War Bases !!!

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War Bases !!!

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:16 am

Latest Pentagon Brainstorm: Nuke-Powered War Bases




Imagine the snow-capped peaks of mountainous eastern Afghanistan.
Wouldn’t it be better topped off with a cooling tower for a nuclear
reactor? The Pentagon’s way-out research arm thinks so. It’s all part of
a big push to make the military more eco-friendly.

Buried within Darpa’s 2012 budget request under the innocuous name of
“Small Rugged Reactor Technologies” is a $10 million proposal to fuel
wartime Forward Operating Bases with nuclear power. It springs from an
admirable impulse: to reduce the need for troops or contractors to truck
down roads littered with bombs to get power onto the base. It’s time,
Darpa figures, for a “self-sufficient” FOB.

Only one problem. “The only known technology that has potential to
address the power needs of the envisioned self-sufficient FOB,” the
pitch reads, “is a nuclear-fuel reactor.” Now, bases could mitigate
their energy consumption, like the solar-powered Marine company
in Helmand Province, but that’s not enough of a game-changer for Darpa.
Being self-sufficient is the goal; and that requires going nuclear; and
that requires … other things.

To fit on a FOB, which can be anywhere from Bagram Air Field’s eight square miles
to dusty collections of wooden shacks and concertina wire, the reactor
would have to be “well below the scale of the smallest reactors that are
being developed for domestic energy production,” Darpa acknowledges.
That’s not impossible, says Christine Parthemore, an energy expert at
the Center for a New American Security. The Japanese and the South
Africans have been working on miniature nuclear power plants for the
better part of a decade; Bill Gates has partnered with Toshiba to build mini-nuke sites.
(Although it’s not the most auspicious sign that one prominent startup
for modular reactors suspended its operations
after growing cash-light last month.) Those small sites typically use
uranium enriched to about 2 percent. “It would be really, really
difficult to divert the fuel” for a bomb “unless you really knew what
you were doing,” Parthemore says.

But Darpa doesn’t want to take that chance. Only “non-proliferable
fuels (i.e., fuels other than enriched uranium or plutonium) and reactor
designs that are fundamentally safe will be required of reactors that
may be deployed to regions where hostile acts may compromise
operations.”

Sensible, sure. But it limits your options: outside of uranium or plutonium, thorium
is the only remaining source for generating nuclear fuel. The Indians
and now the Chinese have experimented with thorium for their nuclear
programs, but, alas, “no one has ever successfully found a way” to build
a functioning thorium reactor, Parthemore says, “in a safe and
economical manner.”

For now, Darpa proposes to spend $10 million of your money studying
the feasibility of the project. But it’s just one part of the
researchers’ new push to green the military. Another $10 million goes to
a project called Energy Distribution, which explores bringing down
energy consumption on the FOBs. An additional $5 million will look at
ways to keep fuel storage from degrading in extreme temperatures. For
$50 million, Darpa proposes to build a turbine engine that uses 20
percent less energy.

But all of that is mere isotopes compared to the Nuclear FOB. Darpa
appears to have thought about it a lot. It says it plans to work with
the Department of Energy “to ensure that existing advanced reactor
development activities are being exploited and/or accelerated
as appropriate, based on the military’s needs.”

Still, if it can’t find the right non-proliferable fuel, it suggests
that it might look to the “development of novel fuels.” Says a stunned
Parthemore, “I have no idea why you’d want to bring that upon the
world.”

Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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sunny

จำนวนข้อความ : 3511
Registration date : 28/06/2008

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Re: War Bases !!!

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:18 am

Darpa: Heat + Energy = Brains. Now Make Us Some.



The U.S. military’s premiere research agency is already trying to
use math to predict human behavior and neuroscience to replicate a primate’s brain.

The next step: Lean on the study of energy and heat to create an entirely new theory for how intelligence actually works.

The idea behind Darpa’s latest venture, called “Physical Intelligence”
(PI) is to prove, mathematically, that the human mind is nothing more
than parts and energy. In other words, all brain activities — reasoning,
emoting, processing sights and smells — derive from physical mechanisms
at work, acting according to the principles of “thermodynamics in open
systems.” Thermodynamics is founded on the conversion of energy into
work and heat within a system (which could be anything from a test-tube
solution to a planet). The processes can be summed up in formalized
equations and laws, which are then used to describe how systems react to
changes in their surroundings.

Now, the military wants a new equation: one that explains the human
mind as a thermodynamic system. Once that’s done, they’re asking for
“abiotic, self-organizing electronic and chemical systems” that display
the PI principles. More than just computers that think,
Darpa wants to re-envision how thought works — and then design
computers whose thought processes are governed by the same laws as our
own.

Sounds spooky, but what Darpa suggests has been kicking around as
branch of philosophy, called physicalism, since the early 20th century.
And researchers have already designed computers that can
solve problems of complex physics. What is a little freaky is what DARPA’s new paradigm
would mean for the distinction, or lack thereof, between humans and machines.
“If successful, the program would launch a revolution
of understanding across many fields of human endeavor, demonstrate the
first intelligence engineered from first principles, create new classes
of electronic, computational, and chemical systems, and create tools to
engineer intelligent systems that match the problem/environment in which
they will exist.”
Even for Darpa, this is a wildly ambitious goal — one that may never
be reached. But if the human mind is nothing more than the sum of its
parts, Darpa’s new paradigm just might create computational intelligence
that outdoes our own thermodynamic capabilities… making your brain the
equivalent of last year’s model.

[Photo: NIH]

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sunny

จำนวนข้อความ : 3511
Registration date : 28/06/2008

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Re: War Bases !!!

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:22 am

Darpa Wants Warbases Crackling with Stored Energy



Usually when the Pentagon’s far-out research branch thinks about energy, it
comes up with ideas like, oh, putting miniature nuclear reactors on
forward operating bases. But on Friday, Darpa buttoned its collar up
tightly and asked its industry partners to come up with innovative ways
to conserve energy in warzones.

The Deployed Energy Storage program
calls for “Flexible / robust energy storage systems,” to cut down on
the amount of fuel that the military burns through to operate out at its
remote wartime bases. The need is obvious. Not only is fuel expensive,
transportation convoys to get fuel to the bases are frequent targets for
insurgents.

Two things Darpa isn’t trying to do with this effort: increase fuel
efficiency or generate power. It wants to come up with better, durable
ways of storing energy, so that the energy generated on bases that use
even alternative energy sources like wind or solar doesn’t immediately
go into electricity. And when it comes to those energy sources, whatever
Darpa’s going to fund has to survive “millisecond to multiple day
outages” associated with, say, the sun setting or inclement weather
preventing power generation.

The system has to be durable enough that it can power a base for days
when primary power sources go off-line or are unavailable. And it’s got
to store a lot of power for sustained periods of time “The system at
full charge will be capable of providing uninterrupted power to a 150
[kilowatt] average load for 9 days with 90% reduction and 30 days with a
30% reduction in available generated power from an appropriately sized
renewable power generation plant,” Darpa says. The ultimate goal: 100
kilowatts of power, continuously for 30 days, using renewable energy
sources.

If you’ve got “evolutionary” ideas for meeting that target, you’ll be
considered “unresponsive to this announcement,” Darpa intones. Set your
goals high.

Still, it’s a decidedly more conventional idea than one envisioned in
Darpa’s 2012 budget request to Congress. A research pilot program
called the “Small Rugged Reactor Technologies” effort proposed building
“nuclear-fuel reactor[s]” on small warzone bases to make them
“self-sufficient” in terms of energy generation.

And even that was further down to earth than a 2009 proposal to manipulate lightning.
Even so, Darpa’s got a lot of recent experience to draw on if it
wants to solicit troops’ views. The 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment
recently returned home from a grueling tour in Sangin, Afghanistan.

During their time there, one of their companies brought photovoltaic cells
and cut their energy use down by 90 percent. They could probably tell Darpa a lot
about what they used to store their energy, as well as what they would have liked to use.

Photo: U.S. Air Force

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มนุษย์อยู่ร่วมในสังคมเดียวกัน โดยความคิดเห็นที่แตกต่างกัน ย่อมสร้างผลกระทบต่อสังคมได้ฉันนั้น

sunny

จำนวนข้อความ : 3511
Registration date : 28/06/2008

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