Jump to content
The Klipsch Audio Community
JL Sargent

Nuclear Fusion Reactor in US by 2025. Can this work?

Recommended Posts

When they start getting consistent events generating significantly more energy output than input, I'll be impressed.  It hasn't happened yet, and they've been working on it a long, long time.  When I was in high school, I was invited to a big symposium (500+ high school students from across the state) at the University of Texas at Austin, who then had the "Texas Tokamak" in the basement (the whole basement) of a physics building.  They said then (early 70s) that sustained fusion power was 20-25 years away.  That was over 45 years ago.

 

495px-2017_TOCAMAC_Fusion_Chamber_N0689.

The inside of a developmental Tokamak fusion reactor with technician for scale.

 

The neat thing about the Liquid Fluoride Thorium (breeder) Reactor (LFTR) that I talked about recently is that it already works (at Oak Ridge in the 1960s), has almost unlimited fuel resources in the form of Thorium, produces about the same levels of activated waste products as a fusion reactor would, most elements of which have half lives that allow handling of the bulk of the byproducts within a couple of weeks of activation, is not pressurized, and is a lot less expensive than fusion reactors (using current technologies).  So it's safe and economically viable--scaled up to electric power plant size--and is available technology basically right now.  They don't even need water or big electrical storage farms. 

 

The problems with hydrogen fusion reactors are the huge requirements for electrical power storage in order to power their superconducting magnets, then to inject the necessary heating pulses through the plasma to create the fusion pulses.  UT Physics department had the entire basement filled with old WWII submarine batteries (lead-acid) in order to start the process and hold the magnetic containment long enough to create a net positive energy pulse, then convert that to electrical power in order to do it again and again without needing to drain the local power grid to start the process yet again, over and over.  It's inherently impulsive as currently created.

 

By way of a comparison, thorium reactors work just like all other forms of electric power generation:  something creates heat (continuously), the heat is converted to something like hot gas or steam...which turns the gas or steam turbine: a heat engine process.  They could be built within 5 years at useful power levels, and within 15 years at current commercial power plant levels--complete with reliability and maintenance levels that support economical operation--beating everything else in terms of price per kilowatt-hour, including solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

 

Contrasting this, fusion is impulsive (as it stands currently) so therefore needs a lot of gear to smooth out the pulses and to keep everything working like it's a continuous thermal process.  There's a lot more work needed to get all that menagerie working properly to create a useful and affordable electric power plant on a commercial scale. The promise is even higher than fission--but I think it will take many more years (more than 30) than they are currently saying it will take in order to get real, useful electric power stations actually working economically.  You and I probably won't be alive for that day to arrive at the current glacial (or non-existent) pace of development in the US.

 

Chris

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Chris A said:

By way of a comparison, thorium reactors work just like all other forms of electric power generation:  something creates heat (continuously), the heat is converted to something like hot gas or steam...which turns the gas or steam turbine: a heat engine process.  They could be build within 5 years at useful power levels, and within 15 years at current commercial power plant levels--complete with reliability and maintenance levels that support economical operation--beating everything else in terms of price per kilowatt-hour, including solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

I watched the entire presentation on Netflix about this technology. Apparently China is building one, so they will probably beat us to it. It's, more than likely the best way to go for the future. The biggest issue is convincing banker and politicians, even though the science is sound (pun intended).

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, the author that wrote that article linked in the first post of this thread, also refers to the Lockheed Compact Fusion Reactor as "cold fusion".  This is a monumental faux pas: cold fusion was an idea of the late 1980s that fusion could be had at room temperature.  There were a few careers that were trashed over that misadventure, and the author above ("Rich Smith") would have seen that if he had only Googled the term and found the Wikipedia article on that fiasco.  So beware: the article that he wrote indicates to me that he knows absolutely nothing about the subject, and didn't even take the time to study it more than 5 minutes before writing his article--which is a hack job (at best).  The Lockheed CFR is making good progress and is ongoing.

 

Chris

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Fusion power is the power of the future, and always will be"

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still working on the flux capacitor.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope next round of nuclear power plants goes the way of France instead of the USA debacle.

 

- PHDs should not use each plant as a competing playground.

-Engineers need a bigger say in design.

-Build three competing designs.

- Take the optimized systems if the three and make 5 identical designs.

 

USA fission nuclear power was a chaotic wild west show. Thankfully USA automotive and petrochemical industries have better standardized policies, procedures and practices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let’s hope that fusion power is viable and can produce essentially unlimited power without creating incredibly dangerous radioactive waste that will outlive many generations of humans.  My opinion of nuclear power has changed over the past decades.

 

In the late 50s to early 60s, my father was an engineer in the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Divison at GE in Cincinnati.  I naively believed we could safely harness atomic energy generated by fission reactors.  Now I see dangerous fission technology only as a necessary evil on the path to potentially safe fusion technology, but I don’t see it (fission) as a viable alternative to fossil fuels; the radioactive waste is too dangerous.

 

I’m currently reading Midnight at Chernobyl.  We’re not so smart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thorium is the better choice. Cheaper, safer, just as clean and can be tailored to need. We could have these already but the large utility business fears its simplicity and efficiency. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1980, as a part of an engineering student conference, I toured the Shiva fusion reactor facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  I think they were at about 1% of net energy gain then.  I would have thought then, that 40 years later we would have achieved sustained net energy gain, and maybe even commercial fusion power generation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

H2O is the bi-product of fusion... the world is already four fifths water, why would we want to pollute the world with even more water. We can't get rid of the stuff as it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/13/2020 at 9:02 AM, Bosco-d-gama said:

Thorium is the better choice. Cheaper, safer, just as clean and can be tailored to need. We could have these already but the large utility business fears its simplicity and efficiency. 

 

This is the thing to do now, because if we wait on fusion, there will be no future to speak of.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Schu said:

H2O is the bi-product of fusion... the world is already four fifths water, why would we want to pollute the world with even more water. We can't get rid of the stuff as it is.

 

Humanity tried like hell to get rid of the water on Earth by destroying the ozone layer but it didn't work. The ozone layer prevents the Earth's water from evaporating into outer space.

JJK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, JJkizak said:

The ozone layer prevents the Earth's water from evaporating into outer space.

Wasn´t it the ozone layer that keeps UV- light from saturating Earth´s surface, i thought the magnetic field keeps the suns charged particles ( i.e. solar wind) from striping our planet´s atmosphere and water, like on Mars?

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Schu said:

the world is already four fifths  SALT water,

Fixed it fer ya

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, babadono said:

Fixed it fer ya

 

yep, "Clean" water is in short supply

 

Dad paid to 5 water wells drilled at one of the family ranches; He even paid a pretty penny to have large solar arrays setup to power the pumps. About 5 or 7 years later the oil/gas companies started experimenting with different solutions that they would inject during fracking.... today, every well is polluted (water smells funny). The paid a pretty penny to build new tanks and new (deeper) wells, but IMHO we're just one of thousands and thousands of ranches with same problem.

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2020 at 7:12 PM, Gilbert said:

Still working on the flux capacitor.

WoW.

And all these years I thought it was called a fux capacitor. Hmmm. Doesn't seem so funny anymore (flux)

 

🤪

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I listen to fusion a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, artto said:

WoW.

And all these years I thought it was called a fux capacitor. Hmmm. Doesn't seem so funny anymore (flux)

 

🤪

 

No, no, no.....  the fux capacitor is in Tijuana, and scientist still haven't found a guy that can handle it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...