"STOP REAGAN’S GRIM REAPER" — Anti-nuke protest, Los Angeles, February 23, 1987, photo by Mike Sergieff. Original caption reads, “Holding banners, carrying placards, and beating drums, members of Earth First! stage an anti-nuclear protest near the Westwood Federal Building on behalf of astrophysicist Charles Hyder, who has been fasting for 153 days in Washington. Motorists gawked as the local demonstrators undertook their 24-hour vigil and fast.” (Los Angeles Public Library)
GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! You know all that nuclear waste we have laying around just waiting to be eaten by a kick ass atomic monster? Well two MIT engineers (Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie) may have figured out a way to save us from those pesky atomic doom monsters! And by that I mean they revealed plans for a safe nuclear reactor that runs on nuclear waste. Now before I go further in discussing this, I must admit that I don’t know much about nuclear power, so if I make mistakes please let me know! The two engineers have designed a variant of the old molten salt reactor that was developed in the 50’s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US. This design used liquid fuel dissolved in a molten salt for fuel rather than water and solid fuel rods. They claim that their reactors would be able to run with uranium fuel levels of only 1.8% enrichment while the older molten salt reactors needed around 33% enrichment. This would allow them to use nuclear waste from other reactors, and, due to the thickness of the molten salts, to consume up to 96% of fissionable materials. They have also designed the reactor to be “walk away safe.” This means that if the controls are abandoned the reaction will gradually come to a stop rather than undergoing a violent melt down. The pair, along with millionaire Russ Wilcox are raising money on kickstarter to test critical components of their process.
Now I really don’t have the background to pick this apart much, but it seems like a really cool idea! I have always enjoyed the idea of nuclear power, and would love to see this pair succeed! They have put out a more comprehensive report on their plan, and it can be found here:
If you want a brief overview on what molten salt reactors are:
By Gareth Porter The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should now close its investigation of the issue of Iran’s development of high explosives detonators the IAEA has said may have been part of a covert nuclear weapons program. IAEA Director General Yukiya weiterlesen
We climb eight flights of stairs. Eight more remain. This is sturdy Soviet concrete, dusty as death, but solid. So I hope, anyway. My guide, Katya, who is in her early 20s, has informed me that the administrators of the Exclusion Zone that encompasses Chernobyl do not want tourists entering the buildings of Pripyat for what appears to be an unimpeachable reason: Some of them could collapse.
But the roof of this apartment building on the edge of Pripyat, the city where Chernobyl’s employees lived until the spring of 1986, will provide what Katya says is the best panorama of this Ukrainian Pompeii and the infamous nuclear power plant, 1.9 miles away, that 28 years ago this week rendered the surrounding landscape uninhabitable for at least the next 20,000 years.
So we climb on, higher into the honey-colored vernal light, even as it occurs to me that Katya is not a structural engineer. And that the adjective Soviet is essentially synonymous with collapse. And what do I know? Nothing. I am just a curious ethnic hyphenate, Russian-born and largely American-raised. In 1986 we lived in Leningrad, about 700 miles north of the radioactive sore that burst on what should have been an ordinary spring night less than a week before the annual May Day celebration.
Considering that Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev wasn’t told for many hours what, exactly, had transpired at Chernobyl (“Not a word about an explosion,” he said later), you can safely extrapolate to what the Soviet populace learned on April 26: absolutely nothing.
But a couple of days after the disaster, a family friend from Kiev called and said we had better cancel our planned vacation in the Ukrainian countryside.
Then details started falling into place, as workers at a Swedish nuclear power plant detected radiation, eventually determining that it came from the Soviet Union.
That forced the ever-defensive Kremlin’s hand, which admitted on April 28 that an accident had happened at Chernobyl. “A government commission has been set up,” a statement from Moscow assured. My father, a nervous physicist himself, was not mollified.
I remember, as clearly as I remember anything of my Soviet youth, his telling me to stay out of the rain.
Inside the control room of the Unit 2 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Technicians use the room to monitor work in other parts of the complex. Photo by William Daniels for the New York Times.
26 April 1986
U.S. nuclear-powered submarines can go faster underwater than on the surface, clocking faster than 25 knots (nautical miles per hour) underwater or approximately 29 miles per hour. Nuclear power allows submarines to maintain these speeds for as long as required.
Underground nuclear bomb explosion
Nuclear industry explores accident-resistant fuel rods
In response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the U.S. government dramatically increased funding to develop tougher protective skins for nuclear fuel, hoping to spur innovation in designs that hadn’t changed much in years.
Seattle Times | June 14th, 2014 | by RAY HENRY | The Associated Press
ATLANTA — The explosions that damaged a crippled Japanese nuclear plant during a disaster that forced mass evacuations in 2011 show what can happen when nuclear fuel overheats.
In response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the U.S. government dramatically increased funding to develop tougher protective skins for nuclear fuel, hoping to spur innovation in designs that hadn’t changed much in years. While the U.S. Department of Energy was spending $2 million before the accident on future fuel designs, the funding reached as much as $30 million afterward.
Now scientists at multiple institutes are in the middle of developing designs that could start finding their way into test reactors as soon as this summer, followed by larger tests later on.
‘Ring of Fire’ volcano risk the last obstacle for Japan nuclear plants
Photo: A worker stands in front of an 18-m (59-ft) high and 1.6-km (1-mile) long tsunami defence wall at Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, in this file picture taken May 17, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai/Files
(Reuters) - In the three years since the Fukushima disaster, Japan’s utilities have pledged $15 billion to harden their nuclear plants against earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and terrorist attacks.
But as Japan’s nuclear safety regulator prepares to rule on whether the first of the country’s 48 idled reactors is ready to be come back online, the post-Fukushima debate about how safe is safe enough has turned to a final risk: volcanoes.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has already said the chance of volcanic activity during the lifespan of Kyushu Electric Power’s nuclear plant at Sendai was negligible, suggesting it will give it the green light. The plant, some 1,000 km (600 miles) south of Tokyo, lies in a region of active volcanic sites.