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Nuclear reactor reliability: Fast test proves viable

August 21, 2014 8:12 am | by Kate McAlpine, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

A speedy way to mimic the aging of materials inside nuclear reactors has matched all aspects of the damage sustained by a real reactor component for the first time. The method could help the U.S. and other countries stay ahead of potential problems in reactors that run for 40 years or more and also test materials for building advanced reactors.

Mats made from shrimp chitin attract uranium like a magnet

July 18, 2014 11:16 am | News | Comments

A Univ. of Alabama start-up company, 525 Solutions...

Experts question ice wall at Japan nuclear plant

May 2, 2014 7:24 am | by Mari Yamaguchi - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Experts on Friday expressed skepticism about a plan to build a costly underground frozen wall at...

Fukushima residents unsure of return to no-go zone

April 29, 2014 3:22 am | by Yuri Kageyama - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Whenever Kazuhiro Onuki goes home, to his real home that is, the 66-year-old former librarian...

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Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

April 16, 2014 11:08 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station—that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms could help avoid such consequences in the future.

Sensitive detection method may help impede illicit nuclear trafficking

April 15, 2014 12:34 pm | News | Comments

According to a new study, coupling commercially available spectral x-ray detectors with a specialized algorithm can improve the detection of uranium and plutonium in small, layered objects such as baggage. This approach enhances the detection powers of x-ray imaging and may provide a new tool to impede nuclear trafficking.

Americans used more energy in 2013

April 3, 2014 8:47 am | by Anne M. Stark, LLN | News | Comments

Americans used more renewable, fossil and even nuclear energy in 2013, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.                                   

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Researchers model spent nuclear fuels for potential energy

March 21, 2014 8:11 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have modeled actinide-based alloys, such as spent nuclear fuel, in an effort to predict the impact of evolving fuel chemistry on material performance. This work could have direct implications for the use of spent nuclear fuel as another source of energy.

Contaminated water still troubles Japan nuke plant

March 10, 2014 8:20 am | by Mari Yamaguchi - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The radioactive water that has accumulated at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant remains the biggest problem hampering the cleanup process three years after the disaster. The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has stabilized substantially since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami destroyed its power and cooling system, triggering meltdowns.

CASL, Westinghouse simulate neutron behavior in AP1000 reactor core

February 19, 2014 8:06 am | News | Comments

Scientists and engineers developing more accurate approaches to analyzing nuclear power reactors have successfully tested a new suite of computer codes that closely model neutronics, the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core. A team from Westinghouse used the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications core simulator (VERA-CS) to analyze its AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor (PWR).

NIF experiments show initial gain in fusion fuel

February 12, 2014 1:28 pm | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

Ignition has long been considered the "holy grail" of inertial confinement fusion science. A key step along the path to ignition is to have "fuel gains" greater than unity, where the energy generated through fusion reactions exceeds the amount of energy deposited into the fusion fuel. Though ignition remains the ultimate goal, the milestone of achieving fuel gains greater than one has been reached for the first time ever on any facility.

Identifying chemical, physical traits of fallout

January 30, 2014 7:55 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have begun to develop a technique that provides a practical approach for looking into the complex physical and chemical processes that occur during fallout formation following a nuclear detonation. Post-detonation nuclear forensics relies on advanced analytical techniques and an understanding of the physio-chemical processes associated with a nuclear detonation to identify the device type.

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Sandia conducts first impact test in years of B61 nonnuclear components

January 15, 2014 3:59 pm | News | Comments

A ground-penetrating bomb, minus its nuclear components, rammed through a target at the remote Coyote Canyon test range last month in Sandia National Laboratories’ first such rocket-driven impact test in seven years. Engineers said the Sandia components on the weapon performed as expected.

Study cites “dangerous weak link” in nuke security

January 8, 2014 11:29 am | by Robert Burns, Associated Press | News | Comments

The number of countries possessing the makings of a nuclear bomb has dropped by almost one-quarter over the past two years, but there remain "dangerous weak links" in nuclear materials security that could be exploited by terrorist groups with potentially catastrophic results, according to a U.S. study released Wednesday.

Industry Breakout - Energy

December 9, 2013 6:04 am | by R&D Magazine/Battelle | Articles | Comments

The energy industry includes a broad array of companies, ranging from multinational oil and gas firms to large and small technology firms. Reducing costs of production is a large driver of R&D in the energy space, and materials development and advanced materials integration are increasingly important in shaping the industry’s R&D investment.

Japan proposes more steps to store Fukushima water

December 3, 2013 10:15 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A government panel proposed additional measures to lessen the radioactive water crisis at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant, saying Tuesday that current plans are not enough to prevent the risk of a disaster. Officials on the Industry Ministry's contaminated water panel also said that the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant could run out of storage space for contaminated water within two years if current plans are not fully workable.

Magnetic nanoparticles could aid heat dissipation

November 20, 2013 8:05 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Cooling systems generally rely on water pumped through pipes to remove unwanted heat. Now, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Australia have found a way of enhancing heat transfer in such systems by using magnetic fields, a method that could prevent hotspots that can lead to system failures. The system could also be applied to cooling everything from electronic devices to advanced fusion reactors, they say.

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Damaged Japan nuke plant begins removing fuel rods

November 18, 2013 8:23 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Workers started removing radioactive fuel rods Monday from a reactor building at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The painstaking and risky task is a crucial first step toward a full cleanup of the earthquake and tsunami-damaged plant in northeastern Japan.

Japan starts up offshore wind farm near Fukushima

November 11, 2013 6:41 am | by ELAINE KURTENBACH - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan switched on the first turbine at a wind farm 20 km (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima, feeding electricity to the grid tethered to the tsunami-crippled nuclear plant onshore. The wind farm near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant is to eventually have a generation capacity of 1 GW from 143 turbines.

French out-tough U.S. over Iran nuclear program

November 10, 2013 12:49 pm | by JAMEY KEATEN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

When Iran appeared close to a preliminary deal with world powers over its nuclear program, France stepped up to say: Not so fast — a surprise move that exposed divisions among the United States and other Western negotiators who had long been in lockstep on the issue.

Hybrid nuclear plants could make a dent in carbon emissions

November 5, 2013 7:31 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Many efforts to smooth out the variability of renewable energy sources have focused on batteries, which could fill gaps lasting hours or days. But Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Charles Forsberg has come up with a much more ambitious idea: He proposes marrying a nuclear power plant with another energy system, which he argues could add up to much more than the sum of its parts.

U.S. energy chief offers Japan aid with nuke cleanup

October 31, 2013 7:39 am | by ELAINE KURTENBACH - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he expects deepening cooperation with Japan over the high-stakes cleaning up and decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The Fukushima plant has had a series of mishaps in recent months, including radioactive water leaks from storage tanks.

Japan OKs fuel removal from pool at nuke plant

October 30, 2013 1:48 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japanese regulators gave final approval for removing fuel rods from an uncontained cooling pool at a damaged reactor building considered the highest risk at a crippled nuclear plant. Removal of fuel rods from the Unit 4 cooling pool is a first step in decommissioning the plant where three reactors melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a process expected to last decades.

Japan, IAEA to monitor radioactivity off Fukushima

October 10, 2013 8:14 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency urged Japan to work harder to address international concerns about leaks of contaminated water at its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and said his agency will jointly monitor radiation levels in the nearby ocean. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told Japan's top nuclear regulator that it is crucial that the country share data with the international community about the safety of Japanese waters and marine life.

Toxic water splashes six at Fukushima plant

October 9, 2013 1:13 pm | by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press | News | Comments

Six workers at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant have been accidentally doused with highly radioactive water, the plant operator said today, adding to a growing list of mishaps that are shaking confidence in the utility's ability to handle the crisis. The workers removed the wrong pipe from equipment at the plant, sending toxic water spilling onto them and the entire floor of the facility.

Study could help improve nuclear waste repositories

September 19, 2013 8:39 am | News | Comments

Here’s the question faced by a team of Sandia National Laboratories researchers: How fast will iodine-129 released from spent nuclear fuel move through a deep, clay-based geological repository? Understanding that process is crucial as countries worldwide consider underground clay formations for nuclear waste disposal, because clay offers low permeability and high radionuclide retention.

Nation's bloated nuclear spending comes under fire

September 13, 2013 12:45 am | by JERI CLAUSING - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a seven-year, $213 million upgrade to the security system that protects the laboratory's most sensitive nuclear bomb-making facilities doesn't work. Those same facilities, which sit atop a fault line, remain susceptible to collapse and dangerous radiation releases, despite millions more spent on improvement plans.

Report: Quality of science, engineering at National Security Labs is solid

September 11, 2013 11:38 am | News | Comments

The science and engineering capabilities that underpin the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions at the nation’s three national security laboratories are “healthy and vibrant,” says a new report from the National Research Council.  The committee that wrote the report found no problems with the quality of science and engineering that would prevent certification of the stockpile.

More tank leaks found at Japan nuke plant

September 2, 2013 4:54 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan's top nuclear regulator raised safety concerns about hastily built storage tanks and their foundations amid signs of more leaks of radiation-contaminated water. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that a small leak and signs of possible leaks have been spotted at several other Fukushima Dai-ichi storage tanks since a major leak in August that added to concerns about the plant's stability.

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