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Only three places in the space and time of our universe have ever produced anything close to these conditions: the Big Bang, when the universe was born in a primordial fireball; the interiors of stars and planets; and thermonuclear weapons.
NIF, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy´s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), will focus the intense energy of 192 giant laser beams on a BB-sized target filled with hydrogen fuel, fusing the hydrogen atoms' nuclei and releasing many times more energy than it took to initiate the fusion reaction. NIF is capable of creating temperatures and pressures similar to those that exist only in the cores of stars and giant planets and inside nuclear weapons. Achieving nuclear fusion in the laboratory is at the heart of the directorate´s three complementary missions:
As researchers develop concepts for IFE power plants, they are mindful of the need to develop safe and environmentally acceptable sources of energy. Use of low-activation materials and design options such as the thick liquid wall chamber can minimize the production of activated material over the life of the plant. Control of tritium will be important for any type of fusion power plant, since its release dominates consequences in analyses of hypothetical accident scenarios.
Originally posted by Xeven
Conspiracy? Gov hiding results or lazy web staff?
After consistant montly updates to their web news the NIF has gone silent just as they were ready to fire it up. Did they test it yet? What did they find? Why the suden silence? Were the result classified?
Weinberg and his men proved the efficacy of thorium reactors in hundreds of tests at Oak Ridge from the ’50s through the early ’70s. But thorium hit a dead end. Locked in a struggle with a nuclear- armed Soviet Union, the US government in the ’60s chose to build uranium-fueled reactors — in part because they produce plutonium that can be refined into weapons-grade material. The course of the nuclear industry was set for the next four decades, and thorium power became one of the great what-if technologies of the 20th century.
t 12:30 am, on August 26, 1977, the operators at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station began lifting the central modules of the experimental breeder reactor core into the blanket section. At 04:38 am, the reactor reached criticality. During the next five years, the core produced more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of thermal power - equivalent to about 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of electrical power - with a current retail value of approximately $200 million.
It showed no signs of approaching the end of its useful life. It was obvious from the core performance that the reactor was at least a very efficient converter with a long life core. However, in October, 1982, the reactor was shut down for the final time under budgetary pressures and a desire to conduct the detailed fuel examination needed to determine if breeding had actually occurred.
A report on the experiment was quietly issued in 1987. The core contained approximately 1.3% more fissile material after producing heat for five years than it did before initial operation. Breeding had occurred in a light water reactor system using most of the same equipment as used for conventional reactor plants.