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Still Waters

Nuclear fusion with giant laser achieved

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Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Wednesday said they've achieved a first: A nuclear fusion system has produced more energy than it initially absorbed.

While that may seem a small victory, it is the first time scientists have been able to replicate, to a small degree, the same process that the Sun and stars use to create their massive amounts of energy.

http://www.computerw...ith_giant_laser

http://www.computerw...28&pageNumber=2

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Hey, according to legendary late Dr. Robert Bussard it's all developed (at least from physics point) and all that is needed is 200 million dollars to make it.

Edited by promKing

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I just want to say that in the meantime I've read a book by plasma physicst Francis Chen "An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet" and in it he really explains the proces of achiving it, but there is a really important message he wrote to people:

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, ITER, is being supported by seven nations representing more than half the

world’s population. Costing some $21 billion and located in France, it will test sustainability of a fusion reaction – a continuous “burn.” It is to be completed in 2020 and operated for ten years or more. Another large machine will be needed simultaneously to solve engineering problems not included in the ITER project.

After that, the first power-producing fusion reactor, DEMO, is planned, but not before the year 2050. The path is clear, but the rate of progress is limited by financial resources. In the USA, fusion has been ignored by both the public and Congress, mainly because of the lack of information about this highly technical subject. People just do not understand what fusion is and how important it is. Books have been written light-heartedly dismissing fusion as pure fantasy. The fact is that progress on fusion reactors has been steady and spectacular. The 50-year time scale presently planned for the development of fusion power can be shortened by a concerted international effort at a level justified by the magnitude of the problem. It is time to stop spinning our wheels with temporary solutions. [...]

The situation can be compared – or contrasted – with that of the Apollo program to put a man on the moon. In that program, the physics was already known: Newton’s laws of motion covered all the physics that was needed. In the case of fusion, it took over 50 years to establish the science of plasma physics, to develop fast computers, and to understand the physics of magnetic confinement; but we have done it. In the Apollo case, there were engineering problems whose solutions could not be fully tested. Could the nose cone material stand up to the heat of reentry? Can humans survive long periods without gravity and then the stress of reentry? Will micrometeorites puncture the space suits of the astronauts? It was a dangerous experiment, but President Kennedy pushed ahead, and it succeeded marvelously. In the case of fusion, we do not know yet how to build each part of a reactor, but the only way to get this ideal source of energy is to push on ahead. The expense will be comparable to Apollo’s, but at least no human lives are endangered.

The path to a commercial fusion reactor has been studied intensely in the past decade. There are three or four steps: (1) the ITER experiment now being built, (2) one or more large machines for solving engineering problems, (3) DEMO, a prototype reactor built to run like a real reactor but not producing full power, and (4) FPP, fusion power plant, a full-size reactor built and operated by the utilities industry.

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I just want to say that in the meantime I've read a book by plasma physicst Francis Chen "An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet"

Interesting. Do you think hybrid is the first logical solution?

Russia is developing a hybrid nuclear reactor that uses both nuclear fusion and fission, said head of leading nuclear research facility. The project is open for international collaboration, particularly from Chinese scientists.

A hybrid nuclear reactor is a sort of stepping stone to building a true nuclear fusion reactor. It uses a fusion reaction as a source of neutrons to initiate a fission reaction in a 'blanket' of traditional nuclear fuel.

The approach has a number of potential benefits in terms of safety, non-proliferation and cost of generated energy, and Russia is developing such a hybrid reactor, according to Mikhail Kovalchuk, director of the Kurchatov Research Center.

http://rt.com/news/196088-russia-hybrid-nuclear-reactor/

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Does it produce waste ?

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Interesting. Do you think hybrid is the first logical solution?

http://rt.com/news/1...uclear-reactor/

Proponents of hybrids see that they can make fission safer and at the same time let fusion get online faster. Skeptics see that these would be extremely expensive and difficult reactors to design and construct and would detract from the main objective of developing pure fusion. In any case, this subject is still in its infancy compared with Generation III fission reactors or with tokamak fusion reactors.

Does it produce waste ?

It does produce little radioactive waste that lasts for only 12 years but that is nothing compared to fission plants that each makes 30 tons of radioactive waste annually that lasts for hundreds of thousands of years.

On the other hand fusion reactors are so clean you can put them in the middle of the city and because there is no pollution and no danger of explosion, so you don't have to drag electricity with transmission lines. Plus, fusion power would give us so much energy that we could actually start cleaning up our environment by recycling garbage into other matter and cleaning the air from all pollutants. This is not just cheap electricity but so much power that we could use, for instance, 3D printers to make us what ever we want and with 3rd generation of fusion reactors we will be able to use the superhot plasma that fusion reactors create as a torch to flash any kind of rock, scrap, or waste into its constituent elements, which could then be separated and turned into useful materials. Such technology would eliminate any possibility of resource exhaustion of this planet.

Human kind would truly enter some sort of Golden Age where we don't have to work anymore just to pay the bills but what we want and what interests us. We would have whole Solar system on the tips of our fingertips just like we have the Globe now with Google Maps. And all that power for 22 billion dollars which costs slightly more then one month of war in Iraq.

And as Francis Chen says:

"A high-priority Apollo-like program to put fusion on a fast track will cost less than Apollo did and will solve the CO2 problem, the fossil-fuel shortage problem, and the oil dependence problem all at once."

Edited by promKing
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Is their no concept where a fusion reactor produces zero waste? Or at least zero-harm waste?

Consider this for a moment, there is a mountain of potential energy stored within radioactive waste itself; conventional nuclear reactors can be tweaked to ignite a more efficient and safer version of fission. So until the 'Golden Age' of fusion dawns at least we have a healthy alternative to the 'waste' management crisis awaiting.

I highly recommend this 20 minute presentation:

The basics behind modifying a FISSION reactor core to recycle harmful radioactive 'waste'...

Read more:

http://gizmodo.com/5990383/the-future-of-nuclear-power-runs-on-the-waste-of-our-nuclear-past

This is at least 3 years old news, and I wonder if anyone picked up the ball and ran with it, or if it has been obscured by the shadow of other future technologies?

Edited by taniwha

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Is their no concept where a fusion reactor produces zero waste? Or at least zero-harm waste?

fusion produces no greenhouse gases, and if done correctly, need not produce significant radioactive waste. When they collide, the deuterium nuclei fuse to form tritium or helium-3 (He-3) nuclei, plus some neutrons. The tritium and He-3 will then react with other deuteriums to produce ordinary helium (He-4) and common hydrogen (H-l), plus a few more neutrons. If the reactor is made of conventional materials, like stainless steel, the neutrons can produce some activation, resulting in the production of about 1/1,000th the radioactive waste of a fission reactor. However, if specially chosen structural materials like carbon-carbon graphite are used, there will be no activation, and the system can produce endless amounts of energy without pollution of any kind.

Consider this for a moment, there is a mountain of potential energy stored within radioactive waste itself; conventional nuclear reactors can be tweaked to ignite a more efficient and safer version of fission. So until the 'Golden Age' of fusion dawns at least we have a healthy alternative to the 'waste' management crisis awaiting.

I highly recommend this 20 minute presentation:

The basics behind modifying a FISSION reactor core to recycle harmful radioactive 'waste'...

[media=]

[/media]

Read more:

http://gizmodo.com/5...ur-nuclear-past

This is at least 3 years old news, and I wonder if anyone picked up the ball and ran with it, or if it has been obscured by the shadow of other future technologies?

Even if they use the nuclear waste there is much other waste out there that those fission reactors can't deal with. Like whole continents of plastics that are floating in the ocean and killing life in it. Consider this: Chernobyl was really bad. Yet in comparison to the millions of deaths caused every year as a result of the pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants, its impact was minor. It would take a Chernobyl event every day to induce a casualty rate comparable to that currently being inflicted on humanity by coal. Massive expansion of conventional pollution due to the growth of coal and oil utilization by the developing nations. India and China, in particular, are already encountering severe public health consequences from the vast brown clouds of nitrous, sulfurous, and particulate pollution created by their fossil-fueled industrialization. Unless we can define a long-term energy policy that mitigates such effects, the kind of general development needed to lift the crushing burden of third world poverty will raise lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory afflictions to a global curse.

Fusion is so much energy that we could shut down all coal and oil plants and run all cars either on electricity or some biofuel (we will be able to make as much methanol as we desire inorganically, simply by reacting carbon dioxide with electrolysis - produced hydrogen over copper on zinc oxide catalyst. The carbon dioxide could come from high carbon dioxide emission sources such as steel mills or cement plants, or even directly from the atmosphere itself.). Again we could destroy all the garbage, like plastics and nuclear waste. In fission, uranium has to be mined and transported to huge isotope separation plants. Raw uranium is mostly U238. Only 0.7% of it is U235, the part that is fissionable. The separation plants enrich the mix so that there is a higher percentage of the good stuff. The products of fission are highly radioactive, some for thousands or millions of years. This is a well known problem with fission. While in fusion there is no mining or large separation plants. However, the other fuel, tritium (H3 or T for short), does not occur naturally. It is also radioactive and decays in 12.3 years. It has to be bred from lithium in a fusion reactor.

Earth's fusion resources are more than a million times greater than all other energy reserves put together. Even at ten times our current rate of consumption, there is enough fusion fuel on this planet (alone) to power our civilization for nearly a billion years.

If the idea is accepted that the world's resources are fixed with only so much to go around, then each new life is unwelcome, each unregulated act or thought is a menace, every person is fundamentally the enemy of every other person, and each race or nation is the enemy of every other race or nation. The ultimate outcome of such a worldview can only be enforced stagnation, tyranny, war, and genocide. Only in a world of unlimited resources can all men be brothers.

That is why, even though we have enough other energy supplies to sustain our society for quite a while, we should invest the effort to develop fusion power now. For, in doing so, we make a statement that we are living not at the end of history, but at the beginning of history: that we believe in freedom, and not regimentation; in progress, and not stasis; in love, rather than hate; in life, rather than death; in hope, rather than despair.

And, heck, if there was some serious program like Apollo or Manhattan Project but to develop fusion we could probably have it in less then a decade.

Edited by promKing
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Is their no concept where a fusion reactor produces zero waste? Or at least zero-harm waste?

There are fusion reactions that produces zero waste, such as 11boron-hydrogen, but the problem with these are that they are many orders of magnitude more difficult than the tritium-deuterium reaction now being researched.

Even the much touted 3helium-deuterium reaction will produce some harmful neutrons.

It has to be said that the level of waste is, as promKing said, much lower that normal fission reactors and it is impossible to have a melt down. So all in all I agree that we need to invest much more in fusion and while it is not perfect it is much better than the alternatives !

Edited by Noteverythingisaconspiracy
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I suspect and in fact might even predict that, by the time fusion power becomes realistic, solar power will rule the wires.

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I suspect and in fact might even predict that, by the time fusion power becomes realistic, solar power will rule the wires.

I would, by all means of respect, disagree. While I certainly see solar power as a great alternative, I personally believe that fusion power will become the mainstay of power productions when (hopefully) it has been harnessed. The efficiency is just so much better than anything that could ever be achieved with solar power.

Cheers,

Badeskov

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And, heck, if there was some serious program like Apollo or Manhattan Project but to develop fusion we could probably have it in less then a decade.

I personally love the idea promKing. Do you have nuclear power where you are from? It sounds like you have a persuasive arguement for fusion energy, we would need to see the full picture to seriously consider a reactor in nuclear-free NZ though. So what are some negatives, what are some risks?

Yes times change, I remember when the world was less complicated.

"...Let me be more specific - get out of the pacific..."

~ Herbs

"...Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;

None but ourselves can free our minds.

Have no fear for atomic energy,

'Cause none of them can stop the time..."

~ Bob Marley

"...Let the good times roll..."

~ The Cars

Edited by taniwha

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Does it produce waste ?

220px-Deuterium-tritium_fusion.svg.png

There is enough deuterium in the oceans on Earth to produce all of the power need on Earth by fusion reactions involving deuterium nuclei to last more than a billion years.

http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/energy/research_front_page/nuclear_fusion.html

Just did the calculations. And seems to me that if anything they understate how long it would last. It is because of the amount of energy released. Millions of times what you get from a chemical reaction.

This is of course, if they can build a self sustaining fusion burn, and make it safe and easy to run... or at least reasonably safe and easy. They could build it way below ground for instance.

Building it to a scale to power something mobile would be an even bigger engineering challenge.

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I suspect and in fact might even predict that, by the time fusion power becomes realistic, solar power will rule the wires.

Solar power is an important supplement to grid power, but it is not suitable as a primary central-station power source. Fifty years from now, only coal, fission, and fusion are capable of supplying the dependable, steady backbone power that the civilized world can count on.

Think about it: The atmosphere absorbs part of the sunlight. The sun does not shine at night and does not rise high in the winter. There are cloudy and stormy days. There is little sunlight at high latitudes, where the power is most needed. Solar cells can capture only part of the solar spectrum and are not efficient at that. The peak efficiencies quoted apply only when the sun is directly overhead. The color of sunlight changes near sunset and no longer matches the color the solar cells are optimized for. Solar panels cannot economically be turned to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. We are lucky to capture a few percent of solar energy, but even that is a lot of energy that should not be wasted.

I mean sure people could live environment friendly. For instance Earthship seems like a very good idea.

I personally love the idea promKing. Do you have nuclear power where you are from? It sounds like you have a persuasive arguement for fusion energy, we would need to see the full picture to seriously consider a reactor in nuclear-free NZ though. So what are some negatives, what are some risks?

Yes times change, I remember when the world was less complicated.

There are no bad sides to fusion. I mean it is like asking someone from Star Trek world "What are downsides of your energy resources?" because this is what world will become with nuclear fusion - a very Star Trek like. Sure there is little radioactive waste that disappears in 12 to 16 years, but pollution is only problem of energy. Even now we can, for instance, create machines that will clean the air, but the problem is cost of energy and the fact that making that energy would again pollute the air. Just look how they all shifted factories from US and Europe to countries like China and Mexico so owners wouldn't have to pay purification of toxic air and water that comes from the factories and cheap labor.

And if you are truly concerned about nuclear waste consider that coal contains radioactive constituents. Worldwide, coal-fired electricity stations release some 30,000 tons of radioactive uranium and thorium into the atmosphere every year (as well as millions of tons of toxic chemical ash).

The term “ignition” may invoke fear that the reaction will run away and cause an explosion. This cannot happen in a fusion reactor because if the density or temperature gets too high, the plasma will disrupt and fizzle out. This may cause melting of parts of the tokamak, but it would be no worse than leaving a pot on a stove after the water has boiled out. The “pot” here would be an expensive one, though! That's why you can make them near the populated area and not waste electricity in transmission lines.

And some quotes from famous people about nuclear fusion:

"Nuclear fusion. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy without pollution or global warming. I don't think we invest enough. They are why we are not still in the Middle Ages. Many badly needed goals, like fusion and cancer cure, would be achieved much sooner if we invested more."

Stephen Hawking

"Fusion can be developed, and when it is, it will eliminate the specter of energy shortages for millions of years to come. It is therefore the greatest nightmare of the Malthusians. The technological challenges of fusion are significant, but provided that human ingenuity remains free, there can be little doubt that it can, and will, solve them all. There need be no limits to human aspirations, because fundamentally our wherewithal does not come from the Earth, but from ourselves. We are the ultimate resource."

Dr. Robert Zubrin

"There are hundreds of proposals to solve the energy crisis, a lot of them bogus, but some of them actually have validity. When you talk about, for example, fusion, hot fusion, we're talking about the year 2019, when the international experimental fusion reactor gets turned online in France. It turns out that the European Union, the United States, Japan, Korea and Russia are pooling their resources to build the world's largest fusion reactor in southern France in order to show that you can in fact have breakeven, that is generate as much power as you put into it. After that the next generation will be called the demo reactor, which will actually generate net power. So if all goes well, this means that perhaps by 2030, maybe by 2040, we could have commercial fusion reactors. Not small portable things that you can put into a car, these are going to be gigantic objects that consume tremendous amounts of seawater, purify the seawater by extracting certain chemicals from the seawater, fusing the tritium deuterium to create electricity and the electricity than goes in to your fuel cell, goes into your electric battery to energize modern society. So this is the hot fusion approach."

Michio Kaku

Now all we need is perhaps a Trekkie to run for the office or maybe someone makes a big documentary about this rounding up all the famous scientists to speak.

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