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Old 09-02-2008, 01:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Future of Electricity Generation?

The laser initiated 'Hybrid Fussion-Fission Reator' idea gets a little traction.

In a nutshell, this technology uses a high performance laser system to burn low grade fuel, to heat water, make steam, turn turbines, make electricity. it 'fails safe, is exportable technology, and generates little waste compared to conventional fission plants. There is still not much out there on the web... yet, but stay tuned.

cool blog with an awesom video by KQED:
The Energy Blog: Largest Laser Beam in the World to Create Fusion

a little background on fussion and fission:
Fusion Is The Future Choice for Nuclear Power Generation | E@zyVG's Vichar::World Connected

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Old 09-02-2008, 08:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Traction is not important. Does it work?

I'd like to see some follow-up on the Bussard fusion idea.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The problem with any alternative energy research (with the huge potential this has, replacing oil, for instance) is this: In order to prove it works, it takes HUGE investments of both money and manpower. No private entity is going to take on a 3-5 billion dollar project, so governments fund this type of research with tax dollars (read: your and my tax dollars). I want my tax dollars going into research that has a high potential for return on investment, versus something that sounds great and is an easy political sell to the public, but has little hope of ever making a noticable impact in our future energy needs.

Do nothing and we pretty much can all agree on where that path leads. We may not have time/money to fund for a second chance, so investing wissely is crutial. The scientific community isn't starving for possible solutions, rather competing for investment dollars <nothing new>. Competing for the same investment dollars that say, would build wind or solar farms, fund geo-thermal or wave action research, build new hiways, continue the space station, fund environmental restoration, pay for natual disaster relief <both here and abroard>, and let's not forget very expensive politcal solutions to quiet civil unrest and shooting wars.

Public attention and support, scientific community scutiny and review, is key to moving forward with any publicly funded research.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I also don't quite see the point. Sure, it probably deserves further research, but nuclear fission is a workable solution using proven technology. We could start building today, if it weren't for public hysteria - and it's virtually certain that the groups who push anti-nuclear propaganda would oppose this, too.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
I also don't quite see the point. Sure, it probably deserves further research, but nuclear fission is a workable solution using proven technology. We could start building today, if it weren't for public hysteria - and it's virtually certain that the groups who push anti-nuclear propaganda would oppose this, too.
I partially agree with you, but let's face it, conventional fission plants have a few HUGE drawbacks, drawbacks that are addressed and conquored by a hybrid reactor. At least in in concept. For right or wrong, the hysteria as you call it, hasn't changed in 40 years, which doesn't leave me very optimistic about the future of conventional fission power plants.

Sidestepping the politics of fission power for a moment, we are where we are here in the US with respect to fission power plants, and that's stuck in the mud without a winch. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel...

1) Exportable technology. A conventional fission plants have huge international politcal ramifications. A fission plant gets a country (friend or foe) well on its way to there very own weapons program... not the sort of thing we should export to say, Iran for instance. A proposed LIFE hybrid reactor uses very low-grade fuel, no need for separators, refinement, or enrichment, the technology by it's nature is very exportable to everywhere.

2a) Waste stream. The Yucca mountain storage site in NV is fully subscribed with existing spent fuel rods from the few nuclear fission plants in the US today (fuel rods that have been blocked from being moved, if allowed to be moved, would fill the Yucca mountain facility). In order for that technology to replace oil fired plants, you'd need a Yucca mountain facility every couple years. Unless public opposition changes, more fission plants in the US sounds to me like a non-starter.

2b) Spent fuel rods no longer viable for use in current fission reactors could be reclaimed. Mined and recycled within a hybrid reactor. The hybrid reactor burns it's low grade fuel down to ash so small the waste stream isn't an issue.

3) Safety. Fission plants can go 'runaway' from a mechanical failure (Three Mile island, Chyernoble sp?). Since the hybrid plant's fuel must be ignited by high energy laser, and the fuel never gets to critical mass, it fails safe. Got a problem? Shut off the laser and the burn stops.

those are just the top three... according to the presentation I saw, there is an impressive list of scientists who can't find a big downside, not yet at least.
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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fusion good, especially if we can breed Deuterium-Tritium. Fission bad, many civilizations rise and fall on a shorter time frame than that crap stays in the ground.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sustainable and manageable fusion is the holy grail of energy research, hopefully a reactor of this kind can be built in the next century.
Who knows if we are still around in the next 1000 years maybe someone will have found a way to tap into vacuum energy, or even matter/anti-matter reactors.

Fission has a bad rap from Chernobyl and other minor incidents but modern 3rd and 4th generation reactors are designed so they can't actually melt down under any circumstances. I'm not sure on the waste issues, though it's nowhere as bad (relatively) as current 1st/2nd generation reactors.

I'm curious, does anyone on here actually know what current nuclear waste looks like? Green and oozing out of barrels?
Nope, it's a big block of spent rods, it actually looks quite harmless even though it isn't obviously.

There are some designs are on the table that are even better, thorium reactors don't produce radioactive waste, the waste is actually useful in some manufacturing processes, some use helium as a the heat transfer/coolant instead of using seawater so they can be built anywhere away from water, and probably more designs than i can remember.

The problem is getting funding and approval for new reactors, even the 3rd/4th generation ones because of envirotards (my word for clueless environmentalists) and the people who buy into their crap, even governments. They want us off oil but won't do anything useful, solar, wind and other solutions are good and deserve more research and installations but they can't provide power 100%. France is a good example, 80% of electric from fission, and they have the lowest CO2 per capita of any industrial country in Europe, they even sell excess electricity to Britain and Germany.

All I'm saying is do some reading and research on fission before you so ignorantly dismiss it as unsafe and not needed, it's an ongoing area of research and development, and deserves a better reputation than it has.
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Last edited by Katana; 09-08-2008 at 02:51 PM.. Reason: spelling/grammar
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Update on NIF, ignition, and beyond ignition, LIFE:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the National Ignition Facility Monday 11/10/08 and held a press conference to discuss the nearly completed laser and applications, particularly the Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion-Fission Energy project, or LIFE.

The governor said LIFE could help the state’s future energy needs while simultaneously decreasing dependence on fossil fuels. Schwarzenegger said fusion energy would not only assist the state in meeting future energy demands, but also would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that negatively impact climate.

“This laser technology has the potential to revolutionize our energy future,” Schwarzenegger said. “If successful, this new endeavor could generate thousands of megawatts of carbon-free nuclear power but without the drawbacks of conventional nuclear plants. This type of innovation is why we are a world leader in science, technology and clean energy, and I could not be prouder that this work is happening right here in California.”


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is briefed while standing in front of NIF’s target chamber. From left, LLNL Director George Miller; WCI PAD Bruce Goodwin; Susan Kennedy, governor’s chief of staff; the governor; Edward Moses, principal associate director of the National Ignition Facility; George Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State. Photo by Jacqueline McBride.
LIFE would lead to sustainable, carbon-free energy that is safe and drastically shrink’s the nation’s and world’s inventories of nuclear waste.

To see Schwarzenegger’s press conference, click here.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kurtdaniel View Post
That sounds like inertial confinement fusion, sometimes refered to as IFE....Assuming this works, would this be safe for in anyway..and will there be no byproducts..
It's the leading answer to the question "once you've achieved ignition (a burn here on earth) what do you do with ICF to generate electricity?"

We should acheive ignition (ICF) within in the lab within 24 months. It should make a pretty big splash in the news. The fussion-fission hybrid reactor technology is what you'd design a pilot plant around.

Yes, much safer, and about 2% of the byproduct comapared to a fission reactor, and that small amount of waste has a very short half-life.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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We should acheive ignition (ICF) within in the lab within 24 months. It should make a pretty big splash in the news...
All 192 beams fired simultaniously in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday 2/26/09, over 80 kiloJoules of 351nm light to target chamber center.

The above means something to laser jocks and physicers, but in a nutshell, it's akin to building an engine from scratch that should work, doing an engine transplant in your car, getting everything plumbed and wired, then getting it started up with all cylinders hitting when they should! Next, we take it out for a spin around the block to see what leaks, rattles loose, needs tweaking. So far, all is well.

The BBC show Horizon filmed and put together an interesting 10 minute segment on the National Ignition Facility that I just saw. i don't have the link handy but if this kind of thing interests you, is is well worth watching if you can find it on the BBC site.

If this country put a first hybrid power plant as a priority, we'd be generatng fussion electricy in 20 years.

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