Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category

Jun 19, 2018

Washington firm could create nuclear fusion power within decades

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Olympia, Washington, firm Agni Energy has designed a nuclear fusion reactor that borrows elements from existing designs and could lead it to be the first to crack the Holy Grail of energy production.

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Jun 10, 2018

Researchers Have Invented an Awesome And Scary Nuclear Battery Pack

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

Are we ready?

Batteries powered by radioactive materials have been around for more than a century, but what they promise in power they usually lose in bulk.

Not so with a new kind of power source, which combines a novel structure with a nickel isotope to pack ten times more power than an electrochemical cell of the same size. The only question is, are we ready to go nuclear?

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Jun 10, 2018

What would solar system travel be like with scaled Mach effect propellantless propulsion?

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

James Woodward and the Space Studies Institute has a Phase 2 NASA Innovative Advanced funded study. They are looking at the implementation of an innovative thrust producing technology for use in NASA missions involving in space main propulsion.

Dr. Heidi Fearn explained in a video made in 2017 how just scaling the power and size of the Mach effect propulsion causes problems. (heat, arcing and other problems). They currently believe they can scale the device to one newton of propulsion and then create large arrays of the devices for more thrust. The constant thrust could last for years or decades by using a nuclear power source.

For Mach effect propellantless propulsion it will be better to go to an array of smaller devices.

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Jun 8, 2018

Milestone claimed as experimental nuclear reactor reaches temperature of the Sun

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

One of the possible pathways to limitless and clean energy can be found in hollow, doughnut-shaped chambers known as tokamak nuclear fusion reactors. A relatively new player on the scene, a UK company called Tokamak Energy, is claiming a new milestone in the area after heating its ST40 device to 15 million degrees Celsius, similar to temperatures found at the center of the Sun.

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Jun 1, 2018

Prototype nuclear battery packs 10 times more power

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy, robotics/AI, space travel

Russian researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (TISNCM), and the National University of Science and Technology MISIS have optimized the design of a nuclear battery generating power from the beta decay of nickel-63, a radioactive isotope. Their new battery prototype packs about 3,300 milliwatt-hours of energy per gram, which is more than in any other nuclear battery based on nickel-63, and 10 times more than the specific energy of commercial chemical cells. The paperwas published in the journal Diamond and Related Materials.

Conventional batteries

Ordinary batteries powering clocks, flashlights, toys, and other compact autonomous electrical devices use the energy of so-called redox chemical reactions. In them, electrons are transferred from one electrode to another via an electrolyte. This gives rise to a potential difference between the electrodes. If the two battery terminals are then connected by a conductor, electrons start flowing to remove the potential difference, generating an electric current. Chemical batteries, also known as galvanic cells, are characterized by a high power density — that is, the ratio between the power of the generated current and the volume of the battery. However, chemical cells discharge in a relatively short time, limiting their applications in autonomous devices. Some of these batteries, called accumulators, are rechargeable, but even they need to be replaced for charging. This may be dangerous, as in the case of a cardiac pacemaker, or even impossible, if the battery is powering a spacecraft.

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May 18, 2018

Ghostly ‘Lightning’ Waves Discovered Inside a Nuclear Reactor

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy

Weird waves that whisper through the ionosphere have also been discovered inside the plasma of nuclear fusion reactors. They could help stop runaway electrons.

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May 4, 2018

A Nuclear Reactor for Space Missions Passes Final Major Ground Tests

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space

Nuclear power in space is still being pursued for future deep space missions…

A nuclear power plant that could provide power for long-duration crewed missions has passed another developmental milestone at NASA.

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May 3, 2018

NASA successfully tested KRUSTY, a nuclear reactor that works in space and could power missions to the Moon or Mars

Posted by in categories: habitats, nuclear energy, space travel

If space is an ocean, the International Space Station is a raft tethered to the shore. The moon is a nearby island that we’ve visited briefly. To go any further or stay any longer, humanity needs more power.

Now, NASA may have the source: A tiny nuclear reactor called KRUSTY, for Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology. (If you’re wondering if this is may be a reference to a popular animated series, its predecessor was known as DUFF).

The reactor uses nuclear fission—the energy released by splitting uranium-235 in a reactor core about the size of a paper towel— to produce 10 kilowatts of power for about ten years, which NASA says is enough energy to power several houses. Four of the reactors could power an outpost on the lunar surface.

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May 3, 2018

Eliminating small instabilities in tokamaks before they become disruptions

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

One of the greatest obstacles to producing energy via fusion on Eearth is the formation and growth of small magnetic field imperfections in the core of experimental fusion reactors. These reactors, called tokamaks, confine hot ionized gas, or plasma. If the imperfections persist, they let the energy stored in the confined plasma leak out; if allowed to grow, they can lead to sudden termination of the plasma discharge. Recent simulations of tokamak discharges with fast, energetic ions have shown that the structure of the magnetic field can either stabilize or destabilize these magnetic imperfections, or “tearing” instabilities. The result depends on the helical structure of the field as it winds around the tokamak.

Energetic ions, ubiquitous in plasmas, can be a strong stabilizing or destabilizing force. The choice depends on the magnetic shear in the . Understanding the physics driving the onset of the instabilities can lead to their avoidance, a “zero tolerance” approach, vital for ITER’s stable operation. ITER is a key step between today’s fusion research and tomorrow’s fusion power plants. Also, the results explain many experimental observations of tearing instabilities that limit the maximum heat energy that can be contained.

Advanced tokamaks achieve high-thermal-energy plasmas by injecting beams of hot ions that collide with, and thereby heat, the background plasma. Burning plasma experiments that create energy from fusion reactions, such as ITER, will also have a significant population of hot alpha particles, the byproduct of fusion. The effects that have on the benign instabilities, such as the sawtooth instability, which causes the temperature near the plasma core to flatten, and the toroidal Alfvén eigenmode, which intuitively is a “vibration” (wobble) of the lines, have been known for some time.

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May 1, 2018

Russia Has Launched a Floating Nuclear Power Plant Critics Are Calling “Nuclear Titanic”

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

What could go wrong?

If the world is going to end, why not have it be for a ridiculous, insane reason?

Like, say, building nuclear power plants on top of a barge and sending it floating up to the Arctic?

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