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 Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...

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PostSubject: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:09 pm

Having recently failed at creating a black hole, it seems physicists are setting their sights lower. They merely want to create a new star now.
Europe follows fusion twin track

The great and good of Europe are planning to have a go at the holy grail of energy production, a form of power that runs on sea-water and creates far more power than anything seen today. I'm not sure about waste though.

Someone more technologically savvy will have to fill ye in on the details but it basically copies the sun. And if I remember Spiderman II correctly, it has the potential to go horribly wrong.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to have a discussion about misleading alarmist science reports in the media, I'm all for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:27 pm

905 wrote:
Having recently failed at creating a black hole,

Bankers beat them to it. Cool


If they can make this one work great, but somehow housing something at 100million degrees does suggest severe technological problems. That is a lot of heat to dissipate quickly.

I think it is a field we should explore and it may well cost serious sums, but if we can unravel this one energy problem solved for good so major reward.

Think the space elevators will be up and running long before we crack this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:43 pm

Fusion as opposed to fission is the combining of light elements like hydrogen and helium (a proton or two in the nucleus) by forcing their atoms together to create heavier elements the by-rpoduct being large amounts of energy at the same time. Fission is the seperation of massive atoms like Uranium which has c. 236/8 protons in its atom into which is shot a neutron or two to split the U238 atom which then releases energy in the form of protons and neutrons into other nearby atoms with 238 protons in them thereby releasing energy by chain reaction and multiplying of particles once a number of atoms are split first.

Some nukes are fusion and others are fission - the Hydrogen Bomb is fusion. Some of the more evil ones are a combination of both fusion and fission - one process kicking off the other. We've learned to 'control' fission but fusion isn't so easy to control because it is a replication of the processes in a star.

Under strong gravity, light elements will be combined into others thereby releasing their energy in heat and light. If there is enough of the elements in the system then they'll continue to fuse and will burn for a long while - the process of stars. Stars don't use nuclear fission or the splitting of atoms - they use fusion where protons are forced together into new elements.

The energies to do this on earth are possible to replicate but the resulting plasma is the problem as it's impossible to hold. Someone described it to me saying that it would burn through the surface of the earth before burning itself out. It would not continue to combine light elements in a chain-reaction and turn the earth into a sun though - when they do it with nukes they implode elements using conventional explosive and with this football pitch-size yoke they'll implode elements from outside with laser bombardment. It will not go wrong if there is a limited amount of fuel to combine or if the laser can be switched off. The ITER experiment in Marseilles is a magnetic yoke which is designed in a donut-shape in an attempt to hold that plasma so that it doesn't make a huge hole under Marseilles if it falls. Maybe Marseilles is a hole anyway which is why they built it there. I've heard that trying to magnetically hold this plasma up in the air is like trying to pin jelly onto the ceiling with needles.

I can't rememeber what happened in Spiderman but it all went wrong for Doc Octopus alright.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:14 pm

As regards waste I believe fusion would be clean. It would take loads of non-radioactive fuel (Hydrogen) and fuse the atoms together to produce non-radioactive product (Helium) while releasing a geansaí-load of energy, according to Mr Einstein's famous formula. The trick of course is to control and manage the energy release so that you don't melt the planet.

This is as opposed to Fission which takes splits the atoms of the radioactive fuel and produces radioactive waste.

With Fusion the waste could be used as a welcome boost to the beleaguered novelty balloon industry.

Bear in mind of course that waiting for Fusion to solve all our woes is a bit like hoping you solve your financial worries with a win on the Euromillions. If you wait long enough it might happen, but as things stand, it is probably better to make alternative arrangements. ;-)
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:59 am

While it's a bit of a long shot, and a potentially risky one to boot, I think a serious attempt at a sustainable energy is worth it. The big problem I've always had with conventional nuclear energy is the waste, which will be hazardous for God know how long.

Anyway, it's better than throwing billions into a black hole...

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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:33 pm

Nuclear fusion reactors already exist. There is even one in England. The problem is twofold.
1 Plasma as already descrbed.
2. To fuse you need massive amount of energy. Look at the sun. It is huge (99%+ of all matter in the solar system) and despite the huge pressures in its core, it still requires massive temmperatures to continue working. Current fusion reactors use more energy than they produce to achieve the high temperatures.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:35 pm

riven wrote:
Nuclear fusion reactors already exist. There is even one in England. The problem is twofold.
1 Plasma as already descrbed.
2. To fuse you need massive amount of energy. Look at the sun. It is huge (99%+ of all matter in the solar system) and despite the huge pressures in its core, it still requires massive temmperatures to continue working. Current fusion reactors use more energy than they produce to achieve the high temperatures.

Why do people hold our fusion as a hope for clean/cheap/safe energy then?
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:45 pm

The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:11 pm

riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:39 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?

There is already a tidal project off the coast of Africa that will desalinate and allow them to plant and afforest. We are already late dealing with climate change so we can't afford to wait. Plus it is unproven technology and may never prove useable. Look at poor old Cern, running years late with the Hadron Collider at this stage.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:09 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?

No, but neither should we abandon fusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:18 am

ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?

No, but neither should we abandon fusion.

I've heard criticism recently on the basis of fuel sources and safety issues, but I would not know if those criticism are valid. Any thoughts about this?
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:47 am

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?

No, but neither should we abandon fusion.

I've heard criticism recently on the basis of fuel sources and safety issues, but I would not know if those criticism are valid. Any thoughts about this?

Well, fuel sources...seawater. An uncontained nuclear fusion process would simply die out - the problem at the moment is preventing them doing so. The products are not radioactive, but there would be some contaminated waste, probably medical-grade. I don't know how anyone would really know about the safety issues, though, because we don't have any working fusion reactors, and the experimental ones aren't built with safety in mind.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:51 am

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?

No, but neither should we abandon fusion.

I've heard criticism recently on the basis of fuel sources and safety issues, but I would not know if those criticism are valid. Any thoughts about this?

Well, fuel sources...seawater. An uncontained nuclear fusion process would simply die out - the problem at the moment is preventing them doing so. The products are not radioactive, but there would be some contaminated waste, probably medical-grade. I don't know how anyone would really know about the safety issues, though, because we don't have any working fusion reactors, and the experimental ones aren't built with safety in mind.

HMOG - another Hadron Collider scenario.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:02 am

cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
riven wrote:
The amount of energy available would be unlimited in our curent climate of energy usage. If a heavy water fusion process was used we potentially have an energy reserve at current levels for 150 billion years.
Ultimately when technology develops the fusion reactors could also be very small meaning essentially free energy would is a possible poverty killer. A drop of water in a fusion process could power the whole planet.
Should we hold out on developing wind, wave and solar while THEY come up with the reactor of a lifetime?

No, but neither should we abandon fusion.

I've heard criticism recently on the basis of fuel sources and safety issues, but I would not know if those criticism are valid. Any thoughts about this?

Well, fuel sources...seawater. An uncontained nuclear fusion process would simply die out - the problem at the moment is preventing them doing so. The products are not radioactive, but there would be some contaminated waste, probably medical-grade. I don't know how anyone would really know about the safety issues, though, because we don't have any working fusion reactors, and the experimental ones aren't built with safety in mind.

HMOG - another Hadron Collider scenario.

The effects on the weak-minded are admittedly predictable.
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PostSubject: Re: Nuclear Fusion - Just When you Thought it was Safe...   Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:42 pm

Do not cut interest on current renewables. The reactor in France is not expected to be profitable in energy output ie it will consume more energy. Unless a genius is born or becomes apparent fusion is still 50 years away at a guess.
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