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Scientists report nuclear fusion milestone

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Researchers have passed a crucial milestone in their ongoing efforts to create sustainble fusion power.

Nuclear fusion, the process that takes place within the sun, has long been sought after as the holy grail of power generation. If an effective self-sustaining nuclear fusion reactor could be built then it would be one of the greatest scientific achievements of the modern age, providing clean and limitless power to everyone without any of the dangers associated with conventional nuclear fission power plants. Unsurprisingly scientists have been pursuing this dream for decades.

Read More: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/255885/scientists-report-nuclear-fusion-milestone

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Can someone explain us common people what did they create. I failed to understand it.

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The idea is to use water as a source of energy (technically about one atom in a thousand water molecules would do the trick). In theory it is a virtually limitless, risk free way to generate abundant energy (the way the sun does it). They've been working at this for half a century.

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The idea is to use water as a source of energy (technically about one atom in a thousand water molecules would do the trick). In theory it is a virtually limitless, risk free way to generate abundant energy (the way the sun does it). They've been working at this for half a century.

...and now they've finally managed to produce more power than what was used to generate it. That's what makes this such a milestone :tu:

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I guess teh O2 from the water goes into the air, so a win/win!

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Will this turn into and expensive and dangerous way of producing power like fission.

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I've been waiting for this headline for years

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Will this turn into and expensive and dangerous way of producing power like fission.

It shouldn't be that dangerous. The real danger is in the high heat/pressure in the containment system. But even a catastrophic failure would be very localized and there would be no radioactive fallout. i.e. it would be a bad day to be in the building but the neighborhood would be fine.

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The implications if they can finally make this work are staggering.

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What exactly would be the result of contained fusion as an energy source? Heat. Heated water to produce steam. So, whatever machines that would use fusion as an energy source would be steam powered. Electrical generators, mainly, I think.

So, what are the advantage of fusion power vs. fission power?

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To accomplish this, scientists used 192 beams from the world's most powerful laser to heat up a pellet of hydrogen fuel to the point at which fusion occurs. The team hopes to eventually achieve what they refer to as "ignition", the point at which the fusion reaction is able to produce as much power as the lasers supply.

ONLY 192 of the worlds most powerful lasers concentrated on one tiny pellet of hydrogen??? And how do you make a pellet of hyrdrogen?

A step forward I suspect, but still miles and miles till we have fusion power plants.

I case anyone is confused by the wording... This experiment showed more energy out then was ABSORBED by the pellet. "Ignition" is when the energy out exceeds the energy of the combined lasers used to heat the pellet. Which are not the same thing apparently.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24429621

This is a step short of the lab's stated goal of "ignition", where nuclear fusion generates as much energy as the lasers supply. This is because known "inefficiencies" in different parts of the system mean not all the energy supplied through the laser is delivered to the fuel.

Also on the Plus side... We'll have more Helium to use at parties!!!

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The lasers used more energy than was output.

The energy produced by the hydrogen pellet was more than was absorbed by the hydrogen pellet.

Eg. The pellet does not absorb all the energy output from the lasers.

So overall the system is still at a loss. But having more energy output than absorbed is the milestone here.

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What exactly would be the result of contained fusion as an energy source? Heat. Heated water to produce steam. So, whatever machines that would use fusion as an energy source would be steam powered. Electrical generators, mainly, I think.

So, what are the advantage of fusion power vs. fission power?

In fusion, you just take hydrogen and transform it into helium, like the Sun does. The problem is delivering enough energy to the hydrogen in enough of a density to get it to change into helium. And then of course there will be the problem of scaling it up. Not radioactive that I know of.

In fission, you need uranium or another very radioactive material. So there is the effort of mining, refining the fuel, dangers due to radioactivity and eventually the fuel is used up and the waste needs to be stored. Very expensive.

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If fusion ever becomes a common way to generate "free" energy it will change the geo-political structure of the planet and cause the rise and fall of empires.

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I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist (but I guess this is the appropriate site for it...), but I tend to believe the stories that the National Ignition Facility was primarily designed as a model for the dynamics inside a nuclear weapon - in other words, to study the dynamics inside a thermonuclear weapon without having to break the ban on testing actual thermonuclear weapons.

While it is possible that some of the science will be useful for fusion power, I personally find it very hard to believe that this is a credible avenue for fusion power.

Even if a hydrogen pellet achieves true ignition, how is this energy supposed to be harnessed?

And even if they can truly ignite a hydrogen pellet, to realize a sustainable power source they have to drop a steady stream of pellets into the beam... this is hardly seems to be a practical set up.

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I wish that I understand what you were saying, Sepul.

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I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist (but I guess this is the appropriate site for it...), but I tend to believe the stories that the National Ignition Facility was primarily designed as a model for the dynamics inside a nuclear weapon - in other words, to study the dynamics inside a thermonuclear weapon without having to break the ban on testing actual thermonuclear weapons.

That is not a conspiracy, it is what happens there on a daily basis.

From my earlier link....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24429621

In 2009, NIF officials announced an aim to demonstrate nuclear fusion producing net energy by 30 September 2012. But unexpected technical problems ensured the deadline came and went; the fusion output was less than had originally been predicted by mathematical models.

Soon after, the $3.5bn facility shifted focus, cutting the amount of time spent on fusion versus nuclear weapons research - which was part of the lab's original mission.

The fusion research is behind because focus was shifted toward nuclear weapons research

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Looks like I won't be powering my DeLorean with a Mr Fusion any time soon. However this "dream" is one worth pursuing and could save this planet. What's worse than fission? Coal. Australia is addicted to the filthy 19th century tech stuff :-(

Edited by Chooky88

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