Archive for June 2008

Happy 10th Anniversary, EU Central Bank: The Only True Free Trade Agreement

Jun 10th, 2008 | By | Category: Economics

Happy tenth birthday, European Central Bank! My, how you’ve grown. Why? Because it’s hard to be a little bit pregnant. The EU represents the only true free trade agreement between nations today. Grab any responsible economist, and they’ll admit to you that free trade requires radical changes between countries. Ahem, in short, to get the […]

Nuclear Power: What’s Next.

Jun 6th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Nukes

Nuclear power plants were first proposed at the dawn of the cold war. It was assumed the best fuels–enriched the most for atoms releasing the most neutrons per fissioning–would forever be reserved for military use. We had bombs to build. Hundreds, thousands, millions–enough to scare the Soviets (and the Soviets to scare us.) Military first, […]

Nuclear Power: Disaster!

Jun 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Nukes

Let’s talk about Chernobyl. We enter our time machine, and roll ourselves back to the start of the cold war. We’re nuclear engineers in the Soviet Union charged with getting as many reactors operating as soon as possible. Every bit of enriched Uranium is going to bomb manufacturing, as is all the available heavy water. […]

Nuclear Power: Nuclear Waste

Jun 4th, 2008 | By | Category: Nukes

We’ve got our reactor up and humming. Our fuel is fissioning, splitting into smaller atoms and releasing neutrons. Our moderator is slowing down the neutrons, keeping them around long enough to fission the next fuel molecule. Our control rods are absorbing enough neutrons to keep the chain reaction in check. The coolant is transferring the […]

Nuclear Power: Radiation!

Jun 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Nukes

It can’t all be good news. Yes, using a properly designed nuclear reactor, we can capture vast amounts of useful energy by helping atoms get closer to the ideal, iron. Now to the first big wrinkle, radiation. Unhappy atoms break up in a few different ways, all releasing energy. We can break it down into […]

Nuclear Power: The Reactor

Jun 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: Nukes

The goal? A controlled fissioning of large nuclei. You’ll need fuel, moderation, coolant, and some control. Coolant is the easiest to grasp. The fission chain reaction in the nuclear reactor will produce heat. It’s the goal! We need some way to transfer the heat away from the reactor and put it to use. Water is […]