The latest fusion news

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Richard Hull
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The latest fusion news

Post by Richard Hull »

Check out this latest report. Lots of blather and bluster about more money being spent than ever.

What stunned me is without one creditable demonstration of fusion, Helion is now on schedule to make a new $200 million, 50 megawatt fusion facility to power Microsoft's mega computer system's hunger for electricity. They seem to be putting their tit in a wringer on this one claiming the new facility will power up in a couple of years producing said fusion energy. Someone is gonna' lose their ass. Pardon my french. What an epic fail in the making.

Putt-putt-putt-putt....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R45jMWhjwRk

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: The latest fusion news - Pull the other one...

Post by Frank Sanns »

If there are any venture capitalists reading these posts, we would be happy to assemble a team to build such devices.

Many of us on this forum are highly qualified. We could do it for a meager $100 million to start.

To prove efficacy, we are already running 40 keV plasma energy in continuous mode for nearly unlimited time while the other ventures are only claiming 10 Kev temperatures for a few seconds.


Apply now and don't miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to power the world.
Achiever's madness; when enough is still not enough. ---FS
We have to stop looking at the world through our physical eyes. The universe is NOT what we see. It is the quantum world that is real. The rest is just an electron illusion. ---FS
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Re: The latest fusion news - Pull the other one...

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

.
Bless you, Frank, for cutting to the chase.

VC's, start here:

https://waterstarproject.com

... and DM me and I'll send you my Venmo.

--PS
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"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Re: The latest fusion news - Pull the other one...

Post by Richard Hull »

You just can't quantum tunnel your way to success in any machine or device in existence. Thus, no useful fusion. Especially if you fuse via putt-putt boat efforts, like Helion.

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: The latest fusion news

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

.
I'm not sure where to put this one. There have been several posts in the last while about the latest fusion... schemes (I wanted to use another word there... letter 'a' instead of 'e') and I wonder if we just should have a thread called 'Latest Fusion Schemes' or something where we can post all these stories and... well...

I guess "The Latest Fusion News" is good enough...

This item showed up this morning:

Private Investment Fuels Race For Nuclear Fusion Power In US

https://www.barrons.com/news/private-in ... s-0885b2f4

The (literally) money quote:
in two years, the private sector has more than doubled its investments, reaching a total of $5.9 billion at the end of 2023, compared with just $271 million from the public sector.


And how much of that has been invested in IEC? Oh yeah, that would be.... zero. Other than the handful of thousands invested by the the denizens of fusor.net.

But the line that prompted me to drop this one is:
"It's like the first time the Wright brothers took off the ground," he said, referring to the first ever flight of a powered aircraft in 1903. "People can see that it's possible. It's no longer theoretical."
Yeah, it's like the Wright Brothers in 1903 - if the Flyer crashed on take off and 120 years later railroads and steamships were still the most efficacious forms of distance travel.

Another one to file under "I have no words..." 🤦🏻‍♂️

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Richard Hull
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Re: The latest fusion news

Post by Richard Hull »

I read the Barons article and smiled broadly at the following

Many uncertainties remain, but if Commonwealth and Helion are successful, it would enable the United States to become the first country to produce commercial electricity through fusion, a step no other nation is aiming for before 2035 at best.

Fusion is and will be ten years in the future before full grid power! Gee whiz! Never heard that one before.

The rush to fusion hype will spur investment in the fuels needed for fusion. Right? Real money is to be made in billion liter STP deuterium production per month as all methods use deuterium as one of the fusion fuels. There are trillions of liters of it in the oceans and we know how to extract it!

However, where are the billions of liters of STP helium 3 and Tritium coming from?? Oops! I shouldn't have mentioned that as there are no sources on the planet! Tritium can be bred via the famous lithium blanket method in the D-T reaction thanks to massive, lethal, neutron bombardment in tokamaks, which no one has tested and extracted the first liter of T!

Helion with its supposed aneutronic reaction needs helium 3. Currently, the only way to get this form of helium is by letting valuable Tritium ("rot"/decay) to helium 3.

I can see a Tritium war spring up if tokamaks win, (impossible), as they can burn T immediately! All the 3He reactions will demand tritium to be stored away, unused in tanks, and over its 13 year half-life, be milked for the 3He! Who gets the valuable Tritium??

All of the fusion processes will need hundreds of thousands of liters of both T and 3He to just get started! It is like starting the automotive market with 10,000 automobiles with only one oil well in the nation! (at least oil is in the ground) You have the autos but no fuel. This is just like making EVs with no reserve grid power.

No!...If the hard dollars are chasing the "EV cars"/"fusion reactors" with the hard held belief in fusion grid power in 10 years, the real money to be made is in producing copious amounts of T and 3He to be on hand for the start-up of fusion grid energy.

Right now it is cart before the horse. Let's make fusion machines for a fuel that doesn't exist to feed them.

Fission only needs a supply of fuel rods in place and burns the one batch of rods over years before refueling. Fusion reactors demand continued, forever quantities of fuel to be poured into them just like a car engine. No continuous fuel flow, no engine running.

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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Meanwhile...

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

... things are not looking great for ITER: '

World’s Biggest Nuclear-Fusion Project Plans to Reset Without UK

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/world-s-big ... -1.2070440
ITER was originally scheduled to cost about $5 billion and begin testing in 2020. The budget has ballooned past $22 billion, with no date set for trials. The dizzyingly complex machine being built in southern France pieces together more than a million parts sourced from around the world, with even the slightest anomalies causing months or years of delay.
100, 200 years from now, some advance civilization will descend upon the Earth in a fusion-powered spacecraft and find the ruins of ITER and wonder, "what fuck were they thinking?"

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Re: The latest fusion news

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Reminds me of NIF in the 90s and early 2000s. Gross mismanagement, huge cost overruns, congressional oversight committees on additional funding and missed targeted completion dates, etc. ITER is NIF on steroids.

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: The latest fusion news

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

It seems somebody from the science press has been reading Richard's posts here and wondering where all the Tritium is gonna come from:

https://physicsworld.com/a/the-fusion-i ... challenge/

Money quote Understatement of the Century:
The fusion community still has many issues to iron out before it can become a viable energy source.
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Re: The latest fusion news

Post by Richard Hull »

I don't think they are following my lead. I am not the only smart cookie in the bin. Others, who think deeply, can see the emperor's lack of clothing.

If only D-D fusion were pretty, the fuel issue could be far more readily solved if instituted early enough.

Alas, for all in the know, D-D fusion requires too much seed energy and pays back only a smaller fraction of its fusion energy compared to D-T fusion. D-T fusion has always been the shining light on the hill..... A hill where there is no extant Tritium. This never hampers the worker bees from designing and perfecting an 'engine' where there is no fuel source.

In any fusion where deuterium is one of the components, there will always be a fraction of D-D fusion going on with all of its four ash particles in the mix. (neutrons,protons, tritons, helium 3 nuclei)

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: The latest fusion news

Post by Dennis P Brown »

Quick question - for I am confused (what else is new!)

If DT fusion becomes economical (OK, that is laughable but lets suppose), then generating tritium is rather simple due to the availability of the massive high energy neutron flux from said reactor. So wouldn't then tritium as a fuel be rather easy to produce via that process or am I missing something?
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Re: The latest fusion news

Post by Rich Gorski »

Dennis,

Yes, there is a tritium breeding process that will be employed at ITER and ??. The reaction is:

Li6+n -> He4 + tritium

So many of these startups believe that by having a lithium blanket around the reactor tritium can be obtained.
Will it be in sufficient quantities ?????

The lithium will also absorb some of the fusion energy and might be the energy transfer medium from fusion to steam to drive turbines. ???

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Re: The latest fusion news

Post by Dennis P Brown »

Thanks - so worrying about fusion fuel for DT is a lot like worrying about antimatter for a warp engine. Through, at the rate some people are advancing the concept of warp fields, maybe that isn't so out of line. ;)
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Re: The latest fusion news

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The untested lithium/neutron reaction to tritium is just like the Proton/Boron11 to direct conversion scheme. Neither have been tested on a scale suitable for determining their efficacy at the gigawatt electrical distribution level to create tritium or direct electrical conversion. They are both untested dreams that have been around for years.

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: The latest fusion news

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

Richard Hull wrote: Tue May 21, 2024 5:06 pm They are both untested dreams that have been around for years.
That doesn't mean it's impossible.

How long was the dream of powered flight around before somebody figured it out?

The past, it turns out, is a lousy predictor of the future.

--P
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Re: The latest fusion news

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All the dreams await testing in a functioning gigawatt fusion reactor producing electricity 24-7-365.

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
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Re: The latest fusion news

Post by Dennis P Brown »

Even if a giga-watt level nuclear fusion reactor was up and running for a full year, it would consume a few orders of magnitude more money to operate/maintain then would ever be recovered by the money received for those giga-watts of power.
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Re: The latest fusion news

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We are back to the bean counters of the utilities being the final arbiters on fusion energy. They own the fusion future. No profit, no fusion.

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: The latest fusion news

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

Richard Hull wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 4:40 pm We are back to the bean counters of the utilities being the final arbiters on fusion energy. They own the fusion future. No profit, no fusion.
And, according to this item, the bean counters are beginning to have second thoughts about what they're getting for their beans:

Fusion Funding Has Fizzled:

https://news.crunchbase.com/clean-tech- ... on-altman/

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Re: The latest fusion news

Post by Richard Hull »

What will they do? Without a constant flow of the green substances, you start by letting workers go. Next, you downsize a bit and if you miss promised milestones the funding stops, dead! Then, like some leaking big ship on a big ocean, you quietly slip beneath the waves to join all the other hopeful fusion efforts resting in Davy Jones' locker.

Fusion projects demand constant infusions of cash. If not, they just bleed to death by degrees. So much capital lost on a forlorn hope.

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: The latest fusion news

Post by Dennis P Brown »

Magnetically confined fusion, no matter how successful, is doomed to cost more than any power from it can compensate. Why? Because the walls and ultimately the magnetics will quickly be damaged by the very process that makes the energy available - the ultra energetic neutrons. Those magnetics are heinously expensive and to replace them means significant down time, as well.

I'll ignore that if the plasma control is lost for a tokamak, the entire reactor & building will be lost. The stellarator (the best option) does not have this deadly problem.

Making fusion work isn't just controlling the plasma, it requires materials that don't exist and frankly, no idea how to solve that issue. That neutron threat will destroy any known material. Only now, is the DOE putting out proposals just to create a testing system - simple? Creating one is currently beyond the technology available and will take years to develop. That is a system just to test materials that may or may not some day in the future could help with this problem. No, a fission reactor cannot do this - wrong energy spectrum.

Then the waste deposal issue - the entire inner walls will be hideously radioactive and only robots could work on these units. This problem, if not fixed, will occur extremely often. Further, even robots can be destroyed by such high levels. Then disposal is required - all very costly issues.

There are more but these will do assuming a fusion reactor is ever created and produces net energy. When I posted that even a massively net energy reactor will be too costly, these are some of the major reasons.
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