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Why I don’t want Fusion…

 
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Ballard



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 826
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:15 pm    Post subject: Why I don?t want Fusion? Reply with quote

Having looked at and around ?Peak Oil? for over a year I now think that Fusion is almost the worst thing that could happen.

World population has directly mirrored the exploitation of energy over the last 300 years. The agricultural revolution was predominantly powered by the exploitation of animal / timber energy to achieve increased food availability. This farming revolution lead to the growth in the world population, which gradually rose up towards 1 Billion people. The industrial revolution happened next, and was powered by coal, this allowed the industrialisation of agriculture (starting in the UK), and this pushed the world population towards 2 Billion. The discovery and exploitation of oil (which really started powering along in the US 100 years ago) allowed the green revolution to proceed at pace. This exploitation has allowed the world population to balloon to the current level of approximately 6.5 billion people, and if nothing changes this could reach over 9 billion people by 2030.

Click on the picture, and look at world population (yellow line), mirroring oil production.

https://store.postcarbon.org/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=21

Now we seem to be heading towards a number of ?converging catastrophes?, those being global food production, timber deforestation, species extinction, Climate damage, metal ore exhaustion etc.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=699303
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200607/s1685513.htm
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Friday/Columns/20060721073952/Article/index_html

These issues would all seem to be caused primarily by an unsustainable world population. Peak oil is just one of the many depletions we face as humanity swamps the planet.

Fusion would seem to be the solution to our looming energy crisis, however it will only exacerbate the other depletions that the world faces by allowing business as usual. There is a sustainable human world population, we are probably past it (unless we massively change our collective ways). We need to embark upon a path of contraction as soon as possible, (the higher the starting point the bumpier the slide) until we reach a sustainable level of humanity.

Either we chose a path of contraction (unlikely), or nature will chose one for us (likley).

Um, rant over.
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clv101
Site Admin


Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 7630

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was talking to Bob Hirsch, famed for is DOE paper looking at peak oil mitigation timeframes. He's totally dismissive of fusion power. He should know what he's talking about seeing as his bio includes:

Quote:
Director, Division of Magnetic Fusion Energy Research, U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration. During the 1970s, he ran the US fusion energy program, including initiation of the Tokamak fusion test reactor.
http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/hirsch_bio.htm


The reasons he gave were cost (will always be more costly than fission), complexity (always more complex than fission) and waste (although fusion doesn't produce the very long lifetime waste products hundreds of years is just as bad as 1000s in commercial terms).

He's a fan of fission - suggesting over a 1000 years supply of fissionable material, including fast breeders which he said were cheaper and easier than fusion. Whilst not doubting fusion could/will work technically (although he did say that the current research was going in the wrong direction) his problem with is that that it'll just never be completive with fission.

I don't really agree with him... but then I got the impression he's about 1000 times smarter than me so I expect he's right!
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Totally_Baffled



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2824
Location: Hampshire

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I don't really agree with him... but then I got the impression he's about 1000 times smarter than me so I expect he's right!


Ah yes- but then there are people as smart as Hirsch that disagree with him. (ie those working on ITER for example! )

Very Happy Laughing

Fusion isn't going to solve our energy woes anyway, even if we get a working fusion reactor tomorrow, the deployment time to reaplace even a fraction of FF infrastructure will take decades upon decades.

Then you have all the materials that come from oil, fusion isn't going to enable the replacement of things like plastics, synthetic rubbers in any sort of volume.

With or without fusion, we have to address the demand side of the energy/fossil fuel equation.
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Peak oil? ahhh smeg..... Sad
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Vortex



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 6097

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally_Baffled wrote:
Quote:

I don't really agree with him... but then I got the impression he's about 1000 times smarter than me so I expect he's right!


Ah yes- but then there are people as smart as Hirsch that disagree with him. (ie those working on ITER for example! )


The fusion crowd have been padding their CVs and lining their pockets since around about 1950. They still claim they need another 25 years.

Time to give most of them their P45s and hand over fusion to the private sector.

The keen and able would get better paid jobs, whilst the apparatchiks would be in the dole queue.

Just my opinion .... Very Happy
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