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Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ category

Jul 7, 2022

Nuclear and gas projects now considered “green” in Europe

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, policy

In an unexpected move, on Wednesday, European lawmakers voted to declare some gas and nuclear energy projects “green.” They also agreed that these projects should receive access to cheap loans and even state subsidies, according to a report by The New York Times.

The proposal was made by the European Commission and the lawmakers present at the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, France, voted in favor of accepting it, with 328 votes backing the proposal and 278 against it. This decision was much to the dismay of detractors who argue that these projects are not environmentally friendly.

The policy, known as the “taxonomy,” will give the bloc, a group of 27 industrialized and wealthy nations, support as it struggles to replace Russian energy sources in order to penalize the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine. It will also aim to thwart “greenwashing”, the practice of labeling projects green that are not truly so.

Jul 6, 2022

State of the art for Europe’s demonstration fusion power plant

Posted by in categories: futurism, nuclear energy

The European research consortium EUROfusion has announced the start of a five-year conceptual design phase for its demonstration fusion power plant DEMO, capable of net electricity production, shortly after the middle of the century in its Roadmap to Fusion Energy.

The first-of-its-kind facility represents the next technological step after the global ITER fusion experiment. It aims to demonstrate the net production of 300 to 500 megawatt of electricity generated by nuclear fusion, clean and safe energy, as well as essential technologies such as remote maintenance and tritium breeding. The tritium breeding technology will allow operators to produce the tritium fusion fuel on-site is a crucial requirement not just for DEMO but also for any future fusion power device to follow ITER.

Fusion is the process that powers stars like our Sun and promises an inherently safe and nearly unlimited long-term clean energy source here on Earth. Fusion energy will generate immense amounts of energy from just a few grams of the abundant fuels found all over the world.

Jul 3, 2022

Demis Hassabis: DeepMind — AI, Superintelligence & the Future of Humanity

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, quantum physics, robotics/AI

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Jul 2, 2022

Ask Astro: What are the differences between supernovae, kilonovae, and hypernovae?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, nuclear energy

In Latin, nova means “new.” In astronomy, that refers to a temporary bright “star” in the night sky. But the causes of these brief but brilliant stars are varied.

Classical novae occur in a binary star system with a white dwarf and a star close enough together that the white dwarf pulls, or accretes, material from its companion. The material — mostly hydrogen — sits on the surface of the white dwarf until enough has been gathered to kick-start a nuclear fusion reaction, the same process that powers the Sun. As the hydrogen is converted into heavier elements, the temperature increases, which in turn increases the rate of hydrogen burning. At this point, the white dwarf experiences a runaway thermonuclear reaction, ejecting the unburnt hydrogen, which releases 10,000 to 100,000 times the energy our Sun emits in a year. Because the white dwarf remains intact after blowing away this excess, a stellar system can experience multiple classical novae.

Kilonovae occur when two compact objects, like binary neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, collide. These mergers, as their name suggest, are about 1,000 times brighter than a classical nova, but not as bright as a supernova, which is 10 to 100 times brighter than a kilonova.

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Jul 1, 2022

Lab denies opening portals into parallel universes despite everyone thinking so

Posted by in categories: cosmology, government, nuclear energy, particle physics

A lab in Tennesee that does research in neutron, nuclear and clean energy had to debunk the myth that they were somehow attempting to open portals to other dimensions. Though if I ever learned anything from popular science fiction, if a research lab says they aren’t opening portals to parallel universes, my instinct tells me that they are totally opening portals to other dimensions. So you can imagine why folks would be skeptical.

Research scientist Leah Broussard explains in the video above that the experiments they are doing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (which is managed by the US Department of Energy) aren’t exactly about building portals to other dimensions. Instead, they involved “looking for new ways that matter we know and understand, that makes up our universe, might interact with the dark matter that makes up the majority of our universe, which we don’t understand.”

Broussard also explains when a particle physicist says portal, they mean it in a figurative sense. All this talk of parallel universes came when her research was released and people started making connections to the Netflix show, Stranger Things. A show that, coincidentally, features kids stumbling across a shady government agency opening portals to other dimensions full of monsters, in the ’80s.

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Jun 28, 2022

China looks to outer Solar System with nuclear Neptune orbiter

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space

The mission proposal calls for nuclear fission power. Breakthroughs would boost China’s overall exploration capabilities.

Jun 28, 2022

Startup Says It’s Honing in on Simple Solution for Practical Fusion Power

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, sustainability

Yet another startup says it’s nearing tests for a system that could once and for all prove the technology can actually generate more energy than it consumes, The New York Times reports.

Seattle-based startup Zap Energy says its approach to fusion energy — potentially an entirely green source of renewable energy — is far simpler and cheaper than other attempts.

But critics are crying foul, arguing that we’re merely stuck in yet another round of “fusion energy fever,” according to the report.

Jun 24, 2022

NASA plans nuclear reactor on the Moon by 2030

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating to advance space-based nuclear technologies.

Jun 20, 2022

More Versatile Quantum Sensors

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, quantum physics

Quantum sensors can now detect signals of arbitrary frequencies thanks to a quantum version of frequency mixing—a widely used technique in electronics.


Monitoring the fissile material aboard nuclear-powered submarines is notoriously difficult. Researchers may now have a way to safeguard this weapons-grade substance.

Jun 20, 2022

Tracking Nuclear Material Aboard Submarines

Posted by in categories: military, nuclear energy, particle physics

Monitoring the fissile material aboard nuclear-powered submarines is notoriously difficult. Researchers may now have a way to safeguard this weapons-grade substance.

Last year, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed to transfer some of their nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, a country that, at that time, possessed none. On hearing the announcement, Bernadette Cogswell and Patrick Huber of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg say that they were immediately concerned as there is currently no easy way to safeguard a nuclear reactor aboard a submarine. Now, the duo has come up with a technique that could solve that problem [1]. They say that the method could be used to confirm the presence of a submarine’s nuclear core without the need for onboard monitoring.

Most naval nuclear reactors employ uranium that is highly enriched fissile uranium-235 (235U 2 3 5 U 235U), a material also used to make nuclear weapons. For land-based reactors, inspectors keep track of 235U 2 3 5 U 235U using neutrino detectors placed close to an operating core (see Feature: Neutrino Detectors for National Security). But this technique doesn’t work for the water-submerged cores in submarines at sea. It also fails for the weak signals from powered-down cores, allowing operators to subvert checks of docked submarines.

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