When the US Department of Energy halted Plutonium 238 production as far back as 1988, things looked grim for the future of space exploration. On Monday, March 18th, NASA's planetary science division head Jim Green announced that production has been restarted, and is currently in the test phases leading up to a restart at full scale.
The first nuclear reactor was in Africa, 2 billion years ago. Two billion years ago, there was enough uranium 235 in a naturally occurring deposit in Africa to fuel a nuclear fission reaction. In 16 separate locations, spontaneously occurring fission reactions went on for some hundreds of thousands of years, cycling multiple times per day. A picture of Fossil Reactor 15. The American Nuclear Society info site.
The hippies next door are installing solar panels. Me, I'm waiting for my Toshiba Home Nuclear Reactor. I'm no early adopter, either; up in Galena the grizzlies have been keeping their dens warm and hot for several years. Thinking of becoming the first nuclear power on your block? Lots of bullet points, links, and some pretty pix and diagrams in this .pdf and this wiki. (Via Instapundit.)
All these worlds are yours, save Europa. Attempt no landings he...llo! What the hell is wrong with you!? Did you just nuke Jupiter?
Lieberman appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Has the Israeli government has served notice on the White House that it must take pre-emptive action against Iran's sites of nuclear weapons development - or Israel will go it alone and do the job itself. Israel has apparently given Bush a deadline of six months. The Arms control wonk has this about the next set of Uranium 164 centrifuge cascade
Abu Zubaydah's secret interrogation in Thailand. In Thailand, the new C.I.A. team concluded that under standard questioning Mr. Zubaydah was revealing only a small fraction of what he knew, and decided that more aggressive techniques were warranted... The group included an agency consultant schooled in the harsher interrogation procedures to which American special forces are subjected in their training. At one point he told his questioners that (American citizen charged with terrorism-crimes) Jose Padilla was ignorant on the subject of nuclear physics and believed he could separate plutonium from nuclear material by rapidly swinging over his head a bucket filled with fissionable material. Meanwhile, in "other" news, theBin Laden trail is still cold.
The site of the world's first nuclear reactor? Gabon. About 1.7 billion years ago several deposits of uranium in Oklo, Gabon spontaneously began to undergo nuclear chain reactions fed by small drips of water. These natural breeder reactors ran for almost a million years, producing both intense heat and plutonium byproducts. Aside from the strangeness of naturally occurring reactors, Oklo provides the only existing case of how highly radioactive waste behaves over a period of tens of millions of years -- exactly the problem faced by the DOE's Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.
Fahrenheit 200,000,000 [Flash.] Celebrating the 59th anniversary of Hiroshima by making fission fun again!