Now this could be interesting - a fusion reactor

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Modern designs*** of fission reactors can deliver cheap reliable electricity with zero carbon output. We need to build more of them. Fusion reactors are even more promising but for the last 50 years, they have always been 10-20 years in the future. This might have changed. From Popular Mechanics:

The Navy's Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild
Scientists have longed to create the perfect energy source. Ideally, that source would eventually replace greenhouse gas-spewing fossil fuels, power cars, boats, and planes, and send spacecraft to remote parts of the universe. So far, nuclear fusion energy has seemed like the most likely option to help us reach those goals.

The big problem? It’s difficult to harness, and we’re nowhere near producing it at the scales we need in order to cause a seismic shift in energy policy. That's why teams of researchers across the world are racing to improve our understanding of this reaction.

Now, the U.S. Navy has jumped into the game by filing a patent for a compact fusion reactor, according to exclusive reporting by  The War Zone.

Developing a viable source of nuclear fusion energy—the same reaction that powers the sun—has long been seemingly unattainable. The patent for the device was reportedly filed on March 22, 2019, and published late last month. This technology, by all accounts, is a long shot. But it would completely revolutionize how we power our world.

Fusion reactors have been around for a long time but they have never put out more energy than is required to operate them. If the Navy is able to run at over-unity, this is a gamechanger.

Interesting bit of information, the most practical fusion reactor is the Farnsworth Fusor invented by Philo Farnsworth. If that name is familiar, it is because Philo is also the inventor of the first practical design for television transmission and reception. The system we use today is the logical outgrowth of Philo's work.

Although the Fusor is useless for power generation, it is used a lot of hospital radioisotope generation.

*** All of the bad fission reactor designs: Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Windscale - these were all first sketched out onto cocktail napkins over 60 years ago. Modern designs have none of the failure modes.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 11, 2019 9:00 PM.

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