Groundbreaking quark fusion generates 10 time as much energy as nuclear fusion

November 8, 2017 by  
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Physicists at Tel Aviv University and University of Chicago have discovered that quark fusion, involving the tiny particles known as quarks of which protons and neutrons are made, is an even more potentially energy-packed reaction than much-touted nuclear fusion . Although the scientists were originally concerned about quark fusion’s potential destructive power and had considered keeping the discovery secret, they came to learn that the process, still theoretical, would most likely be safe for civilian use. The newly identified kind of reaction, which could yield up to ten times as much energy as nuclear fusion, could be the answer to endless clean energy someday. A fusion reaction, whether nuclear or quark, occurs when two or more atomic nuclei are close enough to each other to form at least one different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles. In fusing, the involved reactants and products release an enormous amount of energy, which could theoretically be harvested as nearly-infinite clean energy , the holy grail of renewable technology. A quark reaction, which could yield up to ten times as much energy as nuclear fusion, involves the fusion of bottom quarks, subsequently resulting in a larger subatomic particle, a spare particle known as a nucleon, and an enormous output of energy.  It’s reaction is so potent that it is potentially more powerful than the reaction at the center of an exploding hydrogen bomb. Related: These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030 “I must admit that when I first realized that such a reaction was possible, I was scared,” said Marek Karliner, quark fusion co-researcher at Tel Aviv University, “but, luckily, it is a one-trick pony.” Nuclear explosions in hydrogen bombs gain their destructive power from chain reactions. Quark fusion, it seems, could not possibly be dangerous because bottom quarks disappear only a picosecond (1/1,000,000,000,000 of a second) after they form. There simply is not enough time for these subatomic particles to form a chain reaction. “If I thought for a microsecond that this had any military applications , I would not have published it,” Karliner said, according to Live Science. Although quark fusion remains in the theoretical stage, the researchers state that it could be achieved at the Large Haldron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider located in France . Via Live Science / Engadget Images via CERN , lead image via Deposit Photos

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Groundbreaking quark fusion generates 10 time as much energy as nuclear fusion

Florida power company scraps nuclear project, will pursue solar power instead

September 1, 2017 by  
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A controversial nuclear project won’t be moving forward in Florida . Power company Duke Energy Florida filed a proposed settlement agreement with the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) that would end the Levy Nuclear Project – which customers were paying for before it was even begun – and prioritize grid modernization and solar energy . Part of the settlement includes a four-year plan to install 700 megawatts (MW) of solar in western Florida. Ratepayers have forked over around $800 million for the Levy Nuclear Project, which was first proposed in 2008. In 2013, Duke Energy Florida cancelled construction and engineering agreements, although they said they hoped to return to the project. The Levy plant would have offered 2.2 gigawatts of power. $150 million remained in costs, which the company said they would have recovered via rates, but under the settlement customers won’t have to pay more money for the nuclear project that never got far off the ground. Related: Abandoned nuclear power plant given new life as a solar farm Under the revised settlement, the company would invest in grid modernization efforts like smart meters and as much as 50 MW of battery storage . They’d install over 500 electric vehicle charging stations. They also plan to put in 700 MW of solar power, including the 74.9 MW Hamilton Solar Plant, which they hope to begin building in early 2018. The solar plant, the company’s sixth, could power over 20,000 homes. Residential customers could see their average monthly bill cut by $2.50, according to Tampa Bay Times, although they won’t be reimbursed for the $800 million. 1.8 million customers receive power from Duke Energy Florida, and the settlement means their bills might go up a little bit less than the company recently forecast, according to Tampa Bay Times. Duke filed for a 8.5 percent increase from the present rate last week, which under the new settlement would be a 4.6 percent increase. Duke Energy Florida said in a statement they anticipated a decision from the FPSC by December. Via Ars Technica , Tampa Bay Times , and Duke Energy Florida Images via NASA and Duke Energy Facebook

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Florida power company scraps nuclear project, will pursue solar power instead

Debunking the 14 myths about why we should go nuclear

August 9, 2017 by  
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Awaiting the DOE study on baseload generation, here are the reasons why energy efficiency, grid flexibility and renewables enhance low-cost reliability.

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Debunking the 14 myths about why we should go nuclear

Finland’s Green Party says humanity must embrace nuclear power

April 17, 2017 by  
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Nuclear energy must be an option as humanity shifts away from fossil fuels , according to a recent article penned by four candidates of Finland’s Green Party , or Green League. The party strictly opposed the controversial fuel source in the past, but these four candidates said we’re running out of time to fight climate change and no longer have the luxury of picking between renewable energy and nuclear power. Humanity should take another look at nuclear power, according to Jakke Mäkelä, Tuomo Liljenbäck, Markus Norrgran, and Heidi Niskanen of the Finnish Greens. They wrote a March 6 blog post, translated by J.M. Korhonen , detailing why Finland should develop nuclear energy. Related: Germany’s massive nuclear fusion reactor is actually working Finland’s temperatures are spiking quicker than any other place in the world due to climate change, according to Forbes contributor James Conca. The country has pledged to end coal use by 2030, but they’re also widely utilizing biomass . The four Greens condemned the government’s burning of wood chips for power since it emits carbon dioxide and will destroy forests . The Greens said renewable energy won’t be able to help us wean completely off fossil fuels yet. They said solar and wind work very well up to a point, but on a large scale require lots of raw materials and land. They pointed to Germany, which shuttered nuclear power plants, but the consequence was renewable energy largely replaced nuclear energy and not fossil fuels. The four Greens said we no longer have the option of choosing between renewables and nuclear. They wrote, “Unless we spend a lot more money in all clean energy sources, we are certain to be doomed.” Korhonen notes their viewpoint is not an official recommendation from the Green Party or of the Viite, the technology and science subgroup of which Mäkelä is vice-chairman and the others are members. It’s simply the opinion of the four candidates, who were up for election in Turku. The Green Party won 12 percent of the total vote in the recent elections, gaining seats and winning the largest share in their history. Via J.M. Korhonen and Forbes Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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China is building a giant solar plant at Chernobyl

November 22, 2016 by  
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A new solar summer rises from the ashes of nuclear winter. Two Chinese energy firms will be constructing a new solar power plant in the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, which suffered a powerful explosion in 1986 that poisoned the surrounding area with nuclear radiation. “There will be remarkable social benefits and economic ones as we try to renovate the once damaged area with green and renewable energy,” said Shu Hua, the chairman of GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI), one of the firms tasked with the project. Making the best of a bad situation could prove inspiring to others as the global community begins the hard work of implementing the Paris Agreement. A 1,000 square mile exclusion zone of forests and marshland surrounds the former Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine and has been largely off-limits since the 1986 disaster. The reactor itself will be covered next year by a $1.6 billion steel arch. GCL-SI has not revealed details regarding where the new solar power plant will be built or how much it will cost. However, GCL-SI management states that the project will be safe for workers. “Ukraine has passed a law allowing the site to be developed for agriculture and other things, so that means (the radiation) is under control,” said a manager who spoke anonymously. Related: China plans to meet 2020 emissions goal by tripling solar power capacity The Chinese firms in charge of building the solar power plant are attempting to build up an international presence and reputation for clean energy excellence. Even before their Chernobyl project, the Chinese have successfully reformatted contaminated land into renewable energy generators. To discourage urban expansion from absorbing more farmland, China has implemented policies that encourage solar and wind power plants on damaged land, including in Shanxi, the country’s top coal province. With 43 gigawatts of generating capacity expected by the end of the year, China is currently the world’s top solar power generator. In the race towards global energy dominance, China is also well ahead. 72 percent of the global solar power components produced in 2015 were made in the People’s Republic. Via Reuters Images via Stefan Krasowski  and Alex Lang

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China is building a giant solar plant at Chernobyl

Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first new American nuclear reactor to go online in 20 years

October 21, 2016 by  
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A new nuclear reactor went online in Tennessee recently, making history as the first commercial reactor in America to go online in the 21st century. Watts Bar Unit 2 is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant , and cost $4.7 billion. The unit can power 650,000 homes. There hasn’t been a new nuclear reactor brought online in two decades. TVA says Watts Bar Unit 2 was finished “the right way – with safety and quality” taken into deep consideration every step along the way. The company says the unit underwent ” an extensive series of power ascension tests ” as it began to operate. This week they announced the new reactor is officially operational after it functioned properly and generated power for three weeks. TVA CEO Bill Johnson said the energy generated by Watts Bar Unit 2 will be reliable, low-cost, and will protect the area’s natural resources. Related: First new US nuclear power plant in 20 years scheduled to open in Tennessee The company emphasizes the power generated by Watts Bar 2 is clean energy

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Beautiful zoo pavilion built from sustainably sourced timber grows a green roof

October 21, 2016 by  
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The new entrance pavilion was commissioned for La Garenne zoo’s new location in Le Vaud and designed to “define the new identity of La Garenne zoo.” Both of the 315-square-meter building’s long facades are curved inwards and visitors pass through the center of each concave curve; this narrow channel marks the threshold between the outside world and the zoo . The pavilion’s hourglass shape flares out on both ends and includes a reception space, gift shop, restaurant, and multipurpose event space. Related: Tiny timber meditation pavilion in Italy reconnects people to nature A wide and curved vegetated roof with overhanging eaves tops the building. The timber pavilion is largely prefabricated to minimize construction waste and to make any future dismantling processes easy. All structural timber is FSC-certified or equivalent and the building earned Certificat d’Origine Bois Suisse accreditation for its use of Swiss wood, which accounts for 97% of the building materials. The facade features large glazed triangular panels that alternate with prefabricated wooden triangular panels. + LOCALARCHITECTURE Via ArchDaily Images via Matthieu Gafsou

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Ever heard of a ZEC? Nuclear energy in New York banks on it

October 20, 2016 by  
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Why New York’s zero-emissions credit can power a cleaner energy future beyond the Empire State.

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Japan takes steps to restart first nuclear reactor since Fukushima

March 20, 2015 by  
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Nuclear power in Japan is slowly but surely returning to a new normal in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown, as the country recently took another step towards restarting one of its remaining reactors. All nuclear reactors in the country were shut down for safety checks following the 2011 disaster, however the country is now about to take its first cautious step back into nuclear power. Reuters reports that the Japan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NSR) recently approved construction to upgrade the No. 1 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Company ’s plant in Sendai in southern Japan. Read the rest of Japan takes steps to restart first nuclear reactor since Fukushima Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: disaster , Fukushima , Japan , Kyushu , nuclear energy , nuclear power , nuclear reactor , restart , sendai , tidal wave

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16,000 unexplained cracks found in two Belgian nuclear reactors

February 19, 2015 by  
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Nuclear energy is not all it’s cracked up to be. As many as 16,000 cracks have been found in two Belgian nuclear reactors, a discovery that could spell bad news for nuclear safety around the world. According to The Ecologist , the cracks were found in the steel reactor pressure vessels at the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear reactors in Belgium. The vessels contain highly radioactive cores and their failure could result in catastrophic nuclear accidents involving a massive release of radiation. Read the rest of 16,000 unexplained cracks found in two Belgian nuclear reactors Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: belgian , belgium , digby macdonald , doel 3 , nuclear energy , nuclear power , nuclear reactors , nuclear safety , tihange 2 , walter bogaerts

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