Laser Driven Fusion?

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by Rhasta, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. For the fusion proccess to take place, energy which can only be obtained via a fission reaction has to be present. This means that the equivalant of an atom bomb has to go off in order for the fusion reaction to occur. While it is an awesome and extremely effecient energy source for an extra-industralized nation, it cannot reasonabley fuel the rest of the developing world as they do not have the resources to initiate the primary fission reaction. I don't see this as a feasable solution to our energy crisis at this current moment in time.
  2. That is completely incorrect. Neither is this totally new technology. In the 90s, when I was working at the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment, we were using high powered lasers to initiate nuclear fusion. This was solely to study the properties of the fusing plasma, and was not a source of energy.
  3. If I was incorrect I appologize, that was just what I was taught in high school physics back in the day. But my thesis stands true...fusion energy is not an applicable souce of energy for the modern world. High powered lasers to initiate plasma fusion? Does that sound like something which would be available in any country outside of the United States and the EU?
  4. #5 cantharis, Feb 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2009

    Sorry Nosketch, but I think your theses area bit out of date, they have been overtaken by events.
    In the UK, in 1995, a controlled fusion reaction was initiated that lasted for over 2 seconds, and generated more energy than was needed to initiate the reaction. The way is now open for a pulsed fusion reactor, and research continues in that direction.
    In 40 or 50 years, when the oil has gone, that will be the power that runs the world.
  5. #6 Nosketch78, Feb 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2009

    40 to 50 years isn't the modern world. I never stated that fusion was immpossible or that it didn't produce more power than its activation energy, just that it cannot be used currently and that it will never be used in developing nations. Fusion is the energy of future humans; a human species which is unified in its efforts and participates in the sharing of its advanced technology.
  6. In USA the National Ignition Facility is less than 3 years from Proof of Principle for laser fusion and in Europe the HiPER fcaility is now being planned, ready to pick up the baton and move forward to deliver technology capable of delivering industrial levels of electric power to the grid. Watch the HiPER Movie from their home page...
  7. #8 cantharis, Feb 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2009

    I already said that.
  8. I haven't changed my viewpoints once. Sure, internet and mobile phones are available in developing nations, but how many truely have access to them,and if they do, how many can actually afford to pay for them?
    Fusion is the power of industrialism. Any russian educated scientist can put together a fission reactor in a thirds world country.
  9. There is no logic in the idea that fusion energy won't be for 3rd world countries too. The example of internet, telephones and other technologies holds good. Many people (a bit like dear old Nosketch I guess) said that the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore California wouldn't get anywhere, but the NIF as it is known has now fired all 192 lasers into the target chamber and is about to start of a 2-year programme which will deliver proof of principle for laser fusion. That's when the European HiPER Project will kick in, taking the game forward to developing a demonstration fusion reactor, showing how we can then build a real facility capable of delivering power at grid levels.

    The whole 3rd world thing is exactly the point. Once we have proved how to make it work, because the fuel is so widely available, there will no longer be issues over energy security, with energy rich and energy poor nations. Most countries in the world have access to sea water and, because so many do, nobody will be in a position to do what Russia did to Ukraine and "turn off the gas".

    Think about it for a moment... A huge investment in development work (unless you compare it to budgets in the oil business, in which case it suddenly shrinks to "pocket money" level) delivering a system which solves a number of the world's most serious challenges in one... no need to burn more fossil fuels (which are running out anyway), so no more carbon dioxide, no long lasting high level radioactive waste, only the harmless bi-product of helium (a very common gas in our air) and all running on a fuel which comes from sea water, hence a supply which provides energy security on a global scale and is abundant enough to go beyond the time when (due to inevitable astronomical realities, IE the life of our sun) man can expect to continue living on this planet.

    To me the answer is simple... we can either go on believing that windmills alone will fix the problem and waste the precious time we have left before we find out we were seriously wrong, or we can do something about it now, on the biggest scale we can manage. If we don't develop fusion a.s.a.p. we don't deserve to survive for much longer. Mastering fusion is something akin to the next critical test of man's ability to survive, evolve and overcome his own weaknesses. We need laser fusion AND electro-magnetic fusion as soon as they can be made available. The real question is how many governments have the vision and the courage to do something about it, and how soon ! The time is now... before it really is too late !


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