A new era of spaceflight? Promising advances in rocket propulsion

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has recently commissioned three private companies, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, to develop nuclear fission thermal rockets for use in lunar orbit.

Exploring oxidative pathways in nuclear fuel

Powerful atomic-resolution instruments and techniques at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are revealing new information about the interaction of uranium dioxide (UO2) with water. These new insights will improve ...

Going nuclear on the moon and Mars

It might sound like science fiction, but scientists are preparing to build colonies on the moon and, eventually, Mars. With NASA planning its next human mission to the moon in 2024, researchers are looking for options to ...

World's second EPR nuclear reactor starts work in China

A next-generation EPR nuclear reactor in China has carried out its first chain reaction, French energy giant EDF announced Wednesday, becoming the second using the much-delayed European technology to reach the milestone.

Why does nuclear fission produce pear-shaped nuclei?

Nuclear fission is a process in which a heavy nucleus split into two. Most of the actinides nuclei (plutonium, uranium, curium, etc) fission asymmetrically with one big fragment and one small. Empirically, the heavy fragment ...

Theory aids analysis of nuclear materials

Nuclear emergency teams, safeguards specialists and others may one day benefit from an expanded nuclear fission chain theory and detectors developed by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicists.

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