posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 08:41 PM
Today, of course, reactors used to produce electricity are fission reactors, in which atoms are split. Fusion reactors, if they become reality, would
produce very little radioactivity, and would not be capable of creating the problems we have had with major reactor disasters such as the ones in
Japan, Three Mile Island or Russia. Fusion reactors would create much, much greater energy, but of course would require much more energy to fuse atoms
than is required to split them. Some believe that fusion reactors could become a reality sooner than originally thought:
Clean, limitless fusion power could arrive sooner than expected
Good news, denizens of Earth: If the findings from two premier research labs are to be believed, commercial nuclear fusion is feasible — and could
arrive sooner than expected.
The first breakthrough comes from Sandia National Laboratories (the same engineers who brought us the fanless heatsink). At SNL, a research team has
been working on a new way of creating fusion called magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF). This approach is quite similar to the National Ignition
Facility at the LLNL in California, where they fuse deuterium and tritium (hydrogen isotopes) by crushing and heating the fuel with 500 trillion watts
of laser power. Instead of lasers, MagLIF uses a massive magnetic pulse (26 million amps), created by Sandia’s Z Machine (a huge X-ray generator),
to crush a small cylinder containing the hydrogen fuel. Through various optimizations, the researchers discovered a MagLIF setup that almost breaks
even (i.e. it almost produces more thermal energy than the electrical energy required to begin the fusion reaction).
Probably more significant is news from the Joint European Torus (JET), a magnetic confinement fusion facility in the UK. JET is very similar to the
ITER nuclear fusion reactor, an international project which is being built in the south of France. Whereas NIF and Sandia create an instantaneous
fusion reaction using heat and pressure, ITER and JET confine the fusing plasma for a much longer duration using strong magnetic fields, and are thus
more inclined towards the steady production of electricity. JET’s breakthrough was the installation of a new beryllium-lined wall and tungsten floor
inside the tokamak — the doughnut-shaped inner vessel that confines 11-million-degrees-Celsius plasma
1.)What do you think would be the effect upon SOCIETY should this happen? I don't wish to debate whether this will happen, but assume it does. What
would happen to society, if all of a sudden, oil became obsolete, and all that powers it, were replaced by devices using fusion power?
2.)What effect would this have upon foreign policy, trade, balance of power in the world, poverty, wars, etc.?