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China’s “artificial sun”, a nuclear fusion tokamak reactor that could provide almost limitless amounts of emission-free energy, set a new record on Thursday by running for 1,056 seconds at high plasma temperature, according to a report from Xinhua.

The particular tokamak reactor is called EAST, which stands for Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak. It is located in Hefei, China, and it also broke a record in May when i… See more.

The crunch is so severe that it’s forcing factories to curb output or shut down altogether. Aluminium Dunkerque Industries France has curbed production in the past two weeks due to high power prices, while Trafigura’s Nyrstar will pause production at its zinc smelter in France in the first week of January. Romanian fertilizer producer Azomures temporarily halted output.

Electricite de France SA said last week it would halt four reactors accounting for 10 per cent of the nation’s nuclear capacity, straining power grids already facing cold weather. At the beginning of January, 30 per cent of France’s nuclear capacity will be offline, increasing the reliance on gas, coal and even oil.

Magnets could be the ‘secret sauce’ required for viable nuclear fusion.

Tokamak Energy, a company working on nuclear fusion technology, has recently announced a major breakthrough in its research and development. Testing of its cryogenic power electronic technology for its superconducting magnet’s high-efficiency operation was, by all accounts, a big success.

The company’s bid to provide the world with near-limitless energy uses a combination of spherical tokamaks and high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets. According to reports, tests of the new power electronics showed twice the efficiency of previous systems.

“We have now invented a new type of cryogenic power supply, based on the latest power electronics devices, that is highly efficient at low temperatures. This means we have the potential to reduce cryogenic capital and running costs for HTS magnets, by 50%, or more. This novel approach will provide significant cost savings, contributing to the achievement of commercial fusion energy,” said Tokamak Energy CEO Chris Kelsall.

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The idea of a tritium power cell is pretty straightforward: stick enough of the tiny glowing tubes to a photovoltaic panel and your DIY “nuclear battery” will generate energy for the next decade or so. Only problem is that the power produced, measured in a few microwatts, isn’t enough to do much with. But as [Ian Charnas] demonstrates in his latest video, you can eke some real-world use out of such a cell by storing up its power over a long enough period.

As with previous projects we’ve seen, [Ian] builds his cell by sandwiching an array of keychain-sized tritium tubes between two solar panels. Isolated from any outside light, power produced by the panels is the result of the weak green glow given off by the tube’s phosphorus coating as it gets bombarded with electrons. The panels are then used to charge a bank of thin-film solid state batteries, which are notable for their exceptionally low self-discharge rate.

Some quick math told [Ian] that a week of charging should build up enough of a charge to power a knock-off handheld Tetris game for about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, after waiting the prescribed amount of time, he got only a few seconds of runtime out of his hacked together power source.

(betavoltaic cell or betavoltaic battery) is a type of nuclear battery which generates electric current from beta particles (electrons) emitted from a radioactive source, using semiconductor junctions. A common source used is the hydrogen isotope tritium. Unlike most nuclear power sources which use nuclear radiation to generate heat which then is used to generate electricity, betavoltaic devices use a non-thermal conversion process, converting the electron-hole pairs produced by the ionization trail of beta particles traversing a semiconductor.[1]

Betavoltaic power sources (and the related technology of alphavoltaic power sources[2]) are particularly well-suited to low-power electrical applications where long life of the energy source is needed, such as implantable medical devices or military and space applications.[1].

A team of theoretical physicists at Griffiths University in Australia are investigating a radical quantum theory of time which posits that there is a asymmetry between time and space.

To explain why time points from the past to the future, scientists have proposed that under the second law of thermodynamics, time itself moves towards increased entropy, a measurement of disorder in a system.

But the new Australian hypothesis, first proposed by Australian physicist Joan Vaccaro in 2016, suggests instead that this increased entropy isn’t the root cause of the direction the “arrow of time” moves — it’s just a symptom of the flow of time.

Let’s nuke our way to the stars!

What is required to get us to other planets? A lot of things but mainly energy. Our current rockets simply can’t produce enough energy to get us that far.

American aerospace engineer, author, and advocate for human exploration of Mars Robert Zubrin has one idea for getting us to space and it’s a rather interesting one. It’s called Nuclear Salt Water Rocket (NSWR) and it replaces traditional chemical propellant with salts of plutonium or 20 p… See more.