ITER Delayed, Scaled Back

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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ITER Delayed, Scaled Back

Post by MSimon »

Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

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Post by Solo »

Geez, what a mess. :shock: They want to pull the first wall experiments, neutral beam injectors, and divertor on the 1st pass? I bet some people really *are* angry.

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Post by MSimon »

What they don't mention is how pulling those experiments will delay the overall time line to power production.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

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Post by zbarlici »

...what, you mean we`ll have a working tokamak prototype within a century now?

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Post by jgarry »

Iter has become almost comic.
What is needed is some sort of anthropological/sociological study of large projects and organizations. Projects like this take on an inertia somehow in their planning stages.
In corporations a hit man will generally quietly appear and kick the project directors upstairs and fire a few people that are considered dead wood. In a case like this, it's hard to say what will happen.

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No planning whatsoever.

Post by Helius »

They aren't even going to work on the first wall problem. They won't even generate neutrons until 2025 or so. Why not just push it all back until 2050, or 2075 and work on ..... *energy provision*?

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Post by Skipjack »

I remember some 20 years ago when I was talking to a friend of mine who is now working at the ITER about it. I was so excited. Now... well it is kinda depressing isnt it?

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Post by MSimon »

I did a blog post on it: ... ed_sc.html

that got instalanched.

The comments are very interesting. If any of you want to chime in you are most welcome. No registration required.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

Notice the comment, "you can't build a half-ITER." This is the same argument Dr. Bussard had for going straight to a net-power machine. The scaling laws on tokamaks should be similar to the Polywell, B^4 times volume, except it takes an enormous machine to make net power.

The thing really is a monster. I was on a panel at Philcon last fall with a fellow who had been calculating the power gain on the machine, as intended to be built. He said it looked like it should actually be capable of a repectable Q of about 10. In other words, it might really eventually run. But I probably won't live that long, and continue to hope and pray the Polywell does work so we can put the ITER crew to work doing something more productive, like engineering better Polywells.

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Post by TallDave »

Hmm, that looks very bad for ITER.

Hey Tom, if you're still reading this, can you confirm whether Bussard got neutrons from pre-WB-6 machines? He states in Valencia several other machines made fusion and gives estimates of fusion rates for them, but I'm not 100% sure whether he had neutron detectors on those or was making a more indirect estimate. I'm still hearing the "three neutrons" criticism now and then and some first-hand recollections, if applicable, would be good ammunition.

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Post by chrismb »

I didn't think this was new news, but it adds a few details on.

"[Norbert Holtkamp, ITER's principal deputy director-general] says that the only way to get ITER built is to do the skeletal version first. Before scaling up to do energy-producing experiments, he says, "you really need to know whether the major components work. It's absolutely clear that this is the right approach." As to why Scenario 1 is being touted only now, Holtkamp says it took him time after joining the project to review the original schedule."

...and what's his salary, yet I've offered similar advise for free sitting far far away reading the general blurbs and schedules and firing clarifying questions off to the ITER press office out of my own interest. Does it *really* explain why he needed time AFTER joining the project - was he not interested enough to have thought on it beforehand?


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Post by cpg123 »

[Norbert Holtkamp, ITER's principal deputy director-general] says...
I think when a project starts getting positions like, "principal deputy director-general", it is doomed for failure. Lets hope that Polywell does work and doesn't ever suffer from this level of bureaucracy.

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Post by tomclarke »

What I don't understand is the discrepancy in funding.

ITER is a lousy way to get fusion power, now acknowledged, might be useful sometime next century. NIF is no better. The scientific benefits are real (especially from NIF) but why not spend 1/10 that money and fund properly:

FRC colliding fusion
DPF fusion

Maybe a few others. You get more science for your $ and though all are speculative (some v speculative) the uncertainty can be clarified with so much less money than ITER it is surely worth doing this.

Am I missing something?


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Post by chrismb »

tomclarke wrote:What I don't understand is the discrepancy in funding.
...You get more science for your $ ...
By what calculation are you making that assessment? Tokamaks, by several orders of magnitude, beat all other neutron-producting devices to the "neutrons/dollar" ratio.

What's the total number of neutrons outputted from ALL the WB experiments?? Maybe a million or so TOTAL instrumented neutrons adding up reports I've read - is that right?

Polywell (current cumulative proven neutron emissions) = *** 0.2 neutrons per US dollar. ***

(I don't know how many shots have been run, but will update according to any further inputs from anyone.)

The recent UK govt research input into all UK fusion is running at about GBP14M per year. I think an estimate for JET total to date would be reasonably at about GBP200M. For that GBP200M JET has produced a total of ~3E20 neutrons. That's about:

JET (current cumulative proven neutron emissions) = *** 1E12 neutrons per US dollar. ***

So if you were to apportion funding linearly according to the number of neutrons produced, so as to drive some sort of incentivised 'free-market' scheme, then currently Polywell should be receiving $1.00 in funding whilst JET should be getting 5 trillion!

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Post by Betruger »

It's going to be interesting to see your response if/when Polywell works out.

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