View Full Version : Fusion Power?

tony draper
21st Nov 2006, 23:16
Any bets on French chances? strikes me that that its a bit like building a vast starship all kitted out for interstella travel lacking only the warp drive.

21st Nov 2006, 23:29
Similar installations have already successfully achieved fusion power, the only big barrier is making the energy out : energy in ratio exceed 1:1.

Fusion power is feasible, even if it was just for the fact that they wouldn't build a billion euro plant if the idea wasn't totally realistic :ok:


Loose rivets
21st Nov 2006, 23:37
Talking of flywheels, the ones at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_European_Torus surpass anything I have ever heard of...then they add the national grid for a few m-seconds.

Makes the lights dim, that does. Wadder they get out? Not a lot apart from some encouraging blips on a screen.

Mike Oxmels
21st Nov 2006, 23:38
At least when the toroidal gyrorotation confinement fails and all atoms in the universe are destroyed in an uncontained fusion chain reaction, it will be France that is turned into antimatter first. Either that or they need to stick a bit of pipe lagging / loft insulation inside that doughnut. Mmmm donuts.

21st Nov 2006, 23:40
I spent a fascinating couple of evenings with one of the senior research guys at the current JET project (a swizz national living in Italy and having worked here in Oxford on the project since its inception) last week at my 'hotel of choice'.

Aside from slight discomfort in finding out this lot were effing about with a lump of something 10 times hotter than the core of the Sun less than a mile from Room 7 in the Plough, it was a privilege to get an explanation (in language I could understand) of the process and commercial development from one of the most elequent gentlemen I have ever met.

I gather that the next real challenge is in materials development to handle these temperatures on a continuous basis.

At the next (French based) stage they are confident that they can turn out more power than they put in for the first time - his estimate 2030 - 2035 fro first productive plant at best.

tony draper
21st Nov 2006, 23:48
Trouble is I recal fusion power was just around the corner in the early fifties when ZETA was unveiled,we had the provobial electricity will be so cheap it will not be worth sending out bills message then.
I have followed fusion power with great interest since and but always seems to be just round the corner
Best of luck to them and I mean that sincerly,the trouble is media are describing it as a Fusion Power Station as if it was just a case of finishing the building work and switching it on, instead of another experimental establishment.
Let us hope that this time they do suceed, meanwhile I still think we would be prudent to commence building lots of conventional nuke power stations.

21st Nov 2006, 23:49
Any bets on French chances? strikes

A typo error?

I'm sure you meant to say: "Any bets on French strikes? chances"

Anyway, whilst I'm not remotely convinced we are going to suffer planetary meltdown due to the activity of humans, I do welcome the investment of cash into a relatively clean power generation system.

Trouble is that I've been waiting since I was about 14 yrs old and it may be that I will be producing my own last bit of global warming before it all comes to pass. Hey-Ho say la vie. Or say whatever you like really.


tony draper
21st Nov 2006, 23:56
Interestingly a new multi billion pound power station is to be built on Teeside and its to be coal fired,as far as I know it will still be imported coal,least if those furriners cut it off the supply we still have plenty in the ground around here.

22nd Nov 2006, 01:03
I cant help you with this one Mr D.:hmm:

Buster Hyman
22nd Nov 2006, 01:15
Big hue & cry down here about Nuclear power stations. They're saying we need 25 within the next 15 years or so! But to make it competitive, we have to charge moal for coal powered energy! WTF?!?!

Anyways...we have the usual negatives about the waste products, with some merit I might add, but could we not create a "delivery" system for theses big glowing drums of nasty stuff that points it at the Sun & ejects? After all, that's a pretty darn big Nuclear power station right up there & anything getting close will burn up anyways...problem solved?

PS. Please don't launch it from near my place ok?

Loose rivets
22nd Nov 2006, 03:43
Put in on an asbestos conveyor belt?:\

Buster Hyman
22nd Nov 2006, 03:45
I considered that...but it'll just stay in the one place, it wont go anywhere!

22nd Nov 2006, 03:46
You mean it would never get off the ground?

Buster Hyman
22nd Nov 2006, 04:38
That's right. Physically impossible. Asbestos conveyor belt to the Sun...they'd never get those 44 gallon drums anywhere near it!

Unless you stood them up....

Loose rivets
22nd Nov 2006, 05:52
They could go at night! Boom Boom:}

22nd Nov 2006, 05:53
I hear the kiwis are building scaffolding to the moon.

dont Laff Sir Ed Hilary is a kiwi

22nd Nov 2006, 09:36
So while everyone is worrying about waste from nuclear power stations we continue to pump millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

We're all so scared few tons of radioactive material (which can be buried), but it's OK to f*ck the planet with the waste products from fossil fuels.

Madness. You couldn't make it up.

And yes, fusion power has been "about 20 years away" for the last 50 years or so. The Red Queen would not be surprised.

tony draper
22nd Nov 2006, 10:05
One's idea of burning coal in situ has never been taken seriously,twas ever thus with us prophets,two pipes down into the coal seam start it off with half a ton of thermite yer pipe air and water down one and you collect the steam at tother to turn generators,flat pack geothermal heat as it were.

Buster Hyman
22nd Nov 2006, 10:33
They could go at night
Well, that's just silly!:rolleyes: For a start, its pointed the wrong way & secondly, how would the rocket know which way to go...honestly, some people on this forum...:rolleyes:

Mr. Draper. Aren't you assuming that the heat source would stay in a fixed position? You'd need your piping to stay within the relative confines of the greatest heat source and, as the fuel burns, so the source would move...:confused:

tony draper
22nd Nov 2006, 10:36
Minor details Mr Hyman,minor details,one shall however give it some thought.

Buster Hyman
22nd Nov 2006, 10:39
Perhaps a Taffy in a hard hat & some sunscreen could keep an eye on it for you?

22nd Nov 2006, 10:58
Well, that's just silly!:rolleyes: For a start, its pointed the wrong way & secondly, how would the rocket know which way to go...

Well apparently some rockets are keen astronomers! I was very surprised to read the other day (well, according to the BBC, instinctively one thinks this is tosh but would be grateful if someone could confirm!) that the Trident D5 positions itself by means of "star sighting" rather than sole reliance on gyros or satellite positioning.

It must have the whole sky mapped to cater for all locations/seasons/orientations? And what happens if it ends up with splattered seagull over it's astronomy window during the ascent?

(from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4438392.stm)

The internal guidance system takes a reading from the stars to work out the missile's position and make any adjustments necessary to the pre-programmed route to its target area.

A second - or boost stage - rocket then fires, followed by the third stage. Within approximately two minutes from launch the missile is travelling at over 20,000ft (6,100 metres) a second.

Once in position over its targets, the missile's third motor separates from the forward section containing the warheads.

The guidance system takes another star reading to confirm its position. Small thruster rockets then manoeuvre the forward section so each warhead can be individually released in the right place to freefall to its target, where they detonate according to one of a number of pre-set fuse options.

tony draper
22nd Nov 2006, 11:12
Well If it is is ever necessary to light the blue touch paper we may assume the GPS or similar system may have been disabled, the stars will always be there.

Tiz not technically difficult to achievw you can buy a relatively cheap astronomical telescope from ebay that needs no setting up, you switch it on, it aligns itself to the North Celestial pole ( a job that used to take hours to do accuratly by hand) you click on a list of objects you wish to observe and click click buzz it points itself at said object,:rolleyes:
Leastwise thats what they claim,one has never owned such a instrument oneself.

Tricky Woo
22nd Nov 2006, 16:03
I seem to remember that a few years ago JET claimed the first fusion experiment where more energy came out of the process than went in. They exceeded parity, right? But only for the second or so that the experiment lasted. Not much to show after 50 years of fusion research, one supposes.

The ITER's designed to test a continuous process of about 10x energy input for up to 500 seconds, which is about 8 minutes in old money. Might not give the layman much of a hard-on, but it's a cracker compared to JET. But that just about covers what can be achieved over the next 30 years.

And the carrot? Well, Herr D stated it quite nicely: energy too cheap to be worth billing yer for. But they'll bill us anyway, don't yer worry. The 'nuclear' waste that the greenies are twitching about is primarily from magnetically irradiated materials from the tokomak magnetic chamber, 'cos yer can't very well hold a cauldronful of 10x sun-hot plasma in a paper cup. Not exactly the nuclear waste of yer worst nightmares, and not a lot of it. Daft greeny sods should remember that old adage that the enemy of yer enemy's yer bestest pal.

No way will fusion arrive soon enough for the global warming brigade. So yer greenies are gonna have to swallow the nuclear fission fall-back plan after all. Which makes me snigger into me beer, as they've painted themselves sooooooo firmly into an anti-nuclear fission corner that they're gonna look bloody daft when they inevitably have to volte face. Funny how things turn out, eh? One predicts there'll be a shiny new nuke fission power station for every ten to twenty miles of european coastline by 2050.

Just as a BNFL nuke engineer (deep in his beer cups at the boozer to celebrate our small IT project going live) predicted to me about 10 years ago when I questioned the rationale to building the THORP reprocessing plant at Sellafield. "We'll make fcuking BILLIONS out of this in the end, 'cos no one else has got the FCUKING BOLLOX to build their own THORP now. When the daft fcuking tossers out there realise they've got NO FCUKING CHOICE other than NUCLEAR FCUKING POWER we'll have a worldwide monopoly. FCUKING THICK TWATS. Wot yoooooo fcuking looking at pal? (to some poor sod goggling at him from the bar) AM I TALKING TOO FCUKING LOUD FOR YER ABOUT NASTY NUCLEAR POWER, EH?" Not quite verbatim, after all these years, but the above captures the gist nicely.

Smart chap, if a tad belligerent. One wonders wot became of him.


22nd Nov 2006, 16:15
Hasn't turned into a celebrity chef (http://www.channel4.com/life/microsites/F/fword/index.html) by any chance TW ?

22nd Nov 2006, 16:38
Never doubt the ingenuity of a Geordie. Mr Draper is surly alluding to a heat pipe.

The idea of heat pipes was first suggested by Byker lad - R.S.Gaugler in 1942 and perfected by that well known Wallsend pipe guru G.M.Grover in 1962.

A heat pipe consists of a sealed aluminum or copper container whose inner surfaces have a capillary wicking material. A heat pipe is similar to a thermosyphon. It differs from a thermosyphon by virtue of its ability to transport heat against gravity by an evaporation-condensation cycle with the help of porous capillaries that form the wick. The wick provides the capillary driving force to return the condensate to the evaporator.

Connect one of these to the coal face and yer in business.

A triumph Mr. Drapes and I sense the Freedom of the City of Newcastle is just a therm away.

Windy Militant
22nd Nov 2006, 16:39
He's probably at THORP with a lead lined bucket and a very long handled mop clearing up that leak they hadn't noticed for the last five years or so.

It's a worrying thought that soon all these yer atom farms built by the lowest bidder will be going up like mushrooms all over the place! :eek:

tony draper
22nd Nov 2006, 16:43
One would like to add that in my opinion the Goverment should take back power generation and distribution into it own hands,some industries should be regarded as strategic and should never have been sold off,no doubt the Nationalised Industries needed their arses kicked but selling them off at give away prices to a bunch of robber barons was the mother of all mistakes IMHO, it does not follow that a new publicly owned energy organisation would be run the way the old Nationalised Industries were.

Hmmm,wasn't there some talk of the dangers of radiation being grossly overestimated a few months back? and it int as harmfull as was previously thunk,recal seeing a doc about Chernoble a while back and apparently the wildife is thriving,critters that disappeared a hundred years ago are returning,the rivers are full of fish and the woods full of err critters that live in woods.
We musta got a good dose of radioactive milk here in the fifties when Sellafield caught fire,never did me any harm.

22nd Nov 2006, 17:00
Yes indeed Drapes, the Linear No Threshold (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_no-threshold_model) model, which relies heavily on extrapolation beyond the range of observed data. And we all know how well that works, don't we ?

Put simply, the assumption is that if a certain radiation dose carries X amount of risk, the one thousandth of that dose presents exactly one-thousandth of that risk, even though there are no data to support this.

By the same logic, since Vitamin A is poisonous in large doses (never eat a polar bear's liver !), an LNT model would claim that it is also dangerous at much lower levels and that "there is no safe dose of Vitamin A".

The consequence is widespread fear of something that may be nowhere near as harmful as we have been told. After all, we are surrounded by natural background radiation, and the human body has evolved in that environment. Certainly the immediate area around Chernobyl is teeming with wildlife - all perfectly normal and no three-headed mutants among them.

22nd Nov 2006, 17:17
The 10,000,000,000 euro windfall near Marseille will likely run up the price of better-grade Provencal wines as armies of well-compensated scientists and technicians celebrate endless near-misses over another 30 years of problem (almost) solving in the agreeably temperate environs at the foot of the Rhone.

The immense concentration of power required for success in fusion is a fitting analogue to the economics of the energy industries - where a very small number of players control all the energy resources available to the world. In the process they also control the timing of supply and demand, the energy flavour of the month, and the hysteria about a) running out of energy, versus b) cooking the planet by using 'the wrong kinds' of energy, all of which serves to keep the money flow channeled down the same paths into the same treasuries.

Most energy used today is wasted, plain and simple. Perhaps likelier to pay-back several times over during our lifetimes would be an equivalent investment (10 bbn) for insulation of buildings, for elimination of truly unnecessary movement of vehicles and people through increased use of data communications and new concepts of resource and work management, for replacement of monumentally inefficient technologies like incandescent lights, technically primitive vintage electric motors and ancient-technology heating equipment.

22nd Nov 2006, 17:17
apparently the wildife is thriving - critters that disappeared a hundred years ago are returning... but perhaps not the sort of critters we are used to seeing nowadays.

One hears from The Chronicle that a new species Ghidrah Chernobilus is thriving and that Alexander Litvinenko - recently returned from a inspecting a defunct nuclear submarine base in Murmansk - is claiming some poisoning conspiracy by Vladimir Putin when we all know he has had a good wholesome dose of roentgens.

22nd Nov 2006, 17:22
Was that heat-pipe thingy what they were experimenting with in Weardale at the Blue Circle Cement works? An then there's the deep phosphate (potash?) mines (on Teeside ?). Don't know whether the resultant 'hot' would be sufficient to drive a genny though . . .

WRT radio activity, weren't we supposed to get pre-cooked lamb from Cumbria after Chernobyl? And whatever happened to luminous watches (and not being allowed into Vulcan cockpits?)? How many Vulcan aircrew have lost all their hair?

Mind you, have you ever met anybody from the west coast of Cumbria?

Geordies have been clever cloggies WRT inventions. Apart from Railways, Lord Armstrong (he of Vickers) had electrickery in his house (generated by water) long before the King had owt at Buck House.
Still think there's potential to use tidal rise and fall to generate power. We could construct 'water meadows' (like at Alnmouth - http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/1478428?lang=_e&region=&projectstatus=&theme=&subject=&searchfor=&topic=&area=&month=) and count the water in then count it out . . .

tony draper
22nd Nov 2006, 17:41
One is still working on a way of tapping the energy slope that exists because the terrific pressure difference betwixt the surface and say a thousand meters below the surface of the sea.
Anyday now.:E
It wont be worth me sending yers lecky bills

22nd Nov 2006, 17:44
The whole heat pipe thingy has been done, albeit using the energy that's there from the earth.

Look HERE (http://www.energy.rochester.edu/is/reyk/works.htm) to find out all about Geothermal energy.

IIRC no-one in Iceland pays for heat cos it's all free, grows out of the ground you could say.

Course the Draper process as mentioned above is a little different, and I would imagine that you would need to get a helluva lot of oxygen down there to keep the fires burning.

Of course there's always the possibility that large scale subsidence might occur where coal seams are burnt out, but then I think we could stand to lose some of those areas, and Ann Robinson would be mightily pleased, I'm sure, if large parts of Wales disappeared.

Of course this would mean huge lakes would form where we could rush about on jetskis and in boats, hence burning huge amounts of fossil fuels! ;)

22nd Nov 2006, 17:44
Hydrostatic equilibrium would soon put paid to that idea, Drapes - unless you have a way of turning gravity off.

Sorry to pour cold water and all . . .

22nd Nov 2006, 17:46
Hydrostatic equilibrium would soon put paid to that idea, Drapes - unless you have a way of turning gravity off.
Sorry to pour cold water and all . . .
And if you turn yer gravity off the energy gradient kind of immediately disappears :O

22nd Nov 2006, 17:52

tony draper
22nd Nov 2006, 17:55
Don't be so hasty Mr G,all we have to do is make the water less dense as it enters the bottom of ones pipe,or indeed a continuous convayer belt betwixt the surface and the deep with pistons that utilise the pressure to compress air in cylinders that is released into a reservoir at the suface before they plunge back down again all ready to be re squished.

22nd Nov 2006, 18:52
The whole heat pipe thingy has been done

Pah …

Ye of little faith – like all them suffern monkies that don’t realise what potential exists under the Dome and those soothsayers that say London ratepayers are not going to make a stonking great profit on the Olympics with all that untapped energy lying under the Lower Lea Valley.

This is all going to come from heat pipes …. when the World wakes up to this effortless low cost method of conducting energy.

Loose rivets
23rd Nov 2006, 06:58
Don't be so hasty Mr G,all we have to do is make the water less dense as it enters the bottom of ones pipe,or indeed a continuous convayer belt betwixt the surface and the deep with pistons that utilise the pressure to compress air in cylinders that is released into a reservoir at the suface before they plunge back down again all ready to be re squished.

Mmmm....interesting. The pumping could be self-sustaining cos it would take energy out of the system in the form of heat.

A comparison could be made with the way that the sling shot method of accelerating a space vessel takes energy out of the planetary body that it swings round. It's just so small an amount, that it seems to be a free lunch.

23rd Nov 2006, 10:42
. . . utilise the pressure to compress air in cylinders that is released into a reservoir at the surface before they plunge back down again all ready to be re squished.Sorry Drapes doesn't work. The gas occupies a larger volume on the way down, so displaces more water giving it greater buoyancy. Takes more effort to lift the compressed ones back up again as they are less buoyant, so the extra work done in raising them back to the surface will offset the energy you get out from the compressed gas.

Sorry to be a wet blanket and all . . .