## Nuclear fusion

Does anyone, preferably several, theoretical physicists on this forum
believe that a Manhattan type project could produce a viable fusion energy
producer in the next 10 years?

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 "Kris Oddson" a écrit dans le message de news: SwVtf.2607$DQ4.139555@weber.videotron.net... > Does anyone, preferably several, theoretical physicists on this forum > believe that a Manhattan type project could produce a viable fusion energy > producer in the next 10 years? In 50 years, if we are still there. -- ~~~~ clmasse on free F-country Liberty, Equality, Profitability.  Kris Oddson wrote: > Does anyone, preferably several, theoretical physicists on this forum > believe that a Manhattan type project could produce a viable fusion energy > producer in the next 10 years? > Only if detonating nukes in the ground and sucking out heat counts. Or if the cost of the electricity were to be of no consequence. -- Dirk The Consensus:- The political party for the new millenium http://www.theconsensus.org ## Nuclear fusion We'll maintain a fusion reaction in about 10 years but it'll be too expensive to be practical for a long long time. Perhaps at the sunset of our lifespan but I wouldn't get my hopes up.  Kris Oddson wrote: > Does anyone, preferably several, theoretical physicists on this forum > believe that a Manhattan type project could produce a viable fusion energy > producer in the next 10 years? A Manhattan type project requires Manhattan type people. They are pretty thin on the ground these days. Science has lost the capacity it used to have to attract top talent. Look at Nasa, and then consider the rewards of working there or , say, at Google. IV  ITER is projected to do just that. The regions of temperature and pressure needed are well known and ITER will enter them. Fusion science is getting there., I am more optimistic than the other contributors. With ITER having demonstrated sustained fusion there is still the question of designing and building power stations. The original question a Manhattan type project. During wars things like planning permissions and allocation of resources are done by fiat. If you could say ITER will be built here, cut out all diplomatic niceties the bulldozers move in tomorrow, you could build in in perhaps 3 years and have viable power stations in 10. Would we want a peacetime society like that? A very significant question that has not been asked is whether D-T or D-He3 is the more viable route. He3 and Tritium are mirror images of each other in nuclear terms and roughly twice the temperature is needed to overcome the greater electrostatic charge on He3. However He3 emits a proton and will thus heat the plasma, unlike T where the energy of the neutrons is lost, it might be easier to make He3 self sustaining. An He3 power station will find it a lot easier to extract energy as it will be directly in the plasma.  ianparker2@gmail.com wrote: > ITER is projected to do just that. The regions of temperature and > pressure needed are well known and ITER will enter them. Fusion science > is getting there., I am more optimistic than the other contributors. > > With ITER having demonstrated sustained fusion there is still the > question of designing and building power stations. The original > question a Manhattan type project. During wars things like planning > permissions and allocation of resources are done by fiat. If you could > say ITER will be built here, cut out all diplomatic niceties the > bulldozers move in tomorrow, you could build in in perhaps 3 years and > have viable power stations in 10. > > Would we want a peacetime society like that? > > A very significant question that has not been asked is whether D-T or > D-He3 is the more viable route. He3 and Tritium are mirror images of > each other in nuclear terms and roughly twice the temperature is needed > to overcome the greater electrostatic charge on He3. However He3 emits > a proton and will thus heat the plasma, unlike T where the energy of > the neutrons is lost, it might be easier to make He3 self sustaining. > An He3 power station will find it a lot easier to extract energy as it > will be directly in the plasma. That makes the problem initially more difficult from a science POV since higher temps are needed. However, it may make the engineering somewhat simpler when it comes to practical power stations. Running a fusion power plant is an engineering nightmare given projected neutron emission and the ensuing structural materials and management problems. That's why I am pessimistic. Even if ITER was up and running to spec today practical fusion would still be decades away. -- Dirk The Consensus:- The political party for the new millenium http://www.theconsensus.org  Dirk Bruere at Neopax wrote in news:42af2dF1gpvr0U1@individual.net: > ianparker2@gmail.com wrote: > >> ITER is projected to do just that. The regions of temperature and >> pressure needed are well known and ITER will enter them. Fusion >> science is getting there., I am more optimistic than the other >> contributors. >> >> With ITER having demonstrated sustained fusion there is still the >> question of designing and building power stations. The original >> question a Manhattan type project. During wars things like planning >> permissions and allocation of resources are done by fiat. If you >> could say ITER will be built here, cut out all diplomatic niceties >> the bulldozers move in tomorrow, you could build in in perhaps 3 >> years and have viable power stations in 10. >> >> Would we want a peacetime society like that? >> >> A very significant question that has not been asked is whether D-T or >> D-He3 is the more viable route. He3 and Tritium are mirror images of >> each other in nuclear terms and roughly twice the temperature is >> needed to overcome the greater electrostatic charge on He3. However >> He3 emits a proton and will thus heat the plasma, unlike T where the >> energy of the neutrons is lost, it might be easier to make He3 self >> sustaining. An He3 power station will find it a lot easier to extract >> energy as it will be directly in the plasma. > > That makes the problem initially more difficult from a science POV > since higher temps are needed. However, it may make the engineering > somewhat simpler when it comes to practical power stations. Running a > fusion power plant is an engineering nightmare given projected neutron > emission and the ensuing structural materials and management problems. > > That's why I am pessimistic. > Even if ITER was up and running to spec today practical fusion would > still be decades away. The old joke is that fusion has been twenty years in the future for fifty years now. Lidsky's problem of too low power densities still has to be addressed, but the business is in denial about it. At the same time he wrote his infamous "Tech Review" article, Lidsky observed in MIT's fusion reactor design class, that pulsed, high beta machines, like Los Alamos Reference Theta Pinch Reactor (RTPR) design looked much more promising. As with laser fusion and h-bombs, shock heating is required to economically boost power density, but the problem can be solved, by adding another set of magnetic coils to the design. At the time of ITER construction, Dan Cohn and Leslie Bromberg, another pair of MIT mavericks, designed a single turn, high beta tokamak, under the philosophy of "more bang for the buck." The project was passed over by the fusion orthodoxy, because of Republican budget cuts at DOE, but they should have bailed out of ITER instead, and given Dan the money. As Indiana Jones observed, "They're digging in the wrong place." AFAIK, Cohn and Bromberg didn't design for shock heating, so somebody needs to look into adding shock coils to their design. Not knowing what a shock coil looks like, I'm worried about access along the axis of the torus. Thus I've begun looking into a shock heated tandem mirror. However, this may have similar issues with coil access around the end plugs. I believe that another major mistake occurred, when TFTR was decommissioned. After achieving it's design goal of reaching the conditions necessary for breakeven, it was planned add DT fuel, just to see what happened. Knowing that the device would then become radioactive, the scientists got cold feet and shut it down before adding burnable fuel. Thus a wonderful opportunity was missed to find out exactly how the reaction product of high energy alpha particles would affect the plasma physics. What this did accomplish was to keep secret from the public the issue that tritium burning reactors are radioactive. Parker's thoughts about D-He3 above are central issues, because He3 is not radioactive, and the D-He3 reaction does not release a neutron, like the DT reaction. However, that opens the question of fuel cycle issues, which would require another whole essay, just as long as this one. IMO, those guys should have shown some backbone, shipped TFTR lock- stock-and-barrel to Hanford, which is already plenty radioactive, and run the DT burn experiments. The plasma physics of the alpha heated domain is completely untouched experimentally, and it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to the future development of the field that a DT burn be attempted asap. However, the whole business is pretty much on hold, while we wait for ITER to come up to speed and start producing data. Then the field will get interesting again.  John Schutkeker wrote: >>That's why I am pessimistic. >>Even if ITER was up and running to spec today practical fusion would >>still be decades away. > > > The old joke is that fusion has been twenty years in the future for > fifty years now. > > Lidsky's problem of too low power densities still has to be addressed, > but the business is in denial about it. At the same time he wrote his > infamous "Tech Review" article, Lidsky observed in MIT's fusion reactor > design class, that pulsed, high beta machines, like Los Alamos Reference > Theta Pinch Reactor (RTPR) design looked much more promising. > > As with laser fusion and h-bombs, shock heating is required to > economically boost power density, but the problem can be solved, by > adding another set of magnetic coils to the design. > > At the time of ITER construction, Dan Cohn and Leslie Bromberg, another > pair of MIT mavericks, designed a single turn, high beta tokamak, under > the philosophy of "more bang for the buck." The project was passed over > by the fusion orthodoxy, because of Republican budget cuts at DOE, but > they should have bailed out of ITER instead, and given Dan the money. > As Indiana Jones observed, "They're digging in the wrong place." Well, it certainly seems that all the fusion eggs have been placed in one basket and the$billion gamble is that it is the correct one. There appear to be a number of promising alternatives but the Tokamak design has too much invested in it and consequently too much political momentum. I believe that it will work as advertised, but turn out to be totally impractical as a design base for a power generator. Maybe then some of the overlooked alternatives will have to be revisited, and then a fusion reactor will only be 20yrs away... BTW, whatever happened to Boron fusion? -- Dirk The Consensus:- The political party for the new millenium http://www.theconsensus.org
 wrote in message news:1136372899.662488.24140@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com... > ITER is projected to do just that. The regions of temperature and > pressure needed are well known and ITER will enter them. Fusion science > is getting there., I am more optimistic than the other contributors. I actually used to work at JET, the predecessor to ITER. As I see it, the main problem is not the physics but the complexity of the machinery. Getting all of that equiment reliable in itself and furthermore reliable when bathed in neutron radiation is not going to be easy! For "real work" something much simpler than the Tokamak will be needed, IMO. The problem with ITER is that *all* the available funding is being placed in that particular basket so not much work will be done on anything else. > With ITER having demonstrated sustained fusion there is still the > question of designing and building power stations. Exactly - *magnitudes* harder than just getting to "breakeven". > The original > question a Manhattan type project. During wars things like planning > permissions and allocation of resources are done by fiat. If you could > say ITER will be built here, cut out all diplomatic niceties the > bulldozers move in tomorrow, you could build in in perhaps 3 years and > have viable power stations in 10. > > Would we want a peacetime society like that? RANT = On I actually think *we do* much more often. Inertia allows all the parasites to adopt and kill progress. To keep society healthy we want lots of "local revolution" instead of the real thing that eventually comes when society has managed to optimize itself into an unsolvable knot of special interests. "Management", "Process" and "Procedure" is the cholesterol of any organisation, rapid change prevents it from sticking ;-). Stuart Kauffmann proposes that a system capable of evolution should have between 2 and 3 interconnections between the elements; too few is unstable, more leads to eventual deadlock. The political system today is working hard to make *everything* interconnected; we see the results in the trivial political discussions about almost nothing at all that consume the entire media bandwidth while important issues that needs to be dealt with by *changing the way we do things* are ignored. Voluntary change is no longer possible I.M.O. In this particular case it seems especially irrational that one can vascillate and pontificate for *decades* over a relatively innocouos research project and at the same time - with great haste and very *little* speculation - decide to spend *trillions* of USD on upholding status-quo in the Middle East when the very same trillions spent on research/change *here* possibly could make the particular state of the Middle East entirely irrelevant to us. As it should be. RANT = Off > A very significant question that has not been asked is whether D-T or > D-He3 is the more viable route. He3 and Tritium are mirror images of > each other in nuclear terms and roughly twice the temperature is needed > to overcome the greater electrostatic charge on He3. However He3 emits > a proton and will thus heat the plasma, unlike T where the energy of > the neutrons is lost, it might be easier to make He3 self sustaining. > An He3 power station will find it a lot easier to extract energy as it > will be directly in the plasma. He3 is very rare and expensive.

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Great post, except for
 Quote by John Schutkeker ... ,because of Republican budget cuts at DOE, ...
No, dont think that's true. The executive branch/DOE chose to shrink the nuclear power R&D budget throughout the 90's. For instance, the budget in '92 was ~$180M and in '97 the President's requested budget was$71M. In 2001 the budget expanded greatly and has continued to do so since. Note these are mostly fission numbers, couldn't separate out the fusion.
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