Sustainable Fusion

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Kizmet, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  3. novadar

    novadar Member

    Yes, Fusion would be amazing. I am pretty stoked about this piece:

    "Current projects include the Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft, which flies at a top speed of 13,000 miles per hour, fast enough to take it from New York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes."

  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  5. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    Can we merge this thread will the End of the World thread now?
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    As soon as I install these dilithium crystals . . .
    Vonnegut likes this.
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member


    I'm no physicist nor engineer but the magnetic mirror concept is a good sixty years old and has never been made to work. Lockheed started this project several years ago, trumpeting that they would build small and scale it up. As one genuine expert commented, "Why do they think they can do that?" Lockheed has been extremely secretive about their efforts, publishing very little beyond a related patent application. Look, ITER might actually break even. Maybe. but there is no reason at all to think smaller reactors will.

    My own highly unqualified opinion is that not a single net kilowatt hour of fusion generated electricity will be generated in my lifetime. By anyone.

    Barring solar, of course.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Meanwhile, there's ten thousand years of thorium in the ground just waiting for us to generate power from it safely.
  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Thorium. Yes. I have the sad feeling that the Union of Concerned Scientists did us all a disservice in the Sixties and Seventies. They fought hard against fission power plants for very good and well founded reasons but they didn't anticipate global warming. I don't suppose anyone did. So we could have avoided putting billions of tons of carbon into the air by building more and better fission plants and reprocessing fuel. Make no mistake; that technology is terrifyingly dangerous if something goes radically wrong. Here in the U.S., commercial nuclear has a good overall safety record but there have been some very close calls (such as the Besse Davis pressure vessel failure). Even so, we might have done better to stick with the nuclear power option than to build many new coal plants (which is what we did).
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    The hydrogen boron fusion process is attractive in that it emits no neutrons and it does emit charged particles. But the energy levels necessary to achieve hydrogen boron fusion are much higher than deuterium-tritium fusion requires with all the additional complexity and inefficiencies that implies.

    The basic physics behind all of these options has been well established for decades. Had to be in order to create the thermonuclear bomb. People keep trying to find some sort of breakthrough by shuffling and reshuffling the same old deck but thus far the tokamak and stellerator are the only designs that have much hope of breaking even and they are gigantic and incredibly expensive. Heck, a MAJOR milestone for ITER will be if it generates HALF of the energy necessary to keep its own plasma hot enough to fuse. Just the heat, mind you. All the other energy consuming support activity will still suck vast amounts of power from the grid. Yet ITER will end up costing something like $10 Billion.

    D-T and D-D fusion itself isn't hard to accomplish; High School students can, and have, managed it in their parents' basements. But no one has ever achieved breakeven or even come close. Unless of course you're taliking about the Sun or the Bomb.

    Fission power, on the other hand, worked essentially right out of the box.

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