Years ago (like about 35-40 now) spent a fair amount of time as
consultant at the Rochester Laser Energetics lab. Much of the
preliminaries for the NIF were developed there.
The overall system control at the time was some very elegant Forth code
running on HP-1000s that then triggered a set of optics of similar
objective as those described but much more primitive and experimental
given the state back in them days...
I still have my doubts on fusion as a commercial system, but who knows,
it's been 25 yr away for about 50 or 60 now; a hundred more and it'll
probably still be about that... :)
It says they focus on the targe, Not that they actually get there at
the same time. Maybe that's why they didnt' ignite the fuel.
"The laser, known as the National Ignition Facility (NIF), uses 192
beams 300 yards long that focus on a fuel cell about the diameter of a
No. 2 pencil."
In the past, it's taken more fraking energy to produce fusion that the
energy produced by the fusion. If the boffins can get it to put out more
energy than is put in, you can have nuclear explosions in your
On Thu, 13 Feb 2014 08:21:21 -0600, The Daring Dufas
Of course you are referring to confined fusion reactions. It doesn't take much
(relatively) energy to detonate a 20 mt thermonuclear weapon, which would
release a tremendous amount of energy compared to the amount required to
initiate the reaction.
In the past, it's taken more fraking energy to produce fusion that the
Unlike a lot of overly sensitive poasters(sic), I have no delusions that
anything I write is world changing or important. I don't take myself
seriously so no one else should. Besides, my college major was physics
and I'm still sore that I was never able to finish college and get my
degree but I never lost my love of science and I try my best to keep up
with and learn anything I can about what's going on in the world of
science. I wish the educational system would encourage and foster
children who have an interest in science and medicine. That way, "The
Dumbassification Of America" may be somewhat mitigated. ^_^
Why? They have essentially nothing in common. An H-bomb isn't really a
fusion bomb primarily at all--it's a fission implosion trigger device
that causes a relatively small amount of fusion to occur but the actual
object of the fusion isn't to be the destructive energy release
mechanism but is simply a prompt neutron source to initiate a secondary
fission reaction. It's that secondary fission explosion that gives the
thermonuclear device it's extra bang, not the fusion reaction itself...
That ain't exactly what one would want to do for a controlled, sustained
fusion reactor from which one could, hopefully, eventually build a power
As said above, my doubts remain very high that it will ever become a
practical replacement energy source but there's always things to be
learned in basic research and development and who know?--maybe one day a
breakthrough could actually happen. But, any conceptual idea to date
makes the complexity of a conventional fission power plant pale by
orders of magnitude...
And remember, for it to be practical it has to not only be economically
feasible to build initially but be able to operate 24/7 for something
like 95%+ reliability on a continuous annual basis between (relatively
short) outages. I can't imagine any of the aforementioned technology
being up to that task of any time _real_soon_now_ (tm) even if they were
to get a 100:1 return on input energy on their next shot. :)
On Thursday, February 13, 2014 2:26:45 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
Plus if you're hoping to make people think this step in fusion
research is going to result in clean limitless power plants,
it's probably better not to talk about bombs.....
You know what I was thinking the other day. Those Iranians must
be one dumb bunch. Seventy years ago, in 5 years the US went from
the just the concept of an atomic bomb being possible, when no one had even
produced a fission reaction yet, to working bombs. The Iranians
have been working on a bomb now for what 15 to 20 years? And
today the physics is proven, the essential ideas seem to be
fairly well known, it's far easier to separate uraniumisotopes, guys
like A Q Khan are selling DIY plans, etc. Even North Korea and Pakistan
have figured out how to make them. So, what's up with those Iranians?
On 2/13/2014 2:40 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Good point...it's still a fear point w/ current technology the anti's
use with the ignorant/gullible.
I wouldn't go so far as to underrate their unrevealed abilities too
much...having met a significant number of Irani engineers working in US
commercial nuclear power, they're _not_ dummies by any stretch.
My alternative hypothesis is that there's some collusion going on in the
upper echelon technical community that secretly isn't all that thrilled
with the idea of becoming the bullseye of an Israeli preemptive strike
if they let the cat out of the bag as to how far they really may be.
It's been a while since I've had personal contact with any of these
folks I know well since having retired and returned to the farm, but
they and many like them at home were and are not radical fanatics and
the intellectual class in general isn't so much so there may also be
some foot-dragging going on behind the scenes as far as actually
But it includes a fusion bomb. That counts whether it's primary or
The object of the fusion doesn't matter. The object of fusion in any
future use of fusion for consumer electricity will also not be
"Extra bang" does not matter. It's the fusion reaction that is similar.
Of course. but when they created a nuclear chain reaction in power
plants, they didn't claim that there was no nuclear chain reaction in
On rereading what their claim was, "Researchers .... said they've
achieved a first: A nuclear fusion system has produced more energy than
it initially absorbed.", I can see now that it was tailored to exclude
H-bombs and while you raised lots of extraneous points, you did come
close to the distinction I now think they're relying on. That is, I
presume, that the H-bomb's initial fission reaction produces more energy
and more energy is (initially, they say) absorbed by the fusion
"system" than is produced by it.
But this presents a new problem. In their own experiments, they used at
least one quadrillion watts. If the fusion system produced more energy
than that, where did it go? "The laser has not yet been able to
ignite the plasma fuel", so what did it do, what produced the more than
a quadrillion watts and how did they dissipate all that energy without
using it in another laser?
I followed the link to the Nature article
but they want $32 dollars for the article. Oh, well. Maybe it will be
public knowledge some day.
I didn't claim there wasn't in a thermonuclear device, either.
I simply pointed out that the technique used for creating the fusion
reaction in such a device has absolutely no use in the posited
application of developing a controlled fusion reactor.
Hence the reason there was no mention thereof in the article and that I
say they have nothing in common...it's the technique of creating same
that is the issue, not that there is fusion.
No, you're missing the entire point of the neglect of a weapon in
comparison -- the manner in which the fusion portion of the device is
ignited is simply not a feasible solution for the problem at hand.
Whether it did or didn't produce more energy than the input is
immaterial for the contained-fusion folks cuz' they can't use the
mechanism so there's no point in bringing it up.
What you're forgetting is that they didn't (at least I didn't see it if
did) mention how _much_ more energy they got out than they put in (it
only says they reported a ratio "greater than one". The actual
generated heat is only that difference, not the total cuz' the other was
absorbed and is "eaten up" before giving up the excess.
What they achieved was enough of the fuel undergoing fusion to release
that fraction>1 but what they didn't achieve was enough input to
actually cause the entire fuel target to undergo fusion -- iow, become a
self-sustaining reaction aka the sun.
It's a step on a _very_ long road indeed despite the continue optimism.
The folks in Rochester and at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab back in
the 70s and 80s had the same sureness it was "just 20 yr away"...it's
endemic in the field and one has to remain optimistic despite the
reality that they'll be retired and long gone before it ever
happens...imo it's unlikely their grandchildren will see
fusion-generated power on the grid.
On Thursday, February 13, 2014 5:23:19 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
Have you followed any of what's going on with cold fusion, or
low energy nuclear reaction, LENR as it's called today?
From what I've seen over the last
few years it looks like there are more and more credible researchers
around the world who have stuck with this, reporting that they are
seeing excess heat. You even have two professors at MIT that are
believers that something unexplained is going on. Their experiments
have produced more heat than can be explained. Ironically, it was
MIT 20 years ago that played a major role in discrediting the work
of Fleischmann and Ponns who claimed they had discovered cold fusion.
The problem was that because whatever they had seen was not reproduceable
and was inconsistent with known science, most everyone wrote the whole
thing off. Even today, mainstream science thinks the scientists left
are nuts, but it sure seems more and more of them are reporting results
that produce excess heat and can't be explained.
My bet would be that if some new miracle energy source does emerge in
our lifetime, LENR has a better chance of being it than conventional
fusion. If there is indeed excess heat being generated and we can
figure out the mechanism, it would seem that it's something that can
be readily scaled without huge hurdles. And if it's real, it must be
safe, no one has killed themselves from any radiation, byproducts,
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