Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Richard Hull
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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:09 pm

Energy discussions are fine as long as they don't get political. Energy is a major issue and fusion is at a forefront of promised solutions, yet to be delivered. None of us want increased energy prices, but they will surely come.

John, thanks for the update. I did not see the erased part of the text. I will try and remember to erase your posting in about a week. If I forget, poke at me with a private e-mail.

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: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Ameen Aydan » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:09 am

I sincerely apologize about this. I thought it would be better off erasing it since I thought it wasn't accurate after reading the provided text briefly. I just didn't want any inaccurate information to spoil my post. I really am sorry. I also didn't know that we aren't allowed to edit our posts. I don't think deleting it would be a good idea because a lot of people will be left hanging with this discussion scratching their heads wondering if a part went missing. But for the record I did edit the Chinese part because I didn't want the information to be inaccurate.

Sincerely,
Ameen Aydan

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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by John Futter » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:10 am

Ameen
no problem you now understand

I for one like the ability to edit --this was taken away from all of us for quite a while because of miss use
that left a whole lot of threads hanging not making sense because the original poster deleted making all following comments nonsense

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Dennis P Brown » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:36 pm

Ameen - your post was find and had a lot of good information and wasn't off topic. I merely wanted to point out details and correct a few really minor points. If any one should apologize it is me to you. I did not intend to imply your post was anything but relevant and it was on point. It was I getting wordy on this topic that merited an apology.

So do post your comments and please don't worry about making some mistakes or errors. Many do - certainly I've made a few really good ones (LOL) and people here can attest to that. It is about learning and sharing here. Thanks for adding your post relative to this thread!

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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Ameen Aydan » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:52 am

Hello again,

As a follow up to the previous thread, I wanted to ask a simple question. How can we bring nuclear energy back? I thought that it could be done by teaching others through persuasive education to the public. An example is telling them the benefits and why nuclear is such a great solution. Dennis, however, knows that is a total lie and mentioned why it is.

So if this is not a good idea... What is. For a long time now I have seen people on these forums go on about how nuclear energy is the holy grail that had been sitting in front of our eyes. All of them speak about great ideas and technologies, but never act on it. We all already know that there is proper infrastructure and the proper minds to tackle this problem, but how are we really going to present the idea?

To elaborate on this: I remember seeing Taylor Wilson on YouTube bloating about his accomplishments. As of now he is on a Thiel fellowship trying to advocate for his invention of the underground reactor thingy. I don't know much about it. But if this "discovery" of his is so important than why is it that I haven't heard about him until I was interested in building a reactor?!?!?! Wilson has the proper elements and basis to begin his designs, but no result as of yet. The issue I see is he can't find the proper attention because we here have spent years sitting and rotting away watching as the name of nuclear is overcome by of dogma of fear of an impending nuclear war. Just look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7hOpT0lPGI

So out of all this writing and thinking I can't think of a solution to properly advocate for nuclear energy. It seems for now it is only the educated who understand this issue, and even then, some don't want to accept it. The population of Karen mothers who unvaccinate their children is also a lost cause. I think we need to focus on the majority of the population who aren't so smart. I'm really not trying to be arrogant or say that everyone except us is dumb. I'm trying to say that right now we have a huge population of people who have minds that quickly associate nuclear bombs and wars with the word nuclear. It's not they are "dumb" per say, but just unable to understand and perceive this issue for what it really is. But then again, according to those who disagree, this is just an opinion, not a full blown science and fact backed issue that is prevalent among us.

So my question still remains... In the simplest words and with the most logical explanation... How can we bring nuclear energy back?

Ameen Aydan

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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:59 am

Uranium fission will be around for a long, long time yet, period. Fusion if ever, will also be a long, long time away. As I have said many times. No child born today will ever live so long as to see one watt of salable fusion energy come out of their wall socket outlet. Renewables are a grand joke we play on ourselves, just like the bugga boo about "look out for the CO2 monster...He's comin' to get us all".

All we can do is short term stuff because people live in the here and now. Fission, coal, gas and hydro are the here and now at the terawatt level. All the people really care about is power to keep the electricity flowing into tomorrow...like 24 hours from now. They only want bread and circus and all governments know they better keep both coming or it will be bad.

High minded ideals and fears for the future sound great and get a lot of press, sympathy and a bit of activism. Yet, the common Joe could really care less about the future beyond his immediate tomorrow, regardless of what nice things about the distant future that comes out of his or her mouth.

What will be, will be, regardless of the plans of mice and men.

I like thorium but the word "breeder" strikes as much fear into the moderately informed public as the word Chernobyl. Extant fission is accepted as a less than happy given. Fusion is a joke, of course and a wonderful make busy project and employer of the best of the anointed in the field, working on our behalf, naturally.

Man has always loved fear. We absolutely must fear something. What's more, the general feeling is that all must share in the same fear as no man really wants to be alone with his fears and it is natural to seek to gain adherents to fear along with you. Common, universally shared fear, it seems, is always with us. It is part of us and we dare not set it aside. In short, fear helps drive us like cattle and just like cattle we really just go along with the herd to "wherever".

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: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by JoeBallantyne » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:28 am

Wind and solar are currently VERY cost competitive with fossil based power plants. Which means that as long as that calculus does not change, the day will inevitably come when the vast majority of electricity generated on this planet will be from renewable sources. The way capitalism works, guarantees that. (Maximized profits.)

Now will it take a long time? Yes. But I for one would not at all be surprised if the USA is at >50% renewables for the electical grid (solar, wind, hydro, nuclear) in 20 years or less. Probably less.

Wind is huge, and growing fast, and very very cheap. The nice thing about renewables is that once the installation is built, there are no ongoing fuel costs, unlike fossil fuel plants. (Ok, there is for nuclear, but not for hydro, wind or solar.)

So, I think Richard, that on this one your statement that renewables are a grand joke we play on ourselves, is simply wrong.

Yes, getting renewables to 80-100% of grid energy production will take time, but it WILL happen.

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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Dennis P Brown » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:47 pm

Politics and energy production go hand-in-hand, of course - our very way of life exists solely due to available energy so politics are deeply ingrained as are economics relative to energy - how not? That is an economic science issue so not relevant to the Fusor Forum. I will add that this aspect of "political" isn't related to political parties so not exactly a political issue in the classical usage of the word.

That all said, fission (uranium based) power failed for purely economic issues and thorium has been ignored for many reasons besides cost (not to say it can't be useful but it does have serious problems that make it far from a slam-dunk.) Why the cost of fission power became cost prohibitive I covered and it it is pointless to continue that issue - it is what it is and education of the public has essentially zero bearing on that matter. Plants aren't costly (currently running over $10 billion and climbing for the latest US plant still under construction) because the public is ignorant of the facts nor because they have many false ideas. So public out reach and education isn't the issue there at all.

Solar has its uses and while nowhere near as cost effective as compared to carbon based fuels (ignoring the role of carbon waste causing global environmental changes like AGW - a cost that isn't generally included in the cost equation) it has serious storage issues as well as location issues. Wind, while far closer to economical compared to carbon based sources has the same storage issues and has issues related to the wind blowing - an effect that can be very variable. Again, the reason wind isn't viable for replacing carbon based fuels in most locations (but certainly not all as one see's in places.)

I tend to believe fusion can occur in our children's lifetime but that is still an opinion; current research is definitely pointing in the direction that success is possible but until the latest class of projects (excluding ITER - that is doomed) are completed, Richard's point is more correct than not. However, whether fusion will produce cost effective power if (or when) it is achieved, isn't so easy to say since it will require massive plants even in the best case with major engineering problems to overcome (i.e. very expensive.) I do, however, believe that in the best case scenario fusion ignition with net power can be achieved in about twenty years. Now when all carbon costs are included, at that time fusion could be superior in cost to carbon fuels but that isn't easy to believe.

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Re: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:27 pm

Dennis has covered very well many of the issues of successful fusion. Will it be any cheaper than working fission per watt hour? All of the big costs are in up front construction when you talk nuclear be it fission or fusion. We are told there will be no neutrons. Well if anyone here believes no neutrons will be created in a thermo-nuclear, multigigawatt reaction in a closed vessel run 24-7-365, they just do not know nuclear at all. From my view point. fusion has only two advantages if working perfectly.
1. it can be immediately shut down....Can't blow up
2. it has a virtually limitless, safe fuel source provided tritium is not used or bred. (current fusion hopes are totally based on the D-T reaction)

I think 50% renewables of the total grid needs within 20 years matches fusion's "real soon now" claim. The real issue is dead-time, zero energy production energy storage and costs to maintain that at 50% total grid. Go on you tube and watch the wind energy machines go high order. Solar cells still degrade over time if in a high sun energy value area run near their maximum current ratings. Both wind and solar absolutely demand superior, reliable storage to be grid ready 24-7-365. No wind = no power...too much wind at high speed or horribly gusting = no power.

Whenever and wherever you make megawatts or gigawatts of energy in a confined space, high order fails are always major fails with significant down times.

Richard
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: Wendelstein 7-X has successfully finished its second major experimental run

Post by Rich Feldman » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:09 am

... fusion has only two advantages if working perfectly.
1. it can be immediately shut down....Can't blow up ...
To clarify that point:

Nuclear fission reactors maintain a chain reaction at the edge of criticality, 24/7/365, but they have not been known to blow up.
Chain reaction can be terminated immediately (a "SCRAM") with high reliability in an emergency.
How high is high reliability? Insurance providers are used to figuring probable losses. Cost of a disaster times probability of that disaster.
For nuclear power plant hazards, runaway chain reaction leading to "atomic explosion" ranks low in terms of probable loss.

So why did cores melt at Three Mile Island and at Fukushima?

In a freshly fueled reactor, heat generation stops when the chain reaction stops.
But as the fuel is used up, incredibly radioactive fission products accumulate in the core.
They can build up to a level where at normal power, 90% of the heating is from fission and 10% is from radioactive decay.

You can't shut down the decay power. Readers schooled in nuclear engineering could tell us how much heat continues to be produced one minute, one hour, or one day after the fission chain reaction is stopped. Actual disasters have confirmed what designers knew from the outset:
if you can't cool a conventional core, decay heat can accumulate until parts are hot enough to sag or to melt.

It's my understanding that cores and reactor vessels are designed with that risk in mind.
As long as Earth gravity doesn't fail, a sagging or melting core will not go critical again because of changing geometry.
Richard Feldman

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