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Nuclear science and engineering

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Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter David R. Baker writes that a new report co-authored by MIT researchers keeping California’s last nuclear power plant open could help reduce energy costs and provide water to the state. Keeping the “Diablo Canyon open through 2035 would cut greenhouse-gas emissions from California’s power sector 10% each year, by reducing the amount of electricity needed from natural-gas plants,” writes Baker.

Reuters

A new report by researchers from MIT, Stanford and other institutions finds that extending the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California should help the state meet its climate goals, reports Timothy Gardner for Reuters. The researchers found “delaying closure of the plant to 2025 would reduce California's carbon emissions from power plants by more than 10% from 2017 levels, reduce dependency on natural gas, and save up to $21 billion in power system costs.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporters Andrew Fillat and Henry Miller highlight Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno’s calculations which find that “over the life cycle of power plants, which includes construction, mining, transport, operation, decommissioning and disposal of waste, the greenhouse-gas emissions for nuclear power are 1/700th those of coal, 1/400th of gas, and one-fourth of solar.”

Financial Times

Financial Times reporter Tom Wilson writes that researchers from MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) have successfully demonstrated the use of a high-temperature superconductor, which engineers believe can allow for a more compact fusion power plant. “It’s the type of technology innovation that you know shows up every once in a while in a given field,” CFS chief executive, Bob Mumgaard, tells Wilson.

Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, research fellow Laura Grego examines why China is developing new nuclear delivery systems and modernizing its weapons arsenal. “One core driver is to make clear to an unconvinced United States that it is vulnerable to Chinese nuclear retaliation despite enormous investments in missile defenses,” writes Grego. “Many of the technologies China is pursuing, including those believed to have been tested this summer, are designed to overwhelm or evade such defenses.” 

The New Yorker

Researchers at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and Commonwealth Fusion Systems speak with The New Yorker’s Rivka Galchen about the history of fusion research and the recent test of their large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet. “I feel we proved the science. I feel we can make a difference,” says MIT alumna Joy Dunn, head of manufacturing at CFS. “When people ask me, ‘Why fusion? Why not other renewables,’ my thinking is: This is a solution at the scale of the problem.”

Motherboard

Motherboard reporter Matthew Gault spotlights how scientists from MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems developed a large high-temperature superconducting magnet that can create a magnetic field of 20 tesla, “a breakthrough that paves the way for carbon-free power.”

WBUR

WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman explores how researchers from MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems successfully demonstrated “the world's strongest high-temperature superconducting magnet, putting them a step closer towards a workable fusion reactor.” The advance “provides reason for hope that in the not-too-distant future, we could have an entirely new technology to deploy in the race to transform the global energy system and slow climate change,” says Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research.

Associated Press

Scientists from MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems have performed a successful test of the world’s strongest high temperature superconducting magnet, a crucial step in creating net positive energy from a fusion device, reports the Associated Press.

The Boston Globe

Scientists at MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems have cleared a major hurdle in their efforts to achieve net energy from fusion, successfully creating a 20 tesla magnetic field using the high-temperature superconducting magnet they developed, reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. “This test provides reason for hope that in the not too distant future we could have an entirely new technology to deploy in the race to transform the global energy system and slow climate change,” says Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research.

CNBC

CNBC reporter Catherine Clifford writes that researchers from MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems have successfully demonstrated the high-temperature superconducting electromagnet they developed, creating a 20 tesla magnetic field. “This magnet will change the trajectory of both fusion science and energy, and we think eventually the world’s energy landscape,” says Dennis Whyte, director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Reuters

MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems scientists have created a 20 tesla magnetic field using a large, high temperature superconducting fusion magnet, a step towards creating a fusion power plant, reports Stephen Jewkes for Reuters. The researchers aim “to use the technology to build a commercially viable fusion power plant to generate zero-emission electricity.”

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.”