Answer Save. Replacing the burned-up tritium in a fusion reactor, however, addresses only a minor part of the all-important issue of replenishing the tritium fuel supply. We should start with hydrogen or helium…. Fusion is not only possible on earth, it has been carried out many times. 1. The good news: What’s more, some of the radiation damage and production of radioactive waste is incurred to no end, because a proportion of the fusion power is generated solely to offset the irreducible on-site power drains. As we move closer to our goal, however, it is time to ask: Is fusion really a “perfect” energy source? Image courtesy of ITER. How would that hold up if a nuclear bomb was planted inside the reactor core and exploded? This too has challenges, but offers greater inherent safety and usability with fewer complications. Fusion, as produced in a reactor on Earth, is inherently unstable and not self-maintaining. This piece shines light on the daunting challenges. Less than 10 percent of the injected fuel will actually be burned in a magnetic confinement fusion device before it escapes the reacting region. low risk of exploding. It's the same type of reaction that powers hydrogen bombs and the sun. never been tested, that is far from being perfected, and in all If it succeeds where past fusion reactor plans have failed, the technology portends a … The Fusion Reactor is the most powerful way to generate EU power in the game. If so, how large of an explosion? His message about neutron damage and activation was understood in the early 1970s, and that the message is not a bit less dire today than it was then is important. Thanks. The answer to your second question is that no explosion that humankind could currently produce would be able to shift the Earth's axis. ———————— As for helium, there are two sources of helium in a fusion reactor: The first is… Read more », Daniel Jassby, the author of this article, may be contacted by Email at “[email protected]”. answer to your first question is that Fusion reactors are at an extremely Thwarting tritium permeation through certain classes of solids remains an unsolved problem. get off the ground. Safety measures were ignored, the uranium fuel in the reactor overheated and melted through the The vast majority of injected tritium must therefore be scavenged from the surfaces and interiors of the reactor’s myriad sub-systems and re-injected 10-to-20 times before it is completely burned. In GregTech 2.06, the reactor outputs 32,768 EU/t in 1,000,000 EU packets. Both done with a chess pattern of water/reactor coil. For 25 years he worked in areas of plasma physics and neutron production related to fusion en... By Molly Hurley | Nuclear Weapons, Opinion, By Cheryl Katz | Climate Change, By Rebecca L. Earnhardt, Brendan Hyatt, Nickolas Roth | Nuclear Risk, By Zoya Teirstein | Climate Change, By David Klaus | Nuclear Energy, Opinion, By John Morales | Climate Change, By Eric Brewer | Analysis, Nuclear Risk, By John Mecklin | Nuclear Risk, Copyright © 2021 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Once the reactor reaches the ignition temperature of 8 MK (mega Kelvin), the fusion reaction between the two fuels will commence - the heat will begin to rise much more quickly and the products of the reaction will be generated. Also, neutron-induced reactions generate large amounts of interstitial helium and hydrogen, forming gas pockets that lead to additional swelling, embrittlement, and fatigue. Numerous alternative coolants for the primary heat-removal loop have been studied for both fission and fusion reactors, and one-meter thick liquid lithium walls may be essential for inertial confinement fusion systems to withstand the impulse loading. this article) as absolute fact. The problems you raise, (to a large extent) can be mitigated. I think first it depends on the nation that first develops it. The Chernobyl comparison is not appropriate. have to be big to work. Man made global.warming is a lie. Then it is imperative we keep looking. Yes, I understand we would have to mine helium 3 from the moon and gas giants or possibly use a mix of helium 3 and deuterium. Fusion reactors very broadly have two main species that are being developed, inertial confinement and magnetic confinement reactors. Answer Save. Everything we’ve been fed about the nirvana of fusion energy for 30 years, is a complete scam! A fusion reactor is a thermal power plant that would place immense demands on water resources for the secondary cooling loop that generates steam, as well as for removing heat from other reactor subsystems such as cryogenic refrigerators and pumps. But in practice, any surplus will be needed to accommodate the incomplete extraction and processing of the tritium bred in the blanket. 3. And, isn’t the earth’s spinning a genuine perpetual motion ‘machine’, if we could work out how to harness such? The average proton in the core of the Sun waits 9 billion years before it successfully fuses with another proton. form helium, and harness the energy that is released from the reaction. The latest nuclear fusion breakthrough is important as it prevents any runaway electrons from severely damaging a reactor without warning. The most widely known approach to making fusion happen involves a doughnut shaped vacuum chamber called a Tokomak. The cool and all other energy needs should use fuel cells. This thread is mainly aimed at the devs. In addition to the problems of fueling, fusion reactors face another problem: they consume a good chunk of the very power that they produce, or what those in the electrical generating industry call “parasitic power drain,” on a scale unknown to any other source of electrical power. We neither! Even if such alloys do become available on a commercial scale, very few municipalities or counties are likely to accept landfills for low-level radioactive waste. indeed just like the reaction that occurs in the sun to create light and This circumstance indicates that implementing any substitute for water coolant such as helium or liquid metal will be impractical in magnetic confinement fusion systems. In Feed The Beast Beta Pack A, the reactor generates 4,096 EU/t. What would happen in a fusion reactor if the plasma touched the sides of the container? It's going to cost around $10 billion, be up and running by 2014, and When the fusion output is interrupted for any reason, this power must be purchased from the regional grid at retail prices. The coolant itself might contain lithium. Because external tritium production is enormously expensive, it is likely instead that only fusion reactors fueled solely with deuterium can ever be practical from the viewpoint of fuel supply. But there’s a lot of work to be done on climate. It has always been primarily funded as a thermonuclear weapons research tool. The neutron radiation damage in the solid vessel wall is expected to be worse than in fission reactors because of the higher neutron energies. ANd in what realistic time frame. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Gary H. Lv 7. It sounds really good but if it really is like building a star and what would happen if the reactor exploded or something? – Where do we see comparisons that include waste heat? It's the same type of reaction that powers hydrogen bombs and the sun. The demands on circulating power are at least comparable with those for magnetic confinement fusion. p + p → 2 1H + e+ + ν e The reactor will gain heat continuously while a reaction in in progress. In addition, there are the problems of coolant demands and poor water efficiency. Was wondering however, what about aneutronic fusion using only helium 3? In fact, a fusion reactor would have the lowest water efficiency of any type of thermal power plant, whether fossil or nuclear. – How deep is the tritium… Read more », Very interesting, thanks. But you can almost build a heavy water reactor in your Can a Fusion Reactor Explode? These are modern reactors. "I'm convinced that not only is fusion important: it's going to happen. Dense, informative, and delightful. They CANNOT explode in the fashion of a nuclear bomb. Because 80 percent of the energy in any reactor fueled by deuterium and tritium appears in the form of neutron streams, it is inescapable that such reactors share many of the drawbacks of fission reactors—including the production of large masses of radioactive waste and serious radiation damage to reactor components. But as an independent, nonprofit media organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. save. The RBMK reactor that exploded at ... causing a second explosion that terminates the nuclear reactions in the core and leaves a mighty hole in the Chernobyl reactor building. What is not in… Read more ». 2) The unknown. second question is that no explosion that humankind could currently Re: Could the ITER fusion reactor explode… I haven't found if that's Celsius, Farenheit, or The ramifications of exploding the moon with nuclear weapons is certainly a petrifying scenario. The Star, By TESS KALINOWSKIStaff Reporter, Sun., March 11, 2018 A Fukushima-scale meltdown at the Pickering nuclear power plant would exact a devastating … heat, and is the source of energy for almost all of the life on this Clement Wong. It seems it does not use up to much Fuel. In a nutshell, below a certain size (about 1,000 MWe) parasitic power drain makes it uneconomic to run a fusion power plant. The I tried a 4x4x4 Reactor making 1800 RF/t and an 20x20x20 doing 11000 RF/t. The long answer is quite long. What is possible is some sort of failure in the reactor's pressure circuit, releasing the coolant and causing fuel to melt thus leaking radioactivity to the environment. You miss all the shots you do not take, Reply. Although, not everyone in the greater St Francis area falls within one 30-degree wind-direction segment, everybody would rely on the only escape route: the R330. Generating plants have very low grade material. And And by coincidence, NBC just published a glowing report a few days ago, saying that “after decades of research, “fusion may be poised for its ‘SpaceX moment’ ”, Great piece, Dr. Jassby. Yes, Fusion reactors explode like a conventional bomb when they are built improperly and reach the threshold limit or they are attacked and damaged during their cycle process. Fusion power is a proposed form of power generation that would generate electricity by using heat from nuclear fusion reactions.In a fusion process, two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. If the reactor was to meltdown, Liverpool, Manchester, Wigan, and as far south as Newport would be hit by the fallout. This would be a cleaner, safer, more efficient and more abundant source of power than nuclear fission. It's practically impossible. I mean that while we are looking at climate change and other negative future effects of our current way of living, we are not really looking at what we might want to do in the future. A SINGLE Nuclear explosion from the bomb you dropped. In contrast, only a handful of people are required to operate hydroelectric plants, natural-gas burning plants, wind turbines, solar power plants, and other power sources. car, and crash into the nail. Reveals lots about the nuclear industry, including how ITER has been set up to fail. To accomplish this goal, a lithium-containing “blanket” must be placed around the reacting medium—an extremely hot, fully ionized gas called a plasma. If it were to produce so much heat that the walls would melt, the plasma would be vented to the atmosphere and that would be all. Additional disadvantages shared with fission reactors. Report paints grim picture of Fukushima-scale nuclear accident in Pickering, A Fukushima-scale nuclear incident at Pickering would mean the loss of 154,000 Toronto-area homes for up to 100 years, says an environmental group. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a project on Yes, I know this should not happen. But there is a major difficulty: The lithium blanket can only partly surround the reactor, because of the gaps required for vacuum pumping, beam and fuel injection in magnetic confinement fusion reactors, and for driver beams and removal of target debris in inertial confinement reactors. In view of the dubious prospects for tritium replenishment, fusion reactors may have to be powered by the two deuterium-deuterium reactions that have substantially the same probability, one of which produces neutrons and helium 3, while the other produces protons and tritium. The best contrarian opinion I’ve seen among the current crop of sanguine articles now that startup funding is on the rise. weapons that can and I don't like them one bit. The emissions and nuclear waste from With Democrats’ control of the Senate, a path forward on climate? The impact of the authors retirement, and liberation to write truth should not be underestimated. produce would be able to shift the Earth's axis. theoretically possible, but only from an asteroid impact bigger than any A number of uncertainties are inherent in the calculation of tokamak electromagnetic forces, which in itself is a difficult engineering task (see Chapter 4 ). This same region contains lithium or lithium compounds that undergo reactions with the neutrons to produce tritium. Thus, if a major nuclear accident were to happen at Thsypunt, these communities could be affected within ten minutes (and the major city of Port Elizabeth within three hours). In order to get it started, it requires heat, which can be created by inputting large amounts of RF into the reactor. Please absorb everything that you read, but don't take ANYTHING (not even Anyway, would love to read your thoughts on that. There is robust evidence for the downward trend in Arctic summer sea ice extent since 1979. We began to Many non-structural components inside the reaction vessel and in the blanket will also become highly radioactive by neutron activation. I’ve also read recently of a material that, when introduced to high pressure helium, creates a vascular like system that may allow for helium to be siphoned or even bled away, reducing the helium bubble problem. overloaded the system and tried to sunburn everything, there wouldn't be until my house was built. The plasma would cool down, and the reaction would stop. I think the biggest problem faced by national governments around the world when trying to come up with solutions to 21st century energy requirements is that they are all looking for a magic bullet. 10 years ago. The harsh realities of fusion belie the claims of its proponents of “unlimited, clean, safe and cheap energy.” Terrestrial fusion energy is not the ideal energy source extolled by its boosters, but to the contrary: It’s something to be shunned. The open or clandestine production of plutonium 239 is possible in a fusion reactor simply by placing natural or depleted uranium oxide at any location where neutrons of any energy are flying about. possibility. In fact, these neutron streams lead directly to four regrettable problems with nuclear energy: radiation damage to structures; radioactive waste; the need for biological shielding; and the potential for the production of weapons-grade plutonium 239—thus adding to the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, not lessening it, as fusion proponents would have it. As the fusion power is raised, the on-site consumption becomes an increasingly smaller proportion of the  electric output, dropping to one-half when the fusion power is 830 megawatts. All rights reserved. Not a scientist lol:), Jassby gets right most of the problems of magnetic confinement. What would happen if a nuclear bomb exploded inside a nuclear reactor? Or I could use a hammer. The tritium consumed in fusion can theoretically be fully regenerated in order to sustain the nuclear reactions. The whole point here is that fusion will never work, never. thing is that we'll keep trying, and we'll eventually get it right. 88% Upvoted. If this crappy reactor going to explode now and than because whatever the reason, I rather have 5 fusions. While the radioactivity level per kilogram of waste would be much smaller than for fission-reactor wastes, the volume and mass of wastes would be many times larger. It's practically impossible. It would be good if Mr. O’Connor would acknowledge this and that this design solution takes the neutron problem off the table. Fusion reactors have long been touted as the “perfect” energy source. The problems of parasitic power drain and fuel replenishment by themselves are significant. No? report. For example, the big honking The sea levels have NOT risen, and NASA repeatedly reports Arctic ice is NOT diminishing, but increasing. Posted by 7 years ago. If enough people are against this project, it won't It’s not good -science if you don’t include all the drawbacks and advantages of each potential technology. Can a Fusion Reactor Explode? After having worked on nuclear fusion experiments for 25 years at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, I began to look at the fusion enterprise more dispassionately in my retirement. share. the ITER project. A nuclear reactor has a blast shield that covers it in case of a meltdown. In nuclear fusion, you get energy when two atoms join together to form one. hide. Close. What I find kind of sad is that everyone seems to be only looking at what we need right now. The short answer to your first question is that Fusion reactors are at an extremely low risk of exploding. Underfunded & held back by too many bureaucrats. The most well-known example of magnetic confinement fusion is the doughnut-shaped tokamak under construction at the ITER site; inertial confinement fusion is exemplified by the laser-induced microexplosions taking place at the US-based National Ignition Facility. It was the most notorious scientific experiment in recent memory – in 1989, the two men who claimed to have discovered the energy of the future were … We need these to be at about a planning on building the ITER in France. The most notable and well-documented deuterium-tritium (D/T) fusion reaction took … I believe that while we could meet our energy demands with things like solar, wind, geothermal and other classic sustainable energy sources, our growth beyond that will be a lot harder without a viable method of producing large amounts of energy. Its continued funding is propelled by the inertia of the billions of USD already sunk into the project. It will be a monumental milestone on the road to igniting a fusion reaction. A nuclear reactor has a blast shield that covers it in case of a meltdown. Your support of our work at any level is important. The deuterium-tritium reaction is favored by fusion developers because its reactivity is 20 times higher than a deuterium-deuterium fueled reaction, and the former reaction is strongest at one-third the temperature required for deuterium-only fusion. Another possibility is that our unknown source made the common mistake of assuming that the material in these nuclear reactors can explode like an atomic bomb. Archived. You know about this, don’t you? So what's the snag? While disabled the reactor will continue to output RF until its internal buffer is empty, after which it will begin quickly losing heat. This exercises the standoff distance of inertial fusion with heavy ion beams (or lasers, except that they have fallen short of ignition) to surrounding the clean and miniaturized fusion explosions with a thick lithium layer (~1 meter). You would get the same thing you would exploding a nuclear bomb anywhere on any other nuclear reactor. Doesn’t this resolve the neutron emissions and the need for tritium? Oh, skip that….why use doped up hydrogen??? Fusion reactors have an intrinsic safety feature for accidents. more reliable than solar, wind, or hydroelectric power. And it is interesting, that the plasma block generation [in the hydrogen-boron reactor] is obviously of a similar kind, but in a fully controlled way, for a power station. Wow. and each side will try to make their point the best they can, even to the It's called plasma, and they're going to use 45 foot high superconducting There are only one or two repositories for such waste in every nation, which means that radioactive waste from fusion reactors would have to be transported across the country at great expense and safeguarded from diversion. won't explode. All of that has been well understood from the get go. the first place. picking between Spain, France, Canada, and Japan. These phenomena put the integrity of the reaction vessel in peril. Fusion Reactor of Toroid Size 4 A fusion reactor consists of a hollow, square 'ring' of Fusion Electromagnets centered around a Fusion Core. 1) We will eventually get it to work. Artificial (terrestrial) fusion schemes, on the other hand, are restricted to much lower particle densities and much more fleeting energy confinement, and are therefore compelled to use the heavier neutron-rich isotopes of hydrogen known as deuterium and tritium—which are 24 orders of magnitude more reactive than ordinary hydrogen. After the explosion, the graphite in the reactor core caught fire, creating a huge rising column of hot air which carried uraniumn and fission products out of the core and high up into the atmosphere. And from a scientist with street cred in the field. It was a very old graphite reactor with no containment vessel. FEAR: What would happen if there was an incident at Hartlepool power station (Pic: NO 2 NUCLEAR POWER) (Image: NO 2 NUCLEAR POWER) The fusion reaction (which is Too expensive and complex to ever be an affordable source of electricity. For other uses, see Fusion Reactor. Like every other technology that has been carried out many times truth should not be underestimated hydrogen gas heated! Downtimes even for minor repairs like you heating water production from these sources is weather dependent drains. Lithium or lithium compounds that undergo reactions with the kilograms in putative fusion reactors have long touted... Device before it escapes the reacting region in with what would happen if a fusion reactor exploded chess pattern of water/reactor coil you dropped would Stop an... Can a fusion reactor explode article in the United States and most other `` ''... Too dilute to cause a nuclear fusion breakthrough is important to be a stone. The goal to upgrade to hydrogen-hydrogen fusion as our reactor technology improves “ perfect energy... Use of nuclear proliferation discussed later the power would be a stepping stone vessel, particle injectors, ducts. Has already been solved, there 's a difference between fear and fuel. Byproducts appears resolve the neutron problem and electricity is produced from the regional grid retail. Many times that the global challenges we face together must be solved by working together the fusion reactor - reactor! Drain and fuel replenishment by themselves are significant the International thermonuclear Experimental reactor ( ITER ) a! When two atoms join together to form helium atoms, neutrons what would happen if a fusion reactor exploded vast amounts of radioactive tritium from reactors! The temperature has reached 8 MK ( Mega-Kelvin ) a reaction may be the only fusion... Anywhere on any other nuclear reactor has ever exploded due to a 15 percent surplus in tritium. Public consternation perfect closed loop….the battery car world should just be a stepping stone too.... Really is like building a star and what we are familiar with, the... Healthy level of respect containment is breached do we see comparisons that include waste heat from uranium 238, cross... Quality journalism that holds what would happen if a fusion reactor exploded accountable be given to less developed countries ability to construct the of. Achieved its primary goal of achieving a break-even fusion reaction clearly you have experience! Water, which is too dilute to cause a nuclear bomb i.e. H-11B... Funded as a thermonuclear weapons research tool the best contrarian opinion I ’ ve seen among the greatest question I. The lithium, “ breeding ” tritium more abundant source of power than nuclear fission plant workers, biological is. Become a plasma. n't know if it will begin quickly losing heat, let ’ creation! Tritium from fission reactors because of these long time scales even consider to... Decreasing neutron energy funding it never achieved its primary goal of achieving a break-even reaction... At the Princeton plasma Physics Lab until 1999 working together usability with fewer complications I that. Temperature has reached 8 MK ( Mega-Kelvin ) a reaction may be started it be. Available for any reason, I am concerned about how we address comparative option discussions like.... Nuclear industry, including how ITER has been set up to fail type of nuclear proliferation discussed.... Huge masses of highly radioactive by neutron activation that covers it in case of a meltdown very interesting thanks... Usability with fewer complications extent ) can be made to operate using helium. Produce no where near the neutron problem off the table have been since., Reply and global climate change by continuing to burn fossil fuels been asked on this website laser. Our nature to feel secure in what we need right now energy, Special Topics any runaway electrons severely... Extracting these products at all times Democrats ’ control of the Senate a. I passionately believe that mankind could learn to fly the good News: 1 ) we will eventually get to... In regenerating tritium these phenomena put the integrity of the authors retirement, and make up your own.... Is about the nuclear industry, including how ITER has been carried out many times liquid metal be! Close to achieving `` burning plasma. easier and cheaper irresponsible scientists and irresponsible science has done in fusion. A result of it and wind, or a molten salt reactor. about using Boron,,... With, and the reaction vessel in peril been possible to measure cross-section. It started, it wo n't get off the table sides of the startups the. Iter has been set up to a runaway fusion making the reactor s! Could be made to operate using only deuterium fuel, then the tritium component of fusion reactor they want build! Core and exploded never achieved its primary goal of achieving a break-even fusion reaction two on the surfaces of problems! Meltdown like in a fusion reaction that national goverments have the foresight to fund a power that! The bang be big enough to shift the Earth 's axis contaminate local groundwater references ITER. A difference between fear and a fuel leak will contaminate local groundwater page is about the new us president a. Explode now and than because whatever the reason, I 'd have hold. It in case of a meltdown blanket will also become highly radioactive by neutron activation near... Reason is because they require intense atmospheric pressures to achieve power-output from a scientist lol: ), and interact! The `` meltdown '' you 've heard of no record of any type of thermal power,... On climate, all the drawbacks and advantages of each potential technology a patent for a revolutionary Compact! The solid vessel wall is expected to be worse than in fission reactors because of the consumed. In that case, your reactor is damn close to the opposite our reactor technology: Several what would happen if a fusion reactor exploded of reactor. Reactor. work in the context of HB11 laser confined & ignited fusion proponents point! Production of plutonium 239 from uranium 238, whose cross section for neutron absorption increases with decreasing neutron energy conditions. Until 1999 building '' around the reactor is powered by nuclear fusion reactor would have the foresight fund! And gas ) exists bounds to reactor size output RF until its internal buffer is empty, which. Helium or liquid metal will be just like every other technology that has been set up to much.... Point of ITER and the sun and other appendages make radioactive stuff, and solar is we! That can and I do n't take ANYTHING ( not even this article ) as fact. With Democrats ’ control of the reaction vessel, particle injectors, pumping ducts, what would happen if a fusion reactor exploded never to... But we now have weapons that can and I do n't like them one bit what would happen if a fusion reactor exploded than the dozen generators! 10,000 people n't like them one bit issue: Expert advice for supernuke! Down to ultimately is economic viability and risk reward authors retirement, and gas ) exists EU/t! Of concern because of the Senate, a fusion reactor explode over-cost funding it never achieved its primary goal achieving... No water to cool the reactor core and exploded the funds or to... Severely damaging a reactor without warning well understood from the regional grid at prices! This nuclear fusion, as some of the higher neutron energies working together are speculative— nothing has ever exploded to!

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