Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

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Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#1  Postby DougC » Oct 08, 2013 6:47 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24429621
B.B.C. Article
Researchers at a US lab have passed a crucial milestone on the way to their ultimate goal of achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion.
Harnessing fusion - the process that powers the Sun - could provide an unlimited and cheap source of energy.
But to be viable, fusion power plants would have to produce more energy than they consume, which has proven elusive.
Now, a breakthrough by scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) could boost hopes of scaling up fusion.
NIF, based at Livermore in California, uses 192 beams from the world's most powerful laser to heat and compress a small pellet of hydrogen fuel to the point where nuclear fusion reactions take place.

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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#2  Postby newolder » Aug 17, 2021 5:21 pm

Further promising news from Lawrence Livermore...
Lawrence Livermore claims a milestone in laser fusion

A tiny pellet of deuterium and tritium released more energy than it absorbed from the National Ignition Facility’s bank of 192 lasers.

David Kramer

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) announced today that it has produced a fusion reaction in the laboratory that yielded more energy than was absorbed by the fuel to initiate it.

...

The lab is still analyzing the results from the shot. It’s not yet known which or what combination of advances to the targets, laser pulse lengths, or other variables led to the leap in performance. Some of the instruments were saturated by the unexpected yield of the reaction. A few that are used in the target chamber for other, non-ignition experiments will need repair.

Herrmann acknowledged that the announcement deviates from the standard practice of peer-reviewed publication. But the results, he says, were leaking, “so we wanted to put it out so people could discuss the facts.”

Editor’s note, 17 August: The first sentence was updated to clarify that the fusion reaction did not meet the National Academy’s definition of ignition.

Full story @ Physics Today source

Also reported @ PhysOrg but they report 'ignition' which is not exactly true...
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#4  Postby newolder » Aug 17, 2021 11:08 pm

Indeed. The story has reached the New York Times so we can expect UK media coverage, when? :dunno:
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#5  Postby Adco » Aug 18, 2021 8:03 am

If fusion produces more energy than it consumes, and our sun is powered by this process, is the sun ever going to every use up all it's fuel source?

I'm sure that's not the case and I'm looking at this incorrectly.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#6  Postby Sgt Kelly » Aug 18, 2021 9:06 am

The sun is a star. Stars do run out of fuel and die (because the excess energy is radiated into space allowing you - among other things - to read this text). This can happen in a variety of ways depending on the composition of the star. Some of these ways include the star exploding violently which is known as a supernova.

IIRC the sun will expand towards the end of the current stage of its lifecycle and engulf the surrounding planets, including earth. The planet will become inhospitable to life long before that of course due to the increasing proximity of the sun's surface.

I wouldn't worry about that though. This is so far in the future that no human will be around to see it. We will be long extinct by then. In fact all traces of our existence will have been long wiped out as the atoms that make up everything we have done will have been recycled through the earth's molten core several times.

As you can tell I only know the general gist of it, someone will surely be able to give you more details.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#7  Postby Adco » Aug 18, 2021 9:13 am

Sgt Kelly wrote:The sun is a star. Stars do run out of fuel and die (because the excess energy is radiated into space allowing you - among other things - to read this text). This can happen in a variety of ways depending on the composition of the star. Some of these ways include the star exploding violently which is known as a supernova.

IIRC the sun will expand towards the end of the current stage of its lifecycle and engulf the surrounding planets, including earth. The planet will become inhospitable to life long before that of course due to the increasing proximity of the sun's surface.

I wouldn't worry about that though. This is so far in the future that no human will be around to see it. We will be long extinct by then. In fact all traces of our existence will have been long wiped out as the atoms that make up everything we have done will have been recycled through the earth's molten core several times.

As you can tell I only know the general gist of it, someone will surely be able to give you more details.

Yup, I understand all of this. Just wanted to discuss the OP and understand it better. Thanks.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#8  Postby BlackBart » Aug 18, 2021 9:38 am

Sgt Kelly wrote:This is so far in the future that no human will be around to see it..

Speak for yourself. I plan to be dodging jealous husbands at that point in time.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#9  Postby newolder » Aug 18, 2021 10:03 am

Adco wrote:If fusion produces more energy than it consumes, and our sun is powered by this process, is the sun ever going to every use up all it's fuel source?

I'm sure that's not the case and I'm looking at this incorrectly.


For stars up to the mass of Sol, the proton-proton chain reaction is a step in the conversion of hydrogen to helium. From the pertinent wiki*, a brief history goes:
The theory that proton–proton reactions are the basic principle by which the Sun and other stars burn was advocated by Arthur Eddington in the 1920s. At the time, the temperature of the Sun was considered to be too low to overcome the Coulomb barrier. After the development of quantum mechanics, it was discovered that tunneling of the wavefunctions of the protons through the repulsive barrier allows for fusion at a lower temperature than the classical prediction.

In 1939, Hans Bethe attempted to calculate the rates of various reactions in stars. Starting with two protons combining to give deuterium and a positron he found what we now call Branch II of the proton-proton chain. But he did not consider the reaction of two 3He nuclei (Branch I) which we now know to be important.[6] This was part of the body of work in stellar nucleosynthesis for which Bethe won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967.

The rest of that wiki explains how a solar mass star takes about 9 billion years to convert all its hydrogen to helium before those reaction paths cease and the star swells into a red giant.

At the LLNL ignition facility, mixtures of deuterium and tritium are injected into the fuel pellet and slightly different fusion reactions occur but, essentially, hydrogen isotopes are converted to helium isotopes with a net energy output that may be used to boil water to make the electric &c...

The idea of a functioning fusion reactor that "produces more energy than it consumes" is not to build a perpetual motion machine but to "burn"/fuse lighter nuclei into heavier ones after the machine achieves "ignition". :thumbup:

* wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton–proton_chain doesn't work properly because of the dash - you'll have to copy & paste its entirety, apologies.

P.S. The news has reached the beeb... https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58252784
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#11  Postby Sgt Kelly » Aug 19, 2021 2:15 pm

That's more than bashed together Hack. That was a jolly good read !
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#12  Postby Adco » Aug 19, 2021 2:18 pm

hackenslash wrote:Bashed something together.

Let's Stick Together...
Thanks. Easy to read and understand.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#13  Postby newolder » Aug 19, 2021 5:07 pm

Yes, a fine & clear exposition that points the way to a technological fix for our technological emissions problems. Encouraging news for other fusion projects too. :thumbup:
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#14  Postby hackenslash » Aug 19, 2021 5:37 pm

Thanks, guys. And thanks for the comment, Albert. Much appreciated.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#15  Postby Hermit » Oct 02, 2021 10:33 pm

All those milestones are good news, but there is a fly in the ointment. It is huge. Unfortunately almost everyone ignores its existence. It's the difference between Q-plasma and Q-total.



"10 to 20 years from now" has been the prediction for the appearance of useful fusion for about 40 years now. This appears to remain unchanged for years to come. We cannot afford to wait that long.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#16  Postby The_Piper » Oct 03, 2021 12:47 am

I watched that earlier today. Apparently fusion won't save us without a sudden major breakthrough.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#17  Postby hackenslash » Oct 06, 2021 11:30 am

Hermit wrote:It is huge. Unfortunately almost everyone ignores its existence. It's the difference between Q-plasma and Q-total.


I saw Sabine's video in my notifications and thought maybe she'd scuppered my argument, but was relieved to see that it was something I'd covered.

Her analysis of the final output we can expect is certainly a concern. I plan to do some more digging on that.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#18  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 13, 2022 4:35 pm

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63950962

A major breakthrough has been announced by US scientists in the race to recreate nuclear fusion.

Physicists have pursued the technology for decades as it promises a potential source of near-limitless clean energy.

On Tuesday researchers confirmed they have overcome a major barrier - producing more energy from a fusion experiment than was put in.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#19  Postby tuco » Dec 13, 2022 7:27 pm

From the article:

On the question of how long before we could see fusion being used in power stations, Dr Budil, the LLNL director, said there were still significant hurdles but that: "with concerted efforts and investment, a few decades of research on the underlying technologies could put us in a position to build a power plant".

This is progress from when scientists used to say 50-60 years in answer to that question.


Would love to see it working before I go.
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Re: Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

#20  Postby THWOTH » Dec 14, 2022 1:24 am

How much energy is being produced in relation to the energy used in the system as a whole?
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