"The future ain't what it used to be."

Nuclear Fusion Reactor Nears Final Design!



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Nuclear Fusion Reactor Nears Final Design!</font>

October 12, 2000 08:00 CDT
(image courtesy UCAL)

It's make or break time for the dream of never-ending fusion power.

In a last-ditch effort to realize a 50-year-old dream of making limitless electricity from the same reactions that power the Sun, physicists last week presented their final cut-down design for a nuclear fusion reactor. They warn that unless governments now find the capital needed to build the reactor, the dream will die.

The international fusion project has been on hold for two years, ever since funding governments balked at the original price tag. Researchers have since drastically scaled down their ambitions.

Speaking at a fusion conference organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Sorrento last week, Evgenii Velikhov, Russia's leading fusion scientist, says that if a decision to begin construction is not made soon, "our future is very bleak". Umberto Finzi, the European Commission's coordinator for energy and the environment, warns that if governments fail to back the new design, practical fusion energy research will fade away.

The US, Europe, Japan and the Soviet Union began to work together on fusion in 1986. However, by the time the design for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) was finalized in 1998 the political climate was very different. US support for fusion had since dwindled and Russia had little money to put on the table.

The US pulled out of the project last year, and fusion researchers in Europe, Japan and Russia have since been reworking the design, cutting the original capital cost in half. Finzi points out that the cost of building the reactor, if spread over 10 years, is only 25 percent of the $1.4 billion euros already spent on fusion research worldwide every year. Behind the scenes at Sorrento, Finzi was busy preparing for negotiations next year on a funding package between Europe and Japan.

The principle of the revamped ITER is the same as before: inside a large doughnut-shaped vessel known as a "tokamak", powerful magnetic fields contain a plasma of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium. When heated to over 100 million degrees, the deuterium and tritium nuclei fuse to form alpha particles and neutrons. The alpha particles reheat the plasma while the energy of the neutrons can be extracted.

Many of the key parameters of the new design have shrunk. The amount of power to be generated has been reduced from 1500 to 500 megawatts, while the volume of plasma has dropped from 2000 to 837 cubic meters. The reactor is no longer aiming to "ignite" the plasma. Ignition occurs when the alpha particles provide enough energy to sustain the reaction, and no further input of heat is needed. The aim now is to provide 67 percent of the plasma's energy from alpha particles, a figure that cannot be achieved by any of the existing small research tokamaks.

Despite the need to input energy, the reduced ITER should produce ten times as much energy as it consumes. No other tokamak has yet produced surplus power, though the JET fusion reactor at Culham in Oxfordshire has come close. Experiments at JET over the past few months have for 5 seconds reached the levels of plasma pressure, density and confinement required for ITER. "'We have made steady progress on all fronts," says JET's leader, Jerome Pamela. "I'm sure ITER will work."

Apart from the design, the other burning question for ITER researchers is the location of where it will be built. Possible sites to date include Cadarache in southern France and three locations in Japan. But Canada, an associate ITER member, has proposed building the reactor next to an existing nuclear complex at Clarington, west of Toronto. The advantage of the Canadian site is that tritium is already produced there, and it would also be an acceptable compromise between Europe and Japan. In addition, ITER scientists hope this location may entice the US to rejoin the project.

This article has been adapted from a report made by New Scientist.

Cosmiverse Staff Writer

<This message has been edited by Time02112 (edited 12 October 2000).>
why has no one tryed to use cold fusion nuclear fusion is to volitile cold fusion will give you ranges up to 15 to 20 thousand gigawatts and will not give off the kind of heat that a nuclear reaction will. With way more power and more by products to be used afterwords:<hr size="1" width="80%" color="#000099" align="left">lateniteone
RE: Nuc. Fus. Reac Near Final, re, weeell\' latni

Think it wus somthin in them being able to gold plate the primary reactor, in the cold fus prototypes.

The Japanese had done this sucessfully, however, they's the Japanese and are much more prodigious concerning assembly parameters, thatn it seesm som,ethings Americans?

I have heard of others trying cold fusion, however has this worked lateintoine? "I'll call you lat, it's much easier".

Hi T12, how's it hangin bro?

I was very supprised and delighted to recieve your invite, to join the lawn mower discussion group. Please note though, the primary holders on this patent, don't want non-holders of lawn mower technology to either make them, or to take them off factory grounds.

Fusion if cool.

In TFR controlled your hitting very high tempratures.

You have to construct a hardened thermocouple, to translaite heat into electrical energy.

I hear that they have not done this as of yet?

On J.T. and the Sunshine Band; I hear that J.T. had a way of deriving electrical power, from the carnival ride event shell durring jump.

So what goes around in engineering circles.....

I don't know if you think that you can build the new stile of lawn mowers, that's cool.

Fiberglass, or carbon resin?

Since this is a big lawn, you will need a cab to ride in, so you want to line the operator's cab, with extra anti solar and what-not stiles of insulations?

You know, when we met near San Diego after our brotherly fight and you took me fishing. Remember our conversation about reciprecle power?

You know that any system that produces power, must in some way be able to store this power, then be able to blend this power back into that system...?

Yeah' so you have batteries, a solar cells or banks of them.
A large rotating dynamo.
Then you want to be able to connect this power, so that you can cancle some of the power produced, in your lawn mower pulse give-off, so that that power shunt, can be controlled.

Say a one thousand pound large lawn mower, maybe two thousand at the max?

The thing is, even though this is illegal, is when that day comes and your mowing the giant golf course lawn and the golfers take notice and are after you with their gold clubs, how do you get through this?

I mean even if you sucessfully get off the green and are in the company shopping mall, they are still going to ask for a card, in order for you to get what you want?

I've gone over this many, many times.

The best way is to find a cousin who had a club pass and then you can get in?

Rick wrote me the other day and told me about the condos at Bettie's Luna Land and Bob's God Of War Estates.

Our compnay had thought that they were never even going to build there! But here it's some time after the viewers saw the Eagle land by the marsh and they have complete and elaborate condos built on both places, with Bob and Mary's cousins in there already!

Now if your going to take that big mower out that way, don't you think the condo security at both places are going to harrass you and probably take away your mower?

I feel the next best thing to do, is, to find relations of Bob and Mary that do not hold their condo hardline and then simply ask then to take you to where you want to go?

My best to you and yours.

You know, my saying is, could you even build this mower from parts off the shelf, by making the right routings?

I love you a bunch as always, please be carefull and enjoy the Summer Love Dan