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View Diary: Fusion Microchips - Power for the Future? (20 comments)

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  •  not necessarily so (0+ / 0-)

    Micro fusion might also be very available and very cheap. Can you imagine the horrors of massive amounts of cheap energy in the hands of some people? If you think an AK-47 can deliver massive carnage, just give the notion of cheap and unlimited energy in the hands of Billybob a few mental whiffs.

    •  ... (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, and it's probably not good.

      Per watt-hour, fusion generates a lot more radiation/radioactive waste than does fission. (That's the real elephant in the room regarding fusion power.)

      Even fusion reactors that do not generate net power generate considerable amounts of radiation -- high schoolers that have built fusion reactors have generated considerable amounts of radiation.

      You can't readily make a bomb out of a fusion reactor, but you will create lots of radioactive waste that needs safe disposal, and can readily create the fissile materials needed for a bomb.

      •  As I understand it, (0+ / 0-)

        the waste is more radioactive than in fission, but has a much shorter half life.  Figuring out how to store waste safely for 50-100 years is far easier than the generations you have to plan for in fission waste confinement.

        In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

        by Cixelsyd on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:56:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wait, what? (0+ / 0-)

        How the hell do you get fissile materials from a fusion reaction? Fusion involves turning hydrogen (atomic number 1) into helium (atomic number 2). Fissile materials are large, heavy atoms like uraniu ad plutonium with atomic numbers into the 200 range. How the hell do you get one from the other?

        I'd appreciate a citation on this, please.

        "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

        by DarthMeow504 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:43:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)

          If you want them, you take something like uranium (heavy) and expose them to the radiation flux of your fusion reactor. Then chemically extract the plutonium (or thorium or ...).

          Even if you don't want fissiles, your reactor will almost certainly need to include materials like iron, lithium, zirconium, &c, which will become radioactive under flux.

          Cixelsyd is right that these generally have shorter half-lives than the by-products of fission reactors. The downside is that (should fusion become economically and energetically practicable) there are likely to be a lot more of them per MWh generated than a comparable fission reactor.

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