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Utopia Talk / Politics / Fusion inches closer?
Sam Adams
Wed Nov 28 14:32:18

20 mil degrees, 1 mj plasma at a given time and 100 seconds runtime. Obviously not enough yet but these sound like numbers a man could be proud of.
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Wed Nov 28 21:00:07

I can't read the numbers, but I read somewhere that once fusion is mastered there will be no more poverty in the world.

Wed Nov 28 22:16:12
Why doesnt up have a 'shit hot rod said' Twitter account or something.

the wanderer
Wed Nov 28 23:02:19
i think that no poverty idea was from the movie "The Saint" (1997 one w/ Val Kilmer)

...which was a dumb name for that movie
Thu Nov 29 01:39:58
Best for that type, but in terms of plasma parameters, below tokamaks.

Stellarators and tokamaks are different types of confinement scheme.

Stellarators are more stable, but also more complex to build, more complex to diagnose and lower performance.

Hot Rod
Revved Up
Thu Nov 29 07:18:47

When you guys are my age try to remember all that you have heard n your life that everyone else considers shit.

Thu Nov 29 07:31:37
Or we can chalk this up as another stupid comment made by you.
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Thu Nov 29 07:35:55

No one cares what you do.

Thu Nov 29 07:38:31
Sadly "fusion will eliminate poverty" is the typical kind of faulty economic reasoning physicists come up with and promulgate.

First: It assumes that the issue behind poverty is lack of resources rather than their distribution.

We have enough resources now that everyone could live at a standard akin to that of a well off person living in Western Europe in the latter half of the 19th Century.

The additional output and resources available to the global economy between then and now have not gone to lifting everyone to that level. Sure many people have been lifted out of poverty but much of the additional productivity had simply gone to lifting standards of those advice the poverty line, and increasing total population.

Secondly, fusion power isn't cheaper than fission or fossil power. Physicists and others who focus on the physics aspect of fission naively tend to think it will be because the "fuel" is abundant. But they neglect things like cost of finance and time value of money, have a generally poor grasp of capital costs and depreciation, and other operating costs.

The same thing happened with fission where it was originally billed as being "energy that's too cheap to meter".
Sam Adams
Thu Nov 29 10:42:51
Fusion might end up pretty cheap though. Obviously we need fancy magnetics that withstand prolonged heavy neutron bombardment... but... if that is achievable the waste radioactivity and potential for catostrophic failure are much lower, thus allowing a lower standard of reliability and less regulatory whining and nimbyism.
Sam Adams
Thu Nov 29 10:45:18
Not that that will eliminate poverty, which is not a relevant concern for the future of humanity.
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Thu Nov 29 11:16:12

True, but remember Television?

They used to be a thousand bucks for a nice one.

I bought a 37 inch about five years ago for $350. They are much cheaper now.

Who knows, there may come a day where every household has their own fusion reactor for about the cost of today's generators.

Thu Nov 29 11:32:32
Sam Adams:

So there are two problems with basing the economics of fusion on waste.

Firstly, and most importantly, long term waste from fission isn't even remotely priced into the cost of fission power, so it doesn't really amount to a competitive advantage. And of course wind and solar etc. have no long lived waste (granted there are other issues).

But basically there's no real grounds to think fusions lack of long lived waste is actually going to make it cheaper than or energy sources.

Secondly, and often overlooked: fusion isn't clean: it uses tritium, which is horrible stuff and contaminates all in-vessel components. On both top of that, these in-vessel components are often made of carbon, so form tritiated hydrocarbon residues, or toxic metals like beryllium. The in-vessel components are exposed to neutron fluxes which activate them, making them highly radioactive, despite being made of low activation materials.

And because these in-vessel components are exposed to tremendous power loadings (thermal, soft and hard x-rays, neutrons and fast particles which then also form bubbles leading to cracks and spallation) and rapid duty cycles, in-vessel components have a short life cycle.

So while there's little in the way of waste with multi millennia half-lifes, fusion produces plenty of incredible high activity and chemically toxic waste which is particularly hazardous and difficult to handle as it's often stuff that is easily incorporated into the body of ingested and can't be flushed out like actinides.

The lifetime of this waste tends to be in the order of about 50-100 years.

So you actually have all the capex and opex, hot cells, safety regulations etc of fission.

But it's true, you don't need to dig a big hole in Yucca Mountain. You just need to have a big water filled pond. Like we have now. But fully enclosed to prevent the tritium diffusing out.
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