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you gotta keep the devil way down in the hole

Fukushima: Inside the Reactor 2 Containment Vessel, 1/19/2012. Here are Mainichi Daily News and Japan Times reports.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 20, 2012 - 69 comments

Monte Carlo

The year was 1945. Two earthshaking events took place: the successful test at Alamogordo and the building of the first electronic computer. Their combined impact was to modify qualitatively the nature of global interactions between Russia and the West. No less perturbative were the changes wrought in all of academic research and in applied science. On a less grand scale these events brought about a [renaissance] of a mathematical technique known to the old guard as statistical sampling; in its new surroundings and owing to its nature, there was no denying its new name of the Monte Carlo method (PDF). -N. Metropolis
Conceptually talked about on MeFi previously, some basic Monte Carlo methods include the Inverse Transform Method (PDF) mentioned in the quoted paper, Acceptance-Rejection Sampling (PDFs 1,2), and integration with and without importance sampling (PDF).
posted by JoeXIII007 on Dec 17, 2011 - 13 comments

Tick, Tick, Boom

The National Ignition Facility (and fusion power) has been in the news lately. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by Orange Pamplemousse on Nov 28, 2011 - 38 comments

MotherBoard TV: The Thorium Dream

MotherBoard TV: The Thorium Dream If, like many of the world's leaders, you are eager for a dependable and cheap energy source that doesn't spew toxins and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- and that doesn't result in terrible, billion dollar accidents -- you can end your search now. At least, that's the news from a tight-knit collective of energy blogs, dedicated to a common but relatively unknown metal called thorium. In the right kind of nuclear reactor, they say, thorium could power the world forever -- and without the problems that come with the nuclear energy we use today, from Fukushima-like meltdowns to the difficult by-products of plutonium that leave behind radioactive waste and weapons material. The idea certainly sounds like the stuff of fringe internet conspiracists, but it was actually born in the U.S. government's major atomic lab in the 1960s under the auspices of one of the country's most respected nuclear scientists, and the inventor of today's most common kind of nuclear technology, the light water reactor. - Thorium: World's Greatest Energy Breakthrough? [more inside]
posted by ninjew on Nov 28, 2011 - 58 comments

"We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

The IAEA report on Iran has been leaked to the public. But are the new allegations "a game changer"... or, even new, for that matter?
posted by markkraft on Nov 11, 2011 - 38 comments

and battery

The assault on Los Alamos National Laboratory: A drama in three acts
posted by fantabulous timewaster on Nov 10, 2011 - 30 comments

A Farewell to Arms

The B53 wasn’t just any old megabomb. It was the first bunker buster. U.S. nuclear doctrine called for it to be delivered over suspected underground Soviet command-and-control facilities. The dumb bomb wouldn’t destroy them so much as it would destroy everything remotely near it, leaving — literally — a smoldering crater. That was the U.S. plan for “victory” in a nuclear war right up until the implosion of the Soviet Empire. (related) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 25, 2011 - 75 comments

The Fukushima Robot Diaries

Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog. "An anonymous worker at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing his experience as a lead robot operator at the crippled facility." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 24, 2011 - 19 comments

Obscure cold war nuclear projects: the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program

The Cold War resulted in a rather large number of interesting military research programs. One of these with which I'm familiar is the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program, which ran from 1946 to 1961. The basic idea? Modify a bomber (such as a B-36 bomber), creating an aircraft that could theoretically remain aloft for weeks at a time without refueling, much like ballistic submarines? The challenge? Shielding. Shielding the reactor alone would make the aircraft prohibitively heavy, so the idea was to primarily shield the crew compartment instead of the reactor. However, to study the concept, and evaluate various lightweight shielding concepts, two very novel and unique nuclear reactors were built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: the Bulk Shielding Reactor, a novel "swimming pool reactor", and the Tower Shielding Reactor, an unshielded reactor that was hung 200' in the air dangling between 310' steel towers. While the program successfully demonstrated several of the concepts (including a nuclear-powered gas turbine engine running in Idaho, and a modified B-36 that carried a nuclear reactor but wasn't propelled by it (mentioned above), the program was canceled in 1961 due to feasibility and budget concerns.
posted by kaszeta on Aug 21, 2011 - 26 comments

I don't know if they play any Kraftwerk covers

The Radioactive Orchestra consists of 3175 radioactive isotopes. You can listen and make music with most of them.
posted by Dr Dracator on Aug 7, 2011 - 18 comments

NHK looks at Fukushima

On July 9, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK aired a documentary on the earliest days of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. There appears to be precisely one place on the internet where it can currently be viewed: here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 27, 2011 - 44 comments

The Energy Landscape of 2041

Energy: the new thirty years' war; we are heading for a global succeed-or-perish contest among the energy big hitters – but who will be the winners and losers? Michael Klare; (via )
posted by adamvasco on Jun 30, 2011 - 60 comments

Japanese nuke plant run with help from yakuza (mafia) / Two dogs rescued from nuke plant (video)

Tepco, the Japanese nuclear power company, is still battling multiple core meltdowns including one complete "melt-through" (breach of containment). The news gets worse, except for one hopeful story of two dogs. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Jun 28, 2011 - 129 comments

Fifty Years of Space Nuclear Power

Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists presents Fifty Years of Space Nuclear Power "A plutonium fueled RTG that was deployed in 1965 by the CIA not in space but on a mountaintop in the Himalayas (to help monitor Chinese nuclear tests) continues to generate anxiety, not electricity, more than four decades after it was lost in place. See, most recently, "River Deep Mountain High" by Vinod K. Jose, The Caravan magazine, December 1, 2010." (MeFi previously)
posted by HLD on Jun 28, 2011 - 8 comments

The "Citizen Kane" of Civil Defense

In an effort to preserve the rich story behind this landmark film, CONELRAD has spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER's production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away. In the course of our research, CONELRAD also uncovered a wealth of archival material that leaves no doubt that a tremendous amount of thought went into the making of this nine minute motion picture that has been the subject of so much dismissive ridicule over the years. (More CONELRAD goodness previously)
posted by Trurl on Jun 19, 2011 - 12 comments

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant

On June 7th the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska briefly lost the ability to cool spent fuel rods after a fire at the site. The FAA issued a directive prohibiting aircraft from entering airspace in a two mile radius of the plant. Since last week the plant has been under a "notice of unusual event" because of the Missouri River flooding. Local news reports that the "facility is an island right now". The flight ban remains in effect. [more inside]
posted by thescientificmethhead on Jun 16, 2011 - 121 comments

Confessions of a Nuclear Power Safety Expert

Confessions of a Nuclear Power Safety Expert.
posted by - on Jun 14, 2011 - 76 comments

Italy June 2011 referendum

Italy's PM: can I privatize water supply, guarantee private investors a minimum 7% ROI on investments in water supply infrastructure, avoid showing up at scheduled court hearings and build a few nuclear plants, please? NO, you can't, answered nearly 30 million italians (95% of the voters, 57% of the people that held the right to vote) in the latest italian national referendum, whose final results are just about to be published (italian). [more inside]
posted by elpapacito on Jun 13, 2011 - 22 comments

Kraftwerk

«The events in Japan have shown us that even things that seem all but impossible scientifically can in fact happen» Merkel said at a Berlin news conference. Germany to be non-nuclear by 2022.
posted by - on May 30, 2011 - 247 comments

Iran and the West

While not being an outright example of a clash of civilizations in the Huntingtonian sense, elements of cultural misunderstanding and fears about the system-challenging tendencies of Iran do affect Western perceptions and influence Western behavior toward Iran. Furthermore, these kinds of reciprocal identity-based fears and projections of the other side’s presumed malevolent intentions tend to be mutually reinforcing. The risk is that they eventually become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Iran and the West - Regional Interests and Global Controversies [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by klue on May 23, 2011 - 4 comments

And there were moments of symbolism.

It is a strange, dubious and totally unaccepted moral purpose which holds the whole of the world to ransom.
On 1 March 1985, New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon David Lange (Previously) addressed the Oxford Union in support of the proposition that "Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible". That speech is online at publicaddress.net (audio, transcript, highlights) and still resonates today. [more inside]
posted by doublehappy on May 23, 2011 - 30 comments

Robert Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly"

At the core of Kiss Me Deadly are speed and violence. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 18, 2011 - 23 comments

renewable is doable if governments are think-it-throughable?

As you may know, Japan's prime minister Naoto Kan announced two days ago that plans for new nuclear power plants in Japan are to be scrapped (NYT). Meanwhile, a landmark study from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says renewable energy can power the world (Guardian - article includes many related links). Here's a summary of the IPCC Special Report.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 12, 2011 - 118 comments

Oops, my bad, I totally missed that!

Alabama's Browns Ferry Plant nuclear plant has received red finding from the NRC for an emergency coolant valve failure that wasn't detected for over a year. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 12, 2011 - 34 comments

Wheels! Threads! Atoms!

War is Boring's Steve Weintz has a two-part article up on mobile nuclear reactors, called Atoms In Motion: Portable Reactors (part two here). The links referenced cover planes, trains, and automobiles (though calling the last one an "automobile" might be stretching the definition a little.)
posted by Harald74 on May 10, 2011 - 8 comments

"We have no idea what to do next."

"All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accomodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost." Is human civilization hitting the sustainability wall? If so, the environmental movement seems blocked about what to do about it, broods George Monbiot. Nobody likes a "steady state economy", and the worse things get, the harder that option is to achieve. Plus green contradictions might vitiate effective action: "the same worldview tells us that we must reduce emissions, defend our landscapes and resist both the state and big business. The four objectives are at odds." [more inside]
posted by doctornemo on May 5, 2011 - 137 comments

A Bottomless Silo

The Rusty Technoporn Of Nuclear Russia - The Base Of Human Exterminators , The Place That Stalkers Would Love To Visit, from English Russia via Warren Ellis
posted by Artw on May 3, 2011 - 35 comments

"The Russian people felt that 'we can believe these guys'."

The True Battle of Chernobyl (SLYT)
posted by mexican on Apr 27, 2011 - 20 comments

Japan's Nuclear Crisis Keeps Going

Reactor shutdowns nine months away: Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced Sunday that it will take six to nine months to complete a cold shutdown of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, while the United States proposed a daring plan to use a remote-controlled helicopter and cranes to pluck out their spent fuel rods... If all goes well, displaced residents from the evacuation zone should know within six to nine months whether they will be able to go home, trade minister Banri Kaieda said. [Previously] [Open MeFi pro vs. con nuclear policy thread] [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 17, 2011 - 501 comments

Maybe nuclear power is your problem, too?

The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit shows Americans (and a few Canadians) what a Fukushima-sized evacuation zone might mean to them.
posted by rhombus on Apr 12, 2011 - 197 comments

"This house believes that the world would be better off without nuclear power."

The Economist is holding an online debate on nuclear power. These debates provide a great opportunity to get an overview of the different perspectives on an issue. If f you are so inclined, you can share your own views on the topic too. Today's discussions focus on a contribution by Amory Lovins.
posted by philipy on Apr 11, 2011 - 68 comments

No Mo-99

A Political Meltdown: For decades, Canada has been a world leader in the production of medical isotopes. So why did the government announce that it was dumping the entire program? (alt)
posted by Orange Pamplemousse on Apr 9, 2011 - 22 comments

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Hi-Res Photos

The long running "eyeball" series from noted cryptography and information freedom site Cryptome [many previously] hosts hi-res photos of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear site taken from a UAV and inside the stricken plant. Also eyeball shots of other Japanese nuclear reactors.
posted by T.D. Strange on Apr 4, 2011 - 51 comments

glow boys, nuclear janitors dying for a living

Nuclear janitors |They’re called ‘jumpers’ and they go where no one else will | "Off to Japan" | The pay rate at Three Mile Island in 1979 post accident was $7.00/hour and $30.00/perdiem. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 31, 2011 - 52 comments

"Your eyes hurt, and there was a metal taste in your mouth. Those are the two things you felt."

How do you clean up a massive nuclear disaster? With 800,000 people, 45 seconds at a time. The Liquidators, Chernobyl's "biorobot" cleanup crew: Part 1, Part 2. [more inside]
posted by googly on Mar 29, 2011 - 22 comments

Brit Writer Goes Pro-Nuke.

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power Brit writer raises interesting points.
posted by goalyeehah on Mar 22, 2011 - 403 comments

Yakuza To The Rescue

Even Japan’s infamous mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing a strain of civic duty. "The Kanagawa Block of the Inagawa-kai, has sent 70 trucks to the Ibaraki and Fukushima areas to drop off supplies in areas with high radiations levels. They didn't keep track of how many tons of supplies they moved. The Inagawa-kai as a whole has moved over 100 tons of supplies to the Tohoku region. They have been going into radiated areas without any protection or potassium iodide."
posted by kingv on Mar 22, 2011 - 63 comments

The first nuclear reactor was in Africa.... a long, long time ago

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.
posted by bq on Mar 20, 2011 - 46 comments

Japanpost-earthquake nuclear crisis keeps going

Fukushima Dai-ichi status and potential outcomes The Oil Drum has begun posting daily threads about the Japanese nuclear plant event. As during the last energy crisis, the comments there tend to have a good signal-to-noise ratio.
posted by mediareport on Mar 17, 2011 - 1789 comments

Large earthquake off coast of Japan

Preliminary magnitude 7.9 off Honshu at 05:46 UTC The Pacific Ring of Fire has been living up to its name lately. BBC flash reporting a Tsunami Alert has been issued.
posted by Celsius1414 on Mar 10, 2011 - 3282 comments

"Threads" and "Testament"

Threads (1984). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) Testament (1983). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 25, 2011 - 66 comments

Deterrent failed. Mission accomplished.

Only 60,000,000 citizens killed?! Success!!! A 1950s Air Force film on what might happen in the event of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear conflict has been declassified and is available in full, online, from the National Security Archive of George Washington University.
posted by markkraft on Feb 21, 2011 - 54 comments

"Death Wears Bunny Slippers"

In Nuclear Silos, Death Wears a Snuggie
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 14, 2011 - 94 comments

ending corporate welfare

Get the Energy Sector off the Dole - Why ending all government subsidies for fuel production will lead to a cleaner energy future—and why Obama has a rare chance to make it happen.
posted by kliuless on Jan 12, 2011 - 42 comments

“Well you know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like women. You just have to read the manual and press the right button.”

Robots Guarding US Nuclear Stockpile "The US National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced that it has started using autonomous robot vehicles to patrol the vast desert surrounding its Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The 1360+ square miles of territory is home to millions of tons of low grade nuclear waste, as well as Cold War Era nuclear weapons, and cutting edge nuclear testing research. Guarding those precious nuclear materials is the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System (MDARS) robot, which is essentially a camera on a mini-Hummer. The MDARS can roam and scout the desert on its own, alerting a remote operator when it encounters something that shouldn’t be there (two headed coyote?). Human controllers get real time video feed form the bot and can communicate with trespassers using speakers and a microphone. There’s just one MDARS robot on patrol now, but NNSA plans on adding two more in the next six months." Via: [Singularity Hub]
posted by Fizz on Oct 8, 2010 - 25 comments

Interstellar Atomic Energy Agency

A press conference was held this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, where at least a dozen former U.S. Air Force personnel, mostly officers who worked on secret projects connected to sensitive nuclear weapons sites, are admitting that they were privy to UFO and alien-related incidents that occurred during their time of service. In this clip, you will hear from: Retired Air Force Captain Robert Salas, Former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dwayne Arneson and Former Air Force Official Bill Jameson. [via NECN]
posted by not_on_display on Sep 27, 2010 - 99 comments

Case is that you?

Sometime its seems like you're living in a William Gibson novel. Was Stuxnet Built to Attack Iran's Nuclear Program?
posted by Long Way To Go on Sep 22, 2010 - 51 comments

“The purple glow in the sky — that was so eerie”

Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 14, 2010 - 6 comments

Nukes, schmukes

How Business Can Lead us Beyond Fossil Fuels: a Techonomy presentation by Amory Lovins, followed by comments from Chevron CTO John McDonald and audience questions.
posted by flabdablet on Sep 5, 2010 - 18 comments

History of the first 50 years of the Idaho National Laboratory

It has gone by many names. "National Reactor Testing Station" (1949-1975), "Energy Research and Development Administration" (1975-1977), "Idaho National Engineering Laboratory" (1977-1997), the "Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory" (1997-2005), and now the "Idaho National Laboratory" (2005-present). It has been the site of more than 50 nuclear reactors, which has resulted in a fair bit of environmental impact. In 2000, the US Department of Energy published (and has since made available on the web) a history of the laboratory over its first 50 years: "Proving the Principle."
posted by rmd1023 on Sep 4, 2010 - 11 comments

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