Converting heat into electricity without moving parts

August 7, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

I've been fascinated by nuclear batteries-also known as radioisotope thermal generators or RTGs-since I first saw a pacemaker battery in an exhibit at the Maryland Science Museum. As my wife and children will testify, I am one of those slow moving people at museums who insists on reading nearly every placard under every exhibit. I'll never forget my feeling of wonder as I found out that 1/200th of an ounce of plutonium-238 could provide sufficient heat to that tiny battery to make it produce a continuous electrical current sufficient to run a heart pacemaker.

ANS to host ICAPP 2012 at annual conference

June 11, 2012, 12:45PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The American Nuclear Society's Annual Conference, to be held June 24-28 in Chicago, Ill., will feature an embedded International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP 2012), ANS President Eric Loewen announced. "This international conference brings together nuclear leaders from around the world to share best practices and advance international understanding of the latest advances in nuclear power plants," said Loewen.

Congressional debate over terms of future 123 agreements

May 7, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeJim Hopf

In 2009, the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a "123" agreement, which allowed the transfer of US nuclear technology (e.g., reactors, etc.) to the UAE. As a condition of the agreement, the UAE gave up all rights to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel, now and at any point in the future. Thus, the UAE agreed to give up significant rights that are granted to it as a signee of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

4th Annual Texas Atomic Film Festival

April 26, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The 4th annual Texas Atomic Film Festival (TAFF) is being held April 26 to May 3, 2012. The festival attracts short films (3 to 5 minutes) produced by students in nuclear engineering courses at the University of Texas at Austin. A public screening of the films, which focus on nuclear and energy related topics, is being held on April 26 at 12:30 pm at the UT Student Activities Center auditorium.