Video explainer: What is nuclear energy and why we don't have more of it

Our ability to harness nuclear energy has existed for quite a while now and yet nuclear energy is only responsible for providing 10% of the world's energy. There are 439 nuclear reactors spread across 31 countries with 160 more reactors planned for the future and yet nuclear energy has stagnated since the 80's. What… » 3/26/15 1:57pm 3/26/15 1:57pm

Hackers Uploaded a Worm to South Korean Nuclear Plants

Here's a scary thing that happened: South Korean authorities found evidence that a worm was recently removed from devices connected to nuclear power facilities. The news comes a little over a week after the country's nuclear plant operator received warnings on Twitter that its network had been compromised. Thankfully,… » 12/30/14 10:55am 12/30/14 10:55am

We're Running Out of the Nuclear Fuel That Powers Space Travel

Rosetta's lander lasted just 60 hours on a comet after it bounced into the dark shadows of a cliff, where its solar panels couldn't power the vehicle. Why didn't it carry a more reliable power source, say a nuclear battery like one that's unfailingly fueled Voyager for decades? It's a simple question with a… » 12/02/14 12:30pm 12/02/14 12:30pm

Mystery Drones Have Been Flying Over France's Nuclear Power Plants

Le Monde reports that quadrotors of various shapes and sizes have been flying over some of France's (numerous) nuclear power plants over the course of the past few weeks, causing mild alarm, embarrassment for the Air Force that's supposed to police the air space, and a judicial enquiry. » 10/31/14 12:30am 10/31/14 12:30am

These Vintage Cutaway Drawings Show How Nuclear Reactors Really Work

If you're anything like me, you've probably wondered how a nuclear reactor works. When you look at pictures nuclear power plants, questions must march through your head. Why are some of them shaped like weather balloons? How do they keep the fuel safe? Where's Mr. Burns's office? » 5/07/14 9:03am 5/07/14 9:03am

Why Nuclear Power Is So Controversial In the United States

The United States has the largest nuclear power generation capacity in the world, but as a percentage of total energy production, we rank a mere 16th. At least part of the reason is that people fear nuclear energy, whether rationally or not. » 4/30/14 1:40pm 4/30/14 1:40pm

Floating Nuclear Reactors Might Make More Sense Than You'd Think

At a symposium held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers this week, a team of MIT engineers will present an idea that seems to tempt fate: A floating nuclear reactor, anchored out at sea, that would be immune to tsunamis and earthquakes. Is it really that crazy of a plan? » 4/16/14 2:00pm 4/16/14 2:00pm

Fukushima Could Make Japan a Leader In Nuclear Cleanup Tech

The idea that a nuclear disaster could actually drive innovation is definitely a new way to look at Japan's ongoing Fukushima debacle. But a new report from the AP does just that, suggesting that the long-term cleanup effort that Japan now faces will make it a world leader in decommissioning nuclear plants. » 3/09/14 10:00am 3/09/14 10:00am

This chain smoking, gun loving guy built a nuclear reactor in his home

He chain smokes. He loves his guns. And he almost looks homeless. But he's actually pretty damn awesome. Meet Doug Coulter. A gunsmith who's also an amazing DIY engineer. So amazing that he's built a nuclear fusion reactor in his basement. Yup. » 3/04/14 11:32pm 3/04/14 11:32pm

Tepco Removes First Fukushima Fuel Rods, Finally Gets Something Right

TEPCO workers successfully removed the first fuel rods from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and transferred them into portable casks on Monday. Those who have been following the follies of the power company should be pleased that a meltdown did not occur. » 11/18/13 1:55pm 11/18/13 1:55pm

The Trick To Disposing of Nuclear Waste Could Be Turning It Into Glass

Nuclear power is great, but the waste it creates is a problem. Best case scenario we can turn it into more power in the future, but for now we're stuck just stashing it away. But there's another way—a badass way—that's poised to make it easier and safer: nuclear glass. » 11/07/13 11:23am 11/07/13 11:23am

The UK Is Building Its First Nuclear Plant in a Quarter Century

The UK has set some very ambitious carbon reduction goals for itself—including the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 80 percent by 2050, but this goal is proving more challenging than anticipated. At this rate, the UK will have to go fully-carbon free by 2030. So to meet its environmental… » 10/23/13 11:30am 10/23/13 11:30am

Almost All of America's Nuclear Regulators Are About to Be Furloughed

That pesky government shutdown is still causing all kinds of problems, and this one's a doozy. Starting Thursday, some 90 percent of the workers who watch over America's 100 nuclear reactors will be furloughed. Since these guys are sort of the first line of defense in a nuclear disaster, that's really bad news. » 10/09/13 5:41pm 10/09/13 5:41pm

Spacey Fukushima Worker Pushes Wrong Button, Almost Causes Meltdown

It's another week and another chance for TEPCO to embarrass itself at the beleaguered Fukushima power plant. Sometime on Monday morning, the cooling pump for the reactors shut down suddenly. It must've been some mechanical failure or some freak accident, right? Nah. Some worker just pushed the off button by mistake,… » 10/07/13 4:22pm 10/07/13 4:22pm

Fukushima's Leaking Radioactive Water into the Ocean After All

Well over two years after the Tōhuku earthquake and tsunami, TEPCO officials admit that radioactive groundwater has been leaking into the nearby ocean for, well, two years. » 7/22/13 3:37pm 7/22/13 3:37pm

Fukushima Explosion Was Concealed by Japanese Government Until Right…

Newly released evidence from Japanese utility company TEPCO shows that the Japanese government ordered it not to tell anyone that Fukushima reactor 3 was about to explode until right before it happened. Could better procedure have made this disaster less catastrophic? » 8/16/12 12:20pm 8/16/12 12:20pm

Jelly Sea Creatures Disable Entire Nuclear Power Plant

When we last heard from the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, it was under siega by swarms of salp, a gelatinous plankton organism. Last night, the salp won—Diablo Canyon is offline, defeated by the ocean. » 4/27/12 12:20pm 4/27/12 12:20pm

A Nuclear Power Plant Is Under Attack by Weird Sea Creatures

A nuclear power plant in Southern California is being swarmed by legions of jellyfish-like creatures. BUT CAN THEY BE STOPPED? » 4/26/12 9:57am 4/26/12 9:57am

Oh Great: Chunks of Fukushima's Corroded Radioactive Uranium Could…

Last march when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was disastrously damaged by a tsunami, plant technicians used seawater to cool the meltdown situation. At the time, that was probably the best way to avoid an even worse situation. » 1/27/12 5:40pm 1/27/12 5:40pm

Bill Gates Building Nuke Plant for China

What do you do when you've run out of things to spend money on, and everyone already uses your software? How about developing a nuclear plant with China? Sure! Bill Gates is doing just that, the AP reports. For science? » 12/08/11 8:57am 12/08/11 8:57am