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Nigeria Converts its Research Reactor from HEU to LEU Fuel

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With the removal of highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel from Nigeria’s research reactor earlier this month, all 11 operational research reactors in Africa are now running on low enriched uranium (LEU). The conversion of reactor fuels around the world from HEU to LEU is part of international efforts, coordinated by the IAEA, to minimize civilian use of HEU and reduce associated security and proliferation risks.

Nigeria’s only operating research reactor, NIRR-1, is a Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) designed and supplied by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and used for scientific research, neutron activation analysis, education and training, operating since 2004.

The project to convert the reactor from HEU to LEU was initiated by the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission in 2016 and was supported by China, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the IAEA. LEU fuel for NIRR-1 was manufactured and tested in China and delivered to Nigeria at the end of October 2018. After a month of testing, the reactor was commissioned and reached full power operation with the LEU core, and will continue to support education and research in the country. The HEU fuel was returned to China in early December.

“The IAEA has supported the design of LEU cores, the conversion of research reactors from HEU to LEU, and international HEU repatriation efforts for over 20 years,” said Christophe Xerri, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. “The IAEA stands ready to assist other Member States with future MNSR conversion and HEU removal efforts.”

Shen Lixin, Deputy Director General of the Department of Business Development and International Cooperation at CNNC, said: “This project manifests the determination and joint effort of several governments and organizations in preventing nuclear proliferation. This is also a demonstration of CNNC’s meeting its social responsibilities and the commitment to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. CNNC is more than willing to work together and cooperate whole heartedly with relevant parties to facilitate other MNSR conversion projects.”

Nigeria’s NIRR-1 is the second MNSR outside China converted to LEU, after a similar reactor in Ghana was converted in 2017.

Nigeria last week also hosted the 9th IAEA annual technical meeting to share lessons learned and discuss technical challenges related to MNSR conversion and HEU repatriation projects. Held in Abuja from 10 to 12 December, the meeting was attended by 21 participants from six countries.

 

MNSR type research reactors were designed and manufactured by the China Institute of Atomic Energy, and the original design had a compact core with 30 kW thermal power, containing about 1 kg of 90% enriched HEU.

CULLED from www.iaea.org

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Telegram can now import your WhatsApp chat history on iOS

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Telegram has added the ability to import your chat history from WhatsApp, meaning you won’t loose past conversations if you want to switch messaging services. On iOS the feature arrived with version 7.4, released yesterday and spotted by 9to5Mac, but the update doesn’t appear to be live yet on Android. Alongside WhatsApp, chat histories from Line and KakaoTalk can also be imported, according to Telegram’s changelog. We’ve verified that you can import chats from WhatsApp into the latest version (7.4.1) of Telegram and continue the conversation, so long as each WhatsApp user has a Telegram account.

The addition of the feature comes as Telegram is reporting huge increases in user numbers, with the service now boasting over 500 million active users worldwide. The cause appears to be WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which prompted privacy concerns about the Facebook-owned messaging app (WhatsApp later delayed the introduction of the new policy, and insists it won’t affect the security of consumer chats or profile data). For users jumping ship from WhatsApp to Telegram, being able to take their chat histories with them means one fewer barrier to switching.

The import process works on a chat-by-chat basis, but appears to work for both individual and group conversations, at least with WhatsApp. To import a chat from Facebook’s messaging service, open the relevant conversation, and tap the group or contact name from the top of the chat to open its info screen. From there, the “Export Chat” option opens the iOS Share Sheet, where you’ll see the option to select Telegram. Then, just pick a Telegram chat to import the messages into.

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A wristband that tells your boss if you are unhappy

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At first glance the silicone wristband could be mistaken for one that tracks your heart rate when you are doing exercise.

However, the wearable technology, called a Moodbeam, isn’t here to monitor your physical health. Instead it allows your employer to track your emotional state.

The gadget, which links to a mobile phone app and web interface, has two buttons, one yellow and one blue. The idea is that you press the yellow one if you are feeling happy, and the blue one if you are sad.

Aimed at companies who wish to monitor the wellbeing of staff who are working from home, the idea is that employees are encouraged to wear the wristband (they can say no), and press the relevant button as they see fit throughout the working week.

Managers can then view an online dashboard to see how workers are feeling and coping. With bosses no longer able to check in physically with their team, Moodbeam hopes to bridge the gap.

“Businesses are trying to get on top of staying connected with staff working from home. Here they can ask 500 members: ‘You ok?’ without picking up the phone,” says Moodbeam co-founder Christina Colmer McHugh.

She originally came up with the idea for the product after she discovered that her daughter was struggling at school, and she wanted a way for her child to let her know how she was feeling. The wristband was launched commercially in 2016.

With many children, especially teenagers, likely to balk at the idea of having to press a button on a wristband to let their parents know how they are doing, how probable is it that employees would be willing to do the same for their boss?

Ms Colmer McHugh, whose firm is based in Hull, says that many are indeed happy to do so. “We moved away from anonymous to identifiable data after trials found that people do want to be identified,” she says.

One organisation now using Moodbeam is UK charity Brave Mind.

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Signal messaging platform stops working as downloads surge

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Messaging platform Signal said on Friday it was experiencing “technical difficulties” as it worked to accommodate millions of new users.

Some users reported messages failing to send on both the mobile and desktop apps for several hours.

The company has seen a huge uptick in interest since its rival WhatsApp unveiled new privacy terms last week.

On Twitter, Signal said it had added servers “at a record pace” and was working to restore service.

“Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters,” it said in a tweet.

Both Signal and Telegram, another free-to-use encrypted messaging app, have benefited from discontent sparked by WhatsApp’s updated terms and conditions.

WhatsApp told its two billion users they must allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook if they wished to continue using it.

This does not apply to users in the UK and Europe – but the notification was sent to everyone.

Both Signal and Telegram, another free-to-use encrypted messaging app, have benefited from discontent sparked by WhatsApp’s updated terms and conditions.

WhatsApp told its two billion users they must allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook if they wished to continue using it.

This does not apply to users in the UK and Europe – but the notification was sent to everyone.

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