear fusion and fission together; the invention could drastically decrease the need for any additional or expanded geological repositories, making nuclear power cleaner and more viable

  • Electric plants challenged by high temperatures, drought

    The hottest July on record since 1895, along with the most wide-spread drought in the country since 1956, have nuclear plants struggling with finding enough water — cool water — to keep key parts of the plants cool; if the water gets too warm, operators have to dial back production — for reactor safety, and also to regulate the temperature of discharge water, which affects aquatic life

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  • Glass offers a better way of storing U.K. nuclear waste

    Researchers have shown, for the first time, that a method of storing nuclear waste normally used only for High Level Waste (HLW) could provide a safer, more efficient, and potentially cheaper solution for the storage and ultimate disposal of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW)

  • Invasion at “Fort Knox of Uranium” raises security concerns

    The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is regarded asthe Fort Knox of Uranium, so the fact that three anti-nuclear activists, one of them an 82-year old nun, were able to breach the high-security complex’s protective fences is not reassuring; that they did so using nothing more than bolt cutters, after announcing their arrival from half-a-mile away, and that they could stay, undetected, in a highly secure area on the nuclear complex’s ground for two hours, is even more worrisome

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  • Health consequences of the Fukushima disaster

    The results of two studies in the 15 August issue of JAMA report on the psychological status of workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan several months after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and the amount of internal radiation exposure among residents of a city north of the power plant that experienced a meltdown

  • Examination of Finnish lakes reveals radiation secrets

    A new study casts doubt over the validity of models used to assess the impact of radiation on human health; an examination of the affects of radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl accident on two Finnish lakes sows that the transfer of the radioactive compounds is non-linear, and that the levels of radioactive compounds appear to be three times higher in fish-eating species (piscivores) than in non-fish-eating species

  • Science group: storing spent nuclear fuel in dry casks significantly safer then wet pools storage

    An NRC report on the lessons of the Fukushima disaster says that storing spent nuclear fuel in wet pools is “adequate” to protect the public; a science groups says there is a significantly safer way to store the 55,000 tons of radioactive waste currently stored by the 104 nuclear power plants operating in the United States: transferring the spent fuel to dry casks

  • Calculating the global health consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

    Radiation from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster may eventually cause approximately 130 deaths and 180 cases of cancer, mostly in Japan; researchers have calculated; the estimates have large uncertainty ranges, but contrast with previous claims that the radioactive release would likely cause no severe health effects

  • Fukushima disaster “a profoundly man-made disaster”: investigative commission

    The commission investigating the Fukushima disaster of March 2011 concluded that although the combination of the tsunami and earthquake was unprecedented in its ferocity, the disaster was largely man-made because it was amplified by what came before it and what followed it; the disaster itself, the commission said, was sandwiched by practices and conduct which were the result of government-industry collusion and the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture; the government, nuclear regulators, and Tepco, the plant operator, “betrayed the nation’s right to safety from nuclear accidents”

  • Radiation-resistant circuits from mechanical parts

    Engineers designed microscopic mechanical devices that withstand intense radiation and heat, so they can be used in circuits for robots and computers exposed to radiation in space, damaged nuclear power plants, or nuclear attack; the devices can also survive work in space

  • Long-term priorities for U.S. nuclear physics program

    Nuclear physics is a discovery-driven enterprise aimed at understanding the fundamental nature of visible matter in the universe; for the past hundred years, new knowledge of the nuclear world has also directly benefited society through many innovative applications

  • Recycling nuclear fuel offers plentiful, clean energy

    Currently, only about 5 percent of the uranium in a fuel rod gets fissioned for energy in a nuclear reactor; after that, the spent rods, still containing about 95 percent uranium fuel, are taken out of the reactor and put into permanent storage; researchers say that recycling used nuclear fuel could produce hundreds of years of energy from just the uranium that has already been mined, all of it carbon-free

  • Mystery surrounds explosives found on Swedish nuclear plant site

    Mystery still surrounds the explosives found on the grounds of Sweden’s largest nuclear power plant last Wednesday. With police providing little information, a terrorist expert speculated the incident might have been an attempt, perhaps by terrorists, to test the security system of the Ringhals power plant with a later attack in mind