Portal:Nuclear technology

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This symbol of radioactivity is internationally recognized.
This symbol of radioactivity is internationally recognized.
Nuclear technology is technology that involves the nuclear reactions of atomic nuclei. Among the notable nuclear technologies are nuclear reactors, nuclear medicine and nuclear weapons. It is also used, among other things, in smoke detectors and gun sights. (Full article...)
A nuclear weapon (also called an atom bomb, nuke, atomic bomb, nuclear warhead, A-bomb, or nuclear bomb) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or from a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb). Both bomb types release large quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first test of a fission ("atomic") bomb released an amount of energy approximately equal to 20,000 tons of TNT (84 TJ). The first thermonuclear ("hydrogen") bomb test released energy approximately equal to 10 million tons of TNT (42 PJ). Nuclear bombs have had yields between 10 tons TNT (the W54) and 50 megatons for the Tsar Bomba (see TNT equivalent). A thermonuclear weapon weighing little more than 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg) can release energy equal to more than 1.2 million tons of TNT (5.0 PJ). A nuclear device no larger than traditional bombs can devastate an entire city by blast, fire, and radiation. Since they are weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a focus of international relations policy. (Full article...) (Full article...)
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The Ames Project was a research and development project that was part of the larger Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs during World War II. It was founded by Frank Spedding from Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa as an offshoot of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago devoted to chemistry and metallurgy, but became a separate project in its own right. The Ames Project developed the Ames Process, a method for preparing pure uranium metal that the Manhattan Project needed for its atomic bombs and nuclear reactors. Between 1942 and 1945, it produced over 1,000 short tons (910 t) of uranium metal. It also developed methods of preparing and casting thorium, cerium and beryllium. In October 1945 Iowa State College received the Army-Navy "E" Award for Excellence in Production, an award usually only given to industrial organizations. In 1947 it became the Ames Laboratory, a national laboratory under the Atomic Energy Commission. (Full article...) (Full article...)

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Oak Ridge Wise Monkeys.jpg
Credit: James E. Westcott
A billboard encouraging secrecy amongst Oak Ridge workers

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Leo Szilard.jpg
Leo Szilard (/ˈsɪlɑːrd/; Hungarian: Szilárd Leó [ˈsilaːrd ˈlɛoː]; born Leó Spitz; February 11, 1898 – May 30, 1964) was a Hungarian-American physicist and inventor. He conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear fission reactor in 1934, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein's signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb. According to György Marx he was one of the Hungarian scientists known as The Martians.

Szilard initially attended Palatine Joseph Technical University in Budapest, but his engineering studies were interrupted by service in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I. He left Hungary for Germany in 1919, enrolling at Technische Hochschule (Institute of Technology) in Berlin-Charlottenburg, but became bored with engineering and transferred to Friedrich Wilhelm University, where he studied physics. He wrote his doctoral thesis on Maxwell's demon, a long-standing puzzle in the philosophy of thermal and statistical physics. Szilard was the first to recognize the connection between thermodynamics and information theory.

In addition to the nuclear reactor, Szilard coined and submitted the earliest known patent applications and the first publications for the concepts of electron microscope (1928), the linear accelerator (1928), and the cyclotron (1929) in Germany, proving him as the originator of the idea of these devices. Between 1926 and 1930, he worked with Einstein on the development of the Einstein refrigerator. After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933, Szilard urged his family and friends to flee Europe while they still could. He moved to England, where he helped found the Academic Assistance Council, an organization dedicated to helping refugee scholars find new jobs. While in England he discovered a means of isotope separation known as the Szilard–Chalmers effect.

Foreseeing another war in Europe, Szilard moved to the United States in 1938, where he worked with Enrico Fermi and Walter Zinn on means of creating a nuclear chain reaction. He was present when this was achieved within the Chicago Pile-1 on December 2, 1942. He worked for the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago on aspects of nuclear reactor design. He drafted the Szilard petition advocating a demonstration of the atomic bomb, but the Interim Committee chose to use them against cities without warning.

After the war, Szilard switched to biology. He invented the chemostat, discovered feedback inhibition, and was involved in the first cloning of a human cell. He publicly sounded the alarm against the possible development of salted thermonuclear bombs, a new kind of nuclear weapon that might annihilate mankind. Diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1960, he underwent a cobalt-60 treatment that he had designed. He helped found the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he became a resident fellow. Szilard founded Council for a Livable World in 1962 to deliver "the sweet voice of reason" about nuclear weapons to Congress, the White House, and the American public. He died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1964. (Full article...) (Full article...)

Nuclear technology news

18 January 2021 – South Korea–United States relations
South Korean President Moon Jae-in urges incoming U.S. President Joe Biden to learn from the policies, both positive and negative, of Donald Trump towards North Korea and says that the North has a "clear willingness to denuclearize if Washington and Pyongyang could find mutually agreeable steps to decrease the nuclear threat and ensure the North's security". (AP)
14 January 2021 – Nuclear program of Iran
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has informed them that it has begun installing equipment for the production of uranium metal, another violation in kind in response to Western violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The IAEA says that Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon, but still possesses less than it had before the deal was signed. (The Independent)
1 January 2021 – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Nuclear program of Iran
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has notified it of its intention to enrich uranium to 20% purity, in accordance with a law recently passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly. Iran did not specify when this enrichment would begin. The December 2020 bill, adopted after the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, instructs the government to increase uranium enrichment if sanctions against Iran are not eased within two months. (France24) (BBC)
29 December 2020 – 2020 Petrinja earthquake
The Krško Nuclear Power Plant in neighboring Slovenia, which produces around 20 percent of the country's electricity, is shut down as a precaution. Preventive inspections at the plant are ongoing. (AFP via NDTV) (IAEA)

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