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  • richardmitnick 3:05 pm on September 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Idaho National Laboratory, Nuclear Fission plants,   

    From Scientific American via INL: “The World Really Could Go Nuclear” 

    INL Labs

    Idaho National Labs

    Scientific American

    Scientific American

    September 14, 2015
    David Biello

    NEW NUCLEAR: This AP-1000 under construction in Georgia is one of four new reactors in the U.S. Courtesy of Georgia Power

    In just two decades Sweden went from burning oil for generating electricity to fissioning uranium. And if the world as a whole were to follow that example, all fossil fuel–fired power plants could be replaced with nuclear facilities in a little over 30 years. That’s the conclusion of a new nuclear grand plan published May 13 in PLoS One. Such a switch would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly achieving much-ballyhooed global goals to combat climate change. Even swelling electricity demands, concentrated in developing nations, could be met. All that’s missing is the wealth, will and wherewithal to build hundreds of fission-based reactors, largely due to concerns about safety and cost.

    “If we are serious about tackling emissions and climate change, no climate-neutral source should be ignored,” argues Staffan Qvist, a physicist at Uppsala University, who led the effort to develop this nuclear plan. “The mantra ‘nuclear can’t be done quickly enough to tackle climate change’ is one of the most pervasive in the debate today and mostly just taken as true, while the data prove the exact opposite.”

    The data Qvist and his co-author Barry Brook, an ecologist and computer modeler at the University of Tasmania, relied on comes from two countries in Europe: Sweden and France. The Swedes began research to build nuclear reactors in 1962 in a bid to wean the country off burning oil for power as well as to protect rivers from hydroelectric dams. By 1972, the first boiling water reactor at Oskarshamn began to host fission and churn out electricity. The cost was roughly $1,400 per kilowatt of electric capacity (in 2005 dollars), which is cheap compared to the $7,000 per kilowatt of electric capacity of two new advanced nuclear reactors being built in the U.S. right now. By 1986, with the addition of 11 more reactors, half of Sweden’s electricity came from nuclear power and carbon dioxide emissions per Swede had dropped by 75 percent compared to the peak in 1970.

    France, a larger nation, has a similar nuclear tale to tell, weaning itself from imported fossil fuels by building 59 nuclear reactors in the 1970s and 1980s that produce roughly 80 percent of the nation’s electricity needs today.

    All that would be required for the Chinas, Indias and U.S.s of the world to emulate these two nuclear pioneers is “political will, strategic economic planning, and public acceptance,” Qvist and Brook write. For example, nations would need to commit to a single design for reactors, as occurred in France and Sweden, as well as mandates requiring utilities to build said reactors and financial support for the construction from the national government. “The state reacted to a crisis, at that time the oil prices, and implemented a plan, which quickly in 15 years had solved the problem,” Qvist says. “Analogies could be drawn to the crisis we have today: climate change.”

    Based on numbers pulled by the research team from the experience of Sweden and France and scaled up to the globe, a best-case scenario for conversion to 100 percent nuclear power could enable the world to stop burning fossil fuels and start fissioning uranium for electricity within 34 years. Requirements for this shift of course would include expanded uranium mining and processing, a build-out of the electric grid as well as a commitment to develop and build fast reactors—nuclear technology that operates with faster neutrons and therefore can handle radioactive waste, such as plutonium, for fuel as well as create its own future fuel. “No other carbon-neutral electricity source has been expanded anywhere near as fast as nuclear,” Qvist says.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does expect nuclear power to expand worldwide by 2030 as more reactors are built in Asia and the Middle East—and use of nuclear could grow as much as 68 percent by then if all proposed reactors were built. But the nuclear outlook is not as bright as it could be. The world’s largest nuclear fleet—the U.S.’s 99 reactors—does produce more than 60 percent of the nation’s CO2-lite electricity, even with the rapid growth of renewables. In fact, the Obama administration’s new Clean Power Plan relies on existing reactors to help states meet greenhouse gas reduction targets. But the U.S. fleet is shrinking, not growing, despite four new reactors currently under construction, as nuclear power cannot compete in some states with the cost of electricity generated from cheap natural gas and cheap wind power.

    Japan continues to struggle to turn its nuclear reactors back on in the wake of the meltdowns at Fukushima. Germany is moving in the opposite direction of a grand nuclear plan—preparing to phase out its fleet. On top of that, Finland and France have stumbled in bids to complete new, fail-safe nuclear reactors, projects with construction schedules and costs that have ballooned.

    In China, the nation currently erecting the most new and technologically diverse nuclear power plants, the fission-based expansion is dwarfed more than 10 to one by the country’s count of coal-fired power plants. And Russia runs the world’s only operating fast reactors—the BN-600 and BN-800—but, like General Electric before it, has found a limited market for the technology globally, in part due to concerns about the potential to create the ingredients for yet more nuclear weapons.

    Even role model Sweden is mulling over retiring its reactors, having already shut down the two at Barseback early. As a result, an additional hundreds of millions of metric tons of CO2 are being dumped into Earth’s atmosphere, as more fossil fuels are burned to replace that lost nuclear power. France has similarly passed legislation to shift away from its reliance on nuclear power in favor of renewables. Even the IAEA projects that nuclear reliance will shrink in Europe overall over the next few decades.

    These factors suggest that while a worldwide effort to follow Sweden’s nuclear example is possible—it’s not probable. “As long as people, nations put fear of nuclear accidents above fear of climate change, those trends are unlikely to change,” Brook adds. But “no renewable energy technology or energy efficiency approach has ever been implemented on a scale or pace required.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 3:37 pm on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    From INL: “A long journey toward advanced nuclear fuels” 

    INL Labs

    Idaho National Laboratory

    Nov. 7, 2014
    Casey O’Donnell

    This summer, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory received a long-awaited delivery.

    After years of waiting, a trans-Atlantic voyage and a cross-country trip, a cask containing four experimental irradiated pins of nuclear fuel arrived at INL’s Materials and Fuels Complex in late July. With shipping facilitated by AREVA TN, these pins traveled from the Phénix nuclear reactor in France, where INL researchers had shipped them more than eight years ago.

    A nuclear fuel experiment travelled all the way from France for examination at INL’s Materials and Fuels Complex. Here, employees have opened the shipping cask so the fuel cask can be lifted into the Hot Fuels Examination Facility hot cell.

    The four pins contained advanced metallic and nitride fuels fabricated by INL and Los Alamos National Laboratory, respectively, in 2006. The fuel within the pins holds the final bits of data from an international experiment called FUTURIX-FTA.

    FUTURIX, a collaboration between the U.S. DOE and the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), is an important part of INL’s research for DOE’s Fuel Cycle Research & Development program. The “FTA” in the experiment’s name alludes to the French phrase for “Actinide Transmutation Fuels.” In a nuclear sense, transmutation, the act of turning one thing into another, involves re-using certain components of used nuclear fuel. This would maximize the energy received from mined uranium. It would also decrease the quantity of hazardous, extremely long-lived radionuclides ultimately destined for nuclear repositories.

    Upon arriving at INL, the shipping cask was unloaded into the truck lock at INL’s Hot Fuel Examination Facility (HEFE).

    “One goal of the Transmutation Fuels program is to increase the holding capacity of a nuclear fuel repository without increasing the repository’s size,” INL nuclear engineer Heather Chichester said. “To do this, we’re looking at ways to address limits on holding capacity: volume, heat (produced by radioactive decay) and radiotoxicity of used nuclear fuel.”

    Reusing uranium is one way to drastically reduce the volume of used nuclear fuel, Chichester explained. Currently, only about 5 percent of the uranium loaded into a reactor is actually consumed to produce energy. The remaining uranium goes unused. This is because light water reactors, the type of reactor found most predominantly in the world today, can only fission U235, a less plentiful isotope of uranium.

    However, there is a type of reactor that can generate the energy necessary to fission the more abundant U238 as well as the other transuranic isotopes produced during irradiation of nuclear fuel: a fast reactor. About 20 fast reactors exist in the world today.

    “Most of what’s left in used light water reactor fuel—the U238, Pu239 and a few minor actinides—can be reused in a fast reactor,” Chichester said. “This would use our uranium resources more efficiently and reduce the size and heat of the used fuel that has to be disposed.”
    The experiment cask is lifted into the HFEF hot cell through a hatch in its floor.

    Over the past 10 years, the INL Transmutation Fuels team has tested dozens of different fuel compositions that mimic what recycled used nuclear fuel could look like. They are searching for the fuel composition that offers the best results on both ends: efficient energy production in a fast reactor and reduced waste disposal in a nuclear repository.

    So where does FUTURIX come in?

    “These fuels are intended for use in a fast reactor, but we don’t have a fast reactor available for testing in the U.S.,” Chichester explained. “So we’ve been running experiments under modified conditions in ATR (INL’s Advanced Test Reactor). We believe that the modifications we’ve made reproduce most of the important aspects of the environment inside a fast reactor, but we needed to confirm that.”

    To validate their ATR experiments, INL researchers sent four FUTURIX-FTA fuel pins to France to be irradiated in the Phénix Fast Reactor. The scientists also irradiated four identical pins under the modified ATR conditions. After irradiation of the FUTURIX-FTA pins in Phénix was completed, the four pins were stored in a hot cell in France for several years before being shipped back to INL in July.

    Employees used manipulators to place the experiment cask in the hot cell, where the cask will be opened so examination of the fuel samples can begin.
    Now that they’ve returned to INL, researchers will perform detailed examinations of both sets of pins. By comparing the ATR-irradiated pins with those from the French fast reactor, researchers will be able to deduce whether ATR experiments can adequately recreate fast reactor fuel behavior.

    Researchers hope the conditions experienced by these fuels in the French fast reactor will line up with the conditions created for the identical fuels tested in ATR. This would signify that the ATR experiments accurately recreate fast reactor fuel behavior. If so, INL researchers can continue to use their ATR experiments to study new fuels and advance the goals of the Transmutation Fuels program.

    “Hopefully, the FUTURIX-FTA experiment will validate the work we’ve been doing with ATR for the Transmutation Fuels program,” Chichester said. “That’s why finally getting a chance to examine these fuel pins is such a big deal.”

    See the full article here.

    INL Campus
    In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense. INL is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) and partners, each providing unique educational, management, research and scientific assets into a world-class national laboratory.

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  • richardmitnick 9:46 am on December 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Idaho National Laboratory   

    From INL: “Illuminating results: INL broadens understanding of solar storms” 

    INL Labs

    Idaho National Laboratory

    A June 20, 2013 eruption of solar material shooting through the Sun’s atmosphere. The coronal mass ejection hurled millions of charged particles outward. INL’s full-scale power grid can reveal how geomagnetic disturbances affect critical power system components. Photo courtesy: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

    By Craig Wise & Misty Benjamin, INL Communications & Governmental Affairs

    A solar flare ejected from the surface of the sun propels charged particles into space that sometimes collides with the Earth’s magnetic field. These solar storms, or coronal mass ejections, can and have caused significant damage to critical infrastructure and left millions without electrical power for some time.

    INL’s Test Bed facilities allow scientists to replicate conditions electric utilities experience from geomagnetic disturbances.

    Until recently, effects of the geomagnetic disturbances caused by solar storms on critical power system components had not been tested on a full-scale, realistic power grid. Sponsored by the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and in collaboration with Scientific Applications & Research Associates Inc. and Baylor University, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory modeled and validated these phenomena, confirming some geomagnetic storm theories and bringing new concerns to light.

    “INL’s tests not only confirmed industry model predictions of potential power interruption and equipment damage, they also revealed several unexpected secondary effects capable of causing significant impairment,” said Scott McBride, INL Power Systems program manager. “Over the past decade, many researchers have modeled and evaluated damage caused by geomagnetic disturbances; however, most of these models and predictions have not been validated in real world conditions.

    “Recently, INL and DTRA used the lab’s unique power grid and a pair of 138kV core form, 2 winding substation transformers, which had been in-service at INL since the 1950s, to perform the first full-scale testing to replicate conditions electric utilities could experience from geomagnetic disturbances.”

    The research team found high levels of power line harmonics created during the simulated solar event and how these harmonics impacted power transmission and distribution equipment.

    INL’s tests demonstrated that geomagnetic-induced harmonics are strong enough to penetrate many power line filters and cause temporary resets to computer power supplies and disruption to electronic equipment, such as uninterruptible power supplies. An uninterruptable power supply provides immediate protection to electronic equipment to ensure it isn’t damaged by an unexpected shutdown. Damage to these backup systems could lead to injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss.

    See the full article here.

    INL Campus
    In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense. INL is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) and partners, each providing unique educational, management, research and scientific assets into a world-class national laboratory.

  • richardmitnick 7:32 pm on June 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    From INL: “Uranium crystals could reveal future of nuclear fuel” 

    INL Labs

    Idaho National Laboratory

    June 19, 2013
    Kortny Rolston

    “Mention the word “crystals” and few people think of nuclear fuel.

    A university team recently created uranium crystals that could help INL researchers design higher performance nuclear fuels. No image credit.

    Unless you are Eric Burgett.

    The Idaho State University professor is on a quest to create pure, single crystals of uranium and uranium oxide so researchers at Idaho National Laboratory and elsewhere can better understand the material and design higher performance fuels to power nuclear reactors.

    Idaho State University researcher Eric Burgett works at the Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) facility in Pocatello.

    Burgett and his team of graduate students have successfully manufactured cerium oxide crystals as a practice run (cerium can be a nonradioactive surrogate for uranium or plutonium). The team produced its first uranium oxide crystals last week at ISU’s Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) facility in Pocatello.

    ‘A single crystal allows researchers to test and study a material in its simplest form,’ said Burgett, a professor affiliated with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, a partnership between INL and Idaho’s three public research universities.'”

    See the full article here.

    INL Campus
    In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense. INL is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) and partners, each providing unique educational, management, research and scientific assets into a world-class national laboratory.

  • richardmitnick 1:53 pm on March 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    From INL: “French nuclear designers tap American expertise” 

    INL Labs

    Idaho National Laboratory

    March 25, 2013
    Nicole Stricker, INL
    Angela Y. Hardin, Argonne

    The world’s nuclear experts have reached out to U.S. Department of Energy engineers for help evaluating a new nuclear reactor design that could increase safety margins while reducing waste. The project marked a series of firsts for nuclear engineers on both sides of the Atlantic. They fostered a new collaboration and tapped state-of-the-art analysis tools to evaluate a first-of-a-kind reactor design.

    INL nuclear engineer John Bess helped perform INL’s portion of an advanced reactor analysis, which was a collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory and France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission. No image credit.

    France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) collaborated with nuclear engineers at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory for the project. Its goal: assess safety and performance parameters for a new fast reactor design. The effort used cutting-edge analysis tools, and the findings verified French predictions while highlighting where to focus future efforts.

    ‘We have tools and data today that we didn’t have 15 years ago,’ said INL Fellow Giuseppe Palmiotti, who led the lab’s contribution. ‘Plus, this enabled young American engineers to evaluate a unique design with a promising outlook.’

    Hussein Khalil, director of Argonne’s Nuclear Engineering Division, added, ‘Enhancing safety is a key priority for future-generation reactors, and international collaboration is very beneficial for establishing safety criteria and verifying that new reactor designs meet or exceed these criteria.'”

    France’s Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) fast reactor design. No image credit

    he ASTRID design includes passive safety systems and a fuel design that would naturally slow the fission process if reactor shutdown capability was lost. No image credit.

    See the full article here.

    INL Campus
    In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense. INL is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) and partners, each providing unique educational, management, research and scientific assets into a world-class national laboratory.

  • richardmitnick 3:12 pm on March 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Idaho National Laboratory, ,   

    From INL: “Reverse mining: Scientists extract rare earth materials from consumer products” 

    INL Labs

    Idaho National Laboratory

    March 7, 2013
    Nicole Stricker

    “In a new twist on the state’s mining history, a group of Idaho scientists will soon be crushing consumer electronics rather than rocks in a quest to recover precious materials.

    So-called rare earth elements are deeply embedded in everything from fluorescent light bulbs to smartphones — and they’re critical for electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels. Because these materials are subject to supply disruptions, the U.S. Department of Energy is investing in solutions to potential domestic shortages.

    INL scientists will use expertise from recycling nuclear fuel to support the Critical Materials Innovation Hub. The national effort led by DOE’s Ames Laboratory is working to secure the supply of rare earth metals and other energy-critical materials.

    Idaho National Laboratory scientists will contribute to that effort with expertise from recycling fissionable material from used nuclear fuel rods. They’ll now apply similar principles to separate rare earth metals and other critical materials from crushed consumer products. The work could also help improve extraction from the mining process.

    ‘We think of electronics as being a different kind of ore,’ says Eric Peterson, the business line lead for INL’s Process Science & Technology division. ‘Today’s consumer recycling efforts recover about 40 to 50 percent of the critical materials. Our goal is to get that to more like 80 percent recovery.'”

    Scott Herbst helps lead the INL scientists studying ways to recycle rare earth and other critical elements from discarded electronics.

    This is very important work. Other countries have the richest deposits of unmined rare earths. Some of these countries routinely manipulate the world supply. INL is hoping to help shield the U.S. from such tomfoolery. Always be sure to properly recycle discarded items such as those noted at the beginning of the article. See the full article here.

    INL Campus

    In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense. INL is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) and partners, each providing unique educational, management, research and scientific assets into a world-class national laboratory.

    • Ovidiu Borchin 4:30 am on May 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Sir,
      Please provide us more details.
      Thank you.
      Dr. Ovidiu Borchin
      Carmit Chan Corporation


  • richardmitnick 1:46 pm on January 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    An INL Fact Sheet: “Microbial Metabolic Systems” 

    The Microbial Metabolic Systems focus at INL is a systems biology approach to more effectively understanding and controlling microbial processes. An enhanced understanding of key microbial processes is being gained by coupling existing genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics efforts with new metabolomic techniques and data. We use hypothesis-driven research to investigate the impacts of environment, perturbations and manipulations on microbial systems for the purpose of controlling the products and applications of those systems.

    Our focus is on developing and using advanced metabolomic techniques to study C-1 prokaryotes. Our definition of “C-1” includes a variety of prokaryotic metabolic systems that involve the transformation of single-carbon compounds. We have targeted specific C-1 metabolic processes of interest to the Department of Energy (DOE):

    Methanogenesis – methane production by methanogenic bacteria
    Methanotrophy – methane/methanol utilization by methanotrophic bacteria
    Bioleaching – carbon fixation in chemoautolithotrophic bacteria and
archaea (e.g., Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Acidianus spp., etc.)
    Calcite Precipitation – subsurface calcite precipitationt by urea hydrolyzing bacteria
    Bicarbonate Transport – photoautotrophic carbon fixation by cyanobacteria
    Hydrogenase Systems – hydrogen production by Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans.

    Our focus is on developing and using advanced metabolomic techniques to study C-1 prokaryotes. Our definition of “C-1” includes a variety of prokaryotic metabolic systems that involve the transformation of single-carbon compounds. We have targeted specific C-1 metabolic processes of interest to the Department of Energy (DOE)

    INL is leveraging existing research programs and expertise in C-1 microbial metabolic systems to develop a recognized capability that will be more broadly applied to other microbial systems relevant to DOE missions.”

    See the full Fact Sheet here. There is a lot more information.

  • richardmitnick 3:41 pm on July 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    Idaho National Lab (INL) Wants You to Know About What They Do 

    INL Overview
    INL’s mission is to ensure the nation’s energy security with safe, competitive and sustainable energy systems and unique national and homeland security capabilities.

    Idaho National Laboratory (INL) stands out as a distinctly capable science and technology resource. Notably, the lab serves as the nation’s command center for advanced nuclear energy research, development, demonstration and deployment, and is home to the unparalleled Advanced Test Reactor and allied post-irradiation examination, fuel fabrication and materials testing and development assets. Leveraging these and numerous other distinguishing features, the lab and its more than 4,300 scientists, engineers and support personnel build on the potential and promise of the theoretical for the benefit of the real world.

    ATR building grounds in Idaho

    One of the Few
    INL is one of only ten multiprogram national laboratories owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. Geographically, INL is the largest lab — its nearly 570,000-acre desert operations site also serving as a national environmental research park. As with its sister laboratories, INL performs work in support of each of the Department of Energy’s strategic theme areas — energy security, nuclear security, scientific discovery and environmental responsibility.

    A Proud Past
    In the early days, INL was known as the National Reactor Testing Station. Since 1949, the Idaho site has been the location of many pioneering developments in the area of nuclear energy. The world’s first usable amount of electricity from nuclear energy was generated in Idaho in 1951. Over the years, 52 mostly first-of-their-kind reactors were designed and built at Idaho’s national laboratory, creating the largest concentration of reactors in the world. After completing their work, most have since been decommissioned.

    A High-performing Present
    Although INL today reports up through the DOE Headquarters Office of Nuclear Energy, the lab conducts a wide range of agency-supporting activities:

    Nuclear Science and Engineering
    INL is the leading laboratory in basic and applied nuclear and radiological science research and applications. Both DOE and non-DOE customers request the expertise and assistance of INL’s leading nuclear scientists to address critical needs. For example, INL functions as a centralized technology integrator for DOE’s Fuel Cycle Research & Development program.

    Nuclear Reactor Design, Development, Operations & Safety
    With more than 60 years of experience in nuclear reactor plant design, operations and decommissioning and nuclear materials processing, INL expertise is routinely sought by national and international customers. These standout capabilities are key to supporting DOE’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability and Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems programs. All INL nuclear operations are based on a long tradition of safe and cost-effective operations.

    National Security Research and Testing
    INL’s applied engineering discipline and build-test-build problem-solving approach help the departments of Energy, Defense and Homeland Security, as well as industry partners solve significant national security challenges in critical infrastructure protection and nuclear nonproliferation.

    The laboratory’s signature capabilities, expertise and unique infrastructure assets support efforts to secure industrial control systems from cyber and physical threats, develop advanced nuclear facility safeguards and design advanced wireless sensors and protocols. INL’s 890-square-mile infrastructure test range and collocated laboratories provide an ideal backdrop for conducting significant national security demonstrations and experiments. Test facilities include an isolated, utility-scale power grid loop, a comprehensive cellular network, vast nuclear materials testing and analysis facilities, a bulk explosives test bed and a UAV runway.

    Development of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solutions
    An overarching thrust of INL research is energy security — the nation’s greatest challenge for the 21st Century. Energy security includes resource security, economic stability and long-term environmental sustainability. Scientists and engineers are exploring solutions to grand challenges in the areas of clean energy development, competing water resource management, and carbon life-cycle options in order to get the right type of energy to the right place at the right time.

    INL researchers are configuring and testing hybrid energy systems to increase the range of beneficial energy options, and to demonstrate that renewable, fossil and nuclear energy systems can be successfully and effectively integrated for greater efficiencies. They also validate the efficiency of using clean energy sources to recycle captured carbon dioxide into chemical feedstocks and consumer goods.

    Still others in the lab’s research community are poised to overcome key barriers facing the U.S. bioenergy industry — by harnessing lignocellulosic biomass resources and enabling the production of biofuels and other renewable value-added products. Mainstream research is significantly expanding DOE’s ability to evaluate new battery technologies through applied research, development and diagnostics — leading to advanced batteries that live longer, are safer and are more cost-effective for electric-drive vehicles.”

    See the original article here, and watch a very interesting and informing video provided by the folks at INL.

  • richardmitnick 4:23 pm on May 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    From Idaho National Labs (INL): “INL expands supercomputing power” 

    INL expands supercomputing power

    Kortny Rolston
    Misty Benjamin

    Idaho National Laboratory has installed a new 12,512-processor supercomputer — known as “Fission” — that is six times more powerful than its predecessor, Icestorm, which came online in 2007.

    The acquisition of Fission, an Appro Xtreme-X™ supercomputer based on AMD Opteron™ processors, enables INL researchers to build more complete scientific models and better predict outcomes for a variety of nuclear and energy-related issues.

    Appro Xtreme-X1 Row of Clusters

    For example, an INL team is using Fission to simulate what happens to the metal cladding that surrounds uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor. Fission helped create a 3-D fuel rod model that simulates how heat, pressure and other conditions affect cladding during its first 18 months in a reactor – a first for the team.

    ‘ Fission is a very capable supercomputer that enables increased fidelity in modeling and simulation of complex systems and processes. Scientists and engineers at INL as well as other researchers are already making use of the greatly increased capability, said Eric Whiting, interim director of Idaho National Laboratory’s Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation.
    Derek Gaston, a Computational Applied Mathematician who worked on the fuel rod project, said Fission already is advancing nuclear energy research at INL.

    ‘ Fission is enabling us to simulate things we couldn’t before,” he said. ‘ With Fission, we have been able to simulate a real fuel rod in a real reactor. We haven’t had the computing power to do that until now.’

    Fission has achieved a peak speed of 91 teraflops, which means it can perform 91 trillion floating point calculations per second. (Fission’s size and speed is equivalent to systems that were ranked in the top 100 fastest supercomputers in the world according to a November 2010 list issued by Top 500, an independent organization). [Just for drill, read this about BOINC from Wikpedia: “…As a ‘quasi-supercomputing’ platform, BOINC has about 527,880 active computers (hosts) worldwide processing on average 5.549 petaFLOPS as of March 2011,[2] which tops the processing power of the current fastest supercomputer system (China’s Tianhe-I, with a sustained processing rate of 2.566 PFLOPS) So, maybe since WE constitute the largest super computer in the world, the labs should be coming to US with their projects. Compute intensive? Data intensive? Figure it out. WE are worth the trouble.]”

    Read the full article here.

  • richardmitnick 2:39 pm on April 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Idaho National Laboratory,   

    From Idaho National Labs: “Young minds develop simple software to solve complex problems” 

    Cathy Koon

    “From an office in Idaho Falls, a young computer techie and his team of computer and software gurus have developed a software framework that could accelerate nuclear fuels experiments by years.

    Derek Gaston, group leader for the Computational Frameworks Group in the Fuels Modeling and Simulation Department, describes his work at Idaho National Laboratory as “development of tools to enable effortless creation of high-performance engineering multiphysics simulation capabilities.”

    Derek Gaston’s MOOSE (Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment) gives researchers a tool that could accelerate nuclear fuels experiments by years.

    More simply, he has found a way for computers to solve equations and create simulations, thereby predicting reality and changing methods for research. It’s a software program he has dubbed MOOSE (Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment).

    Gaston works in the field of multiphysics and has developed tools being used by laboratories and research institutions around the country to create cutting-edge multiphysics simulation codes. His work garnered him this year’s Early Career Achievement Award at the 15th Annual Idaho National Laboratory Honors Banquet. The award recognizes a high-potential individual under the age of 35. Gaston is 29, and he’s been enthralled with computers since he saw his first one as a first-grader in Missouri.”

    Multiphysics is a complex field of study that analyzes multiple physical models or multiple simultaneous physical phenomena.

    Read the full article here.

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