Monday, June 07, 2010

ITER Meltdown

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) did not melt down from an excess of energy production. It is melting due to budget excesses.

It has been billed as the solution to tomorrow's energy crunch, but ITER, a massive fusion experiment by seven international partners, is under serious threat from a present-day problem: the financial crisis.

In a meeting on 26 May, the cash-strapped member states of the European Union (EU) were unable to agree on how to find the additional billions needed to finance construction of the giant reactor, which is sited near St-Paul-les-Durance, France. The EU is set to contribute 45% of the construction costs for ITER, which some estimates now put at €15 billion (US$19 billion) -- three times the 2006 cost estimate (see 'The ITER rollercoaster').

Left unresolved, the impasse in Europe will, at best, delay the project further. At worst, it could cause ITER to unravel entirely.
All the while Polywell Fusion and other small fusion programs are getting along on budgets 1/100th the size and are actually making progress towards answers.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

And the best part? We Will Know In Two Years or less.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

5 comments:

99% said...

All the while Polywell Fusion and other small fusion programs are getting along on budgets 1/100th the size and are actually making progress towards answers.

Please provide any tangible evidence of Polywell progress:

(1) A working prototype capable of demonstrating any claims.
(2) ANY scientific results whatsoever

Otherwise, shut the f*ck up.

slapthebass said...

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/03/23/4350654-fusions-ups-and-downs

apparently the Navy is still funding WB8 and the design of the next on ?wb9?.

and you're right they are not publishing results or publicising it. seems to be the opposite of IETR, lots of spending and publicity, but little results.

and 99% please try to be more polite. you only make yourself look ugly.

dan

LarryD said...

What, does 99% have money riding on ITER or something?

WB7 and WB8 exist.

Unfortunately contractual terms preclude publishing formal results, for now, but the mere fact that Polywell has been fully funded says that WB7 was a successful replication of Dr. Bussard's claims.

The Focus Fusion project is maybe at WB6 stage, no show stoppers and some encouraging results, but it could be a couple of years before we know if that will pan out or not.

If I were a Big Coal, Big Wind, or Big Solar investor, I'd be beginning to look for positions to take in case fusion works out. Boron reserves and SILEX, perhaps.

LarryD said...

Speaking of Focus Fusion:

"The calibration also allows us to confidently chart our own progress over the course of 2010. Figure 2 shows the increase of fusion yield from FF-1 so far this year. Each point represents a new “record” for FF-1 yield. The figure shows that we have traveled a bit less than half way to our goal of demonstrating scientific feasibility which would involve a yield of 10,000 to 100,000 joules. If we can continue at the rate of progress of the spring, we should reach our goal by year-end."

"Does that mean breakeven?"

"Short answer: yes.
Long answer: Breakeven is a complicated word. Phase 1 is where we attempt to demonstrate at least as much fusion energy production than electrical energy input, or breakeven. We hope to reach this point by the end of the year."

99% said...

Breakeven is not a complicated word, unless your are trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes.

You place a power meter on the mains input to the machine, and measure the power output of the fusion device. If the Q value is = or > 1 then you have won.

Unfortunately, for all of your Polywell enthusiasm, the world record Q value for any IEC device remains at 0.00001.

You are vastly over-inflating the likelihood of either Polywell or Focus Fusion ever succeeding as a source of commercial energy, and attempting to do so makes you appear ignorant and naive.