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I've been watching an episode of a show on Twit TV "Green Tech Today" http://twit.tv/gtt19 where they were talking about this project:

https://lasers.llnl.gov/

Basically it's a fusion reaction ignited by lasers instead of nuclear fission that will, in theory, produce more power than the lasers used to start the reaction. The idea is that in the future a chamber could be built that would allow this reaction to happen rapidly over and over and to cycle much like an engine releasing incredible amounts of energy. It will do this with minimal waste products too.
 

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The fused hydrogen molecules are what give off the energy. So far all we have is nuclear fission which creates quite a bit of radioactive waste (well, the newish reactors produce about the same amount of waste as the fluid in a little plastic lighter in order to make enough energy for a 4 person household over 20 years). Fusion with something like hydrogen would be very good. Tough to do for vehicles, but for home/factory use, it'd be tha shiznit.
 

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http://www.usec.com/gaseousdiffusion_pad_overview.htm

A friend of mine is a maintenance guy at our local nuclear facility.

When we talk about cheap power, picture about 1200 full time employees making between $22- $28 per hour.

This facility does not even produce power for our area.

Picture about 200 temporary employess making in the $30-32 / hr range with Obama's tax stimulus money cleaning up , etc .

The plant's water utilization is 26 million gallons per day.

Ppe costs per day / contaminated waterways / contaminated land/ no telling how many $100,000 + settlements to deceased family members or employees afflicted with cancer from working at or living in the area.

It does not look cheap or good for the environment to me.

From what I understand hydrogen has only been fused in exploding nuclear bombs and in an electromagnetic field in excess of 120,000 degrees Celsius. I just don't see a magnified laser getting it done.
 

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So I got un-lazy and did some research. Good thing I find this sort of thing ineresting...

If I understood everything said correctly, I think this is a sort dog and pony show. They claiming that they can boost the efficiency of energy transfered to the fuel enough to allow a roughly 1.8 megajoule combined discharge to "ignite" the deutrium-tritium fusion "burn" and generate as much 100 megajoules of energy from said "burn". So that's a better than 50-fold increase in energy.

Due to the inefficiencies of the initial laser shot and the amplification system and the significant losses during frequency conversion the total energy initially stored in the capacitors is above 400 megajoules. That makes the system less than 25% efficient before you factor in losses during capcitor charging, let alone the operating energy needs of the decidedly massive control system.

Even if it works flawlessly, you still have the maintain a long term, controled fusion reaction in a safe and cost effective means. Its akin to saying you've got a ride because you found a set of car keys in an empty parking lot.

Dog and pony show...
 

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http://www.usec.com/gaseousdiffusion_pad_overview.htm

A friend of mine is a maintenance guy at our local nuclear facility.

When we talk about cheap power, picture about 1200 full time employees making between $22- $28 per hour.

This facility does not even produce power for our area.

Picture about 200 temporary employess making in the $30-32 / hr range with Obama's tax stimulus money cleaning up , etc .

The plant's water utilization is 26 million gallons per day.

Ppe costs per day / contaminated waterways / contaminated land/ no telling how many $100,000 + settlements to deceased family members or employees afflicted with cancer from working at or living in the area.

It does not look cheap or good for the environment to me.

From what I understand hydrogen has only been fused in exploding nuclear bombs and in an electromagnetic field in excess of 120,000 degrees Celsius. I just don't see a magnified laser getting it done.
Sounds like job creation to me! :D I'd take a $25/hr job to walk around a bit and monitor some gauges and screens. True, nuke plants take a lot of water, but it's not like they completely destroy the water and such. They just use it for cooling and steam. Some plants don't even take in fresh water, just have a big tower that recycles the same water over and over. While the energy from that plant may not be going to you, it is going somewhere. I don't really know how the laser will do it either, but I'm no rocket scientist or MIT graduatated janitor either. If they do get the fusion done, hydrogen will be a very cheap fuel. .
 

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Does the American energy crisis have anything to do with steam generated electricity via coal or natural gas or does the economy have problems due to lost manufacturing jobs and expensive foreign oil, and borrowed money that is not even there ?
 

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I think that question changed in its midsection. I thought the energy crisis and economy crisis were two different, but linked, things. Of course they'd be connected since both are very broad topics. On that note, I did bring my own lunch today but I like the color orange better.
 

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Does the American energy crisis have anything to do with steam generated electricity via coal or natural gas or does the economy have problems due to lost manufacturing jobs and expensive foreign oil, and borrowed money that is not even there ?
Yes.;)
 

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what we need is being worked on by a company called terrapower... its a new type of nuclear reactor that actually runs on all of our old stored nuclear waste. bill gates has already put 35 million into the company and said he will be investing more... fusion being cost effective is quite a ways off, but this is only about 10-15 years off... most of which is spent trying to find a place to build it and dealing with all the government red tape
 

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While burning up spent fuel in new style reactors you still have a used fuel that is highly radioactive for a very long time. Fusion reactors have the advantage of being safer in operation (although only one research one is in operation) and if or when a commercial model is built the plant does not produce any highly radioactive waste, rather it would be considered low level waste and only for about a hundered years (short in comparison to our current spent fuel).

An experimental fusion reactor is being built in France, both Canada and the US backed out of bigger funding and Japan and France argued over the location. It's a consortium deal for commercial research on the viability of the Tokamak design.
 
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