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Graduate students Rachael McDermott and Eric Edlund hard at work performing experiments on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak; MIT researchers have unlocked a potentially game-changing technique to improve fusion power.  (Source: P. Rivenberg/M.P. McNally, MIT)

Controlling Alcator's plasma, pictured here, has been a critical goal for researchers as lack of plasma control has prevented fusion reactions in the past from being energetically profitable. MIT researchers think they've finally come up with a way to harness the plasma to their whims.  (Source: MIT)
MIT scientist take a step closer to cheap fusion power; "Whoa"

Fusion power is a tantalizing, but frustrating branch of alternative energy research.  For years scientists have poured countless hours and money into trying to achieve the elusive goal of generating a fusion reaction that produces more power than it consumes.  The sun can do it; but we just can't seem to.

With the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project ramping up, the international community's largest effort to date is about to launch, but key problems remain that could stop the project.  Among the most pressing issues are containment and control of the plasma field.  While critical advances in ultra-strong steels may help with the containment problems, control of the plasma -- an ultra-hot electrically charged broth of hydrogen isotopes -- remained problematic.

Now MIT scientists think they have found an answer.  In a development similar to that in the 1996 film “Chain Reaction” in which actor Keanu Reeves discovers a method of using sound waves to generate fusion, scientists have discovered that by using radio waves they can move and control the plasma through a puzzling, never before observed behavior.

The result is that the plasma can be circulated inside the magnet field to push it towards the center of the tube, reheating it before it can cool too much by the chamber walls and short circuit the reaction.  Further, the radio waves even help to reduce plasma turbulence which leads to loss of efficiency in fusion reactions. 

The breakthrough has thus far lived up to vigorous testing at MIT's Alcator C-Mod tokamak-style fusion reactor, a world class design operating at MIT since 1993.  The reactor is the largest in operation at any university and it has the highest magnetic field and the highest plasma pressure of any reactor in the world -- all ideal conditions to test the limits of the breakthrough.

Physicist Earl Marmar, division head of the Alcator Project at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), and his researcher leaders, physicist Yijun Lin and principal research scientist John Rice discovered and tested the new phenomena and were shocked at its potential.  Current control methods would not be able to handle larger reactors like ITER, but this method could.  States Mr. Marmar, "People have been trying to do this for decades."

Mr. Lin states, "Some of these results are surprising to theorists."

Indeed, there's little known explanation into how the phenomenon works, but it does work, and has held up to multiple tests.  And it’s an answer that researchers have sought for years.  For some time now physicists have speculated that radio waves could be used to control plasma, though little theory to support such mechanics has been developed.  Nonetheless, years of research into the topic were conducted, tweaking the fuel, the frequency of the radio waves, and other factors. 

And now the method is finally working, although the theory is no closer to explaining why. Mr. Lin states, "Our results are just in time for this."

And that's not the only breakthrough from MIT.  Another key worry is that runaway reactions could damage the reactor.  If the plasma became out of control, it could eject a beam of high energy electrons, which could literally melt through the steel wall.  While heavy shielding would protect the researchers, this could lead to weeks of repairs, turning it into the next LHC. 

However, MIT researchers Dennis Whyte and Robert Granetz have developed a high tech fire-extinguisher, in essence, to extinguish the beam.  In the case of an out of control reaction, they found that inject argon or neon gas will allow the electric energy to be absorbed and transformed into harmless light, preventing reactor damage.  This phenomenon apparently works by making the magnet fields of the beam more disorganized, breaking it up.  The results are incredible -- the world's brightest light flash -- approximately the light level of a trillion-watt bulb in ITER.  This flash would be approximately equivalent to the entire power output of the U.S.

However, thanks to these improvements, the output of ITER may be even more impressive.  With these upgrades in store, scientist may be able to tweak ITER to produce self-sustaining and energetically profitable fusion for the first time.

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By FITCamaro on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sweet
By TSS on 12/10/08, Rating: -1
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By Gzus666 on 12/10/08, Rating: -1
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By JasonMick (blog) on 12/10/2008 9:48:21 AM , Rating: 5
I really hate to rain on your parade, but there weren't any hippies in the 40s. They came much later in the 60s and 70s.

I think the word you're searching for is pacifists or maybe scientific skeptics.

Actually, I have to disagree with the original op, too. I'm friends with a number of strong environmentalists and environmental bloggers and most are extremely enthusiastic about fusion research and experimentation.

Fusion power is great if we can attain it, I think most of us can agree.

From my experience its fundamental religious groups that tend to be the most fearful of fusion/particle physics research, as they argue its "playing god".

RE: Sweet
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 10:29:34 AM , Rating: 2
If there are hippies opposing building power lines from SOLAR plants because it goes through a forest, there will be hippies opposing this.

I have yet to meet a religious person opposed to nuclear/particle physics because it involves "playing god". Or see them in a news article opposing it. Not saying they aren't out there, but I have seen hippies protesting nuclear power.

RE: Sweet
By bupkus on 12/10/2008 3:09:02 PM , Rating: 1
Lol. An argument as to which is the bigger idiot?

Who cares about hippies anyway. Really, are there any left not in nursing homes?

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By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 4:10:04 PM , Rating: 1
There's a big one currently sitting as the Speaker of the House.

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By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 7:53:34 PM , Rating: 5
I repeat the OP's comment, are there any left who aren't in nursing homes?

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By TheSpaniard on 12/10/2008 8:09:08 PM , Rating: 4
thats right they dont harass physicists for playing god

they harass us biologists and biochemists...

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By jaysan on 12/11/2008 11:32:31 PM , Rating: 3
The Alcator Reactor - Bah! It's a science project! We built that to shut the hippies up!

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By Dharl on 12/10/2008 11:15:48 AM , Rating: 4
From my experience its fundamental religious groups that tend to be the most fearful of fusion/particle physics research, as they argue its "playing god".

100% Agreed

Coming from a Christian... If these type of religious idiots would realize one simple fact from their religion they would then be more appreciative of research such as this and the LHC. Simply put Christian faith believes that God will destroy the world when the time comes. Long story short that means man cannot destroy it no matter how hard he may try.

That is why I have no problem with research such as the LHC and this fusion reactor. All for it! So eager to see if they can actually pull this off. I wonder what kind of resulting power they could see out of something like this.

RE: Sweet
By GeorgeH on 12/10/2008 2:12:32 PM , Rating: 4
Simply put Christian faith believes that God will destroy the world when the time comes. Long story short that means man cannot destroy it no matter how hard he may try.

You may want to rethink that idea. In the Bible, God routinely inspires or otherwise causes men to fulfill his prophecies. When it comes time for the end of the world stuff, you therefore can't really say that one of Professor Farnsworth's doomsday devices won't be the (divinely inspired) catalyst or cause. Since the Bible also says that the timing of the world's ending is unknowable, you can be certain of exactly nothing.

Maybe the LHC really is nothing more than a modern day Tower of Babel, built so that it might smite us in our pride with horrible plagues of Higgs bosons and black holes. Or maybe it's just the world's biggest, coldest, and most expensive donut. If all we’re going on is the Bible, there’s no way to tell.

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By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 7:56:40 PM , Rating: 2
So what? It doesn't matter if it's a human invention or divine intervention, the Christian destruction myth says that God will choose when the world ends. And not building the LHC, or a fusion reactor, or whatever new tech, won't stop God from ending the world when he wants to.

RE: Sweet
By kayronjm on 12/11/2008 5:37:32 PM , Rating: 4
The Universe is governed by physical laws that all interconnect in a unified manner. If this wasn't true, we would have no physics to speak of as nothing would be logical or related to what we see. As a result, even if God does exist, him choosing 'the world' to end cannot be a simple "poof, the world is gone" thing. It has to accord to the physical laws of the Universe. If we argue that he can change them, then it defines 'miracles' and such nonsense..
If Godwants the world to end, He better decide to do it soon because it will take billions and billions of years for His decision to take effect.

RE: Sweet
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:12:55 PM , Rating: 4
> "I'm friends with a number of strong environmentalists and environmental bloggers and most are extremely enthusiastic about fusion research "

Despite "your friends", nearly all major environmental groups oppose fusion research.


Nuclear fusion reactor project in France: an expensive and senseless nuclear stupidity...

The Sierra Club:
The dangers posed by the probable releases of tritium used by fusion plants, the problems with decommissioning these plants, and their high costs lead the Sierra Club to believe that the development of fusion reactors to generate electricity should not be pursued at this time .

Do "your friends" support or donate to any environmental groups? If so, they're opposing fusion research, regardless of what their personal beliefs are.

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By Darkefire on 12/10/2008 4:54:36 PM , Rating: 4
Can we please stop calling them "environmental" groups? Their various protests have essentially undermined their own arguments for environment-friendly energies; can't build solar plants because they take up space, can't build windmills because they're ugly/dangerous to wildlife, can't use hydroelectric because it interrupts the natural flow of rivers, can't use nuclear energy in any form because it shares a basic scientific principle with a weapon no sane or insane person would ever use again. Where exactly are we supposed to get clean energy for six billion people?

I'm lumping them in with PETA at this point: homegrown terrorists operating under the flimsy pretense of a nonprofit organization. If it wasn't for their fear-mongering we might actually have a nuclear energy backbone in this country, not to mention having more food worldwide thanks to larger adoption of genetically-engineered crops. But fine, we can play their game, let all our cities crumble and move back to nature. If they actually paid attention in their biology classes, they might realize that the small, veggie-munching part of the animal kingdom splits its time between eating while looking around nervously and becoming something else's dinner. Mmmm, I love outdoor barbecue.

RE: Sweet
By rudolphna on 12/10/2008 6:38:18 PM , Rating: 3
Wow that greenpeace article has to be the most idiotic thing ive EVER read. "Produces large amounts of radioactive material" What the f? No it doesnt. It turns Hydrogen to helium... Or something like that. Very litte, if any, radioactive material is used in the building and operation of these.. .Want proof? Look at the sun. Its not radioactive. Its powered by hydrogen, which gets turned to helium. Hmmm... Not radioactive so far as I know. And as for wind power, Im sorry, but its not feasible to power the whole world on wind power. However, it IS feasible to power the world by Nuclear power plants, with Wind and solar, and geothermal as the minor producers. That, and cleaner, coal burning power plants.

RE: Sweet
By Solandri on 12/10/2008 6:52:54 PM , Rating: 2
The sun is very radioactive. So radioactive that if it weren't for the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, it would kill us. If you fly on a transcontinental flight (which is above about 3/4ths of the atmosphere), you'll pick up additional radiation equivalent to about a chest x-ray. Even with all that, it still kills many of us (e.g. skin cancer).

Apollo astronauts (the only people to have left Earth's magnetic field) faced an even greater risk. An untimely solar flare could've killed them, but the chances of that were low enough that it was considered an acceptable risk.

RE: Sweet
By rudolphna on 12/10/2008 7:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
Its not Radioactivity, it is Ultraviolet, and other types of radiation. There are different types. Did you know that light is considered a type of radiation? As are radio waves? the kind of radiation from the sun is called Electro-magnetic radiation. That is why bad solar flares, can cause mass blackouts, acting like EMPs, overloading transformers, and power plants. (like the 2003 Northeast blackout). The type of radiation we are talking about is Nuclear radiation, caused by Alpha, beta, and gamma rays emitted from the material.

RE: Sweet
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 8:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
> "If you fly on a transcontinental flight (which is above about 3/4ths of the atmosphere), you'll pick up additional radiation equivalent to about a chest x-ray"

Yes, but that's due to cosmic rays from far outside the solar system, not solar radiation. The sun's magnetic field actually shields us from most cosmic radiation.

Now during a solar flare, the sun emits a substantial burst of both x-rays and corpuscular radiation (accelerated electrons, ions, etc). But given the enormous energy output of the sun, the amount that is actually released like this is very small.

RE: Sweet
By ImJustSaying on 12/11/08, Rating: 0
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By MamiyaOtaru on 12/11/2008 1:52:34 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe he just knows how to use google, and knows how to trust actual experts when they say stuff

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By bldckstark on 12/11/2008 4:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
And there it is. NOBODY likes a know it all. Even when they are right.

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By deadrats on 12/14/2008 10:49:46 PM , Rating: 1
Wow that greenpeace article has to be the most idiotic thing ive EVER read. "Produces large amounts of radioactive material" What the f? No it doesnt. It turns Hydrogen to helium... Or something like that. Very litte, if any, radioactive material is used in the building and operation of these.. .Want proof? Look at the sun. Its not radioactive. Its powered by hydrogen, which gets turned to helium. Hmmm... Not radioactive so far as I know. And as for wind power, Im sorry, but its not feasible to power the whole world on wind power. However, it IS feasible to power the world by Nuclear power plants, with Wind and solar, and geothermal as the minor producers. That, and cleaner, coal burning power plants.

no, your post is one of the most idiotic things i have read in a long time. you don't even know what exactly nuclear fusion does (turns hydrogen to helium...or something like that, LOL!!!) but you are absolutely sure that no radioactive material is produced, that's just absolutely laughable!!!

for all those that rag on greenpeace and the sierra club, you would do well to remember that these organizations don't just pull shit out of thin air, they do have biologists, chemists, geologists, and physicists on their staffs and i guarantee you they are more knowledgable than the clown you see on various websites or the right wing conservative talk show hosts who actively try to discredit these organizations.

i suggest you educate yourself on nuclear power before running off at the keyboard (and mouth):

quote: "The effects of the disaster at Chernobyl were very widespread. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that the radiation release from the Chernobyl accident was 200 times that of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs combined. The fallout was also far-reaching. For a time, radiation levels in a Scotland were 10,000 times the norm. 30 lives were directly lost during the accident or within a few months after it."

and lastly you would do well to remember that these "idiots", the "hippie, liberal, enviromentalist wackos" oppose certain things for a reason, it's not that they are bored and have nothing better to do with their lives, it's because they, unlike the average american, are reasonably well educated and understand the dangers posed and refuse to stand by and let big business fuck the american public in the quest of making a few bucks without at least trying to help their fellow man.

these "hippie, liberal, enviromentalist wackos" are heroes in every sense of the word, because they are vilified, hated, looked down on, mistrusted, slandered and they still try to make the world a better place rather than sit by and say "fuck those slack jawed uneducated nimrods, they can all die for all i care".

RE: Sweet
By baadcatj on 12/17/2008 5:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ha Ha - After watching Red vs Blue I ALWAYS laugh when I see the word 'pacifist'.

Interesting about fundamentalist religious groups being strongly opposed to it. As a member of a group that I would expect is pretty fundamentally conservative and being against some activities that could be viewed as 'playing God', the production of energy via scientific means isn't particularly fearful. In fact, I think it could be argued that it would be a wise way to spend our efforts due to the decreases in pollution and the ways in which we could improve our environment and our quality of life.

These are very interesting findings and I sure hope they can make something of it.

For that matter, if they can find a way to harness that energy if they need to shut the reaction down, where it causes the worlds largest flash, that would be great! Imaging a solar array, even with it's inefficiency, harnessing that energy that would otherwise be wasted. That would be great!

RE: Sweet
By EODetroit on 12/10/2008 9:56:00 AM , Rating: 3
Yea, just like when they first started nuclear bomb research and were planning to test it. All the hippies freaked and said it would blow up the world.

Lol what?

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By Proxes on 12/10/2008 10:33:54 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah I'm pretty sure that was probably top secret and the whole world wasn't watching.

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By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 10:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
If you're questioning his comment. Other than hippies protesting, he's correct. Many scientists acknowledged that a small chance existed that the nuclear explosion would start a chain reaction that would consume the Earth.

RE: Sweet
By Gzus666 on 12/10/08, Rating: -1
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By JS on 12/10/2008 11:52:54 AM , Rating: 5
So basically what you are saying is that you think that the top scientists involved in the Manhattan project were f*cktards.

Yeah, I agree that IS a pretty liberal use of the word hippy.

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By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 12:14:36 PM , Rating: 1
Cause they were the ones so scared that this would happen, that they continued the research and helped create the bomb to test? They clearly didn't believe it to be true.

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By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 12:58:30 PM , Rating: 5
So Einstein was a f*cktard? Even he said there was a chance it would happen.

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By mvpx02 on 12/10/2008 1:14:54 PM , Rating: 1
There's a chance a lot of things *can* happen. The difference is that responsible proponents of new technologies have weighed the pro's & the con's.

It seems to me that he Gzus uses "hippy" to describe liberal people who prefer to speak & make decisions with their heart rather than their brains. While I wouldn't have used the word f*cktard, I admit I've been known to do the same thing from time to time.

RE: Sweet
By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 2:37:39 PM , Rating: 1
This man nailed it on the noggin'. There is a chance our entire world will explode, there is a change that all of us will spontaneously change into gold, but unlikely and silly to expect at best.

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By JS on 12/10/2008 3:05:02 PM , Rating: 5

Teller also raised the speculative possibility that an atomic bomb might "ignite" the atmosphere, because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei. Bethe calculated, according to Serber, that it could not happen. However, a report co-authored by Teller showed that ignition of the atmosphere was not impossible, just unlikely.

The Manhattan Project was completely under wraps. No "hippy" on the outside knew enough about it to complain about it. The concern about igniting the atmosphere was real, since no one really knew what would happen when an atomic bomb went off.

Please just admit that you made an ignorant comment based on political posturing and not on knowledge or facts.

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By Gzus666 on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
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By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 4:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
> " He is a dumbass hippy cause he didn't listen to his peer..."

Err, did you actually call Teller -- the father of the H-bomb, the man who popularized the X-Ray laser as a weapon system, and, among physicists, the most ardent advocate of the "Star Wars" SDI program -- a "hippie" ?

RE: Sweet
By Gzus666 on 12/10/08, Rating: -1
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By kenji4life on 12/10/2008 8:15:48 PM , Rating: 3
So how is high school these days anyhow?

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By randomly on 12/10/2008 10:01:29 PM , Rating: 4
Uh, in the quote it says he SPECULATED a POSSIBILITY of a HYPOTHETICAL fusion reaction. Then his peer told him that was silly and explained why. He then went on to make a dumbass report about how it is possible. He is a dumbass hippy cause he didn't listen to his peer or make a proper theory out of his random speculation then goes on to write a report about possibilities of things that could happen, which should be miles long, as everything is pretty much possible, but unlikely.

You are just spewing with no real knowledge of the event, the situation, or the knowledge base they were operating under at the time. Teller also SPECULATED a POSSIBILITY of a HYPOTHETICAL fusion bomb, and he turned out to be right.

There was never an 'Oh you're just being silly' moment.
They took the speculation seriously and Hans diligently analyzed the problem in detail.

A few years later they actually did make a theoretical mistake and the Castle Bravo shot yield was over 15 megatons, 3 times larger than what they were expecting. Part of the outcome of that was heavy fallout on populated atolls causing at least one death directly from radiation and many long term health and contamination problems.

When the potential stakes are that high, you better make damn sure you are right.

Teller certainly had his personality faults, but you are incapable of second guessing him on any matter of theoretical physics, and probably incapable of even understanding the problem in the first place.

RE: Sweet
By Motoman on 12/10/2008 1:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
...more specifically, IIRC the idea was that the atomic explosion might start a chain reaction that would "ignite" the atmosphere of the planet. Making it completely uninhabitable...but not "destroying" the Earth.

Their great-grandchildren are worried that the LHC is going to burp up a micro black hole that will, actually, destroy the Earth.

RE: Sweet
By jevans64 on 12/10/2008 9:19:17 PM , Rating: 3
Wasn't that the premise for the original 1961 movie ( not the series ) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ?

I remember it being about a nuclear explosion that set fire to the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise. I think the Seaview had to launch its Polaris missiles to put out the fire. LOL

Anyway. I've been reading up and keeping up-to-date on the ITER. I don't believe in God, so more power to the scientists trying to crack the fusion problem.

RE: Sweet
By tamaron on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
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By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 11:52:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, mastering fission is regression, right?

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By Myg on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
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By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 2:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
Many a thing comes about due to a desire to kill, it is an advance none the less. In fact, the desire to kill fueled it so heavily, I would venture without the bomb we would be years behind in research for fission and fusion and many other things that come from this atomic mastery. It's all about funding and the government was more than happy to give it for a weapon, but not just for willy nilly research.

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By Myg on 12/10/2008 3:42:53 PM , Rating: 1
I would venture to say that without the bomb we would be years ahead in other things that the time and effort could of been directed to, even if not as intensely.

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By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 3:54:44 PM , Rating: 4
You'd be wrong if you did. Commercial nuclear power owes an incalculable debt to the Manhattan project, an effort which advanced nuclear power by decades.

Even more so than nuclear weapons research, the development of reactors for nuclear-powered submarines (i.e. "weapons that kill") led to commercial nuclear power.

Had the US not devoted that time and resources to 'The Bomb' in WW2, it would certainly have instead spent them on more tanks, guns, airplanes, and other weapons. Perhaps we would have had fighter jets or some other advance a few years earlier, but nothing compared to the long-term importance of nuclear power.

RE: Sweet
By JediJeb on 12/10/2008 6:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
Also WW2 would have lasted much longer, and with the focus on the war we would not have advanced so much in other fields.

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By RoberTx on 12/10/2008 2:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
Hippies when they started nuclear bomb research?

The Manhattan project occurred in the 1940's.

Hippies were from mid 1960's to mid '70's

Who taught you history?

RE: Sweet
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:59:20 PM , Rating: 1
1940 is a bit early, but actually, the Beatniks (who eventually morphed into the Hippies) organized many of the first anti-nuclear demonstrations in the 1950s.

RE: Sweet
By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 4:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
Beatniks=hippies in my eyes, some of these people forget that a rose by any other name is still a rose.

RE: Sweet
By RoberTx on 12/10/2008 7:07:09 PM , Rating: 3
Beatniks were not hippies and not at all like hippies. I'm rather old, I know.

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By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, sure, and Alexander = Napoleon = Hitler. After all, they all wanted to take over the world.

I won't deny that there are ways in which the Beat movement resembles the Hippie movement. But there are plenty of ways in which they are disparate. It's more like, a rose is a flower, and a lily is a flower, but a lily isn't a rose.

I think a lot of people here, even the ones who agree with the point you're trying to make, disagree with your blanket usage of the word 'hippie' to refer to anyone who is more liberal than you on any issue.

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By LeBeourfCurtaine on 12/10/2008 10:57:46 AM , Rating: 2
i'll place a wager though that enviromentallists will argue that "it might go nova".

Quite simply, they'll go for 'light pollution'.

I'm here all week - try the veal!

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By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 11:04:22 AM , Rating: 2

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By inighthawki on 12/10/2008 5:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and there are also reasons why years of scientific study go into these things, so a catastrophe of the sort doesn't happen. If one of these had a large risk of blowing up the world from an accident, i highly doubt it would be pursued.

If im not mistaken the atomic bombs of ww2 were underestimated in strength before they actually tested them, but there's no way the calculations would be off enough to go from "large explosion" to "earth destroyer"

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By MrBungle123 on 12/10/2008 10:52:55 AM , Rating: 2
Just market it as "artificial solar power" and the environmentalists will go along with it, they've got their heads too far up their own asses to realize that its really called nuclear fusion.

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By monstrosity on 12/10/2008 11:56:50 AM , Rating: 2
artificial solar power

Engineer>>"The walls are not magnets they are solar panels."
environmentalists>> " Really? Why aren't we funding this."

RE: Sweet
By apcguru on 12/10/2008 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 1
You should be glad you only bet $10. There are no known problems with fusion technology from an environmental viewpoint at this time. It is not comparable to fission technology.

There are security issues though, continuous supply is easier to maintain with distributed electricity generation. We don't want a single point of failure.

But this is good news to me, an eco blogger, and I hope they get this working and to be safe quickly.

RE: Sweet
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:27:21 PM , Rating: 1
You should realize that current fusion methods being explored are not aneutronic. They thus will generate small levels of radioactive waste, a smaller-scale problem to the waste generated by fission reactors.

Any reasonable person would realize the level of waste is too small to be a problem. However, that reasonable person would also realize that the "waste problem" from fission reactors is likewise not a problem, and only being used politically to derail nuclear power adoption.

See my earlier post. Most major environmental groups oppose fusion, the same as they oppose fission. Worse, many enviornmental leaders have spoken out against cheap abundant power from any source, as they (rightly) believe it will lead to more industrialization.

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By Solandri on 12/10/2008 6:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify what aneutronic means, our current fusion methods results in high energy neutrons, which collide with the container. This changes some of the container's atoms into isotopes, most of which are radioactive. So after a few years operating such a facility, the container becomes slightly radioactive.

Too many people don't realize how much natural radiation we're bombarded with. I was watching a TV show on the casks they've designed to transport nuclear waste to Yucca mountain. An environmentalists was getting upset because people could get radiation exposure equivalent to a chest x-ray by being near it. I wish someone had told him you get radiation exposure equivalent to a chest x-ray by flying on plane from LA to NYC. With less atmosphere between you and the sun, you get a higher radiation dose. Pilots are restricted in how many hours they can fly per month because of this (although strangely stewardesses are not).

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By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
Too many people don't realize how much natural radiation we're bombarded with. I was watching a TV show...

And your TV was irradiating you! (if it was a CRT - but who still has one of those?)

RE: Sweet
By Ringold on 12/10/2008 8:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
Pilots are restricted in how many hours they can fly per month because of this (although strangely stewardesses are not).

I don't know about long range flights, but restrictions apply to shorter jumps at lower altitude as well. Simple reason, little to do with radiation. There's been too many planes full of passengers end up as a mangled wreck because both pilots were falling asleep at the stick after long stretches of long days. I don't care much for the mandatory retirement age, but this at least makes sense. Even if one pilot blanks out, the other may not be able to recover depending on the situation (ie, short final). By mandating a maximum number of hours, the idea is to take the safety question out of people in the situation that are being pressured by factors other than safety.

Unions also advocate cutting back the number of maximum hours; that might be part safety related, part an attempt at maximum employment.

RE: Sweet
By randomly on 12/16/2008 7:35:25 AM , Rating: 2
There are some aneutronic fusion reactions, with p-B11 being the most favorable. It produces only helium, no radiation. However the Tokamak approach won't get hot enough to run this reaction. A Polywell fusion device or Dense Plasma Focus has the potential though.

RE: Sweet
By UNCjigga on 12/10/2008 1:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
So does this mean that when "Mr. Fusion" is powering my car, I will have poor FM reception due to radio interference? No deal, I can't live without my HOT 97! Next!

RE: Sweet
By Reclaimer77 on 12/11/2008 8:53:20 AM , Rating: 2
MARTY !!!!!!

RE: Sweet
By randomly on 12/10/2008 10:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
The only big advantages of Fusion power over nuclear are
1) Eliminates proliferation concerns
2) Minimizes nuclear waste problem from power generation.

However it may be a very long time before it's a useful solution even if it becomes functional because of costs.

Because of the high capital costs it will only be suitable for base load power, and it may never become cost competitive with nuclear.

It's also up against a moving target. Gen IV reactors, thorium fuel cycles, and fuel reprocessing cycles all have a possibility of resolving the waste and proliferation concerns of nuclear power satisfactorily. I think it unlikely Fusion power will catch up to nuclear in $/kw costs in the foreseeable future.

I hope they do finally get a practical fusion reactor, but I think it highly unlikely it will have any significant impact for many decades.

RE: Sweet
By Raidin on 12/11/2008 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
If FITCamaro has something positive to say about this, then there's real hope for this technology!!

no waste... well....
By docawolff on 12/10/2008 9:43:53 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, there is some waste from the proposed fusion devices. They produce tritium (from the reaction of deuterium with neutrons) which has a half-life of 11.5 years. Tritium is a beta emitter, and is used in some glow-in-the-dark applications. The good news is that with a half-life of only 11.5 years, after 115 years the material is essentially harmless. This is a significant improvement over nuclear waste from the current nuclear reactors with half-lives of up to about 240,000 years.

Not perfect, but a heck of a lot better than even the proposed gen-IV fission reactors.

By the way, the target output for ITER is 500 MW. We are talking a full-scale power plant here.

RE: no waste... well....
By ChronoReverse on 12/10/2008 10:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
Tritium is hardly my definition of waste considering how valuable it is $2 per cubic INCH from a quick googling.

RE: no waste... well....
By Solandri on 12/10/2008 6:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
OP is also wrong about the dangerousness of half-life. The shorter the half-life, the more dangerous the material. A short half life means rapid decay, which means more radiation emitted. The materials with a really long half-life are radioactive for a long time, but the level of radioactivity is also correspondingly very low because the decay rate is so low. Something with a 200,000 year half-life is probably safe for anything but wearing or sleeping on.

The materials with a really short half-life (e.g. cesium-131, with a half-life of less than 10 days) are highly radioactive and dangerous. But because they have a short half-life, they turn relatively benign rather quickly. Hospitals constantly have to be resupplied with more cesium-131 to continue their radiation therapy. (I'll leave it up to the reader to figure out where they get it from and how it's stored/transported. It's actually pretty clever, and you can learn a lot about radioactive materials from it.)

The two problematic materials are:

- Materials with a half-life in between, e.g. a few years or decades. Tritium falls into this category, but it's a beta emitter which is relatively easy to shield against. Still, the U.S. government bans the commercial sale of tritium for this reason (you can buy tritium glow sticks in the EU, but not in the US unless it's imported through customs as a personal item). Another example is strontium-90 (29-year half-life) which the Soviets used to power some of their unmanned lighthouses.

- Materials with a long half-life, but which decay into materials with a short half-life. This results in material which is moderately radioactive for a long time. This is why some of the "200,000 year half-life" material is dangerous, not because it has a 200,000 year half-life.

RE: no waste... well....
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 10:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
Tritium is not dangerous to be around. Only if you inhale, ingest, or touch it does it pose a radiation risk.

RE: no waste... well....
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
> "Only if you inhale, ingest, or touch [tritium] does it pose a radiation risk. "

That's true for most radioactive isotypes, even the fallout from nuclear weapons. Your skin will easily stop an alpha particle. Still, alpha emitters are the most dangerous of all, due to the enormous internal damage they wreak if you happen to ingest them.

Only gamma emitters are dangerous simply "to be around". But since a gamm ray doesn't do nearly as much damage as a heavy alpha particle, it takes a very strong flux (and a large amount of material) to carry any serious health risk.

Tritium and other beta emitters are the least dangerous of all. It's not dangerous at all to the touch, and even ingesting small amounts pose only a minor health risk.

RE: no waste... well....
By Solandri on 12/10/2008 6:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "Only if you inhale, ingest, or touch [tritium] does it pose a radiation risk. "

That's true for most radioactive isotypes

I should point out that if you inhale normal water, it also poses a high risk of death.

RE: no waste... well....
By Doormat on 12/10/2008 7:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
Google fails me now, but I recently read an article on the guy who got hit in the head with a short duration gamma ray beam. He didn't die, which was interesting.

RE: no waste... well....
By ot56 on 12/10/2008 12:37:29 PM , Rating: 2

Current fusion appropaches use Deuterium-Tritium (D-T) fusion, in which the two isotopes of hydrogen are fused to create one helium 4 atom and a neutron. Thus Tritium is not produced in the fusion reaction, it is consumed.

The neutron is not contained by the electric fields used to contain the D-T plasma (electrically neutral), so the neutron can and will be absorbed by the structural material of the tokamak. This will result in SOME low-level contamination of the the reactor structural material.

Nickel and steel can both absorb neutrons to become slightly radiactive. I believe the nickel isotope has a half life of thousands of years producing low level radiation via beta decay.

So fusion is NOT 100% clean.

But no energy source is (not even solaro or wind) and fusion comes about as close as any that exists.

RE: no waste... well....
By derwin on 12/10/2008 12:47:55 PM , Rating: 2
Am I mistaken or was the first "hydrogen bomb" actually a tritium-deuterium (Or tritium-lithium or something) fusion?

Also, haven't there been proposed applications for tritium in fusion power generation?

RE: no waste... well....
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
It used lithium deuteride -- lithium chemically combined with heavy water, essentially.

Boosted-fission weapons also use tiny amounts of tritium to increase the yield.

RE: no waste... well....
By whiskerwill on 12/10/2008 3:03:11 PM , Rating: 3
I'm scared that you know this.

RE: no waste... well....
By MaulBall789 on 12/10/2008 4:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be more scared if he didn't.

RE: no waste... well....
By randomly on 12/16/2008 7:18:03 AM , Rating: 2
The Mike shot didn't use Lithium deuteride. They used a cryogenic liquid deuterium-tritium. The second shot Castle Bravo used lithium deuteride and that's where they got into trouble when they missed the fact that the Lithium 7 would react with a neutron and decay to form more tritium. That tripled the yield of the bomb and was partly responsible for severe radiation contamination of islanders and fishermen down range.

no theory?
By Chernobyl68 on 12/10/2008 2:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
I hesitate to see how useful the phenomenon will be if they don't understand it. I think they'll need to figure out WHY the radio waves are having the effect they are before this becomes a "true" controlling function or mechanism. That being said, it seems to be Great News! and I hope this does lead to Fusion Power becomeing a reality sooner.

RE: no theory?
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:56:13 PM , Rating: 4
Man has a lengthy history of exploiting mechanisms we don't fully understand. Look at early chemistry, innoculation, the source of lift in airflight, etc.

RE: no theory?
By michaelmsr on 12/10/2008 5:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that the radio wave mystery you refer to will boil down to a phenomenon based on principles similar to sound waves - just higher in frequency. Too much pressure from sound waves (volume) will damage one's eardrums, which proves once more that there can be a physical effect from sound/radio/light spectrum-based functions.

I do think that these MIT guys have a very good basic idea of what is occurring. I see this as one more step in furtherance not only of fusion energy but of our knowledge of the frequency spectrum.

I have to agree with the last of your comment that this is Great News! This advance in plasma containment gives me hope that sustainable fusion energy can be achieved within years instead of decades.

RE: no theory?
By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
Ugh. Light waves are not sound waves, 'just higher in frequency'. Sound is a vibration that travels through a medium - it's a vibration of the atoms in the air, for instance. Light (an all electromagnetic radiation) is a particle/wave that is its own carrier (the photon). I'm not sure if you were confusing these two phenomena or just conflating them.

But of course EM radiation has physical effects - light can damage your eyes, your skin, it warms you when it imparts its energy, &c, &c. And it shouldn't be a surprise that electromagnetic radiation has an effect on plasma, which is electromagnetically charged. What is surprising to the physicists involved is the nature of the effect. And possibly the magnitude given the input?

RE: no theory?
By michaelmsr on 12/11/2008 5:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
RE: no theory?
By wetwareinterface on 12/12/2008 3:02:57 AM , Rating: 2
you don't understand the basic principle of logical representation vs. physical representation. a.k.a. what we use to describe something's value in relation to other similar observable values vs. the actual thing itself.

frequency is simply how often we observe one state of something between it's minimum value and maximum value or it's periodicity between maximum values etc...

light is not related to sound in any way that's physical only in a logical measurement sense is there any correlation between frequency of the two.

RE: no theory?
By wetwareinterface on 12/12/2008 3:04:27 AM , Rating: 3
and what information wikipedia has in it is only rivaled by the amount of misinformation in it.

middle school English
By moiaujapon on 12/10/2008 8:59:54 AM , Rating: 1
serendipitous - study its meaning

RE: middle school English
By pnyffeler on 12/10/2008 9:11:10 AM , Rating: 5
Serendipity - Searching for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer's daughter


RE: middle school English
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 9:14:17 AM , Rating: 5
Common sense

Join the farmers daughter in the haystack.

RE: middle school English
By tastyratz on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: middle school English
By Ticholo on 12/10/2008 10:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
I just imagined something very painful...

RE: middle school English
By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
Followed by, 'Ow, what was that? A needle!'

Solution to our energy needs
By Dwezil on 12/10/2008 9:44:53 AM , Rating: 2
So, all they should have to do is create a fusion reaction, dump the neon gas in and somehow convert the energy in the flash of light to power everything in the country. Set up a number of these so that we can get continuous power while they are working to restart the fusion reactor that just flashed...

I really don't see how they can state that the flash is equivalent to the power output of the U.S. - is this comparing photons to electricity somehow?

By NauticalStrong on 12/10/2008 9:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
The duration of the flash would be very, very short and the total energy released would not power much for long.

RE: Solution to our energy needs
By nerdboy on 12/10/2008 9:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
Please go back and read again. The neon gas is used in the fire extinguisher incase anything goes wrong.

RE: Solution to our energy needs
By morose on 12/10/2008 10:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
Good luck converting that much light, in such a brief burst, into power. You're also discounting the amount of power required to get the reaction running in the first place. Not trivial.

By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
In addition to the other posters, who covered your misconception of the feasibility of this as a power source, I wanted to touch on comparing light output to electricity output. How do you think people estimate the efficiency of solar power? The theoretical 100% efficient solar panel would convert all of the energy of the sun's light into electricity. That is to say, it is common to compare different types of energy like electromagnetic radiation and electrical power. Don't ask me the formula, I don't know it.

Light bi-product?
By romansky on 12/10/2008 10:56:08 AM , Rating: 2
Why not use the light also as energy source? produce dont waste this very bright light, sounds like a wonderfull bi-product...

RE: Light bi-product?
By Gzus666 on 12/10/2008 11:06:41 AM , Rating: 2
Cause the light only comes if they shut the thing down in an emergency. Christ, read the article.

RE: Light bi-product?
By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:48:54 PM , Rating: 2
You kind of ignored his more fundamental question - if we can produce incredible amounts of light (power) from a nuclear reaction on accident, can we feasibly channel it and harness it to produce electricity? Imagine using a fusion reactor to produce a constant beam, which is excited with argon to produce intense light, which is turned into power (of course, it would be better to drop the argon, and just use the EM beam to produce power, probably).

It seems extracting electricity straight from the plasma (like they currently do) is a better technique, if you ask me. Additionally, it complicates the reactor by having a controlled release, instead of total containment. Also, it introduces additional energy conversion tactics, each of which won't be 100% efficient, lowering the total efficiency of the reactor. So no, it's not a good idea.

RE: Light bi-product?
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 8:59:54 PM , Rating: 3
The light is being generated from the heat energy within the plasma, which in turn comes from electricity straight from the grid. Converting that light back to electricity doesn't gain you anything -- in fact you lose a great deal in conversion losses. This is just an efficienct way to SCRAM the reactor without the hot plasma damaging anything.

To generate electricity, one needs to be producing more energy from fusion than the reactor takes to operate. (Actually, for commercial power generation to be feasible, you need considerably more than 3:1 ratio, rather than simple breakeven)

Other Implications
By mvpx02 on 12/10/2008 12:22:54 PM , Rating: 2
As scientists make this type of progress on the fission front, it will be interesting to see how the race back to the moon accelerates. Before all is said & done, I'd imagine that things may get pretty messy politically.

RE: Other Implications
By Shig on 12/10/2008 12:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how cheap this fusion would be relative to nuclear atm.

RE: Other Implications
By mvpx02 on 12/10/2008 12:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
It depends quite a bit on the cost/availability of fuel. All the other factors (waste disposal/maintenance/etc) should be on-par or cheaper than today's technology. That's why the moon race will be so interesting.

RE: Other Implications
By kayronjm on 12/11/2008 5:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
Production of the fuel is extremely effective. Deuterium can be obtained from regular seawater and Tritium, from reacting lithium with neutrons. It's a statistical fact that one kilometre cubed of seawater can provide enough fuel to lead to as much power as all of our current world oil reserves..
Deuterium and Tritium were chosen as the most viable fuel as they are isotopes of Hydrogen and are particular isotopes that provide a good compromise between electrostatic repulsion and mass defect for fusion energy.

The products of nuclear fusion between Deuterium and Tritium are alpha particles (helium atoms), free neutrons and around 17.6MeV of energy. Disposal of products is harmless to us and the environment in general, especially considering there is no long-term radioactive waste to dispose of after plasma ignition.

IEC fusion
By Torched on 12/10/2008 12:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
Correct if I am wrong but I thought IEC fusion was closer to fruition than the ITER project.

RE: IEC fusion
By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2008 8:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think there are any large-scale (on the order of 500MW, like the ITER project) IEC projects planned at all.

RE: IEC fusion
By kayronjm on 12/11/2008 5:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to have a look at the OMEGA-EP facility in the USA as well as the NIF facility (also in the USA). In Japan they have the FIREX-II laser upgrade due that will also be applicable. Europe might also see the birth of the HiPER facility. All these are in the area of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) as opposed to what is discussed on this article (Magnetic Confinement Fusion - with the use of tokamaks).

Inertial Confinement Fusion
By kayronjm on 12/11/2008 5:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) can lead to even higher gains of energy than Magnetic Confinement Fusion (MCF) as the process is more 'targeted'. Specifically, the direct drive fast ignition feature of ICF can produce predicted gains of around 200, which is very high indeed.

An advantage of MCF however is that this tokamak reactor can literally act as a 'real' reactor, perhaps with several design modifications but current ICF technologies are more experimental than actual reactors. I don't know what we're going to end up designing when it comes to the target pellets. Surely we can't produce millions of fuel pellets and line them up and shoot ulra-powerful lasers at them.

RE: Inertial Confinement Fusion
By wetwareinterface on 12/12/2008 3:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
just aim the lasers at a point and DROP the pellets into the lasers path, no "shooting" neccesary

RE: Inertial Confinement Fusion
By kayronjm on 12/12/2008 1:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well the lasers have to fire several times per pellet so the whole thing has to be timed very well. The compressibility of the imploding fuel is much more efficient and much more effective if several 'weak' compression shockwaves implode the fuel, as opposed to a single strong one. Also, the repetition rate for pellets has to be very high to produce a very viable fusion reactor. You could in theory have many pellets being fired at at once, but then you'd need multiple laser systems, which makes the whole design very expensive.

Proud of Myself
By rudolphna on 12/10/2008 6:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
Im pleased with myself, as I just sent this email to greenpeace.
Hello Greenpeace. First, I want to make it perfectly clear, that I wholeheartedly support Nuclear Power. I respected your foundation for its efforts to eliminate Toxic Chemicals in The electronics Industry, but when I found out about your opposition to Nuclear power, I was instantly against you. I am sorry to say you are grossly misinformed. Reactors are MUCH safer than they used to be, with many redundancies built into them since Chernobyl, which by the way, was Human Error, not so much a design flaw. Plants today are mostly computer controlled, with many backups and redundancies built into them to prevent incidents like Chernobyl, and three mile island. My father works for the United States Navy. He is a Reactor Mechanic on a Los Angeles Class Nuclear Submarine, (SSN xxx). He, and his colleagues run, operate, and maintain the General Electric S6G PW reactor deep inside the metal beast. How do you propose to power our nations Submarines, and ships? You dont want to use oil... How do we power our submarines, and aircraft carriers, which either run on oil. or Nuclear reactors. They cant be run on batteries. Solar isnt feasable, for submarines, because they are underwater, and there is no sunlight. For Aircraft carriers, they are too massive to be powered efficiently by Solar power. What would you suggest then? Answer- there isnt any yet. Solar, wind... They are currently too inefficient and expensive to be feasible to power the world. We would need MASSIVE wind and solar farms, and Many Large electricity Pylons (which you oppose, I might add) to move power around. Nuclear power has more than proven itself since its inception, with a good safety record, with relatively few incidents, mostly emnating from Poorly designed, poorly run, old Soviet Reactors. All technology has its risks. I notice you fail to mention how people living near wind farms are driven mad by the low frequency, inaudible sound waves created by the turbines. You fail to mention that it would require building solar panels covering the area equivalent of Lake Ontario to power the United states. You know how we should get rid of nuclear waste? Send it to the sun. Sun is a giant burning fireball of Hyrdogen and helium, millions of times more massive than the sun. Even you would have trouble arguing that a few barrels of waste could affect the sun, especially since it would be vaporized long before it even hits the surface. Thank you for your time, I hope to hear back from you regarding these issues, and I hope you have a suitable argument prepared. Thank you,

RE: Proud of Myself
By Ringold on 12/10/2008 8:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
How do you propose to power our nations Submarines, and ships?

I saw an op-ed from the LA Times earlier this year; I've got a feeling I know what their response to that would be. "Why do we need a Navy?" Or an Air Force or an Army. Pacifism is their preferred path. The military isn't a last option for them; it's not an option at all. Surrender is the last option, right after "ask nicely."

By Chipper Smoltz DT on 12/10/2008 10:42:33 PM , Rating: 2
So much alternative energy sources now that are being close to becoming reality and economically viable (hopefully), safe?!, environmentally friendly?!, no harmful side effects?!.

Anyways, I am mystified that the plasma can somehow be controlled by EMF waves.... and they based it on some movie some time ago? That's weird... Keanu Reeves' movie... Wait, are we all in the Matrix as well...?

By FPP on 12/14/2008 7:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
Is this another aticle written by a non-scientist, from info gleaned from another non-scientific source or did anyone really check with MIT on the practicality of this methid?

Is it going to take another 5 to 10 billion for a proof of concept?

Very, very interesting.
By ricleo2 on 12/10/2008 10:50:12 AM , Rating: 3
This article and the comment section is why I keep coming back to Dailytech. Please keep up the great work.

catch phrases
By phxfreddy on 12/10/2008 11:22:17 AM , Rating: 2
"look to"
"eye x to do y"
"thanks to x
"y will be improved"

DailyTech wordsmiths at work again!

By William Gaatjes on 12/10/2008 12:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
I had a difficult day today, but this news sure makes my evening.

I wonder at what frequency they are running the radio waves. It makes me think of the principle of the magnetron ,the John Kanzius RF hydrogen splitter and the RF lamp.

A simple title is the best title, Mick
By oTAL on 12/10/2008 12:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Title says all...

Spacecraft powerplant
By TerranMagistrate on 12/10/2008 12:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
Once this fusion reaction technology is perfected and miniaturized enough to be fitted into a spacecraft vehicle, it can be used to power massive ion thrusters and allow for interplanetary travel and exploration.

By Motoman on 12/10/2008 8:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
...the core's about to go critical. Bogus.

Dude...where's my control rod?

By Esping on 12/16/2008 4:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
A trillion lightbulbs, why not put that into a laser. My build of a capital spaceship just got a bit more fire power to it.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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