In this episode we cover the final storage of nuclear waste in underground facilities. We start out with a conversation about the basic process and the chemistry and physics of nuclear waste with Gareth Law, a professor of radiochemistry at the university of Helsinki. We then discuss geological issues with Heini Reijonen of the Geological Survey of Finland. Our third conversation is about the Onkalo storage facility in Finland with Sophie Haapalehto, who works for Posiva, the operator of the site.
In this episode we take a look at newer generations of fission reactors, those that are currently being developed or researched. Our guest is Jacopo Buongiorno of MIT. We discuss some of the high-level goals of these new reactors, such as increased safety and efficiency, and then look at a few of the interesting new designs and how they realize these goals. We also briefly cover some of the policy arguments around keeping fission in the mix for combatting climate change.
Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. Flying from Shemya in the Aleutians they used cameras and other sensors. Our guest, Robert Hopkins has been flying the aircraft in the late 1980s. In this episode he tells us about the mission and the flying — Shemya could be quite challenging.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international treaty, still being ratified, that bans all nuclear tests. An important ingredient to the test is monitoring, whether nuclear tests will be performed nonetheless. To this end, the CTBT Preparatory Commission has established a world-spanning monitoring system that relies on seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide monitoring. In this episode, our guest is Randy Bell who runs the international data center and is thus responsible for running the monitoring network and evaluating the collected data.
This episode covers neutron science at the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble. Helmut Schober and Ulli Köster cover what neutron science is used for, some interesting scientific experiments conducted at ILL as well as the physical fundamentals and the workings of the reactor and the detectors. We conclude the epsiode with a discussion of the ILL as a “research service facility” that offers all-around research support to visiting scientists.