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Dept of Energy asks private sector for ideas on building nuclear power plants on the moon and Mars

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dept of energy asks private sector for ideas on building nuclear power plants on the moon and mars

The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars, and on Friday put out a request for ideas from the private sector on how to do that.

The U.S. Department of Energy put out the formal request to build what it calls a fission surface power system that could allow humans to live for long periods in harsh space environments.

The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho, the Energy Department and NASA will evaluate the ideas for developing the reactor.

The lab has been leading the way in the U.S. on advanced reactors, some of them micro reactors and others that can operate without water for cooling. 

Water-cooled nuclear reactors are the vast majority of reactors on Earth.

Nasa's website featured images of a nuclear reactor, like the one which they hope to build

Nasa's website featured images of a nuclear reactor, like the one which they hope to build

Nasa’s website featured images of a nuclear reactor, like the one which they hope to build

‘Small nuclear reactors can provide the power capability necessary for space exploration missions of interest to the Federal government,’ the Energy Department wrote in the notice published Friday.

The Energy Department, NASA and Battelle Energy Alliance, the U.S. contractor that manages the Idaho National Laboratory, plan to hold a government-industry webcast technical meeting in August concerning expectations for the program.

The plan has two phases. The first is developing a reactor design. The second is building a test reactor, a second reactor be sent to the moon, and developing a flight system and lander that can transport the reactor to the moon. 

The goal is to have a reactor, flight system and lander ready to go by the end of 2026.

The reactor must be able to generate an uninterrupted electricity output of at least 10 kilowatts. The average U.S. residential home, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, uses about 11,000 kilowatt-hours per year. 

The Energy Department said it would likely take multiple linked reactors to meet power needs on the moon or Mars.

In addition, the reactor cannot weigh more than 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms), be able to operate in space, operate mostly autonomously, and run for at least 10 years.

The Energy Department said the reactor is intended to support exploration in the south polar region of the moon. 

The reactor must be designed to work on both the moon and Mars, to support human life

The reactor must be designed to work on both the moon and Mars, to support human life

The reactor must be designed to work on both the moon and Mars, to support human life

The agency said a specific region on the Martian surface for exploration has not yet been identified.

Edwin Lyman, director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit, said his organization is concerned the parameters of the design and timeline make the most likely reactors those that use highly enriched uranium, which can be made into weapons. 

Nations have generally been attempting to reduce the amount of enriched uranium being produced for that reason.

‘This may drive or start an international space race to build and deploy new types of reactors requiring highly enriched uranium,’ he said.

Earlier this week, the United Arab Emirates launched an orbiter to Mars and China launched an orbiter, lander and rover. The U.S. has already landed rovers on the red planet and is planning to send another next week.

Officials say operating a nuclear reactor on the moon would be a first step to building a modified version to operate in the different conditions found on Mars.

‘Idaho National Laboratory has a central role in emphasizing the United States´ global leadership in nuclear innovation, with the anticipated demonstration of advanced reactors on the INL site,’ John Wagner, associate laboratory director of INL’ss Nuclear Science & Technology Directorate, said in a statement. 

‘The prospect of deploying an advanced reactor to the lunar surface is as exciting as it is challenging.’

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Labour MP Dawn Butler is pulled over by the police driving through London

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labour mp dawn butler is pulled over by the police driving through london

Labour’s Dawn Butler has accused the police of racially profiling her after she was pulled over while driving in East London

The MP for Brent Central filmed her heated confrontation with two officers in Hackney. 

While two uniformed constables stand outside her car, she tells them through the window: ‘I’ve been doing a lot of work with the police on stop and search, and how the police are stop and searching, and actually the way you do it and the way you profile is wrong.

‘Because what you do is, you create an environment where you create animosity. 

‘And it’s irritating because you cannot drive around on a Sunday afternoon whilst black because you’re going to be stopped by the police.’ 

Ms Butler acknowledged the male officer had been ‘polite’, but said the ‘profiling was completely off’. 

It comes after Ms Butler yesterday called for Scotland Yard commissioner Cressida Dick to resign for failing to extinguish ‘institutional racism’ from the force. 

Labour's Dawn Butler has railed on social media after being pulled over by police in East London

Labour's Dawn Butler has railed on social media after being pulled over by police in East London

Labour’s Dawn Butler has railed on social media after being pulled over by police in East London

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31743964 8609379 image a 10 1596983201507

A Met chief superintendent confirmed there had been a police stop and that the MP had expressed her ‘concerns’.  

Chief Superintendent Roy Smith said: ‘I’ve just spoken with Dawn Butler by phone. 

‘She has given me a very balanced account of the incident. She was positive about one officer and gave feedback on others & the stop. 

‘We are listening to those concerns and Dawn is quite entitled to raise them.’ 

Although it is not clear what happened, friends of Ms Butler rallied around her.

Kate Osamor MP, who sits alongside her on the Labour backbenches, replied: ‘Hope you’re ok?’ 

Ms Butler, who served as Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow minister for women and equalities, yesterday hit out at Metropolitan Police officers who rubbished the notion children should be invulnerable to arrest.

In a scathing rebuke, she tweeted: ‘The problem is you are arresting children going for a bike ride or going to the shops for a loaf of bread. 

‘Not all African-Caribbean boys should be viewed as criminals! I should be surprised the police liked this but sadly I’m not.’

31744462 8609379 image a 12 1596984056337

31744462 8609379 image a 12 1596984056337

And in an article published yesterday, she called on Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign for failing to stamp out ‘institutional racism’ within her ranks.

She wrote in Metro: ‘In case anyone doubts the experiences of people of colour, the statistics are stark. 

‘The Met are four times more likely to use force on Black people. They have stopped and searched the equivalent of one in four young black men in London during lockdown.’

She added: ‘At this most pivotal time the commissioner thought it appropriate to say that “institutionally racist” is not a “useful way to describe” the force, which is not only unhelpful but offensive. 

‘It is quite telling. Cressida Dick appears to be incapable of tackling this long-known problem, and incapable of showing solidarity with those people who suffer from it the most, so she should resign.’  

The Metropolitan Police said it is looking into the episode and Ms Butler could not be reached.

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Lebanese protesters threaten more violence – as as shocking video shows moment of massive explosion

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lebanese protesters threaten more violence as as shocking video shows moment of massive

Furious protesters in Lebanon have threatened further violence after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries.

The city of Beirut was shaken by a deadly explosion on August 4 and though the exact circumstances that led to the blast are as yet unknown.

Despite this, many in Lebanon blame the corruption and incompetence of their government for allowing the explosion which has so far killed 158.

Furious protesters in Lebanon have threatened further violence after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries following the devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4

Furious protesters in Lebanon have threatened further violence after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries following the devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4

Furious protesters in Lebanon have threatened further violence after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries following the devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4

French experts working at the scene of the explosion say that the crater left by the explosion measures as large as 43-metre (141 foot) deep

French experts working at the scene of the explosion say that the crater left by the explosion measures as large as 43-metre (141 foot) deep

French experts working at the scene of the explosion say that the crater left by the explosion measures as large as 43-metre (141 foot) deep

A staggering 6,000 people were left injured by the blast which created a mushroom cloud that reminded many of an atomic bomb.

Mobile phone footage has also emerged on social media showing the moment of the explosion in high definition slow motion.

Agoston Nemeth, 42, recorded the footage on the terrace of his home, only 850ft from the explosion site.

Loud rumbling can be heard in the video as black smoke engulfs the sky, before a huge mushroom cloud and visible blast wave blows out the windows, rushing towards the camera and knocking it over.

Describing his experience of the explosion, Nemeth said: ‘It was something I could not get away from. I experienced this white-hot glass exploding. 

One message circulated on social media by angry protesters said: 'Prepare the gallows because our anger doesn't end in one day'

One message circulated on social media by angry protesters said: 'Prepare the gallows because our anger doesn't end in one day'

One message circulated on social media by angry protesters said: ‘Prepare the gallows because our anger doesn’t end in one day’

Rescue teams search for missing people today near the site of the explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon

Rescue teams search for missing people today near the site of the explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon

Rescue teams search for missing people today near the site of the explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon

‘I don’t know if I jumped or the shock waves pushed me, and I found myself on the floor. I don’t know how much time passed. 

‘I noticed shattering glass and people screaming. I looked around and saw this huge orange cloud above me 

A security official who was citing French experts working at the site of the disaster said that a a 43-metre (141 foot) deep crater had been left at Beirut’s port.

One message circulated on social media by angry protesters said: ‘Prepare the gallows because our anger doesn’t end in one day.’

The protesters’s anger has re-ignited calls from demonstrations last year calling for the wholesale removal of Lebanon’s leadership.

The army was forced to deploy tear gas and rubber bullets to try and clear the crowds of protesters from Martyrs’ Square after street violence left 65 people injured, according to the Red Cross. 

Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against the political elites and the government last night

Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against the political elites and the government last night

Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against the political elites and the government last night

Tear gas and rubber bullets were used by the Lebanese army to try and break up crowds of protesters last night

Tear gas and rubber bullets were used by the Lebanese army to try and break up crowds of protesters last night

Tear gas and rubber bullets were used by the Lebanese army to try and break up crowds of protesters last night 

Demonstrates even occupied the foreign ministry's building temporarily before being forced out by the army after three hours. Pictured: protesters and riot police clash in Beirut yesterday

Demonstrates even occupied the foreign ministry's building temporarily before being forced out by the army after three hours. Pictured: protesters and riot police clash in Beirut yesterday

Demonstrates even occupied the foreign ministry’s building temporarily before being forced out by the army after three hours. Pictured: protesters and riot police clash in Beirut yesterday 

Information minister Manal Abdel Samad (pictured) has left office and apologised to the Lebanese people for having failed them

Information minister Manal Abdel Samad (pictured) has left office and apologised to the Lebanese people for having failed them

Information minister Manal Abdel Samad (pictured) has left office and apologised to the Lebanese people for having failed them

Demonstrates even occupied the foreign ministry’s building temporarily before being forced out by the army after three hours.

The economy and energy ministries were also stormed this weekend by protesters brandishing nooses. 

The head of Lebanon’s Maronite church patriarch Beshara Rai joined the chorus of angry voices and said the blast could be ‘described as a crime against humanity’.

And today has seen the first Lebanese minister resign from government in response to the public outcry.

Information minister Manal Abdel Samad left office and apologised to the Lebanese people for having failed them.

People ride past damaged cars earlier today in a neighbourhood near the scene of the explosion

People ride past damaged cars earlier today in a neighbourhood near the scene of the explosion

People ride past damaged cars earlier today in a neighbourhood near the scene of the explosion

A car drives past the site of the explosion earlier today. The explosion left as many as 6,000 people injured

A car drives past the site of the explosion earlier today. The explosion left as many as 6,000 people injured

A car drives past the site of the explosion earlier today. The explosion left as many as 6,000 people injured 

Local media suggest that more ministers will also resign but the government will wait to see how many personnel depart before potentially announcing its own resignation.

Lebanon Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Saturday he would propose early elections to break the impasse that is plunging Lebanon ever deeper into political and economic crisis.

In a televised address he said: ‘We can’t exit the country’s structural crisis without holding early parliamentary elections.’

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron has overseen a UN’back conference to raise aid for Lebanon and said that the world mys respond ‘quickly and effectively’ to the disaster.  

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Mauritians race to contain catastrophic oil spill swamping island’s pristine beaches and coral reefs

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mauritians race to contain catastrophic oil spill swamping islands pristine beaches and coral reefs

Thousands of volunteers in Mauritius are racing to contain a catastrophic oil spill swamping its pristine ocean and beaches on Sunday. 

The bulk carrier MV Wakashio has been seeping fuel into a protected marine park boasting unspoiled coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species, prompting the government to declare an unprecedented environmental emergency.

Attempts to stabilise the stricken vessel, which ran aground on July 25 but only started leaking oil this week, and pump 4,000 tonnes of fuel from its hold have failed, and local authorities fear rough seas could further rupture the tanker.

Volunteers line the beaches, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide

Volunteers line the beaches, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide

Volunteers line the beaches, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide

Thick muck has spilled into unspoiled marine habitats and white-sand beaches, causing what experts say is irreparable damage

Thick muck has spilled into unspoiled marine habitats and white-sand beaches, causing what experts say is irreparable damage

Thick muck has spilled into unspoiled marine habitats and white-sand beaches, causing what experts say is irreparable damage

An aerial photograph shows the MV Wakashio, a Japanese owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier ship leaking oil after it ran aground on a coral reef off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25

An aerial photograph shows the MV Wakashio, a Japanese owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier ship leaking oil after it ran aground on a coral reef off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25

An aerial photograph shows the MV Wakashio, a Japanese owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier ship leaking oil after it ran aground on a coral reef off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25

Japan said Sunday it would send a six-member expert team to assist, joining France which dispatched a naval vessel and military aircraft from nearby Reunion Island after Mauritius issued an appeal for international help.

Thousands of volunteers, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, are marshalling along the coastline, stringing together miles of improvised floating barriers made of straw in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide.

Mitsui OSK Lines, which operates the vessel owned by another Japanese company, said Sunday that 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil had escaped so far.

‘We are terribly sorry,’ the shipping firm’s vice president, Akihiko Ono, told reporters in Tokyo, promising to ‘make all-out efforts to resolve the case’.

But conservationists say the damage could already be done.

Aerial images show the enormous scale of the disaster, with huge stretches of azure seas around the marooned cargo ship stained a deep inky black, and the region’s fabled lagoons and inlets clouded over. 

Around 1,000 tons of oil have already been spilt into the Indian Ocean prompting the government in Mauritius to declare an unprecedented environmental emergency

Around 1,000 tons of oil have already been spilt into the Indian Ocean prompting the government in Mauritius to declare an unprecedented environmental emergency

Around 1,000 tons of oil have already been spilt into the Indian Ocean prompting the government in Mauritius to declare an unprecedented environmental emergency

Volunteers clean up oil washing up on the beach as they try to contain the oil slick. Anxious residents are making floating barriers of straw in an attempt to contain and absorb the oil

Volunteers clean up oil washing up on the beach as they try to contain the oil slick. Anxious residents are making floating barriers of straw in an attempt to contain and absorb the oil

Volunteers clean up oil washing up on the beach as they try to contain the oil slick. Anxious residents are making floating barriers of straw in an attempt to contain and absorb the oil

Thick muck has inundated unspoiled marine habitats and white-sand beaches, causing what experts say is irreparable damage to the fragile coastal ecosystem upon which Mauritius and its economy relies. 

Pressure is mounting on the government to explain why more wasn’t done in the two weeks since the bulker ran aground.

The opposition has called for the resignation of the environment and fisheries ministers, while volunteers have ignored an official order to leave the clean-up operation to local authorities, donning rubber gloves to sift through the sludge.

‘People by the thousands are coming together. No one is listening to the government anymore,’ said Ashok Subron, an environmental activist at Mahebourg, one of the worst-hit areas.

‘People have realised that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora.’

Aerial images show the enormous scale of the disaster as black oil continues to leak from the grounded ship into the ocean staining the azure seas a deep inky black

Aerial images show the enormous scale of the disaster as black oil continues to leak from the grounded ship into the ocean staining the azure seas a deep inky black

Aerial images show the enormous scale of the disaster as black oil continues to leak from the grounded ship into the ocean staining the azure seas a deep inky black

The oil slick is drifting to the northwest around the Ile aux Aigrettes island and towards Mahebourg as frustration mounts over why more wasn't done to prevent the ecological disaster

The oil slick is drifting to the northwest around the Ile aux Aigrettes island and towards Mahebourg as frustration mounts over why more wasn't done to prevent the ecological disaster

The oil slick is drifting to the northwest around the Ile aux Aigrettes island and towards Mahebourg as frustration mounts over why more wasn’t done to prevent the ecological disaster 

The oil tanker was sailing from China to Brazil when it hit coral reefs near Pointe d'Esny, an ecological jewel surrounded by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife

The oil tanker was sailing from China to Brazil when it hit coral reefs near Pointe d'Esny, an ecological jewel surrounded by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife

The oil tanker was sailing from China to Brazil when it hit coral reefs near Pointe d’Esny, an ecological jewel surrounded by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife

Police said Sunday they would execute a search warrant granted by a Mauritius court to board the Wakashio and seize items of interest, including the ship’s log book and communication as part of its investigation into the accident.

The ship’s captain, a 58-year-old Indian, will accompany officers on the search, police said. Twenty crew members evacuated safely from the Japanese-owned but Panamanian-flagged ship when it ran aground are under surveillance.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth has convened a crisis meeting later Sunday, after expressing concern that forecast bad weather could further complicate efforts to stymie the spill, and cause more structural damage to the hull.

Conservationists fear the damage could already be done to the region's fabled lagoons and inlets as images show black oil washed up on the coastline

Conservationists fear the damage could already be done to the region's fabled lagoons and inlets as images show black oil washed up on the coastline

Conservationists fear the damage could already be done to the region’s fabled lagoons and inlets as images show black oil washed up on the coastline

Ecologists fear if the ship further breaks it could inflict a potentially fatal blow to on the island nation’s coastline.

The Wakashio struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny, an ecological jewel fringed by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and unique RAMSAR-listed wetlands.

Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend crucially on the sea for ecotourism, having fostered a reputation as a conservation success story and a world-class destination for nature lovers.

But it also relies on its natural bounty for food and income. Seafarers in Mahebourg, where the once-spotless seas have turned a sickly brown, worried about the future.

‘Fishing is our only activity. We dont know how we will be able to feed our families,’ one fishermen, who gave his name as Michael, told AFP. 

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