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Not quite a two-seater hybrid electric, but ORNL's new nuclear fuel promises to boost efficiency by as much as 900%.

U.S. Nuclear reactors are not known for their fuel efficiency. At a mere three to four percent burn-up, much of the uranium fuel is wasted and current reactors produce large amounts of unsightly nuclear waste. Advanced gas reactors may offer a better choice for the aging U.S. nuclear power posse.

Working together with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the Babcock & Wilcox Company, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), with funding from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Science, has produced a new fuel for the high temperatures of advanced gas reactors. In tests conducted at the Advanced Test Reactor at INL, the fuel reached a nine percent burn-up, a near three-fold efficiency gain from traditional water-cooled nuclear plant fuel and halfway to the targeted 16 to 18 percent.

The fuel, produced in the ORNL Materials Science and Technology Division, is made up of thousands of tiny carbon and silicon carbide coated spheres of uranium, which are compressed into fuel sticks and loaded into a graphite form.

With growing concerns about nuclear reactor waste products, skeptical outlooks for the future of nuclear power and foreign companies selling mini-plants to U.S. customers, a new, more efficient fuel made in America is a ray of hope for U.S. nuclear power advocates. Though it will possibly never be without its own pollution problems, further refinement and research into fission reactors may yield a very efficient and comparatively clean energy generation model.



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By Haven Bartton on 4/15/2008 2:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's not really a great argument. I certainly wouldn't let my kid play near a coal/gas power plant either. Actually, I'd *rather* them play nearer a nuclear plant (if forced to choose). Barring some sort of significant disaster, there are no ill effects of simply breathing air near to the plant.

Chernobyl was an awful, terrible disaster, there is no doubt of that. But all sources of power have their inherent dangers. Just ask all the coal miners who get all sorts of respiratory diseases from their work. Just ask the soldiers dying in the Middle East (and not just Allied soldiers, taking all sides into consideration) to secure oil reserves (though of course there are other factors).

I'm no expert, but from what I do understand nuclear power is still the most efficient, cleanest, and altogether safest option we have. Most importantly, it's available right now, unlike alternatives such as solar panelling which is not yet efficient enough to use en masse.


By FITCamaro on 4/15/2008 3:29:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
and not just Allied soldiers, taking all sides into consideration


I really don't give a shit about the "soldiers" dying on the other side. They're murderers who don't even blink an eye at killing women and children.

quote:
to secure oil reserves


Yes thats why we're fighting. Because we're getting so much from Iraq's oil. The first oil contract out of Iraq went to China.


By nofranchise on 4/16/2008 4:33:41 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yes thats why we're fighting. Because we're getting so much from Iraq's oil. The first oil contract out of Iraq went to China.


So...why ARE you fighting?

Find any WMD's yet?


By mindless1 on 4/16/2008 5:38:50 AM , Rating: 1
Ah, good old stereotypes. ALL of the supposed enemy, every last soldier must be woman and child murderers. Seems pretty impossible their society could exist as it did at all if that were the case rather than the notible exceptions - even if those exceptions were higher than we or they would like.

Basically you are saying it's ok to kill men or boys, just not women or children? Maybe you're just using an excuse to hate? Perhaps in your attempt to find a target for your feelings of anger or powerlessness, you have been too eager to indict nameless faceless strangers?

Individuals do bad deeds, focus on that. If you want to think in terms of groups, in the good ole US of A, groups of people do some pretty terrible things too, then spewing some nonsense about group or herd mentality as if that excuses personal irresponsibility.

If you only mean a select few plural soldiers, not all of them, then a select few of the US soldiers aren't exactly saints either. The military, all volunteer militaries, tend to draw in those who are not just full of anger but want to act on it. Military - another convenient excuse for herd mentality, lack of personal responsiblity. It's just unfortunate the military is also a vital group with an important purose, or really I should write fortunate.

It's not the soldiers that are the problem. It's the leaders and lack of punishment for soldiers that cross the line.


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