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Developing nation China makes artificial Sun — nuclear fusion at 70 million degrees for 17 minutes

Amazing what countries too poor to commit to Net Zero get up to

China's EAST Tokamak, Nuclear Fusion. Artifical Sun.

China’s EAST Tokamak Reactor in 2015

China is the fastest growing nuclear power in the world, poised to have the largest fission fleet by 2030. But it has just scored a bit of a leap forward in nuclear fusion:

China’s Artificial Sun Breaks Record by Hitting 120 Million F in Race for Nuclear Fusion

Robert Lea, Newsweek

The team at China’s “artificial sun” fusion facility—the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST)—have said that on December 30, 2021, they were able to generate 120 million degrees Fahrenheit plasma (around 70 million degrees Celsius) and hold it for 1,056 seconds.

Tokamaks, like the donut-shaped EAST reactor, are often referred to as “artificial suns” as they are devices that replicate the fusion processes that occur within stars.

In the Sun, two hydrogen atoms are bashed together to make one helium atom, plus lots of energy. In stars the temperature only needs to be 60 million F (or 33 million degrees C) for that to be self sustaining, because the pressure is so much higher at the centre of the Sun. Here on Earth, we need to heat up the innards of the Fusion reactors to 270 million F or 133 million degrees C to make up for the lack of pressure. At that point, theoretically, the process will be self sustaining.

Allegedly the deuterium in one liter of seawater will produce power like 300 liters of oil.

So the race is on, but where is The West? Korea set a record in 2016 of  90 million F for 70 seconds. ITER, in France, is a consortium project of seven nations that includes China. It will be the “biggest” but won’t start plasma tricks ’til 2025.

Fusion is the Holy Grail of sustainable cheap energy, which will be handy to heat the world when the next ice age comes.

And we’ll never run out of helium for party balloons.

 

Wikimedia Image: Xiang Gao, Yao Yang, Tao Zhang, Haiqing Liu, Guoqiang Li, Tingfeng Ming, Zixi Liu, Yumin Wang, Long Zeng, Xiang Han et al.

9.5 out of 10 based on 72 ratings

128 comments to Developing nation China makes artificial Sun — nuclear fusion at 70 million degrees for 17 minutes

  • #
    tonyb

    The UK has had a fusion facility since 1965 and I remember going round it when it opened (I was obviously pushed round in a pram)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-systems-go-for-uks-55m-fusion-energy-experiment

    The centre has received over the years around £20 Billion and has recently installed a device similar to the Chinese one shown.

    It is often said that useable fusion power is only 5 years away. I think I first heard that said 45 years ago. Perhaps I am being too cynical, but perhaps the money could be better spent on carbon capture, as we seem to believe carbon needs to be captured.

    It would open up huge new opportunities for reliable energy if fossil fuels could be reintroduced back into the mix, if they could be made ‘green’.

    1117

    • #

      I have always heard that controlled fusion was ten years away. Now the wait is over. 17 minutes is astounding. I thought we were trying for seconds, not minutes. Now that we have controlled fusion we can start to think about usability. Only now.

      304

      • #
        RickWill

        Now the wait is over.

        They did not get more energy out than in during this experiment. In fact, this reactor will not have a gain higher than 1 if they achieve the peak confinement and duration concurrently.

        MIT have developed magnets that achieve field strength of 20Tesla. That leads to much smaller and practical confinement chambers. For comparison, ITER has a design confinement field strength of 5.7Tesla.

        There are other technologies that rely solely on the plasma properties or mechanical confinement to produce the containment but the highest gain achieved so far is less than 0.01.

        Once an experimental reactor demonstrates a gain factor exceeding 1 then the possibility for a commercial reactor will exist. That is the point where engineering realities are confronted and the economic merit understood. It usually takes 30 years from a successful experiment to widespread commercial adoption. Ten years from successful experiment is usually sufficient time to achieve commercial demonstration.

        It makes sense to exploit fission now because commercial fusion is still decades away.

        243

        • #
          Ian

          “It usually takes 30 years from a successful experiment to widespread commercial adoption. ”

          I guess that depends on what the successful experiment was. PCR was conceived in 1985 by Kary Mullis and first successfully used by Alex Jeffeys in 1986 to identify a criminal.

          210

          • #

            Ian,

            Sorry, but you are confusing laboratory scale achievement with commercial demonstration.

            A typical power station must operate for at least 30 years. The construction costs are recovered from sale of its profits in its first 15 years of investment, and the plant provides good returns on investment during the following 15 years. After that, its maintenance costs progressively increase until the return from sale of its product are not sufficient for it to be kept in service. These facts provide novelty risk to a plant intended to demonstrate novel technology.

            The novelty risk is high for technology with long item lifetimes. For example, a power station is expensive and its investment cost is lost if it fails in half its needed lifetime. The high risk applies high interest rates for money borrowed to enable the investment.

            The only available responses to this are
            (a)
            Government subsidy to overcome the cost of novelty risk for demonstration of new technology.

            This can be warranted if a government seeks to give its industries a lead in adoption of the novel technology, but it is open to abuse and misuse. For example, governments in several countries used it as an excuse to subsidise windfarms, but subsidies went to political supporters and have continued long after any novelty risk.
            (b)
            Minimising novelty risk by restricting novel technology to development of proven technology.
            This is often a possible method to obtain benefits from technological advance but limits the available benefit(s) of potential technologies. For example, novelty risk is low for a thermal power station that uses a supercritical steam cycle because failure of the power station induced by supercritical steam would require little modification for the equipment to operate as a conventional power station. But novelty risk is high for a pressurised fluidised bed power station because its failure could not be overcome by simple modification.
            (c)
            Demonstrations of several units of small scale equipment with short service life.
            This is the standard method used by the electronics industry for personal communications equipment. It has some application for power station technology. A standard pulverised fuel (PF) power station has an optimum size because its efficiency increases with size but its reliability reduces with increasing size: material constraints make the present optimum size ~2GW. A combined cycle coal-fired power station (e.g. ABGC) has little benefit from being larger than 300MW.
            This method is very unlikely to be useful for fusion power which is very likely to have similar efficiency benefits of scale to those of PF.

            These considerations suggest demonstration of fusion power for commercial use is at least 40 years in the future (as it has been throughout my long life).

            Richard

            20

      • #
        mobihci

        this negative returns will be a problem for a long time yet. continuous fusion itself is not that hard to achieve by eg the fusor designs – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell you can even build one in your back yard, but you will be using more power than you could possibly get back of course. these devices are probably the future, not tokamak, but who knows.

        interesting in that article that the Sydney Uni were doing some experiments recently –

        “In June 2019, the results of long-running experiments at the University of Sydney (USyd) were published in PhD thesis form by Richard Bowden-Reid. Using an experimental machine built at the university, the team probed the formation of the virtual electrodes.[102]

        Their work demonstrated that little or no trace of virtual electrode formation could be found. This left a mystery; both their machine and previous experiments showed clear and consistent evidence of the formation of a potential well that was trapping ions, which was previously ascribed to the formation of the electrodes. Exploring this problem, Bowden-Reid developed new field equations for the device that explained the potential well without electrode formation, and demonstrated that this matched both their results and those of previous experiments.[102]

        Further, exploring the overall mechanism of the virtual electrode concept demonstrated that its interactions with the ions and itself would make it “leak” at a furious rate. Assuming plasma densities and energies required for net energy production, it was calculated that new electrons would have to be supplied at an unfeasible rate of 200,000 amps.[102] ”

        guess it needs a bit more work. I dont know the details but there have been a lot of developments over time with fusors like the WB8 etc, but a lot have stalled.

        60

        • #
          clarence.t

          “this negative returns will be a problem for a long time yet.”

          hasn’t affected wind and solar !

          Only takes a huge subsidy to cure the problem 😉

          200

      • #
        TomH

        This wasn’t controlled fusion, it wasn’t even fusion, just a plasma.

        40

        • #
          mobihci

          there are fusion reactions going on in all these devices in the process of creating the plasma. eg the ITER, they say “expected to range from 10^14 n/s (neutrons per second) in pure deuterium (DD) plasmas and up to 10^21 n/s in deuterium-tritium (DT) plasmas.” from https://www.iter.org/newsline/-/2478 . not sure what the more recent counts are up to.

          the fusor side of development like – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertial_electrostatic_confinement they say ” researchers at University of Wisconsin–Madison reported a neutron rate of up to 5×10^9 per second at voltages of 120 kV from an electrostatic fusor without magnetic fields.” and so on. dont know what they are up to now.

          so, yes there is fusion going on, but the losses in all these systems are too high.

          00

    • #
      Don B

      Of course fabulous fossil fuels are green.

      They have captured and stored solar energy, been naturally developed in Nature’s sustainable compost heap, and are obviously organic.

      611

      • #
        Mal

        The Russians have stated that oil maybe an adiabatic process
        They drop well below the level where fossil fuels could have formed from natural processes
        If so oil could have a limitless life

        100

        • #
          MichaelinBrisbane

          The Russians are open-minded about the origin of petroleum ever since Dmitrii Mendeleev published his paper in 1877 in the “Revue Scientifique” (Paris) on “L’origine du petrole” in which he stated that petroleum could be synthesised plutonically.
          The Russians don’t limit themselves to sedimentary basins in their search for oil, or may even penetrate the sediments to sources in bedrock.
          The late Prof Lance Endersbee has a fascinating chapter about Mendeleev in his “A Voyage of Discovery” (self-published, Vic, 2005 ISBN 0-646-45301-7)

          100

      • #
        UK-Weather Lass

        Thank you, Don B, for the most apt response to all the fusion hype.

        Meanwhile we continue to largely ignore the virtures of fission nuclear energy and independent electricity generation capacity for every nation, including the poorest who may benefit if we redirect cheaper forms of fuel to them. However, the world is in dire need of a genuine leader who can root out and/or tone down the power held in academia, corporate monstrosities, and the corrupt political entities who have allowed immorality to prosper and thrive for at least two and a half decades.

        Fusion may eventually arrive and succeed, but in the meantime we have alternatives that don’t despoil our environment whilst achieving little in terms of solving the problems we think we have with fossil fuels. Nuclear is the way to go but it will still need fossil fuels to support the effort. You do not succeed by putting all your eggs in one basket. You have fingers in as many pies as you feel is necessary.

        30

    • #
      Ross+Holding

      Carbon capture – easy!! Just build a large green pipe from the top of any power station smokestack and then down into the ground. Then paint a large arrow onto that pipe pointing down into the ground with a “CO2 “ also. Large enough to be seen by anyone driving past. There’s your C sequestration because 99% of the population will believe it.

      150

      • #
        yarpos

        There is a so called “builder” that used to be in our town that does exactly that with water tank overflow. Nice 90mm pipe goes into ground then nothing. People dont find out till tank fills much later.

        In one place he put tanks over top of a septic tank so it couldnt be serviced. Looked good from a site layout sales perspective but of course it all blows up later.

        11

    • #
      DD

      It is often said that useable fusion power is only 5 years away. I think I first heard that said 45 years ago.

      ‘Renewables’ are getting cheaper and won’t require subsidies in just 5 years time … and the same will be true 5 years from now.

      15 years ago it was said that in just 5 years time lithium batteries would be practicable, wouldn’t degrade with each recharge and wouldn’t have accelerated degradation from fast charging … oh wait, that horse has already bolted. That’s why we’re onto hydrogen now.

      Hydrogen will replace fossil fuels in just 5 years time … and the same will be true 5 years from now.

      140

    • #
      TomH

      Where did you get the figure of £20billion from?

      01

    • #
      Deano

      I remember in the UK TV doco ‘Seven Up’ one of the subjects in a segment made around the late 70’s or early 80’s had become a physicist. He was working on nuclear fusion in a British university and felt confident they were not far from a practical generator back then.

      00

  • #

    China has “committed” to net zero in 2060. It is all just political promises but they have made one.

    134

  • #

    China is a developing nation on a per capita income basis. On a science and engineering basis they are among the leaders. In some fields they are the leaders. Of course when you are building numerous entire cities you can try lots of fun stuff. On the electric power side they generate more than the US, EU and UK combined. Lots of room to experiment there too. They are the industrial giants of today’s world. (They build a great coal fired power plant.)

    Back in the late 1970’s I took my issue analysis discoveries commercial. My first big client was a major chemical company and their question was “Where in the US can we build our next chemical plant?” I turned the crank and out came this answer — NOWHERE. The rest is China’s history.

    252

    • #
      Kevin T Kilty

      “Of course when you are building numerous entire cities you can try lots of fun stuff.”

      When you are building numerous, empty cities. You can put yourself in a mortgage crisis like Japan of the 1990s. I wonder if China might end up old and broke.

      10

  • #
    Peter Fitzroy

    Marvellous what a long standing commitment to science and technology can do.

    235

    • #
      Klem

      Marvellous what a long standing commitment to stealing science and technology can do.

      531

    • #
      David Maddison

      Peter, are you not aware that much of the technology of the Chinese communist regime is stolen or copied from the West? That includes both civilian and military tech..

      President Trump attempted to address the problem with respect to theft of intellectual property from US companies but I guess it’s now back to being as bad as it was under the Obama regime.

      https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/28/1-in-5-companies-say-china-stole-their-ip-within-the-last-year-cnbc.html

      250

      • #
        Peter Fitzroy

        And how did the Chinese do this?
        Why didn’t the west keep their secrets?
        Where are the court cases?
        Where are the patent protections

        There was no steal, it was given in return for cheap stuff in Walmart.

        533

        • #
          David Maddison

          Peter, the Chicomms had and still do have organised programs of IP theft. Some of it is done by “students” who get embedded to US companies, other is done by traditional means. It was particularly prevalent under the anti-American policies of Obama.

          In an Australian case I’m personally aware of the Chicomms hacked into an Australian company’s computers and stole all the CAD/CAM files of a product and reproduced the stolen oroduct precisely and started selling it at a much lower cost driving the company out of business.

          Why would the Chicomms respect US or Western patents?

          In what court would they be prosecuted?

          And the US didn’t do it in return for cheap goods. No one wants or deserves to have their IP stolen.

          But I know Leftists have a hard time understanding people have a right to enjoy the productive fruits of their labours.

          I can’t believe you are that naive.

          300

          • #
            el+gordo

            We are all in this together, cheap energy for the masses, regardless of who owns the patent.

            014

          • #
            KP

            That is the way of the world DM, and a good thing too! All through history people have invented new things and then its been copied and improved, so we have all benefited.

            Patents merely slow down progress, particularly in these modern times when things are patented to stop anyone making them. We would all have a much poorer standard of living without China copying and mass-producing our goods.

            As for China in particular, they are just the next iteration of a poor country dragging itself into the modern world, like Japan did. China will also get too expensive in the future, and Chinese companies will be off-shoring their production to the next cheapest labour source. You won’t stop this cycle, the same as it is impossible to stop them copying others, it merely points out that the business model we have used for the last couple of hundred years has run its course. We have moved from mass-produced manufacturing to a service economy, and there is no going back.

            Wait for the robots to take over….

            33

          • #
            MP

            In a time when we have achieved perpetual motion, I should not be questioning this.
            Bang two similar elements together creates another, have we achieved alchemy also?

            41

        • #
          yarpos

          Clearly never tried to do business in China then. Let me guess , public servant?

          20

      • #
        RickWill

        China have a major role in the ITER project. This experimental reactor in China provides much of the engineering and science that supports the development of ITER.

        ITER is like a camel – a horse designed by a committee. China is able to demonstrate its ideas by achieving compelling results. That gives them influence in the ITER development.

        I believe MIT are now on a smarter path than ITER but it probably required the ITER development for the background to incentivise their SPARC project.

        There is a lot of money going into fusion research and it is close to critical mass with lots off ideas under development.

        25

    • #
      clarence.t

      “a long standing commitment to science and technology can do.”

      Maybe you should at least start !

      61

    • #
      clarence.t

      “a long standing commitment to science and technology can do.”

      Yep, and the continued building of coal fired power stations is part of the commitment.

      Like everywhere, they can achieve absolutely nothing without them… except backward leaps.

      EU, UK, Germany, SA etc are starting to find out what happens when you let unscientific greenie ideology take over from rational science and technology.

      170

  • #
    Ed Zuiderwijk

    No reference to any publication. And nothing about this:

    At 70 million degrees any sizeble quantity of gas will generate Megawatts by the zillions. But no mention of it, apprently not used for any good purpose. Unless of course, the quantity of gas at such a temperature was disappointingly small. Which means that they have a long way to go.

    Incidently, 40 years ago I, as part of my graduate studies, worked in a research group dealing with such pinched plasma arcs at temperatures over 100 million degrees for a few micro seconds. 17 minutes is a great improvement, of course.

    210

    • #
      roman

      “At 70 million degrees any sizeble quantity of gas will generate Megawatts by the zillions.”
      Will such heated gas ‘generate’ power or will it just release what was put in to get it that hot in the first place?

      170

    • #
      Lawrie

      All that Helium being released might send the enviros into conniptions. Will we be hearing about the giant Helium cloud which will soon, within the next decade at least, make Earth uninhabitable? The only solution will be more windmills.

      170

      • #
        Raven

        It’s almost psychotic isn’t it.

        We didn’t leave windmills the last time because we ran out of wind.

        30

    • #
      RickWill

      No reference to any publication. And nothing about this:

      You need to go looking to see what the experimental aims are. They are hopeful of achieving an energy gain close to 1 but not above 1:

      http://east.ipp.ac.cn/index/article/info/id/36.html

      05

  • #
    sophocles

    It seems that the warmists are beginning to realise that climate is not driven by CO2 but by the Sun.

    In 8 years time, it’s going to be miserable. Zharkova et al are making noises about the current GSM is for it to be another Maunder one. Deep! Sheet! I hope it won’t be that deep! But the Sun is aligning to go cold …

    Carbon based fuels will become popular again.

    Mind you, I’m laughing at the Beeb Beeb Ceeb.

    Here’s the Grand Solar Minimum
    https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPLq_Dixs8A&list=PL51TAr4gmxRCtMwTg9zMX9il1wczkmZh2&index=9
    or GSM – Modern Grand Solar Minimum Documentary

    At long last. Enjoy and start preparing for the coming cold …

    291

    • #
      roman

      I’ll accept the coming ice age only after all the bureaucrats and scientists and journalists and bankers that pushed for the decommissioning of coal plants go to jail for fraud and professional negligence and endangerment of human life, etc – and also for just being such priks this whole time..

      350

      • #
        OldOzzie

        Virginia traffic jam provides reminder of limitations of electric cars

        It must have been awful, but it could have been worse. And, as Charles Lane explains, it would have been much worse if there had been many more electric vehicles (EVs) in the traffic jam.

        Lane writes:

        Sometime after 3 a.m. Tuesday. . .a long-haul trucker from Canada heard a knock at the door of his cab. It was one of the hundreds of other motorists stuck in subfreezing temperatures with no food or water.

        The supplicant was “driving a Tesla,” recounted the trucker, who told the story on Twitter under the handle My World Through A Windshield, “and he’s worried about running out of power in the cold. [It’s] 19°F or -7°C. He’s a nice guy who was worried about his kids. I gave him some water, a spare blanket and [a] thermal/mylar blanket.”

        To be sure, cold also affects the performance of gas-powered vehicles and many were left stranded in Virginia after they ran out of fuel or their batteries died. But, says Lane:

        All else being equal, though, cars and trucks with internal combustion engines (ICE) would have the advantage in coping with a sudden challenge such as the I-95 fiasco. It is much easier to rehabilitate a disabled ICE vehicle. Rescuers can deliver gallons of gas in convenient jugs; gas stations are still far more numerous than EV charging stations; and ICE car batteries can be jump-started in minutes.

        Absent some breakthrough in mobile charging technology, out-of-juice EVs in out-of-the-way places will need a tow. If Monday’s nightmare had been an all-electric affair, they might have littered the highway for miles.

        200

    • #
      Don B

      “I will demonstrate with newly discovered solar activity proxy-magnetic field that the Sun has entered into the modern Grand Solar Minimum (2020–2053) that will lead to a significant reduction of solar magnetic field and activity like during Maunder minimum leading to noticeable reduction of terrestrial temperature.”

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7575229/

      70

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Don B:
        While I accept Zharkova’s premise that reduced solar activity leads to a cooler Earth, but the Little Ice Age was characterised by lots of cloudy skies and considerable volcanic activity. The cloudy skies can be explained by a reduction in the solar wind allowing more cosmic rays to reach the atmosphere (Svensmark) and the drop in temperature made worse by volcanic aerosols in the Troposphere or Stratosphere (as seen with cooling after the 1783 eruption in Iceland, Mt. Tambora in 1815 (followed by the year without summer), the cooling after Krakatoa (1883) and even after Mt. Pinatubo. The latter dropped the world temperature about 0.5℃ for a V.I. of 6, and there were several eruptions of that magnitude at the start, and during the Little Ice Age.
        I notice that there is more admission that the Little Ice Age was colder recently, despite claims in the 1990’s that the CO2 level was constant and around 270-280p.p.m. so it couldn’t have been more than a 0.5℃ cooler. Stangely no-one noted that the CO2 was level (from ice cores) despite 450 years of colder air temperatures.

        70

      • #
        Lawrie

        I am guessing I won’t be seeing anything about this research in the Sydney Morning Herald or on Their ABC and probably not in the young Murdoch press either. I even wonder if the bright young ignorami advising PM Morrison will mention it either. Such a pity as it could save us a fortune in tilting at windmills. I will pass it on to my local member and I suggest you all let your respective reps know as well. Yes, they will probably ignore you so keep a copy for the “I told you so moment” later on.

        40

    • #
      WXcycles

      Warming into a nicer Earth is not OK, like, … murgency!

      But cooling into a miserable, suffering and dying world is just fine, you can go back to sleep now, all good.

      The stupidity and hypocrisy of the fake-Greenies, scummy media and corrupt politicians knows no limit.

      132

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        And the curious thing is that the current temperature is lower than for most of the last 10,000 years.
        What is the emergency?

        100

    • #
      David Maddison

      Carbon based fuels will be rationed only for the Elites.

      The serfs will have to make do with random trickles of unreliables.

      80

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    An artificial sun could be very useful to generate power and heat if your access to coal from other countries is cut off and your in the middle of a mini ice age…..

    Meanwhile in the west…crops have failed and bird shredders are frozen solid due to the long cold periods of the MIA….

    101

  • #
    Erasmus

    The eviroloons will still not like it.
    But of course they are just useful idiots, wedges being driven into every crack in the western civilisation structure.

    230

  • #
    Druid144

    David+W
    From the article they do not yet seem to have reached fusion. The temperature so far is 120M degF; it states that we need 270M F to reach fusion. I too remember a book from about 1960 stating that fusion is 20 to 30 years away; it seems to me that it still is…

    120

    • #
      RickWill

      Even if all the experimental objectives for EAST align, they will not achieve an energy gain above 1.

      MIT are developing a smaller unit with much higher confinement field strength that might get more energy out than it takes in. The magnet technology has been tested and is being scaled up to the size required for the planned containment vessel:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXLO3-7BRwQ
      This design should get a gain factor above 1 in a vessel of practical scale.

      15

    • #
      NuThink

      Druid144

      Tomorrow never comes – it is always a day away.

      40

    • #
      NuThink

      Druid144,
      Remember Cold Fusion.

      Cold fusion is a hypothesized type of nuclear reaction that would occur at, or near, room temperature. It would contrast starkly with the “hot” fusion that is known to take place naturally within stars and artificially in hydrogen bombs and prototype fusion reactors under immense pressure and at temperatures of millions of degrees, and be distinguished from muon-catalyzed fusion. There is currently no accepted theoretical model that would allow cold fusion to occur.

      In 1989, two electrochemists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, reported that their apparatus had produced anomalous heat (“excess heat”) of a magnitude they asserted would defy explanation except in terms of nuclear processes.[1] They further reported measuring small amounts of nuclear reaction byproducts, including neutrons and tritium.[2] The small tabletop experiment involved electrolysis of heavy water on the surface of a palladium (Pd) electrode.[3] The reported results received wide media attention[3] and raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy.[4]

      Many scientists tried to replicate the experiment with the few details available. Hopes faded with the large number of negative replications, the withdrawal of many reported positive replications, the discovery of flaws and sources of experimental error in the original experiment, and finally the discovery that Fleischmann and Pons had not actually detected nuclear reaction byproducts.[5] By late 1989, most scientists considered cold fusion claims dead,[6][7] and cold fusion subsequently gained a reputation as pathological science.[8][9] In 1989 the United States Department of Energy (DOE) concluded that the reported results of excess heat did not present convincing evidence of a useful source of energy and decided against allocating funding specifically for cold fusion. A second DOE review in 2004, which looked at new research, reached similar conclusions and did not result in DOE funding of cold fusion.[10] Presently, since articles about cold fusion are rarely published in peer-reviewed mainstream scientific journals, they do not attract the level of scrutiny expected for mainstream scientific publications.[11]

      50

  • #
    PeterS

    According to a variety of sources it cost $1 trillion. It will be wonderful if they can get the cost down dramatically so we can start using such technology to replace all other forms of power generation, including the unreliable renewables. Then again cost shouldn’t be an issue given the so called emergency to stop the world from man-made catastrophic global warming, which has been driving the great push towards renewables also at great cost, right?

    51

  • #
    Mike+Jonas

    I would be extremely cautious about any announcement from China. Their first priority is to look good. Their second priority is to damage the west. Truth is not on their priority list.

    What have they actually achieved? The west have reported positive net energy. I saw no mention of that from the Chinese, only high temperatures.

    NB. This is a race that the west must win for their own survival.

    170

    • #
      Old Cocky

      Net Positive is a major milestone. That will be well worth watching.

      40

    • #
      RickWill

      The west have reported positive net energy.

      The gain was less than 1. The link even states that if you read the detail:

      The experiment, conducted on 8 August, fell just short of that mark; the input from the lasers was 1.9 megajoules.

      So an energy output of 1.3MJ for energy input of 1.9MJ; makes Q=0.7. Still not bad and very close to the previous best. The problem that I see with these reactors is how to engineer “steady” output from short duration impulses.

      34

    • #
      WXcycles

      Yes, especially, given they have no coal stocks, and their heavy industry is currently shut down (they openly admitted this at the beginning of December, and said it will stay that way well into spring). The people involved in those industries are now out of work, and the power-grid is failing all over in the middle of winter. They’ve had to admit this too, but blamed it on BigCommie™ lowering CO2 emissions (as if!), and on rime-icing bringing down transmission cables.

      So yeah, a good-news story about endless fusion-power is just the ticket for BigCommie™ right now, given they will have no coal supply from Indonesia, or Australia, for the next 6 weeks or so.

      The schish is going to be hitting the fan big time for BigCommie™, in Jan and Feb, people will freeze in big numbers, and the survivors will not forget the nature of the bunch of incompetent ignorant and hopeless liars are running China and its people into the ground.

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        Graeme No.3

        WXcycles:

        Why pick on China and not the UK, or Germany or other countries (or indeed the EU bureaucracy) where the situation is worse in that they haven’t (yet) realised that they have problems. The UK government is still waffling about EVs recharging (separate SMART) charger so the can charge more and draw from the car battery at will. The loons in Germany want to shut down all coal fired and nuclear generation (and run short of gas supplies) when these are what is keeping the lights on.

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    Neville

    Who knows when/if fusion will ever be practical or possible, but after this 17 minute achievement it could be achievable by 2050.
    All the stars like our Sun last for billions of years and so far our very ordinary star/sun seems to be on track for a few more billion years of service.
    That’s what the the scientists were saying last time I read up on their latest prediction.
    You have to admire the Chinese CCP for their commitment to Science and they’ve also been given a free, global co2 pass until 2060 at least. Unbelievable but true.
    But for the so called developed OECD countries it has been idiocy all the way for decades and no sign of any change soon. Perhaps when the energy crap really hits the fan the people will start to wake up and force these fools to return to proper base-load energy again?
    Who wants TOXIC, unreliable garbage like S & W anyway?

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    TdeF

    This is an incredible oven and a great development in containment of massively hot gases, but how much fusion energy was generated? Likely none. We nearly have the cart, not the horse.

    The real breakthrough last year was to use lasers to generate real fusion which was nett positive in total energy. More energy came out than went in and the compression of super hot hydrogen was 10,000:1. That’s fusion based on massive compression of super hot hydrogen and massively concentrated energy. But more energy came out than went in. Incredible. And it’s US commercial speculation, university based, not military.

    So how is the $1,500,000,000,000 a year every year spent on stopping the rise of CO2 going? Silly question. No one cares about CO2 so it is never mentioned. It’s making windmill giants China and Germany rich but otherwise a utter failure.

    That’s partly because CO2 is in rapid equilibrium and man made CO2 driven Global Warming is utter nonsense, a chain of unproven ideas concocted in 1988 and proven completely wrong.

    Yes, fusion is the future and this work is incredible. Now throw a trillion dollars a year and all the best scientists at it like the Manhattan project.

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      clarence.t

      No cognitive performance issues or safety issues with CO2 at levels of 20,000ppm

      https://notrickszone.com/2022/01/06/study-suggests-human-exposure-to-20000-ppm-co2-has-no-effect-on-cognition-health/

      There is absolutely no reason for not using reliable, cheap COAL as a main form of energy supply.

      Any possible level of atmospheric CO2 is totally beneficial to all life on Earth, has zero warming effect, and has zero detrimental affect on anything or anyone.

      (unfortunately, with the Sun going to sleep…. we could use all the Clayton’s warming the alarmistas say we will get… adjusting temperature data is not really going to help with reality !)

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        TdeF

        That’s 0.02 or 2%! 50x the current levels.

        But could you imagine the jungles? So far according to the CSIRO and NASA, Greening has scaled with CO2. Which destroys the whole argument of man controllable CO2. After all, who needs to plant trees when they are planting themselves and CO2 is NOT going down but up? The idea that CO2 stays in the air is beyond a lie, it is ridiculous. After all fish breathe. Where do they get their oxygen?
        And with CO2 30x as soluble as O2, why isn’t it all absorbed quickly? Of course it is.

        What is egregious is the infantile logic that increased aerial CO2 increases ocean CO2? Ocean CO2 is agreed to be 50x that of aerial CO2. And this spawned another fake science, Ocean Acidification. We even had a CSIRO international conference in Hobart! On something which is absurd. You cannot change physical science. Heat beer and the CO2 comes out but who has suggested that warming oceans increase CO2? No one. Surely that is obvious?

        After 35 years with no visible sea level rise on the planet and none expected, it is a university driven cult. And no one in politics dares say otherwise or they are cancelled. So all we see are retired scientists calling it crap. If like Professor Peter Ridd, if you still have a job, you will not only be fired, you will be stripped of all retirement benefits and hounded through the courts.

        As Ex Prime Minister Tony Abbott said clearly, Climate Change is crap. He did not last long, sadly. Honesty and truth are not welcome in politics or the public service. It’s all about the side.

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        David Maddison

        Yes. The US Navy is being extremely conservative when they impose an upper limit of 8000ppm CO2 in their submarine atmospheres when it could easily be well over double that.

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      clarence.t

      “This is an incredible oven”

      How quick for a decent roast dinner ! 😉

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    Bruce

    The key to CONTROLLABLE fusion is GRAVITY, specifically adjustable artificial gravity. Of course, in the process there may be “developments in “anti-gravity”..

    Bear in mind that before and during WW2, German (and other) scientists were playing (very seriously) with:

    Liquid-fueled, intercontinental ballistic missiles, Battlefield Fuel-Air explosive (Used at leas once on the Eastern Front),
    Turbo-jet engines,
    Hyper-sonic intercontinental ram-jet-powered aircraft (possibly similar to the “SCRAM” jet work done at the University of Queensland in teh last decade or so),
    Battlefield tactical fission bombs the size of a football.
    Cyclotrons, particle accelerators and functioning, compact fission reactors.

    And so on.

    At the the end of that great Unpleasantness, the US, Canada, Britain and France grabbed their “Nazi scientists” and the soviets grabbed theirs.

    Interesting times.

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    David Maddison

    Commercial fusion power has always been 30-50 years away.

    A cooling earth will need it much sooner than that if coal, gas and fission power is not allowed to be used.

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    Peter C

    In the sun two hydrogen atoms are bashed together to make one helium atom plus lots of energy.

    If the Chinese are using that principle they are bound to fail!!!

    I think it takes four hydrogen atoms to make one helium atom, but I am sure that someone will correct me if I am wrong.

    Come in Oliver K Manuel.

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    • #
      TdeF

      It’s not one step but a sequence of 3 steps from

      H one proton
      to
      He two protons and two neutrons. So where do you get the two extra neutrons? Two hydrogens are not enough and unstable. You need neutrons to hold it together.

      First you have to form deuterium.

      2H. Deuterium. Heavy hydrogen. One proton plus one neutron (Tritium is one proton, two neutrons). So twice the weight of normal hydrogen.

      But why make deuterium at all?

      This is naturally occurring in sea water? Heavy water. A famous commando raid in Norway destroyed Hitler’s heavy water facility.

      Now mix deuterium with hydrogen gas and a single deuterium atom can collide which with a single hydrogen, forming a light helium.

      3He
      Two protons now and still one neutron. Weight 3 instead of normal Helium weight 4.

      The last step is that the collision of two of these light Helium atoms. Then a total of 4 protons and two neutrons, ejecting two protons as hydrogen and leaving a stock standard
      4He Helium. Two protons, two neutrons.

      The energy release here is fantastic, as originally predicted. But the original hydrogen bomb blast at Bikini atoll was perhaps 100x as big as the designers had predicted, taking us from 60kton bombs as used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the terrible world of 6 megaton and then 100 megaton bombs. They had their calculations of the yield completely wrong. If the bomb in New Mexico was Shiva, the Destroyer of Worlds, a new horror 1000x as big was created.

      It’s hard to imagine a bomb which is 1600x Hiroshimas.

      The power released at the far end of the scale with Uranium is amazing but a fraction of the power available from deuterium.
      A long time ago, this was waste matter from the sun. What we have to do is recreate the density and temperature of the sun to complete the process. Temperature is not enough if you want tiny, tiny things to collide.

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        TdeF

        I suspect this toroidal containment idea allows very high speed, forms a current which is constrained by gigantic magnetic forces and the speed technically corresponds to very high temperatures with high kinetic energy. However that does not mean collisions as all the helium atoms are travelling in the same direction!

        What may be needed is to create two of these and have the streams collide, but the need for multiple collisions to turn Deuterium into Helium in a two step process is a real problem. A single collision is not enough, the collision products must stay in the system. We need the equivalent of a figure 8, a sort of electromagnetic Klein bottle, even a double toroidal vortex. I wonder if this could be made stable because it would translate very high speed into collisions.

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        • #
          TdeF

          Or four of these connected by lines constrained by powerful super conducting magnets. Two toroids to create the streams which yield light Helium and these fed into two more which create the helium. That would at least move the heat generating area away from the stream accelerators which these toroids become. This is extremely tricky because if the stream touched anything it would instantly vaporize at temperatures a hundred times greater than a plasma arc.

          Or if two streams could be fed into one toroid, the question is whether they could both be stable with reverse currents.

          The technology used in the early cyclotrons and then linear accelerators and especially with the recent successful search for the Higgs Boson could be combined. You always have the very tricky problem of converting such extreme heat into useful energy, but a lot of that technology is in place from current nuclear power stations. And presumably the radiation risks are far lower than conventional nuclear as the atoms are so light and neutrons stop in heavy water.

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        TdeF

        And deuterium is one hydrogen atom in 6420. Which is an enormous amount in total given the enormous size of the oceans.

        You can tell deuterium easily by weight. H2O usually weighs 2 + 16 or 18 amu. Deuterium weighs 19amu. This is 5%! Consider U235 is two off the common stable U238, it is 3/235 or 1.3%. You cannot separate isotopes chemically as they are chemically identical, except in weight so elaborate centrifuges are used. Deuterium based water is separate by chemical exchange.

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    Philip

    Good thing that we’re throwing everything into windmills. It will be a very expensive Betamax machine one day soon.

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  • #
    Dariusz

    Repeating Chinese propaganda.
    High temperatures achieved are routine now, but no net energy gain.
    They can’t even build properly. Communist China like Soviet Union will disappear leaving ruined monstrosities in 20 years.
    See Soviet buildings now, this is how Chima will look in 20 years.

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    • #
      el+gordo

      Apples and pears, Beijing walked away from old world socialism after the death of Mao and gang of four.

      Beijing has created the greatest economic revolution the world has ever seen, its socialism with Chinese characteristics.

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    Dean

    What happens when this leaks out of a Chinese Lab?

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    Aaron

    Stand by for another Chinese catastrophe in 5 4 3…

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    David Maddison

    The Chicomms can afford to indulge in fusion research because they are not forced to spend billion$ or trillion$ on useless unreliable energy projects or ineffectual COVID “vaccines” and associated lock ups and economic shutdowns.

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    David Maddison

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8827-no-future-for-fusion-power-says-top-scientist/

    No future for fusion power, says top scientist

    TECHNOLOGY March 9, 2006 19:00
    By David L Chandler

    Nuclear fusion will never be a practical source of electrical power, argues a prominent scientist in the journal Science.

    Even nuclear fusion’s staunchest advocates admit a power-producing fusion plant is still decades away at best, despite forty years of hard work and well over $20 billion spent on the research. But the new paper, personally backed by the journal’s editor, issues a strong challenge to the entire fusion programme, arguing that the whole massive endeavour is never likely to lead to anything practical or useful.

    “The history of this dream is as discouraging as it is expensive,” wrote William Parkins, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project during the second world war, who later became the chief scientist at US engineering firm Rockwell International.

    Sadly, Parkins passed away while his lengthy paper, which makes its case on engineering grounds, was being edited. But Donald Kennedy, Science’s editor considered the paper important enough to run the piece posthumously, in a condensed form, and to stand behind its conclusions personally.

    SEE LINK FOR REST

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    Ross+Holding

    The lefties and the gullible public will love this. So not only will they think renewable energy can power a grid they will think fusion power is just around the corner. If it’s the Chinese doing it, even more popular.

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    • #
      TdeF

      Not at all a bad thing if people really want real, reliable, non polluting, endless power without fossil fuel.

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      • #
        TdeF

        I think the knee jerk reaction is wrong. You cannot change gullibility. But given that, you can be slightly clever.

        We have tried for 35 years to tell people that CO2 is not driving Global Warming, but who has listened? What’s the practical solution?

        Many people are scared of fission. Who wants an atom bomb in their area? Or Chernobyl? The Greens love this logic.

        But Fusion may be acceptable, natural. Real solar energy. Hard to refuse.

        If Fusion can attract mass funding from voters terrified of both Climate Change and Nuclear power, the usual combination, that would be a good thing. And fusion ultimately is the answer.

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      yarpos

      Most everything on the leftist agenda is always just over the horizon/imminent/near production. If anything does get near reality it normal for it to be a disaster (SA grid, Energiewende, Bidens first 12 months, full self driving, closing the gap)

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    Turtle

    If we crack fusion those windmills are going to look very silly.

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  • #

    Tokamaks are a road to nowhere economically. Pulsed fusion schemes are way cheaper and more viable and far closer to market.

    Demonstrator commercial fusion plants will be supplying to grid within 5-10 years. A Huge tech gold rush is about to begin.

    There are 4 fusion companies to watch who are only a couple of years away from commercial fusion power:
    Helion, a Field Reveresed Configuration (smash plasma toroids into each other at immense speed) with direct conversion to electricity (95% efficient fusion-electricity) and no superconduction. They have demonstrated all the elements and most of the performance needed and with relatively simple scaling up to get last increase in performance they need for grid power and are now in process of building a commercial (net electricity output!!!) break-even performance demonstrator Polaris to operate in 2024. Targeting $0.01/kWh eventually.
    ZAP, a shear enhanced Z-Pinch, who also expect Q>1 breakeven in 2023 and commercial power in about 5 years.
    TriAlpha, another FRC, not far behind Helion; 2025 break-even.
    General Fusion, piston driven collapsing spinning liquid metal blanket to compress a plasma toroid, probably3-5 years from break even.

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    • #

      Thanks! Please do come back and share the best links. If what you are saying is true “this changes everything”.

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      • #

        talk-polywell.org is a good source for informed non-tokamak fusion news commentary.

        Small modular fast breeder reactors (likely molten salt) are still probably a better long term solution given hassles of tritium production and handling. Just need a few 10’s of billions investment in engineering development for a cheap compact power source that could keep the lights on for the next few billion years on earth with tiny amounts of waste.

        [Foyle, for some reason it got trapped in spam. Apologies! Thanks for the tip about the news source. – Jo]

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      Leo G

      Helion, a Field Reveresed Configuration (smash plasma toroids into each other at immense speed) with direct conversion to electricity (95% efficient fusion-electricity) and no superconduction.

      According to a recent article in Forbes Business The Helion project is funded by the likes of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Peter Thiel, with CIA involvement.

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    Timbr

    Had to laugh at the sign off – “plenty of helium for balloons” . Helium in balloons is banned in some areas or soon will be.
    Not allowed to have fun anymore.

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    • #
      Curious George

      Any particular reason, or do you mean hydrogen?

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        Bruce

        “Recreational Helium” as used to inflate part balloons, is only partially Helium, the balance appears to be that old devil gas, Carbon Dioxide.

        Pretty much ALL of the Helium used for serious and trivial pursuits is DRILLED OUT OF THE GROUND. There are supposed to be a couple of wells here in oz; CO2 is likewise extracted from deep underground, notably in Western Queensland. I’m sure a talented planetary geologist will pop up to explain how all these interesting gases came to be buried deep underground.

        Dangerous properties?

        Helium is inert but CO2 is an asphyxiant; neither are deadly as with Cyanide, but if you play the “silly-voices” game with too many party balloons; (inhaling the gas mix from party balloons and then trying to talk), your blood oxygen levels will fall fairly rapidly. Playing this game after half a dozen tequila slammers is an ill-advised practice.

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    David Maddison

    Leftists are already waging a war against the likely cost of fusion power if it is ever economically viable suggesting the unreliables will still be cheaper than commercial fusion power.

    This is from Far Left Wikipedia.

    Presently, economists suggest fusion power is unlikely to be as cheap as renewable energy. Fusion plants, much like fission plants, will have large start up and capital costs as the cost of the materials, machinery and infrastructure required to construct these fusions plants is likely to be exorbitant. Moreover, the operation and maintenance of these highly specialised plants are likely to be costly as well. While the operation and construction costs of the CFETR are not well known, an EU DEMO fusion concept is projected to have a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of $121/MWh.

    Furthermore, economists suggest that fusion energy becomes $16.5/ MWh more costly for every $1 billion increase in the price of fusion technology. This high LCOE is largely a result of high capital costs incurred in the construction of fusion plants.

    In contrast, the LCOE of renewables appears substantially lower. For instance, the LCOE of solar energy appears to be $40-$46/ MWh, onshore wind is estimated at 29-56$/ MWh, and offshore wind is approximately $92/ MWh. As such, these cost-effective options appear to be the more economically viable ones.

    The BS just never ends…

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      TdeF

      We keep hearing how cheap wind and solar are. So why is energy cost skyrocketing around the world? And who wants intermittent energy? No one.

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    John in Oz

    Allegedly the deuterium in one liter of seawater will produce power like 300 liters of oil.

    I’m glad I won’t be around when we hit peak sea water

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    Rod

    70 million degrees for 17 minutes eh…

    That feels like an average meal for us Chili heads!!

    (and for both ends)

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    Rob+Jones

    STEM fields in the West are increasingly weighed down with Diversity Inclusion and Equity (DIE) requirements foisted on them by woke university administrators
    . The Chinese…not so much…hence the rapid progress.

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    Ian Bryce

    is the time really 1,026 seconds or 1.026 seconds?

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    John+R+Smith

    Whether it’s space travel, robotics, fusion, ending poverty and bigotry, there is a human tendency to look to a future better state. Ignoring that we live now.
    It’s either an anthropogenic future social/technological utopia or an anthropogenic climate catastrophe.
    Anthropogenic is quasi religious BS word.
    The construct of our existence is pogenic of all that is in the existence.
    The only utopia is the utopia now.
    Flight, automobiles, miracle medicine (not withstanding current corruption), instant access to information and global communication with a pocket hand held device.
    Utopic as utopia is gonna get.
    It is blocked by a sociopathic, damaged by self indulgence, brainwashed, shockingly immature, spoiled child social strata that the rest of us have been derelict in standing up to.

    I’m not holding my breath for energy nirvana.
    (I’m still mad about the space travel thing.)

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      PeterS

      Fair enough. As I say to those who ask me about space travel, I respond by saying, let me know when we find a way to travel through a man-made wormhole, space folding or whatever to overcome the speed limitations. Otherwise, it’s not very useful. The Universe is huge and I would love to hop around to far distant places and back again over say a week.

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        John+R+Smith

        Peter,
        a lot of brain calories are extinguished postulating the future.
        As I’ve harped before, go back in time to 1970 and inform people that “after Apollo no human will travel in space, the interplanetary not earth atmosphere-magnetosphere space, well into the 21st century.”
        (The ISS is not in interplanetary space, it is in the high atmosphere.)
        They might hospitalize you.
        Plus, we (at least I) are mushrooms, who knows what we’re not being told.
        Most postulations of the future are propaganda and advertising.
        Gemini was a spy op on the Soviets.
        The truth is NASA was a propaganda construct.
        Science in general has become the same.

        I just find it interesting the Star Trek vision of the future, that was such a huge cultural presence, has turned out to be a complete bust.
        George Orwell was dead on though, just got the timing a little off.
        And the Borg will turn out to be us.

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    Mark Kaiser

    have said that on December 30, 2021, they were able to generate 120 million degrees Fahrenheit plasma (around 70 million degrees Celsius) and hold it for 1,056 seconds.

    So, more reliable than wind power!

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    Peterg

    Step 1: Get more energy out than what is put in
    Step 2: Create energy more profitably than alternate sources, such as fission, coal, gas, hydro.
    Step 3: profit.

    Step 3 is a heck of a long way off. Probably about the time we start mining asteroids.

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    Ian,

    Sorry, but you are confusing laboratory scale achievement with commercial demonstration.

    A typical power station must operate for at least 30 years. The construction costs are recovered from sale of its profits in its first 15 years of investment, and the plant provides good returns on investment during the following 15 years. After that, its maintenance costs progressively increase until the return from sale of its product are not sufficient for it to be kept in service. These facts provide novelty risk to a plant intended to demonstrate novel technology.

    The novelty risk is high for technology with long item lifetimes. For example, a power station is expensive and its investment cost is lost if it fails in half its needed lifetime. The high risk applies high interest rates for money borrowed to enable the investment.

    The only available responses to this are
    (a)
    Government subsidy to overcome the cost of novelty risk for demonstration of new technology.

    This can be warranted if a government seeks to give its industries a lead in adoption of the novel technology, but it is open to abuse and misuse. For example, governments in several countries used it as an excuse to subsidise windfarms, but subsidies went to political supporters and have continued long after any novelty risk.
    (b)
    Minimising novelty risk by restricting novel technology to development of proven technology.
    This is often a possible method to obtain benefits from technological advance but limits the available benefit(s) of potential technologies. For example, novelty risk is low for a thermal power station that uses a supercritical steam cycle because failure of the power station induced by supercritical steam would require little modification for the equipment to operate as a conventional power station. But novelty risk is high for a pressurised fluidised bed power station because its failure could not be overcome by simple modification.
    (c)
    Demonstrations of several units of small scale equipment with short service life.
    This is the standard method used by the electronics industry for personal communications equipment. It has some application for power station technology. A standard pulverised fuel (PF) power station has an optimum size because its efficiency increases with size but its reliability reduces with increasing size: material constraints make the present optimum size ~2GW. A combined cycle coal-fired power station (e.g. ABGC) has little benefit from being larger than 300MW.
    This method is very unlikely to be useful for fusion power which is very likely to have similar efficiency benefits of scale to those of PF.

    These considerations suggest demonstration of fusion power for commercial use is at least 40 years in the future (as it has been throughout my long life).

    Richard

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    Yonason

    The closer we get, the further away we are.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ4W1g-6JiY

    I’m still waiting for thorium to finally be a thing.

    Wake me when one of them finally comes online. 🥱🛏💤

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