from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The nuclear power industry is currently dominated by light-water reactor designs from the 1940-50s. These reactors use ordinary water (aka light water) as the fluid for transferring thermal energy to turbines that generate electricity, but there are other nuclear reactor designs that could be safer and produce less problematic radioactive waste. Fusion reactors aren’t ready to generate any energy yet, but they’re getting closer (just another 30 years, promise). If you’re interested in atomic energy, check out the links below.
- The National Ignition Facility (NIF) has achieved the breakthrough milestone of creating more energy from a fusion reaction than was used to start the reaction, but it’s not quite the break-even point yet due to energy losses in the 192 lasers used to zap the hydrogen isotopes. Still, this is the closest that a fusion reactor of any design has ever come to the point of generating energy. [url]
- Alternative nuclear fission technologies may be getting a second chance as more people realize that nuclear energy is a viable option for replacing energy generated from fossil fuels. Molten salt reactors, fast reactors, high-temperature reactors, small modular reactors and other alternatives to conventional light-water reactors still have plenty of regulatory hurdles to overcome, but next generation nuclear power plants could become a significant source of energy in the coming decades. [url]
- France is well-known for its significant investments in nuclear energy and relying on nuclear power for about 75% of its energy needs. However, the French could be leaning away from nuclear energy and moving more towards solar and wind, possibly shifting some nuclear technology leadership to China and South Korea. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.