Reply to post: Fusion vs. fission

Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham


Fusion vs. fission

If we'd spent one tenth of the amount of money that goes into fusion research, we'd have small, intrinsically safe fission reactors all up and running years ago.

A bit more and we'd have radionuclide junk-eating reactors to take care of the long-lived fission products.

Furthermore, fusion is not "clean" - the huge neutron flux makes the walls of the containment chamber intensely radioactive and they degrade, needing replacement. So there is still the problem of disposing of long-lived radionuclides . . .

Right back where we started - and in the meantime we continue to use our dwindling stock of fossil fuels that wreck the ozone layer, pollute our lungs and could be used far more profitably as chemical feedstock than just being burned. And in efforts to reduce this we pollute the countryside with acres of windfarms whose generators require scarce rare-earths, the mining and refining of which generate even more pollution.

Fusion is a well understood process (though there aren't many nuclear engineers left) and can be made safer than a fossil-fuel plant. Ask the US Navy (not the Russians!) how many of their nuclear-powered vessels have had accidents or containment issues. They operate 100 or so reactors and logged over 5,400 reactor years of accident-free operation while traveling over 130 million miles, enough to circle the earth 3,200 times.

Fusion my ass . . .


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