idaho national labs


Nuclear-Powered Jet Airplane Engines (1957-1961)               


In front of the technician with a Geiger counter stands a vertical nuclear reactor made into a jet airplane engine. Behind it is a second, horizontal reactor engine. Nuclear-powered jet airplanes were intended to carry nuclear bombs and fly a pattern around the Soviet Union. The program was rendered obsolete by long-range missile technology. These are the only two nuclear jet airplane engines in existence. The two nuclear-powered jet engines were transported by rail to the distant stack, hooked up, and test-fired. The stack channeled the engines’ exhaust, Heat, and radiation away form the ground into the air. Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho. November 9, 1984.

Leon Matejka is a retired engineer who worked at Idaho National Lab for 15 years. Bryan Smith, the Tea Party-backed candidate, appeals to Matejka because he wants to see federal spending reined in. But Matejka is conflicted. He believes it’s important to fund the lab because of the nuclear research conducted there. He also knows how critical it is to the local economy. A report by Boise State University a few years ago concluded that INL was responsible for a quarter of the jobs around Idaho Falls.

Txch This Week: Big Bang Discoveries And Startups In Space

by Norman Rozenberg

This week on Txchnologist, we looked at groundbreaking discoveries and innovations changing the world and what we understand of it. First, researchers documented the existence of gravitational waves. These waves, first theorized by Albert Einstein, show that the universe expanded at an exponential rate and provides direct evidence of the phenomenon know as inflation immediately after the Big Bang.

Next, we looked at a social enterprise helping Myanmar’s farmers by designing and manufacturing helpful tools. Proximity Designs then uses robots to test their prototypes.

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs use a virtual reality CAVE that lets them interact with complex environments in 3-D, while engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have designed a toilet system that uses sunlight and heat to turn sewage into a useful material for agriculture.

British scientists revived moss that has been frozen for as long as 1,700 years. The find is evidence that organisms can survive in suspended animation for extremely long periods of time.

Italian researchers have developed a radar powered by laser light. The significantly more precise technology has a wider bandwidth than current radars and can transmit much more information.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

Keep reading