Real Fusion making Great advances

  • Looks great. They need to shrink the size of it to doughnut size for better controllability or use palsma inside of cigarette size cylinder or just borrow damn qarkx directly.

    Yes, but if you note the required PSU it is not feasible to mismeasure it's output so as to get apparent power gain from a resistor the way Rossi does. Basically, Rossi's technique does not scale up to this size, so the quarkx is no help here.

  • The Wendelstein X project is a different design to others fusion chambers/plasma containment and plasma heating concepts

    (e.g. Tokamak).

    It is not designed to produce fusion, it's designed to demonstrate an alternative heating method of the plasma and keeping the plasma at high temperature.

    There will of course be some fusion events, and of course some neutron emission, resulting in radioactive contamination.

    This can't be avoided, due to high pressure and high temperature and quantumechanics.

    The scientists know that and the whole contaminant/building is designed to work with that problem.

    ALL hot fusion reactors have the same problem: Media claims "Infinite Energy" from very small fuel.

    So, the average guy thinks, a hot fusion reactor produces electric energy.

    But that is not the real thing.

    Hot fusion produces mainly "only" neutrons, which have to be thermalised. Shoot them into a blanket, surrounding the reactor.

    And there is no working "blanket" concept yet, for an ongoing, more than seconds or minutes lasting fusion reaction.

    Yes, you get a lot of energy from the fusion reaction, but not as electrical energy, which we like to "consume" in TWh every day.

    To make electric energy, you have to heat up some medium and power up the turbo generators. Average tech, no prob. BUT:

    Again, there is now known working blanket to couple the neutrons energy into the medium for an all-time-on or periodically fired hot fusion reactor to have a Fusion Power Plant. The blankets yet get destroyed in seconds. And yes, they became radioactive.

    German Wiki "Blanket"

  • The chances that the guys who do not really know for sure what is charge and magnetic field and heat build a device to magnetically contain heard charge are about the same as if da vinci built a bomber

    Yes, well, since these guys have done that, perhaps da vinci was a clever guy too! Or perhaps those thousands of hours of field simulations are based on understanding?

  • THHuxleynew there is nothing preventing you from simulating something you have no idea about.

    Just compare what da vinci's prototypes to first actually flying things you realize how hard it is to do build something without having solid understanding of physics behind it.

  • Max, bang, Thh - one of the keys is that people have historically said that confining plasma at 100M C for long enough to make excess energy was the difficult problem. Now that some of the new generation of fusion devices seem to be able to confine, people are saying that all of these side issues will hold it back. I don't think so. Yes, the first version of the blanket, for example, might not have 100% conversion. But, it should have enough to give overall system COP> 2 or so.

  • But, it should have enough to give overall system COP> 2 or so.

    Possibly. One of my contacts works on blanket materials and he thinks maybe it can be done by the time he retires from work. But a COP if 2 is of no use- to go from electrical input to thermal input and back again to electrical input you need a COP of 6 before it gets to be economically worthwhile.

  • What we should do it to search for solutions to redestribute already generated electricity from surplus places to where it is needed.

    Batteries, liquid electrolyte, hydrogen or something else doesn't matter.

    New star-trek-kind blanket material, high temp superconductivity all these toys of hot fusionists can wait.

  • Quote

    Real Fusion making Great advances

    The demonstrations of plasma pressures and temperatures aren't very different from fancy demos of BLP without any callorimetry - they just apply at larger scale and for money of tax payers. The only relevant measure of success here is the commercialization of technology.

  • Possibly. One of my contacts works on blanket materials and he thinks maybe it can be done by the time he retires from work. But a COP if 2 is of no use- to go from electrical input to thermal input and back again to electrical input you need a COP of 6 before it gets to be economically worthwhile.

    I should have been more specific. A full system COP includes conversion to electricity. That would be a starting point just like the model T was a starting point for automobiles. This system COP should improve over time as more funds are invested in this.

    The important item is to confine the plasma at high T long enough to gain a positive COP. It seems that 3 or more projects are close to demonstrating that. The other issues should be much less difficult to solve for optimal performance.

  • I believe hot magnetic confinement fusion is doomed to fail as an economically viable energy production method because 1) high infrastructure and maintenance costs, 2) the first wall problem, and 3) neutron activation of the apparatus. Neutron activation will eventually destroy the machine, IMO before it pays for itself.

  • Well, I think all the negativity on this thread from pseudo-skeptical stances is unfair and unwarranted.

    What is fair is to say that there remain (as the hot fusion guys say) a whole load of engineering challenges to solve before hot fusion can be commercial, and that therefore it is not certain it will ever be commercial.

    Even though (as I've argued), the design space here is more constrained and better explored than the HB with two lasers design space, it is likely that engineering issues, including managing first wall lifetime, will be solved. We are used from fission to viewing radioactive materials as horrible, because of the inevitable long-lived nucleotides on decay chains. With fusion, and carefully chosen materials, any transmutation can be manageable with short-lived and easily handleable waste material. The options for exothermic (and hence can happen) transmutation paths from light nuclei are fewer. Containing plasma is no joke but not all of the fusion designs have first wall material in close proximity to plasma.

  • The important item is to confine the plasma at high T long enough to gain a positive COP. It seems that 3 or more projects are close to demonstrating that.

    This basic idea first surfaced around the late 1950s, and was definitely articulated in major media as the path to "engineering breakeven" by the late 1970s. Reality is, unfortunately, the empirical evidence from a half century of hot fusion predictions is that it will forever be a decade or two away from practicality. How many of its purveyors actually know that? I would guess, at least in those who have the intellectual capability, a rationale that the continued billions apparent wasted effort under some notion that it is supporting basic physics research, or that they must advocate and support the work to advance one or another aspect of weapons development.

    As an object lesson and natural example, I have repeatedly pointed out here the exceedingly modest rate of heat output for our own Sun, producing an estimated 276.5 watts per cubic meter-- that's 276.5 microwatts per cubic centimeter in the Sun's core-- that is in the inner 24% of total radius where 99% of the Sun's energy is understood to be generated. It appears that human / corporate / national efforts at hot fusion have little chance of ever terrestrially and sustainably replicating any energetically favorable variation on the Lawson criterion (roughly the product of pressure X temperature X time) to match even the 250 billion of atmospheres of pressure, densities up to 150 g/cm^3, and over 15 million K temperature with essentially infinite confinement time of our Sun.

    Inertial confinement (laser driven fusion and/or thermonuclear weapons) needs, and may have succeeded in reaching, "100s Gbar" that is hundreds of billion atmospheres for perhaps microseconds. In any case we are striving for confinement times ranging from less than a millisecond (inertial confinement) up to perhaps hours for conceivable plasma "Tokamak" type machines (at much lower pressures, such as reported here:…cord-plasma-pressure.html "a record two atmospheres"!). Our laboratory temperatures are the only parameter that substantially exceeds that for the Sun, that is 50 million K on up to perhaps 200 million K, [I've been told]. Pressure or density only reaches anything comparable to our Sun in inertial confinement or in thermonuclear weapons-- but both are essentially momentary and not sustainable. To produce high energy fluxes from mere milligrams of fuel in a terrestrial hot fusion reactor it appears will require much more effort, to put it conservatively.

    Lest one think that these issues are not well known to the hot fusion physics community, witness this brief summary section at

    In the " Ignition" section:

    At an initial temperature of 12 million degrees, this latency period is 60 nanoseconds after which the fuel burns to near completion in the same 20 nanosecond period. Investigating other densities in the range of 50-300 g/cm^3 gives much the same picture regarding the ignition temperature, although the density does strongly affect how long the fuel burn up takes.

    In any case, it is clear that the temperatures prevailing in the ablation- induced shock are much too low to ignite efficient fuel burning.

    The energy required to heat the fuel to 3 x 10^7 K is in the range of 2.8 to 4.1 x 10^11 J/kg (67 to 98 tonnes of explosive energy) for deuterium and Li6D fuel with densities between 50 and 200 g/cm^3. This is a factor of 5 times (200 g/cm^3, Li6D fuel) to 15 times (50g/cm^3, D fuel) higher than the energy in the fuel due to degeneracy pressure. Heating the fuel to ignition is thus energetically more expensive than efficient compression.

    So, we instead strive to replicate something of a miniature H-bomb in these decades long failed and failing big hot fusion physics experiments, ALL at taxpayer's expense without perceivable taxpayer benefits... whether global climate or global security related.

  • Don't worry. I have already solved the world's electricity problem. No nuclear stuff needed. Not portable, though. Should work on Mars, probably not on the moon. (Solar on the moon will suffice however.)

    I hope initial tests will be completed within a decade. Byproducts include clean water and enormous volumes of metals. No transmutation occurs.

  • I was under the impression that (at least the D-T folks) were planning to use a lithium blanket for a first wall. That way they get the tritium needed for the main reaction, and stop the neutrons without making much radioactive waste.

    So, let's consider candidate lithium "blankets". One, Lithium aluminum silicate (aka spodumene, or Corning "Visions ware"). Melting point around 1420 C. But of course the composition will also subject oxygen, silicon and aluminum to high neutron flux.

    How about Li2C2 aka lithium carbide? Unfortunately melting point 550 C.

    Perhaps lithium carbonate? MP 723 C

    How about pure lithium metal? MP 357 C.

    The main problems with the last two above would be the chemical reactivity. The lithium blanket would have to be cooled. Lithium itself would not stand any contact with hot water, let alone hot steam. Heat transfer could conceivably be done with helium or another inert gas such as argon.