ITER Delayed, Scaled Back

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

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zbarlici
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Postby zbarlici » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:51 am

Chrismb - "I've no idea where this view that tokamaks are a 'dead-end' or are otherwise 'non-viable'. That's crazy talk...."

The appropriate question to that comment would be, to what end are we willing to follow the tokamaks?

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Postby KitemanSA » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:08 am

chrismb wrote: If it runs to that estimated maximum and does so in its 5 billion euro budget that would work out at:

ITER (current budget versus max neutron emissions) = *** 6E17 neutrons per US dollar ***

Is this neutrons per second per dollar? Total anticipated neutrons over the life of the experiment divided by the total lifetime cost of the experiment? What do you mean nuetrons per dollar? Sort of looks like N/$sec.

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Postby MSimon » Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:48 am

Dr. Robert Bussard makes the same point in his video "Should Google Go Nuclear" which you can watch here. He gets a good laugh from the audience (about 12 minutes into the video) when he says about physicists working on ITER, " they don't think it will ever work, but is really good science". His friend, Plasma Physicist Dr. Nicholas Krall said, "We spent $15 billion dollars studying tokamaks and what we learned about them is that they are no dam n good."


http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/200 ... -good.html

here is another quote from the piece:

Vincent Page of GE wrote a very interesting paper on the commercialization of fusion energy for the Sixth Symposium.

* Fusion reactors must be sized reasonably.

* Current cost estimates for the ITER project are approximately $6 billion.

* GE’s present quarterly earnings are “only” $4 billion.

* We don’t want governments to build fusion reactors, we want private industry to build them.

* Designs need to be feasible with power output in the 15 MWe to 1500 MWe range and cost < $6700 per KWe.

(MWe = MW electrical, KWe = KW electrical)

* More expensive machines will not be commercially viable.

* Competition will only occur if private industry is involved.

Page has a lot more details on the economics, but those are his main points. One other important point he makes is that the real target is coal base load plants at $1,000 capital costs per KWhe or gas turbine peakers (without a steam cycle) at about $500 KWhe.

I think his main point is correct. Other than the physics, ITER and other similar tokamak fusion reactors are a waste of money. It will not lead to viable fusion power plants even if it works, because working size is estimated to have to be in the 10s of GWe range. Even if the fuel is free capital costs are a killer. On top of that you have to figure out how you are going to get all that electricity from where it is generated to where it is used.


Of course ITER if provisioned as originally planned would be well past $6 billion. And Demo even more.

I highly recommend reading Page's bit on the prospects for toks in the commercial realm.
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chrismb
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Postby chrismb » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:17 am

MSimon wrote:chris,

You never did answer my question so I will repeat it.

What could the tok guys do (pulsed wise) with a $2 million budget, a 5 man team, a device with .1 T fields and whose core dimensions are .3 m across?

Apples to apples my man.

chrismb wrote:but as I've said before, various tokamak projects were kicking out multi-trillion neuts/s for a few $100k

START was lashed together in 1991 with a budget of GBP100k and a left-over cylindrical vacuum vessel by a team of around 10. As far as I am aware, it still holds the highest beta record ever recorded....

Tokamak can be done 'on the cheap' as well, Polywell holds no exclusive rights over that one. But Tokamak isn't done on the cheap - presumably partly due to politics but also because the experiments have moved on to much more elaborate matters digging into the machine's instabilities. Think about it - it's a toroidal chamber with a solenoid magnet wrapped around the outside of it, does that sound more or less difficult to build than a Polywell? Sure, in such a simple form they only mostly got to a point that experimentally showed it is unstable - but Polywell hasn't got to that point yet.
Last edited by chrismb on Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:46 am

Chris,

The second quote attributed to me was not mine. Of course you will correct me if I'm in error.
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Postby MSimon » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:48 am

Chris,

The ITER folks are now putting magnets in the chamber to control ELMs.

Ooooooooops.
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Postby MSimon » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:32 am

MSimon wrote:Chris,

The ITER folks are now putting magnets in the chamber to control ELMs.

Ooooooooops.


Before long we may see a Tokawell design if they put a voltage on the coils.

Or maybe a PolyITERwell.
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Postby MSimon » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:37 am

Polywell hasn't got to that point yet.


Wouldn't it be nice to know if that actually happens? Wouldn't it be even nicer to know that it didn't happen?
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Postby chrismb » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:04 am

(MSimon wrote:Chris,

The second quote attributed to me was not mine. Of course you will correct me if I'm in error.
oops, sorry, now corrected)

MSimon wrote:
Polywell hasn't got to that point yet.


Wouldn't it be nice to know if that actually happens? Wouldn't it be even nicer to know that it didn't happen?
Yes, and yes. I have no hesitation to support Polywell as a project, just not to the detriment and undermining of other projects. I don't see that partisan-ship as constructive. There are many points of learning on each project that are irrelevant to the other, but there are some points - particularly of hiccups in historical progress - that both can learn from and for which problem-avoidance can be then planned for, or at least half-anticipated.

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Postby MSimon » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:31 am

chrismb wrote:
MSimon wrote:
Polywell hasn't got to that point yet.


Wouldn't it be nice to know if that actually happens? Wouldn't it be even nicer to know that it didn't happen?
Yes, and yes. I have no hesitation to support Polywell as a project, just not to the detriment and undermining of other projects. I don't see that partisan-ship as constructive. There are many points of learning on each project that are irrelevant to the other, but there are some points - particularly of hiccups in historical progress - that both can learn from and for which problem-avoidance can be then planned for, or at least half-anticipated.


I'm with you up to a point. I think ITER is useful as science even if they never generate a watt. Some of the first wall experiments already done (Boron coating) have real use if we are ever to get a pB11 burner working.

However, to avoid discussion of known problems is not a good thing. If they are over promising that should be public knowledge.

I have seen a spate of articles on the NIF laser fusion experiments touting them as leading to fusion power - which is how the project is being sold. It is no such thing. It is a weapons testing device and was always designed as such. The "power plant" idea is just a graft for positive publicity.

The lying has to stop. It is not good for the projects. It is not good for science. I make it a point to be scrupulously honest to my employers (it has cost me jobs) and to those who read my posts. I may be wrong. But I will not lie. My reputation is all I have got.
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Postby Torulf2 » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:31 pm

It is a weapons testing device!
If not the money had been directed to the tokamaks.

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Postby TallDave » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:40 pm

But Tokamak isn't done on the cheap - presumably partly due to politics but also because the experiments have moved on to much more elaborate matters digging into the machine's instabilities.


Or, because a tokamak costing less than billions of dollars has no chance of producing significant net power for significant lengths of time.

Sure, in such a simple form they only mostly got to a point that experimentally showed it is unstable - but Polywell hasn't got to that point yet.


That's debatable. In some sense, Polywell is already past that point: the MHD stability issue is addressed by having convex fields everywhere.

Now, Polywell may run into new, unknown, expensive problems, or it may not. But we know for a fact we've eliminated a big problem. That's progress we developed as a direct result of tokamak research.

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Postby chrismb » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:58 pm

TallDave wrote:
But Tokamak isn't done on the cheap - presumably partly due to politics but also because the experiments have moved on to much more elaborate matters digging into the machine's instabilities.


Or, because a tokamak costing less than billions of dollars has no chance of producing significant net power for significant lengths of time.
I could easily argue that that's back to management of project objectives again. Don't critisise the technology because of the management.

TallDave wrote:
Sure, in such a simple form they only mostly got to a point that experimentally showed it is unstable - but Polywell hasn't got to that point yet.


That's debatable. In some sense, Polywell is already past that point: the MHD stability issue is addressed by having convex fields everywhere.
Is it debatable, heck!? What experimental work shows fully stable convex fields everywhere in a Polywell, whilst operating in a continuous wiffleball mode??? Getoudahere!!!...

Tokamak was devised with a poloidal rotational translation to get over the problems found in toroidal pinch schemes. The history of fusion power has already preluded such hopeful [non-experimental] comments as yours. I am sure I could find an equivalent comment as the experiments moved from toroidal pinch to tokamak, just as you are making here.

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Postby TallDave » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:06 pm

Or, because a tokamak costing less than billions of dollars has no chance of producing significant net power for significant lengths of time.
....
I could easily argue that that's back to management of project objectives again.


You could, but you would be wrong. Not even the most advanced designs contemplate such a beast. Nor, afaik, does anyone think it's even possible to build a net power tokamak for < billions, management or not.

That's debatable. In some sense, Polywell is already past that point: the MHD stability issue is addressed by having convex fields everywhere.
...
Is it debatable, heck!? What experimental work shows fully stable convex fields everywhere in a Polywell, whilst operating in a continuous wiffleball mode??? Getoudahere!!!...


That the fields are convex everywhere is just a matter of design. They may have other problems, but they won't have the MHD issues concave fields have. In that sense, they've moved beyond tokamaks.

Now, it's possible they've just moved on to yet more intractable problems that we don't know about yet. But it's not fair to say we're at the same point tokamaks were before MHD instability arose when Polywell design specifically addresses MHD stability.

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Postby rnebel » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:34 pm

I think you are comparing apples and oranges here. MHD stability isn’t an issue for Polywells, just like it isn’t an issue for mirrors, spindle cusps or toroidal octupoles. I doubt that anyone would claim that MHD is an issue for any of these devices. But that doesn’t mean that Polywells are necessarily more advanced than tokamaks. Or that any of the above-mentioned devices are more advanced than Tokamaks. All it means is that the issues are different. The obstacles that you have to overcome are different and the development paths are different.


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