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Geiger Readings for Aug 14, 2019

Latitude 47.704656 Longitude -122.318745

Ambient office  = 95 nanosieverts per hour

Ambient outside = 106 nanosieverts per hour

Soil exposed to rain water = 108 nanosieverts per hour

Lettuce from Central Market = 113 nanosieverts per hour

Tap water = 105 nanosieverts per hour

Filtered water = 83 nanosieverts per hour

Nuclear Weapons 693 - Department of Energy Purchases Supercomputer From Cray Inc. For Nuclear Maintenance And Design - Part 1 of 2 Parts

Part 1 of 2 Parts
       Today, the Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) announced the signing of contracts with Cray Inc. to build a new supercomputer for the NNSA. The new supercomputer is called “El Capitan.” It will be an exascale computer which means that it will be able to carry out over one and half exaflops. (One exaflop means that the computer can execute a quintillion calculating per second.) The cost of the computer will be about six hundred million dollars. It will be delivered in late 2022.
       El Capitan will feature a number of advanced artificial intelligence capabilities that can run simulations and modeling as well as administrative tasks. It is based on the new Shasta Architecture developed by Cray. It is hoped the new computer will be able to run fifty times faster than the national nuclear security Sequoia computer system. El Capitan is expected to run up to ten times faster than the Sierra computer system at LLNL which is currently the second most powerful supercomputer in the world. El Capitan should be much more energy efficient than the Sierra system. El Capitan will provide computer services to the NNSA Tri-Laboratory group which includes Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. 
      The El Capitan will be the third supercomputer purchased from Cray by the DoE. It will join Argonne National Laboratory’s “Aurora” and Oak Ridge National Laboratory “Frontier” systems. All three will be constructed based on the Cray Shasta architecture, Slingshot interconnect and new software platform.
      Rick Perry is the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He said, “The Department of Energy is the world leader in supercomputing and El Capitan is a critical addition to our next-generation systems. El Capitan’s advanced capabilities for modeling, simulation and artificial intelligence will help push America’s competitive edge in energy and national security, allow us to ask tougher questions, solve greater challenges and develop better solutions for generations to come.” 
   El Capitan will provide computer services for the mission of the NNSA. It will carry out essential functions for the Stockpile Stewardship Program. This federal project supports U.S. national security missions through cutting-edge scientific, engineering and technical tools and expertise. It will ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. This is a critical mission because the U.S. is bound by treaty not to carry out actual nuclear testing. El Capitan will be utilized to carry out critical assessments that are needed to address developing threats to national security. Other uses for the supercomputer include nonproliferation and nuclear counter terrorism.
     Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty is the DoE under secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA administrator.  She said, “NNSA is modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise to face 21st-century. El Capitan will allow us to be more responsive, innovative and forward-thinking when it comes to maintaining a nuclear deterrent that is second to none in a rapidly evolving threat environment.”
    The Cray Shasta exascale system makes use of a heterogeneous Central Processing Unit (CPU)/Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) architecture. This will permit researchers to run 3D simulations at resolutions far beyond current computers. It will run ensembles of 3D calculations at resolutions that are difficult or impossible with current supercomputers. 3D simulations are becoming necessary to satisfy the demands of the NNSA Life Extension Programs (LEP) and address issues of aging of nuclear warheads for which there is no nuclear test data.
Please read Part 2 next.

Geiger Readings for Aug 13, 2019

Latitude 47.704656 Longitude -122.318745

Ambient office  = 92 nanosieverts per hour

Ambient outside = 98 nanosieverts per hour

Soil exposed to rain water = 100 nanosieverts per hour

Red potato from Central Market = 165 nanosieverts per hour

Tap water = 94 nanosieverts per hour

Filtered water = 76 nanosieverts per hour

Nuclear Fusion 63 - Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Working On New Plasma Initiator

Helicity Injection Torus .jpg

Caption: 
Artist’s concept of the Helicity Injection Torus at the University of Washington:

      Nuclear fusion for energy generation is an area of intense research today. The ability to harness the process that keeps the sun burning in the sky would be a major leap in the search for cheap and clean energy. Many companies are working on the development of commercial nuclear fusion reactors.
      Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have carried out an analysis which proves that a new non-standard way of initiating plasma in nuclear fusion reactors. The new technique is referred to as “transient coaxial helical injection” (CHI). This new technique eliminates the central magnet that is currently used to create the plasma inside a tokamak. Tokamaks are the most common type of fusion reactors under development.
    The elimination of the central magnet may facilitate steady state fusion reactions. In addition, the removal of the central magnet will free up space inside the center of compact spherical tokamaks, Most tokamaks are shaped like a donut. The plasma is confined to a ring around the inside of the tokamak. Spherical tokamaks are shaped more like an apple which has the core removed. This design leaves less room in the center of the spherical tokamak than is found inside the donut shaped tokamaks and it would benefit from gaining additional space in the center.
    This increased space in the center of the tokamak could have a variety of uses. Additional magnets could be installed that would help confine the plasma and improve the performance of the reactor. The new space could also simplify the design of compact spherical tokamaks.
     In a conventional donut-shaped tokamak, magnets in the center of the donut induce a current in the neutral gas that has been injected into the donut-shaped chamber. The current separates the electrons from the atoms of the gas which creates the charged gas known as a plasma. The current also creates a magnetic field which joins the fields generated by the magnets wound around the donut. These fields confine and heat the plasma to allow the fusion reaction.
     In the new CHI, electrodes are placed at the top or bottom of the central cavity. These electrodes produce the electrical currents needed to create the plasma. Kenneth Hammond is a physicist at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics. He is the lead author of the paper reporting this research that was published in the Physics of Plasmas journal. He said, “What we primarily focused on was the beginning stage of forming the plasma.”
      The new plasma initiation process is called “transient CHI” because it is only turned on briefly at the beginning of and experiment and does not run constantly. This new technique was developed using the small Helicity Injection Torus at the University of Washington and the bigger National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at PPPL. The process was also modeled on computers at the PPPL.
    One of the problems with scaling up the new technique for larger spherical tokamaks lies in the placement of the electrodes. It took some work to find the correct placement of the electrodes necessary to use the CHI in bigger reactors. The CHI scaling simulations were carried out in a special computer modeling language called the Tokamak Simulation Code which was developed at PPPL. A new test is scheduled in which there will be two different sets of electrodes to see if that will improve performance.