Although everyone knows that coal-based energy is a thing of the past, declarations about nuclear power plants somehow do not want to enter into force.
No other power-generating device raises as much concern as the nuclear reactor. Because of this, until recently the future of the entire energy sector has been determined by its past.
Utilizing nuclear waste converted to diamonds, this company's batteries will reportedly last thousands of years in some cases.
- Nuclear reactor parts converted to radioactive carbon-14 diamonds produce energy.
- To keep them safe, the carbon-14 diamonds are encased in a second protective diamond layer.
- The company predicts batteries for personal devices could last about nine years.
Waste not<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU5NDQyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTIyNTQxOX0.LnHH-Uj9up_14gGLMii9OpWUj3qZ4kQ3aJ9vr3YNPBQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="db1dc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d54eef4ec5902b331313218f4413738" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="NBD battery" data-width="1095" data-height="615" />
NDB's battery as it might look as a circuit-board component
Image source: NDB<p>The nuclear waste from which NDB plans to make it batteries are reactor parts that have become radioactive due to exposure to nuclear-plant fuel rods. While not considered high-grade nuclear waste—that would be spent fuel—it's still very toxic, and there's a lot of it in a nuclear generator. According to the <a href="https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/32/039/32039321.pdf" target="_blank">International Atomic Energy Agency</a>, the "core of a typical graphite moderated reactor may contain 2000 tonnes of graphite." (A tonne is one metric ton, or about 2,205 lbs.)</p><p>The graphite contains the carbon-14 radioisotope, the same radioisotope used by archaeologists for carbon dating. It has a <a href="https://www.radioactivity.eu.com/site/pages/RadioCarbon.htm" target="_blank">half-life of 5,730 years</a>, eventually transmuting into <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2008/01/solving-carbon-14-mystery" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">nitrogen 14</a>, an anti-neutrino, and a beta decay electron, whose charge piqued NDB's interest as a potential means of producing electricity.</p><p>NDB purifies the graphite and then turns it into tiny diamonds. Building on existing technology, the company says they've designed their little carbon-14 diamonds to produce a significant amount of power. The diamonds also act as a semiconductor for collecting energy, and as a heat sink that disperses it. They're still radioactive, though, so NDB encases the tiny nuclear power plants within other inexpensive, non-radioactive carbon-12 diamonds. These glittery lab-made shells serve as, well, diamond-hard protection at the same time as they contain the carbon-14 diamonds' radiation.</p><p>NDA plans to build batteries in a range of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battery_sizes#Lithium-ion_batteries_(rechargeable)" target="_blank">standard</a>—AA, AAA, 18650, and 2170—and custom sizes containing several stacked diamond layers together with a small circuit board and a supercapacitor for collecting, storing, and discharging energy. The end result is a battery, the company says, that will last a <em>very</em> long time.</p><p>NDB predicts that if a battery is used in a low-power context, say, as a satellite sensor, it could last 28,000 years. As a vehicle battery, they anticipate a useful life of 90 years, much longer than any single vehicle will last—the company anticipates that one battery could conceivably provide power for one set of wheels after another. For consumer electronics such as phones and tablets, the company expects about nine years of use for a battery.</p><p>The company's prospective investor video explains their process in greater detail.</p>
Maybe a very big deal<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="72e7ea41a1df50a12187f618eb343efc"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ksMXbhftBbM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>"Think of it in an iPhone," NDB's Neel Naicker <a href="https://newatlas.com/energy/nano-diamond-battery-interview-ndb/?itm_source=newatlas&itm_medium=article-body" target="_blank">tells New Atlas</a>. "With the same size battery, it would charge your battery from zero to full, five times an hour. Imagine that. Imagine a world where you wouldn't have to charge your battery at all for the day. Now imagine for the week, for the month… How about for decades? That's what we're able to do with this technology."</p><p>NDB anticipates having a low-power commercial version on the market in a couple of years, followed by a high-powered version in about five. If all goes as planned, NDB's technology could constitute a major step forward, providing low-cost, long-term energy to the world's electronics and vehicles. The company says, "We can start at the nanoscale and go up to power satellites, locomotives."</p><p>The company also expects their batteries to be competitively priced compared to current batteries, including lithium ion, and maybe even cheaper once they're being produced at scale—owners of nuclear waste may even pay the company to take their toxic problem off their hands.</p><p>One company's waste becomes another's diamonds.</p>
Princeton scientists find a new way to control nuclear fusion reactions.
- A new study from Princeton physicists successfully uses boron powder to control nuclear reactions in plasma.
- Creating plasma can lead to an unlimited supply of energy.
- The new method is cheaper and less dangerous than previous approaches.
Michio Kaku: Energies of the Future<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="BeOzZrrE" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="f6bb4de494da08f079580afca1848370"> <div id="botr_BeOzZrrE_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/BeOzZrrE-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/BeOzZrrE-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/BeOzZrrE-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> By 2030 the physicist expects that we will have hot fusion reactors.
PPPL physicist Robert Lunsford.
CREDIT: Elle Starkman / PPPL Office of Communications
It's made from Chernobyl water and rye. What could possibly go wrong?
- 33 years later, parts of the exclusion zone may be ready to be reclaimed.
- The beverage similar to Ukrainian vodka will soon be available.
- Raise a glass to the renewable Earth.
What’s it taste like?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDU2MzExOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDM3MDEwN30.yFSitPrSyLd5s2ZusfW6bRJ9afWulzld8xMiwEZyvSI/img.jpg?width=980" id="65942" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c58f0e773b66be8ddda03adf495dba33" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Chernobyl Spirits Company<p>There's only one bottle of ATOMIK so far, but the company producing it, <a href="https://www.atomikvodka.com" target="_blank">Chernobyl Spirits Company</a>, expects to distill 500 of them by the end of the year. The liquor is said to have a fruity taste and work well in a martini. As a grain spirit, ATOMIK is a bit more flavorful than commercially produced vodka. The company is shooting for a more refined version of <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vdzw53/samagon-is-russian-for-puke-sauce" target="_blank">samagon</a>, a homemade vodka brewed since the 12th century in the villages of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Russia, using either potatoes or grains.</p>
Checking the label<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDU2MzEyNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NTU0NjAxMX0.lZSNWmRNF87iLiAVCAl-iGoIwIKHlcOdlDFXsOPqyKE/img.jpg?width=980" id="879c4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f58f539b598ebb941eff2dca43dd5b37" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Chernobyl Spirits Company<p>The Chernobyl disaster threw into the air upwards of 100 radioactive elements. Some of it, such as highly carcinogenic iodine-131, has a short half-life, and is long gone. Other dangerous isotopes last for far longer and are still present. Strontium-90 and cesium-137 have just about reached their half life date, and so remain at about 50% potency. Others, like plutonium-239, with a half life of 24,000 years, aren't going anywhere. </p><p>Still, swaths of the exclusion zone are much like anywhere else, at least in terms of radioactivity — their plants and animals may still contain genetic surprises. As Smith teold <a href="https://www.iflscience.com/chemistry/what-would-happen-to-you-if-you-lived-in-the-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-today/all/" target="_blank"><em>IFL Science</em></a>, "Natural radiation worldwide varies — if you're living at high altitudes, you get more cosmic radiation. For most of the exclusion zone, the doses that you would get living there are within that range of variability of radiation doses worldwide." Some areas immediately around the ex-power plant remain uninhabitable. The "<a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/drone-flyovers-of-chernobyl-reveal-incredible-radiation-hotspots-in-unprecedented-detail" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Red Forest</a>" is still unsuitable for a picnic, for example. </p><p>The water in ATOMIK is mineral water from a deep aquifer about 10 km south of Chernobyl which the company believes is located too far down to have become contaminated: "We're currently trying to work out exactly how many thousands of years old this water is, but it definitely wasn't anywhere near the surface in 1986." They describe it as being pure and of high quality, similar to the waters of the limestone aquifer beneath the Champagne region in France, as well as the south of England.</p><p>The rye in ATOMIK was harvested from the main exclusion zone and was tested for the presence of radiocaesium. The isotope was present in levels well below the conservative Urainium maximum. The levels of radiostrontium, however, exceeded the legal limit. Nonetheless, when the final grain spirit was tested, no radioactivity at all <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334988042_Distillate_ethanol_production_for_re-use_of_abandoned_lands_-_an_analysis_and_risk_assessment" target="_blank">was found</a> in the beverage.</p>
What's the point?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDU2MzE0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjEyNDg1NH0.kbcpFwUqUOd9yhvWVMIQzHTvIsJ2VLkYUGgy7VFZkQQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="abd13" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cc01df77ded3b49f91e971dece241f1d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Some current residents of the Chernobyl exclusion zone
Image source: Chernobyl Spirits Company<p>Chernobyl Sprits company has a larger message than simply creating a provocative new refreshment. The want authorities to reconsider the exclusion zone now that so much time has passed since the Chernobyl meltdown:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>More than thirty years after the accident, we believe that what these areas need most is economic development and management of the unique wildlife resource the abandoned areas represent.</em></p>
Russia's state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom denies the allegations.
- The nuclear leak occurred in 2017 and was recorded by scientists in multiple European countries.
- No nation or organization has ever claimed responsibility for the leak, which, while massive, is not believed to have harmed anyone.
- The new study used more than 1,300 measurements to trace the likely source of the leak to the Urals region of Russia, where lies the Mayak nuclear complex.
This figure shows the countries in Europe that detected ruthenium-106.
Masson et al.<p>The study also notes how European countries have established a monitoring network designed to detect radionuclides, due in part to concerns resulting from the <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/washington-wine" target="_blank">1986 Chernobyl disaster.</a></p><p>"Today most of these European networks are connected to each other via the informal 'Ring of Five' (Ro5) platform for the purpose of rapid exchange of expert information on a laboratory level about airborne radionuclides detected at trace levels," it says. "In October 2017, an unprecedented release of ruthenium-106 into the atmosphere was the subject of numerous detections and exchanges within the Ro5."</p><p>State-owned Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom denied the findings of the recent study.</p><p>"We maintain that there have been no reportable events at any Rosatom-operated plants or facilities," Rosatom said. "Both the national regulator and experts from an independent international inquiry inspected the Mayak facility back in 2017 and found nothing to suggest that the ruthenium-106 isotope originated from this site, nor found any traces of an alleged accident, nor found any evidence of local staff exposure to elevated levels of radioactivity."</p>