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NO 09  September 2012
2012 EPN 40th anniversary
48 Helmut Schock, Toshiba
Electronics, recall 1972
Special reports
22 Automotive
34 Military / Hi-Rel
Design Application
46 Wireless safety lighting for go
kart races
The integration of a ZVS topology
increases PoL, says Vicor of its
Picor PI33XX Cool-Power ZVS buck
regulator series.
Page 08
DC/DC converters in extreme environments
P a g e 22
A ready-to-use parallel camera
interface from QuickLogic allows
TI’s Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8
processor to support up to 5Mpixel
cameras through a low-power
parallel CAM I/F (camera interface)
Page 14
For military and aerospace VPX,
the 3U power supply from Pulse
Electronics can be conigured to
deliver more than 400W of power.
It can also provide an additional
28V protected output.
Page 30
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You should expect more from a
power supply than just power.
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© 2012 Agilent Technologies, Inc.
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Reed Business Information
Forum 52 – 52, rue Camille Desmoulins
92448 Issy-les-Moulineaux Cedex, France
Phone: +33-1-462-94629, Fax: +33-1-462-92350
E-mail: epn@reedbusiness.fr, www.epn-online.com
[04] Editorial Comment
[06] On the Web
Caroline Hayes
Production Manager
Pasquale Spadari
[18] Power Perspective
[32] Renewable Energy
Production Controller
Charlotte Latroche
Distribution & Test Editor
Mick Elliott
[42] Test Corner
Electronic Product News
[45] Industrial Automation
Production Coordinator
Martine Goujon
Online Editorial Director
Pierre Bouhail
[51] Tech Update
front cover products
Director of International
John Waddell
[52] Web Update
Page Layout & Design
Carolina Ronco
[08] Picor P133XX Cool-Power ZVS buck
regulators (Vicor)
[53] RF&Wireless
[14] CAM/IF CSSP (Quicklogic)
Martin Savery
[54] Distribution Spotlight
Sales Support Director
Sabrine Karmaoui
[30] 3U Positronic P47 power supply (Pulse
reader offer
Sales Coordinator
Munkiu Sam
Publishing Director
Antoine Duarte
[47] MSC Gleichmann offers readers the chance
to win one of two Renesas RL78/I1A LED lighting
evaluation kits.
Antoine Duarte
Circulation Manager
Sylvie Jalin
[22] Special report: Automotive
next editions
[34] Special report: Military / Hi-Rel
Cover image: © lassedesignen - Fotolia.com
In next month’s issue, there will be an RF/Wireless
feature, a Power Management feature and an
Electronica Preview.
In the November issue, EPN will celebrate 40
years of publishing with a Where Were You in
’72 feature. There will be a Cables & Connectors
feature and an Electronica 2012 feature.
Please send new product releases (a Word
document and high resolution image, where
available) for these features to Caroline Hayes:
design application
Ad Sizes and Digital File Requirements
available at:
[46] Radiometrix helped the McGeoch Group
develop a trackside, wireless, safety signaling
©2012 by Reed Business Information,
a 100% subsidiary of Reed Elsevier France.
Production & Layout by Reed Business Information.
Digital publishing platform by Nxtbook Media, UK.
Registration of copyright: September 2012
ISSN number: 1763-7384
EPN 40th anniversary
[48] Executive Interview
Where were you in ’72: Helmut Schock, Toshiba
Electronics Europe.
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Send address changes to: subscription-epn@reedbusiness.fr
EPN ISSUE N° 09 – September 2012 3
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Do only fuels rush in…?
Thorium was discovered in 1828, by a Swedish scientist (it is named after the god Thor) but its
radio-active properties were not identified until 70 years later, the same time as uranium was
classified. While uranium was chosen for nuclear energy (and weaponry using its by-product of
plutonium), thorium was used to improve the strength of magnesium at high temperatures and
to coat tungsten filaments in the electronics industry.
By Caroline
It is an interesting turn-around that the very reason it was over-looked then, i.e. no plutonium
is the reason for the renewed interest in the mineral in the 21 st century. When subjected to
neutrons, thorium-232 becomes thorium-233, which eventually decays into uranium-233, a
fissionable material that can be used for nuclear fuel. Early scientists overlooked the fact that
it is four times more plentiful than uranium and acts as a thermal breeder, meaning it creates
enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely.
Thorium’s atmopsheric pressure reactors are also more stable than high-pressure reactors, like
those which caused the danger at the nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan last year. Additionally,
its waste needs to be stored for considerably less time than uranium’s.
North America was enthusiastic about thorium in the 1960s when its Oak Ridge Laboratory
in Tennessee pioneered a liquid fuel plant, but today China and India have taken the lead
in developing thorium-based nuclear reactor programmes. Some point to environmentalist
pressure as a reason for the decline in investment to develop a nuclear alternative. It may be
the fact that China and India are more responsive to developments that are alternatives to ‘old
world’ models; it may be that without the shackles of legacy technology, these countries can
leapfrog over accepted conventions.
As India has 25% of the world’s thorium reserves, the motivation is a practical one too. Just
last year it began building the world’s first thorium reactor, a 300MW advance heavy water
reactor which should be operational next year. India expects to meet 30% of its electricity
needs with thorium reactors within 40 years, freeing the continent from the binds of western
fuel dependency.
Thorium-based nuclear energy is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme; even adapting a reactor to run
on thorium could take 15 years, but the once-overlooked mineral is attracting attention around
the world as an alternative to fossil fuels. For some, it is a means to make alternative provision
from a blank canvas; for others, it is a warning sign that the old order may be disrupted and
energy companies need to prepare and adapt.
September 2012 – EPN ISSUE N° 09
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