ANS is committed to advancing, fostering, and promoting the development and application of nuclear sciences and technologies to benefit society.
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Isotopes & Radiation
Members are devoted to applying nuclear science and engineering technologies involving isotopes, radiation applications, and associated equipment in scientific research, development, and industrial processes. Their interests lie primarily in education, industrial uses, biology, medicine, and health physics. Division committees include Analytical Applications of Isotopes and Radiation, Biology and Medicine, Radiation Applications, Radiation Sources and Detection, and Thermal Power Sources.
Conference on Nuclear Training and Education: A Biennial International Forum (CONTE 2023)
February 6–9, 2023
Amelia Island, FL|Omni Amelia Island Resort
The Standards Committee is responsible for the development and maintenance of voluntary consensus standards that address the design, analysis, and operation of components, systems, and facilities related to the application of nuclear science and technology. Find out What’s New, check out the Standards Store, or Get Involved today!
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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
Nuclear energy: enabling production of food, fiber, hydrocarbon biofuels, and negative carbon emissions
In the 1960s, Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Laboratory initiated a series of studies on nuclear agro-industrial complexes1 to address the needs of the world’s growing population. Agriculture was a central component of these studies, as it must be. Much of the emphasis was on desalination of seawater to provide fresh water for irrigation of crops. Remarkable advances have lowered the cost of desalination to make that option viable in countries like Israel. Later studies2 asked the question, are there sufficient minerals (potassium, phosphorous, copper, nickel, etc.) to enable a prosperous global society assuming sufficient nuclear energy? The answer was a qualified “yes,” with the caveat that mineral resources will limit some technological options. These studies were defined by the characteristic of looking across agricultural and industrial sectors to address multiple challenges using nuclear energy.
Christofer E. Whiting
Nuclear Technology | Volume 207 | Number 6 | June 2021 | Pages 782-789
Technical Paper | doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2020.1831874
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Performance predictions for the first multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) flight unit and engineering unit were recently reported. Both units were produced and operated/tested within specifications [i.e., nominal thermal inventory = 2000 W(thermal)]. In an attempt to study the effect of a deep space cruise on an MMRTG that has been operational for 6.25 years (2.25 years storage + 4 years cruise), the qualification unit (QU) was placed on life test with a below-specification thermal inventory of 1904 W(thermal). Analysis indicates that loading an MMRTG with a lower thermal inventory may result in less power at the beginning-of-life but more power at the end-of-design-life (EODL). The lower thermal inventory in the QU produces a lower operating temperature, which appears to cause a significant reduction in the degradation rate of the thermoelectric couples. Preliminary calculations indicate that a thermal inventory of 1904 W(thermal) could result in a 9 W(electric) power boost at EODL [i.e., 84 W(electric)], which is a 12% improvement over the first MMRTG flight unit and engineering unit predictions. Preliminary degradation analysis suggests that a 1904 W(thermal) unit will begin to produce more power than a 2027 W(thermal) unit approximately 4 years after fueling. This suggests that missions with a primary power requirement more than 4 years after fueling would benefit from a lower thermal inventory. In addition, using a lower thermal inventory has significant benefits for 238Pu stockpile management and may allow for additional MMRTGs to be fueled from our current reserves. Conclusions and hypotheses presented here should be considered preliminary because the QU data set is very small and there are some uncertainties regarding how early-life QU data will translate into later-life performance. More QU testing at a thermal inventory of 1904 W(thermal) is needed to prove that the preliminary conclusions presented here are valid.