"It's safe, it's clean" - and soon. Really?

Is nuclear fission going to make a comeback and plug the gap in our energy needs? Will nuclear fusion ever become energetically viable?

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emordnilap
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"It's safe, it's clean" - and soon. Really?

Post by emordnilap »

At Google's Solve For X, Charles Chase describes what his team has been working on: a trailer-sized fusion power plant that turns cheap and plentiful hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) into helium plus enough energy to power a small city. It's safe, it's clean, and Lockheed is promising an operational unit by 2017 with assembly line production to follow, enabling everything from unlimited fresh water to engines that take spacecraft to Mars in one month instead of six.
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JohnB
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Post by JohnB »

No more oil, no more coal, no more nuclear, and not even any solar or wind or hydro will be necessary (unless you're into that sort of thing): fusion has the potential to produce as much affordable clean power as we'll ever need, for the entire world.
Won't that rather upset a lot of powerful companies and middle eastern countries? I thought ideas that were liable to put them out of business were quietly disappeared.
John

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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Nail on head John. It's only an idea.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by Pepperman »

Chase didn't give a whole lot more technical detail, but he seemed confident in predicting a 100mW prototype by 2017, with commercial 100mW systems available by 2022
I look forward to being able to run my digital watch off a trailer-sized fusion power plant in 2022... :)
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Re: "It's safe, it's clean" - and soon. Really?

Post by clv101 »

emordnilap wrote:
At Google's Solve For X, Charles Chase describes what his team has been working on: a trailer-sized fusion power plant that turns cheap and plentiful hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) into helium plus enough energy to power a small city.
This is quite ridiculous.

Deuterium exists in enormous quantities in sea water where it forms 0.03% by weight of the hydrogen but tritium exists naturally in only tiny amounts generated by cosmic rays, and decays away with a half life of 12.3 years, so that there is only about 3.6kg of naturally generated tritium at any one time distributed all around the planet. The Oil Drum

Tritium is one of the least plentiful substances on the planet, and likely the limiting factor of fusion rollout.
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emordnilap
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I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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