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Science

EU Scientists Working On Laser To Rip a Hole In Spacetime 575

astroengine writes "Those pesky physicists are at it again; they want to build a laser so powerful that it will literally rip spacetime apart. Why? To prove the existence of virtual particles in the quantum vacuum, potentially unravel extra dimensions and possibly find the root of dark matter. The $1.6 billion Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility (known as ELI) will be built somewhere in Europe by the end of the decade and physicists are hoping the ten high-powered lasers — delivering 200 petawatts of power at a target for less than a trillionth of a second — will turn up some surprises about the very fabric of the Universe."
Power

Small Nuclear Power Plants To Dot the Arctic Circle 255

Vincent West writes with news of a Russian project currently underway to populate the Arctic Circle with 70-megawatt, floating nuclear power plants. Russia has been planning these nuclear plants for quite some time, with construction beginning on the prototype in 2007. It's due to be finished next year, and an agreement was reached in February to build four more. According to the Guardian: "The 70-megawatt plants, each of which would consist of two reactors on board giant steel platforms, would provide power to Gazprom, the oil firm which is also Russia's biggest company. It would allow Gazprom to power drills needed to exploit some of the remotest oil and gas fields in the world in the Barents and Kara seas. The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years."

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