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Nuclear power and reactors

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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

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.”

Newsweek

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."

Newsweek

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.

Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) are working on making commercial nuclear fusion a reality, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “CFS will build [the tokamak] SPARC and develop a commercial fusion product, while MIT PSFC will focus on its core mission of cutting-edge research and education,” says Prof. Dennis G. Whyte, director of the PSFC. 

ABC News

ABC News reporter Mary Kekatos speaks with Prof. Kate Brown about concerns surrounding Russian troops’ recent seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. “Conventional war and nuclear power are not a good combination,” says Brown. “Nuclear power requires security, stability and peace. It’s a tall order.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter William J. Broad speaks with Prof. R. Scott Kemp about the safety risks associated with the nuclear power plants in northern Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. “There’s some risk of a direct hit,” said Kemp. “But I imagine they’ll do everything possible to avoid that because they don’t want to deal with the fallout.” 

The Verge

Prof. Kate Brown speaks with Verge reporter Justine Calma about the potential implications of fighting in the containment zone around Chernobyl. “It’s a continuing problem,” Brown says. “It’s supposed to be contained. It’s supposed to be left untouched. And that’s the problem with any kind of nuclear site. It demands stability and peace.”

Bloomberg

Writing for Bloomberg Law, Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno, Elina Teplinsky of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Jessica Lovering of Good Energy Collective make the case for nuclear power playing an important role in the transition to clean energy. “Because of the immensity of the looming crisis, no single energy source can be the climate silver bullet,” they write.

WBUR

Prof. Ernest Moniz speaks with On Point host Meghna Chakrabarti about President Biden’s recent infrastructure bill and the future of nuclear power in the United States. “Climate change is the problem of our time,” says Moniz. “And we need every tool at our disposal to address that. It’s about the emissions, not about one’s favorite or disfavorite technology and I think that’s the way we have to look at this. It’s all about getting to low carbon.”

The Washington Post

The Washington Post Editorial Board highlights a new report co-authored by MIT researchers that finds keeping the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California open would help the state reach its climate goals. "The experts project that keeping Diablo Canyon open just one more decade would cut California’s power-sector emissions by more than 10 percent, because it would burn far less gas, and save the state $2.6 billion in power system costs."

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Rob Nikolewski spotlights a report by researchers from MIT and Stanford University that finds keeping the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California running would reduce electricity costs and help the state achieve its climate goals. “Nuclear plants – and Diablo Canyon is no exception – are one such clean and firm [source of] power capacity that we think should be preserved,” says Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno.