How would electricity be generated from a nuclear fusion reactor?

Summary
How would we get energy from a fusion power plant?
How would electricity be generated from a nuclear fusion reactor?

How soon do you think that fusion power plants will become a reality?
 
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Summary: How would we get energy from a fusion power plant?

How would electricity be generated from a nuclear fusion reactor?

How soon do you think that fusion power plants will become a reality?
What research have you done on this so far? What have you found out?
 

russ_watters

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How would electricity be generated from a nuclear fusion reactor?
Same way most of our power is generated now: by boiling water and running it through a turbine.
How soon do you think that fusion power plants will become a reality?
The joke is that it is always 30 years away (and has been for 60 years). Scientists seem pretty confident that the next project will achieve break-even and the one after that will be a prototype power reactor. So 3 more generations of projects; still at least 30 years if the optimism is warranted.

And then we can answer the question of whether we want it or not.
 

gleem

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Same way most of our power is generated now: by boiling water and running it through a turbine.
Good old 19 th century technology.

How soon do you think that fusion power plants will become a reality?
Researcher have been promising fusion for decades. MIT is promising a small reactor (100 MW) by 2025 don't know about the big industrial sizes that we need.
 

anorlunda

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Does anyone remember Chaos Manner, the Jerry Pournoule column in Byte Magazine? His favorite phrase applies here. Fusion will arrive "real soon now."
 

berkeman

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How would electricity be generated from a nuclear fusion reactor?
I took a class on plasma physics and fusion reactors many years ago. I seem to remember that the instructor mentioned that one of the harder fusion reactions to get working would have the advantage of being able to use Magneto Hydrodynamic (MHD) power generation instead of a thermal cycle. But my Google-foo is failing me now -- Does anybody know which fusion Rx that might be, and why it lends itself to MHD power generation?
 

Astronuc

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I took a class on plasma physics and fusion reactors many years ago. I seem to remember that the instructor mentioned that one of the harder fusion reactions to get working would have the advantage of being able to use Magneto Hydrodynamic (MHD) power generation instead of a thermal cycle. But my Google-foo is failing me now -- Does anybody know which fusion Rx that might be, and why it lends itself to MHD power generation?
Likely, it was an aneutronic reaction, such as DD or D3He. There were numerous concepts on 'direct energy conversion', in which one would want most, if not all, energy in the form of nuclei and electrons.

See the section on Induction > conduction systems
 
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Read a random thing the other day that said D-T fusion produces about 80% of its energy in the form of high energy neutrons (~14MeV), the hard part is slowing them down to get the heat out (thermalize them), also bit of a problem for any materials => resulting in potentially large amounts of radioactive waste due to the neutron bombardment of previously not radioactive materials.

Interestingly it was also mentioned that there is a significant proliferation risk since production of Pu239 is relatively easy by just putting some uranium (depleted or other wise) somewhere near those neutrons.
 

etudiant

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Think that is perhaps why none of the fusion efforts are getting enthusiastic government support.
The idea of creating electricity from star fire by boiling water seems a little incongruous, sort of like the early requirement to have a man with a flag precede motor vehicles. Plus the current ITER concept is proving to be so expensive that it produce power economically, even in the revised improved follow on design. It will hopefully prove that fusion is practicable, then the engineers will work to make a viable system starting from there.
 

anorlunda

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By the way, do they have a plan for the Tokamak type fusion reactors to convert the energy to steam?
 

etudiant

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Afaik, the idea is that ITER provides proof of concept, based on which an actual prototype fusion power plant would be built around 2050. That was briefed as a steam turbine based concept when I visited ITER some years ago. I don't know whether anything has changed since.
 

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