What Are the Key Safety Concerns When Building a Fusor for Nuclear Fusion?

In summary: MasterIn summary, the person is new to nuclear fusion and is trying to assess the risks involved in building a fusor and performing nuclear fusion. The risks are electrical hazards, potential fuel-air explosion hazard, emission of 2.45MeV neutrons, and the neutrons themselves causing transmutation and decay chains. There are also risks associated with tritium.
  • #1
TL;DR Summary
Dummies' guide to adequate shielding and safety measures for a fusor project
Hi PF, I am new here.

I'm trying to perform a risk assessment to enumerate, and then take steps to mitigate, the risks posed by building a fusor and performing nuclear fusion. The risks as I see it are:

1. Electrical hazards posed by the high voltage equipment
2. Potential fuel-air explosion hazard from hydrogen (or deuterium) gas in air. The hydrogen gas must be oxygen free.
3. Emission of 2.45MeV neutrons from D-D fusion, 50% of the time
4. The neutrons themselves causing transmutation and decay chains in other nuclei they hit or get absorbed by
5. Tritium emissions

Please let me know if I've left anything out.

Can anyone recommend freely available, preferably open source, software to do Monte Carlo simulations of shielding material against neutrons, that includes neutron transmutation of the shielding nuclei and subsequent decay chains?

With regard to emitted neutrons, I understand that a hydogen-rich material should be placed first between the neutron source, and myself. For example, the device should be surrounded by water containers, preferably filled with boric acid. After this, is lead shielding. How do I estimate the appropriate thickness of each?

A more problematic safety issue is any tritium which may be produced. It diffuses easily (including through some metals) and because of the proton-tritium exchange mechanism, contaminates plastics, water, etc. very easily. A drop of tritium in 1000L of water, and one must assume all the water is contaminated because 3H is that mobile. Is is better to trap/contain/adsorb the tritium, or discharge it into infinite dilution (i.e. vent to atmosphere or the sea)?

Yes there probably are regulations involved but for now I am concerned with the pure physics, and will then consider the regulatory framework.
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  • #2
While I can understand your interest in nuclear fusion, experimenting with it is not something that should be taken lightly. Invariably, home experimentalists underestimate the dangers in their risk analysis and often cut corners to save money for other parts of the project.

Sadly, we cannot help in this matter due to potential liability and safety issues. We are not experts in this field and our advice would be fraught with many errors.

To get a deeper understanding of what issues you would be facing, take a look at the YouTube series by Kyle Hill called the Half Life Histories

Each episode details a true story of how nuclear disasters large and small unfolded due to hubris or ignorance.

Closing this thread.


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