This Week in Science (Jan. 17 – 24)

Jan 24, 2016

This is a collection of the 10 best and most popular stories from science and technology over the past 7 days. Scroll down and click the individual images below to read the stories and follow the This Week in Science on Wakelet (here) to get these weekly updates straight to your inbox every Sunday.

3 comments on “This Week in Science (Jan. 17 – 24)

  • This week, I caught a two hour PBS NOVA program called ‘Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’, subject being uranium.

    Felt emotionally drained afterwards, yet some things clearly stood out as questionable. THIS summation fits pretty well my thoughts.

    NOVA programs are considered upper echelon, yet I wish this particular show was sans bias (man and woman happily chatting with a nuclear plant buffered by lush trees).



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  • bonnie
    Jan 25, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I have linked to the issue you raise before.

    Thorium research started in 1947 but was never popular with politicians, because it cannot be used either openly, or clandestinely, to make bombs.

    @ your link:- Dewan says, “My reactor can take that long-lived waste and break it down and extract all its remaining energy; and if you take all of that waste and put it into these reactors, you could power the entire world for about 72 years. … It uses a liquid fluoride salt as fuel; if you have an accident, it can shut itself down safely. Our reactor can run entirely on nuclear waste, it can’t melt down and it’s cheaper than coal.”

    This is essentially correct! Liquid salt thorium reactors can produce electricity by nuclear fission, while producing waste with a fraction of the half-life or uranium. The plants cannot blow up and cannot be used for terrorism.

    Unfortunately, having been neglected for decades, the research has only recently been restarted, so will take quite some time to get to working prototypes.

    In addition to producing waste requiring much shorter storage times, these reactors can indeed burn up some of the uranium waste left from other systems.

    There was a major conference in China on the use of thorium, with a very large selection of lectures and information on this link:-

    http://www.itheo.org/thorium-energy-conference-2012



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