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tartare
15th Nov 2018, 03:04
...and I don't mean food.
Have a look at this:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-15/china-attempts-to-create-an-artificial-sun/10495536
Breakthrough or Bullsh!t?
If true - extraordinary....

maggot
15th Nov 2018, 03:50
But will they get shitty when it's their tech getting copied?

SpringHeeledJack
15th Nov 2018, 05:00
Let them have it peer reviewed worldwide and then we'll know. I stand to be corrected, but it would seem that PRC seems to follow, rather than lead in modern developments, except for implementation, so I'd be surprised if this potentially world changing technology had been homogeneously developed by them. If true, it would be deliciously ironic if they found themselves being ripped off left, right and centre by other countries and companies ;-)

A_Van
15th Nov 2018, 05:27
Don't see any sensation here.

Even if it's true, reaching 100M Celcius or so is just one of many necessary conditons (speaking math wise) to get the reaction running, but not the sufficient one.

Second, every now and then we hear about different breakthroughs that later do not turn into anything tangible. The following example is worth mentioned:
https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/compact-fusion.html (https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/compact-fusion.htmlAnd)

And it's not from non-transparent China, it's from LockMart that should care about its reputation. Back in 2015-2016 they promised to have it up and running yet in this decade. Let's see...

tartare
15th Nov 2018, 08:21
Yes, I remember that rather bold claim by LockMart, A_Van
It's all gone very quiet - mysteriously that link generates a 404 message; I guess LM have classified their portable fusion reactors which are now powering the Marine Corp's secret disruptor cannons ;)
The Chinese Group seem to be a loose part of the ITER affiliation of international fusion research groups.
A few optimistic souls are claiming that because it's smaller scale - the Chinese Tokomak is proof that the larger ITER reactor will work.
Somehow I wonder if they'll be sharing their knowledge if they've been successful.
Fiendishly difficult science.
Back in journo days spoke to a boffin at Imperial College who said "...we're not sure what will be invented first. The Quantum Computer, or the Fusion Reactor to power it."

A_Van
15th Nov 2018, 12:50
.....
Fiendishly difficult science.
...

The science is rather trivial as it is some 65+ years old, but engineering remains bloody difficult.

Many think now that the concept of Tokamak is not good itself. Indeed, it was drafted very quickly by some Russian (Soviet) nuclear scientists (including well-known Andrey Sakharov) when "Uncle Joe" was yet at command, and first results were quite encouraging: in some 10 years after the first Tokamak was built they reached 10M Kelvin (it was in 60's), but then the progress slowed down.

Loose rivets
15th Nov 2018, 16:33
The Joint European Toroidal, JET, was a huge long term project. I recall being enthralled by the energy reservoir built up in two vast gyros. They sucked everything they could get out of the National Grid and then added a gyro's power for good measure, and then focussed all this woomph on one poor little bead of matter for a smidgen of a second. (marvel at how I've master the terminology.)

The European one is now, or soon to be, in a French town. Anyone recall the name?

I wonder if we will be able to go and do science there without a visa.

57mm
15th Nov 2018, 17:41
Darn it, thought this was a cooking thread......

A_Van
15th Nov 2018, 18:00
....
The European one is now, or soon to be, in a French town. Anyone recall the name?
....


Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance - it's about 40 miles from Marseille.

Actually, it's not European only.
"The ITER Organization is an intergovernmental organization that was established by an international agreement signed in 2006. The Parties to the ITER Agreement (the ITER Members) are the People's Republic of China; the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom); the Republic of India; Japan; the Republic of Korea; the Russian Federation; and the United States of America."
https://www.iter.org/org

Gertrude the Wombat
15th Nov 2018, 20:43
Even if it's true, reaching 100M Celcius or so is just one of many necessary conditons
Remember "cold fusion"?

Remember meeting some physicist at a party who said "well, we've got it running in the lab, and it gets warm", and shrugged; he clearly didn't believe it.

tartare
15th Nov 2018, 23:45
Ah yes - Messers Pons and Fleischmann - two names that will live in physics infamy.
The room temperature star in a jar...

G0ULI
16th Nov 2018, 02:47
Creating a fusion reaction in a jar is certainly possible and a significant, even hazardous, level of neutron radiation can be generated. Unfortunately all these experiments require more energy to be pumped into the system than can be captured again on the way out.

The temperatures and pressures required to maintain a stable fusion reaction mandate that bigger is better when it comes to reaction chambers. The ITER project will produce excess energy once it is up and running, but the surplus over and above that required to keep the reactor and plant running will be sufficient only to power a few hundred homes.

Not a great return for the billions spent in terms of energy production. Once the bugs are ironed out, future generations of fusion reactors will be cheaper and more efficient. So still about 50 years away in the future...

Dont Hang Up
16th Nov 2018, 11:53
Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance - it's about 40 miles from Marseille.

Actually, it's not European only.
"The ITER Organization is an intergovernmental organization that was established by an international agreement signed in 2006. The Parties to the ITER Agreement (the ITER Members) are the People's Republic of China; the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom); the Republic of India; Japan; the Republic of Korea; the Russian Federation; and the United States of America."
https://www.iter.org/org

It now increasingly appears that ITER has been oversold. It was supposed to be the breakthrough where we may demonstrate a viable fusion reactor that could generate more energy than it consumed. However it is now clear that ITER will never generate a single watt of electricity. The technical challenges of taking the energy from the high energy particles of the fusion reaction and converting this into electricity will have to wait for some challenging future developments and another new experimental facility - yet to hit the drawing board. But not just that - the basic claim of generating more power than consumed now appears to require a good deal of creative accounting. This positive-yield sum apparently only refers to the beams of energy directly injected into the reactor to heat the fuel. The enormous energy used in the reactor containment fields and more generally in running a vast facility such as this are just not taken into account.

Normally when we talk of scientific developments on the horizon, we may think of these as mountains in the distance. Eventually, with time, ingenuity and effort they will be attained. However, nuclear fusion seems more like the horizon itself - forever receding as we advance towards it. When I was in my teens, nuclear fusion was 40 years way. Now those 40 years have passed. And still it is 40 years away.

A_Van
16th Nov 2018, 16:03
.....
Normally when we talk of scientific developments on the horizon, we may think of these as mountains in the distance. Eventually, with time, ingenuity and effort they will be attained. However, nuclear fusion seems more like the horizon itself - forever receding as we advance towards it. When I was in my teens, nuclear fusion was 40 years way. Now those 40 years have passed. And still it is 40 years away.

Absolutely agree. I also clearly remember the time when I was a teen in early 70's. Dementia-driven old lads in Kremlin thought that if it took just a few years from the A-bomb through nuclear (fission) power plant, it would be the same from the H-bomb through the fusion-based reactor and power plants. It was in the air and in media that very soon the "egg-headed" would solve all the problems and we would have endless resources of energy. Since that the horizon moved far far away.

SpringHeeledJack
16th Nov 2018, 16:10
Dementia-driven old lads in Kremlin thought that if it took just a few years from the A-bomb through nuclear (fission) power plant, it would be the same from the H-bomb through the fusion-based reactor and power plants. It was in the air and in media that very soon the "egg-headed" would solve all the problems and we would have endless resources of energy. Since that the horizon moved far far away.

You cannot blame them for their optimism, if you only consider the advances in aero-technology between 1939 and, say 1955, it was huge, absolutely incredible, the leaps and bounds (in no small part due to German scientists) that took place. n the UK the Avro Lancaster to the Avro Vulcan only a decade apart. If you would project forward again, you could imagine all sorts of amazingness. Is there a 'Moore's Law' for aerospace, or to keep to the thread subject, Nuclear Fusion ?

G-CPTN
16th Nov 2018, 17:50
During the 'First Man' film (about Neil Armstrong's flight to the Moon) there were questions raised about the setbacks experienced by some missions - the response was "We only learned how to fly 60 years ago".

Loose rivets
17th Nov 2018, 00:03
Thanks A VAN.

I'd guess there's a lot of offshoot technology coming out of these experiments. The plasma ring created in the toroidal has some exotic things done to it, and our knowledge must be increasing hugely if not exponentially. Prior to recent chambers and accelerators there was not a chance of testing the hypotheses. Yes, I'm mindful of the brilliance at the Solvay conferences but their astonishing leaps were not testable for the most part. Hmmm . . . just remembered my mention of Cavendish in the late 1700's. Oh, and Michelson & Morley. I'll shut up now before I have the LHC closed down.

G0ULI
17th Nov 2018, 03:26
Ot is perhaps worth bearing in mind that individual nuclear fission and fusion reactions only generate minute amounts of energy measured in fractions of an electron volt. It is only when countless millions of reactions occur per second that measurable and useable amounts of energy are produced, hence the need for a massive reaction chamber. Table top fusion experiments simply don't have the necessary volume to generate anything other than sufficient neutrons to prove a reaction is taking place, certainly not useable amounts of power.

The reason scientists were so enthusiastic about the possibilities of fusion during development of the hydrogen bomb was because it proved that is was possible to transform small amounts of matter into a huge burst of energy. All that was necessary was to tame and slow down the reaction.This has proved to be somewhat problematic as the fusion process in a nuclear bomb takes place in a few millionths of a second at the heart of an initiating fission explosion.

ITER will produce a small surplus of power, over and above what is required to keep the reactor running. Just like the thermonuclear bombs, it will require a fission reactor alongside it to supply the necessary power to initially start up the fusion reactor.

So even in a world where all electrical power is produced by fusion reactors, there will still be the need for fission reators to be dotted around the world to kick start the system in event of the fission reactors going off line. Comparisons may be drawn with the Fukashima earthquake in Japan where the reactors were unable to be cooled because backup electrical supplies on site were damaged by the tidal wave and external power lines brought down by the earthquake. Fusion reactor power networks will require similar backup systems to ensure continuous power generation, but perhaps on a larger scale. Large scale hydroelectric schemes could supplement and stabilise such networks as an alternative to fission power plants, but the costs will be enormous. Fusion power when it arrives is not going to be cheap or unlimited.

jimtherev
17th Nov 2018, 23:16
The sad thing is that we don't seem to have progressed much since 1957: my first job was on a so-called Zero Energy device which seemed to be achieving the sorts of temperatures referred to above. "We've done it!" we shouted in the presence of BBC and Movitone cameras... later to retract our claims somewhat.
I was a bit surprised to see a picture of myself climbing onto the thing in the Wiki account ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZETA_(fusion_reactor) ) I had a copy of this one but lost it in one of my moves.

As we said in the fifties: if only someone could find a way of containing the plasma the rest would be a doddle.

ORAC
18th Nov 2018, 19:43
I have had my knuckles severely wrapped and will not be posting any more links to articles, only the content with the names source. So, to quite Tim Worstall:

”Chinese researchers have managed a breakthrough in the pursuit of fusions power – that promise of cheap, near unlimited and non polluting energy. This means that proper commercial reactors might only be as near as only 50 years away*........

*nnnYes, we know the joke, that’s the point.”........

fitliker
18th Nov 2018, 21:52
Better hope there is not a fire , if you have ever seen a Chinese fire drill ,you would understand.