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  • Recently, the American Nuclear Society and the Health Physics Society hosted an historically important meeting on updating the scientific basis for low dose radiation protection standards. Attendees discussed the effects of low dose radiation, the existing radiation protection construct that has evolved to minimize the impact of those effects, and ways to take advantage of […]
  • Under our current energy paradigm, nuclear power has the reputation of needing enormous up-front capital investments. Once those investments have been made and the plants are complete, the payoff is that they have low recurring fuel costs. Just the opposite is said of simple cycle natural gas fired combustion turbines. They require a small capital […]
  • In some ways, Kairos Power has a familiar sounding story. It is a California-based start-up founded by three bright people, all with a tie to Cal Berkeley (UCB). They have decided to turn their grant-funded tech research into a for-profit company. One of the founders, Dr. Per Peterson, is a long established UCB professor with […]
  • Forgive me, dear readers and listeners. It has been more than two months since my last post and more than 11 months since my last Atomic Show podcast. It has been a refreshing pause in my atomic information sharing activities. I haven't been completely separated from the fray. I've been keeping up with my reading […]
  • By Wade Allison Emeritus Professor of Physics at Keble College, Oxford A canary, alive and singing in the coal mine, gave miners confidence that the air was safe to breathe. But today our problem is not carbon monoxide in a mine but carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans. The Industrial Revolution was built on […]
  • It's not glaringly obvious, but preparatory steps enabling a take off for advanced nuclear power systems are making measurable progress. Enabling legislative acts have been passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the President, turning them into laws requiring actions. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is back to full strength and under a […]
  • This is a modest update of an article first published in November 1996. DOD's recent issuance of an RFI for mobile, modest power output atomic power systems shows that the challenges that were clearly described in 1963 have not been addressed -- yet. Now is a good time to start addressing them. The ML-1 experimental […]
  • Sometimes, there are benefits to breaking things. It's often the only way to eliminate barriers and walls that prevent progress. The process can create dust and debris that must be cleaned up to allow erection of a solid, stable path, but without the initial sledgehammer attack, nothing gets done. For more than 20 years, I've […]
  • Obituaries of the "Nuclear Renaissance" have been widespread and frequent in the years since the Great Recession and reactions to the Great Northeast Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. I'm pretty sure those obits have been premature in declaring the subject to be dead. Last week, I attended the 6th Annual Advanced Reactor Summit and Technology Showcase. […]
  • On Sunday, Feb 17, I realized that I was feeling extraordinarily good about the future of atomic energy, the future of clean energy production, and the future prosperity of the world that my grandchildren are going to inhabit. I immediately composed and sent an invitation to some atomic colleagues to join me in a conversation. […]
  • Facing the immense threat of climate change, the need to power several billion more people and the continuing reluctance to use the most powerful tool available, Scott L. Montgomery and Thomas Graham Jr. realized that there was an information and perception gap about nuclear energy of roughly equivalent magnitudes. Their desire to help fill the […]
  • In January 2019, the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) of the U.S. Department of Defense officially informed the world that it was interested in learning more about small, mobile, nuclear generators. The SCO said it wanted to find out if there was technology available that could supply a forward operating base with abundant, emission-free electricity for […]
  • In 1945, H. J. Muller was in deep financial difficulty. He had burned many bridges during his career. He had a young wife, a two year old daughter, and a notice in hand that he would be losing his job. He was 56 years old and had not accumulated any savings. He had moved around […]
  • Building mobile nuclear power plants will be a challenge, but successfully meeting the challenges could alter the future trajectory of the energy and fuels supply industry. That is one of the largest and most consequential sectors of our modern, mobile, industrialized economy. There are no guarantees, but compared to many research and development projects, Project […]
  • Forgive me. It's been almost three months since I last wrote a long form blog or article about the importance of atomic energy as a useful tool for solving many of the world's most complex and pressing problems. I've been stimulated to take a partial break from my blissful state of being a mostly retired […]
  • A cruise missile with a nuclear reactor heated turbofan engine and a liquid fueled booster rocket is the most likely description of the Russian developmental weapons system that exploded while being tested on August 8. It's likely that the explosion occurred during maintenance or fueling operations on a barge floating off shore and not during […]
  • A couple of weeks ago, I heard Dr. (Isabel) Lauren Jackson talking to Bill Nye on his Science Rules podcast. At the end of his discussion with her, Nye seemed to have changed his mind in the positive direction regarding the importance of nuclear energy. He seemed far less worried about radiation and the potential […]
  • On Friday, September 20, I took to the streets with a couple dozen other locals as part of the Student Climate Strike. I'm pleased to note that this political action seems to be part of a movement that is capturing attention and providing numerous "teachable moments." Like any good activist, I carefully chose my attire […]
  • The US Patent Office has issued a patent for a Plasma Compression Fusion Device to Salvatore Pais, of Calloway MD. The patent assignee is the United States of American as represented by the Secretary of the Navy, Patuxent River MD. The news of this patent issuance has produced a minor buzz that might turn into […]
  • By Robert Hargraves Democratic president Franklin D Roosevelt proclaimed at his 1933 inauguration, "...the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." In years past Republican presidents were conservative stewards of the environment. Theodore Roosevelt started National Parks. Nixon created the […]
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