Nuclear fusion reactor could be here as soon as 2025

Jan 4, 2020
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So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is there some reason we want humanity to stick around for millions of years?
 
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Oct 3, 2020
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So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is there some reason we want humanity to stick around for millions of years?
I Have Fears Regarding This New Science Venture- I Know Only 4grms Of
Fuel Will Only Be Used At Any One Time- I Can Only Hope The Mathematicians & Physicists - Have Exhausted All There Theories... Is It Possible We May Be Trying To Replicate The Sun & It's Awesome Powers- BE Careful We Do NOT Become The Next Sun In The Cosmos- I Believe More Intensive Research Is Needed Before The World Commits To This- { Let Us Not Forget } This Is A Science Project With One Thing We All Have In Common- The Need For Scientific Stardom & MONEY...
Not Saying No. Just Allow The Greatest Minds Throughout The World To Give A Second Opinion- MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Am I The Only One Who Cares- The Devil Will Or Maybe Be Rubbing His Hands In Wait- let us Be Sensible Humans & Give This Project Just A Little More Scrutiny- Our Existence May Rely/Depend Upon It. I'm Not Being Alarmist- Chernobyl Was Described As SAFE-
 
Oct 3, 2020
2
0
10
Let Us All Look Before We Leap...
I Have Fears Regarding This New Science Venture- I Know Only 4grms Of
Fuel Will Only Be Used At Any One Time- I Can Only Hope The Mathematicians & Physicists - Have Exhausted All There Theories... Is It Possible We May Be Trying To Replicate The Sun & It's Awesome Powers- BE Careful We Do NOT Become The Next Sun In The Cosmos- I Believe More Intensive Research Is Needed Before The World Commits To This- { Let Us Not Forget } This Is A Science Project With One Thing We All Have In Common- The Need For Scientific Stardom & MONEY...
Not Saying No. Just Allow The Greatest Minds Throughout The World To Give A Second Opinion- MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Am I The Only One Who Cares- The Devil Will Or Maybe Be Rubbing His Hands In Wait- let us Be Sensible Humans & Give This Project Just A Little More Scrutiny- Our Existence May Rely/Depend Upon It. I'm Not Being Alarmist- Chernobyl Was Described As SAFE-
 
Oct 5, 2020
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Science indicates that greenhouse gases will raise the temperature of the earth, melt the ice caps, kill off many animals, and generally make conditions on earth unliveable for humans. Fusion, apparently clean, could stop the burning of carbon fuel completely. Whether we incinerate the planet, or, find a safe energy source is worth rolling the dice. The next asteroid may get us before this all happens anyway.
You miss all the shots you do not take,
 
Oct 6, 2020
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True story. As a senior US Customs officer, I visited an internationally known company in San Diego as part of an importation of a vast, multi-million dollar electric power generating unit. It was explained that this power generator will generate electricity for experimental purposes - the local power supply had not this ability, *You know what nuclear fission is - A-bombs and all. Well, this is fusion, capturing the energy released by combining two atoms into one. The energy from a cup of coffee, captured by this process, could power all of California - even the entire West Coast." Astounded by this, I asked when this might be active. "A decade, maybe two" was the reply. This was in the late 70s.
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Is there some reason we want humanity to stick around for millions of years?
Most of the plants and animals still alive would give that a thumbs down, Wanda.

Quoting from the article:

"Martin Greenwald, a plasma physicist at MIT and one of the lead scientists developing the new reactor. "We want to have an impact on society. We need a solution for global warming — otherwise, civilization is in trouble."

In reality, civilization is already in trouble :

- on-going mass extinction (we know this one is NOT caused by an impact or volcanism)
- deforestation (they are burning down the Amazon rain forest to grow soybeans)
- over-fishing has been going on for decades, with no end or moderation in sight
- massive die-offs of coral reefs due to warming and acidification of the oceans by carbon dioxide is disastrous
- rising sea levels are already causing severe damage to coastal forests via salt water intrusion (Ghost Forests)
- rising sea levels are already causing flooding during King Tides in many places
- rising sea levels intruding into many toxic waste dumps built at or near sea level will be catastrophic
- warming seas already causing more frequent and more damaging storms
- drought or flooding in many areas previously not prone to these extremes (results: large fires and storm-driven floods)
- out-gassing of methane hydrates is accelerating in the arctic, as is the decomposition of the tundra for more CO2
- sadly, this is the short list......

People are always talking about net-neutral carbon emissions. We need a net negative on that carbon, and we are not even close to getting it.

Even if the SPARC* tokamaks are ready for use in 2025, most of the developing world, the source of a great deal of green house gases, will likely not be able to afford them, or want to. And even if they can, building out the infrastructure will take many years. Even if they can get them operational and lower cost by 2025, the damage to the planet is on-going and extreme.

The build-out time for these reactors to provide power everywhere will surely be long term. We do not have long term for a solution. Some would say it may already be too late. Time will tell, if it has not already.


* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPARC_(tokamak)
 
Oct 6, 2020
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I don't think so.....nuclear fusion occurs in conditions that are so extreme, ie in the heart of stars of thremonuclear bombs i don't see how we have the technology to duplicate these conditions. Temperature: tens of millions of degrees, radiation cooling by gamma radiation quickly lowers the temperature. Pressure: Trillions of times greater than atmospheric pressure. Density of the plasma in the sun is 200 times that of water. The plasma is completely degenerate. We have never been able to create this kind of matter for more than a few microseconds. If not contained it would expand with the force of an H bomb. Don't see how these conditions can be maintained.......And the energy production per volume in the heart of the sun where this occurs is actually less than the energy generated by a compost heap!!!! Which implies a huge reactor......The fusion generating heart of the sun is 40,000 miles in diameter.
 
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Jul 27, 2020
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I don't think so.....nuclear fusion occurs in conditions that are so extreme
Didn't the Princeton Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor give a little better than break-even energy-wise. I seem to recall that from about 25 years ago. It was big news at the time, and many thought they were headed in the right direction. It would seem they contained the fusion temperature and pressure if they did indeed reach break-even. And fusion occurs in the Sun at about 15 million K, not tens of millions, but that seems trivial compared to the cumulative issues you bring up.

I did not get the impression that the SPARC tokamak was likely to be successful. Much more sophisticated than cold fusion, but the smaller you make it, the harder it should be to form and maintain the conditions for fusion .

Is the ultra high pressure an absolute, and cannot be moderated some how? That is a lot of pressure, but it, along with temperature must be contained by the mag field, which apparently it was in Princeton. You certainly seem to know a lot about it. Are you suggesting that all those high-brows spending billions on fusion have been wasting their time (and our money) all these years on something that could never work?
 
Oct 6, 2020
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Didn't the Princeton Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor give a little better than break-even energy-wise. I seem to recall that from about 25 years ago. It was big news at the time, and many thought they were headed in the right direction. It would seem they contained the fusion temperature and pressure if they did indeed reach break-even. And fusion occurs in the Sun at about 15 million K, not tens of millions, but that seems trivial compared to the cumulative issues you bring up.

I did not get the impression that the SPARC tokamak was likely to be successful. Much more sophisticated than cold fusion, but the smaller you make it, the harder it should be to form and maintain the conditions for fusion .

Is the ultra high pressure an absolute, and cannot be moderated some how? That is a lot of pressure, but it, along with temperature must be contained by the mag field, which apparently it was in Princeton. You certainly seem to know a lot about it. Are you suggesting that all those high-brows spending billions on fusion have been wasting their time (and our money) all these years on something that could never work?
 
Oct 6, 2020
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An important factor to remember is that fusion is a statistical phenomena. Room temperature fusion at normal pressures is possible, but statistically vanishingly small. The Pons experiment in cold fusion may have indeed succeeded in generating a few events, but so few that it was insignificant. The success of fusion increases with temperature, and more significantly with density. And achieving density requires immense pressure. I believe that significant amounts of fusion can only occur in fully degenerate matter, and full degeneracy only occurs at astrophysical pressures, for example in the gravitational field of a white dwarf star. Atomic nuclei are very tiny, and they need to be very close for appreciable fusion events to occur.
Magnetic fields that can maintain the pressure necessary for degeneracy must be immense and have never been generated for any appreciable time in a lab. A magnet generating such a field would self-destruct because conventional materials do not have the strength to resist.
Finally there is the problem of gamma ray cooling. Plasma at fusion temperatures is far beyond white hot, ultraviolet hot, x-ray hot. It radiates gamma rays, which penetrate any conventional insulation or mirror. So the plasma would radiate away the tremendous energy contained in the plasma very rapidly and cool down very rapidly.
So, the practical engineering problems of maintaining steady state fusion are very difficult. What fusion engineers are experimenting with seems to be the geometry of the fusing plasma. By controlling the shape and flow of fusing plasma, perhaps a self-generated magnetic field can be created. Plasma is electrically conductive, and a flow of plasma has an intrinsic magnetic field. A flow of protons, positive charges can be superconducting at very high temperatures, it is thought that such a flow is responsible for the enormous magnetic fields of magnetar neutron stars. Just as we can create a given magnetic field by controlling the shape of a conductor, perhaps by shaping the flow of plasma we can create the necessary magnetic field.
Likewise, just as we can focus a beam of light, we may be able to focus the emission of gamma rays from the plasma, perhaps using such focussed gamma rays to heat up another area of the plasma.
Workers have been experimenting on controlled fusion since the 1950s, progress has been made in very tiny steps; i do not believe that we can expect to see a practical fusion power source anytime soon.
 

YaL

Oct 7, 2020
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So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is there some reason we want humanity to stick around for millions of years?
This is an interesting and increasingly common response to advancing technology. Fear of the unknown. A desire for Mankind to go quietly into the background. Well, some of us are not interested in just sitting around drinking tea and knitting all day. I would love for Humanity to exist for millions of years, conquering other planets, spreading our empire to every corner of the galaxy. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It's called youthful vigor, optimism and robustness.
 

YaL

Oct 7, 2020
2
0
10
True story. As a senior US Customs officer, I visited an internationally known company in San Diego as part of an importation of a vast, multi-million dollar electric power generating unit. It was explained that this power generator will generate electricity for experimental purposes - the local power supply had not this ability, *You know what nuclear fission is - A-bombs and all. Well, this is fusion, capturing the energy released by combining two atoms into one. The energy from a cup of coffee, captured by this process, could power all of California - even the entire West Coast." Astounded by this, I asked when this might be active. "A decade, maybe two" was the reply. This was in the late 70s.
Remember back in 400,000 BC when Gronk said he invented a wheel and it didn't work? Gee, it's a good thing HUMANS DIDN'T GIVE UP ON THE IDEA. So what is your point? Something didn't work, so it'll never work? You must be really fun at parties, negative boy.
 
Oct 6, 2020
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1
35
This is an interesting and increasingly common response to advancing technology. Fear of the unknown. A desire for Mankind to go quietly into the background. Well, some of us are not interested in just sitting around drinking tea and knitting all day. I would love for Humanity to exist for millions of years, conquering other planets, spreading our empire to every corner of the galaxy. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It's called youthful vigor, optimism and robustness.
 
Oct 6, 2020
7
1
35
We are a self-aware animal, and as such, we can evaluate the consequences of our actions and modify our behavior accordingly. There are two philosophical paths to consider:
1) Do we want a mastermind or group of masterminds to dictate to the rest of humanity what is in their best interests and determine our way forward?
2) Should we just let "nature take its course" and let the progress of humanity evolve
a la laissez faire (pardon my French!)?
 
Dec 4, 2019
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7
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I Have Fears Regarding This New Science Venture- I Know Only 4grms Of
Fuel Will Only Be Used At Any One Time- I Can Only Hope The Mathematicians & Physicists - Have Exhausted All There Theories... Is It Possible We May Be Trying To Replicate The Sun & It's Awesome Powers- BE Careful We Do NOT Become The Next Sun In The Cosmos- I Believe More Intensive Research Is Needed Before The World Commits To This- { Let Us Not Forget } This Is A Science Project With One Thing We All Have In Common- The Need For Scientific Stardom & MONEY...
Not Saying No. Just Allow The Greatest Minds Throughout The World To Give A Second Opinion- MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Am I The Only One Who Cares- The Devil Will Or Maybe Be Rubbing His Hands In Wait- let us Be Sensible Humans & Give This Project Just A Little More Scrutiny- Our Existence May Rely/Depend Upon It. I'm Not Being Alarmist- Chernobyl Was Described As SAFE-
Why do you annoyingly capitalize the first letter of all your words? That in itself makes your thought processes suspect. NO worry about a hydrogen fusion reactor blowing up. It might be considered a major victory though, as we have got nothing out of any of them so far. Re: "A little more scrutiny", they have been scrutinizing the process for about 80 years now and have come up with nothing. Nothing but a lot of research money, which has been totally wasted. (my money and yours).

If it actually does work, the electric power likely will cost way, way more that than of any other electric generating processes. Not from the fuel perspective but from construction, maintenance and politicians . The fusion plants under construction are massively complex therefore massively expensive, and there is no guarantee they will be big enough to run yet and if they do it is just as demo model. They won't be economical without massive subsidies which will mean we keep paying, just like our thousands of damn ugly windmills in Ontario, Canada. Their electricity was priced out of reach of the common person unless we give customers subsidies too. And who pays for that? We do again through our government's other left hand.

Such fusion plants are likely to use a lot of lithium and deuterium to sustain a fusion reaction. Can you remember what else uses lithium? Elon Musk's Tesla car batteries and some other minor electric car manufacturers. Difference is, his batteries are recyclable, whereas anything that goes through a fusion plant is gone forever. Lithium is destroyed, converted to helium 4 and the lithium is gone forever. What has the greater value, consumable lithium or reusable?
 
Oct 6, 2020
7
1
35
We are a self-aware animal, and as such, we can evaluate the consequences of our actions and modify our behavior accordingly. There are two philosophical paths to consider:
1) Do we want a mastermind or group of masterminds to dictate to the rest of humanity what is in their best interests and determine our way forward?
2) Should we just let "nature take its course" and let the progress of humanity evolve
a la laissez faire (pardon my French!)?
I Have Fears Regarding This New Science Venture- I Know Only 4grms Of
Fuel Will Only Be Used At Any One Time- I Can Only Hope The Mathematicians & Physicists - Have Exhausted All There Theories... Is It Possible We May Be Trying To Replicate The Sun & It's Awesome Powers- BE Careful We Do NOT Become The Next Sun In The Cosmos- I Believe More Intensive Research Is Needed Before The World Commits To This- { Let Us Not Forget } This Is A Science Project With One Thing We All Have In Common- The Need For Scientific Stardom & MONEY...
Not Saying No. Just Allow The Greatest Minds Throughout The World To Give A Second Opinion- MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Am I The Only One Who Cares- The Devil Will Or Maybe Be Rubbing His Hands In Wait- let us Be Sensible Humans & Give This Project Just A Little More Scrutiny- Our Existence May Rely/Depend Upon It. I'm Not Being Alarmist- Chernobyl Was Described As SAFE-
 
Oct 6, 2020
7
1
35
Chernobyl and other similar disasters in the old USSR were the product of a centralized government that put its agenda before consideration of its citizens.
A basic disregard for the rights of the people; the state was more important and the individual was of no consequence.
The danger was not the technology, but rather technology in the hands of ruthless leadership. Leadership that eventually collapsed under its own failures.
 

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