HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » Inside The Most Expensive...

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 05:55 PM

Inside The Most Expensive Science Experiment Ever (ITER Fusion)

By Daniel Clery



Some people have spent their whole working lives researching fusion and then retired feeling bitter at what they see as a wasted career. But that hasn’t stopped new recruits joining the effort every year: optimistic young graduates keen to get to grips with a complicated scientific problem that has real implications for the world. Their numbers have been increasing in recent years, perhaps motivated by two factors: there is a new machine under construction, a huge global effort that may finally show that fusion can be a net producer of energy; and the need for fusion has never been greater, considering the twin threats of dwindling oil supplies and climate change.

The new machine is the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or simply ITER (pronounced ‘eater’). Many machines over the past 60 years have been billed as ‘the one’ that will make the big breakthrough, only to stumble before getting there. But considering how close JET, its direct predecessor, got to break-even, ITER has to have a good chance. ITER is not a power station, it won’t be connected to the grid and won’t even generate any electricity, but its designers are aiming to go far beyond break-even and spark enough fusion reactions to produce 10 times as much heat as that pumped in to make it work. To get there requires a reactor of epic proportions. The building containing the reactor will be 60m tall and extend 13m underground--altogether taller than the Arc de Triomphe. The reactor inside will weigh 23,000 tonnes--continuing the Parisian theme, that’s more than three Eiffel Towers.

At the time of writing, workers at the ITER site in Cadarache, southern France, are laying foundations, erecting buildings, installing cables and generally preparing the ground. In factories around the world the various components that will make up the reactor are being built, ready to be shipped to France and assembled on site. The scale and the quantities are prodigious. In six different ITER member countries factories are churning out niobium-tin superconducting wires for the reactor’s magnets. When finished, they will have made 80,000km of wire, enough to wrap around the equator twice. The giant D-shaped coils of wire that are the electromagnets used to contain the plasma are each 14m tall and weigh 360 tonnes, as much as a fully laden jumbo jet. ITER needs 18 of these magnets. Perhaps the most mindboggling statistic about ITER, and one of the reasons it is being built by an international collaboration, is its cost: somewhere between €13 billion and €16 billion. That makes it the most expensive science experiment ever built--twice as expensive as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

That huge sum of money is, for the nations involved, a gamble against a future in which access to energy will become an issue of national security. Most agree that oil production is going to decline sharply during this century. There is still plenty of coal around but burning it in large quantities increases the risk of catastrophic climate change. That doesn’t leave many options for the world’s future energy supplies. Conventional nuclear power makes people uneasy for many reasons, including safety, the problems of disposing of waste, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.


more
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-06/piece-sun

22 replies, 5004 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Inside The Most Expensive Science Experiment Ever (ITER Fusion) (Original post)
n2doc Jun 2013 OP
longship Jun 2013 #1
Katashi_itto Jun 2013 #2
longship Jun 2013 #3
Katashi_itto Jun 2013 #4
longship Jun 2013 #5
Katashi_itto Jun 2013 #6
longship Jun 2013 #8
Katashi_itto Jun 2013 #11
longship Jun 2013 #13
Katashi_itto Jun 2013 #15
longship Jun 2013 #18
Katashi_itto Jun 2013 #19
Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2013 #9
kiri Jun 2013 #7
secondvariety Jun 2013 #16
tclambert Jun 2013 #10
DetlefK Jul 2013 #20
Angleae Jul 2013 #22
phantom power Jun 2013 #12
secondvariety Jun 2013 #14
packman Jun 2013 #17
DetlefK Jul 2013 #21

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 07:30 PM

1. Fusion? I'm not too sure about it.

It takes so damned much energy just to get it going, no matter what the cold fusion kooks claim. It's those damned nuclear forces.

Not too promising when it takes the most expensive science experiment in history to just make a break through.

There was a lot of hope for fusion early on. But that may have been because of the unlimited power of the H-Bomb. If we could tap into that, we'd have energy too cheap to meter!!!

Not so fast, or so much.

Good luck to ITER. I wish them luck. But fusion, in spite of what Lyndon LaRouche claims, is neither easy nor cheap. Not unless you want to blow up a large city, that is. That's the only way we get out more than we put in right now.

Of course, there's always the ultimate fusion power, the Sun, conveniently at about 93,000,000 miles distance. Best yet, no need to put in anything to get it going. Just need to tap it.

Easy peasy!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:04 PM

3. Right!

we should stress that they still don’t know exactly what’s going on inside the sealed steel cylinder reactor.


While Rossi hasn’t provided much in the way of details — he’s a very secretive man...


In NASA’s tests, it takes a lot more energy to fuse the nickel and hydrogen than is produced by the reaction. Rossi, it would seem, has discovered a secret sauce that significantly reduces the amount of energy required to start the reaction. As for what the secret sauce is, no one knows


Science by hiding secrets isn't science. It is, however, a common trait for quackery. "I've got this secret formula to make this thingamabob do this thingamajig, but it's secret and I'm not going to tell you what it is. But if you help fund my research you'll be in on the ground floor of something really big."

Of course, the article you cite ends like this:
If Rossi and Focardi’s cold fusion technology turns out to be real — if the E-Cat really has 10,000 times the energy density and 1,000 times the power density of gasoline — then the world will change, very, very quickly. Stay tuned; we’ll let you know when — or if — the E-Cat passes peer review.


Bingo! No peer review yet. And we know what peer review did for Pons and Fleischman.

I'll stand by my post. Cold fusion kooks!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to longship (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:19 PM

4. It's very simple.

 

If indeed it is real and I am a private innovator I would keep it secret too as long as i could while ironing out the process.

Why?

If as i said it's real, I'd want control of the patents.

Letting the world in on what I've discovered is losing control of it.

Better to keep it under wraps till I've worked out the kinks and have my legal ducks in a row.

Hey, I'm glad you stand by you're statement. Certainty is a marvelous thing. More power to you.


"Never be certain of anything. It's a sign of weakness."
-Dr Who

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:34 PM

5. But one cannot claim a science break through without peer review.

That's just the way it is. If one doesn't like it, they can cry me a river, but their claims remain off the table until its published.

Science can be a tough bitch sometimes, but incidences like Pons and Fleishman show why the procedures are in place and what happens when people short cut them.

Rossi et al may have something, but they may also be kooks. We can't know until they publish. And that's the most one can say about this.

Until then. I will stand by my posts. I will gladly recant and admit my mistake if I am wrong. But I don't think I am.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to longship (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:50 PM

6. If it's real, then it's about the profit.

 

From a monetary standpoint it makes perfect sene.

Making the claim attracts the right backers.

As for your posts, Meh.

There were hundreds who poo pooed all the flight pioneers and, for a long time they were right.

Then the Wright brothers came along.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 12:10 AM

8. Well, if it's real.

Somebody else will scoop them by publishing. Then maybe they get the Nobel.

Don't criticize me. I didn't make the rules. And these guys are not playing by them.

This doesn't sound like Wright Bros. it sounds more like Steorn or the many zero-point energy device kooks.

That's why I am very skeptical about cold fusion. There is low prior plausibility. The only way we've been able to do it so it releases more energy than it uses is with a fucking fusion bomb that would blow up a city. So some kooks named Pons and Fleishman have a press conference and claim they can do it on a table in a flask. Nope!!! No fusion there. Thank you peer review.

No peer review here yet; no fusion!

It's publish or perish, my friend.

Keep my DU tag in mind. I have bookmarked this thread. I will gladly recant if I am wrong. But I don't think I am.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to longship (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:43 AM

11. Again if it's real publishing is the least of the issues. So is getting a Nobel

 

It would be all about the money.

Not criticizing but the fixation on publishing or the Nobel is missing the point, there is world shaking wealth in there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 10:16 AM

13. My point is that it isn't science

Only by publishing does one bring in peer review.

And you might be right about the money part, because this has all the indications of fraud, not science.

It looks an awful lot like the Steorn Orbo to me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to longship (Reply #13)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:14 PM

15. Doesnt nessacariy have to be fraud, although I know your

 

fixed on that Idea.

Again, if he's smart, and this is indeed real, being a CPA (in-training) I would say he's getting his ducks lined up. Being egalitarian and wanting to share this with the world would be the lowest on my priorities. This is the tech that can bring down governments.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #15)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:47 PM

18. I am not committed to "fraud" charge.

It may be legit. But it has the attributes of previous fraud or hoaxes. This makes these claims suspect to a community of people (scientists) who operate by releasing their research findings publicly so that others can verify and validate those claims. Or, indeed, falsify them.

I have no dog in this hunt other than to observe that this project is doing things outside the normal scientific methodology. That makes the claims suspect from the get go.

On top of that, there would be a lot of physics upended if cold fusion were true. That raises the bar significantly higher. Again, the Pons and Fleishman debacle looms large here.

Just the fact that they do not reveal details is troubling. And the hoaxers and the deluded never do not claim protection for their financial interests when sweeping their so-called science behind a veil of secrecy.

Until this is peer reviewed one must be skeptical of secret claims like this.

Sorry, my friend.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to longship (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:59 AM

19. Understandable sentiment

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to longship (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:36 AM

9. The GOAL is to produce electricity from a reaction and the ONLY byproduct is nutrinos.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 12:00 AM

7. cold fusion is a delusion

There are only 4 fundamental forces in nature: gravity, the elecromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force. Only the electromagnetic force is significantly controlled by humankind--its action and strength is of our dimensions. It underlies all chemistry, all biology, all light, all radio/internet communications, and all life. It is wildly improbable that another force, e.g. spiritual, god, 'mental', is yet undiscovered by the thousands of laboratories, scientists who work every day, none finding a reproducible effect previously unknown.

Gravity is only important when there are big chunks of mass, otherwise of no consequence for human life. The strong and weak nuclear forces are good for keeping atomic nuclei together, and we humans need atoms. They do neat things in stars, like our sun, too.

'Cold fusion' does not exist. "Never attribute to malice what may be due to simple incompetence". Or, in the case of cold fusion, simple greed and self delusion.

Lest anyone claim that the weak nuclear force is the secret 'sauce', let them show how it works with electron neutrinos, tau neutrinos, and muon neutrinos!

Anyone can get 100 Billion neutrinos in the palm of your hand--just hold it out--this many or more pass through planet Earth every second. None have produced cold fusion, nor even hot fusion on Earth.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kiri (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:25 PM

16. Never say never.

The strong and weak nuclear force theories weren't proposed until the 20th century. I think there's still plenty about nature to be discovered.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:38 AM

10. Why isn't America leading this important research?

Every physicist will tell you this is the future energy source for humanity, yet America kept budget-cutting the research and slowing it down. Why? Ask Dick Cheney's energy task force. Oil companies want the status quo to continue as long as they can and don't want to worry about the future.

Hydrogen fusion as our major source of energy provides a tremendous national security benefit. The fuel comes from seawater. With long coastlines on 3 oceans (3, count 'em, 3), we would never have to depend on foreign sources again. Imagine an America that doesn't fight wars for oil.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tclambert (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 1, 2013, 05:14 AM

20. The US had a research-program for a pulsed fusion-reactor.

The idea was to feed in hydrogen droplet by droplet and ignite fusion in each droplet with extremely powerful lasers. But the feeding-mechanism was unreliable and there were technical issues with the lasers as well, so the project got killed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tclambert (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 1, 2013, 05:19 AM

22. The US has it's own research groups.

There's one mainly funded by the navy (polywell?)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 10:09 AM

12. We could build three of them for what we spent in 1 year on the Iraq War

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to phantom power (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:13 PM

14. We could build ten

with the money Apple is hiding overseas.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:33 PM

17. Seem to be missing Something Here

And what about solar,wind, and tidal? Seems a hellofalot of them could be built for this thing. I do believe a national penis-waving contest is going on here. Then again, the Titanic was on big boat and we all know it was unsinkable;but, it had to be built.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to packman (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 1, 2013, 05:17 AM

21. All national supply-grids are tuned towards centralized procuction of electricity.

Replace a fission-reactor with a fusion-reactor and you can keep the infrastructure as it is.
Decentralize the power-plants and you need a major overhaul of the whole system.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread