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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2009
     (4859.81)
    Promising news in advanced nuclear technology from Idaho National Labs.

    They're designing the next generation of nuclear reactors. Rather than fuel rods the Uranium will will be enclosed in layers of carbon and carbide and rather than water they'll use gas as the coolant/heat transfer mechanism.

    All that means the reactor can run at a higher power density - so more of the Uranium actually gets used up (up to three times as much as in current reactors). That extends the fuel supply and also means there's less waste because more of the Uranium is used up and the smaller reactor vessel means less secondary irradiated waste.

    The Uranium balls are also supposed to be safer to work with than fuel rods - rods have been known to break or become jammed inside the reactor.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
     (4859.82)
    FloDesign has been working on their shrouded wind turbine for several years but unlike lots of promising technologies this one delivers.

    Ignore the hype about "jet engine" designs, the basic concept is very simple. The housing around the turbine concentrates the wind into a smaller area, increasing the speed which lets the turbine run for more of the time.

    This should reduce the cost of wind power to somewhere close to the cost of coal - and because the turbines run more of the time, they also address concerns about the intermittent nature of wind power.

    There's an even simpler conceptually similar technology that puts a kind of skirt around the base of the turbine tower to deflect the wind up and increase the average wind speed, there's no reason that couldn't be combined with the flodesign turbines.