How do the great powers react if this works?

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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rj40
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How do the great powers react if this works?

Postby rj40 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:22 pm

Polywell will take a while to really change things, but the perception of change will be immediate.

How will Russia react with so much of its power related to fossil fuels? Once guess is they will go with BFR development full force, but issue cautionary warnings for several years (may cause cancer, proliferation is a great danger, etc.). Perhaps even fund certain NGO’s to fight faster development of this technology – at least until they can change their economy to better handle a non-fossil fuel world.

China? 100% in. Maybe a bit of stalling in hopes of slowing US development (cannot let the “Hyperpower” have things too easy). But in the end, they will be 100% into this.

India? No stalling. It will be big in India.

US? Almost full-steam (or direct current!) ahead, but many of the “Green Religion” will start complaining rather quickly. Can you find the Religious Green in this short clip?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmqbO-lY0LM
It is from the Blackadder II episode called Beer. I think you can find the whole thing on YouTube (better to just go out and buy the series, well worth it). Note that I didn’t write Green, but rather Religious Green. A big difference.

Euro’s? They’ll hem and haw, but eventually come on board.

Japan? They will be in all the way, no stopping them.

How do I know all this? It is all based on my preconceived notions and assumptions. I really don’t know anything, but it is both fun and scary to speculate.

clonan
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Can they stop it? Nonproliferation can't happen

Postby clonan » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:10 pm

Assuming the BFR works, I really don't see how anyone with reasonable manufacturing capabilities can be prevented from making these things.

The BFR doesn't sound like it will [u]require[/u] special materials. Copper wiring for the magnets, aluminum/steel for the vacuum chamber, simple computers for control and electron guns. All these things are readily availible to every country. Once the idea is proven it will just take some carefull engineering to build them.

What about fuel? While Boron is located in only a few easily accessible places, water isn't. Anyplace with people will have access to water and you can extract deuterium for fuel.

The only restriction might be liquid helium. However it is possible that BFR's will make more helium than they use. So the first one is hard, subsequent reactors are easier.



I don't see how BFR "proliferation" could be restricted easily.

Helius
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Re: Can they stop it? Nonproliferation can't happen

Postby Helius » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:13 pm

clonan wrote:Assuming the BFR works, I really don't see how anyone with reasonable manufacturing capabilities can be prevented from making these things.

The BFR doesn't sound like it will require special materials. Copper wiring for the magnets, aluminum/steel for the vacuum chamber, simple computers for control and electron guns. All these things are readily availible to every country. Once the idea is proven it will just take some carefull engineering to build them.

What about fuel? While Boron is located in only a few easily accessible places, water isn't. Anyplace with people will have access to water and you can extract deuterium for fuel.

The only restriction might be liquid helium. However it is possible that BFR's will make more helium than they use. So the first one is hard, subsequent reactors are easier.



I don't see how BFR "proliferation" could be restricted easily.


There might be the American Political reaction to make the Iranians 'do their own research'. If it looks like the BFRs are a viable machine to producing prodigious quantities of Alphas or Neutrons (take your pick), then we can expect it to disappear into the bowels of the National labs where America might get a head start rather than researching BFRs in the public where thug countries might benefit.
The only saving grace for this scenario is that with the Invasion of Georgia, it is kind of obvious how detrimental $100+ Oil is to peace and world stability. The Russians can again afford the expense of thuggery.

Hopefully the current state of world affairs will accelerate such high expected value research such as BFRs, and the Nebel plan of making WB7's available would be a part of this high value research effort.

djolds1
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Re: How do the great powers react if this works?

Postby djolds1 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:46 pm

rj40 wrote:Polywell will take a while to really change things, but the perception of change will be immediate.

How will Russia react with so much of its power related to fossil fuels? Once guess is they will go with BFR development full force, but issue cautionary warnings for several years (may cause cancer, proliferation is a great danger, etc.).


I doubt the Russians issue those dire warnings. They're not that squeamish.

But Western Greens? OH YES. "Nuclear? Nuclear! Bad! Bad!!"

The Middle East might implode into a decades long spasm of internal slaughter once the money to buy off the population drys up.

rj40 wrote:Perhaps even fund certain NGO’s to fight faster development of this technology – at least until they can change their economy to better handle a non-fossil fuel world.


Again, look to the species of Western goodthinker that wants to "preserve the culture" of Amazon rain forest primitives. I.e. keep them in stone age poverty forever.

rj40 wrote:China? 100% in. Maybe a bit of stalling in hopes of slowing US development (cannot let the “Hyperpower” have things too easy). But in the end, they will be 100% into this.

India? No stalling. It will be big in India.


Don't see stalling by either. ESPECIALLY China. Political matters in China are becoming a bit unstable. Polywell would provide plenty of energy for calming amenities, and "A Short Victorious War" would go well. The near-term "great adventure" of opening up the solar system to Chinese colonization could easily stand in for that war. "The Dream of Zheng He Realized!"

rj40 wrote:US? Almost full-steam (or direct current!) ahead, but many of the “Green Religion” will start complaining rather quickly. Can you find the Religious Green in this short clip?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmqbO-lY0LM
It is from the Blackadder II episode called Beer. I think you can find the whole thing on YouTube (better to just go out and buy the series, well worth it). Note that I didn’t write Green, but rather Religious Green. A big difference.

Euro’s? They’ll hem and haw, but eventually come on board.


I think you'd get more delay in the US than in the EU. The US is litigation heaven. Once the EU governments say "do it" its done and you don't see endless court battles across a thousand jurisdictions. The court battles in the US could last decades unless a politician has the political courage to cut through the chaos, or a crisis kills the chaos long enough for polywell to win through.

One reason I look forward to buying polywells from Energia de la Argentina. :(

Duane
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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:13 pm

The Joker that you all have left out is the US Navy.

They don't have to answer to enviros.

And suppose the push in the US was first to shut down fission plants and replace them with a safer alternative.

Once we get operational history and much lower costs there will be pull.

Plus if global cooling hits hard the Uber Greens will be discredited.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

JohnP
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Postby JohnP » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:41 pm

There would be a few different classes of countries. One, whoever's first at making a BFR system into a turnkey package. Two, those countries able to reverse engineer it on their own, possibly making their own improvements. Three, the countries unable to develop one but have the money to buy.

I don't know if the issue of IP enforceability's been brought up yet, but since EMC2 owns the patents on this, what are the chances of keeping China from pumping out cheap copies? Or (insert country name here) ? Not that it matters in the long run, but it is an issue.

djolds1
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Postby djolds1 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:07 pm

MSimon wrote:The Joker that you all have left out is the US Navy.

They don't have to answer to enviros.


Sonar use hurting the whales?

MSimon wrote:And suppose the push in the US was first to shut down fission plants and replace them with a safer alternative.


Means to an end IMO. Once they finish shutting down the fission plants the goalposts shift and "grave concerns" about Polywell materialize.

MSimon wrote:Once we get operational history and much lower costs there will be pull.


Certainly. I'm disputing timeframe, not inevitability.

MSimon wrote:Plus if global cooling hits hard the Uber Greens will be discredited.


IMO they smoothly shift to the next Ecolypse. Back to Global Cooling. Gaianism became the spiritual belief set of the true believer activist Left after the promised utopia of True Communism imploded.

Duane
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djolds1
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Postby djolds1 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:10 pm

JohnP wrote:I don't know if the issue of IP enforceability's been brought up yet, but since EMC2 owns the patents on this, what are the chances of keeping China from pumping out cheap copies? Or (insert country name here) ? Not that it matters in the long run, but it is an issue.


I've brought it up previously. EMC2 either sets the license fees REALLY low or accepts that it makes profit only in the US & EU.
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ravingdave
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Postby ravingdave » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:50 pm

MSimon wrote:The Joker that you all have left out is the US Navy.

They don't have to answer to enviros.

And suppose the push in the US was first to shut down fission plants and replace them with a safer alternative.

Once we get operational history and much lower costs there will be pull.

Plus if global cooling hits hard the Uber Greens will be discredited.



What good does that do ? These type of people have been discredited for centuries, only to re-emerge when the next generation doesn't know how stupid they are. There is no sense of memory of human history. It always has to be relearned, and it's usually too late.


David

rj40
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Postby rj40 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:46 am

Yes, the Navy. Of course, if it proves out, they go for it. If it proves out. I spoke with someone who thought goverment programs might not be making big decisions until after the next President is in place. We may be in a sort of limbo until early next year.

I wonder how badly this disrupts Russia. I would sure hate to see that place fall into chaos. Well, I would hate to see most any place fall into chaos, but Russia has all sorts of stuff that, if it fell into the wrong hands, would be bad for the world. On top of that, much of Russian history is filled with pain. The vast majority of her people seem to suffer. Not good, they deserve better.

I think I agree with the notion that certain Green groups focus their angst on BFRs. Not all, but many wouldn't exist without something bad to fight, and Polywell takes away a fair amount of bad stuff.

blaisepascal
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Postby blaisepascal » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:20 am

rj40 wrote:Yes, the Navy. Of course, if it proves out, they go for it. If it proves out. I spoke with someone who thought goverment programs might not be making big decisions until after the next President is in place. We may be in a sort of limbo until early next year.


While the President sets policy and is of course hugely influential, it's Congress (and the House of Representatives within the Congress) which theoretically holds the purse strings. And the entire House is up for election in November with a new Congress starting up in January.

There's a severe question of timing here: the data, reports, and peer review won't be finished and released until very close to, or after, the end of the current Fiscal Year (in October). All the appropriations bills for the new FY should already have been passed. Everyone will be gearing up for the final push towards the election or getting last-minute business taken care of. Unless the results are spectacularly good, so good the Congresscritters feel that it'll be a slam dunk and will credibly help their re-election, no Congresscritter is going to try to open up a last-minute appropriations bill supporting Polywell and navigate it through the process in the last three months of year. All bills die at the end of the year anyway. January, in the new Congress, is a much better time, as it is expected that priorities will have shifted with the new election, etc.

I would argue that if this were a midterm election year the result would be the same: Show good results, and wait for the next Congress for any big push.

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Postby MSimon » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:35 am

rj40 wrote:Yes, the Navy. Of course, if it proves out, they go for it. If it proves out. I spoke with someone who thought goverment programs might not be making big decisions until after the next President is in place. We may be in a sort of limbo until early next year.

I wonder how badly this disrupts Russia. I would sure hate to see that place fall into chaos. Well, I would hate to see most any place fall into chaos, but Russia has all sorts of stuff that, if it fell into the wrong hands, would be bad for the world. On top of that, much of Russian history is filled with pain. The vast majority of her people seem to suffer. Not good, they deserve better.

I think I agree with the notion that certain Green groups focus their angst on BFRs. Not all, but many wouldn't exist without something bad to fight, and Polywell takes away a fair amount of bad stuff.


I just saw a thread at Belmont Club that said that Russian missiles work at about a 50% on target rate and that their warheads are at about 30%. i.e 15% of their missiles "work". Falling into the wrong hands is a danger. Not as big as it appears. Duds can be traced.

Let me add that the Green Peakers and CO2 fanatics may have been too effective. They have built a very substantial constituency for Fusion. I visit a lot of those sites in my proselytizing for BFRs and the common refrain is "absent fusion" .....

The resistance by the Greens will not be as significant as some think. They have sown the seeds of an internecine war.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

djolds1
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Postby djolds1 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:56 am

MSimon wrote:I just saw a thread at Belmont Club that said that Russian missiles work at about a 50% on target rate and that their warheads are at about 30%. i.e 15% of their missiles "work".


Link?

I've seen similar reasoning behind '70s era ABM systems. Failure rates have to be built into targeting catalogs, meaning you need to schedule more warheads per target than strictly necessary. If perchance they all work you've wasted good warheads, making the rubble bounce a bit more and digging deeper holes than is necessary. ABM systems up the potential "failure rate" even more, meaning additional redundant scheduling. Each redundancy reducing your targeting catalog more and more. Eventually the question becomes "is our target catalog large enough to take out the enemy?"

Also Jerry Pournelle's description of ICBM testing:

1) Make a perfect test item. Baby-buff it to perfection. Launch west across the Pacific. It lands 500km off target.

2) Go back. Find your oversights. Baby-buff test missile 2 to perfection. Launch west. It lands 50km off target.

3) Repeat. 5km off target.

4) Repeat. 500m off target.

5) On target.

6) On target.

7) On target.

Congratulations. You now have a perfect ICBM for east-west launches. But is it any good over the poles?

MSimon wrote:Falling into the wrong hands is a danger. Not as big as it appears. Duds can be traced.


Plutonium, so long as you have samples from the production reactor. U235, possibly the country of origin could be traced, but the centrifuge enrichment process should remove most localized impurities.

And if the nukes are built with purchased or smuggled refined fissionables, good luck.

For instance - ever wonder why there are "events" every 5 years or so where random, out of date nuclear weapons components are "inadvertently" sent to Taiwan? No production reactors or centrifuge plants on Formosa, but there were a lot of loose nukes and MIRV'd ICBMs in "the Wild East" in the '90s. Anyone believe the Russian claim that they've all been accounted for?

MSimon wrote:Let me add that the Green Peakers and CO2 fanatics may have been too effective. They have built a very substantial constituency for Fusion. I visit a lot of those sites in my proselytizing for BFRs and the common refrain is "absent fusion" .....


I hope you're right but fear these are the enthusiastic words of a fellow tech-nerd. :?

MSimon wrote:The resistance by the Greens will not be as significant as some think. They have sown the seeds of an internecine war.


"No Enemies on the Left" has been gospel since the '20s or '30s. Don't bet on internecine warfare breaking out. :(

Duane
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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:33 am

*

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernande ... /#comments

*

9:46 pm

Duane,

Duds don't have to be traced back to the reactor. They can be traced back by following their delivery path. i.e. who rented the truck/car. Where did they get the funds? Where did the bomb come from (which shipping container)? etc.

You are only talking a few kg (maybe 30 kg max) of HE. Pieces will be left over. Truck axles/engines if nothing else.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:35 am

I hope you're right but fear these are the enthusiastic words of a fellow tech-nerd.


May I suggest a Google Alert on "fusion power". You will get a fair amount of Gillette ads. Skip those. Read the rest.

i.e. do your own research and verify my claims.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.


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