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"BRITISH scientists have drawn up plans to build the world’s first nuclear fusion power station. They say it could be pouring electricity into the National Grid within 20 years.
Nuclear fusion, the power that lies at the heart of the sun, offers the prospect of clean, safe, carbon-free power with a minimum of radioactive waste. But despite decades of research the technical problems have seemed insurmountable."
On March 10, NIF broke a world record for a laser fusion facility as its array consumed 1.1 million joules of electricity, most likely generated by a coal-fired or a nuclear fission plant somewhere in the distance.
Originally posted by C0bzz
Prior to this article (what has now been taken down), all previous estimates that I had read indicated that fusion was likely to only be commercialized after 2050. Now all of a sudden it's under 20 years, or before 2030. Why the change? This leads me to believe that this either...:
A. Won't happen.
B. Will be a small scale research plant similar to ITER (etc) with a minor secondary role of producing electricity.
Advanced Nuclear fission has practically all the advantages of fusion, only it can be implemented earlier...
[edit on 25/2/2010 by C0bzz]
For the drawbacks of the primitive fission methods it is not worth
it as the waste
would vastly outweigh the small amounts of power provided.
The benefits of LFTR's
1. The LFTR is an extremely safe reactor design.
2. The thorium fuel cycle is efficient.
3. Elimination of the problem of nuclear waste.
4. Lowest fuel cycle costs coupled with very high fuel safety.
5. Lower manufacturing, construction and siting costs coupled with great manufacturing time efficiencies.
6. Liquid core reactors can be used to dispose of existing stocks of nuclear waste.
Kirsch summarises the key advantages of IFR as follows:
1. It can be fueled entirely with material recovered from today’s used nuclear fuel.
2. It consumes virtually all the long-lived radioactive isotopes that worry people who are concerned about the “nuclear waste problem,” reducing the needed isolation time to less than 500 years.
3. It could provide all the energy needed for centuries (perhaps as many as 50,000 years), feeding only on the uranium that has already been mined.
4. It uses uranium resources with 100 to 300 times the efficiency of today’s reactors.
5. It does not require enrichment of uranium.
6. It has less proliferation potential than the reprocessing method now used in several countries.
7. It’s 24×7 baseline power.
8. It can be built anywhere there is water.
9. The power is very inexpensive (some estimates are as low as 2 cents/kWh to produce).
10. Safe from melt down because if something goes wrong, the reactor naturally shuts down rather than blows up.
11. And, of course, it emits no greenhouse gases.