Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Fusor Neutron Source for a SNUB?
Date: Dec 04, 3:08 pm
Poster: Tom Billings

On Dec 04, 3:08 pm, Tom Billings wrote:

>>Can anyone here calculate just how close we'd have to come to pure Fusor breakeven to be able to use the Fusor as a SNUB neutron source to produce net power out of the system? At the moment, I'd put it at within 3-4 times of breakeven, using D-T fuel, assuming a 33 percent conversion into electricity. Am I being too simplistic and conservative in this calculation? Can we do this easier than I've seen with these simple numbers?
>>Tom Billings
>>Oregon L5 Society
>I cannot do the computations, but the idea sounds doable.

Thanks, for the check this far. Do you have suggestions about who might be able to run through the numbers using some good loss estimates?

>The problem we would run into is that we are back working with radioactive materials and creating all sorts of nuclides due to fission. It is not just the criticality that people dislike about the fission process, but the long term radiation from >the nuclear ashes. (waste disposal)

An interesting point about the acellerator neutron sources was that they, supposedly, had the excess neutrons available (10^16+) to transmute the wastes, through a descending order of elements, to stable isotopes, in 99 percent of these materials. Their proponents even expect to get _some_ amount of net fission energy from these trasmutations! I don't know if a Fusor neutron source would have the neutrons o spare for this.

No, I don't expect the Deep eeK objections to vanish because of that, but they will object, no matter how "clean" the power source.

>The pure fusion reaction is not totally free from this either, but much more so than the fission or hybrid fission/fusion reactions.

Excepting, of course, the p-Boron 11 reaction. Has any one actually made this one go at all in a Fusor yet?

>I personally love standard fission for electrical energy, as I have posted before. It is a good reliable source of cheap power with a viable infrastructure in place NOW! Fission power can be used while real solid alternatives are looked for. It would give us time to look for the ultimate power source which would be non-polluting, safe and compact, rather than leap on a thousand little >inefficient stop gap alternatives.

Precisely! In addition, it would provide a market beyond neutron activation analysis in the numbers of neutrons required, with incentive for even small steps of increasing the neutron production, through steps towards breakeven. It might also allow nuclear power to be applied in smaller mobile power situations, and lend itself to mass production.

>There is a lot of nascent power in all that bomb grade material we are taking out of those arms-control aggreement bomb and missile dismantlings! Rather than store the stuff and let it naturally decay over the next few millinea, we might take some of that power to heat homes. We have already paid for the energy in tax dollars which made the >bombs.

Better yet! It allows power extraction from the _much_ larger amount of Natural Uranium.

>Fusion is, ideally, looking for "direct conversion" processes which look extremely attractive as opposed to boiling water with its associated losses. Any neutronic process is going to have to boil water. (as in the case of fission, or hybrids where extremely fast neutrons are the >goal.

Certainly, it will hove to run a conventional Carnot Cycle of some kind. I would favor a Helium cooled device, with a gas turbine for conversion.

>The simple fusor, is ever made self sustaining would be a water boiler.
>The P-B11 reaction is the ideal direct conversion method, but how to do it is the catch. The reaction produces high energy alpha particles in quantity which could be slowed in a series of grid systems and the electricity tapped off directly with out getting all steamed up!

I'd love It!

>Regardless, we amateur fusor builders are out of that league anyhow.

Like I asked above, has anyone ever fused the p-Boron 11 combination in a Fusor device?


Tom Billings

Oregon L5 Society