A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Chris Bradley
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Chris Bradley » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:02 am

The news article is simply a demonstration of repeating the tall-tale.

Seriously, which do you think would be easier - extracting 1 part in 3,000 from lunar He on the moon, or extracting one part in 10,000 from terrestrial He whilst here on Earth?

In regards 3He being 'excellent', the fusion reactivity curve is lower even than the DD reaction at anything much below 100keV. Tritium handling is not an issue going in to the reactor for DT, but is an issue for retention and management within the chamber. Unfortunately, D+3He does not relieve that problem because the DD reactions will produce tritium too, so the same problem will exist. To what extent I don't know. The only way to beat that entirely (and the neutrons from DD) is to run 3He+3He, but you need MeV's for that.

It's just a bit hopeless to talk about these reactions being useful at the moment while DT still can't be made to work, which is an order of magnitude easier than any other reactions.

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:07 pm

I disagree, even without fusion we have enough Uranium to get by for one billion years at todays energy consumption levels, if we breed, that would last 100 billion years supply of todays energy use.

Of course energy consumption will continue to rise at 3% per year as it has done in the past 150 years. Uranium can be derived from unconventional sources such as ocean water, and the price really does not make a difference.

Also it is no problem to develop thorium reactors, either molten salt or other within a few years and thorium is even more abundant.

So today already we have energy security for a very long time. Energy is abundant. Only anti-humanist environmentalists are preventing that we access the cleanest and safest of all known energy sources.

And I see no reason, why humanity should not be able to access source on mars, moons of jupiter or elsewhere, if we would really come to a crunch.

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:18 pm

Solar power first needs a large initial energy and resource investment. We dont have these resources now and it would be silly to do it. Solar collectors in deserts also pose a major challenge, with dust and storms.

But the main point is that solar is such a diluted form of energy, that all deserts of the world would not suffice to supply a demand growing at 3% by 2070 or 2080. So solar is just a short bridge to nowhere.

Anyone could do the math on the back of an envelop. It doesnt add up.

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:23 pm

Why dont you give a reason, why you oppose nuclear? It has the lowest number of deaths of all energy forms, even better than PV and Wind. It is also the cleanest.

Is it just an emotional thing? Does it feel better to live in the mainstream media mindset, than forming an own opinion that digresses from the greenpeace propaganda, which is preventing a clean solution for much to long now and has kept us locked in a coal and oil world?

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Chris Bradley
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Chris Bradley » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:41 pm

Alexander Biersack wrote:
> ...we have enough Uranium to get by for one billion years at todays energy consumption levels, if we breed, that would last 100 billion years supply of todays energy use.

Not sure that is true. Do you have figures for this claim?

According to the IAEA study there is surprisingly little - about 50 years worth of current stocks and 'immediate' reserves if burnt in slow reactors, which I understood should mean multiplying up to 5~10,000 years, at current consumption, in fast breeders, from known/predicted reserves.

The more I think about this, the more I realise why people get excited about developing thorium. Seems to hit a lot of the right buttons. Maybe fusion will never get to 'over unity' but if it works as a half-decent neutron source, then maybe the future is by activating Thorium to make it fissile? Maybe Rubbia's 'energy amplifier' will have its day after all... but even that will probably only last a few 100,000 years.

Following text from "ANALYSIS OF URANIUM SUPPLY TO 2050" ;
http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publicatio ... 04_scr.pdf


""
ANALYSIS OF CUMULATIVE SUPPLY
AND DEMAND TO 2050
The adequacy of resources to meet demand is
measured in two ways. The first measure is a direct
comparison of resources at different confidence levels with
market based production requirements. The second
measure takes into account the fact that not all resources
will be utilized within the study period by comparing
projected production with requirements. The importance
of the difference between the two ways of measuring
resource adequacy is indicated for the middle and high
demand cases in Table II.
Production from high confidence RAR is projected to
be adequate to meet all requirements in the low demand
case. Therefore, deficits are not projected to be a factor in
the low demand case. As we progress to the middle
demand case, relatively high confidence known resources
fall short of market based production requirements by only
146 000 t U, or by less than the annual demand in each
year from 2041 to 2050. With the addition of lower confidence (undiscovered) EAR-II, resources actually exceed
requirements by about 2 million t U. However, a combination of timing when production centres will be cost
justified and the size of their resource base precludes full
utilization of resources, resulting in a projected shortfall of
844 500 t U between production from known resources
and market based production requirements.
""

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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:42 pm

The German Desertec project is in its death throws right now, most of the major big supporters have jumped ship and cut off funding. I guess they where all only in it for the subsidies.

Also Germany now has a record of 30GW peak installed PV as of this year after a massive spending spree. And what can we show for the 400 billion Euros spent? (Over half a trillion $)

Solar now produces about as much power as one normal coal or nuclear power plant and storage problems are not solved and major investments into the grid are needed to handle this power that comes into it, when the sun shines and not when it is needed. We are talking of a few thousand km of strong high voltage grid and tens of thousands of km of lower voltage grid. Who is going to pay for that?

Germany could have spent 1 less then one billion on a normal gas or coal plant or 5 billion for a modern and safe and clean nuclear power plant.

And where does all of the so called renewable energy come from in Germany? 3/4 are biomass, Germany is turning food into gas or electricity, which not only kills people but also has a negative environmental balance as lots of studies have shown. Rain forest destruction for palm oil plantations, more air pollution and even more green house gases.

Germanys neighbors are now installing huge switches at their borders to disconnect from the German grid, because they dont want to go into a blackout with the Germans, who are destabilizing their grid with all this "renewable" Energy that comes when it wants and not when needed.

Also many conventional power generators will go of the grid, because profitability is not given under these conditions. It is harmful to the power plant and inefficient to turn normal power plants on and off all the time and keep them in warm standby. Hence the German government is thinking of subsidies for them to keep running. Things are not all gold if you take a closer look.

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:58 pm

I dont want to know how much sun light the UK gets, Germany is on a par with Alaska.

The Chinese have seen the light, they are building 25 nuclear power plants now till 2015 and are definitely going to build another 40 by 2020. They want to reach energy independence. And they want to make hydrogen from cracking water in thorium reactors and make gas and gasoline.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... LX8jCKL9I4

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:07 pm

Steven, can you explain, what the problem is? The only problem we have, is that we are not building nuclear power plants fast enough. With power we can do anything we want, we could even desalinate sea water and turn the whole of the sahara into a huge crop basket for another 7 billion or more people.

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:14 pm

Richard, the dangers to our fragile society come from environmentalists on a mission, trying to tell others how they have to live. Liberty and freedom, free markets have brought us great wealth, this in danger now. The knowledge and the solution is not in the heads of a few environmentalists, it is distributed. I have checked all the things the environmentalists have succeeded to force upon others, and the interesting thing is that now one single measure actually is good for nature. Nothing of their policies does the slightest good for the environment. A classic case of well intended but with lots of unintended consequences that they did not fore see.

It is always fanatics that do most harm.

ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:39 pm

From Wikipedia unconventional sources of Uranium:
The uranium concentration of seawater is approximately 3.3 parts per billion but the quantity of contained uranium is vast. Researchers estimate there are some 4.5 billion tonnes - this amounts to approximately 1000 times more than known terrestrial resources.

Japanese scientists have shown that Uranium can be extracted from sea water with ion exchangers for 200$ a pound, Oak Ridge scientists have recently increased performance by magnitudes.

And just think of terrestrial Uranium: every ton of granite contains about 3 grams of uranium, how much granite is there?

But there are two guys who did the math. McCarthy and Bernard Cohen.

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/prog ... r-faq.html

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/

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