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Nuclear science and engineering

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National Geographic

Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno speaks with National Geographic reporter Lois Parshley about the future of nuclear energy in the U.S. and western Europe. “Our analysis shows a big share of nuclear, a big share of renewables, and some storage is the best mix that is low-carbon, reliable, and at the lowest cost,” says Buongiorno of an MIT report showing the most cost-efficient, reliable grid comes from an energy mix.  

Bloomberg

MIT researchers have analyzed the role of long-duration energy storage technologies and found that large storage systems have the potential to lower electricity prices in a carbon-free grid by up to 40%, writes Eric Roston for Bloomberg. 

WHDH 7

7 News reporter Byron Barnett spotlights how MIT researchers are developing new face masks aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19. Prof. Giovanni Traverso is creating reusable masks with pop-put disposable filters, and Prof. Michael Strano is developing a mask that could “destroy the virus, using a nine-volt battery to heat the mask and kill the virus before the wearer breathes it in.”

New York Times

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that claims about superweapons are not realistic, reports William J. Broad for The New York Times. “There’re lots of claims and not many numbers,” says research affiliate David Wright. “If you put in the numbers, you find that the claims are nonsense.” 

Guardian

A series of papers by MIT researchers demonstrates how their design for a new nuclear fusion reactor should work, reports Oscar Schwartz for The Guardian. “Fusion seems like one of the possible solutions to get ourselves out of our impending climate disaster,” says Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Fox News

MIT researchers have developed a heated, reusable mask that could help filter out viruses such as Covid-19, reports Kayla Rivas for Fox News. “The contraption is said to slow particles down and inactivate viruses in mere seconds by the mesh and temperatures reaching 90°C, or 194°F,” writes Rivas. 

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, explores the potential of fusion power. Greenwald examines how recent advances in high-temperature superconductors and recent investments in fusion technology from the private sector could “alter the landscape and offer the possibility of a dramatic speed-up in the development of this new energy source.”

The Washington Post

MIT researchers have published a series of new papers demonstrating that the design for the SPARC compact nuclear fusion reactor “is both technically feasible and could produce 10 times the energy it consumes,” reports Dino Grandoni for The Washington Post.

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Caroline Delbert writes that new research by MIT scientists provides evidence that the compact nuclear fusion design they are developing should be feasible. Delbert writes that the researchers may be able to get the SPARC reactor online within 10 years by “improving materials and shrinking costs.”

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Daniel Garisto spotlights how a team of MIT researchers has uncovered hints of anomalous activity in heavy isotopes. “We’re not claiming to have discovered anything like a new particle,” says Prof. Vladan Vuletić. “Most likely, we are measuring new nuclear physics, but there is the possibility of something else going on.” 

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that a series of papers by MIT researchers finds that the designs for the SPARC compact nuclear fusion experiment should be viable. “Engineers expect their SPARC reactor, or tokamak, to be much more powerful than previous experimental reactors,” writes Hays. 

The New York Times

In a series of new papers, MIT researchers provide evidence that plans to develop a next-generation compact nuclear fusion reactor called SPARC should be viable, reports Henry Fountain for The New York Times. The research “confirms that the design we’re working on is very likely to work,” says Martin Greenwald, deputy director for MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center. 

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Caroline Delbert writes that MIT researchers are looking to “make molten salt reactors a little more practical by fine-tuning how they behave under extreme heat and pressure.”

CNN

In an article for CNN, Jim Walsh, a research associate at the Center for International Studies, examines how the U.S. can avoid pushing Iran to build a nuclear bomb. “The President can begin to quietly ratchet down his maximum pressure campaign, for example, by issuing waivers on oil sanctions,” writes Walsh. “He can find third parties to communicate with the Iranians.”

Forbes

Researchers from a number of institutions, including MIT, are exploring the feasibility of cold fusion, reports Steven Salzberg for Forbes. The researchers explained that while they were unable to successfully produce cold fusion, their exploration of this topic “is likely to have a substantial impact on future energy technologies.”