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Polywell Proton Boron fusion reactor approved [View All]

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FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-29-09 04:09 PM
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Polywell Proton Boron fusion reactor approved
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Edited on Mon Jun-29-09 04:38 PM by FogerRox
Yeah I know Fusion is 50 years away, right? And Fusion makes lots of radioactive waste anyway, right? Stellarators, Focus, Pinch, ZEE. Whatever.

Not anymore.

The great big international effort at donut shaped fusion in France:ITER, is slated to use Deuterium and Tritium fuel, creating insane numbers of neutrons, radioactivity.

There are many different types of fusion fuel.

Helium, Lithium, Deuterium, & Boron 11 can be used, resulting in different levels of power and radioactivity. Some fuels like Helium (He) or Proton Boron 11 (PB-11), create exponentially less radioactivity (100k-1mill) than a typical Fission nuke plant. Pre solicitions have gone out to EMC2Fusion in Santa Fe to build 2 more Polywell fusion reactors including one to use PB-11 fuel. Right, the Proton Boron-11 reaction, unheard of you say? Thats pretty much true, I think PB-11 fusion has only been done once in a lab back in the 1950's, so its quite rare.

In Santa Fe the EMC2Fusion team is working on Polywell fusion research, led by Dr Rick Nebel, they hope to lead the way to practical everyday fusion that becomes the main source for electricity on our little planet.

Dr Nebel says 2 yrs boom or bust, then he will know if Polywell works and will be ready to build a net power reactor, one that uses Pb-11, thats right, Dr Nebel is talking about a PB-11 Net Power reactor by 2015. I suspect that by around 2015 we will know if coal plants and fission nukes are obsolete. Yes this is Dr. Bussards Polywell, if only the Doc could be here, (He passed about a year ago)

Dr Bussards development of the Polywell started in the 1980's with DARPA funding, and then more recently under Navy funding. The Navy wants Polywell as a replacement for shipboard fission nukes, 100,000 to a million times less radioactive, and at as little as 30 ft across for an entire plant (1000-1200MW) using the PB-11 reaction. And in some circles, folks relish the idea of a compact 1200MW to power some laser or something, but thats a whole nother diary or 2 or 3.

Time line Refresher:

1. 2005 Bussard shorts out WB-6

2. Bussard made his Google Tech Talk video.

3. .Got a contract for WB-7

4. Dr Bussard Passes.

5. Nebel joins team, finishes WB-7.

6. WB-7 Peer review.

7. Contracts for WB-7.1 are let.

8.2009 Contracts for WB-8, WB.1 and then WB-9, WB-9.1 pdf.

From the Nebel interview over at Next Big Future.

Question: When is the earliest that an actual fusion plant based on your concept could be built?
Answer: The project that we hope to have out within the next six years will probably be a demo, which won't have the attendant secondary equipment necessary for electricity generation. Hopefully the demo will demonstrate everything that is needed to put a full-scale working plant into commercial production. So if the concept works we could have a commercial plant operating as early as 2020.

Question: What do you estimate a kilowatt hour from your fusion reactor to cost?
Answer: We are looking at 2-5 cents per kilowatt hour. That should make electricity generation less expensive than any alternative, including coal and nuclear. So if this technology works it will be like a silver bullet, and be fundamentally superior to any competing technology. The issue is whether it works or not.

Can you say: "Liquid fuels will be quaint by 2050"?

Part 2 can be found here
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