DailyDirt: Fusion Without A Star
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Man-made fusion reactors always seem to be 30-50 years away, even though the sun fuses atoms all the time, mocking us with its immense generation of free fusion energy. Sure, there have been a couple of wunderkinds who’ve built fusion reactors in their spare time, but the trick is generating a surplus of energy — not just fusing atoms for fun. Here are a few interesting links on inertial confinement fusion.
- The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is approaching its break-even point for generating as much energy as it consumes. This $3.5 billion facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shoots lasers at an ignition target of hydrogen isotopes to get the nuclei to fuse and release energy, and it might look more promising than the ITER’s tokamak facilities. However, the NIF is more of a proof of concept, not a practical design for generating commercial amounts of energy. [url]
- Two UK-based organizations are interested in commercializing the NIF’s fusion reactor and creating a self-sustaining fusion reaction. Such a reactor would have to go through more than 10 fuel pellets each second, but the NIF facility has only burned through about 300 since it started operating in 2009. [url]
- A watchdog group, Tri-Valley CAREs, argues that the NIF should be regulated before it releases more radioactive particles like tritium into the environment. The Department of Energy says that radioactive releases have been below the EPA’s safety limits, but Tri-Valley CAREs is concerned about the effects of radioactive materials accumulating around Livermore, CA. [url]
- To discover more stuff on alternative energy, check out what’s currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]
As always, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.