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Why limitless fusion power is still a challenge

qubit

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This video explains why and alas it doesn't look like it will become a reality anytime soon.

 
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My "youtube science" alarm bells are ringing (especially with that title). Is there an actual non video source to back this up?
 

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It's well known that fusion power as a means to move on from fossils and conventional nuclear is along way off. However, science is moving closer. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy or quick. Also, the 'limitless' power is very much a populist phrase. Energy has to be pumped in to create the reaction that will one day be self-sustaining. The concept of limitless power isn't so much about energy equations but more based on the notion that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe.

Here's some non-YT science stuff:



Edit: thread title changed to make a more constructive conversation.
 
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The youtube title was what set my alarm bells off, but I have a feeling thats outside your jurisdiction.

Yeah, a lot of people forget YT is public access TV. Anybody can post anything for clicks. A nice dry journal isn't glamourous but it's got way more science chops than anything YT can offer.
 
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I just want to know what conspiracy "big-fusion" is not telling me about?

Sorry, I'll stop.
 

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Yeah, there's no doubts fusion has challenges, but so did nuclear. But it became a reality. Fusion will take time - I'll not see it in my lifetime as a common energy source but I'll see it getting nearer. 200 years ago, flying vehicles, let alone cars, were a dream - not even a challenge. We'll get there with fusion with perseverence. And a lot of cash.
 

qubit

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Yeah, there's no doubts fusion has challenges, but so did nuclear. But it became a reality. Fusion will take time - I'll not see it in my lifetime as a common energy source but I'll see it getting nearer. 200 years ago, flying vehicles, let alone cars, were a dream - not even a challenge. We'll get there with fusion with perseverence. And a lot of cash.
Yes, we will. Even in the video, she never said that it will never happen, just that the challenges are really tough and guesstimated that we might have it by around 2100, way past my lifetime, too. :ohwell:

I watched it all and I don't think this video is populist clickbait getting its facts wrong as some people on here seem to think, or I wouldn't have posted it.
 
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I watched it all and I don't think this video is populist clickbait getting its facts wrong as some people on here seem to think, or I wouldn't have posted it.
That's fair. I'll be honest, I did not watch it at the time (slow cellular data link). The title just as I said, had that populist ring.
 

qubit

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@R-T-B Have you since watched it? :) Regardless, here's a more optimistic view on solving the problem for everyone to read.


I don't know why the preview shows full page reload, but it does load the article.
 
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Yeah, there's no doubts fusion has challenges, but so did nuclear. But it became a reality. Fusion will take time - I'll not see it in my lifetime as a common energy source but I'll see it getting nearer. 200 years ago, flying vehicles, let alone cars, were a dream - not even a challenge. We'll get there with fusion with perseverence. And a lot of cash.

I think a big problem with fusion is that fission is also (basically) unlimited free energy. So if fission keeps making advances, there might be no reason to do fusion.

The issue with Fission is mostly security: Uranium and Plutonium are highly energy dense and great sources of energy. Its also political: we DON'T want random countries purifying Uranium. That's just very sketchy. But even then, there are other metals such as Thorium that don't have any bomb-making capability that can still be used in a fission reactor.
 
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So if fission keeps making advances, there might be no reason to do fusion.
Uranium deposits which are economically accessible for extraction and exploitation is much much much lesser than deuterium. Deuterium is ~0.02% of all hydrogen in water. Helium 3 contains not only on lunar surface but has around 37000 tons in Earth atmosphere. Is more than enough for hundreds or thousands years for humankind needs(if we use energy more effective and wisely).
 
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Uranium deposits which are economically accessible for extraction and exploitation is much much much lesser than deuterium. Deuterium is ~0.02% of all hydrogen in water. Helium 3 contains not only on lunar surface but has around 37000 tons in Earth atmosphere. Is more than enough for hundreds or thousands years for humankind needs(if we use energy more effective and wisely).

The amount of Uranium "burned" in a nuclear reactor is almost completely negligible. 1 gram of Uranium produces 24MW-hrs of energy, equivalent to 3-tons of coal. That's not even the most efficient reaction: Uranium-Plutonium cycles are even more efficient.

The USA has 47900 tons (47,900,000 kilograms) of economically extractable uranium. Australia has 1,692,700 tons (1-billion tons).

We're not running out of uranium. Its just not happening. And that's not even getting into Thorium reactors. The major issue with uranium is the high-cost of fission (safety concerns: not just vs natural disasters, but also terrorist threats), as well as the trust issue. Any country that purifies uranium is going to be immediately distrusted on the world stage... let alone a country that starts to stockpile Plutonium.

EDIT: This doesn't even take into account "Breeder Reactors", which generate more fuel than they consume. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor. We have so much Uranium that we don't even bother building breeder reactors...

Thorium can't make a bomb. But that's also why Thorium is unpopular as a fissile material.

-------

Even nuclear bombs are highly efficient. A Uranium-bomb is just 10kg of purified Uranium (~1400kg of raw uranium) A Plutonium bomb is just 2kg (and Plutonium is easily made from purified Uranium roughly 1-to-1). We can sustain a nuclear war until the entire world is destroyed because of how efficient that damn material is.
 
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Everything is a dead end until someone comes up with a novel idea that makes everybody go "why didn't I think of this before".
 

qubit

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The amount of Uranium "burned" in a nuclear reactor is almost completely negligible. 1 gram of Uranium produces 24MW-hrs of energy, equivalent to 3-tons of coal. That's not even the most efficient reaction: Uranium-Plutonium cycles are even more efficient.

The USA has 47900 tons (47,900,000 kilograms) of economically extractable uranium. Australia has 1,692,700 tons (1-billion tons).
Crikey! We've got enough fuel until the end of time. It makes fusion power worth researching and developing for as long as it takes, with gains as enormous as these.

It will make power shortages a thing of the past and power very, very cheap. Only the cost of the infrastructure will matter, not the fuel. Society would quite literally be transformed.
 
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Crikey! We've got enough fuel until the end of time. It makes fusion power worth researching and developing for as long as it takes, with gains as enormous as these.

It will make power shortages a thing of the past and power very, very cheap. Only the cost of the infrastructure will matter, not the fuel. Society would quite literally be transformed.

Fission (Uranium / Plutonium) is a competitor to Fusion (Hydrogen).

My general point is: I don't care how we get our free energy. Both fusion and fission offer basically free energy for the rest of our lives. The main difference is that we have hundreds of Fission reactors operating today, while Fusion remains a fantasy.

Researchers are gonna research what they want. There's nothing wrong with trying to get Fusion to work per se. But people are really sleeping on the benefits of Fission.
 

qubit

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But people are really sleeping on the benefits of Fission.
This ^^^ I'm a big proponent of nuclear, including fission. It makes me sick to see the anti-nuclear propaganda from the green lobby be so effective at setting government policy. Those luddites have no clue that fission will get them everything they want and should stop with all the scare stories about radiation and waste fuel storage. We have the technology to transform our power right now ffs. Unless there's another agenda to their campaigning, I dunno.
 
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Unless there's another agenda
with most things where large amounts of money are concerned, Agenda's are not only possible, theyre prevalent.
why let limitless power get in the way of a good agenda.
 
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This ^^^ I'm a big proponent of nuclear, including fission. It makes me sick to see the anti-nuclear propaganda from the green lobby be so effective at setting government policy. Those luddites have no clue that fission will get them everything they want and should stop with all the scare stories about radiation and waste fuel storage. We have the technology to transform our power right now ffs. Unless there's another agenda to their campaigning, I dunno.

My hypothesis: Folks aren't as concerned about the dangers of fission-powered generation as they are over fission-powered disasters. Chernobyl and Fukushima (and to a lesser extent Three Mile Island) have cast a pretty dark shadow across public opinion.
 

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My hypothesis: Folks aren't as concerned about the dangers of fission-powered generation as they are over fission-powered disasters. Chernobyl and Fukushima (and to a lesser extent Three Mile Island) have cast a pretty dark shadow across public opinion.
Even that was mostly scare-mongering. I mean, look at Fukushima: a 30+ year old plant, scheduled to be decommissioned and it took a giant earthquake combined with a tsunami to take it down. Even then, they just barely managed the feat.
I can't think of many other things the man has built that are more durable than that.

(Fwiw, the design flaw that took down Fukushima has been corrected since the 90s, iirc.)
 

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My hypothesis: Folks aren't as concerned about the dangers of fission-powered generation as they are over fission-powered disasters. Chernobyl and Fukushima (and to a lesser extent Three Mile Island) have cast a pretty dark shadow across public opinion.
As @bug says, the dangers are overblown and have been for decades, that's why I refer to green propaganda. When you look at the death figures for the different types of power generation, coal is the worst, with thousands and going down until you get to nuclear, which is next to nothing.
 
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If all the issues have been covered, that only leaves the nuclear waste disposal to be solved.
Fire it off in to the sun, let it burn.
Yes i'm a NIMBY.
 

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My hypothesis: Folks aren't as concerned about the dangers of fission-powered generation as they are over fission-powered disasters. Chernobyl and Fukushima (and to a lesser extent Three Mile Island) have cast a pretty dark shadow across public opinion.
Yet people constantly ignore the fact that all 3 of these power stations were commissioned in the 70s. Are we really so narrow minded to think that technology hasn't improved in the last half a century?
If all the issues have been covered, that only leaves the nuclear waste disposal to be solved.
In the US the issue with used nuclear fuel isn't what to do with it, it's the laws that allow you to do things with it. Spent nuclear fuel can be reprocessed, but we don't in the name of non-proliferation, which is think is dumb.
 
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I seem to think Fusion wont be happening in my lifetime but we do need to move onward with fission like using molten salt reactors or Thorium reactors where you can feed in used crap from uranium/plutonium reactors and burn it off till it's relatively safe but that probaly wont happen either as there's too much money rolled up in conventional nuclear power and the production of it fuels
 

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Storage 1TB Apple NVMe, 4TB External
Display(s) Laptop @ 3072x1920 + 2x LG 5k Ultrafine TB3 displays
Case MacBook Pro (16", 2019)
Audio Device(s) AirPods Pro, Sennheiser HD 380s w/ FIIO Alpen 2, or Logitech 2.1 Speakers
Power Supply 96w Power Adapter
Mouse Logitech MX Master 3
Keyboard Full Size Wireless Apple Magic Keyboard
Software MacOS 10.15.7
I seem to think Fusion wont be happening in my lifetime but we do need to move onward with fission like using molten salt reactors or Thorium reactors where you can feed in used crap from uranium/plutonium reactors and burn it off till it's relatively safe but that probaly wont happen either as there's too much money rolled up in conventional nuclear power and the production of it fuels
The up front investment cost for nuclear is very high which makes nuclear less lucrative than say natural gas power stations which can turn a profit around much more quickly. In my opinion, that's the main issue. A good nuclear project can have returns much better than just about anything else, the problem is that it takes a long time and there are a lot of things that can go wrong before you even see a penny. I think that's the primary barrier to entry for nuclear power regardless of the type of fuel it uses.
 
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