Reply to post: Re: Wow

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


Re: Wow

If any of this has any internet-facing parts anywhere then it's a clusterfuck of epic proportions waiting to happen.

Like what, damaging millions of dollars of expensive research hardware? You don't actually think a fusion reactor is going to store up enough energy to make a nice bang, do you?

Magnetic confinement fusion reactors don't use magnetic fields to protect the walls (and nearby communities) from the plasma they contain. Rather, the magnetic fields protect the plasma from being quenched by the comparatively super-cold walls of the reactor.

Look at ITER: it's planned 840 cubic meters of plasma volume will only contain 2 to 3 grams of plasma at time. After all, plasma that's 100 million kelvin will occupy a very large volume for a given pressure and mass.

Now, consider the energy contained in 2-3 grams of hydrogen at 100 million kelvin: it's not a lot of Joules comparable to the heat capacity of the tungsten plasma-facing panels enclosing an 840 cubic meter donut. If some l33t haxx0rs get in through the internet and collapse the containment fields in ITER (let alone the smaller JET), then all they achieve is a bit of scuffing of the inner walls and a prompt shutdown of fusion reactions. Imagine evaporating a few grams of tungsten: to a first approximation, you'll immediately cut the temperature of the plasma in half by doubling its mass with the tungsten. Fusion reactions will cease, and you'll only have the latent heat of the plasma (measured in a modest number of megajoules) to warm up a heavy structure meant to soak that sort of heat.

You're not going to rival Chernobyl with ITER or JET, let alone imitate a hydrogen bomb.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019