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    Default Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Is nuclear fusion coming? The UK seems to think so and apparently, so too does France.

    Quote UK hatches plan to build world's first fusion power plant
    Nuclear scientists are designing an ambitious prototype facility that could demonstrate commercial energy production by 2040.

    11 October 2019
    NEWS
    Elizabeth Gibney


    Employees work inside the ITER construction site in Saint-Paul-les-Durance, France
    The international fusion project ITER is currently under construction in southern France.Credit: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty


    The United Kingdom has entered the race to build the world’s first prototype commercial fusion reactor. The British government announced a £200-million (US$248-million) investment on 3 October.

    Even though no fusion facility has yet been able to generate more energy than it takes to run, governments around the world are already looking at how they might build a commercial reactor. Both the design and timeline for the UK proposal make it among the most ambitious.

    “Whether it’s sufficient, I don’t know, but it’s a real amount of money,” says Tim Luce, chief scientist at the world's largest fusion experiment ITER, which is supported by an international collaboration. If the cash goes on prototyping the key elements of the eventual device, that should give Britain “a very good start”, he says.

    Over the next four years, scientists at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford will produce a detailed design for the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), a plant capable of generating hundreds of megawatts of net electrical energy that would be up and running by the early 2040s. If the decision is made to go ahead and build the facility, the bill would stretch to billions of pounds.

    “It’s ambitious and adventurous, but I think the fusion programme has to be,” says Howard Wilson, director of the STEP programme at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), which runs the Culham Centre.

    The nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium — the process that powers the Sun — promises an almost limitless supply of clean energy. But no facility has yet been able to achieve the level of heat and confinement needed for a reaction to generate more energy than it takes to produce. The international ITER experiment being built in southern France aims to do that in 2035. The STEP project’s goal is to go a stage further: creating a plant that can harness electricity from fusion. Only if ITER succeeds will scientists know whether a prototype commercial plant such as STEP is really viable.

    Compact design

    Like ITER, the planned UK facility would be based on a ‘tokamak’ design that uses magnetic fields to confine a plasma of heavy isotopes of hydrogen, tritium and deuterium, which fuse under extreme heat and pressure. But whereas ITER’s tokamak is doughnut-shaped, STEP would use a method trialled in the United Kingdom since the 1990s that holds the superheated gas in a more compact, cored-apple shape.

    Scientists hope that the smaller facility — which will measure about 10-metres across — will prove cheaper. But its reduced size could also bring problems, such as how to manage the plasma’s extreme heat over a smaller surface area.

    Building a more compact tokamak is a risky option, says Anne White, a plasma physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Physicists are confident that ITER’s tokamak will work as planned because its design has been studied extensively. But for spherical tokamaks there are many unknowns, she says. “That means there is more risk, but on the flip side, it could also mean there is more to discover and perhaps more to optimize.”

    Britain is just one of a number of countries planning to build a commercial reactor. A Chinese facility known as the Chinese Fusion Engineering Testing Reactor could come online as early as 2035, and DEMO, a European successor to ITER, is planned for the 2050s. A number of companies around the world are also hoping to achieve even more compact designs.

    Thinking Ahead

    The cash for STEP comes on the back of £20 million announced by then prime minister Theresa May’s government in October last year, which funded the first year of design. Subsequent phases of the facility’s development, after 2024, would involve both public and private investment, says Ian Chapman, the Culham Centre's chief executive and head of the UKAEA.

    Britain’s future role in ITER remains uncertain because its membership comes through the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which the UK government plans to leave when the country exits the European Union. For more than 30 years, Culham has hosted the EU-funded Joint European Torus (JET), which is testing fuel technologies for ITER. Although the government has said that it hopes to find a way to remain part of ITER, STEP investment helps to future-proof the United Kingdom’s long-standing expertise in fusion, says Luce. “To get a return on investment from ITER, countries need domestic expertise and a path forward,” he adds.

    Chapman insists, however, that the STEP project is not about Britain trying to go it alone. Each of the seven partners in ITER — China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States — is working on designing commercial reactors, building supply chains and developing domestic expertise to exploit the next stage of fusion development, he says. “We shouldn’t see STEP as a sign of turning our back on international collaboration.”
    From: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03039-9
    Last edited by Cara; 15th October 2019 at 16:20.
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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Meanwhile 100s of suppressed inventions could solve the "energy problem" in no time, I wonder how much government (& EU) subsidy aid they get using peoples tax money!
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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    It's an interesting topic. I'm 100% convinced cold fusion was and is a reality, but has been mercilessly suppressed.

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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    It's an interesting topic. I'm 100% convinced cold fusion was and is a reality, but has been mercilessly suppressed.
    Here's the latest on that:

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/sci...usion-reactor/

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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    The Navy design appears to be "compact fusion". "Cold fusion" is a different beast which runs LENR or Low Energy Reaction.

    Fuel for these devices (or at least a kind of them) would be a few grams of nickel.

    From what I recall, it is based using the Weak Force.

    The progress and designs are very much debated. It is close to ten years ago, but I was able to find presentation papers for a conference whose interested parties were the Japanese Auto-makers and NASA. It wasn't a sales pitch. The industries themselves found it plausible enough that they were trying to actually pursue it.

    The system makes more sense than the forces. Opposites attract, which is electricity. So a negative electron comes flying in from infinity towards a positive proton, but, at the last instant before they kiss, it stops, as if it were going to bounce off, but then is stuck in a kind of trap. That trap is the nuclear Weak Force.

    "Sameness" repels, if you try to push two of the same magnetic poles at each other, they repel harder and harder the closer you get. But for some reason, positives, or protons, can get stuck inside the seemingly infinite repellence, which is the nuclear Strong Force. Ordinary hot fusion means you are sticking extra stuff into it, which doesn't want to go. That is why it is gobbling up so much energy just to turn the machine on.

    On an industrial scale, yes, a big fusion reactor could produce megawatts. The LENR is also said to scale up and a version could be made for a house, car, up to what we consider a large aircraft. If it was true, then your home generator would be a box only a few feet across that takes a new metal slug once a year and very little cleaning. The energy industry would find itself in a position like the old truck farmers. Too much abundance for anyone to specifically need "your" product.

    That is one of Wade Frazier's main points, what would life actually be like, if the normal working class person did not have to spend hundreds every month on electricity, gas, and heating fuel.

    I am not in a position to say which cold fusion devices work, or how they have been kept under wraps, or why the major industries would have developed nothing, but it seems to be serious.

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    Lightbulb Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Is Nuclear Fusion The Answer To Clean Energy? #CNBC 29-10-2019
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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Cara,

    Thank your for all of your posts, often beautiful and inspiring, always highly pertinent and informative! You are amazing.
    Last edited by arborealis; 4th November 2019 at 20:07.

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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    the following is short and entertaining. The man who invented the pressurised water reactor, Weinberg, also invented the molten salt thorium reactor. before getting sacked he told policy makers that the molten salt choice was far better.

    It is safer, and produces almost no long lived waste.

    Working theory as to why these are not around the planet in their thousands by now? they do not produce fissile bomb making plutonium.

    the beauty of this option is that it is off the shelf tech from the 60's that could be commercialised in, say, 5 years en masse.

    Molten salt reactors also are very complimentary to intermittent renewables as they can increase and reduce output as required in a matter of minutes. they can be miniaturised into lorry containers and sold cheap to developing countries


    Last edited by Baby Steps; 4th November 2019 at 23:18.

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    Administrator Cara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Quote Posted by arborealis (here)
    Cara,

    Thank your for all of your posts, often beautiful and inspiring, always highly pertinent and informative! You are amazing.
    Thank you arborealis for your acknowledgement . I am glad you find them helpful.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Nuclear: Fusion, Fission, and...

    Go-ahead for U.S.-German stellarator (fusion) project:
    =========
    Go-ahead for U.S.-German stellarator project
    30.10.2019

    The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald and the U.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison have founded a joint research project to investigate the power exhaust from a hot stellarator plasma. The Helmholtz International Lab for Optimized Advanced Divertors in Stellarators (HILOADS), in which Forschungszentrum Jülich and Auburn University in Alabama also participate, is financially supported by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

    Fusion systems of the stellarator type promise high-performance plasmas in continuous operation. Accordingly, heat and particles from the hot plasma permanently stress the vessel walls. It is the task of the so-called divertor – a system of specially equipped baffle plates to which the particles from the edge of the plasma are magnetically directed – to regulate the interaction between plasma and wall. The structure of the magnetic field and the choice of material for the plates determine how well the divertor can perform this task and how well the plasma can be thermally insulated. The divertor design for new stellarators is therefore highly demanding in terms of both plasma physics and technology and requires extensive experimental and theoretical investigations.

    For this purpose, IPP in Greifswald and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have now founded the Helmholtz International Lab for Optimized Advanced Divertors in Stellarators (HILOADS). HILOADS offers the framework to intensify the successful cooperation of the University of Wisconsin in Madison as central institution with IPP in Greifswald, Forschungszentrum Jülich and further US-American universities. The scientists involved will optimise and coordinate divertor designs, materials and plasma confinement.

    For the experiments required for this, both Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald, the world's largest stellarator, and the much smaller but very flexible HSX (Helical Symmetric Experiment) in Madison are available. The two devices differ not only in size, but also in their completely different concepts for the divertor and for optimising plasma confinement. In addition, there is the small CTH (Compact Toroidal Hybrid) device in Auburn. In addition to these three stellarators, two linear plasma systems will be used for investigations on materials and wall conditioning as well as for the development of measuring instruments: PSI-2 in Jülich and MARIA in Madison. Equipped in this way, HILOADS will promote the development of the next generation of optimised stellarators and, in particular, support the development of a concept for a new medium-sized stellarator experiment in Madison.

    With the funding programme of 'Helmholtz International Labs', the Helmholtz Association, to which the IPP is affiliated as an associated institute, aims to expand international cooperation with excellent research institutions and create visible research activities of the Association at locations abroad. The Helmholtz Association will provide 24 percent of the 6.125 million EUR estimated for HILOADS over the next five years. The universities in Madison and Auburn will contribute 35 and 15 percent, respectively, IPP and Forschungszentrum Jülich 18 and 8 percent, respectively. HILOADS is scheduled to start in spring 2020.

    The aim of fusion research is to develop an environmentally sound and climate-friendly power plant. Similar to the sun, it will generate energy from the fusion of atomic nuclei. Because the fusion fire only ignites at temperatures above 100 million degrees, the fuel – a low-density hydrogen plasma – must not come into contact with the cold vessel walls. Confined by magnetic fields, it floats almost contact-free inside a vacuum chamber. The Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in Greifswald is intended to investigate the suitability of this type of device for a power plant.

    Source: IDW Nachrichten via Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik
    Editor 30.10.2019 by Miguel Krux, VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH
    Countries / organization: USA
    Topic: Energy Funding Basic Research Infrastructure Physical/Chemical Technologies
    ======
    Quote Stellarators, twisty machines that house fusion reactions, rely on complex magnetic coils that are challenging to design and build. Now, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has developed a mathematical technique to help simplify the design of the coils, making stellarators a potentially more cost-effective facility for producing fusion energy.

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