Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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Richard Hull
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Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

Post by Richard Hull »

Apparently the first new multinational tokamak to be completed in years is about to be fired up. It is claimed its results will very much herald the ITER startup. (whenever that happens)

This is a big deal. Will they run regular protium on startup and measure the plasma temperature? It is doubtful they will actually use D-T, for once it is fired up and fusion occurs, any major internal work on it will have to wait for the isotopes created within to decay. An initial startup and fail would be a disaster. D-D would also be a bit risky is started and internal issues arose.

We should keep an eye on the first claims on this new leviathan.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/japan-wor ... on-reactor

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

.
I can't wait to see the headlines.

"Japanese Machine Holds Electric Jello in Magnetic Elastic Bands."

Meanwhile, I trust y'all have seen the countless headlines about how John Kerry has been promising that fusion will be a big part of the US energy and climate program.

US envoy Kerry launches international nuclear fusion plan at COP28:

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy ... 023-12-05/

...and NPR did a piece this week about Helion:

Companies say they're closing in on nuclear fusion as an energy source. Will it work?

https://www.npr.org/2023/12/04/12155391 ... will-it-wo

I guess it depends on your definition of 'work.'

If that definition includes "draw investment from unsuspecting capitalists," then, yeah, sure, it'll work great.

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television: 2023 Edition – https://amz.run/6ag1
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Richard Hull
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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Yes, there is a panic on the part of the government and their Green EV agenda. The auto makers can't sell the EVs sitting on their lots. Power is the issue. The only power in place 24-7-365 is coal, gas, oil and some hydro. With no massive ability to store gigawatts of wind and solar, the massive new load of electrical power needed for the proposed total elimination of gasoline and diesel from transport has no future for the futurists. Thus, the futurists grab ever more tightly to fusion which has always been the energy of the future.

The green dreamers don't seem to realize that a 100% carbon neutral future would demand the current energy replacement of all the world's daily carbon based fuel energy with electrical energy and they want this dream to occur overnight. It cannot be done with current technology. No one wants 200 new nuclear fission plants to be built in the next 10 years in the US, which might go a long way to supplying transitional electrical energy.

Hanging your hats on fusion remains part of that dream. Now the choice is to continue to rape the earth for fossil fuels deep underground or rape the surface for rare earth minerals and rare metals seeking to store energy that is currently lost to the lack of wind and solar 24-7-365.

We have been, are, and always will be hunter-gatherers, taking from out environment to, at first, just survive until the next sunrise. Now we do it for comfort and leisure as we assume survival to be a given.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

.
At my most cynical and sarcastic (easy to be after reading a post like Richard's above or Franks's latest elsewhere), I just land on "sure, sure, fusion may not be very effective as a source of useable industrial energy, but it damn well excels at it's unspoken purpose: sucking tax and capital investment dollars into a bottomless pit.

To which, see how successful the NIF "breakeven/breakthrough" this time last year (and more recently replicated) has been at achieving its primary (if unstated) goal – as demonstrated in this headline:

Uncle Sam plows $42M into nurturing fusion breakthrough

https://www.theregister.com/2023/12/08/ ... h_funding/

Money quote:
The US Department of Energy has released $42 million in seed funding to help research the nuclear fusion techniques successfully demonstrated at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory last year.
By that measure, the fusor is, indeed, and unmitigated failure and has been for decades.

Or as Bob Hirsch said to me when I asked him "why can't way say definitively if the fusor is an effective approach to fusion,"
Not enough money.
And Hirsch should know, seeing as how he was the guy holding the purse strings during his tenure at the DOE.

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television: 2023 Edition – https://amz.run/6ag1
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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The extreme pittance of tax dollars compared to the rather over budgeted DoD budget I'd say the money for fusion has value - even just the research that is being done. Of course, currently not for energy approaches like the indirect drive and tokamak approaches but the knowledge in this field is a good investment. The stellarator is a highly possible (but not cost effective) approch. Direct drive could be both. But study at this extremely low level is still useful.

As for investors - their wasting money is more a well deserved self punishment for the dot com disaster and the money pit called bitcoin (and other such nonsense) currencies.

Not that your point about energy production by fusion (i.e. lack of it) isn't fully correct. Just glad ITER will most likely die from cost over-runs before they blow it up .... I mean, turn it on so it does blow up and kill a large number of people. That, fusion, certainly does not need.

Richard is correct - I would be amazed if they allow the reactor to do real fusion - the radiation would be a disaster. Likely, like Princeton's 1990's reactor (which was hideously radioactive) numerous times the plasma did burn through the reactor wall. But due to its low energy density, the magnetics were not compromised.

As I always say - nuclear fission should be looked into far more: just not the American reactor design that dominates here.
Last edited by Dennis P Brown on Sat Dec 09, 2023 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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Dennis P Brown wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2023 3:40 pmJust glad ITER will most likely die from cost over-runs before they blow it up ....
Thanks, Dennis. Got a good chuckle out of that one.

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television: 2023 Edition – https://amz.run/6ag1
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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All the high end, professional, fusion boffins know that the moment they put tritium with deuterium in any fusion reactor seeking to maintain a fusion plasma in the megawatt range, the internals are made radioactive! Internal failures, punctures, wall damage, etc. will demand a period of inactivity for the activated material to decay to a level where work and repairs can be affected. Not to mention the need to dump and save the hugely expensive volume of radioactive D-T mixed gas in the reactor at shutdown.

This is why not one of the little glorious startups of some input power level dare not use Tritium. They use onlynon fusible protium to play with measuring plasma temperatures to make claims of millions of degrees in their plasmas.

I assume this is news to only a few here.

Richard Hull

Boffin: a British slang term for an egghead, often distant or self-absorbed scientist or engineer. Often used as a slight or derisive term by politicos and non technical management when talking among themselves when complaining about trying to direct or herd them like cats.
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

Post by Alexander Ziemecki »

Richard - that may be precisely why something like avalanche can work. During the testing phase, it's so much easier to contaminate with tritium and then replace a fusor than it is to replace a tokamak. You can be back at work within a week. It feels promising, at a bare minimum for what is learned in tritium behavior. How many experiments have there been with Tritium? I feel like it is hand-countable - I was told by Weston Stacy back when I was in his lab that it had only been tried in tokamaks twice, although that may have been hyperbole.
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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Believe it! Those who have used tritium in their big projects have suffered the fate of their effort once working and failing using D-T having to be forced to run on a long term teaching basis!

The realization that the teardown time and costs of proper NRC disposal of irradiated materials are near unfathomable. This fact has taught a terrible lesson to serious larger efforts. Princeton's tokamak is a prime example of this horror story. Tritium use in power fusion efforts is the end of any future effort due to the costs and time of dismantling yet another failed effort not to mention internal repair issues during its operational period.

Due to the difference in output of D-D versus D-T fusion, no one dare even use D-D as it is a loser, yet with all the attendant neutron activation issues.
While cheaper to use and the added benefit of using a non-radioactive gas like tritium, D-D is just a non-starter when protium will give them the data needed to know they are an abject failure due to failure to reach the needed continuous fusion operational plasma temperatures. Best to fail clean rather than a dirty radioactive hulk needing to be dismantled with no reclaimable components of value.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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Here I will yet again mention the Wendelstein 7x Stellarator (apparently for me, endlessly - I am compulsive but that comes with a physics degree - not that in the degree that behavior is mandatory but all such students seem to obtain that during the courses.)

This stellarator device has achieved reactor level plasmas and held them for nearly a minute (of course simple ionized hydrogen.) It will likely achieve holding a reactor level plasma for thirty minutes in the not too distant future.

Would this then be a real reactor design for attaining stable, net energy fusion? Very possibly but it would be unhinged for the simple reason of cost. In todays dollars a real net energy stellarator reactor based on the Wendelstein design would very likely cost what a standard fission reactor currently costs to build. This estimate is based on the Wendelstein current cost corrected for the need to enlarge its total size by a factor of three. They wrote a paper on this subject which I read a few years ago.

Sounds reasonable, right? Not even close.

This cost does not cover the short life span due to the massive radiation issue. Nor has any one yet figured out how to handle the wall threat caused by the massive neutron flux and that, is a huge issue. Further, any such reactor would need its walls changed out on a regular bases (luckily, the stellarator design, unlike tokamaks, can be constructed in small modular segments for that type of servicing.)

However, this ignores the extreme danger of changing out said walls. And for what? A reactor that produces all of net energy? Bad idea unless one is just in it for that trivial goal and wants to burn through 15 billion dollars (current cost of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier if I recall correctly.)
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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Speaking again for fission.

1.Energy stored in the fuel (Nuclear binding energy). All energy released without any energy input beyond that required to carefully move the fuel masses into proximity. (Lifting control rods, neutron absorbers, among an already critical mass.) Just boil some water. Only needs limited maintenance. Runs 24-7-365 except during re-fuel operations.

2.Coal or gas which have stored molecular energy. Just set the mass alight and boil water. Only needs limited maintenance. Runs 24-7-365 as fuel feed is continuous during operation.

3.The universe fights fusion with a vengeance to such a degree that massive amounts of input energy are needed under very special conditions which are difficult, if ,as now, impossible to contain and maintain the energetic environment to support constant, controlled fusion. Maintenance of the core walls and related radioactive material removal may shut down a fusion plant for unacceptable periods of time.

D-D fusion is the only fusion where the fuel is abundant and nearly limitless, yet a full order of magnitude more difficult to do than D-T fusion where their is no tritium reserve on which to drawn to produce real world energy needs.

There are draw backs

1. Produces long term nuclear waste that requires long term storage or in order to retrieve not consumed fission fuel in the spent fuel elements creates a "devils brew" of liquid waste which, must again, be stored.

2. Green house gas emission that freaks out the greenies, even with more efficient burning natural gas.

3. Just can't be done at any price point compared to the above even if totally conquered in a distant future that is clung to by the multitudes. The fusion fuel has no intrinsically stored energy, in and of itself as does fissionable fuels.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Japanese joint tokamak to fire up - making news

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There is a safe (as this design is impossible to have a run away condition - really), low cost fission reactor design that uses - waste reactor fuel. So the vast stores of nuclear waste currently sitting in pools (because there is no where else to put it) can be converted into clean power. Better still, with ZERO new uranium production, this waste fuel would meet the energy demands of the current US consumption levels for one hundred years.
This reactor requires zero personnel to operate, no safety active systems so is rather low cost to build and operate. This is a well understood design but will never be built for one and only one primary reason (and not due to anti-nuke 'establishment'.) The reactor design is useless for nuclear subs and ships. So, neither the Government nor free market banks/investors will fund a reactor that can not be sold to the military.

I've talked about it numerous times (again, I am just someone that continues to rant on about things that really are useful.)

See Elysium Industries and their molten ceramic reactor
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