Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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Rob Lister
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by Rob Lister »

Witness wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:54 am
There's also Rubbia's proposal (and patent):
Accelerator-driven subcritical reactor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerat ... al_reactor
That sounded backward and weird at first glance, but really it's pretty cool even if not-quite-ready-for-prime-time.

https://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/reports/20 ... 09-ads.pdf

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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So you're sayin', just 50 years more.

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

Rob Lister wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:54 pm
So you're sayin', just 50 years more ...
... again. 8)
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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Radical hydrogen-boron reactor leapfrogs current nuclear fusion tech

"We are sidestepping all of the scientific challenges that have held fusion energy back for more than half a century," says the director of an Australian company that claims its hydrogen-boron fusion technology is already working a billion times better than expected.

HB11 Energy is a spin-out company that originated at the University of New South Wales, and it announced today a swag of patents through Japan, China and the USA protecting its unique approach to fusion energy generation.

Fusion, of course, is the long-awaited clean, safe theoretical solution to humanity's energy needs. It's how the Sun itself makes the vast amounts of energy that have powered life on our planet up until now. Where nuclear fission – the splitting of atoms to release energy – has proven incredibly powerful but insanely destructive when things go wrong, fusion promises reliable, safe, low cost, green energy generation with no chance of radioactive meltdown.

It's just always been 20 years away from being 20 years away. A number of multi-billion dollar projects are pushing slowly forward, from the Max Planck Institute's insanely complex Wendelstein 7-X stellerator to the 35-nation ITER Tokamak project, and most rely on a deuterium-tritium thermonuclear fusion approach that requires the creation of ludicrously hot temperatures, much hotter than the surface of the Sun, at up to 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit). This is where HB11's tech takes a sharp left turn.

The results of decades of research by Emeritus Professor Heinrich Hora, HB11's approach to fusion does away with rare, radioactive and difficult fuels like tritium altogether – as well as those incredibly high temperatures. Instead, it uses plentiful hydrogen and boron B-11, employing the precise application of some very special lasers to start the fusion reaction.

Here's how HB11 describes its "deceptively simple" approach: the design is "a largely empty metal sphere, where a modestly sized HB11 fuel pellet is held in the center, with apertures on different sides for the two lasers. One laser establishes the magnetic containment field for the plasma and the second laser triggers the ‘avalanche’ fusion chain reaction. The alpha particles generated by the reaction would create an electrical flow that can be channeled almost directly into an existing power grid with no need for a heat exchanger or steam turbine generator."

HB11's Managing Director Dr. Warren McKenzie clarifies over the phone: "A lot of fusion experiments are using the lasers to heat things up to crazy temperatures – we're not. We're using the laser to massively accelerate the hydrogen through the boron sample using non-linear forced. You could say we're using the hydrogen as a dart, and hoping to hit a boron , and if we hit one, we can start a fusion reaction. That's the essence of it. If you've got a scientific appreciation of temperature, it's essentially the speed of atoms moving around. Creating fusion using temperature is essentially randomly moving atoms around, and hoping they'll hit one another, our approach is much more precise."

"The hydrogen/boron fusion creates a couple of helium atoms," he continues. "They're naked heliums, they don't have electrons, so they have a positive charge. We just have to collect that charge. Essentially, the lack of electrons is a product of the reaction and it directly creates the current."
https://newatlas.com/energy/hb11-hydrog ... an-energy/

:notsure:

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

sparks needs to get in here to tell us why that won't work. :)
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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Well, I have no idea, but I hope it works.
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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"The hydrogen/boron fusion creates a couple of helium atoms," he continues. "They're naked heliums, they don't have electrons, so they have a positive charge. We just have to collect that charge.
If all they're capturing is the resulting charge of the newly created naked helium nuclei, there's no way this will reach anywhere close to unity. What am I missing?

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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This is a meta comment, but I don't think I've heard of "new atlas.com" before.
The comments below the article tend toward typical conspiracy theory stuff.

Do they even have a working prototype or is this still just a powerpoint presentation?
Dr McKenzie won't however, be drawn on how long it'll be before the hydrogen-boron reactor is a commercial reality. "The timeline question is a tricky one," he says. "I don't want to be a laughing stock by promising we can deliver something in 10 years, and then not getting there. First step is setting up camp as a company and getting started. First milestone is demonstrating the reactions, which should be easy. Second milestone is getting enough reactions to demonstrate an energy gain by counting the amount of helium that comes out of a fuel pellet when we have those two lasers working together. That'll give us all the science we need to engineer a reactor. So the third milestone is bringing that all together and demonstrating a reactor concept that works."
The company according to their own website was only founded in 2019:

https://www.hb11.energy/our-story
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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The alpha particles generated by the reaction would create an electrical flow that can be channeled almost directly into an existing power grid with no need for a heat exchanger or steam turbine generator.
Here's what alpha particles are:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_particle

Basically it's a helium nucleus. 2 protons and 2 neutrons. They usually result from radioactive decay.
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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Discussion thread (mostly critical) on Slashdot: https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/20/ ... usion-tech

I'll extract this nice summary of the process:
There's tons of peer-reviewed papers, and people are jumping to conclusions based on the wording of a popular media article. This is just silly. Also silly is the claim that there were attempts to "sell this to Carter" when the technologies involved didn't exist before the past decade.

For the record (since I took the time to actually dig):

* This is at its core ICF (Inertial Confinement Fusion). Or to put it plainly: trying to get a bunch of fusion to happen before the target blows itself too far apart ;)
* They're focused on p-B fusion, which is a well recognized reaction - aneutronic and with abundant, cheap fuel, but with a huge reaction barrier to overcome v. D-T fusion.
* Acceleration of the hydrogen is conducted by ultrashort laser pulses, which is a well-established technology. More specifically, they use chirped pulse amplification, which spreads out the (imperfect spectrum) pulses in time by wavelength, amplifies the broader pulse, then re-merges it into an ultrashort pulse of intense power. Again, this is well established.
* According to the papers cited, a number of experiments have repeatedly shown anomalously high p-B fusion rates when ignited via ultrashort laser pulses vs. expectations that existed from thermal plasmas. These appear to be due to secondary reactions: the high-energy alpha transfers sufficient energy to multiple boron atoms in an energy range with a high fusion cross section for them to initiate further p-B reactions.
* To amplify the fusion yield to the point of being useful for energy production, they initially investigated further confinement via static magnetic fields, but they were insufficient. But since these are extremely short (picosecond pulses) that are igniting the p-B reactions, they're able to utilize brief but intense (~1500T) magnetic pulses induced by a second laser to assist in confinement.
* The alpha particle yield (helium nuclei) are used directly to generate a charge (kinetic energy converted to electricial via deceleration across a charge gradient); this is very mature technology. As it's nonthermal, it's not limited by the Carnot limit that heat engines are limited by.

Very interesting approach. I'd need to take a lot of time to dig through other papers on the topics see what objections or nuance there might be to the proposed approach, though.

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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The half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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"One laser establishes the magnetic containment field for the plasma ..."

Just how do you get magnetic containment from a laser? Bad description or complete bullshit.

Then: "Essentially, the lack of electrons is a product of the reaction and it directly creates the current." " Um, last time I checked, current flows in a closed loop as a result of an outside force. This sounds more like an open, festering one way electron pit. And again, could just be a bad description, but I'm calling complete bullshit.

There are other things wrong with this mess of crap. More later if no one sees them. :)
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by Anaxagoras »

robinson wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:15 pm
The half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years
The longer the half life, the less radioactive. I think isotopes with shorter half lives (but not too short) tend to be the dangerous ones.
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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Anaxagoras wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:35 am
robinson wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:15 pm
The half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years
The longer the half life, the less radioactive.
Very true.
Anax wrote: I think isotopes with shorter half lives (but not too short) tend to be the dangerous ones.
Dangerous only if handled improperly. The short lived ones tend to be the most valuable ,useful, across several industrial and scientific applications, mainly medical.

Those whose half-life is measured in seconds are not too useful, but most everything else is.
https://www.world-nuclear.org/informati ... icine.aspx

Note thehighlightedones
Bismuth-213 (half-life: 46 min):
Used for targeted alpha therapy (TAT), especially cancers, as it has a high energy (8.4 MeV).

Caesium-131 (9.7 d):
Used for brachytherapy, emits soft x-rays.

Caesium-137 (30 yr):
Used for low-intensity sterilisation of blood.

Chromium-51 (28 d):
Used to label red blood cells for monitoring, and to quantify gastro-intestinal protein loss or bleeding.

Cobalt-60 (5.27 yr):
Formerly used for external beam radiotherapy, now almost universally used for sterilising. High-specific-activity (HSA) Co-60 is used for brain cancer treatment.

Dysprosium-165 (2 h):
Used as an aggregated hydroxide for synovectomy treatment of arthritis.

Erbium-169 (9.4 d):
Used for relieving arthritis pain in synovial joints.

Holmium-166 (26 h):
Being developed for diagnosis and treatment of liver tumours.

Iodine-125 (60 d):
Used in cancer brachytherapy (prostate and brain), also diagnostically to evaluate the filtration rate of kidneys and to diagnose deep vein thrombosis in the leg. It is also widely used in radioimmuno-assays to show the presence of hormones in tiny quantities.

Iodine-131 (8 d)*:
Widely used in treating thyroid cancer and in imaging the thyroid; also in diagnosis of abnormal liver function, renal (kidney) blood flow, and urinary tract obstruction. A strong gamma emitter, but used for beta therapy.

Iridium-192 (74 d): Supplied in wire form for use as an internal radiotherapy source for cancer treatment (used then removed), e.g. for prostate cancer. Strong beta emitter for high dose-rate brachytherapy.

Iron-59 (46 d):
Used in studies of iron metabolism in the spleen.

Lead-212 (10.6 h):
Used in TAT for cancers or alpha radioimmunotherapy, with decay products Bi-212 (1 h) and Po-212 delivering the alpha particles. Used especially for melanoma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Demand is increasing.

Lutetium-177 (6.7 d):
Lu-177 is increasingly important as it emits just enough gamma for imaging while the beta radiation does the therapy on small (eg endocrine) tumours. Its half-life is long enough to allow sophisticated preparation for use. It is usually produced by neutron activation of natural or enriched lutetium-176 targets.

Molybdenum-99 (66 h)*:
Used as the 'parent' in a generator to produce technetium-99m.

Palladium-103 (17 d):
Used to make brachytherapy permanent implant seeds for early stage prostate cancer. Emits soft x-rays.

Phosphorus-32 (14 d):
Used in the treatment of polycythemia vera (excess red blood cells). Beta emitter.

Potassium-42 (12 h):
Used for the determination of exchangeable potassium in coronary blood flow.

Radium-223 (11.4 d):
Used for TAT brachytherapy, lodges in bone, emits soft X-rays.

Rhenium-186 (3.8 d):
Used for pain relief in bone cancer. Beta emitter with weak gamma for imaging.

Rhenium-188 (17 h):
Used to beta irradiate coronary arteries from an angioplasty balloon.

Samarium-153 (47 h):
Sm-153 is very effective in relieving the pain of secondary cancers lodged in the bone, sold as Quadramet. Also very effective for prostate and breast cancer. Beta emitter.

Selenium-75 (120 d):
Used in the form of seleno-methionine to study the production of digestive enzymes.

Sodium-24 (15 h):
For studies of electrolytes within the body.

Strontium-89 (50 d)*:
Very effective in reducing the pain of prostate and bone cancer. Beta emitter.

Technetium-99m (6 h):
Used in to image the skeleton and heart muscle in particular, but also for brain, thyroid, lungs (perfusion and ventilation), liver, spleen, kidney (structure and filtration rate), gall bladder, bone marrow, salivary and lacrimal glands, heart blood pool, infection, and numerous specialised medical studies. Produced from Mo-99 in a generator. The most common radioisotope for diagnosis, accounting for over 80% of scans.


Thorium-227 (18.7 d):
Used for TAT, decays to Ra-223.

Xenon-133 (5 d)*:
Used for pulmonary (lung) ventilation studies.

Ytterbium-169 (32 d):
Used for cerebrospinal fluid studies in the brain.

Ytterbium-177 (1.9 h):
Progenitor of Lu-177.

Yttrium-90 (64 h)*:
Used for cancer brachytherapy and as silicate colloid for the relieving the pain of arthritis in larger synovial joints. Pure beta emitter and of growing significance in therapy, especially liver cancer.


Radioisotopes of gold and ruthenium are also used in brachytherapy.
I had an intravenous Technetium-99m cocktail just last week!

In roughly two months, after my first two rounds of chemo and removal of my bladder,, I'm still left with the metastasized lymphoma as a result of the original cancer. It used to be that they would remove the cancerous lymph nodes grossly through surgery, the more you have, the more grossly it becomes (I have 6 of them, currently, very gross!). It is extremely invasive. Instead, I will most likely undergo radioimmunotherapy (RIT).
In RIT, a monoclonal antibody is paired with a radioactive material, or radiotracer. When injected into your bloodstream, the radiation-linked monoclonal antibody, or agent, travels to and binds to cancer cells, allowing a high dose of radiation to be delivered directly to the tumor. The agent used today isYttrium-90Ibritumomab Tiuxetan
https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.c ... dio-immuno
So rather than cutting up my guts and legs to get to the problem lymph nodes, the worst that will happen is short-term low fever and chills as a side effect of the RIT.

Take that, nuclear atheists!

I'd be comfortable saying that the number of lives these isotopes have saved has dwarfed the lives lost by all nuclear incidents, accidental or otherwise.
The acute effects of the atomic bombings killed between 90,000 and 146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000 and 80,000 people in Nagasaki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bo ... d_Nagasaki

Tens of millions of CT scans are performed every year.

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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""The hydrogen/boron fusion creates a couple of helium atoms,""

Oopsy. This isn't fusion. It's fission.

"The neutron/Uranium fusion creates a couple of daughter products and some heat..."
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by Anaxagoras »

Well hydrogen is lighter than helium but boron is heavier so I don't know what you would call that. It's probably closer to fission than fusion though.
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by sparks »

And neutrons are lighter than Uranium atoms. In any case, a hydrogen atom hits a boron atom thereby causing it to release 2 helium nuclei (according to their story). This means the original boron atom is now something else which is much lighter altogether.

Fission.

Not fusion.
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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

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For those interested, an old (2013) article explaining the proton-Boron fusion (or "fusion"): https://www.fusenet.eu/node/575

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Re: Fusion power (fission welcome too)

Post by Pyrrho »

Engineers are working on a nuclear reactor that will have a 3D-printed core.

https://www.wired.com/story/coming-soon ... nted-core/
Kurt Terrani wants to accelerate the future of nuclear energy—so he’s turned to its past. Over the last year and a half, Terrani and a team of physicists, engineers, and computer scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee have designed and built the components for a gas-cooled nuclear reactor. It’s a type of reactor that’s almost as old as the nuclear age itself, but Oak Ridge’s newest atom splitter has a distinctive 21st Century twist. When it comes online in 2023, it will be the first nuclear reactor in the world with a 3D-printed core.

“What we’re doing is trying to figure out a faster way to build a nuclear system that has superior performance,” says Terrani, who is the technical director for the Oak Ridge Transformational Challenge Reactor program. “The goal is to fundamentally change the way we do nuclear.”
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