Research & Applications

Zeno looks to SHINE for Sr-90 to fuel its radioisotope power systems

June 18, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear News

Wisconsin-based fusion technology company SHINE Technologies announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Zeno Power to develop a nuclear materials supply chain for its commercially available radioisotope power systems (RPSs). Under the MOU, SHINE plans to provide Zeno with strontium-90 to power its RPSs, which are capable of providing continuous power in harsh environments.

Orano Med inaugurates Pb-212 production facility in Indiana

June 18, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Guillaume Dureau of Orano Group (left) and Orano Med’s Julien Dodet cut the ribbon on the new ATLabs Indianapolis. (Photo: Orano)

Orano Group subsidiary Orano Med, a developer of targeted alpha therapies for oncology, inaugurated its first ATLab (Alpha Therapy Laboratory) earlier this month. Located in Brownsburg, near Indianapolis, Ind., ATLab Indianapolis is an industrial-scale pharmaceutical facility dedicated to the production of lead-212–based radioligand therapies.

Targeted alpha therapy has shown to be effective in treating various oncological diseases, combining the natural ability of biological molecules to target cancer cells with the short-range cell-killing capabilities of alpha emissions generated by Pb-212. With a half-life of 10.64 hours, along with a decay product of the short-lived alpha-emitter bismuth-212, Pb-212 allows for the possible synthesis and purification of complex radiopharmaceuticals with minimum loss of radioactivity during preparation.

The development of radiopharmaceuticals has long been hampered by the difficulty of manufacturing and distribution on an industrial scale, Orano said, adding that the construction of ATLab Indianapolis is a major step toward making these new treatments available to cancer patients with high unmet needs in North America.

Company touts efficiency of coin cell nuclear battery

June 14, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Photo: Infinity Power

Infinity Power has developed a nuclear battery that it says generates electrical power from radioisotopes with 60 percent overall efficiency, exceeding that of other radioisotope energy conversion methods, which are typically less than 10 percent. The company believes its technology—developed in part under contracts from the Department of Defense—has potential for “next-generation radioisotope power sources.”

DOE approves safety design strategy for Radiant microreactor test plan

June 12, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Concept art showing the delivery of Radiant’s Kaleidos to the DOME test bed. (Image: Radiant Industries/Ryan Seper)

Radiant Industries announced on June 4 that the safety design strategy (SDS) for a test of its Kaleidos microreactor in the National Reactor Innovation Center’s DOME test bed at Idaho National Laboratory now has approval from the Department of Energy. Radiant hopes to test Kaleidos—a 1-MW high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor—by 2026 and then market portable commercial reactors to power remote locations and provide backup or primary power for critical applications in hospitals or for disaster relief.

Florida mosquitoes targeted by nuclear-derived sterile insect technique

June 11, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Release of sterile mosquitoes on Captiva Island in Lee County, Fla. (Photo: LCMCD)

Sterile mosquitoes are being used to reduce the population of insecticide-resistant Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Fort Myers, Fla., which can spread viruses including dengue, yellow fever, Zika, and chikungunya.

New fusion energy strategies and partnerships announced at White House event

June 10, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Just one week after the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted a summit on domestic nuclear deployment, they filled a room again on June 6 for a livestreamed event cohosted with the Department of Energy to announce a new DOE fusion energy strategy and new public-private partnership programs, and to hear directly from stakeholders—including scientists, private fusion companies, investors, and end users—during panel discussions on fusion science and technology progress and the path to fusion energy commercialization.

Xcimer raises $100 million to invest in inertial fusion laser tech

June 6, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Xcimer Energy’s headquarters in Denver, Colo. (Photo: Xcimer Energy)

Xcimer Energy announced June 4 that it has raised $100 million in Series A financing for a new facility in Denver, Colo., that will host a prototype laser system with “the world’s largest nonlinear optical pulse compression system.” As a private fusion developer, Xcimer wants to “extend the proven science of inertial fusion to industrial scale” with the help of that laser system and “key technologies and innovations from multiple fields.”

New model describes how tokamak shape affects plasma stability

June 5, 2024, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Image: Kyle Palmer and Michael Livingston/PPPL Communications Department

A new theoretical model about stabilizing plasma in tokamak fusion reactors is described in three papers from a study that was led by research physicist Jason Parisi of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Two papers—“Kinetic-ballooning-limited pedestals in spherical tokamak plasmas” and “Stability and transport of gyrokinetic critical pedestals”—appear in the International Atomic Energy Agency journal Nuclear Fusion. The other paper—“Kinetic-ballooning-bifurcation in tokamak pedestals across shaping and aspect-ratio”—appears in Physics of Plasmas.

DIII-D gets supercomputing access through the DOE’s high-speed data network

June 5, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
The DIII-D Superfacility team. (Photo: General Atomics)

Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) are teaming up to make the high-performance computing (HPC) powers of NERSC available to DIII-D researchers through ESnet—a high-speed data network. Their collaboration, described in a May 29 news release, in effect boosts the computing power behind DIII-D’s diagnostic tools to make more data from fusion experiments available to researchers at DIII-D in San Diego and to the global fusion research community.

FIRE: The DOE’s new plan for “building bridges” to fusion energy

June 4, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
A slide on the FIRE collaboratives presented during a recent FES webinar. (Graphic: FES)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) wants Fusion Innovation Research Engine (FIRE) collaboratives to be a bridge between FES’s basic science research programs and the growing fusion industry. A funding opportunity announcement released May 22 explains that FIRE will be a “transformative initiative aimed at creating a fusion innovation ecosystem” with virtual, centrally managed collaboratives working on “end-use inspired” fusion science and technology R&D.

Americium-241 heat source planned for Mars rover in a space exploration first

May 28, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover. (Image: ESA/ATG medialab)

Europe’s first Mars rover—named Rosalind Franklin—was months away from a planned September launch when the European Space Agency (ESA) convened a meeting a few weeks after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The ESA Council unanimously agreed on “the present impossibility” of working with Roscosmos as its launch partner and later decided to reboot its ExoMars mission with a new lander, new partners, and a new launch date.

Oklo to collaborate with Atomic Alchemy on isotope production

May 16, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Oklo Inc. (Image: Gensler)

Fast reactor developer Oklo, which recently went public on the New York Stock Exchange, announced on May 13 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Atomic Alchemy to cooperate on the production of radioisotopes for medical, energy, industry, and science applications.

Ukrainian nuclear innovator competition winners announced

May 14, 2024, 12:00PMANS News

For the second consecutive year, the Ukrainian Nuclear Society (UkrNS) held its Nuclear Innovators competition, which was organized in partnership with the American Nuclear Society and other leading institutions in the nuclear sector worldwide. The two winners were announced on May 7.

DIII-D upgrades to shape the future of magnetic fusion energy research

May 13, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
An engineer adjusts mirrors while installing new diagnostic equipment inside the DIII-D tokamak. (Photo: General Atomics)

The DIII-D National Fusion Facility is starting up after an eight-month experimental hiatus, equipped with new and improved plasma control and diagnostic systems. The upgrades will help researchers from around the nation and the world resolve key physics questions to bridge the gap between current magnetic confinement fusion research and the first fusion power pilot plants. General Atomics, which operates DIII-D for the Department of Energy, announced the completion of upgrades on May 8.

PPPL study points to better fusion plasma control

May 9, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
The image on the left shows the tokamak and 3D magnetic perturbation generated by 3D coils, with the purple-blue hues representing lower amplitude perturbations and the red representing higher amplitude perturbations. The image on the right is a closer view showing the top half of the tokamak and plasma. The coils are used to generate the magnetic field perturbations that produce the islands (blue). Another coil can also be found on the bottom of the machine. The injection system for the ECCD microwaves is depicted on top (red). These can be used to adjust the width of the islands. (Image: Qiming Hu / PPPL)

The combination of two previously known methods for managing plasma conditions can result in enhanced control of plasma in a fusion reactor, according to a simulation performed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Max Planck’s ELISE reaches record values for ITER plasma heating

May 8, 2024, 10:01AMNuclear News
The IPP’s Dirk Wünderlich and Ursel Fantz at the experimental testing facility ELISE in Germany. (Photo: MPI for Plasma Physics/Frank Fleschner)

The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) announced that it recently has achieved a new record for ion current density for neutral particle heating at its ELISE (Extraction from a Large Ion Source Experiment) experimental testing facility in Garching, Germany. ELISE is being used to test neutral beam injection (NBI) systems that will be used to heat the plasma of the ITER fusion experiment in France.

Steam is a sign of cooling system function . . . at ITER

May 7, 2024, 7:03AMNuclear News
ITER’s 10 cooling cells in the background have 11-meter-long 12-blade fans rotating at 92 rpm to induce an upward draft, which is reason for the yellow-vested assemblage in front to give a thumbs up. (Photo: ITER Organization)

Steam from one of ITER’s ten induced-draft cooling cells offers visual confirmation of a successful cooling system test, the ITER organization announced April 30. ITER’s cooling system features 60 kilometers of piping with pumps, filters, and heat exchangers that can pull water through at up to 14 cubic meters per second. Once fully operational, two cooling loops—one to remove the heat generated by the plasma in the ITER tokamak and one for its supporting infrastructure—will be capable of extracting up to 1,200 MW of heat.


Fusion Energy Week begins today

May 6, 2024, 7:03AMNuclear News
Illustration by Ana Kova for U.S. Fusion Outreach

Fusion is riding a surge of attention that began in December 2022 when researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility achieved fusion ignition. The organizers of Fusion Energy Week—a group called the U.S. Fusion Outreach Team—on the other hand, trace fusion development back 100 years to the doctoral research of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who discovered that stars, including our Sun, are mostly made of hydrogen and helium, which in turn led to the understanding that those elements are the “fuel” of potential fusion energy systems on Earth. In recognition of Payne-Gaposchkin’s birthday—May 10—the U.S. Fusion Outreach Team plans to hold a “grassroots celebration of fusion energy” May 6–10, 2024, and annually during the second week of May.

Strontium: Supply-and-demand success for the DOE’s Isotope Program

May 2, 2024, 3:15PMNuclear News
ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor, where Sr-89 and other radioisotopes are produced, photographed during a 2015 refueling. (Photo: ORNL)

The Department of Energy’s Isotope Program (DOE IP) announced last week that it would end its “active standby” capability for strontium-82 production about two decades after beginning production of the isotope for cardiac diagnostic imaging. The DOE IP is celebrating commercialization of the Sr-82 supply chain as “a success story for both industry and the DOE IP.” Now that the Sr-82 market is commercially viable, the DOE IP and its National Isotope Development Center can “reassign those dedicated radioisotope production capacities to other mission needs”—including Sr-89.