Search results for: nuclear energy

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Lockheed Martin’s Fusion Energy Breakthrough Could Change Everything

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Nuclear ReactorIf you’ve always wanted to mount a nuclear reactor on the back of your pick up truck, you may be able to do just that within the decade. At least size wise, we hope that, despite new advancement in nuclear fusion made by Lockheed Martin, that not just any old yay-hoo will be able to get his or her hands on a functioning nuclear reactor. Or a non-functioning one for that matter, most of us shouldn’t have access to things like that.

The global technology and defense firm announced Wednesday that they have made breakthrough in regards nuclear fusion and power sources that could have a massive impact moving forward. They revealed that the new work could enable a 100-megawatt reactor to, possibly within ten years, be no larger than ten feet by seven feet. According to reports, that is ten times smaller than current tops models.

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Movie Review: Pandora’s Promise Asks You To Take Another Look At Nuclear Power

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NukesWatching Pandora’s Promise, the new documentary from veteran documentarian Robert Stone, is a strange endeavor. As far back as you can remember, the argument over nuclear power has seemingly been stuffy men in crisp white lab coats spouting technical mumbo jumbo, while loose-living environmental activists espouse the evils inherent in the technology, and state the potential for disaster. Nuclear power is the bogeyman in countless movies, shows, and books, and is portrayed as this monolithic monster.

That’s the exact opposite tack the film takes. A pro-nuclear power movie — who saw that coming? — Pandora’s Promise is based on environmentalists who have, over time, changed their position and embraced nuclear power as the greenest, most environmentally responsible option. The main subjects interviewed in the film — Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas, Michael Shellenberger, and other well-known eco activists — appear just as surprised to be making these arguments as the viewer is to hear them.

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Nineteen-Year-Old Nuclear Scientist Has A Perfect Redesign For Nuclear Reactors

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wilsonIt’s strange to me that many of the people who fight to increase gun proliferation after every single mass shooting that occurs are the same ones who want nothing to do with nuclear energy due to the relatively minuscule number of accidents that nuclear power plants have incurred. This despite the fact that it is in fact safer, cheaper, and more reliable than any other source of energy that we currently have. At least, on a large scale. People hear nuclear and think “bomb” instead of “the future.” Well, not Reno, Nevada resident Taylor Wilson, who aims to reinvent how America looks at nuclear reactors. For a bit of background, Wilson become the youngest person ever to create nuclear fusion, which he did in his basement at age 14.

Wilson recently gave an informational TED Talk about his ideas for a smaller, assembly-line redesign of reactors. Instead of using high-pressure water boiling to produce the steam to run a reactor’s turbines, Wilson designed a compact molten salt reactor which would both increase efficiency and power, with nearly no downside, and it drastically updates the ways that people can view fission.

A traditional turbine runs at temperatures of 200 to 300 degrees Celsius and at 30-35 percent efficiency, while Wilson’s concept would bring the heat up to 600-700 degrees Celsius, ramping the efficiency level up to 45-50 percent. Wilson’s reactor would generate between 50 and 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 25,000 to 100,000 homes, depending on how many of them have teenagers inside of them. And it’s not as if you’d even have to worry about seeing these devices dot the landscapes, because they’d be installed underground, where they could go up to 30 years without personal maintenance. It also makes accidents and proliferation much less of a threat than is the case with modern reactors.

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NASA Working On A Nuclear Reactor That Could Replace Your Water Heater

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Nuclear energy has always had an uphill battle when it comes to winning over the average person. Most people don’t know much about nuclear energy, so the phrase automatically conjures up visions of mushroom clouds and radiation sickness and Chernobyl. With our ever-dwindling fossil fuels, however, nuclear energy is probably something we’ll all have to take a long, hard look at in the not-too-distant future. Thankfully, Science (capital-S) is hard at work figuring out new ways to make nuclear power safer and cleaner. For instance, what would you say to swapping out your dingy old water heater with a certified nuclear reactor?

It sounds crazy, but that idea is actually proposed in a new video released by NASA’s Langley Research Center. Saddler with the weighty title of “Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate & Sustain LENR,” the video explains NASA’s research into creating clean nuclear energy that could be used to, for instance, power a home and heat that home’s water. Here’s the vid, then we’ll delve in more after the break:

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Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #2 Wakes Up A Fiery Old Foe

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Doctor WhoWe now know that Peter Capaldi will be back to front Doctor Who for at least season 9 of the long running BBC sci-fi adventure series, but his run on the pages of the funny books is just getting started. I admittedly haven’t caught up with his tenure on the show, but from the general feed back form Whovian friends out there, it sounds like it started out strong, but had some missteps along the way as the episodes progressed. But now that season 8 is in the books, and if you need to kill some time before the Christmas special (which stars Nick Frost as Santa), he’s back for his second issue.

If you’re a longtime fan, it’s possible that you’ve encountered Hyperion before—the planet, not to be confused with the ship Hyperion III—and this installment sheds some light on that world, or at least the world that used to be. Though they began life as peaceful, benevolent beings of DNA, nuclear energy, and intelligence, the Hyperions took a wrong turn along the way and the planet was wiped out in a war with the Time Lords of Gallifrey, you know, back when there was more than one.

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Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Cloud Atlas Author David Mitchell Releases A New Novel

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As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

BoneClocks“The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell

Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as
‘the radio people,’ Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics — and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves — even the ones who are not yet born.

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