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The Weekly Fusion: A Look at Current Advancements in Fusion Energy

The Weekly Fusion: A Look at Current Advancements in Fusion Energy

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|7.10.15-7.17.15|

The future of fusion is constantly being unfolded in front of our eyes, as every week there is some breakthrough in new technologies and designs in the nuclear fusion sector of energy. Since there is such a wealth of information, I have gathered and consolidated a list of articles geared toward the advancement of making fusion energy a reality, from within the past week.

 

Weekly Breakthroughs

 

How China hopes to solve nuclear waste issue with hybrid fusion-fission reactor at top secret facility

Stephen Chen / South China Morning Post / 07.17.15

By 2030, China claims it will build a new hybrid reactor that uses a fusion-fission method to burn nuclear waste. Other countries have carried out relevant fusion-fission research: Russia, European countries, the United States and Japan. The only country with a schedule to use the fusion-fission method is China. According to the news article:

“Such a design has numerous advantages. The high-speed neutrons generated by fusion could split apart the u-238 atoms to generate fission, and the fission could generate lots of energy to help maintain the fusion, thus significantly reducing the amount of external energy input, and achieve the complete burning of nuclear fuel to avoid radioactive waste.”

 

Bottling the Sun

Steven Charles Cowley / Project Syndicate / 07.16.15

Fusion energy’s potential is too great to bypass, and great progress has made in the research and development of fusion energy. Centered on the R&D of fusion energy is the ITER project which will place society just steps away from the goal of commercializing fusion energy.

 

Clean boron fusion using extreme laser pulses

Heinrich Hora / SPIE Newsroom / 07.15.15

Using pulses of lasers to ignite the hydrogen-boron fuel has the potential to provide nuclear fusion, which will provide clean and sustainable energy for generations. Approaching nuclear fusion with laser pulses and with boron-11 will produce stable helium as alpha particles, which will result in a less harmful radiation level than compared to that of burning coal.

 

Nuclear material race is on!

Justin Cunningham / Eureka / 07.14.15

Harnessing the right materials so that nuclear fusion becomes a reality is a huge barrier. Material challenges includes finding a material that can handle a plasma load of 50MW/m2 for the ITER project, and other problems includes finding materials that can withstand the constant bombardment of neutrons to the tungsten blanket wall.

 

Boeing just patented this awesome laser-powered nuclear fusion engine design

Drew Prindle / Digital Trends / 07.13.15

Boeing made an ambitious step in patenting a super-efficient laser-powered nuclear fusion engine. This Boeing engine would make use of high-powered lasers to activate a small nuclear reaction, which would then cause the engine to move forward. The nuclear reaction that would be involved would require a stream of hydrogen isotopes, which could be Deuterium or Tritium, producing helium as a byproduct.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for starting this weekly column. I’ve been searching for a website that gives weekly updates on this critical technology!

  2. More information is on the electronically published paper, go to Laser and Particle Beams “First View” papers:

    H. Hora, G. Korn, L. Giuffrida, D. Margarone, A. Picciotto, J.Krasa, K. Jungwirth, J. Ullschmied, P. Lalousis, S. Eliezer, G.H. Miley, S. Moustaizis and G. Mourou, Fusion energy using avalanche increased boron reactions for block ignition by ultrahigh power picosecond laser pulses. Laser and particle Beams. 33, (2015) DOI: 10.1017/S026.03461.5000634

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