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  • #1098
    Avatarbenf
    Participant

    What a difference a few days can make…After following the news of the horrific catastrophe in Japan. The images are surreal, it looks as bad as a war scene from a past world war. But it isn’t a Spielberg movie, it’s happened. And now compounded by meltdown fears. All this by humankind’s inability to control water, whether it be in the ocean or in the form of steam in the nuclear power plants. There is also a longer term threat from water, the massive permanent flooding of low lying areas as the sea levels rise.

    We need to continue the efforts to “Keep Calm” and try to change the narrative that all nuclear power is inherently catastrophic. If Focus Fusion (which doesn’t use fuel rods or steam!) were to be successful, it will mean another way out from under the cycle of pain of fission runaway reactions, exploding and burning refineries, loss of power delivery due to global political instabilities. It would mean a much faster solution to these problems. It falls on us to continue the efforts large and small to change the way people define the discussion of energy solutions.

    I’ve marched in “No Nukes” demonstrations and attended the fundraising concerts in the past, but that was against weapons and old style fission nuclear power plants. Now I’m alarmed at the looming global crisis that has changed the equation of what we have to consider for energy options. I’m all for renewable energy but fear it’s ascendency will come too late. Focus Fusion is an alternative and has a lot going for it to be made intrinsically safe and should be seriously considered along with renewables as a viable alternative worth pursuing.

    #9755
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Been dealing with this on various forums myself.

    Most people will listen if you explain the facts, but an unfortunate portion of the anti-nuke crowd senses that there is blood in the water (literally, sad to say) and will not stop screeching.

    And of that group a smaller portion will screech anything that pops into their heads.

    Have to deal with them as best as can be done while not letting them derail the subject with their fantasies. (latest: spent fuel rods in cooling ponds have been launched like ballistic missiles into the atmosphere)

    I wonder if they will ever be able to realize that, as well-meaning as they may be, they are dancing to a tune the oligarchs arranged?

    #9756
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Perhaps something unexpected like the Monsters Inc. metaphor could help in those screeching situations:

    Helpful metaphors dept: The difference between fission and fusion is like the difference between children’s screams and laughter in the movie “Monster’s Inc.” Fission, like screams, is destructive and toxic, but releases a lot of energy. Fusion, like laughter, brings things together and releases much more energy.

    Then again, if someone is in screech mode, it’s a lost cause.

    #9757
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Rezwan wrote:
    Then again, if someone is in screech mode, it’s a lost cause.

    Yes, I’m referring to techniques to get factual information past the screechers to those in the same forum who can still listen.

    #9758
    AvatarIvy Matt
    Participant

    I’m of several minds about the events going on at the Fukushima plant. Mostly I’m just dismayed at the number of things that could go wrong actually going wrong. At this point I just hope that none of the reactor core material actually finds its way to the ground, or into the ocean.

    One thing that seems clear to me is that the drive to expand nuclear fission, which has been quite strong in recent years, is bound to lose steam (sorry about that ;-)) in the near future. Nuclear fission advocates will argue that the lesson to be learned from this is that we need to replace our aging nuclear power plants with newer, safer designs. There may be something to be said for that argument, but I don’t expect them to win it, as I expect public opinion regarding nuclear power (of any sort) to cool considerably.

    So, where does that leave fusion? First of all, I’m not sure how effectively one could spin these events. The word “fusion” has come to mean many things over the years, but the kind of fusion we’re interested in here is nuclear fusion. And, yes, this type of fusion does produce radiation. Of course, so does the power source that solar power advocates would prefer to harness. Anyway, my point is that I think honest attempts at education will be more useful than attempts to avoid scary words like nuclear (having to do with the nucleus of an atom) and radiation (particles or electromagnetic rays emitted from energized atoms).

    I think I should also point out that nuclear fission power has at least one clear advantage over nuclear fusion power: it exists. Nuclear fission can suffer a serious setback, but that’s probably not going to help nuclear fusion much if it continues to fail to reach breakeven. The only way it will help is if numerous bureaucrats and/or investors have a serious epiphany that now is the time to devote large funds to fusion research, and I’m not too optimistic that will happen just because of what’s going on at Fukushima.

    All that said, controlled nuclear fusion, if it can be efficiently harnessed to provide electrical power, has clear advantages over controlled nuclear fission, and I think it’s important to get that message out. Michio Kaku compared the reactor core of the Fukushima Daiichi I plant to a car without brakes. Perhaps one could compare a fusion reactor to a car with its emergency brake always engaged. Nuclear fusion research may be long and frustrating, but the difficulty of sustaining the reaction is a clear benefit when it comes to safety.

    Still, one has to expect that the safety mechanisms of any proposed fusion power plant design will be scrutinized carefully in the wake of Fukushima. Perhaps we should ask (and answer) the difficult questions first before the bureaucrats do.

    #9759
    AvatarHenning
    Participant

    Generally the rethinking of nuclear fission opens up other resources, now available to water, wind, solar, and possibly fusion.

    It’s a chance, not a detriment.

    Just watch the anti-nuclear (anti-fission) movement in Germany. The old government (social democrats and greens) decided a phase-out of fission plants, the new government (christian democrats and so called “liberals”, more in an Australian way “liberal” than American “liberal”, they go where the money is) reverted that phase-out. But people understood that investing in fission locks resources required for a switch to more renewable energy construction, storage, and distribution.

    That’s why they are protesting now. They smell a chance of pressing the government in their direction, especially as in the next few weeks several elections will take place. Oh, and with these elections Merkel now reverts the revertment of the phase-out. She isn’t concerned about safety, just about elections. After elections all the German fission plants will go online again, if she doesn’t get stopped.

    Nuclear fission always has been enormously subsidised. In this subsidy the deconstruction and (safe) deposition of waste isn’t even included. Cost-calculations are way off.

    ——————————————————

    PS: Es geht um unsere Zukunft.

    #9760
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Michio Kaku compared the reactor core of the Fukushima Daiichi I plant to a car without brakes. Perhaps one could compare a fusion reactor to a car with its emergency brake always engaged.

    Lol! (followed by gritting teeth)

    Yes. Fusion has a ways to go. And we have a duty to do everything to make it happen. The erratic and pathetic funding to date is a big part of the problem. If there is a solution to be found, it will take commitment to find it.

    #9761
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Henning wrote: Nuclear fission always has been enormously subsidised. In this subsidy the deconstruction and (safe) deposition of waste isn’t even included. Cost-calculations are way off.

    True costs and comparisons are hard to come by. Per David MacKay – http://www.withouthotair.com :

    Everyone says getting off fossil fuels is important, and we’re all encouraged to “make a difference,” but many of the things that allegedly make a difference don’t add up. …People get emotional (for example about wind farms or nuclear power) and no-one talks about numbers. Or if they do mention numbers, they select them to sound big, to make an impression, and to score points in arguments, rather than to aid thoughtful discussion. (MacKay, 2009)

    The uncertainty factor with fusion makes it difficult to know the true cost. But people have done many bold things in the face of uncertainty.

    ——————–
    es ist ein Problem kollektiven Handelns in der Gegenwart

    #9762
    AvatarPatientman
    Participant

    Henning wrote: Generally the rethinking of nuclear fission opens up other resources, now

    available to water, wind, solar, and possibly fusion.
    …they go where the money is) …But people understood that investing in fission locks resources required for a switch to more

    renewable energy construction, storage, and distribution.

    There is a reoccurring theme in the way governments and the energy industries marshal public opinion, funds and sources of energy itself, they push away from cheaper energy solutions. As the quoted passage above states, resources are locked into other directions. The cost of both wind and solar are higher than any other type of energy source, yet here we are. Continuing investment in these areas takes money away from newer and cheaper resources. Increased advertising is seen as a major source of pushing public opinion in “Green” areas. The energy industry itself is slowing down the world’s capability of any change to a cheaper source by diverting our attention to “their” saving graces.

    We will now see a massive advertising campaign on how safe, righteous and cheap our nuclear energy programs are. The same energy companies that own Nuclear and wind power plants will push even harder for those “Green” dollars. They will lose large sums of money if Dense Plasma Fusion is not delayed or stopped. The United States receive 20% of our energy from Nuclear power plants, which is a huge amount of money flowing into an industry. Increasing the flow of dollars through wind and solar because of their cost ($5 to $7per Kilowatt installed) does not increase the amount of energy, only the cost. By continually slowing the change of energy resources and increasing its costs; they will keep our world safe from a sudden collapse of economies and political governments. They have convinced the public that this type of calamity will happen if we do not listen to them. The fear factor is failing.

    People calling for democratic reform in North Africa are changing the face of the world regardless of the stalemate over oil dominance in that region. Those countries should have been building massive solar fields, if energy was the predominate factor in sustaining governments. These governments preferred to stick with non-democratic rule and total control over oil income. Those governments slow reaction to change costs human lives and an awakening of new negative perceptions by the rest of the world. Massive Nuclear plant failures in Japan are beginning another change in our world, which will cost more human life and world economic growth. We as a society always pay for these disasters. You may not have seen the bill come in the mail for 3 mile island, Chernobyl, or the recent banking implosion, but you have paid for these disasters. They thank you, by increasing the cost of living, cost of energy and those wonderful taxes. They have recouped those losses and then some. Problem is they forgot to increase wages and now are trying to convince us “business as usual” should return and we should continue paying for the lack of change.

    Convincing the world to hang on just a few more years is a very difficult, if not an impossible thing to do. Keeping watch over an energy industry that does not see change as a good thing, but a thing it must control to stay on top, is a dangerous aspect of capitalism. If they continue in this direction of slowing down the changes on the horizon, we will see a continuing collapse of economies as well. Our strength comes from the patience and pragmatism towards a new foundation of Dense Plasma Fusion energy and a new society where energy can no longer dominate our economy. As a human society we have more important quests to pursue in the future, such as curing cancers, eliminating CO2 in our atmosphere and improving the education of our children. Energy as a commodity needs to be demoted after the successful world wide distribution of Fusion energy.

    #9763
    AvatarHenning
    Participant

    McKay only has a short passage for decommissioning:

    Economics of cleanup
    What’s the cost of cleaning up nuclear power sites? The nuclear decommissioning
    authority has an annual budget of £2 billion for the next 25
    years. The nuclear industry sold everyone in the UK 4 kWh/d for about
    25 years, so the nuclear decommissioning authority’s cost is 2.3 p/kWh.
    That’s a hefty subsidy – though not, it must be said, as hefty as the subsidy
    currently given to offshore wind (7 p/kWh).

    That’s what the government sets aside, £2 billion (is that American billion or British billion, that’s a 1000-fold difference. McKay is British…), isn’t the actual cost. Cost will come in later years and payed up by the public.

    Two chapters later he discusses how small the dangerous waste is. Well, that waste gets buried somewhere, but not safely. It gets in the water system again, like with Asse II.

    But all in all an interesting read.

    #9764
    BreakableBreakable
    Keymaster

    Research funds are not the same as development funds.
    Yes there is some competition but usually you need 1000x less money in research phase than in development and another similar factor increase in implementation.

    #9765
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Rezwan wrote:
    Yes. Fusion has a ways to go. And we have a duty to do everything to make it happen. The erratic and pathetic funding to date is a big part of the problem. If there is a solution to be found, it will take commitment to find it.

    While I hesitate at the thought of adding to the ziggurat that is the FFS Forums main page, is there a dedicated area where admitted skeptics can come ask questions?

    The questions will undoubtedly range from the basics to advanced subjects that are covered in other topics… but all will have the same basis as the skeptics seek to assure themselves that there are no hidden “gotchas”… that as aneutronic fusion advocates we aren’t giving the world the same bum rush that got the uranium fission plants rammed down our throats.

    #9766
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    zapkitty wrote: all will have the same basis as the skeptics seek to assure themselves that there are no hidden “gotchas”… that as aneutronic fusion advocates we aren’t giving the world the same bum rush that got the uranium fission plants rammed down our throats.

    With the “emergency brake on”, I don’t think anything will be rammed down anyone’s throat. This has a while to unfold. Assuming funding stabilizes, then assuming the concept is proven, there’s still the engineering development phase, and throughout this time, as noted elsewhere, many industries will be feeling threatened and likely challenging the concept “with extreme prejudice.”

    I think skeptics needs will be well taken care of.

    The forum ziggurat used to have a “skeptics” section, which is now the “noise” area.

    #9768
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Rezwan wrote:

    With the “emergency brake on”, I don’t think anything will be rammed down anyone’s throat. This has a while to unfold. Assuming funding stabilizes, then assuming the concept is proven, there’s still the engineering development phase, and throughout this time, as noted elsewhere, many industries will be feeling threatened and likely challenging the concept “with extreme prejudice.”

    I think skeptics needs will be well taken care of.

    Errrr…. you seem to be assuming that those threatened by the technology will be deterred by a masterful display of the facts which will also convince the honest skeptics.

    What happens when instead they play to the worst fears of the anti-nukes and have them amplify those fears to the public with a half-billion dollar campaign against the radioactive poison-spewing monsters that those terrorist-enabling crazies want to install in every neighborhood and contaminate the houses for thousands of years?

    The oligarchs don’t have too strong a connection to reality at best and are not shy about callously jettisoning it entirely where profits are involved.

    #9773
    Avatarbenf
    Participant

    Henning -Posted: 15 March 2011 08:46 AM


    Nuclear fission always has been enormously subsidised. In this subsidy the deconstruction and (safe) deposition of waste isn’t even included. Cost-calculations are way off.

    Yes, and thus we see in Japan that even the spent rods are overheating. The oligarchs might be squirming just a bit, because you can’t just fly to a tax haven to get away from radiation if it’s all over the planet, though you could go deep underground into the bunker for a long time. But you can’t show off and make people do your bidding quite as easily down there.

    Maybe out of all of this the trend toward pragmatism will come back in vogue. Everyone is becoming educated to the relative risks of all of the energy technologies and fusion will look like another reasonable way out, including being profitable. I’m sure the Japanese people would much prefer the news to have gone like this: “Tsunami submerges fusion electric generator facilities. Electricity transmission went off line for a few hours. There has been no detectable radiation increase above normal background levels. Power has now been restored at the facilities to provide assistance and aid to the casualties of the Tsunami and in the cleanup…” “Fusion torches will be employed to salvage and reclaim the large numbers of destroyed ships, structures and transport vehicles to help contain the costs of the catastrophe…”

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