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Thread: Nuclear Fusion: a possible solution to future energy problems?

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    Politics.ie Member antiestablishmentarian's Avatar
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    Default Nuclear Fusion: a possible solution to future energy problems?

    Everyone with a brain recognises the need for a change from use of fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy. One of these forms is nuclear fusion. Compared with Nuclear Fission, this form of energy development has received relatively little attention. This can probably be explained be the fact that fusion development has yet to be fully realised in a commercial and hence is of little interest to most people. However, having looked at some aspects of Fusion I believe that it should be fully looked at as a more efficient and safer form of electricity generation:

    1. The materials used to generate Fusion are less damaging to the environment, exist in great abundance and are much safer than both fossil fuels used in conventional power generation and those used in nuclear fission such as uranium. The chief materials used in fusion are Lithium and Deuterium (heavy water) which both exist in abundance in nature and are safe to use.
    2. The energy created is similar to that in Nuclear fission, yet the radioactivity is far less and much materials are much safer to dispose of.
    3. Fusion plants would not need to be guarded against theft as the materials used would not be viable for use by terrorists or others.

    There still exist many problems with development of fusion. Chief among these is the use of the radioactive material tritium, however the half life of this isotope is consideraby less than that of uranium or plutonium. Another important problem is lack of funding; the principles behind fusion are better understood by scientists now and I believe that if funded and researched in a serious fashion fusion could be a good way to change to more renewable and environmentally friendly power generation, yet fusion and other sustainable energy R&D continue to comprise a tiny part of EU and Government budgets when compared to comparatively useless things like the development of armaments and increased funding for armed forces and other 'security' related areas.

    Link
    http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/P...file_31695.pdf
    http://www.politicalworld.org/
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    antiestablishmentarian

    When this technology becomes viable as an energy source, it will indeed solve almost all of our energy problems, but don't hold your breath as it will take a while.

    The chief problem is designing a vessel that can contain the plasma indefinately at temperatures in excess of 100,000 degrees celsius, the best we can manage is a few minutes.

    And $50 billion is a fair amount of resource to throw at the problem
    Regards, Pat Gill

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    Politics.ie Member cry freedom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antiestablishmentarian View Post
    Everyone with a brain recognises the need for a change from use of fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy. One of these forms is nuclear fusion. Compared with Nuclear Fission, this form of energy development has received relatively little attention. This can probably be explained be the fact that fusion development has yet to be fully realised in a commercial and hence is of little interest to most people. However, having looked at some aspects of Fusion I believe that it should be fully looked at as a more efficient and safer form of electricity generation:

    1. The materials used to generate Fusion are less damaging to the environment, exist in great abundance and are much safer than both fossil fuels used in conventional power generation and those used in nuclear fission such as uranium. The chief materials used in fusion are Lithium and Deuterium (heavy water) which both exist in abundance in nature and are safe to use.
    2. The energy created is similar to that in Nuclear fission, yet the radioactivity is far less and much materials are much safer to dispose of.
    3. Fusion plants would not need to be guarded against theft as the materials used would not be viable for use by terrorists or others.

    There still exist many problems with development of fusion. Chief among these is the use of the radioactive material tritium, however the half life of this isotope is consideraby less than that of uranium or plutonium. Another important problem is lack of funding; the principles behind fusion are better understood by scientists now and I believe that if funded and researched in a serious fashion fusion could be a good way to change to more renewable and environmentally friendly power generation, yet fusion and other sustainable energy R&D continue to comprise a tiny part of EU and Government budgets when compared to comparatively useless things like the development of armaments and increased funding for armed forces and other 'security' related areas.

    Link
    http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/P...file_31695.pdf
    You are looking at 2050 at the earliest and even then they will have to be of such large output [min 1000 MW] that they will be difficult to manage in the Irish context.

    Although what Ireland will be like in 2050 is anybodies guess.

    One way or another it is a long time to wait for your kettle to boil.

    New generation fission on the other hand is already available,
    inherently safe, scalable and competitive with fossil fuels.

    Pebble bed nuclear reactors are environmental teddy bears.

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    Politics.ie Member soubresauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cry freedom View Post
    New generation fission on the other hand is already available,
    inherently safe, scalable and competitive with fossil fuels.

    Pebble bed nuclear reactors are environmental teddy bears.
    You don't do irony very well.

    "Inherently safe" my foot. "Competitive" my foot.

    Apart from all the other concerns, nuclear never made economic sense, and never will.

    As for fusion, it's pie in the sky, pigs might fly...
    15 Jan 2001 -- Fine Gael pledged to end fluoridation because of "serious health concerns".

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    Quote Originally Posted by antiestablishmentarian View Post
    Everyone with a brain recognises the need for a change from use of fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy. One of these forms is nuclear fusion. Compared with Nuclear Fission, this form of energy development has received relatively little attention. This can probably be explained be the fact that fusion development has yet to be fully realised in a commercial and hence is of little interest to most people. However, having looked at some aspects of Fusion I believe that it should be fully looked at as a more efficient and safer form of electricity generation:
    Whaaat???
    Huge amounts of scientific capital has gone into developing nuclear fusion technologies and will continue to do so.

    Fusion power would solve all our energy problems if it was viable and hopefully it will be in the future.
    For fusion to take place however massive massive heat is required and to produce such heat, with current technologies, takes more energy than can be produced. The only currently viable fusion energy source is the sun..

    Yes fusion would be great but it is not new by any stretch of the imagination. It is definatley not an area neglected by government funding and is not the most promising way of meeting our energy needs by a long shot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by soubresauts View Post
    You don't do irony very well.

    "Inherently safe" my foot. "Competitive" my foot.

    Apart from all the other concerns, nuclear never made economic sense, and never will.

    As for fusion, it's pie in the sky, pigs might fly...

    Nuclear energy does make economic sense....

    and Silicon Pebble Reactors as have been used on the continent are incredibly safe.
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    Politics.ie Member cry freedom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soubresauts View Post
    You don't do irony very well.

    "Inherently safe" my foot. "Competitive" my foot.

    Apart from all the other concerns, nuclear never made economic sense, and never will.

    As for fusion, it's pie in the sky, pigs might fly...
    Your foot eh?
    Try thinking with your brain for a change!
    How about doing some research into modern advances with nuclear reactors and coming back and making a scientific case against them instead of waving your feet in the air.
    If you can come up with a strong case against nuclear power then I will allow myself to be persuaded and withdraw gracefully. Wishfull thinking or Tweety Pie engineering willl not wash however.

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    Politics.ie Member soubresauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drico View Post
    Nuclear energy does make economic sense....

    and Silicon Pebble Reactors as have been used on the continent are incredibly safe.
    I google "silicon pebble reactors" and the only hit I get is this thread! If they don't exist, I suppose they are incredibly safe...
    15 Jan 2001 -- Fine Gael pledged to end fluoridation because of "serious health concerns".

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    Quote Originally Posted by soubresauts View Post
    I google "silicon pebble reactors" and the only hit I get is this thread! If they don't exist, I suppose they are incredibly safe...
    I got 343,000 hits

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    Quote Originally Posted by soubresauts View Post
    I google "silicon pebble reactors" and the only hit I get is this thread! If they don't exist, I suppose they are incredibly safe...
    They do exist and has definatley been used in Germany. A number of other countries are developing the technology as we speak.

    Searching "silicon pebble reactors" gave me the wikipedia page for "Pebble Bed Reactor" which would appear to be the conventional term.
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