When the Fukushima nuclear disaster hit last year, many were surprised that Japan had to look to the U.S. for nuclear disaster-ready robots to aid in the stabilization of the plant. Hoping to avoid a similar embarrassment, Toshiba has unveiled a new robot specifically designed for work in nuclear emergencies.
Until we can manage to make renewable energy sources pay off, nuclear power is arguably (and feel free to argue this) one of the cleanest and safest methods of energy generation there is. One of the biggest problems is the dangerous spent fuel, but there may be a solution to that: particle accelerators.
We love reading about the future that never was almost as much as the one that's coming. Why? Because you get to try and conceptualize gems like this: a "huge rolling cross-country pleasure ball" that's nuclear powered and features a hotel-like interior that remains upright thanks to some gyro-stabilization. Hey, why not!
When it comes to aircraft, bigger is better. As size increases, so does efficiency, which is the thinking behind the monstrous Airbus A-380. But to be really efficient, you'd need to go bigger. Way bigger. We're talking an aircraft so large that other aircraft could land on it, in-flight.
When we dig uranium out of the ground, 99% of it is U-238, which we don't care about. 1% of it is U-235, which we use for all kinds of things, including conventional reactor fuel. Bill Gates and some of his pals figure that it would be a much better idea if we could just burn the U-238 instead.
Jellyfish have a very relevant objection to nuclear power: facilities that use seawater for cooling suck up untold numbers of jellyfish* (and other marine life) every year. These brainless marine invertebrates have finally decided to take a stand, coordinating a global protest that has resulted in the shutdown of four reactors, and millions of deaths.
The word "meltdown" defines our worst fears about nuclear reactors, and with good reason: without complex and redundant cooling systems, reactors can run out of control, generating so much heat that they melt their own fuel, releasing massive amounts of radioactivity in the process. But a new generation of reactors promises to be much safer, even to the point where a meltdown is a physical impossibility.
No matter how clean, safe, and efficient nuclear power plants may or may not be, most people probably don't want to live next to one. A French company wants to seal up nuclear reactors inside little submarines and stash them off offshore, where they can provide power without bothering anyone.
The computer worm called "Stuxnet" was discovered back in June, but it's full capabilities are only now being discovered. At first, we thought it just spied on the workings of industrial systems. We now know we were dead, dead wrong.
A fusion power plant might not be as far off as you think. General Fusion has figured out a way to create a "low budget" fusion reactor for less than $1 billion. They're saying they can get this beast online...