Is trying to go into fusion realistic at this point?

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  • Thread starter Luke Velie
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  • #1
Hi guys,
I posted about a closely related subject earlier, but with more and more research, all I have found regarding fusion energy is pure pessimism, and that it will always be a theoretical hope that just won’t happen. For example, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists basically says that international projects such as ITER are just using a ton of fossil fuel energy, and their results aren’t even sufficient (not to mention they’re still like 15-20 years away). With that in mind, my fusion energy study ambitions have exponentially fallen, and I’m wondering if it might just be more practical if I go into some sort of renewable energy engineering such as solar engineering, geothermal engineering, wind turbine engineering, or tidal wave (hydroelectric) engineering? Fusion power very much interests me, but if it’s just a theoretical concept not likely to happen within the next 20-40 years, then what’s the point, is basically the conclusion I’ve reached. However, if the Bulletin and other sources are being overly critical and pessimistic, then which sort of fusion research would be more promising to go into - magnetic confinement, or inertial confinement? From what I understand, magnetic confinement uses magnetohydrodynamics and tokamaks, and inertial confinement is laser-based. I can’t find very many clear or credible answers online of which is more promising.

Thanks!
 

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  • #2
phinds
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There have been some discussions about it here. Have you tried a forum search?
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50
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Suppose you ignore the timelines of the opponents, many of whom have axes to grind, and only look at the timeline of the proponents.
  1. ITER started in 2006 with a planned 2016 start.
  2. The first plasma experiments are now planned for 2025 with D-T fusion starting in 2035.
  3. The ITER successor, DEMO is planned to have construction begin in 2030 and have electricity generation in 2048. This was based on a 2016 start of ITER, so with no additional delays, just sliding the schedule gives a 2057 start.
From that, your guess is as good as mine as to when a commercial reactor would come on line. I don't see this as happening before 2070. One way to look at this is that few careers have such a timeline planned out so far in advance. Most careers zig and zag in unplanned directions.
 
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  • #4
There have been some discussions about it here. Have you tried a forum search?
I was unaware there were - where can I find them?
 
  • #5
Suppose you ignore the timelines of the opponents, many of whom have axes to grind, and only look at the timeline of the proponents.
  1. ITER started in 2006 with a planned 2016 start.
  2. The first plasma experiments are now planned for 2025 with D-T fusion starting in 2035.
  3. The ITER successor, DEMO is planned to have construction begin in 2030 and have electricity generation in 2048. This was based on a 2016 start of ITER, so with no additional delays, just sliding the schedule gives a 2057 start.
From that, your guess is as good as mine as to when a commercial reactor would come on line. I don't see this as happening before 2070. One way to look at this is that few careers have such a timeline planned out so far in advance. Most careers zig and zag in unplanned directions.
Okay, so since I’m focused on a timely (as in next 15-20 years) way to fight climate change and do something with renewable energy, the solar or geothermal route might be the way to go. Thanks!
 
  • #6
phinds
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I was unaware there were - where can I find them?
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