Time and nuclear technology

September 12, 2023, 7:08AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Hi friends, I hope you had a good summer. Like many of you, I took a break from my summer vacation to watch Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. I’m an unabashed Nolan fan—Inception and Interstellar rank among my top 10 favorite movies—but I’ll admit that Oppenheimer required more time for me to digest.

The film itself is first-rate: powered by a taut screenplay, its stripped-down elemental cinematography largely validates the director’s decision not to use any computer-generated imagery (although a couple of quick CGI scenes from the K-25 enrichment facility or the X-10 graphite reactor would have been really cool). The result is a historically faithful, largely accurate celebration of the brilliant minds that enabled one of the most daring engineering feats of all time.

The National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors

June 12, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsLes Foyto, Tim Grunloh, and Caleb S. Brooks

Photo: University of Maryland Radiation Facilities

This year, the nuclear power industry is seeing a renewed mandate to innovate and supply carbon-free energy for a range of applications. These new reactor designs feature new fuel forms, expanded thermodynamic ranges, and different operational paradigms. The trend toward smaller designs is anticipated to dramatically reduce siting requirements and enable applications of nuclear heat more customizable to commercial use. This has many vendors and operators imagining creative ways to optimize reactor economics in an unpredictable energy market.

The existing U.S. nuclear fleet has benefited from experience and research generated in research and test reactors around the country. As our industry reinvests in innovation, it will once again turn to many of the same reactors. Those reactors—and the groups such as the National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors (TRTR) that formed to support them—have their own history of innovation.

Rare quasicrystal found in Trinity test debris

May 19, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
Video still showing samples of red trinitite. (Source: University of Florence)

The world’s first atomic bomb test—code-named Trinity and conducted in New Mexico on July 16, 1945—had an unintended outcome that was only recently discovered.