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Helium 3:The Next Great Energy Source Makes Space The New Wild West

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posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 02:11 PM
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Let me start off by saying happy Independence Day everyone!

Artist rendering of a "Moon mine":



Oil is in it's weaning days ladies and gentlemen.It is no secret that our global energy crisis is getting out of control,and there is simply not enough oil left to sustain us for the next few centuries.No worries though as we have found the next great energy source as will be indicative in the ensuing "New Gold Rush" to come in the next few decades.What and where is Helium 3?For the greatest,closet source of hydrogen 3 simply look up at the moon tonight if watching fireworks.Yes right there in our own back yard it's our very own moon!So what is Helium 3 and why is it the next great energy source?Helium 3 is formed from the decay of Tritium(Hydrogen 3)and presents broad spectrum realistic opportunities for a new major energy source through advanced nuclear type fusion.Here's some more info:


UDAIPUR, India (AFP) Nov 26, 2004
A potential gas source found on the moon's surface could hold the key to meeting future energy demands as the earth's fossil fuels dry up in the coming decades, scientists said Friday.
Mineral samples from the moon contained abundant quantities of helium 3, a variant of the gas used in lasers and refrigerators as well as to blow up balloons.
"When compared to the earth the moon has a tremendous amount of helium 3," said Lawrence Taylor, a director of the US Planetary Geosciences Institute, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
"When helium 3 combines with deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) the fusion reaction proceeds at a very high temperature and it can produce awesome amounts of energy," Taylor told AFP.
"Just 25 tonnes of helium, which can be transported on a space shuttle, is enough to provide electricity for the US for one full year," said Taylor, who is in the north Indian city of Udaipur for a global conference on moon exploration.
Helium 3 is deposited on the lunar surface by solar winds and would have to be extracted from moon soil and rocks.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Spacedaily
A single load of Helium 3 on the Space Shuttle could power the ENTIRE US FOR ONE YEAR!Now we are talking matter/antimatter annihilation energy releases,but with a much safer,non annihilating reactions that don't have the potential to destroy city blocks in gram amounts.Also there is not the huge challenge that is presented by storing antimatter as antimatter can not come into contact with matter or it will annihilate.Does no one else see the huge potential here for a revolution in energy.A truly clean,safe,efficiant,and powerful fuel source.And it's extraterrestrial at that!Meaning it will expand our space program globally many decades at the least,we will truly be using the Universe's own natural fuel.Okay,so how do we extract it and what progress are we at right now in preliminary mining colonies?

To extract helium 3 gas the rocks have to be heated above 1,400 degs Fdegs C). Some 200 million tonnes of lunar soil would produce one tonne of helium, Taylor said, noting that only 10 kilos of helium are available on earth.
Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam told the International Conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon on Wednesday that the barren planet held about one million tonnes of helium 3.
"The moon contains 10 times more energy in the form of Helium 3 than all the fossil fuels on the earth," Kalam said.
However, planetary scientist Taylor said the reactor technology for converting helium 3 to energy was still in its infancy and could take years to develop.
"The problem is that there is not yet an efficient type of reactor to process helium 3. It is currently being done mostly as a laboratory experiment. Right now at the rate which it (research) is proceeding it will take another 30 years," he said.
Other scientists said the reactor would be safe in terms of radioactive elements and could be built right in the heart of any city.
"Potentially there are large reservoirs of helium 3 on the moon, said D.J. Lawrence, planetary scientist at the US Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"Just doing reconnaissance where the minerals are and to find out where helium 3 likes to hang out is the first step, so when the reactor technology gets to work we are ready and have precise information," Lawrence said.
"It really could be used as a future fuel and is safe. It is not all science fiction."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Spacedaily
So we know how to process it and know it provides tens of times more energy than the drying up fossil fuel.But current technology needs to progress for this to become economical.Let's take a look at how that research is doing:

Space based materials processing
In the long term, the Moon is likely to be very important in supplying construction facilities with raw materials.[46] Zero gravity allows materials to be processed in ways impossible or difficult on Earth, such as 'foaming' metals, where a gas is injected into a molten metal, and then the metal is annealed slowly. On Earth, the gas bubbles rise and burst, but in a zero gravity environment, that does not happen. Annealing is a process that requires large amounts of energy, as a material is kept very hot for an extended period of time. This allows the molecular structure to align in the strongest possible way. Materials which cannot be alloyed or mixed on Earth because of the gravity field effects on density differences could be combined in space, resulting in composites which could have exceptional qualities. No one knows, because no one has been able to experiment along these lines on any scale. However, it is possible that a material or process will be identified which will be highly valuable on Earth, but impossible to make here.

Exporting material to the Earth
Exporting material to Earth in trade from the Moon is more problematic due to the high cost of transportation. One suggested candidate is Helium-3 from the solar wind, which has accumulated on the Moon's surface over billions of years, and which is rare on Earth. Helium is present in the lunar regolith in quantities of ten to a hundred (weight) parts per million, and 0.003 to 1 percent of this amount (depending on soil). 2006 market price for He3 was about $46,500 per troy ounce ($1500/gram, $1.5M/kg), more than 120 times the value per unit weight of Gold and over eight times the value of Rhodium.
In the long term future He3 may prove to be a desirable fuel in thermonuclear fusion reactors.
Gerald Kulcinski's group at the Fusion Technology Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has operated an experimental He3 fusion reactor for an extended period, on a non-governmental research budget,[49] however the reactor has not achieved energy balance or breakeven.
Wikipedia

John Roach
for National Geographic News
December 4, 2006
NASA plans to construct a solar-powered outpost at one the moon's poles, officials with the U.S. space agency announced today.
The lunar base is expected to be permanently staffed by 2024. The outpost concept was chosen over a competing strategy similar to the 1960s and '70s Apollo program—a series of brief trips to the moon.
The moon base will allow for sustained human presence on the moon's surface and help the agency prepare for future missions to Mars and beyond, explained NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale.
"It also enables global partnerships, allows for maturation of in situ resource utilization, and results in a path that is much quicker in terms of future exploration," Dale said at a press conference.
The announcement was part of NASA's congressionally mandated strategy to meet U.S. President George W. Bush's "Vision for U.S. Space Exploration," a plan outlined in 2004.

National Geographic

Earlier this year, shortly after Russia claimed a vast portion of the Arctic sea floor, accelerating an international race for the natural resources as global warming opens polar access, China has announced plans to map "every inch" of the surface of the Moon and exploit the vast quantities of Helium-3 thought to lie buried in lunar rocks as part of its ambitious space-exploration program.
Ouyang Ziyuan, head of the first phase of lunar exploration, was quoted on government-sanctioned news site ChinaNews.com describing plans to collect three dimensional images of the Moon for future mining of Helium 3: "There are altogether 15 tons of helium-3 on Earth, while on the Moon, the total amount of Helium-3 can reach one to five million tons."
"Helium-3 is considered as a long-term, stable, safe, clean and cheap material for human beings to get nuclear energy through controllable nuclear fusion experiments," Ziyuan added. "If we human beings can finally use such energy material to generate electricity, then China might need 10 tons of helium-3 every year and in the world, about 100 tons of helium-3 will be needed every year."The harvesting of Helium-3 on the could start by 2025. Our lunar mining could be but a jumping off point for Helium 3 extraction from the atmospheres of our Solar System gas giants, Saturn and Jupiter.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
.................


[edit on 7/4/2008 by jkrog08]




posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 02:13 PM
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"Helium-3 is considered as a long-term, stable, safe, clean and cheap material for human beings to get nuclear energy through controllable nuclear fusion experiments," Ziyuan added. "If we human beings can finally use such energy material to generate electricity, then China might need 10 tons of helium-3 every year and in the world, about 100 tons of helium-3 will be needed every year."The harvesting of Helium-3 on the could start by 2025. Our lunar mining could be but a jumping off point for Helium 3 extraction from the atmospheres of our Solar System gas giants, Saturn and Jupiter.
UN Treaties in place state that the moon and its minerals are the common heritage of mankind, so the quest to use Helium-3 as an energy source would likely demand joint international co-operation. Hopefully, exploitation of the moon's resources will be viewed as a solution for the world, rather than an out-moded nation-state solution.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
So we now know that Helium 3 is sought after by all the major countries of Earth with NASA's Constellation Program,The joint Chinese-Russian Chang'e Program leading the way for the exploitation of the Moon.With an estimated 100 tons needed to power the entire planet and an estimated million plus tons on the Moon it is easy to see why this fuel source is so lucrative!Dailygalaxy
Here is NASA's plan for mining the precious fuel:

NASA's planned moon base announced last week could pave the way for deeper space exploration to Mars, but one of the biggest beneficiaries may be the terrestrial energy industry.
Nestled among the agency's 200-point mission goals is a proposal to mine the moon for fuel used in fusion reactors -- futuristic power plants that have been demonstrated in proof-of-concept but are likely decades away from commercial deployment.
Helium-3 is considered a safe, environmentally friendly fuel candidate for these generators, and while it is scarce on Earth it is plentiful on the moon.
As a result, scientists have begun to consider the practicality of mining lunar Helium-3 as a replacement for fossil fuels.
"After four-and-half-billion years, there should be large amounts of helium-3 on the moon," said Gerald Kulcinski, a professor who leads the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Last year NASA administrator Mike Griffin named Kulcinski to lead a number of committees reporting to NASA's influential NASA Advisory Council, its preeminent civilian leadership arm.
The Council is chaired by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt, a leading proponent of mining the moon for helium 3.
Schmitt, who holds the distance record for driving a NASA rover on the moon (22 miles through the Taurus-Littrow valley), is also a former U.S. senator (R-New Mexico).
The Council was restructured last year with a new mission: implementing President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration," which targets Mars as its ultimate destination. Other prominent members of the Council include ex-astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Schmitt and Kulcinski are longtime friends and academic partners, and are known as helium-3 fusion's biggest promoters.
At the Fusion Technology Institute, Kulcinski's team has produced small-scale helium-3 fusion reactions in the basketball-sized fusion device. The reactor produced one milliwatt of power on a continuous basis.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Wired.comSo we now have the US,Russia,and China's plans for mining Helium 3.How close to reality are the reactors?Well that will greatly be sped up if it's confirmed that large amounts of Helium 3 are indeed on the Moon


Professor Kulcinski's lab is running the only helium-3 fusion reactor in the world. He has an annual research budget that is barely into six figures and allows him to have five graduate research assistants working on the project. Compared to what has been spent on other fusion projects around the world, the team’s accomplishments are impressive. Helium-3 would not require a tokomak reactor like the multibillion-dollar one being developed for the international ITER project. Instead, his design uses an electrostatic field to contain the plasma instead of an electromagnetic field. His current reactor contains spherical plasma roughly ten centimeters in diameter. It can produce a sustained fusion with 200 million reactions per second producing about a milliwatt of power while consuming about a kilowatt of power to run the reactor. It is nuclear power without highly radioactive nuclear waste.
Let's get the funding to this man!Although I think he will get it in a few years when the US realizes China's going to get Helium 3 first if we don't jump on it first.Either way I think the funding will come in a few years when we get more detailed information about the exact amounts on the Moon.Either way I believe within 30 years oil will be near obsolete and the world will be running on Helium 3 mined from the Moon.Here is some more information I would like to share with you:


The Energy
That 1 million metric tonnes of He3, reacted with deuterium, would generate about 20,000 terrawatt-years of thermal energy. The units alone are awesome: a terrawatt-year is one trillion (10 to 12th power) watt-years. To put this into perspective, one 100-watt light bulb will use 100 watt-years of energy in one year.
That's about 10 times the energy we could get from mining all the fossil fuels on Earth, without the smog and acid rain. If we torched all our uranium in liquid metal fast breeder reactors, we could generate about half this much energy, and have some interesting times storing the waste.
The Value
About 25 tonnes of He3 would power the United States for 1 year at our current rate of energy consumption. To put it in perspective: that's about the weight of a fully loaded railroad box car, or a maximum Space Shuttle payload.
To assign an economic value, suppose we assume He3 would replace the fuels the United States currently buys to generate electricity. We still have all those power generating plants and distribution network, so we can't use how much we pay for electricity. As a replacement for that fuel, that 25-tonne load of He3 would worth on the order of $75 billion today, or $3 billion per tonne.
The Payoff
A guess is the best we can do. Let's suppose that by the time we're slinging tanks of He3 off the moon, the world-wide demand is 100 tonnes of the stuff a year, and people are happy to pay $3 billion per tonne. That gives us gross revenues of $300 billion a year.
Asi.org
Here's a vision for 30 years from now we can all appreciate:

Imagine a world thirty years from now. NASA has led the way to returning humans to the Moon and is in the final steps of preparing for human exploration and settlement of Mars. On Earth our environment is cleaner with reliable fusion reactors steadily replacing coal-fired plants and fission reactors. The fuel for these reactors is being mined from the surface of the Moon relegating the mercury, radium and carbon dioxide-laced exhaust from coal-fired plants to "the ash heap of history". The growth of highly radioactive waste from fission power plants is following coal into history. Dependency on highly volatile regions of our planet for energy supplies is steadily diminishing. Clean power is allowing economic development of the world to continue, lifting a higher and higher percentage of the population out of poverty. Is this a possible future for our country and the planet? Professor Kulcinski and his small team of researchers just might have the answer and NASA might provide access to the key enabling resource.
Peakoil..
Continued........................

[edit on 7/4/2008 by jkrog08]



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 02:14 PM
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So the fusion reactors are still in their infancy,no worries as mentioned above a scientist has already demonstrated a working,efficiant model.You can bet that "barely six figure funding"will make a couple decimal point leap in the next few years.It has become or is becoming apparent to the world that our energy solutions lay with Helium 3 and you can bet that with that and Hydrogen fuel cell cars that's what our world will be fueled off of within 30 years in my opinion.Now on to explain my "new wild west" statement.I say that because just like the American west was full of settlers looking to strike it rich on oil,so too will be the Moon and other planetary bodies in our solar system in the future.We will see Capitalism reach new heights(literally) never before imagined outside of science fiction books,full of opportunistic investors looking to oust the guy competing next to him.Like the old west I believe we will see an influx of mining companies in space;first the Moon,and then on to the Jovian planets.Like the old west I believe we will see 'not so ethical' means of business and competition with people pushing ever harder to lay claim to the 'big well' of Helium 3.Most of all by my "new wild west" statement I am referring to the future never ending plunder of our solar systems resources.That is a good and bad thing,good because we get a better energy source,and bad because like with crude oil we will have to eventually find another source of fuel.I think we have learned from the past 'raping' of natural resources,rather I hope we have learned.I think this next quest for energy can be a wonderful learning adventure for the human race,and may even point us in the direction of the mythical 'free energy'(who knows what we will learn out there).Regardless if you think the NWO is taking over or not we will need energy and it seems destiny has gave us that new energy source in Helium 3.I think this will usher in a new era of human development and bring Capitalism to a place never before experienced-The business of space and it's resources.Once again I want to thank all for reading and wish everyone a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!As it is ironic I write this today,the fourth of July as we are one step closer to 'gaining our independence from oil'.Do you have stocks in Helium 3,I know I will,don't miss out on this new 'gold rush'.Thanks and have a great day everyone!
Sources:
*Spacedaily
*Wikipedia
*National Geographic
*Dailygalaxy
*The New Space Race:China vs The United States
*Wired.com
*Peakoil..
*Asi.org
*Nss.org
*Wikipedia/Helium3



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 03:54 PM
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Interesting info. Is was off course already known and mentioned in earlier ATS threads in relation to the reason that all the countries of the world are planning to go the moon (seperately) the coming 10 years.

It will be a very expensive energy source while there is enough good stuff to work with on earth. Oil will be redundant of course in the coming decades, but there is wind and sun and gas and of course good old H2 en electromagnetism. In Holland the energy company Essent (7.4 bilion euro a year) is busy with new electric car systems and new generation batteries with bigger actionradius (300 km now, and 500 km in the near future) together with other companies. The call it Project ZER-X . They developed a Smart gridThey predict that in 2025 25 % of the cars in Europe will be electric cars.

original durch article

english original article

He3 is a commercial sidetrack IMO. Nothing more. Strange isn't it, they all suddenly able and willing to go the moon after so many years. Is is like a ban has been lifted.

Of course I rather see this water car in production. An indepent energy source, that is what we need.

water fuel car

Eventhough thanks for all the info.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 03:59 PM
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The question, as always is what percentage of the average person's income will this take? Transportation costs will be expensive, yet the return would seem to make it cheaper than oil, in the long run.

Good post with a lot of info. Good job.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 04:41 PM
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just remember that nobody even owns 1 gram of this helium 3. how should i know ? look at my name.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 06:43 PM
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Thanks all for your input.I believe that we will see a 'hybrid' of alternative fuel sources in the future.Cars will run on hydrogen/electric power and all other energy needs(city powering,space travel,possibly air travel,etc))will run on Helium 3.It is no coincidence that all the sudden the Moon becomes such a issue.Our governments of Earth know were the next great fuel source is.Of course I am speaking of the Moon,and guess what-after that supply is exhausted we can move on to the Jovian planets for He3!The answer to our problems is obvious IMHO,Helium 3.............safer,cleaner,more efficient,**more powerful**.It gives us a nuclear power option with significantly less risks,there-for making the benefits outweigh the risks.The next world power IMO will be whoever gets to the Moon first and exploits it's resources..Great responses so far,look forward to more opinions on this.Again,happy fourth!



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by NGC2736
The question, as always is what percentage of the average person's income will this take? Transportation costs will be expensive, yet the return would seem to make it cheaper than oil, in the long run.

Good post with a lot of info. Good job.


Agreed,on paper it looks good-and should be.If all is played right than whatever % of citizen income should be negated by the profit of the fuel.......of course if all goes well.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 06:53 PM
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reply to post by jkrog08
 


jkrog08, this is an awesome thread on the potential future of mankinds endeavors into traveling and colonization of space. I personally think it's not too long until we will be on the Moon, Mars, and then who knows from there.

The biggest problem is that every country has its own interests at heart, and their own political views get in each others ways. Great thread, wish I could add more to it.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 06:56 PM
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reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 


Thanks SKL,yea I see the 'individual political agenda' of every country as a problem,but I think ultimately we will have to come together to use the fuel source.Also the UN resolution states that the Moon is a 'sovereign landmark',so we will have to come together as a world to utilize the Moons (and space's) natural resources.Thanks for dropping by!



posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 11:50 AM
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There is a good fiction novel out there by Homer Hickam called 'Back to the Moon" which is about this subject. It's a pretty good read. I certainly think it's an interesting concept, but it would be way too costly in the long run and way too dangerous. Every time I think about mining the moon I think about that part in the movie 'The Time Machine' where they crack open the moon and all hell is breaking loose on Earth as people are staring up at pieces of the moon from Earth after they broke off. We would screw something up for sure up there and the entire Earth would pay the price with earthquakes and tsunamis.



posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 02:31 PM
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Boron is also a potential clean nuclear fuel for focus fusion, which is similar to He3 fusion because it has little funding but could easily work better than tokomak style reactors. Here's a video I saw about it:


Google Video Link



posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 


We are mining helium 3 right now and we have has a base on the moon for 30 years and mars 15 years
how many of you here are ever going to wake up to this!



posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 02:52 PM
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Lasthope:Could you present some proof for those statements?



posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 08:35 PM
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Wow isn't that neat eh, first I heard of this new form of energy, seems real efficient, they just need a way to get supply and demand going with the moon, get a solid station going so they're's no risks...



posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 09:48 PM
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Im glad I could inform you of this new energy source.........cant believe you havnt heard of it being on ATS and all.



posted on Sep, 25 2015 @ 05:25 PM
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I am wondering if there is any news on BRICS mining the moon for Helium 3?



posted on Sep, 25 2015 @ 07:36 PM
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Helium 3 is also a product of other fusion chains. So you can use certain types of fusion reactor to make it. D-D fusion and D-H fusion both produce Helium III. additionally the prime benefit of Helium III fusion is it doesn't make neutrons or at least fast neutrons which means the reactor walls doesn't turn into nasty varieties of nuclear waste and don't break down due to embrittlement.

But H Boron fusion also is neutron free except in a low occurrence side chain reaction and due to it producing regular helium it can directly create electricity by shunting the helium ions through a simple induction coil. Boron related fusion is harder than most of the other types of fusion but never the less at least two different fusion projects are rapidly making progress towards a final proof of concept reactor.
edit on 25-9-2015 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)

edit on 25-9-2015 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 25 2015 @ 08:17 PM
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originally posted by: stormbringer1701...the prime benefit of Helium III fusion is it doesn't make neutrons or at least fast neutrons which means the reactor walls doesn't turn into nasty varieties of nuclear waste and don't break down due to embrittlement.


This is a crucial point that has been overlooked for too long. Proponents of conventional deuterium fusion have been touting it for decades as a waste-free energy source, but it is not. The entire torus and much of its structural support would become high-level waste within a decade or two. Although less radioactive than spent fission rods, we're talking many times more tons of contaminated material to dispose of (not to mention the expense of rebuilding the reactor).

If we ever want fusion to be practical or economical (the jury is still out on both points), Helium III is the way to go.



posted on Sep, 25 2015 @ 08:19 PM
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originally posted by: Saint Exupery

originally posted by: stormbringer1701...the prime benefit of Helium III fusion is it doesn't make neutrons or at least fast neutrons which means the reactor walls doesn't turn into nasty varieties of nuclear waste and don't break down due to embrittlement.


This is a crucial point that has been overlooked for too long. Proponents of conventional deuterium fusion have been touting it for decades as a waste-free energy source, but it is not. The entire torus and much of its structural support would become high-level waste within a decade or two. Although less radioactive than spent fission rods, we're talking many times more tons of contaminated material to dispose of (not to mention the expense of rebuilding the reactor).

If we ever want fusion to be practical or economical (the jury is still out on both points), Helium III is the way to go.


So it would appear the Helium 3 race is back on unless there is a way to shrink the deuterium waste. . . .
edit on 25-9-2015 by FormOfTheLord because: (no reason given)




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