Tagnuclear

A Sapphire Hard Disk Meant to Last 10 Million Years

Science Now reports on a new project meant to address the problem of alerting people of the future to nuclear waste storage facilities:

Today, Patrick Charton of the French nuclear waste management agency ANDRA presented one possible solution to the problem: a sapphire disk inside which information is engraved using platinum. The prototype shown costs €25,000 to make, but Charton says it will survive for a million years. The aim, Charton told the Euroscience Open Forum here, is to provide “information for future archaeologists.” But, he concedes: “We have no idea what language to write it in.” […]

The sapphire disk is one product of that effort. It’s made from two thin disks, about 20 centimeters across, of industrial sapphire. On one side, text or images are etched in platinum—Charton says a single disk can store 40,000 miniaturized pages—and then the two disks are molecularly fused together. All a future archaeologist would need to read them is a microscope. The disks have been immersed in acid to test their durability and to simulate ageing. Charton says they hope to demonstrate a lifetime of 10 million years.

Full Story: Science Now: A Million-Year Hard Disk

(via Sam)

Finland’s 100,000-Year Plan to Banish Its Nuclear Waste

Onkalo

Onkalo, on the other hand, is supposed to last 20 times as long as the pyramids have so far — so long that the builders of the site have to take into account the next ice age, when the weight of two miles of ice on top of Finland will be added to the stress on the buried waste containers, copper canisters two inches thick.

It might seem crazy, if not criminal, to obligate 3,000 future generations of humans to take care of our poisonous waste just so that we can continue running our electric toothbrushes. But it’s already too late to wave off the nuclear age, and Mr. Madsen’s film comes at a perfect time to join a worldwide conversation about what to do with its ashes. On June 3, administrative law judges from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will begin hearing arguments about whether the Department of Energy can proceed with shutting down development of the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada, where the United States had been planning since 1987 to store its own nuclear waste.

New York Times: Finland’s 100,000-Year Plan to Banish Its Nuclear Waste

Stewart Brand interview

Controversial stand: That technology can be green. The book I just finished, “Whole Earth Discipline,” has chapters on why nuclear is green, cities are green, genetic engineering is green. The romantic nature-is-perfect approach is just horse exhaust.

What he drives: A Land Rover LR2. As soon as there’s a good hybrid S.U.V., we’ll get one. We need a mountain vehicle.

New York Times:.

(via Stephen Walling)

Scientists plan to ignite tiny man-made star

man made star

While it has seemed an impossible goal for nearly 100 years, scientists now believe that they are on brink of cracking one of the biggest problems in physics by harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, the reaction that burns at the heart of the sun.

In the spring, a team will begin attempts to ignite a tiny man-made star inside a laboratory and trigger a thermonuclear reaction.

Its goal is to generate temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius and pressures billions of times higher than those found anywhere else on earth, from a speck of fuel little bigger than a pinhead. If successful, the experiment will mark the first step towards building a practical nuclear fusion power station and a source of almost limitless energy.

Full Story: Telegraph

(Thanks Cap’n Marrrrk)

How to Warn People in the Future About Radioactive Waste and Other Harm

Here’s a site dedicated to finding ways to protect future beings from being contaminated to radioactive waste. There’s some great stuff here. Of course, people in the future will probably HAVE to be immune to radioactivity to even live on this planet.

Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

(via Boing Boing)

Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

Business 2.0 has a well written article examining eight near-future technologies that they believe will change the world:

  1. Biointeractive Materials
  2. Biofuel Production Plants
  3. Bionics
  4. Cognitronics
  5. Genotyping
  6. Combinatorial Science
  7. Molecular Manufacturing
  8. Quantum Nucleonics

They’ve got a pretty good list, but where are the anti-cancer nano-bots? Cheap solar power? Particle transmitters/teleporters?

Business 2.0: Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

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