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Author: Subject: Does nuclear fusion really solve problems ?
roXefeller
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[*] posted on 6-1-2021 at 15:17


The marine reactors certainly need the excess since they need to carry it wherever and its terribly expensive to go in for refueling. but yeah the excess isn't desirable in accidents. But that's where thorium salts would help, since the infueling can be gradual for makeup.

I would agree that pwr/bwr are probably as good as they'll reasonably get, and that shows they aren't the most competitive on the energy market. How much could we blame the regulations? Most, utilities have regulations too, but nuclear always seems to be the elephant in the room.




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TriiodideFrog
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[*] posted on 23-1-2021 at 23:13


Recently, China ran a reactor and its heat was almost 10 times that of the sun.

https://phys.org/news/2020-12-china-nuclear-powered-artifici...
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[*] posted on 24-1-2021 at 04:47


Quote: Originally posted by TriiodideFrog  
Recently, China ran a reactor and its heat was almost 10 times that of the sun.

https://phys.org/news/2020-12-china-nuclear-powered-artifici...

Heat I seriously doubt.
Temperature: that is plausible. But relatively trivial. Plasmas are pretty hot, but generally have very little mass.

The thing that gets the headlines is not always the significant thing.
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metalresearcher
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[*] posted on 2-2-2021 at 11:33


Back on this topic, in WW2 before the Trinity Test on 1945 July 16, some were scared for an atmospheric ignition caused by a fusion of nitrogen to magnesium.

14:7 N + 14:7N => 24:12 Mg + 4:2 He + 17.7MeV

Lots of energy. Fortunately that did not happen otherwise we weren't probably here (or the test was canceled and the subsequent Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as well).

But as sees that this fusion reaction yields no neutrons or radioactive products, would this not be a 'clean' nuclear reaction ? Or is the threshold too high ?
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[*] posted on 2-2-2021 at 12:28


I have heard that story many times, but I have always taken it as a joke...

There are many known aneutronic fusion reactions, but as the reactants increase in mass so does the temperature needed.




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Belowzero
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[*] posted on 2-2-2021 at 13:57


To loop back the the original question, assuming we will ever get it to work (outputting more than the required input)

I do think it will solve many of our problems, one such example is that we can grow more food than we will ever need, distill sea water etc.

Climate problems can be attacked with more drastic approaches, a lot of potential options are now out of reach.

Chemical processes that are too inefficient will become affordable, raw material processing will drop the price of steel for example. This can open up a lot of very interesting possibilities.

Getting into space might become cheap enough that asteroid mining could become feasible. We would have more resources than we know what to do with.

The options are endless, I am not convinced that we will get this to work but once we solve our energy needs in whatever way we can make gigantic leaps as a human species.
Our survival will depend on our ability to harness or create energy.

When it comes to the far future I consider myself an optimist, if we survive the potential is beyond imagination.
They will look back on us as we do looking back on the old egyptians.



[Edited on 2-2-2021 by Belowzero]
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metalresearcher
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[*] posted on 3-2-2021 at 00:22


Belowzero: Energy (and resources) is now already ridiculously cheap : e.g. 1kWh costs on average $0.20 now and in 1904 it costed $4 (in 2021 dollars).
As a result we are making a mess of Earth. E-waste, throwaway society, oceans filled with plastic, space pollution / debris, light pollution. And 'cheap' nuclear fusion will exacerbate this problem, if it ever becomes cheap.
Humand are the only species which create non-recoverable waste.

But that is another discussion.

[Edited on 2021-2-3 by metalresearcher]
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Belowzero
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[*] posted on 3-2-2021 at 05:12


I am not convinced that the result is automatically that we pollute the planet, as societies become more advanced (richer) they tend to care more about the environment. The heaviest pollution is coming from China, India etc

The opposite is also true, the handling or recycling of these materials is also expensive , it wouldnt be unreasonable to assume that when the price of processing drops this will become more widespread.
Or at least cost wouldn't be such an obstacle anymore.

Pollution during the beginning of the last century was much worse than it is now, at least in the west. The chemical industry being a prime example.
Imo we are on the right track.

I guess it also depends on your view of humankind , I honestly believe many people care for the environment and the condition of this planet(as soon as they can afford to care)
There will also always be people that rather toss their used junk from their car window than take an effort to properly dispose of it.

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clearly_not_atara
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[*] posted on 3-2-2021 at 06:29


I also have trouble imagining that a shift from petrochemicals to fusion will result in more waste derived from petrochemicals. Most of our trash is petroleum; most of the rest is either biodegradable or metallic. In particular, we keep getting better at making stuff out of cellulose, which is a good sign for a lower-trash future.

Anyway, I had also the thought that fusion is a pretty big deal for shipping, which is currently a huge contributor to carbon emissions (you've doubtless heard the quip that it produces more CO2 than all the cars in the world!), and battery-powered boats are difficult because of the absolutely absurd power densities required for a recharge, and the fact that weight is more important than volume on a boat. So that leaves three realistic non-petrochemical boat technologies:

-fusion
-fission
-photohydrogen (photon-to-H2 processes with sunlight)




[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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Belowzero
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[*] posted on 3-2-2021 at 06:46


Quote: Originally posted by clearly_not_atara  
I also and battery-powered boats are difficult because of the absolutely absurd power densities required for a recharge, and the fact that weight is more important than volume on a boat. So that leaves three realistic non-petrochemical boat technologies:

-fusion
-fission
-photohydrogen (photon-to-H2 processes with sunlight)


If your energy production is nearly infinite H2 is a perfect carrier.
It would be a gigantic floating bomb but I don't see why this would not work.
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metalresearcher
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[*] posted on 3-2-2021 at 07:07


Quote: Originally posted by Belowzero  
I am not convinced that the result is automatically that we pollute the planet, as societies become more advanced (richer) they tend to care more about the environment. The heaviest pollution is coming from China, India etc

The opposite is also true, the handling or recycling of these materials is also expensive , it wouldnt be unreasonable to assume that when the price of processing drops this will become more widespread.
Or at least cost wouldn't be such an obstacle anymore.

China, India ?
Per capita the US and the EU are the worst polluters. And part of the Chinese and Indian pollution is also from the West, as we rather pay dirt cheap crap from these countries, rather than manufacture it in the West with stricter environmental and labor laws.
And China is now getting worse as more Chinese are getting richer.

About recycling: we recycle only 9% of our plastics, the rest is incinerated or landfilled. Why ? Because creating virgin plastic is much cheaper.

The core problem is that energy and resources are dirt cheap.
And nuclear fusion won't help to this.

Quote: Originally posted by Belowzero  


"Pollution during the beginning of the last century was much worse than it is now, at least in the west. The chemical industry being a prime example."


By then the CO2 percentage was 280-300ppm as it has been of thousands of years and now it is spiked to 400ppm in just 100 years.
And there was no plastic in the oceans, no space debris, no piles of nuclear and electronic waste, etc.
The bad pollution you mention was there but only locally and not worldwide. Curbing these local pollutions is indeed an improvement.


[Edited on 2021-2-3 by metalresearcher]
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Belowzero
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[*] posted on 3-2-2021 at 07:34


Quote: Originally posted by metalresearcher  

China, India ?
Per capita the US and the EU are the worst polluters. And part of the Chinese and Indian pollution is also from the West, as we rather pay dirt cheap crap from these countries, rather than manufacture it in the West with stricter environmental and labor laws.
And China is now getting worse as more Chinese are getting richer.

About recycling: we recycle only 9% of our plastics, the rest is incinerated or landfilled. Why ? Because creating virgin plastic is much cheaper.

The core problem is that energy and resources are dirt cheap.
And nuclear fusion won't help to this.


I think we should define what pollution means, CO2 would obviously be nearly eliminated with fusion.
So that one goes overboard.

But when it comes to environmental matters it is certainly the previously mentioned nations that have the largest share.
Most of the floating plastic is from those nations, my country is moving further away from disposable plastic.
An economic argument would be that recycling would also become very cheap thus more attractive.

I agree that market mechanisms shift to where the restrictions are minimal, this is a problem.
But on the other side this has to do with price, if the production of such materials goes to nearly zero then it would also follow that doing this in an environmentally responsible manner would be more feasible. Resulting in cleaner methods.

As I mentioned there is another factor which is personal responsiblity and the more advanced a nation the more they care for the environment, there are statistics to back this up.
Just to be clear CO2 is not relevant here since this would be a none issue when we have fusion.
If you remove CO2 from the pollution equation I think my argument holds.

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