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Links 1 through 10 of 36 by Chad Orzel tagged nuclear

At the University of Pennsylvania were nine scientists sympathetic to that message [opposing trying to keep nuclear research secret]. All had been involved with wartime work, but in the area of radar, not the bomb. Because they had not been part of the Manhattan Project in any way, they were under no legal obligation to maintain secrecy; they were simply informed private citizens. In the fall of 1945, they tried to figure out the technical details behind the bomb.

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A physical phenomenon that is widely used to slow and store pulses of light in clouds of atoms has been seen for the first time in a system of nuclear-energy levels. The breakthrough has been made by a team of physicists in Germany that has seen evidence for the phenomenon, known as electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT), as X-rays pass through nanometre-scale layers of iron. The researchers think their method, which is also the first to achieve EIT using just two energy levels rather than the usual three, could lead to the development of devices for controlling X-rays, which is currently very tricky to do.

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Hydrogen and helium are obviously common. Oxygen and then carbon are the next two most abundant elements. Way more abundant than beryllium and boron even though Be and B have fewer protons than either oxygen or carbon. Oh, one more note – this chart shows the relative abundance of elements in the Milky Way, not the universe – but you get the idea.

Why is there so much carbon? I guess maybe we should start from the beginning.

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"So who exactly is Josef Oehmen and why did he write about the nuclear accidents in Japan? Oehmen agreed to tell New Scientist his side of the story – and it suggests that a minimum of research by the mainstream journalists who quoted his essay could have established much earlier that it was not the definitive account they thought it was."

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"You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation."

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"In response to the confusion, speculation and apprehension surrounding the rapidly unfolding events at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the aftermath of last week’s earthquake and tsunami, a panel of MIT nuclear engineering, public health and risk assessment specialists convened on Tuesday to explain how the reactors work, what we know about what has taken place there so far, and how to put the risks to the population in proper perspective.

In introducing the panel discussion, Richard Lester, head of the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), said that “we’ve been taking in a lot of information, much of it I’m afraid not very good, but really what we wanted to do here is give an opportunity for people to ask questions” in order to get a realistic picture of what is known about the troubled reactors. After initial presentations by the panelists, the bulk of the session was devoted to answering questions from the audience."

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"Now, where does that leave us?

* The plant is safe now and will stay safe.
* Japan is looking at an INES Level 4 Accident: Nuclear accident with local consequences. That is bad for the company that owns the plant, but not for anyone else.
* Some radiation was released when the pressure vessel was vented. All radioactive isotopes from the activated steam have gone (decayed). A very small amount of Cesium was released, as well as Iodine. If you were sitting on top of the plants’ chimney when they were venting, you should probably give up smoking to return to your former life expectancy. "

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"Rutherford regarded "all science as either physics or stamp collecting" but saw the funny side when he received the 1908 Nobel prize for chemistry for this seminal work. By then he was in Manchester.

"Youthful, energetic, boisterous, he suggested anything but the scientist," was how Chaim Weizmann, then a chemist but later the first president of Israel, remembered Rutherford in Manchester.

"He talked readily and vigorously on any subject under the sun, often without knowing anything about it.

"Going down to the refectory for lunch, I would hear the loud, friendly voice rolling up the corridor.""

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"He was the first to achieve the alchemists' dream of changing one element into another, yet he wasn't an alchemist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry, but he wasn't a chemist. The work for which he received the Prize was carried out in Canada, but he wasn't a Canadian. He achieved the first man-made nuclear reaction, but he doubted nuclear energy could be controlled by man. He was Ernest Rutherford, pride of New Zealand, England, Canada and McGill University."

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"As always in these cases, there are HUGE problems with all of this.  The would-be paper is "published" in an online journal run by one of the claimants.  The claimants won't let independent people examine the apparatus.  They also don't do the completely obvious demonstration - setting up a version that runs in closed cycle (that is, take some of that 12 kW worth of steam flow, and generate the 400 W of electrical power needed to keep the apparatus running, and just let the system run continuously).  If the process really is nuclear in origin, and the hydrogen accounting is correct, it should be possible to run such a system continuously for months or longer.  The claimants say that they've been using a 10 kW version of such a unit to heat a factory in Italy for the past year, but they conveniently don't show that to anyone."

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