How 'National Ignition Facility' is presented

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ankovacs
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:32 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

How 'National Ignition Facility' is presented

Post by ankovacs »

A nice event presenting the 'National Ignition Facility', for laser-ignited fusion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUvG2Sv1dMY
The first half is general knowledge about energy, co2, ...
The second half introduces the actual project.

They apparently got massive funding, even though it is expected from theoretic considerations that NIF-type approach will never get a positive energy balance, i.e. more energy goes into lasers than captured fusion energy (see some discussions on Theory forum). But those massive lasers could have some nice military applications - much nicer to have this developed under 'energy research' than 'military budget'.

Back to Polywells; it would help the Polywell cause to have a similar series of presentation events. I would certainly help to have volunteer for organizing such presentation events on the Polywell concept. :)

KitemanSA
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:05 pm
Location: OlyPen WA

Post by KitemanSA »

I would love to see Tom Ligon's ISDC paper produced in a professional manner.

hanelyp
Posts: 2255
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:50 pm

Post by hanelyp »

I've heard that inertial confinement fusion is useful for validating simulation codes used for nuclear weapons.

Rick Kwan
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:26 pm
Location: Silicon Valley, California
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Post by Rick Kwan »

In recent years, I've seen a number of good software development tutorials with live demo content in them. The only human presence is the voice of the presenter. These seem to be done in Shockwave/Flash format, but in much higher quality than what appears on YouTube.

I've seen the ISDC slides that Tom presented. (Was there a written paper as well?) That is a very good starting point. I found myself wishing I could hear the narration that went with it.

Of course, I like Tom's slides because I am a space nut and I am in the target audience. You may to think about who the target audience is and redo some of the content accordingly.

D Tibbets
Posts: 2775
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:52 am

Post by D Tibbets »

The presentstion is good, especially for the audiance it was presented to- families and children. The claim of no radiation is missleading. Also, the presenter was careful to avoid describing the process as small nuclear bombs. The problems of scaling the laser power was admitted. The current facility can only fire once per three hours, and would need to fire several times per second for a usefull power plant. Not only is there challenges for the lasers, but how do you position the target percisely on that time scale, especially concerninhg that you just had an exploaion of dense gold along with lots of radiation just a fraction of a second befor. I've seen a Sandia labs proposal (Z-Pinch)where they drop the target from the top, but it is a spherical target, while the laser target is a hollow cyclinder that needs to be positioned and orentated percisely. Perhaps a gun...
Also, the implosion is derived from a fair chunk of gold. I'm guessing that no more than ~10-15 shots would add up to an ounce. If you are firing at a few times per second you would vaporize perhaps 10 ounces of gold per minute, or > 10,000 ounces per day ( ~$10,000,000 per day or > $3,000,000,000 per year). With a few reacters the gold reserves would be quickly exausted. Of course, a percentage of the gold could be recovered (how much would be transmutated or platted onto the reacter vessel walls- requireing frequent shutdowns for cleaning?). If the laser confinement approach works perhaps a substitute metal will can be used. Using the H- bomb approach, perhaps another dense metal like Uranium 238 could be used instead of the gold, a fusion-fision bomb that would yield much more energy per shot (or smaller shots). Of course radioactive products would be much worse...


Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

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