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MIT scientists have published a new study questioning the use of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) planned for next-generation U.S. nuclear reactors, writes Timothy Gardner for Reuters. "This material is directly usable for making nuclear weapons without any further enrichment or reprocessing," explains Prof. Scott Kemp, noting while the uranium is enriched to levels of up to 20%, compared with about 5% for most reactor fuel, 10% to 12% would be far safer.


Conner Galloway SB '08 SM '09 and Alexander Valys SB '08 lead Xcimer Energy Company, a startup seeking to provide economical nuclear fusion power and “pursuing what’s best described as a ground-up redesign of the underlying technology,” writes Tim De Chant for TechCrunch. “This is proven science,” Galloway, the CEO of Xcimer CEO, explains. “It’s just a matter of building a big enough laser, cheap enough laser and efficient enough laser.”


Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno talks with Steve Curwood of Living on Earth about new investments in nuclear power generation, advanced reactors and waste disposal. He notes roughly half the clean energy in the U.S. comes from nuclear, with great potential due to its adaptability. “The nice thing about nuclear is that it’s a fairly versatile energy source,” explains Buongiorno. “It can give you heat, if you want heat. It can give you electricity if you want electricity. It can give you hydrogen if you need hydrogen, or some kind of synthetic fuel for transportation." 


Senior Lecturer John Parsons speaks with Grist reporter Gautama Mehta about the future of nuclear energy in the United States. “It’s also possible that nuclear, if we can do it, is a valuable contribution to the system, but we need to learn how to do it cheaper than we’ve done so far,” explains Parsons. “I would hate to throw away all the gains that we’ve learned from doing it.”


Senior Lecturer John Parsons speaks with CNN reporters Angela Dewan, Ella Nilsen and Lou Robinson about the future of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) – nuclear technology that is smaller and less costly to build than traditional, large-scale reactors. “The target here is to produce electricity cheaper than coal and gas plants,” says Parsons. These fossil fuel plants “are terribly simple and cheap to run – they’re just dirty.”

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers are hoping to use Dyson maps “to translate the language of classical physics into terms that a quantum computer—a machine designed to solve complex quandaries by leveraging the unique properties of quantum particles—can understand,” reports Darren Orf for Popular Mechanics. 

Scientific American

Commonwealth Fusion Systems, MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and others are working to build SPARC, a prototype device that aims to extract net energy from plasma and generate fusion power, reports Philip Ball for Scientific American. “SPARC will be a midsize tokamak in which the plasma is tightly confined by very intense magnetic fields produced by new high-temperature superconducting magnets developed at MIT and unveiled in 2021.”  

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Emeritus Ernest Moniz writes that the National Ignition Facility’s fusion energy advancement “is exciting because when the journey from science demonstration to a commercially viable power plant is completed, the electricity grid will be revolutionized.” Moniz continues, “To meet widely accepted climate objectives, we must double the clock speed of the clean energy innovation process.”


Forbes has named Commonwealth Fusion Systems one of the biggest tech innovations and breakthroughs of 2022, reports Bernard Marr. “Commonwealth Fusion Systems is now working with MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center on plans to build a factory that can mass-produce components for the first commercial fusion reactors,” writes Marr.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Dennis Whyte, director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, discusses the significance of nuclear fusion energy with Boston Globe reporter David Abel following news that an advance had been made in the development of nuclear fusion. “It’s very exciting, but we’re not all the way there,” Whyte said. “I will be really excited when we put the first watts on the grid.”

USA Today

Prof. Dennis Whyte, director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, speaks with USA Today about the promise and challenges posed by nuclear fusion energy, in light of an announcement that scientists have crossed a milestone in their efforts to develop fusion energy. Whyte explains that, in theory, fusion could "replace all carbon-based energy sources, because it's scalable in a way that means it can actually power civilization.”


Nuclear science experts say that the potential shut down of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine can lead to energy implications and climate change, reports Anna Skinner for Newsweek. "The Earth is heating up, and we don't have any way to stop it right now except to stop putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," says Prof. Michael Golay. "The nice thing about nuclear is it doesn't emit much in the way of greenhouse gases."


Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT spinout, has signed an agreement with the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to “support the fastest path to clean commercial fusion energy,” reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “CFS says its agreement with UKAEA could involve exchanges of knowledge and collaboration on things like fuel, modeling, manufacturing and maintenance,” writes Browne. 

Power Magazine

Infinite Cooling, an MIT startup, is developing a new system that can capture water from cooling tower plumes and could significantly reduce water consumption in evaporative cooling tower systems, reports Sonal Patel for Power Magazine. “The technology that is developed could lead to significant water savings and improve water quality with minimal energy cost,” explained members of Prof. Kripa Varanasi’s lab.