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Rob Laubacher

May 20, 2013
05:24

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Cool to see fusion put forward. There was an article in the Boston Globe today suggesting that the MIT effort has run into funding challenges. Here's a blog post about the article: http://americansecurityproject.org/fusion-energy-climate/2013/fusion-program-at-mit-is-ending/

Dennis Peterson

May 29, 2013
10:35

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Thanks Robert! I've added a little information on the Alcator C-Mod, with some recent work they released on a economical power plant design.

John Smith

Jun 24, 2013
03:27

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Hello Guys, We ought to take all these fusion ideas and put them under one roof. That is: 1. Cross fire fusion 2. Tri Alpha Energy 3. Polywell 4. General Fusion 5. Reverse Field Pinches 6. Focus Fusion 7. LENR 8. Fusors 9. The Lockheed Effort 10. Beam Fusion 11. Ect.... You get everyone together at one conference and have them rip each others ideas apart. The top new fusion ideas can rise to the top. Fusion is really hard. Nobody has the great solution and your goal should be to get as much help as possible and be as open as you can be.

2013electricpowerjudges 2013electricpowerjudges

Jul 17, 2013
05:09

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A good report on existing fusion programs. It’s a great lit review, and it was interesting to see that industry is already investing in small projects. The judges were not previously aware that there was all this small scale fusion work going on. But the proposal did not seem to advocate anything especially original beyond simply being encouraging about this existing work. The proposed actions seem to be to accelerate funding of exisiting programs. But it would be good to see something beyond just “increase funding”. What’s the proposed action plan? If the author thinks the small scale stuff is way to go because lots of small experiments may produce a result that can be scaled, that argument should be made explicitly. If small scale is the way forward, why can’t the private sector just carry on itself? Should govt have a role? if so, what? is there a basic research need that needs to be addressed? Or is it more a matter of needing new actions from the private sector? if so, who? large companies, VCs, private equity, other financial players?

Dennis Peterson

Jul 23, 2013
08:52

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Thanks! I've added a more specific action plan, with the bulk of the new material starting at the end of the What section under the subhead "How to get there in time," followed by new material in the Who, Where, and Cost sections. There are also some new references, and minor changes near the beginning. To make room, I've removed material on molten salt reactors, which are covered by several other proposals.

Pranav Ds

Jul 27, 2013
04:01

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Hey Dennis, I really like this proposal! Great to see industry and venture capitalists invested in aneutronic fusion. Yes, research needs funding and one of the primary challenges of fusion research is experimentation which is capital intensive. The risks being high, there is a disposition towards computational modeling and analysis*. Of course, innovation = mathematics + computation + experimentation Could there be a way to balance the above equation to reduce costs of experimentation? *1. http://www.psfc.mit.edu/ 2. http://sites.apam.columbia.edu/apam/plasma/plasmaintro.html 3. http://www.pppl.gov/node/1200

2013electricpowerjudges 2013electricpowerjudges

Jul 29, 2013
02:21

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Great detail on current experiments. Prize approach is interesting, focus on small-scale projects is novel.

Dennis Peterson

Aug 1, 2013
04:46

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Computer modeling is definitely a big part of fusion research, though it has its limits. Sandia started out with a simulation of MagLIF, and when they got promising results they did their first experiment and it worked exactly the way the sim said it would. On the other hand, one of NIF's reported problems is that the real world isn't doing what the sim said it would, and they haven't figured out why.

John Smith

Aug 4, 2013
01:48

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I agree with the judges. This proposal does not give specific actions. What are we trying to fund? This plan extends existing efforts, but that does not solve the problem. Dennis has covered some new ideas. That is great. This fledgling community needs this exposure; we do need the attention of bigger players like MIT. Pay attention: we are here, we are not going away. Cash will always help – But, it is not what we need now. We need to build a community. We need to educate the average person. They need to understand fusion as a possible solution. Next, we need to try some new ideas. Of the 20 brand new proposals, there are probably 3 or 4 solid ideas. Good ideas are as transparent as possible. They do not hide from the public behind quantum theory, proprietary knowledge or jargon. They welcome scrutiny – not just from ivory tower academics but also from the common people. We want plenty of onlookers; it is the best way to find fusion energy. Fusion research is undergoing a shift and I believe we are just seeing the beginnings of this. NIF has failed. After 30 years of marching down this path, we have found a dead end. NIF sucked money away from alternatives. It gave researchers a groupthink mentality. That was dangerous. It silenced internal criticism. It also drove public opinion away from alternatives. That was fine when fusion was limited only to professionals. But this has changed. Today, a 14 year old kid can fuse the atom in his basement. Fusion can be done by the common man. This speaks volumes. It tells us that fusion power will come from simpler, cheap, smaller machines. We will see what happens next.

Dennis Peterson

Aug 7, 2013
11:06

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Thanks polywellguy. I agree that information sharing is important, and wrote about that in my revisions. To your earlier point, Google Solve For X just hosted a Brainstorming Fusion Conference, which included focus fusion, Lockheed, General Fusion, and Tri-Alpha, along with people from academia and national labs. http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/fusion_takes_focus_at_google_solve_for_x Here's Eric Lerner's presentation on focus fusion, published yesterday: https://www.solveforx.com/moonshots/aneutronic-fusion I can't agree that we don't need more money now. Several promising approaches are struggling for funds. Lerner and friends have accomplished a lot with $3 million so far, but need another million to attempt a proof of feasibility and don't have it yet. Funding for levitated dipole was canceled, Alcator is losing funding, polywell's had very little funding outside of a small secretive Navy project, etc. Just getting adequate funding to a variety of small projects would be a huge step forward, and wouldn't cost all that much. In my revisions I also proposed some different ways of getting funding, including an X-Prize arrangement and state-level funding justified as high-tech economic development.

Alexander Mcmurray

Aug 8, 2013
03:11

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I'm curious as to why you think the smaller projects will be more successful though? Personally I think the Stellarator (i.e. W-7x) is the best approach as due to advances in heating methods the plasma current is obsolete for heating now, and by getting rid of it as in the Stellarator we can get rid of many instabilities. Furthermore the Stellarator is a steady-state device, it doesn't have to be cycled like the tokamak. Chen reaches much the same conclusions in his excellent book An Indispensable Truth, which I absolutely recommend you read if you haven't already. However, you are entirely correct that the smaller projects should receive funding - in the Manhattan Project both the Uranium and Plutonium routes were pursued simultaneously because it was believed that failure was not an option. The energy crisis (and climate change) pose a far more dangerous threat to human life than Japanese Zeros ever did and our response should reflect that.

Dennis Peterson

Aug 8, 2013
07:25

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Mainly, I think the biggest funding shortfalls are on the smaller projects. ITER is getting built, and so is the W7-X. I would not advocate taking away their funding. Lots of smaller projects with much lower budgets are struggling, and I think we could improve our overall chances significantly by changing that. I think the smaller projects are worth significant funding for a number of reasons. For a given level of funding, lots of small to medium projects might be better than one big project, simply because we're spreading our bets over more ideas. If they share what they learn, cross-pollination of ideas might help even more. This model also gives space for more creative ideas. It's hard to spend a billion dollars on anything that's not a well-established line of research. With a few million dollars, we can be a little more comfortable taking a flyer on a wild new idea. (As Milken said, "give me the crazy ideas you really want to work on," and that worked out really well.) Projects with short construction times also might let us iterate faster. Another factor: it seems likely that a fusion approach that can be tested with a cheaper experiment could also lead to a cheaper power plant. This isn't absolutely true, since a huge expensive plant could make cheap power if it produces a huge amount of power and lasts a long time. But at the very least, a big plant requires a lot of capital and investment risk for each plant, which itself is problematic. But you're absolutely right that, given the level of threat, it's well worth funding all these projects, along with a lot of other things aside from fusion (including, in my opinion, both the other finalists in this category).

Warwick Dumas

Aug 15, 2013
08:27

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Great discussion.

John Smith

Aug 29, 2013
11:38

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I see no cross pollination. This has to change. Many people in the ICF world have never even heard of Eric Lerner. Chens' book "An Indispensable Truth" is straight ICF and Tokamak. Princeton's "alternatives" conference was merely Tokamak variants. I cannot blame them for wearing blinders. In fact, I sympathize. They need to feed their families. Researchers publish using the funding they have. Publications beget more publications. This begets more funding. This helps the staffs, technicians and graduate students who work in big science. Many focus on their niche. They cannot tell you how it will lead to commercial power. They assume it has been planned out. One employee put it to me, this way: "There is a reason we get all the cash and these ideas get no funding, Dr. so-and-so has it all worked out. These ideas are snake-oil and they will never work." (he said with disdain) It is a good thing NIF missed the deadline. This crisis is waking people. ICF formed working groups, they are collaborating better nationally, they are re-evaluating their plan. They seem to move with purpose again. === All this is great for science - but it will not meet the worlds needs.

John Smith

Aug 29, 2013
12:20

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Here is the plan for Polywell research (if we had the cash): 1. Make a simulation of the Polywell. 2. Benchmark the simulation by getting it to duplicate experimental results (WB6) 3. Use dimensionless numbers to explore the wide operating space, here are some examples: A. Electron/Ion Ratio B. Electric field strength/Magnetic field strength C. Beta Ratio D. Ion Temperature/Electron Temperature E. Magnetic field by cloud/applied field F. ect... 4. Break the space into modes of operation. The fusor has three modes. The polywell may to. 5. Build a small polywell and operate it in the best mode. 6. Attach a direct converter on one side. 7. Measure power in and power out. Run continuously. Try and find break even. 8. Ship product. This is the approach the Wright brothers would have taken. The navy may have completed several of these steps already. If we could use what they know, we will not have to repeat their efforts. We already know a couple of key points: 1. The polywell will likely face ion injection problems. 2. Many more electrons will be needed than ions. 3. Electrons must recirculate as much as possible. 4. More vacuum improves operation. 5. Moving the electron emitter farther away will speed up electrons. 6. Stronger magnetic field makes deeper, better wells. 7. Higher electric field makes deeper, better wells. But, this effect is limited. 8. The rings are designed so the magnetic field is uniform in all directions. We also know from the Lawson criteria that we will need to abide by the following equation: Power = (Fusion - Conduction - Radiation)*Machine Efficiency Each term points us in a direction. Reducing conduction losses means curved magnetic fields, shielded surfaces and smooth rings. It means designing the machine so plasma can move without hitting anything. Reducing radiation means plasmas with two temperatures: lots of cold electrons, a few hot ions. Efficiency means using direct conversion, smaller machines and lower the input power. There are a couple of other rules I would add: 1. The experts can be wrong. Man can fly, fusion power is possible. 2. The innovators will need a new view. 3. Get a partner. 4. Get as much information as you can and question everything. 5. Connect with a network of people. 6. Use the simplest model - add complexity later. 7. Base conclusions on the evidence. 8. Have a sharp eye. 9. Get into arguments. 10. Get accurate data. 11. Be causal about it. 12. Nobody will believe you. 13. Expect your story to be wildly inaccurate in the media. 14. Publish everything - both formally and informally. 15. Admit if it fails - be open about failure. I have laid much of this out before: http://thepolywellblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-it-works.html http://thepolywellblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/simulating-wb6.html http://thepolywellblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/startup.html http://thepolywellblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/an-ode-to-fusioneer.html http://thepolywellblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-physical-basis-for-polywell.html http://thepolywellblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/inventing-impossible.html

Dennis Peterson

Oct 8, 2013
04:55

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Here's a new approach to boron fusion, reported in Nature. http://www.nature.com/news/two-laser-boron-fusion-lights-the-way-to-radiation-free-energy-1.13914

David Doucette

Oct 28, 2013
02:16

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Excellent Research, the key question is: why isn't fusion funded? Last weekend, I met a Massachusetts senator at local charity event. I asked the Senator a question about Hydrogen Fusion research funding at MIT, which had been cut again because of sequestration. The Senator commented that the Department of Energy does not want to fund fusion research. I followed up by asking independent fusion research team Lawrenceville Plasma Physics. Their response was DOE has a policy of not funding their type of fusion research. MIT’s research lab is top in the nation and cannot get funding while small independent teams won’t apply for grants. The Department of Energy Portal doesn’t list fusion! Doesn’t this contradict the Obama administration’s “all of the above” focus on energy? This is an incredible turn of events, and a travesty of science. If we continued investing in fusion energy research during those prior decades, we could have had fusion by now. The think tank American Security Project (ASP) has proposed a $30 Billion / 10 year project to achieve fusion energy and argues this would create whole new industries similar to the semiconductor revolution. The list of prior ASP Board Members includes Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. Their white paper can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/1gymGCd $30 Billion dollars over ten years would jumpstart this technology. Other countries may also decide to increase their investment, thereby accelerating the phasing out of carbon fuels. The production of oil, natural gas and coal limits the energy available for civilization. The socioeconomic powers that control or “own” these fuels keep their grasp on the spigot of energy for mankind. It is a carbon fuel colossus that powers our civilization and poisons our planet. These socioeconomic powers killed off fusion long before they started to deny Global Warming. The science and engineering required to achieve fusion energy is well known and understood. Check out this article on Slashdot: http://bit.ly/VE3lU0 Refining small amounts of seawater, which is plentiful, creates the hydrogen isotope fuel. Hydrogen fusion energy is distributed power. The number fusion reactors in operation are the only limit for fusion energy available for mankind. With more machines generating power through fusion, the less need for carbon fuels. After the patents expire, the technology become royalty free and open source, reducing the cost. Compare that to oil fields that can generate fuel, and revenue for owners up to 50 years or more. Fusion is an interplanetary power source, and it’s stable, unlike renewables. Renewable energy’s incredible energy capture potential can help counterbalance the release of energy from civilization into our environment. With chemical power, mankind reached the moon. With fusion power, we will reach the planets. Some day, the fuel for our interplanetary civilization will be skimmed from the upper atmosphere of hydrogen giants. My research on fusion was for a science fiction book I am writing called TimeArc, a cautionary tale of time travel, a compelling tale of global warming. My background includes 30 years in High Tech. My first experiences with computers were paper tape and punch cards. I see many analogies between the transition from Mainframes to Distributed Computing and the transition from a carbon-based economy to one that relies on infrastructure based energy sources like solar, wind and fusion. The oil industry acts like IBM when mainframes dominated the computer industry. The only reason why hydrogen fusion energy hasn’t replaced carbon fuels is the lack of political commitment. We need the political will to promote fusion research and shepherd a new generation of clean energy for mankind. This could be a greater feat for mankind than President Kennedy’s commitment to land on the moon. If we had invested in fusion earlier, we could have fusion by now and we would be phasing out carbon fuels for mankind. We need to invest in fusion now! Promote the American Security Project (ASP) proposal for a $30 Billion / 10 year project to achieve fusion energy: http://bit.ly/Zpevt8P. The attached file is a hyperlinked, extended version of this document. It can also be downloaded with the following link: http://bit.ly/1bteOeu Frank Paine

Alex Cannara

Oct 30, 2013
07:29

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Ok, in 1961 I was assigned as an EE grad student to the Plasma Physics group at Stanford. All the various researchers agreed then that fusion was on "20 years away". In 2011, we had the 50th reunion of the group, only one member had passed away. Over drinks at the faculty club, we again raised the question. The new assessment? Fusion was "30 years away". Now, fusion would be nice, depending on how its energy is harvested and at what temperature, if thermal, but it's unnecessary. Fission energy was stored by shockwaves from exploding stars billions of years before the Sun existed. It's indeed fusion energy now stored in heavy elements like Uranium. When we split a Uranium or Plutonium atom today, we're harvesting energy from fusion 'batteries' at the nuclear level. And light-element fusion (DT, BH...) is only 100 times more power dense (Watts per kg). So why all the fuss? We know how to do fission and have advanced reactor designs that can do everything from generating thermal power for electric generation, to carbon-neutral fuels, to desalination, to processing materials now needed to correct ocean acidification. These are the things we should be spending $ on ASAP. Was Pres., Kennedy foolish? http://tinyurl.com/6xgpkfa Were Nobellists Wigner & Seaborg and hundreds of scientists and engineers in the '50s-'70s dumb? A $ billion will not get fusion power plants going by the time we need them. A $ billion could have (in the 1970s) and still can, get advanced fission plants going now that we desperately need them. There's no need for fusion for thousands of years. Tthere's always the need for common sense. Dr. A. Cannara 650 400 3071 www.thoriumremix.com http://tinyurl.com/7o6cm3u www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/2013/09/09/the-many-ways-that-molten-salt-reactors-can-fight-the-other-co2-scourge-o cean-acidification/

Dennis Peterson

Oct 30, 2013
08:07

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Hi Alex! You may remember my 2011 Colab entry advocating LFTRs and IFRs. I'm still a supporter of both, and in fact had a short section on molten-salt reactors in this entry, until the judges needed extra detail on something else and I had to remove it for space. I also advocated advanced fission in an entry this year under the Fossil Fuel Sector category (see Fossil-Free Hydrocarbons). There are several reasons I'm advocating fusion research in addition to fission. The main one is that while fusion has more technical risk than MSRs, I think it has less political risk than any sort of fission. I think that's unfortunate, and hope we can get around it, but I don't think that's a sure thing. Another is that for all their charms, production-ready MSRs aren't here yet either. My understanding is that China has devoted a billion dollars and doesn't expect commercial operation for twenty years or so. Perhaps others will get there sooner, we'll see. Another is that any form of fission has to deal with a great deal of government regulation, and that slows the rate of progress. Fusion has less of that to deal with, and boron fusion much less. Another is that if we actually manage boron fusion, it would likely be cheap enough to make every other form of electricity generation obsolete. Fossil fuels would be abandoned very quickly. It's possible that MSRs will ultimately be cheaper than coal, but I'm guessing not radically cheaper in the short term. (On the other hand, for processes requiring heat rather than electricity, MSRs may still have the advantage, and I very much like your ocean proposal.) Finally, the amount of R&D money required for the alternate approaches I mainly advocate here is just not that high. It seems well worth it given the potential payoff. I don't really think, at this stage of the game, that we should settle on a single solution, or that we should see these technologies as being in conflict with each other. Over the next few decades we'll spend trillions of dollars on energy infrastructure. Anything that might reduce that expenditure is worth looking at for financial reasons alone, let alone carbon impact. The Weinberg Foundation, btw, seems to agree. Over the past year they posted several articles on alternative fusion research, such as this post on Helion: http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/2013/04/30/the-nearness-of-fusion-the-materials-and-coolant-challenges-facing-one-fusion-company-mirror-fission/

Alex Cannara

Oct 31, 2013
01:03

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Dennis, of course I remember the MSR/LFTR entry of 2011 -- I wrote it, remember? I'm not saying fusion is impractical or shouldn't be done. I'm saying that we already built MSRs, we know they work, we know they're safe and can do things fusion cannot, like consume the 68,000 tons of existing LWR wastes, and even the many more tons of depleted Uranium lying around the midwest in barrels of UF6. I don't see why one advocates letting China or others bring to production something we invented and operated decades ago. The regulatory expense exists for any machine that will use or produce radioactive materials, and even B-H fusion will do that, while D-T and other hydrogen fusion machines will produce far greater neutron fluxes mthan any fission machines. We made the mistake in the '70s of diverting funds to just one path -- LMFBR. I'm simply saying we should support MSR/LFTR as well as any fusion work. Or, what we'll be doing is buying back our technology from the Chinese, etc., while we continue work on fusion systems that may never become practical. We thus stand to lose even more international trade by shorting MSR work.

Dennis Peterson

Oct 31, 2013
09:31

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Yes I remember yours, but I wrote one too ;) https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/5/planId/15204 I think we're in complete agreement regarding MSRs.

David Doucette

Nov 5, 2013
06:59

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Fusion, unnecessary?? Really??? Fusion research is a serious, marathon development cycle. Big bucks that were proposed and never funded. It's like saying you've never complete n a marathon so why start running? To say that it's impossible, or not needed is extremely short sighted. Go check out: http://1.usa.gov/Z8N6jc 1976 funding plan, actual funding has never gone above "fusion never." The moonshot created microelectronics and the entire computer revolution. What spin-offs would result from fusion technology? Fusion has a significantly higher energy density than carbon fuels. This technology can help with climate change and reduce the long-term demands for carbon fuels while creating new industries based on advancing science. Unlike solar and wind, which can require acres of land to capture natural energy, hydrogen fusion energy takes much smaller space, more like the size of a large power plant. Hydrogen fusion energy is distributed power. The number fusion reactors in operation are the only limit for fusion energy available for mankind. With more machines generating power through fusion, the less need for carbon fuels. After the patents expire, the technology become royalty free and open source, reducing the overall cost even more. Compare that to oil fields that can generate fuel, and revenue for 50 years or longer.

Alex Cannara

Nov 5, 2013
07:10

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FrankP, yes, fusion isn't needed. I started my grad-student research in the field -- Plasma Physics, when fusion was "20 years away". We recently had the group's 50th reunion, with the assessment that now fusion is "30 years away". But it doesn't matter. Local solar, EVs, good storage and advanced nuclear are all we need for thousands of years. And we need advanced, hi-temp fission in order to deal with truly carbon-neutral fuels, ocean acidification and the more mundane needs of desalination, iGadget charging when the sun don't shine, etc. This is especially true for any future Moon/Mars... exploration/bases, where only fission via Thorium breeding will be possible. Keep working on fusion, sure. We've thousands of years to work on it. Fission is the backside of fusion, by the way, the easier part of discharging fusion batteries that were charged billions of years before our Sun existed, by shocks from massive new or dying stars.

David Doucette

Nov 5, 2013
08:36

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DrAlexC, I beg to differ. There have been many in history who denied advancing technology. "If man was meant to fly, we'd have wings" and look where we are now. Fusion is needed. The technology has the potential to surpass all other sources of electrical generation. Who needs storage when you have a adaptable, non-carbon dioxide energy source to offset renewable sources? All types of storage have a limited lifespan that is nothing like the decades a power plant can generate electricity. Be serious! It seems that there are always naysayers out there. In politics, technology and science. Then there are those who believe that it can happen. Fortunately, those are the ones who apply for grants. We need more money for hydrogen plasma science research. What is being spent now is a pittance! BTW - I've created a PDF with material from my response above. it can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/1gf5VuA

Alex Cannara

Nov 5, 2013
08:12

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FrankP, you're apparently not an engineer or scientists, given your words about storage. And this is opposite to what I said: "There have been many in history who denied advancing technology." No one is denying "advancing technology" here. Just because you have a pet energy source that you apparently misunderstand doesn't mean others who do understand energy systems are standing in your way. I said you can do fusion -- get to wrk! ;]

Dennis Peterson

Nov 6, 2013
02:36

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The people in the 1970s who said fusion was thirty years away conditioned that prediction on a certain amount of funding. For the funding they got, they said fusion would never happen. https://i.imgur.com/sjH5r.jpg The history of fusion research since the 70s is a sad story of good scientific results, closely followed by draconian budget cuts. In one especially egregious case, we spent $372 million on the MFTF-B, finished building it, and then canceled the project before running a single experiment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_Fusion_Test_Facility Despite these shenanigans, magnetic fusion has seen exponential progress. For anyone interested in the history of U.S. fusion research, a great book is Search for the Ultimate Energy Source: A History of the U.S. Fusion Energy Program, by Stephen O. Dean. Things haven't changed, btw. In the past several years the U.S. has cut funding to quite a few experiments, including MIT's levitated dipole and Alcator C-Mod. We're laying off our own fusion scientists, to pay for another country to construct ITER.

Alex Cannara

Nov 6, 2013
04:02

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Well, let's look at the funding for, say, the molten-salt fission reactor in the '60s and early '70s -- only a fraction of the other fission & fusion efforts, yet working prototypes were achieved -- the final one operating for >17.000 full-power hours from 1965 to 1969. It's still there, awaiting restart. We landed on, and returned from, the Moon while MSR's operated at Oak Ridge TN costing peanuts compared to other fission designs and fusion. By the way, the comments by our Stanford Plasma Physics group in 1961 and 2011 on fusion being 20, then 30, years away were not based on funding. Fusion is a far more difficult animal to tame, because we still know so little of the complex electrodynamic and thermal instabilities to be overcome. For example, the NIF effort at LLNL has been plagued by inadequate models: http://scim.ag/noNIFbreak We know how to do fission, especially in MSRs and, even better, with Thorium breeders, as JFK asked: http://tinyurl.com/6xgpkfa And, the Chinese know the same, and have put $1B and over 1000 scientists & engineers on finishing what we foolishly didn't. They're not spending on fusion because they know all the above. And many others around the world are wisely advocating for more fission designs: Scientists step up to what needs doing... www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/ http://thoriumforum.com/open-letter-those-influencing-environmental-policy-opposed-nuclear-power www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24638816 www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/nobel-physicist-thorium-trumps-all-fuels-as-energy-source/33365 http://thoriumforum.com/nobel-physicist-carlo-rubbia-thorium-trumps-all-fuels-energy-sourc http://thoriumforum.com/sunniva-rose-tedxoslo-thorium-energy More Thorium discussion... http://theenergycollective.com/jimpierobon/295261/does-thorium-deserve-role-next-generation-nuclear-power?ref=popular_posts http://home.web.cern.ch/about/updates/2013/10/cern-hosts-international-conference-thorium-technologies

Dennis Peterson

Nov 6, 2013
07:48

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As I've mentioned, I fully support MSRs, and have advocated them in other ClimateColab contests, both in 2011 and in this year's "Fossil Fuel Industry" contest. You don't have to keep trying to convince me. If you were to read what I wrote, you'd see I'm advocating experiments that are much smaller scale and cheaper than ITER or NIF. There's no reason to view this as competitive with MSRs. It's just not all that much money, even if all the interesting projects were fully funded. This is especially true given that several projects are funded by private investors, and Sandia's uses a device they already had. Yes, NIF is having difficulty. That's why in this entry I barely mentioned it. Other approaches are doing much better. Focus fusion, to take one example, has actually been working better than theory originally predicted (though they believe they've figured out why), and incidentally is only looking for a million dollars to attempt breakeven. Regarding regulation...in the U.S. it's difficult to get approval just to run a test fission reactor. (Sorenson is pursuing military funding specifically to avoid the NRC.) Fusion reactors on the other hand have been built and run on deuterium by high school students.

David Doucette

Nov 6, 2013
09:23

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Agreed! Had a chance to meet with Eric Lerner and Dennis Peterson at the conference there. Amazing people!
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