FRI AM News: SHINE achieves ‘milestone moment’ in developing fusion technology; Study explores potential for treating prostate cancer patients in upright position

— The head of the American Nuclear Society is congratulating Janesville-based SHINE Technologies for achieving a “milestone moment” in developing fusion technology. 

The company yesterday announced it has demonstrated visible Cherenkov radiation produced by fusion “for what is believed to be the first time in history,” according to the release. This form of energy produces a blue glow, which results from charged particles moving faster than the speed of light through water. 

That’s possible because light travels at about 75 percent of its normal speed through water, the company says. The particles moving faster than that create a shock wave as they slow down, releasing energy in the form of the blue glow. SHINE Technologies has released a photo and video of this occurring. 

“Seeing the Cherenkov radiation produced by SHINE’s fusion-driven device is exciting progress in the advancement of fusion technology,” American Nuclear Society CEO Craig Piercy said in a statement. “Getting in-the-field data and reaching these milestones will help prove the long-term potential of fusion energy.”

While Cherenkov radiation has been observed at fission reactors operating around the world, a UW-Madison fusion expert says SHINE’s results are “powerful evidence of nuclear processes at play and further proof that fusion can produce neutrons” on par with some reactors. 

“The Cherenkov radiation effect produced here was bright enough to be visible, which means there’s a lot of fusion happening, about 50 trillion fusions per second,” said Gerald Kulcinski, Grainger professor of nuclear engineering-emeritus at the university. “At a billion fusions per second, you might have measurable Cherenkov radiation but not visible amounts.” 

SHINE’s release notes fusion has historically been demonstrated and detected through instruments, rather than visible light. 

The company’s founder and CEO, Greg Piefer, says the potential for fusion technology has “long captured the imagination of” both scientists and the public. 

“To be able [to ]create visual evidence of fusion is just really cool,” he said. “This visible demonstration of fusion is proof that we are able to produce enough reactivity for some commercial applications historically served by reactors, and clearly demonstrates the next step in our multi-phased approach to ultimately commercialize fusion energy.”

See more on that approach here: 

See the release: 

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report…</b></i> 

— Treating prostate cancer patients with radiation in an upright position could offer several benefits compared to treating patients laying flat on their back, a recent study found.

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— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Laura Strong, vice president of strategy and health care for DataChat, and board member for Forward Festival. 

This Madison-based event series, now in its 14th year, features numerous events focused on technology and entrepreneurship. It’s being held Aug. 21-25. 

“We are an entrepreneur-driven organization,” Strong said. “Our board is all driven by entrepreneurs; the events are all created by entrepreneurs. We do provide some support for them, but again, all the topics come from the community and people volunteer their time to create and host these events.” 

Strong highlights what attendees can expect from this year’s event, including discussions on food entrepreneurship, gaming and e-sports, the role of data in growing a startup, product design, advertising and marketing, and much more. 

“Some of the things you’ll hear about are the challenges that people have starting their businesses, as well as growing their businesses,” she said. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

See more on the event here: 

— Finnish telecom company Nokia has announced plans to partner with Sanmina to produce broadband network electronics at the manufacturer’s Pleasant Prairie plant. 

This effort will create up to 200 new jobs in Wisconsin, according to yesterday’s release announcing the partnership. That manufacturing project is slated to begin next year, and will produce technologies to be used in the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. 

According to the White House, that will make Nokia the first telecom company to begin manufacturing broadband electronics products in the United States when production starts. 

Sanmina Chairman and CEO Jure Sola noted the California-based company has been manufacturing products in the U.S. for more than 40 years. 

“By continuing to invest in domestic manufacturing, Nokia and Sanmina will be able to help create a sustainable future for the industry, one that drives job growth and ensures the fiber products produced embody the quality and excellence associated with American manufacturing,” Sola said in a statement. 

See the release: 

— UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt expects more than 200 layoffs and voluntary departures as the university faces an $18 million deficit.

Leavitt in a news conference alongside UW System President Jay Rothman yesterday said the 200-position cut is out of about 1,460 total employees. The UW officials said they’re looking at administration and staff positions for the layoffs, but no academic programs will see cuts. For example, Leavitt said UWO just transferred responsibility over its child care facilities to the YMCA because the university could no longer cover the costs.

Rothman blamed declining college enrollment, high school graduation numbers, changing demographics and a decline in state support for the deficits.

“It is counterintuitive at a time when we need more graduates to fill the jobs created by Wisconsin employers, we are instead having to reduce our investment in education,” he said. “But that is our reality.”

UW-Oshkosh new freshman enrollment declined to 1,385 last year from 2,341 in 2012, according to UW System data.

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