03 September 2007

HiPer Reaction? £500 Million Programme to Construct an Experimental Reactor by EU

Building on work done at the US Livermore lab, a British-led team of scientists has obtained preliminary approval to begin building HiPer, an advanced laser inertial confinement fusion approach.
The British-led team will use lasers to start fusion reactions that generate more energy than they consume and they have won the backing of an influ-ential EU science panel, The Times can disclose. The decision paves the way for a seven-year, £500 million programme to construct an experimental reactor based on a revolutionary technique that could make fusion a commercial reality within two decades.

The prototype for the Hiper (high energy laser fusion research) project is likely to be built in Britain, using the world’s most powerful laser to generate temperatures of millions of degrees at which fusion can occur.

A purely civilian facility, it will build on research at a US military laboratory which is expected within the next five years to use a form of laser fusion to produce more energy than it consumes. Hiper will then develop a slightly different laser technique that is more suitable for commercial use.

For more on this advanced laser/inertial confinement approach to fusion, see the HiPer website and this Wikipedia entry.

For comparison with another huge EU fusion project, see ITER. ITER is a magnetic confinement plasma reactor.

Fusion energy continues to promise an almost limitless power supply for human use. Several approaches to fusion energy production are being pursued. I confess to being prejudiced against laser -pellet designs. They appear inelegant and kludgy, in their "batch operation" approach. After each pellet fuses, another pellet must be fed to the reactor for another laser burst, then another . . . I prefer a continuous reactor design--preferably one with adjustable output.

My aesthetic preference is unimportant. If the new design laser/inertial confinement approach can achieve useful energy output suitable for commercial power generation, it is a good place to start.

In the meantime, national governments need to face the urgent need for the development and deployment of advanced fourth generation nuclear fission reactors to supply an explosive demand for electrical power worldwide.

See also Thorium energy blog, for more information about advanced fission.

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Blogger M. Simon said...

You need to get up to speed on IEC Fusion.

Bussard Fusion Reactor
Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion

It has been funded:

Bussard Reactor Funded

I have inside info that is very reliable and multiply confirmed that validates the above story. I am not at liberty to say more. Expect a public announcement from the Navy in the coming weeks.

The above reactor can burn Deuterium which is very abundant and produces lots of neutrons or it can burn a mixture of Hydrogen and Boron 11 which does not

The implication of it is that we will know in 6 to 9 months if the small reactors of that design are feasible.

If they are we could have fusion plants generating electricity in 10 years or less depending on how much we want to spend to compress the time frame. A much better investment that CO2 sequestration.

BTW Bussard is not the only thing going on in IEC. There are a few government programs at the University of Wisconsin and at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana among others.

Monday, 03 September, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

I need to get up to speed on a lot of things. For most readers, the general wiki link for nuclear fusion will lead to links to Bussard and other less publicized fusion research.

Everyone has heard the "10 years or less . . ." story for different brands of novel fusion approaches. Eventually, one of the stories will pan out--maybe in the next century.

Monday, 03 September, 2007  

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