Atomic Awesome

Why The World Needs Nuclear Power

Nuclear_Power_Plant[Editor’s Note: Nuclear Science Week was pointed out to us on the tips line by Elizabeth Eckhart, along with a commitment to contribute. If you’d like to see AtomicToasters come back from its Chernobyl-like radioactive slumber, you should follow Elizabeth’s lead, and send in

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stuff for the rest of us to discuss. You can also follow Elizabeth’s Twitter account at @elizeckhart] Continue reading Why The World Needs Nuclear Power

Atomic Hangovers

Droning On


Drones are like, the future man, but occasionally they can take some cool pictures of old stuff too. (As an off topic aside, anyone remember when drones were just called radio-controlled aircraft?) Up in Washington state there is a leftover nuclear power plant project, never completed.

Construction on Satsop, Washington’s nuclear power plant began in 1977 and stopped in 1983 after the project ran out of money. The reactor was never brought online, and the shell of it has been sitting there ever since. It has been set to be demolished since 1995, but as you can see, that never happened. (motherboard)

Continue reading Droning On

Atomic Awesome

When Reactors Breed


In 1951 the light bulb and power plants were pretty ubiquitous. These four bulbs were probably bought for pennies each at the local hardware store. They could be installed in a lamp and plugged into a wall outlet. Electricity would flow into them by means of mysterious and, most probably, very malevolent forces. On the other end of all those wires would be a power plant serving a large area and tied into a grid of power generating stations across this great land. However, on December 20, 1951 these four bulbs were not powered by the commercial power plant feeding Arco, Idaho. Instead, they were being powered by something entirely new.

Continue reading When Reactors Breed

User Input

User Input: Peculiar Knowledge

I was on a road trip last week with a co-worker, and through a long, circuitous route from diesel engines to hydrogen fuel cells, we got onto the topic of electricity generation. At some point, he opined that the only viable solution was solar power, and he couldn’t understand why the government wasn’t […]

Atomic Awesome

Travel Nuclear

It’s 1955. America and the world are taking to the air in fancy new jet planes. The US economy has recovered from the Great Depression. An era of relative peace is upon us. And the president wants to use nuclear energy for good, not evil. One of the “Atoms for Peace” programs is the Nuclear Ship (NS) Savannah.
Continue reading Travel Nuclear

Brainings, Genius Innovators, User Input

User Input: Rare, or Well Done?

Beetle, Medium Rare.

It’s summer, so that means one thing: Barbecues! And mosquitoes. Okay two things. Also bikini babes. So three things. Oh, and sunburns. Four things. Anyhow, that’s not the point. The point is, it’s time for a barbecue. I will be leaving civilization for a few days and heading to the […]


Shutdown: Physics 101 – Nukes: “What the hell is going on?”



What’s true? What is pure hyperbole? How much of CNN is exaggeration? And how much of NHK is gross understatement?

There are a lot of “experts” out there on TV, Intertubes and talk radio at the moment, and more than a few seem to be more interested in milking the limelight than providing factual and useful information. A lot people know people, who worked with someone, who once knew a nuclear engineer that wrote a blog-post on how safe, or indeed how evil nuclear power is.

One minute things are OK, the next it is time to stock up on bacon and trail mix. The sheer amount of misinformation makes it hard to figure out what is really going on without getting caught up in either side of the argument.

We are not going to get into the debate here on whether or not the Apocalypse is neigh. But before taping up your windows and chimney with tin-foil however, it is prudent to have some real working knowledge on the issue without needing a doctorate in nuclear physics. Continue reading Shutdown: Physics 101 – Nukes: “What the hell is going on?”


Startup: How To Be Accidentally Great

The CANDU fuel cycle: It eats everything and emits only rainbows and a hint of pine scent.

One of the safest and most efficient nuclear power plant types is the Canadian designed CANDU reactor. CANDU stands for CANada Deuterium Uranium, which basically means that Deuterium is a real thing and not (as previously […]