Nuclear power is a key player in the future of clean energy, and multiple companies are pursuing new technologies to maximize nuclear’s contribution to the clean energy space. Founded in 2011 and based in Cambridge, MA, Transatomic Power is an advanced nuclear technology startup developing and commercializing a molten salt reactor (MSR), or a nuclear reactor whose fuel is in liquid, rather than solid, form. This technology, originally developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960’s, offers multiple safety and cost benefits over traditional nuclear reactors, in which the fuel is in the form of solid pellets cooled by water.
Tranatomic’s MSR design builds on the original work at ORNL and adds a few innovative new features that reduce the reactor’s size and, as a result, it’s cost – a huge factor in building new nuclear power plants. Though the development process is a long one, the world needs a larger capacity for clean energy generation, and it’s this ultimate goal that drives the Transatomic team forward. Continue reading →
Acknowledging the achievements of women across all walks of life – engineering, science, literature, art, sports, medicine, education – can have a big impact on girls and young women who are just beginning to make their way in this world. In March, we celebrate those achievements through “Women’s History Month.”
While researching women in engineering, I came across the story of Kate Gleason. Kate was the first female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Concrete Institute. Born in 1865 in Rochester, New York, she didn’t have any thorough engineering training. Kate attended Cornell University as a “special student” in 1884 to study mechanical arts while pursuing part-time studies at the Sibley College of Engraving and the Mechanics Institute. She started her career working in her father’s machine-tool factory, and by 1893 they had designed and perfected a machine that produced beveled gears quickly and at low cost. She was instrumental in helping the factory become a leading U.S. producer of gear-cutting machines in the early 1900s. Continue reading →