The Department of Energy has awarded Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of San Jose, CA, a $65.5 million contract to complete architectural build-out and finishing of the structure to house the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's largest laser. The contract is the largest single subcontract for the NIF construction project. The NIF is a stadium-sized, $1.2 billion, 192-beam laser complex now under construction at the DoE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Slated for completion in 2003, the facility is expected to create brief bursts of self-sustaining fusion reactions similar to those occurring in the sun and stars. The resulting data will help the DoE maintain the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile without underground testing, while providing benefits in basic science, astrophysics and commercial fusion power production. For more information on the NIF, contact Gordon Yano, LLNL Public Affairs, at (510) 423-3117.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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