For a good laugh from the University of Washington

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Dennis P Brown
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For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dennis P Brown » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:35 pm

This article is about the real issue of fusion - that a fully working thermonuclear fusion power plant (1/10 scale "model" shown) is already a done deal, and just so trivial to build that all that is left to do is show that such a plant will cost less than a coal fired power plant ... . In fairness, this is a science writer's interpretation of what they were told so (I hope!) they didn't really get told any of this utter nonsense by any person actually working on this project. Then again ... .

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 131156.htm

Dan Knapp
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dan Knapp » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:46 am

Not sure what you're laughing about. Have you read their paper?

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dennis P Brown » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:23 pm

Yes I did. It is irresponsible to calculate the cost of a make believe fusion design and claim it costs less than a coal plant - these people set fusion research back with such non-sense.

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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dan Knapp » Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:31 am

I believe the "dynomak" design was published (in a peer reviewed journal) as a proposed engineering design, and a good engineering design normally includes a cost analysis. I think it can be argued that any engineering design is "make believe" until it is built and tested. Unless one is prepared to debunk a design based upon physical arguments rather than personal belief, it would be circumspect to do one's laughing in private.

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Andrew Robinson
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Andrew Robinson » Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:02 am

:eek:
I can wire anything directly into anything! I'm the professor!

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Richard Hull
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:14 pm

Perhaps this is just another "gimme some money and I'll build a fusion machine, you betcha', I promise".
"Money first, of course".....Fusion that works?.... " Oh That's much, much later or when I see from the prototype you paid for that I just need to scale it all up another order of magnitude later."

The above is the secret of how fusion really works in the real world. It has always been the secret to getting usable fusion. Just keep the money coming along with all the new ideas. No idea dies until someone recognizes that at any scale, it just will not do usable, sustainable 24-7-365 fusion....ever.

Meanwhile, full speed ahead on ITER, Sphereomak says its a go. 2024 for now, or bust! More Billions, more Billions.

Thorium breeders? Sodium TWR's? So yesterday....So fissiony...Go away.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dan Knapp » Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:11 pm

If we're now having civil discussion of personal beliefs, and not laughing at one another, I'll share mine.
I'm not as pessimistic as Richard about fusion power, but I do agree that advanced fission approaches are the next logical step in energy production. I strongly believe, however, that fusion will ultimately be key to the survival of the human race on this planet; and I believe that human ingenuity can find a solution to the problem. I am not convinced that the tokamak will be the solution. I agree with the prediction made by Bob Hirsch at the recent IEC workshop in Madison that the ITER project is likely to die in the not too distant future. It is unfortunate that a LOT of money will have been spent to no avail, and that the fusion field is likely to lose a lot of very talented people in the economic fallout.
It is unfortunate that the tokamak field has been driven by the particle collider mentality, i.e. bigger and bigger. It is refreshing that the laser inertial confinement people have been pursuing engineering studies on how that technology might be evolved to a fusion reactor. There are still missing pieces, but their arguments are becoming more convincing. The tokamak people will need to start taking a more engineering approach rather than a primarily physics experiment approach if they are to stay in the game.
I believe that we need to be pursuing multiple alternate approaches to fusion energy. A few very knowledgeable and very reasonable people even believe that some form of IEC could even be made to yield net energy. Flaws have been identified in the arguments in the Rider and Nevins papers that drove the nails in the coffin of fusion research on non-Maxwellian plasmas. It is way past due that someone with the requisite expertise publish a paper addressing them.
Yes, fusion research does cost a lot of money, but we spend a lot more money on less worthwhile things. We do need to spend our money wisely, however. It is unfortunate that our people in Washington are so preoccupied with fighting among themselves that they aren't addressing national and world problems. There's an election coming up where we have an opportunity to start cleaning house and sending a message.
Having said all that, I'd like to end with a comment about the Fusor Forums. While these forums are a cut above most fusion discussions on the web, there is a tendency at times for people to spew things based more on personal prejudice than any reasoned examination. When this happens, the reasonable people need to step up to the plate, particularly when the comments involve ridicule.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dennis P Brown » Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:54 pm

I do not laugh at nor ever try and insult people's ideas here. The proposal I'm laughing at is a university and they should know better - it is fine to do cost analysis for real systems but never for made up and complete nonsense like this. To claim a real fusion reactor could be built for less than a coal plant yet yield identical power is utter lying and to be award real money for that lie would be criminal - period. These people haven't produced a neutron much less a real stable plasma with the properties they'd need for a power plant even with their tiny unit which would need to be scaled by 10^3. Engineering isn't calculation of possible assumed outcomes based on wishful thinking but designs based on real world testing that produce real data - that, these people have not done. These con-artist are the types that set real researchers back and give the field a terrible name and are beneath contempt.

The joke of NIF has been laughed at and published by peer reviewed scientist - NIF's claim of "break-even" is 1/10,000 of what everyone agree's would be the required energy. Not exactly getting to the point that anyone feel's ICF can work (I work in this field, by the way.)

In this world, money for fusion is almost non-existent and even funding ITER is a big problem and that was a jump that many researchers feel is too large (yes, the basic idea of a Tokamak is flawed); most every researcher in the field would agree that multi-approaches are the best method but who, exactly, will play the many billions? Last I checked, no one. So it is critical that people not make funding agencies think that no one in the field is serious - like NIF has already done for ICF and these clowns are trying to do for MCF. So, as one reasonable person, I have stepped up to the plate and told it as it is.

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Bob Reite
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Bob Reite » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:22 pm

It's not unreasonable to build a scale model of a machine and do extrapolations from measurements taken from the model , as long as it is no smaller than 10% of the proposed final product. Beyond that there are just too many things that change in relation to size that make predicting the final outcome possible.
The more reactive the materials, the more spectacular the failures.
The testing isn't over until the prototype is destroyed.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: For a good laugh from the University of Washington

Post by Dennis P Brown » Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:54 am

Yes, build a "scale" model of a fusion reactor that is 10% in size of what they claim is a proper reactor - this scale model would need to produce about 100 mega-watts of continuous fusion energy for 24/7 and for a number of months or at least many days (since they are saying this proto-type can be scaled into a working 1000 mega-watt plant that operates as well as a coal power plant - their words.) Also the operation of this real proto-type reactor of theirs was done at a cost rate that gave good numbers to indicate scale up to a full plant (i.e.24/7 fuel injection without disruption of the plasma, wall exposure to the intense neutron flux/gamma rays that demonstrated the required resistance to erosion/break down, and energy extraction without plasma disruption as well to name just a few issues of a real fusion power plant) ... not one of these goals was achieved - worse, no fuel was burned nor even a neutron of fusion energy produced. Exactly what does a "10% scale model" prove here? It held vacuum and made a light show for a short time - about all they demonstrated ... . Mr. Hull has produced a far better fusion reactor than these frauds.

I support research in fusion energy (I have a vested interest!) but people like this give the field not just a bad name, but convince sponsoring agencies that fusion is a joke - that hurts the whole field. Fusion energy is difficult and creating a tiny plasma bottle that support a non-burning plasma for very short time periods is trivially simple - just about anyone with a mech. pump and a NST can do that. I expect a lot more from a major university - shame on them.

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