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JET Tokamak Courtesy of EFDA
Chinese scientists are working diligently to create a large superconducting fusion Tokamak

People's Daily is reporting that the Chinese Academy of Sciences will be the proud owner of a $37M USD fusion Tokamak by March or April of this year.  The article is relatively light on specifications for the device, although it does indicate that the reactor is still an experimental unit, and a far cry from a working, positive net gain reactor.  The device, dubbed EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak), was developed in part with the US, Russia, the EU and Japan.

Of the several different ways to general nuclear fusion, the Tokamak method is perhaps the oldest and easiest device to manufacture.  In a nutshell, a Tokamak is a large magnetic toroidal container used to contain plasma in order to kick start a fusion reaction.  A full scale 500MW fusion Tokamak, dubbed ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), is currently in planning phases and will use much of the data from EAST in its final construction. 

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Cold Fusion
By Skyhanger on 1/22/2006 11:39:19 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad cold fusion appears to be a myth... back in 1989 it still seemed plausible, but it was quickly found that the 'reaction' was due to errors in measurement.

What I think you meant was scaled down forms of hot fusion, like using lasers to fuse the deuterium...

RE: Cold Fusion
By jkresh on 1/22/2006 12:36:37 PM , Rating: 3
actualy if you look at Make Magazine volum 3, page 25. There are still a few who are working on cold fusion and have hopes, and have been able to reproduce results (on a very small scale). I wouldnt say it is a definite, but they seem to be making progress, and maybe they will eventualy figure it out.

RE: Cold Fusion
By KingofCamelot on 1/22/2006 2:50:44 PM , Rating: 3
I know its not cold fusion in the traditional sense, but I found this article interesting:

RE: Cold Fusion
By ddopson on 1/22/2006 5:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember that fusion and fusion energy (as in powerplant) are two different things. Creating fusion is easy (well, sorta). Just grab your favorite cyclotron and slam hydrogens into each other. The problem is that it isn't self sustaining. You don't get nearly enough heat out of a 2 atom reaction (well, I guess it's only 1 atom now) to pay back the massive ammount of energy spent getting those two atoms to meet.

Your article is interesting in that it could be a "compact source of neutrons", but that is about it. There are no serious contenders to the Tokamak for power production. In order to produce power, the heat to smash atoms together has to come from the heat generated by smashing other atoms together. For that, you need confinement; you need a Tokamak. Maybe they could come up with another shape if they tried hard enough (I doubt it), but it would be the same idea.

Until we can get 3+ orders of magnitude improvement in magnetics, that washing machine sized fusion reactor that turns water into power is just going to have tc remain a pipe dream.

RE: Cold Fusion
By lamestlamer on 1/22/2006 7:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
That article sounds so much like a fusor, another electrostatic fusion device. To get self sustaining nuclear fusion, you need a temp of about 10keV(room temp is about 1/40th eV). You can get this: A) the center of our sun B) inertially confined plasma, like the NIF will produce or C) magnetically confined plasma such as a tokemac.

Electrostatic fusion accellerates atoms across at least a 10kV potential difference instead of heating and compressing gas. The problem with electrostatic fusion is that A) the densities are extremely low and protons have a very small cross section B) the rate of fusion is subsequently very small C) the energy from D,D fusion is mostly in the neutron, which you cannot get direct electrical energy from, you need a steam generator to get energy from flying neutrons, just like a fission reactor. C) is also a problem for tokemacs, but their neutron flux is high enough to produce steam, electrostatic fusion could never produce steam unless you had a giant power supply. D,D reactions produce about 3MeV, or 300x the input energy of 10KeV, but inefficiencies compound. If only 1/10 atoms fuse that you put 10KeV into(the rest goes into unusable heat), and you can only put 10 KeV into atoms at 20% efficiency(again rest is unusable heat), and only 1/3 of the neutrons emmited from the reaction go into heating your water, then you only need a 50% efficient steam engine to break even.

By Aisengard on 1/22/2006 11:03:43 AM , Rating: 2
Hot fusion will never work like we want it to. The cold kind is still the way to go, it's just the dictatorship of scientists who want their idea to work that's keeping it down.

First post!
By maniak on 1/22/06, Rating: -1
RE: First post!
By Furen on 1/22/2006 6:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
Japan was mentioned twice in the list of collaborating countries...

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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