Nuclear power

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

  • Nuclear waste repositories in suburbia?

    Finding sites for nuclear waste storage is a growing problem, with decision makers running into the “not in my back yard” problem; the demise of Nevada’s Yucca Mountain project is but the latest example; researchers find that acceptance of sites for spent nuclear fuel repository may well depend on gender and economic background: in Finland, at least, affluent men more often are more receptive to the idea of locating such facilities near their neighborhoods than women or disadvantaged people

  • Security increases around Pennsylvania nuclear disposal site

    Security around a nuclear waste site in western Pennsylvania has been upgraded, with DHS armed security guards replacing private guards around the site; the reason for the elevated security is the finding, by the Army Corps of Engineers, of more “complex” nuclear materials on the site; it was originally believed that the site contains only low-level nuclear material

  • Replacing uranium with thorium to lead to safer, sustainable nuclear power

    With the 50 percent increase in global population which is expected over the next fifty years, in order just to maintain per capita electricity consumption, a major power station would need to go online every day somewhere in the world; if this increase in power production is going to be low-carbon, then nuclear power has to play a role in that; scientists say; if uranium was replaced by thorium as a fuel source, current reactor technology could be used and nuclear waste could be safely recycled indefinitely