I don't get to talk to people who get to work with things that effect our daily lives (e.g. engineers) on a regular basis in my line of work, and that adds a layer of exciting mystique to the projects they work on, or know about.
I heard about this novel type of nuclear fuel rod over the other day, in a discussion about the directions that nuclear programs in various countries are going in light of the earthquake in Japan. The jist of this technology is that by using UH_3, the fuel rods self regulate to oscillate within a temperature range. Above a certain temperature, the UH_3 breaks down into hydrogen gas and uranium, at which point the reaction stops and the rods start cooling. When it cools to a certain point, the hydrogen gas starts reacting with uranium to form UH_3 again. No chance of meltdown. The uranium serves as the fuel, the hydrogen as the neutron moderator, one nice neat package.
I just thought that this was an incredibly clever (and lucky) solution to the problem of nuclear meltdown. I am in awe of the engineers, material scientists and physicists involved in developing a project like this. Wikipedia says that there are no working prototypes have been developed yet, and if I am to believe the person who told me about this, the politics of the situation makes a working prototype seem unlikely.
My misgivings about nuclear power aside, this technology is just cool!