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Thread: Nuclear Fussion

  1. #1 Nuclear Fussion 
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    The USA scientists say they are close to generating electricity. What are the pros and cons?


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    Assuming they can get it to work. Fusion doesn't produce greenhouse gasses. There is no nuclear waste problem. The raw materials are relatively plentiful.


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    A long long way from here to something than can not only compete with the energy production methods already on offer - not to mention the ones emerging - to something that outcompete them. Making fusion work at all continues to prove very difficult and achieving cheap and reliable is a long way down the to-do list. We can't rely on it to make any timely impact with the emissions and climate problem. I see it as worth pursuing but I see other energy R&D projects as just as or more worthy of fast track funding.
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    It's always been 20 years away as long as I've been alive...
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  6. #5  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    The pros; clean plentiful energy.

    The cons; still requires more energy than it produces.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Forum Ph.D. Dave Wilson's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Joint European Torus " JET " this technology is going nowhere in terms of producing cheap reliable electricity. I am certain, that there will have been valuable spin offs, whilst developing this technology, but as a friend of mine said, " Fusion is like making love in a canoe, close to f****** water. "

    Joint European Torus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Another thing I am concerned about is whether it is safe. If another Japan-like incident occurs, then it'll be a big catastrophe.

    I heard one of these nuclear station can generate up to 1 thousand million watts of electricity, can we consume that much?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Man View Post
    Another thing I am concerned about is whether it is safe. If another Japan-like incident occurs, then it'll be a big catastrophe.

    I heard one of these nuclear station can generate up to 1 thousand million watts of electricity, can we consume that much?
    One major pro for fusion reactors is that in case of a disaster there are no problems of fallout, etc. like for fission.
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    So there's no such thing as a catastrophic fusion reactor meltdown? That would've been prime material for a sci-fi novel, then again, it would be sci-fi.

    On a serious note, have we recently made progress on this energy inefficiency problem?
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    Wise man - a thousand million watts = 1gigawatt. A largish power station's worth, not a nation's or planet's worth. When someone says 'can generate 1 thousand million watts' it is a hypothetical 'can'. No such working fusion plant exists.

    As for disasters, whilst there will be some radioactive materials due to enrichment within the reaction chamber and perhaps within coolants (from stray neutrons IIUC) it should be small in amount. No ongoing nuclear fusion reactions should occur, it being so difficult to make fusion happen at all that having it happen unintentionally within a damaged facility ought to be next to impossible. There may be coolants at high temperatures and pressures and refrigerants that are best not released into the environment and I wouldn't want to be anywhere nearby if superconductors loaded with enormous currents were to catastrophically fail.

    No doubt extreme anti-nuclear sentiment will extend itself to opposition to fusion but if it were to work as advertised and anti-fusion activism wasn't an issue then the fossil fuel industries, with the most to lose, would probably provide funding to invent it. Me, I just think the profound difficulties in achieving working controlled fusion mean is unlikely to live up to the hyped expectations. Currently fusion is an energy sink not an energy producer and I will be very surprised to see that change any time soon.

    Near zero operating emissions, abundant, reliable and cheap energy prompting a global rush to abandon coal, gas, oil, fission, solar, wind, geothermal and the end to our energy and climate problems? Given how distorted the politics of energy and environment have become, any expectation that energy policy choices will become rational with the introduction of fusion power stations looks like wishful thinking.
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  12. #11  
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    I read that the operating cost for an operating fusion-reactor will be mainly to replenish the reactor's wall because it will be constantly corroded by the intense neutron radiation.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by epidecus View Post
    So there's no such thing as a catastrophic fusion reactor meltdown? That would've been prime material for a sci-fi novel, then again, it would be sci-fi.

    On a serious note, have we recently made progress on this energy inefficiency problem?
    Last I heard, they made 65% of input power.
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    Forum Freshman quasistatic's Avatar
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    The ITER is one such project researching on energy through nuclear fusion. The project was initiated in 2007 and the timeline extends till 2038, aiming at producing output atleast 10 times the input. If the assembly and construction goes according to plan, it will also be the largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment!

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