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On the 8th of December 2011, Uniten was fortunate enough to be graced by the presence of Prof Michihiro Furusaka,Phd. He is a professor at the Graduate School of Engineering at Hokkaido University, Japan, working in the field of neutron instrumentation and optics. Currently, he is developing a new mini-focusing small angle neutron scattering (mfSANS) instrument.

He came to Uniten to conduct a lecture on quantum beam technology and its application in various fields including nuclear engineering.This was all made posible by Nuclear Malaysia.

In many applications such as fuel cells, batteries and superconductors, most of the key properties are linked to the nanostructure of their constituent materials. Any attempt at the tuning of this nanostructure in order to optimize the application properties, however, requires the ability to extract the morphological details on length scales ranging from the sub-nm scale up to the micron scale. Moreover, since the application properties are defined by the average of the bulk material, the statistically representative characterization of the average nanostructure is a necessity.

Small-angle scattering (of light, X-rays, and neutrons) is a unique nanostructural characterization technique capable of obtaining exactly this; providing average morphological parameters over volumes ranging from cubic micrometers to cubic centimeters. The widespread adoption of this technique, however, has been hindered by a complicated data interpretation as well as instrumental limitations.

He started of the lecture by giving a brief overview of the current situation  in large neutron facilities. He also said that Small Angle Neutron Scattering instrument (SANS) are huge and expensive.Mantaining a Neutron facility is expensive and not always available in developing countries. The instruments also requires lot of manpower and budget to mantain.

SANS machine

Research activities using neutron scattering techniques are strongly hampered by its limited machine-time availability. We need very large facilities, either a research reactor or an accelerator driven neutron source, and the number of such facilities all over the world is rather limited. Also true is the number of instruments at such facilities. As a result, getting machine time of one of such instruments is also severely limited; often they are oversubscribed by a factor of three or more.

In case of X-ray, there are a lot of laboratory based X-ray instruments all over the place. Instruments are commercially available; researchers can test their ideas or new samples without writing a proposal; many researchers know how to analyze data. If you need a more powerful instrument, synchrotron radiation facilities are there.

One way of overcoming this situation around neutron scattering technique, especially for SANS instrument, would be to develop a compact unit instrument that can be installed many on a beamline. The unit should be of low cost and can also be installed at low power accelerator based neutron sources. The answer to this is the mfSANS instrument. By using a neutron-focusing technique, like an ellipsoidal mirror developed, a very compact SANS instrument was made. Current ones are 2.5 and 4m in total lengths. Many devices have to be developed, such as high intensity monochromator, beam branching device, high quality focusing mirror, and detector with high-resolution high-count-rate /highdetecting efficiency. Also important is to develop easy to use software.

The instrument was installed not at horizontal plane, but tilted by 45 degrees toward ceiling from the horizontal line.

The LPSD was installed just in front of the zinc-sulfide scintillation detector as shown

Prof Dr Michihiro FuRUSAKA successfully obtained about 2.5 mm FWHM focused beam at the detector position using a 2 mm aperture at one of the two focal points of the focusing mirror. SANS data was obtained from standard samples, such as Ni powder of 20 nm in diameter and micro-separated block-copolymer DI33.

He highlighted the issues of SANS for low power reactors; which is the efficiency of conversing collimator and loosely focused beam. The possible solutions proposed are converging multi-holes collimator from a bigger sample, and utilizing loosely focused beam by focusing mirrors.

Futhermore, Prof Dr Michihiro Furusaka also explained about the situation of nuclear scattering and proton particle beam accelerators in Malaysia.The lecture was cut short due to time constraints,but it was a very informative and eye opening lecture about quantum beam technology and its role in nuclear engineering.

(ALL THE PICTURES ABOVE ARE CREDITED TO THE WORK OF PROF DR MICHIHIRO FURUSAKA)

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster has not deterred the Malaysian government from continuing to pursue a nuclear energy plan.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that the government was in the midst of analysing Malaysia’s suitability for nuclear energy.

“We’re still studying nuclear energy as an option for the generation of electricity, while taking into consideration the instability of the Japanese nuclear reactor caused by a recent earthquake,” said Najib said in a written response in Parliament.

“The government is analysing short and long-term plans, taking into account all infrastructural aspects recommended by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”

He was responding to a question posed by Hee Loy Sian (PKR-PJ Selatan) who asked if the government would abandon its plans to build a nuclear reactor in light of the Fukushima disaster.

In mid-March, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked eastern Japan.

Several nuclear reactors at the plant experienced a full meltdown, which led the Japanese government to initiate massive evacuation and cleanup efforts.

Nuclear plants by 2021

The cleanup efforts are still ongoing, with nuclear experts trying to contain the situation from deteriorating further.

Several developed countries, including Switzerland and Germany, have since announced plans to withdraw from using nuclear energy.

Malaysia, however, appears to have no such reservations. Najib said that many nuclear energy-using countries around the world were running stress tests on their reactors in light of Fukushima.

He said that Malaysia’s “relevant government agencies” would be studying the stress tests on these reactors, and using them as studies for considering nuclear energy in the country.

He added that other studies, including looking into suitable reactor sites, were being considered.

The government intends to build two 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plants by 2021, under its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

To understand why the Germany became the first develop country to take action and start shouting down the nuclear program they have, we have to take a look on the history of nuclear in Germany. We all know until 1989 there was two Germanys the east and the west.

West Germany:

The nuclear program start at 1950s, however the first reactor opened in 1960 in Kohl am Main and it was an experimental nuclear power station. All of the German nuclear power plants that opened between 1960 and 1970 had a power output of less than 1,000 MW and have now all closed down. The first commercial nuclear power plant started operating in 1969. Obrigheim, the first grid station, operated until 2005. (Neckarwestheim). A closed nuclear fuel cycle was planned, starting with mining processes in the Saarland and the Schwarzwald; uranium ore concentration, fuel rod filling production in Hanau; and reprocessing of the spent fuel in the never-built nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Wackersdorf. The radioactive waste was intended to be stored in a deep geological repository, as part of the Gorleben long-term storage project.

East Germany:

The first nuclear power plant in East Germany was Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant and they shutdown in 1990. The second to be commissioned, the Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant, was planned to house eight of the Russian 440 MW VVER-440 reactors. The first four went online between 1973 and 1979. The other four were cancelled during different stages of their build-up. In 1990, during the German reunification, all nuclear power plants were closed due to the differences in safety standards. The Stendal Nuclear Power Plant, which was under construction at the time, was cancelled.

Also Germany had three accidents. The first was in 7/12/1975 the locution was Greifswald, East Germany. Electrical error causes fire in the main trough that destroys control lines and five main coolant pumps, almost inducing meltdown. The second was in 4/5/1986 in Hamm-Uentrop. Operator actions to dislodge damaged fuel rod at Experimental High Temperature Gas Reactor release excessive radiation to 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi) surrounding the facility. The third was in 17/12/1987 in Hesse. Stop valve fails at Biblis Nuclear Power Plant and contaminates local area.

In 8/3/2011 the Germany government shutdown 8 nuclear plant in plan to take the nuclear power aout of the picture completely in 2022.Befor they shut down the plants the nuclear power was accounted for 23% of national electricity consumption. The announcement of the plan  was first made by Norbert Röttgen, head of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, after late-night talks.

 

 

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Germany

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has published a preliminary
summary of their fact-finding mission to three nuclear power stations affected
by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The original document can be found here.

Some of the key findings include:

  • “Hydrogen risks should be subject to detailed evaluation and necessary mitigation systems provided.”This refers to how it is believed that hydrogen entered Unit 4, which has experienced spent fuel pool heating, but was on shutdown for maintenance at the time of the incident. It is now believed that ductwork shared between Units 3 & 4 provided a pathway for hydrogen generated by Unit 3 to enter Unit 4 and reach dangerous levels. This means that this possibility must be investigated in other plants that share these design aspects, and sytems to vent any buildup of hydrogen must be devised. The hydrogen buildup warrants a careful look at hydrogen venting capabilities for any plants that could suffer from the same design flaw.
  • “The tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated. … Defence in depth, physical separation, diversity and redundancy requirements should be applied for extreme external events, particularly those with common mode implications such as extreme floods.”Two terms in this point require some explanation. The first, “Defence in depth,” refers to having multiple, redundant, diverse and independent safety systems in place, especially in the case of a single incident that can affect many systems, known as a “common mode” incident. “Common mode” refers to thefact that one incident (such as the tsunami) can disable many safety systems at once. Nuclear power stations will have to be re-analyzed to ensure that, within reason, no single incident or chain of events can disable enough safety systems
    to cause a major malfunction.
  • The IAEA mission urges the international nuclear community to take advantage of the unique opportunity created by the Fukushima accident to seek to learn and improve worldwide nuclear safety.The IAEA uses this opportunity to call for the world to learn from the Fukushima incident, in order to improve safety of all other nuclear plants. They see this as a learning opportunity, and there is indeed much information to be acquired by analyzing the situation as it develops.

    The picture belongs to Ben Hein


In 1957 the Korean decides to join International Atomic Energy Agency not because they like the nuclear power but because they do not have enough fossil fuel resources. And for all of you out there routing against nuclear power here an example of what can the nuclear power delver and the other source of power cannot. So in 1962 Korea’s first research reactor achieved criticality. Since 1978 nineteen reactors were bulled that’s make total of  four with CANDU and the other sixteen with PWR technology. The first Korean reactor was kori-1 and it was built almost entirely by foreign contractors. Since then the KSNP (Korean Standardized Nuclear Plant) had developed and from 1995 until now they use 95% of their owned technology in building new nuclear reactors. Also in 2010 they went international by   impressing the United Arab Emirates and made their first export order of four APR1400 reactors. Also they were the first country to open a nuclear safety school.

Image

Nuclear plants in South Korea

The total electrical generation capacity of the nuclear power plants of South Korea is 18.5 GWe from 21 reactors. This is 29.5% of South Korea’s total electrical generation capacity, but 45% of total electrical consumption. The South Korean nuclear power sector maintains capacity factors of over 95%. Despite the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, South Korea remains a strong supporter of nuclear power. In October 2011, South Korea reconfirmed its position as a strong supporter of nuclear power with the hosting of a series of events to raise public awareness. The events were coordinated the Korea Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency (KONEPA) and included the participation of the French Atomic Forum (FAF); the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); as well as public relations and information experts from countries that utilize or plan to utilize nuclear power.[1]

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_South_Korea

1. Korea, Junotane (October 22, 2011). “Korea reconfirms strong support for nuclear power”. Junotane. Retrieved 2011-10-22.

Fusion is the process at the core of our Sun. What we see as light and feel as warmth is the result of a fusion reaction: Hydrogen nuclei collide, fuse into heavier Helium atoms and release tremendous amounts of energy in the process.

In the stars of our universe, gravitational forces have created the necessary conditions for fusion. Over billions of years, gravity gathered the Hydrogen clouds of the early Universe into massive stellar bodies.  In the extreme density and temperature of their cores, fusion occurs.The main advantage of nuclear fusion over fission is that there virtually would not be any nuclear waste that is produced.

ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor)  is a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion.

 (Click to view larger version...)

The Q in the formula on the right symbolizes the ratio of fusion power to input power. Q ≥ 10 represents the scientific goal of the ITER project: to deliver ten times the power it consumes. From 50 MW of input power, the ITER machine is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power—the first of all fusion experiments to produce net energy.

During its operational lifetime, ITER will test key technologies necessary for the next step: the demonstration fusion power plant that will prove that it is possible to capture fusion energy for commercial use.

A cut-away view of the ITER Tokamak, revealing the donut-shaped plasma inside of the vacuum vessel. (Click to view larger version...)

A cut-away view of the ITER Tokamak, revealing the donut-shaped plasma inside of the vacuum vessel.

If you want to find out more information about ITER, please refer to the link below.

Reference:

http://www.iter.org/

Clash of nuclear protesters with police in Germany

German police battled thousands of anti-nuclear protestors today, many chained to railroad tracks, who have caused delays as they try to block a train carrying radioactive waste.

The convoy taking the German waste on a 1,200-kilometre journey from a reprocessing centre in northwestern France to a storage facility in northern Germany was stopped for 18 hours, including overnight, amid mass demonstrations.

Thousands of activists swarmed the tracks along the route near the train’s final destination in Dannenberg and boasted that the odyssey’s duration had now topped the 92-hour record set during a shipment one year ago.

Police said they detained about 1,300 people, including some who had chained themselves to the railway, requiring tricky and time-consuming operations to free them before the train could slowly rumble on.

Some 150 people were injured in clashes, most of them demonstrators, according to security forces quoted by German news agency DPA.

The waste, produced in German reactors several years ago and then sent to France for reprocessing, began its journey in a yard operated by French nuclear company Areva in Valognes, Normandy Wednesday.

The protestors argue that the shipment by train of spent fuel rods is hazardous and note that Germany, like the rest of Europe, has no permanent storage site for the waste, which will remain dangerous for thousands of years.

They are also angry that a pledged German phase-out of nuclear power, hastily agreed this year in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, will take another decade to implement.

“It’s like a friend telling you that he will stop smoking in 10 years,” said Jochen Stay, spokesman for the anti-nuclear body Ausgestrahlt (Radiated), which has mobilised protestors against the shipment.

“You are not going to congratulate them just yet.”

At the train’s final destination of Dannenberg, the 11 containers of waste are due to be unloaded onto trucks for the final 20-kilometre leg of the journey by road to the Gorleben storage facility on the River Elbe.

Organisers said about 23,000 protestors had gathered in Dannenberg, while police put the number at 8,000. About 20,000 police have been deployed along the train’s German route.

The demonstrators had travelled from across Germany as well as from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Italy, organisers said.