Homepage Forums Reframing fusion, managing expectations The Dark Knight rises turns a Fusion reactor into an unstable Neutron bomb?!

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  • #1396
    AvatarJoeviocoe
    Member

    Okay, apparently I waited too long to see the movie.
    Overall I really liked it. And this film is not the first to take the idea of “fusion” and insist that it can be weaponized.

    In the film, Wayne Enterprises’ Clean Energy research division had been working on a Fusion reactor of some kind. Your typical Hollywood sphere with glowing blinky lights. The sphere was connected to a platform that kept it stable and extracted usable energy. The whole system was kept under the Gotham River and could be flooded in seconds in case of a runaway reaction.
    Terrorists turned on the fusion reactor and disconnected the sphere from the platform which kept it stable. Apparently, this form of fusion was self sustaining. And if not reconnected, would explode in a 4 Megaton nuclear blast.

    Okay, so there is a LOT wrong with the film’s depiction of fusion power. It seemed that they really wanted to say Fission. But that wouldn’t be new.

    If this is the image of fusion being pushed to the masses… then Focus Fusion has a VERY long, and arduous battle ahead of them to convince people of the inherent safety of fusion in comparison to fission reactors.

    #12235
    Avatarikanreed
    Member

    Joeviocoe wrote: Okay, apparently I waited too long to see the movie.
    Overall I really liked it. And this film is not the first to take the idea of “fusion” and insist that it can be weaponized.

    In the film, Wayne Enterprises’ Clean Energy research division had been working on a Fusion reactor of some kind. Your typical Hollywood sphere with glowing blinky lights. The sphere was connected to a platform that kept it stable and extracted usable energy. The whole system was kept under the Gotham River and could be flooded in seconds in case of a runaway reaction.
    Terrorists turned on the fusion reactor and disconnected the sphere from the platform which kept it stable. Apparently, this form of fusion was self sustaining. And if not reconnected, would explode in a 4 Megaton nuclear blast.

    Okay, so there is a LOT wrong with the film’s depiction of fusion power. It seemed that they really wanted to say Fission. But that wouldn’t be new.

    If this is the image of fusion being pushed to the masses… then Focus Fusion has a VERY long, and arduous battle ahead of them to convince people of the inherent safety of fusion in comparison to fission reactors.

    On the other hand, fusion has been weaponized for a half century now.

    Edit: and really effectively too. Specifically, all neutron bombs are fusion weapons.

    #12236
    AvatarJoeviocoe
    Member

    true…. but the majority of the yield still comes from the fission reaction if I am not mistaken. The hydrogen allows for a more complete burn of the fissile material in each stage. Even Tsar Bomba was mostly fission yield.

    #12237
    AvatarLerner
    Participant

    A fusion reactor can not be come a bomb for many reasons but one easy one to understand is that the amount of fuel in a reactoris incredibly tiny. Maybe a way of gnerating both education and publicity is having Fusion for Peace comittees to hand out flyers to Dark Knight moviegoers about how anuetronic fusion prevents nucfler wepaon development and why fusion gnerators cna’t become bombs.

    #12238
    Avatarvlad
    Member

    Joeviocoe wrote: true…. but the majority of the yield still comes from the fission reaction if I am not mistaken. The hydrogen allows for a more complete burn of the fissile material in each stage. Even Tsar Bomba was mostly fission yield.

    afaik you ARE mistaken 🙂
    In both issues.

    #12240
    AvatarJoeviocoe
    Member

    vlad wrote:

    true…. but the majority of the yield still comes from the fission reaction if I am not mistaken. The hydrogen allows for a more complete burn of the fissile material in each stage. Even Tsar Bomba was mostly fission yield.

    afaik you ARE mistaken 🙂
    In both issues.

    Do explain please.

    #12241
    AvatarJoeviocoe
    Member

    Lerner wrote: A fusion reactor can not be come a bomb for many reasons but one easy one to understand is that the amount of fuel in a reactoris incredibly tiny. Maybe a way of gnerating both education and publicity is having Fusion for Peace comittees to hand out flyers to Dark Knight moviegoers about how anuetronic fusion prevents nucfler wepaon development and why fusion gnerators cna’t become bombs.

    I like this idea.

    #12242
    Avatardelt0r
    Member

    If the public believes Hollywood then i don’t think any amount of fliers are going to fix it. To give an idea of how much fuel there is, even in ITER the total amount is about 1 gram, or about 10lt of fuel in a gas state.

    Contrary to popular belief there are no neutron bombs. They where proposed but never built. The idea was that the neutrons would be the primary kill mechanism. All bombs so far are optimized for yield, not neutron radiation. Even with the large neutron pulse (and subsequent activation of the surroundings), hydrogen bombs are far less dirty than pure fission weapons of the same yield.

    For the Tsar bomb, which in its design configuration was a 50MT bomb. Half of that was from fast neutron induced fission of the 238U tamper/case. This was replaced with lead because of the large amounts of fallout you get with fission. The yield of the tested bomb was 25MT.

    #12243
    Avatarvlad
    Member

    Joeviocoe wrote:

    true…. but the majority of the yield still comes from the fission reaction if I am not mistaken. The hydrogen allows for a more complete burn of the fissile material in each stage. Even Tsar Bomba was mostly fission yield.

    afaik you ARE mistaken 🙂
    In both issues.

    Do explain please.well.. as for real tsar-bomb test, the total power of the explosion was estimated as approximately 58Mt (15% above predicted by design), and only 1.5Mt was from fission “fuse”. So about 96% of power was from fusion.

    Most of modern nuclear weapons (except the weakest tactic level ones) are naturally fission- fusion, and usually the more powerful is the warhead the more part of its power is from fusion.

    There is a method of increasing the power of fusion bomb – to cover it with U238 shell.
    But it is rarely used. E.g. As for the tsar-bomb, it initially contained such a shell in its design, but it was removed and replaced with plumbum beefore the test.

    Everything described above is AFAIR and AFAIK 🙂

    #12244
    AvatarJoeviocoe
    Member

    vlad wrote:

    true…. but the majority of the yield still comes from the fission reaction if I am not mistaken. The hydrogen allows for a more complete burn of the fissile material in each stage. Even Tsar Bomba was mostly fission yield.

    afaik you ARE mistaken 🙂
    In both issues.

    Do explain please.well.. as for real tsar-bomb test, the total power of the explosion was estimated as approximately 58Mt (15% above predicted by design), and only 1.5Mt was from fission “fuse”. So about 96% of power was from fusion.

    Most of modern nuclear weapons (except the weakest tactic level ones) are naturally fission- fusion, and usually the more powerful is the warhead the more part of its power is from fusion.

    There is a method of increasing the power of fusion bomb – to cover it with U238 shell.
    But it is rarely used. E.g. As for the tsar-bomb, it initially contained such a shell in its design, but it was removed and replaced with plumbum beefore the test.

    Everything described above is AFAIR and AFAIK 🙂

    Okay, thank you.

    #12245
    AvatarPatientman
    Participant

    The Book “Sun In A Bottle” by Charles Seife, discusses the historical pursuit of fusion and also the bombs that have resulted in the past. He describes devices too large to be considered useful in warfare. It is difficult to read because of his lack of aneutronic fusion knowledge, but does set down historical data.

    As to the discussion of how to change the public’s perception of fusion energy, it will require a story that does not include bombs. Not very exciting at first glance, but I am working on one, a novel that comments on society and how difficult it is to bring fusion reactors to market.

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