Friday, April 20, 2018
VOLUME - NUMBER
Advertisements

Archive >  July 2013 Issue >  Front Page News > 

City Councilor Journeys from Japan to "The Heart of Darkness"
Keith Matzen, Sandia National Laboratories pulsed power director, explains some intricacies of Sandia's Z machine to visitor Yasuyuki Kaneko. (Photo by Lloyd Wilson)
Albuquerque, NM — When is a nuclear test not a nuclear test? That all depends on your viewpoint. Tests are performed in miniature by Sandia's Z machine — reportedly the most powerful laboratory producer of X-rays on Earth. The large accelerator regularly examines plutonium to study the fissile material's properties. The large accelerator has done this eight times in the last three years. The U.S. government's view is that tests of a few grams of plutonium are safe, ecologically responsible, and do not violate the United States' unofficial moratorium on nuclear testing that's been in effect for more than two decades.

But there are self-appointed watchdogs in Japan, where each firing is widely reported, and the reports motivate councilors in hundreds of Japanese cities to write letters of protest to President Barack Obama.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum resets its "Peace Watch Tower" clock to zero after each Z shot. The reset indicates the amount of time since the last global nuclear weapons test.

One Sapporo city councilor, Yasuyuki Kaneko, decided to see for himself what was really going on in Albuquerque. He doubted the danger widely perceived by his countrymen. He left his wife and two small children at the end of April to fly from the Northern Japan city of Sapporo to Albuquerque to visit Sandia. He took the final step of his mission when he was escorted into the building housing Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine, viewed by the overwhelming majority of Kaneko's elected colleagues as the heart of darkness.

No Danger
"I've read your website," he said, "and I'm convinced the experiments are not dangerous."

But millions of Japanese "think it's a big explosion (whenever Z fires)," he said.

So, he said, "I have come here to see why you do your experiment with all my eyes."

He came alone because no other Sapporo councilors wanted to come. Of his city's 68 council members, he said, only three opposed sending letters to the American president. The other two dissenters, several decades older than the 42-year-old Kaneko, were reluctant to undertake the lengthy journey.

Sandia Pulsed Power Sciences Center director Keith Matzen, asked by the National Nuclear Security Administration to host the hour-long tour, answered Kaneko's question of how much plutonium was involved in a Z test shot by pulling a nickel from his pocket. "The amount of plutonium used is less than the size of this coin," he said.

Smaller than Expected
Kaneko, who has little scientific background (his college majors were economics and law), had no trouble understanding the coin comparison. He said later, "The amount is much smaller than I expected. It is not dangerous because I can touch the container in the facility. Also, they do experiments there every day (so it's not a bomb site)."

Given that he held a favorable position toward Z before he came to Sandia, would his first-hand report be greeted by skepticism at home?

"The truth is most powerful to convince someone," Kaneko said.

The Z machine is a contender to produce break-even nuclear fusion power in the laboratory. Break-even — harvesting as much energy from a reaction as put into it — is the next major fusion goal and would be a step in achieving virtually unlimited energy from sea water.

Web:
http://www.sandia.gov

Add your comment:

Full Name:
E-mail:
Subject:
Comment:
 



 
 
SMTA Europe's Harsh Environments Conference Session 7 to Focus on Hi-Temp Mats/Fab
SMTA Europe announces Session 7 Technical Program on High Temperature PCB Materials and Fabrication at the “Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference” to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on April 25th, 2018.      
EOS WLC550 series offers maximum Cooling Flexibility on Standard Footprint
Last week at the MT-CONNECT in Nuremberg more than 150 companies from the European MedTec Business met for discussing the latest trends and guidelines in MedTec industry. When EOS power presented its medical up to class-2 powersupplies at MT-CONNECT, the EOS team made an exciting observation: While everyone is still talking about the size of the powersupplies, which is still very true for home devices, the real crucial factor for sales support for larger devices at the MT connect was the cooling.   
SEMI and TechSearch International Report Global Semiconductor Packaging Materials Market Reaches $16.7 Billion

MILPITAS, CA SEMI, the industry association representing the global electronics manufacturing supply chain, and TechSearch International today reported that the global semiconductor packaging materials market reached $16.7 billion in 2017. While slower growth of smartphones and personal computers – the industry’s traditional drivers – is reducing material consumption, the slowdown was offset by strong unit growth in the cryptocurrency market in 2017 and early 2018. Flip chip package shipments into the cryptocurrency market, while providing a windfall to many suppliers, are not expected to remain at high levels.  


C&K ANNOUNCES THAT IT HAS ACQUIRED VUILLERMOZ
Newton, MA – C&K, one of the world’s most trusted brands of high-quality electromechanical switches, today announces that it has acquired the company Vuillermoz, a micro-mechanical components and tooling company located in St. Claude, France.



 
search login