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    innovations report - Bad Homburg, Germany / 17.02.2006
    Mammoth is the brother of the Asian elephant, and the African elephant is their grandfather
    Группа российских и американских генетиков под руководством профессора Евгения Рогаева проделала работу по расшифровке полной (длиной 16 842 нуклеотида) последовательности митохондриальной ДНК мамонта. Сравнение ее с митохондриальной ДНК современных слонов подтвердило сделанный ранее немецкими учеными вывод о том, что мамонты ближе к индийскому, чем к африканскому слону.

Approximately 10,000 years after the last mammoths used to roam across the North American and Eurasian spaces, they still remain an exciting subject of inquiry for researchers. Mammoths and elephants belong to the most ancient group of mammals, therefore, when studying mammoths the researchers reveal secrets of evolutionary origin of contemporary species. Discussions continue about genetic kinship of mammoths and contemporary elephants.
Now, Russian researchers working at several institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Lomonosov Moscow State University, as well as at Universities of Massachusetts and California managed to obtain independent proof this kinship. The researchers managed to reconstruct the most ancient (as of today) complete DNA sequence of mitochondrial genome received from remains of a mammoth that died about 33,000 years ago.
Professor Rogayev, Doctor of Biology, and his colleagues (from UMASS MS, Scientific Center of Mental Health, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, UCSD) published the article entitled "Complete mitochondrial genome and phylogeny of Pleistocene mammoth Mammuthus primigenius" on February 7 in the Plos Biology magazine, Public Library of Science (Plos), where they described the DNA sequence of 16,842 signs (16,842 pairs of nucleotides). This is a complete mitochondrial genome of a mammoth, whose remains had been extracted from the permafrost. The remains date back to the Pleistocene era - the period of time from 10,000 through 1.6-1.9 million years B.C. The investigations have showed that mammoths and Asia's elephants are related species that drifted apart in the course of evolution soon after separation of their common ancestor from the line of African elephants.
Professor Rogayev and his colleagues used the DNA educed from a section of the mammoth's leg with intact skin and muscles. Palaeontologists found it in Kolyma, in the Maly Anuy river basin in 1986. The age of the discovered specimen (determined with the help of radiocarbon method) is approximately between 31,950 and 33,750 years. After it was extracted from the permafrost, it turned out that the mammoth's leg tissues were in a very good condition. Thanks to colleagues from Magadan, the samples were preserved for several years in a frozen condition. The researchers discovered that the DNA, regardless of degradation traces, was of very high quality and could be educed in sufficient quantity. With the help of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, the researchers twice reconstructed a complete mitochondrial genome: in the Russian laboratories back in 2000 and, independently, in University of Massachusetts - several years later. Findings of the unique and laborious work are published now.
DNA is present in the nucleus of each cell of the body, but cellular organellas - mitochondria - have their own genome (its size making about 16,500 pairs of nucleotides), which exists outside the cellular nucleus. It is mitochondrial DNA that offers the researchers the most precious information about evolutionary development. While the DNA in the nucleus undergoes recombination, in the process of which its sections received from father and mother get mixed, thus impeding genetic history interpretation, the mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited only maternally, allows to trace a more direct kindred line.
Using the interpreted mitochondrial genome sequence, Professor Rogayev and his colleagues determined evolutionary kinship between extinct mammoths. It does not always work out to judge correctly about kinship via comparing parameters of the body structure. Thus, for example, based on teeth characteristics, the assumption was made about immediate relationship of the mammoth and the Asia's elephant, while the proboscis structure investigation refers the mammoth to the same group with the African elephant.
To solve the evolutionary puzzle, Professor Rogayev and his colleagues also performed sequencing of complete mitochondrial genomes of African and Asia's elephants. To exclude even the minimal possibility of DNA contamination, the elephant samples investigation was started after the researchers determined primary sequence of the mammoth's mitochondrial genome. The following evolutionary history analysis proved that the mammoth had a common ancestor line with the Asia's elephant, the line being more contemporary than that with the African elephant. The researchers also pointed out that the lines of the mammoth and the Asia's elephant diverged soon after their common ancestor's line separated from that of the African elephant.
Utilization of the "ancient" DNA is connected with great difficulties. The fossilized remains' DNA not only gets destroyed (normally, the researchers succeed at best to educe only short fragments, less than 100 to 300 pairs of nucleotides), but it also accumulates a lot of artifact mutations, which cause mistakes in determining the structure. Uniqueness of Professor Rogayev's group effort is not only in the length of the interpreted DNA, but also in accuracy of its interpretation. The results of their investigation demonstrate that obtained long genomic sequences do not contain artifacts.
On top of establishing kinship between the mammoth and the contemporary elephants, the researchers also found out to what the extent different Pleistocene mammoths were genetically close the each other. Contemporary elephants' populations are rather heterogeneous genetically. And mammoths from different regions of Siberia turned out to be very similar at the DNA level. That means that at least maternal genetic lines of mammoths that populated Siberia in different epochs are very close. Thus, preliminary findings assume that a rather genetically homogeneous mammoth population used to inhabit Siberia during the entire late Pleistocene epoch.
"Analysis of the complete mitochondrial DNA sequence for reconstruction of animal evolution history may become the most efficient method for determining kinship between extinct and now existent species, as well as for forensic medicine or "historic" samples analysis", says Evgeni Rogayev. This is the way to get genes of the animals that vanished from the face of the earth many thousands years ago.

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    PhysOrg / February 13, 2006
    Peat Absorbs Oil
    Ученые трех российских институтов: ВНИИ технической физики (Снежинск), научного центра "Вектор" (Новосибирск) и Института биологии РАН (Сыктывкар), - создали новую технологию для ликвидации разливов нефти. Они разработали сорбент из торфа, который способен впитывать нефтепродукты, не загрязняя окружающую среду. После обжига при определенной температуре торф становится настолько пористым, что каждая его частица способна впитать в себя в несколько раз больше нефтяной пленки, чем весит сама. Кроме того, в сорбент добавлены бактерии, способные разлагать впитанные нефтепродукты.

Oil and oil products spill often and in various places. These are plots in oil production areas and pipeline breaking locations and places of tanker wracks or crashes of consists, which carry oil products. At best, oil spillage falls on hard soil: it can be collected and somehow refined or, at the worst, buried. The case is much worse if the spillage takes place on water.
The oil film spreads out quickly to large distances, and it is very uneasy to collect. A thick film is removed by sea bulldozers by "scraping it off" water surface. As for a thin film, which produces iridescent spots, it is practically impossible to eliminate. By the way, its emergence does not require any disastrous events at all: a film may drift behind an ordinary motor-launch if its engine does not run well. A film several microns thick may seem to produce little impact. For water inhabitants, it emergence can mean certain death: it reduces oxygen dissolving in water drastically.
Therefore, the problem of fighting oil film is more than urgent. There is only one remedy for it: sorbent that is capable of taking in oil products. It is also desirable that the sorbent itself did not contaminate the environment and was able to turn carbohydrates into something quite harmless. Researchers of three institutes - Snezhinsk All-Russian Scientific Research Institite of Technical Physics (VNIITF), Novosibirsk State Research Center "Vector" and the Syktyvkar Institute of Biology (Komi Research Center, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences) with financial support from the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) - managed to combine all three components of an ideal sorbent. Significant assistance was also provided by the US colleagues. Furthermore, the partner of the project - the Kirov Center for Ecological Initiatives "Press-Torf (Peat)" - even arranged production of sorbent trial lots.
The sorbent is based on peat - one of the most widespread materials in Russia, particularly in the North. Generated from remains of plants, peat doesn't contaminate the environment by any means. Being an interim link in a series of carbohydrates transformations, which begin from dead plants and finish with anthracite, peat itself is capable of taking in oil rather well. After burning at definite temperatures (which are object of know-how), peat becomes so porous that each of its finest particles is able to absorb several times more oil film than it weighs.
However, there is a significant difficulty in working with peat: sorbent turns out to be very lightweight, it is extremely hard to disperse evenly across a large area. The task has been solved by engineers from Snezhinsk. They made special proportioning bunkers of different sizes: from the manual or, more precisely, shoulder option, reminding of a garden sprayer, through to industrial one, which is fixed on a fire-engine or a special motor-launch. The first modification fits oil-field workers, the bosses of which wish voluntarily or not (under the pressure of public opinion concerned with environment protection) to maintain cleanness in the area of oil well. The second modification is needed for purification of large water bodies' surface. For example, the motor-launch with such a bunker on board proved itself very well during purification of the Neva river surface near the Palace Embankment. It is important to note that the sorbent is hydrophobic, i.e. it preserves floatation after it gets saturated with oil within several weeks, this fact allowing to collect it from water surface in a mechanical way using standard technology.
However, creation of the sorbent was only the first part of the effort. Biologist were involved in the second part. It is known that there are quite a lot of bacteria capable of eating up oil. Moreover, biologists are well aware of the cultures that do that best of all and are well adaptated to life in certain climatic conditions. Biologists from Syktyvkar and Novosibirsk were engaged in cultivation of such bacteria in particular, or more precisely, in selection of their correct community, including microfungi. They managed not only to select such a community, but also to develop technology for its growing and distribution in the peat sorbent. In case of using biosorbent, absorbed oil products are decomposed by oil destructor microorganisms within spring and summer period, which was confirmed by field trials carried out at the Usinsky oil field. The cost of such sorbent will certainly be much higher than that of a common one, but it guarantees complete and rapid decomposition of oil products.

© PhysOrg.com 2003-2006

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    EurekAlert (press release) - Washington, DC, USA / 15-Feb-2006
    2005 AAAS ISC Award goes to a team of Russian and American scientists
    Американская ассоциация содействия развитию науки (AAAS), одна из крупнейших мировых научных организаций и издатель журнала "Science", присудила группе российских и американских ученых премию 2005 года за международное научное сотрудничество. Награда ученым вручается за новаторскую работу по развитию современных методов космического наблюдения в обеих странах.

AAAS, the world's largest general scientific society, named a team of Russian and American scientists to receive the 2005 International Scientific Cooperation Award. They are Dr. Kyle T. Alfriend, Dr. Paul J. Cefola, Dr. Felix R. Hoots and Dr. P. Kenneth Seidelmann from the United States, and Dr. Andrey I. Nazarenko, Dr. Vasiliy S. Yurasov and Dr. Stanislav S. Veniaminov from Russia.
Once adversaries, these dedicated scientists are honored for both their determination to transcend numerous limitations to collaboration and their pioneering work to advance state-of-the-art space surveillance in both countries for the benefit of the worldwide astrodynamics community and the safety of human activity in space.
At the beginning of the Space Age, the United States and the former Soviet Union created separate systems for surveying space and classifying objects floating in space to ensure their own strategic and tactical advantage. The resulting data bases, called space object catalogs, contained regular tracks and orbital elements of the floating objects, and were not shared between the two countries. In addition to restraining advancements in astrodynamics, this information divide impeded international knowledge of all satellites orbiting the Earth and the scope and safety of human activity in space.
Beginning in 1994, the awardees embarked on an exceptional series of workshops aimed at exchanging information on the mathematical methods and systems used for space surveillance in their two countries, and ultimately on comparing space object catalogs. Given the proximity of these meetings to the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the scientists could have easily been deterred by the many logistical challenges alone. But they persevered. They held six workshops in the United States, Poland and Russia, which opened communication between U.S. and Russian experts in space surveillance, fostered cooperative research addressing common problems of space surveillance, and led to sharing of data, exchange of catalogs, and communication between people and organizations.
As a result of these collaborative efforts, it was possible to achieve near real-time determination of upper atmospheric density - the nagging problem for estimating drag on satellites - and therefore, improving orbits of geostationary satellites. The reduction in estimation errors led both the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office to proclaim this as the "greatest improvement in atmospheric drag modeling over the last 30 years." Background descriptions on the award winners follow:

  • Dr. Alfriend is the Distinguished Research Chair Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. He is a mechanical engineer and a recognized international expert in astrodynamics and satellite attitude dynamics and control. His research has contributed to protecting the International Space Station from collisions with floating objects and navigating satellites.
  • Dr. Cefola is a lecturer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Aero-Astro Department and an independent consultant, with over 30 years experience in the Aerospace industry. He is a mechanical engineer with research interests in the application of optimization techniques to the design and maintenance of satellite constellations and of parallel processing paradigms to astrodynamical problems.
  • Dr. Hoots is the Group Manager of Space Programs for AT&T. He is an expert in astrodynamics and mathematical modeling, linear programming modeling and satellite motion, mechanics and geometry. He previously served in the directorate of astrodynamics at the U.S. Air Force Space Command and as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
  • Dr. Nazarenko is the chief scientist of the Space Observation Center, Department of Information Technologies, Russian Aviation-Space Agency. His main research interest is developing the statistical theory of motion of a satellite ensemble and applying it to studies of space debris. He also helped establish the Russian Space Control System.
  • Dr. Seidelmann is a dynamical astronomer and research professor in the Astronomy Department at the University of Virginia. After military service as a research and development coordinator at the U.S. Army Missile Command, he joined the U.S Naval Observatory, where he was director of the Nautical Almanac Office, the Orbital Mechanics Department, and the Directorate of Astrometry. He co-originated (with Dr. Veniaminov) the series of workshops this award honors.
  • Dr. Veniaminov is an engineer and leading scientist of the Scientific Research Center "Kosmos" of the Russian Department of Defense. He is an expert in cybernatics and cooperates internationally on space surveillance and debris contamination of near-Earth space. He has helped develop a theoretical base and method for optimum search of space objects on highly elliptical orbits and in geosynchronous orbit. He co-originated (with Dr. Seidelmann) the series of workshops this award honors.
  • Dr. Yurasov is a project manager for Space Informatics Analytical Systems (KIA Systems) in Moscow with more than 25 years' experience in astrodynamics, orbital mechanics and information technology, including research, development and management in public and private sectors. He has worked on optical measurements processing technology for geostationary satellite orbits, a comparison of satellite theories, and determination of satellite re-entry time with the help of numerical and semi-analytical methods.

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    The Mercury News / Thu, Feb. 23, 2006
    The Russians may be winning a new, very "cold war" in Antarctica
    • BY ROBERT S. BOYD
      Knight Ridder Newspapers
    Россия и США оказались на грани еще одной "холодной войны". На сей раз война будет действительно холодной, поскольку место ее действия - Антарктида. Именно здесь вновь разошлись интересы России и США, а поводом стало озеро Восток, лежащее под слоем льда толщиной почти 4 километра. Еще в 1998 году российские ученые начали бурить во льду скважину. От поверхности озера их отделяет около ста метров, бурение которых предполагается закончить в этом году. Американские исследователи настаивают на прекращении работ, один из доводов - буровая жидкость может привести к заражению воды в озере.

WASHINGTON - The United States and Russia are locked in another cold war, this time over a hole in the ice at the bottom of the world in Antarctica.
The Russians lost the real Cold War, but it looks as if they're going to win this one.
At issue is their plan to continue drilling a hole they began in 1998 until they poke through the ice into a large, long-buried lake known as Vostok. They've already drilled 2.2 miles down, stopping only about 100 yards from the lake, and have declared their intention to go the rest of the way next year.
Scientists in the United States and worldwide are panting to explore Lake Vostok, but they worry that the Russians are plunging ahead without taking adequate precautions to avoid contaminating the hidden waters with their drilling equipment.
Researchers think that the lake, which is about the size of Lake Ontario and more than a half-mile deep, has been sealed off from the rest of the world for more than 10 million years, far longer than humans have been on Earth. They want to find out whether living organisms are growing down there and see how they may have evolved differently from life on the surface. The findings also could tell a lot about the possibility of life on the icy moons of Jupiter or on planets beyond our solar system.
The problem is the Russians are using a drilling fluid - a mixture of kerosene and Freon that's infested with microbes - to bore into the ice. If the fluid gets into the lake, scientists can't be sure that any organisms they find were in the water already or came from the outside, said Scott Borg, the head of the Antarctic Sciences Section at the National Science Foundation. That would destroy their scientific value.
Alarmed by the Russian push, the National Academy of Sciences created a special committee to set "cleanliness" standards for drilling into lakes under glaciers or ice sheets, such as Vostok. It's not clear, however, that the Russians will pay any attention.
"The Russians aren't waiting for standards. They have decided to move forward," Borg said at the committee's first meeting earlier this month. "We have declined to participate (in the drilling). We don't feel it's ready."
The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, an international organization based in Cambridge, England, urged the Russians to wait for further studies before penetrating the lake.
"It is extremely important to be very cautious," the committee's executive director, Colin Summerhayes, said in an e-mail message. He listed two main concerns: "accidental penetration of the lake" and contaminated drill fluid seeping into the water "through tiny cracks in the ice just above the lake surface."
The Russians say they've done a successful test drilling in Greenland and that Vostok won't be harmed.
I am convinced the concerns about possible contamination of the lake's water with the drilling fluid do not have any physical grounds," Valerii Lukin, the director of the Russian Vostok project, told Science magazine last fall.
All scientific activities in Antarctica are governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which 28 nations, including the then-Soviet Union, signed in 1959. It spells out procedures to protect the frozen continent's sensitive environment.
However, the treaty "has no enforcement provisions - only peer pressure," said Mahlon "Chuck" Kennicutt, a marine geologist at Texas A&M University in College Station.
"This is not an academic question. It's happening," Kennicutt said. "The Russians have a stated objective to be the first to penetrate the lake. This is a huge political issue for them."
David Walton, an environmental-management expert with the British Antarctic Survey, based in Cambridge, England, agreed that there's no way to enforce guidelines or standards if the Russians don't want to comply.
"We assume they will go ahead with the activity," Walton said. "Others can comment, but they cannot stop an action. There is no veto."
In accordance with their plan, the Russians drilled down another 30 yards this winter - summer in Antarctica - before stopping because of equipment problems. They plan to drill another 70 yards, put in a plastic plug, then switch to a machine driven by heat instead of kerosene to punch through the last 30 yards of ice in the winter of 2007-08.
They'll describe their latest plan at a meeting of Antarctic Treaty members in Edinburgh, Scotland, in June.

© 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services

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    Innovations report - Bad Homburg, Germany / 14.02.2006
    New Skull Analysis Gives Information About Gene Pool
    Антрополог из Московского государственного университета А.А.Мовсесян считает, что простое изучение изменений в структуре черепа человека может дать не меньше информации о генетических преобразованиях, чем молекулярная генетика.

At times, molecular geneticists do not notice signs as they are focused on genes. However, it is sometimes useful to closely look at the bones per se instead of educing DNA from ancient bones. A.A. Movsesyan, anthropologist of Moscow University, believes that variations in the human beings' skull structure make a precious source of information about the gene pool of fossil populations.
Despite success of molecular genetics that developed efficient methods for educing mitochondrial DNA from fossil bones, anthropologists prefer primary sources as before and keep investigating skulls. Each skull possess multitude of distinctive and well-perceptible signs: these are supplementary and fontanel bones, sutural bones (epactal ossicle), accessory and inconstant orifices, appendices and protuberances.
As peculiarities of the skull structure are genetically determined, the set of signs allows to judge about the genotype of its owner, and the frequency at which some feature is found reflects genetic peculiarities of the population. In this case, the idea about genetic diversity of populations including the fossilized ones, and about their kinship may be compiled without resorting to molecular methods, thus making the process much easier and less expensive. But will this information be trustworthy?
In various anthropological museums, researchers collected and described 3,475 skulls of representatives of 62 nations of the world. The analysis was carried out based on 35 signs. The obtained level of inter-ethnic diversity is comparable with the already known level of genetic diversity, therefore, signs of skull bones structure represent a trustworthy source of information that is particularly precious in the cases when only bones remain from studied nations.
As characters of skull bones reflect genetic processes taking place in the populations, these signs may be used to reconstruct the ancient populations' gene pool, to track their kinship ties with each other and with contemporary ethnoses. Thus, it has turned out that the Baikal area was populated during the Stone Age by the people that differed from each other no less than, for example, contemporary Eskimos from Tuvinians.
However, averaged skull characteristics of ancient and contemporary Siberian inhabitants testify to their undoubted kinship. This conclusion was later fully confirmed by the analysis of mitochondrial DNA of contemporary and fossil populations. There is no doubt either about genetic commonality of ancient and contemporary Armenians.
Contemporary ethnoses can be divided into four main groups based on the skull classification: Australo-Negroids, Europeoids, Mongoloids of Siberia and populations of the South-Eastern Asia, where two groups of American Indians adjoin. This classification is rather close to the genetic one both in terms of the content of big groups and sequence of their division. However, one significant distinction does exist: geneticists always separate African and non-African people, whereas skull structure make inhabitants of Eastern Africa related with aboriginal population of Australia. As the majority of investigated signs did not depend on geographical coordinates or climatic peculiarities of the region, skulls similarity cannot be explained by external actions. Probably, it reflects the traces of ancient migrations into Melanesia from Eastern Africa. According to the latest archeological data, populating of Australia by human beings started no later than 60 thousand years ago. And molecular geneticists believe that first migrants went away from Africa not northwards but along the coast of South-East Asia. So, skull analysis results fully agree with existing hypotheses.
It might be certainly that emergence of new paleogenetic and paleoanthropological data will change more than once our notions about routes and stages of mankind settling. At this phase, other thing is fundamentally important - analysis of certain characteristics of skull structure allow to recreate the picture of racial differentiation and to judge about kinship ties between different ancient and contemporary populations of human beings.

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    Armées.Com / mardi 14 février 2006
    Le renouveau des réacteurs à neutrons rapides
    В Свердловской области планируется строительство крупного комплекса по освоению технологий реакторов на быстрых нейтронах, способных самообеспечиваться топливом за счет процессов рецикла. Такой реактор одновременно решает и проблему отработанного ядерного топлива. Из него будут извлекаться уран, плутоний и актиниды для дальнейшего использования. "Отходов" как таковых не будет, а значит, не нужно будет думать, где и как их хранить.

Un important complexe à auto-approvisionnement doit être construit dans la région de Sverdlovsk, dans l'Oural, pour domestiquer la technologie des réacteurs à neutrons rapides. C'est l'un des projets appelés à réaliser les potentialités en souffrance de l'industrie atomique civile, selon l'expression du président Vladimir Poutine. Or il s'agit d'un potentiel considérable. Ce sont des technologies conditionnant l'avenir de l'énergétique et du nucléaire civil en général. Les réacteurs à neutrons rapides et à réfrigérant à sodium permettant d'exploiter avec efficacité le principe du cycle de combustion fermé sont l'une de ces technologies.
Le rôle de ces réacteurs a été défini de façon exhaustive par l'académicien Evgueni Velikhov, président de l'Institut Kourtchatov: "Les physiciens se rendent compte que le nucléaire civil n'a pas d'avenir sans les réacteurs à neutrons rapides. Ce serait alors un court épisode de l'histoire dont le rôle principal se ramènerait à la recherche des moyens d'en finir avec l'industrie atomique que l'humanité a pu créer".
C'est le réacteur à neutrons rapides que la Russie a choisi pour réaliser la "Stratégie de développement du nucléaire civil au cours de la première moitié du XXIe siècle" approuvée par son gouvernement. L'idée de la "pile rapide" n'est pas neuve, elle est à l'origine du nucléaire civil. Avancée par le physicien hongrois Leo Szilard dans les années 1930, elle a été brevetée en 1946. Autant dire que les physiciens savaient dès le début que le réacteur à neutrons rapides capable de s'approvisionner lui-même en combustible à la faveur des processus de recyclage était le moyen le plus rationnel de développer l'énergie atomique. Une telle pile résout à la fois l'important problème du combustible usé en produisant de l'uranium, du plutonium et des actinides qui seront réutilisés. Le problème du stockage des déchets qui épouvante tellement les gens ne se pose pas. Il faut seulement les recycler.
À l'époque précoce du développement de l'énergétique atomique, les chercheurs russes accordaient beaucoup d'attention aux piles rapides. Un réacteur expérimental BN-600 a été mis en route en 1980 à la centrale de Biéloïarsk, dans l'Oural, où il fonctionne toujours. Mais s'agissant de la production en série, les installations refroidies et ralenties par eau se sont avérées plus rentables et la priorité leur a été accordée. Actuellement la Russie et d'autres pays construisent et exploitent principalement des réacteurs de ce type. En ce qui concerne les piles rapides, on n'en compte que quelques-unes dans le monde entier.
La Russie s'est fixé pour objectif de développer la technologie à neutrons rapides, cette fois en vue de son utilisation à des fins commerciales. "Nous avons besoin de réacteurs à neutrons rapides bien qu'ils demandent des investissements plus importants et que le kWh revienne plus cher. Il nous faudra 46 milliards de roubles pour achever le nouveau BN-800. C'est l'étape indispensable de la naissance des réacteurs commerciaux pendant laquelle nous devons trouver un compromis entre les deux problèmes essentiels - la sécurité et la rentabilité - et domestiquer le recyclage des matières fissiles", a expliqué le directeur scientifique du Centre des technologies et des innovations TVEL, Mikhaïl Solonine, membre correspondant de l'Académie des sciences de Russie.
Le BN-800 et le modèle suivant, BN-1800, seront installés dans l'enceinte de la centrale de Biéloïarsk. De l'avis de Mikhaïl Solonine, c'est une solution optimale puisque cette entreprise possède déjà le potentiel scientifique et technique nécessaire et un personnel expérimenté. Le nouveau réacteur utilisera un combustible mixte uranium-plutonium. A noter que dans ce cas il n'a pas besoin d'être enrichi en uranium 235 : il est même possible d'utiliser de l'uranium naturel, voire appauvri. La pile BN-800 nécessite la mise en place d'une unité spéciale pour produire du combustible mixte qui peut être implantée dans le Complexe chimique Maïak d'Ozersk, à 150 km de Biéloïarsk, qui possède l'expérience nécessaire. A Ozersk se trouve aussi l'Usine RT-1 de retraitement du combustible usé retiré des réacteurs VVER-400 des brise-glace et des sous-marins nucléaires, dont des sous-marins réformés. Elle pourra également recycler les déchets du BN-800. Ainsi, tous les éléments nécessaires au développement de la technologie à neutrons rapides sont concentrés dans une seule région du pays.
Combien de temps faudra-t-il réellement pour mettre en service le réacteur BN-800?
Au moins huit ans pour construire tout le complexe avec le réacteur et le combustible, selon Mikhaïl Solonine. Le BN-800 devra remplacer le BN-600 dont la durée de vie expire d'ici là. Ce ne sera pas une réplique de son prédécesseur. Il aura une puissance calorifique de 40% plus élevée pour une augmentation de dimensions minimale. Son rôle principal n'est pas l'exploitation commerciale, il sera utilisé pour roder les différentes solutions techniques qui serviront de base à la création d'un réacteur commercial.
Le premier des 46 milliards de roubles de fonds budgétaires nécessaires a déjà été débloqué. Les atomistes espèrent que non seulement l'Etat mais aussi le secteur privé participera financièrement au projet. "Aujourd'hui les piles rapides sont une technologie qui peut être domestiquée dans un délai assez court et justifiée du point de vue commercial", assure Mikhaïl Solonine.
Il serait logique de demander ce que les habitants de Sverdlovsk, de Tcheliabinsk et du reste de l'Oural pensent de la perspective d'une nouvelle nucléarisation de leur région. Ceux qui ne connaissent pas le problème s'alarment, naturellement. Les accidents qui ont eu lieu dans différents pays, et tout particulièrement celui de Tchernobyl en 1986, ont discrédité le nucléaire civil aux yeux de l'opinion publique et provoqué un sentiment d'hostilité.
Cependant les technologies nucléaires sont l'une des spécialités de la région depuis soixante ans déjà. De nombreux habitants de la région travaillent dans les entreprises de cette branche et savent qu'aujourd'hui cette production n'est pas dangereuse. Les bonnes conditions de travail, un salaire confortable et une protection sociale efficace comptent également. Tout cela réuni rend les entreprises atomiques très prestigieuses et leur garantit le statut de "personae gratae" dans la société.
"Les atomistes ont tiré de bons enseignements de la tragédie de Tchernobyl", affirme l'académicien Velikhov. Les problèmes de la sécurité et de la sûreté des centrales atomiques sont revenus au premier plan et des grands efforts ont été déployés pour éviter complètement les accidents sur les centrales nucléaires. "L'expérience acquise d'analyse du fonctionnement des réacteurs, de leur sécurisation, de nouveaux matériaux nous donne le droit d'affirmer qu'il n'y aura pas de réédition de l'accident de Tchernobyl. La probabilité des incidents sur les centrales nucléaires est très faible aujourd'hui, de toute façon plus basse que dans l'industrie minière ou chimique, sans parler des transports", souligne Mikhaïl Solonine.

Le droit de reproduction accordé à Armées.Com n'est pas cessible.

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    PR Newswire France - Issy Les Moulineaux, France / Jeudi 2 Mars 2006
    InnoCentive signe un accord de partenariat avec l'Institut des problèmes de physique chimique l'Académie des sciences de Russie
    • Diffusé par PR Newswire pour InnoCentive
    Компания InnoCentive, автор IT-проекта "Всемирный форум ученых", заключила соглашение о сотрудничестве с Институтом проблем химической физики РАН. InnoCentive выступает в роли связующего звена между крупными промышленными компаниями, у которых возникает необходимость в решении тех или иных научных проблем, и учеными разных стран, готовыми взяться за поиск ответов. На сайте InnoCentive такие задачи представлены и сопровождаются информацией о сумме возможного вознаграждения.

MOSCOU, March 2 /PRNewswire/ - Le partenariat accroît la couverture d'InnoCentive parmi les principaux instituts de recherches nationaux appartenant au réseau de l'Académie des sciences de Russie.
InnoCentive Inc., qui dirige le premier forum en ligne rapprochant les groupes mondiaux et les scientifiques du monde entier afin de résoudre des problèmes épineux de Recherche et Développement, a annoncé aujourd'hui la signature d'un accord de partenariat officiel avec l'Institut des problèmes de physique chimique, membre de la prestigieuse Académie des sciences de Russie (RAS). InnoCentive a également annoncé des accords avec trois autres universités et instituts, l'Université d'Extrême Orient de Vladivostok, l'Université d'Etat d'Ivanovo ainsi que le Département des technologies chimiques et le Département de chimie de l'Université d'Etat de Bashkiria dans l'Ufa.
L'Institut des problèmes de physique chimique de la RAS est l'un des principaux instituts de l'Académie russe. Il a été créé sous la supervision du Prix de Nobel N.N. Semenov.
Ali Hussein, Directeur de marketing d'InnoCentive et Vice-président des marchés mondiaux déclare : "Ces accords, qui nous lient notamment à un institut membre de l'Académie des sciences de Russie, permettent à InnoCentive d'étendre son réseau de chercheurs afin d'inclure d'autres membres de la RAS, institution scientifique de renommé mondiale. La Russie continue d'être l'un des premiers marchés d'InnoCentive pour l'expertise scientifique, avec l'Inde, la Chine et les Etats-Unis" ajoute M. Hussein. "Les accords annoncés aujourd'hui viennent renforcer les efforts d'InnoCentive en faveur de la collaboration et établissent une passerelle entre les principales sociétés qui se consacrant à la R&D et les principaux acteurs du domaine de la recherche au niveau mondial. Notre objectif n'est rien de moins que la réalisation du potentiel de R&D par le biais de la collaboration scientifique dans le monde."
À propos de l'accord, l'universitaire Sergey Aldoshin, Directeur de l'Institut en question, Président du Centre scientifique de Chernogolovka, Membre à part entière de la RAS, Membre du conseil de direction de la RAS souligne : "L'Académie des sciences de Russie a contribué à de nombreuses découvertes scientifiques mondiales. Cette coopération élargit les possibilités en termes de collaboration mondiale et d'apports mutuels. Notre partenariat avec InnoCentive permet aux scientifiques russes de contribuer davantage à l'innovation scientifique."
Le réseau de l'Académie inclut des instituts scientifiques de toute la Fédération de Russie. L'élection en tant que membre est considérée comme un honneur. En 2005, l'Académie comptait près de 500 membres à part entière. L'Académie se trouve à Moscou et les institutions membres sont reliées par un Internet des sciences de l'espace russe.
Suite à ces accords, InnoCentive est désormais en relation avec 32 centres de recherche universitaire situés sur tout le territoire russe. Ces universités axées sur la recherche viennent s'ajouter au gisement mondial de matière grise disponible sur le site Web InnoCentive afin d'offrir des solutions économiques et innovantes aux sociétés situées à la pointe de la technologie.
InnoCentive propose aux entreprises la possibilité d'accroître leur potentiel en R&D en publiant des problèmes sur un forum en ligne confidentiel et en accédant aux plus grands esprits scientifiques. InnoCentive a mis en place une marque mondiale solide à travers son réseau de R&D unique de 90 000 scientifiques répartis sur plus de 175 pays, qui a permis les entreprises à réduire considérablement les coûts en augmentation constante et les délais de mise sur le marché. Le but d'InnoCentive est faire progresser la recherche et la collaboration scientifiques sur les marchés mondiaux.
À propos d'InnoCentive
InnoCentive est le premier forum en ligne qui permet à d'éminents scientifiques et à des entreprises dont l'activité repose sur la recherche de collaborer au sein d'une communauté scientifique mondiale afin d'apporter des solutions innovantes à des problèmes complexes. Des entreprises telles que Boeing, Eli Lilly and Company Co. et Procter & Gamble, qui dépensent globalement des milliards de dollars en R&D, publient en toute confidentialité des problèmes scientifiques sur le site Web d'InnoCentive où plus de 90 000 scientifiques et organisations scientifiques situés dans plus de 175 pays peuvent les résoudre. Les scientifiques qui livrent les solutions les mieux adaptées aux critères d'InnoCentive se voient attribuer des prix pouvant atteindre ou dépasser 100 000 USD. Pour en savoir plus sur InnoCentive Solver et vous inscrire, veuillez consulter le site Web d'InnoCentive à l'adresse www.innocentive.com

Copyright © 2006 PR Newswire Association LLC. Tous droits réservés.

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Продолжение дайджеста за МАРТ 2006 года (часть 2)

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