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Chernobyl Pripyat hospital timm suess

Ukraine's Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was the site of one of history's worst nuclear accidents, when an experiment destroyed reactor number 4 and exposed hundreds of people to high levels of radiation. The site of the April 26, 1986 disaster is still uninhabitable, but remains a popular location for photographers looking to explore the abandoned structures. Photographer Timm Suess traveled to Chernobyl in 2009, and The Atlantic has featured a collection of photos from a nearby abandoned hospital. Suess's journal, videos from his trip, and ambient sound of the area, as well as more photos of schools, an amusement park, and a ship graveyard are also available on his blog.

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Abomblist

The American state of Nevada is most famous as being the home of Las Vegas, the pleasure capital of the world, but its empty stretches of deserts die a darker history. These incredible LIFE pictures by Loomis Dean capture the aftermath of a 1955 nuclear test designed to find out what manner of destruction an atomic bomb could reap on everything from homes, to canned food.

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mdsolar sends this quote from an article at the NY Times:
"All but two of Japan's 54 commercial reactors have gone offline since the nuclear disaster a year ago, after the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan — once one of the world's leaders in atomic energy — will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity. With few alternatives, the prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has called for restarting the plants as soon as possible, saying he supports a gradual phase-out of nuclear power over several decades. Yet, fearing public opposition, he has said he will not restart the reactors without the approval of local community leaders."


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The Obama administration's Department of Energy, led by Steven Chu, has taken a "portfolio" approach to easing the country into a future in which we're less reliant on fossil fuels. Instead of betting on a single technology to solve all our problems, the DOE has been pushing a mix of renewables, efficiency measures, and nuclear power. After having licensed the first new nuclear plant in decades, the DOE has now reached agreements with companies that are trying to develop an alternative to these large facilities.

Rather than building large, Gigawatt-scale reactor buildings, several companies are developing what are termed small, modular nuclear reactors that produce a few hundred Megawatts of power. These are typically designed to be sealed units that simply deliver heat for use either directly or to generate electricity. When the fuel starts to run down, the reactors will be shipped back to a central facility for refueling. Since they will never be opened on site, many of the issues associated with large plants don't come into play.

The new agreements, set up with Hyperion Power Generation, SMR, and NuScale Power, will give the companies access to the DOE's Savannah River National Lab, with the intention of having them develop sites there for a test installation. Ultimately, the test installations are intended to provide data that will go into the licensing of these new designs. Chu, in announcing the agreement, stated, "We are committed to restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing the next generation of these technologies."

We'll be running a feature on the future of nuclear power in the US early next week.

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cylonlover writes "This year is a historic one for nuclear power, with the first reactors winning U.S. government approval for construction since 1978. Some have seen the green lighting of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in Georgia as the start of a revival of nuclear power in the West, but this may be a false dawn because of the problems besetting conventional reactors. It may be that when a new boom in nuclear power comes, it won't be led by giant gigawatt installations, but by batteries of small modular reactors (SMRs) with very different principles from those of previous generations. However, while it's a technology of great diversity and potential, many obstacles stand in its path. This article takes an in-depth look at the many forms of SMRs, their advantages, and the challenges they must overcome."


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