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

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

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