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The nuclear technology portal


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.
Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. As a nuclear technology, nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions.

Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research. This article mostly deals with nuclear fission power for electricity generation.

Civilian nuclear power supplied 2,488 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2017, equivalent to about 10% of global electricity generation, and was the second largest low-carbon power source after hydroelectricity. As of April 2018, there are 449 civilian fission reactors in the world, with a combined electrical capacity of 394 gigawatt (GW). As of 2018, there are 58 power reactors under construction and 154 reactors planned, with a combined capacity of 63 GW and 157 GW, respectively. As of January 2019, 337 more reactors were proposed. Most reactors under construction are generation III reactors in Asia.



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Northeast of San Francisco, California, on 5 August 1950, a nuclear-capable United States Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber carrying a Mark 4 nuclear bomb crashed shortly after takeoff from Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base with 20 men on board. Twelve men were killed in the crash, including the commander of the 9th Bombardment Wing, Brigadier General Robert F. Travis, and another seven were killed on the ground when the aircraft exploded. The base was later renamed for Travis.

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K-25 control room.jpg
Credit: Ed Westcott

Central control room at K-25

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Kenneth D. Nichols.jpeg
Major General Kenneth David Nichols (13 November 1907 – 21 February 2000), also known by Nick, was an officer in the United States Army, and a civil engineer who is notable for his classified works in the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb during World War II, as Deputy District Engineer to James C. Marshall, and from 13 August 1943 as the District Engineer of the Manhattan Engineer District. He was responsible for both the uranium production facility at the Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the plutonium production facility at Hanford Engineer Works in Washington State.

Nichols remained with the Manhattan Project after the war until it was taken over by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1947. He was the military liaison officer with the Atomic Energy Commission from 1946 to 1947. After briefly teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was promoted to major general and became chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, responsible for the military aspects of atomic weapons, including logistics, handling and training. He was Deputy Director for the Atomic Energy Matters, Plans and Operations Division of the Army's general staff, and was the senior Army member of the military liaison committee that worked with the Atomic Energy Commission.

In 1950, General Nichols became Deputy Director of the Guided Missiles Division of the Department of Defense. He was appointed chief of research and development when it was reorganized in 1952. In 1953, he became the general manager of the Atomic Energy Commission, where he promoted the construction of nuclear power plants. He played a key role in the proceedings brought against J. Robert Oppenheimer that resulted in Oppenheimer's security clearance being revoked. In later life, Nichols became an engineering consultant on private nuclear power plants.

Nuclear technology news


7 July 2019 – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Nuclear program of Iran
Iran announces plans to begin enriching uranium beyond the limit set in its 2015 nuclear deal, with world powers pressing Europe to salvage the accord after the United States withdrew from it last year. (Al Jazeera)
1 July 2019 – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Nuclear program of Iran
Iran announces that it has enriched more than 300 kilograms (660 lb) of uranium to 3.67%, contrary to previous agreement. This is still highly insufficient to produce one nuclear weapon. (Deutsche Welle)
1 July 2019 – Japan–United States relations, Japan–North Korea relations, 2018–19 Korean peace process
After speaking by phone with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno says "he hopes the meeting adds momentum to efforts toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". Kōno also says that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe "wants to meet Kim Jong-un to solve the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens". (Japan Today)
30 June 2019 – 2019 Koreas–United States DMZ Summit, North Korea–United States relations, South Korea–United States relations, North Korea–South Korea relations, 2018–19 Korean peace process
U.S. President Donald Trump, together with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Joint Security Area, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to step foot in North Korea. Trump also invites Kim to the White House to resume talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. (NBC News) (Business Insider) (CNN)

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