Thursday, July 14, 2011

More About General Fusion

LINUS via General Fusion

The General Fusion (near Vancouver, BC, Canada) approach to nuclear fusion is called "magnetized target fusion," which is a hybrid of magnetic and inertial confinement fusion approaches. The original approach to magnetized target fusion comes from "LINUS" (pictured above), a creation of the US Naval Weapons Research Lab from back in the 1970s. Unfortunately, the technology of the 1970s could not support the basic approach, being unable to maintain the central plasma toroid for long enough periods of time. But research continued at Los Alamos National Lab:
Over the decades, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US has continued to work on magnetized target fusion concepts. Their approach involves injecting a plasma toroid into an aluminum tube and then discharging a large bank of capacitors into the tube. The current in the tube induces a magnetic field that implodes the tube at high speed, compressing the plasma to thermonuclear conditions in the process.

The difficulties with this approach include the amount and cost of the electrical power supplies and energy needed to implode the tube, and the fact that the tube and electrical cable connections are destroyed during each pulse. Furthermore, neutrons from the fusion reaction damage the surrounding chamber and equipment.

These difficulties notwithstanding, Los Alamos National Laboratory has a wealth of knowledge and understanding regarding magnetized target fusion, and has made significant progress with respect to plasma densities and the numerical simulation of compressed plasmas. _GeneralFusion

General Fusion is building upon research information developed at the different national labs, and attempting to create a relatively small-scale, low-cost fusion reactor using deuterium-tritium gas, magnetic confinement, and acoustic compression.
To recreate a similar reaction [ed.: as inside the sun] inside the hot fusion generator, a precision controlled piston hammers colossal shock waves into a magnetized sphere in which atoms can be forced together hard enough to fuse and create plasma. The isotopes deuterium and the tritium are used to fuel the fusion reaction, and because they are so readily available they serve as a reliable fuel source. According to the General Fusion Inc. website, other benefits are that there are no chemical combustion by-products, a minimal amount of radioactive waste (that has a maximum half-life of twelve years), no greenhouse gas emissions, no risk of meltdown or explosion, and with deuterium and lithium (used to develop tritium) being plentiful in the natural world, hot fusion energy could be a reliable source of power for the entire world for millions, if not billions of years. _GreenAnswers
General Fusion will get its deuterium from seawater, but where will it get its tritium?
Tritium can be produced as a by-product of the fusion reaction by allowing the free neutron to react with lithium (installed in a blanket around the fusion core), which then breaks into tritium and helium. The tritium can be rapidly extracted from the blanket and sent back into the fusion reaction, thereby establishing a self-generating tritium fuel supply that uses deuterium and lithium as input fuels, both of which are consumed in the process.

Lithium is an abundant, inexpensive metal that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. At a rate equivalent to today’s total global energy consumption there is enough lithium for 23,000 years of fusion energy. Lithium can also be extracted from seawater, which could fuel fusion for an additional 207 million years. _GeneralFusion

The developed world cannot afford to give up on nuclear power, despite what faux environmentalist dieoff.orgiasts (Greens) may say. If humans are to develop to the point of being competent stewards and protectors of their planet, they must move into a higher level of technological and scientific development. That will only be possible through the development of abundant, clean, sustainable energy sources, which one way or another will mean nuclear power.

Of course, in a trivial sense, both solar and geothermal power come from nuclear reactions initially, so all of our long-term power sources will come from nuclear reactions and advanced particle and/or antiparticle physical reactions, unless we choose to commit energy suicide via energy starvation. If that is our choice, then the entire planet and its biosphere is doomed billions of years before its time, by inevitable collisions from space. Neo-primitive humans (via the Green agenda) will not be able to prevent the catastrophe.

Thus the rush to develop advanced, scalable fission reactors, and scalable fusion reactors, before the Idiocracy makes such developments impossible -- and dooms to world the death by Greens.



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