2021-03-29 Terrestrial Thermonuclear Fusion

In this Tech For Luddites YouTube video the lady from India explains the drawbacks of ‘terrestrial fusion’. For instance there are only 21 kilograms of tritium in the world. It has to be bred in a [fission] reactor. For an 800 MW fusion plant it will take 125 kg of tritium per year to run a tokamak like ITER. There is a nearly infinite supply of deuterium but the supply of tritium is not sufficient for a fusion reactor. There are several other disadvantages. There will not be a commercial fusion reactor until after 2060. By that time the world will be running on renewables plus battery storage.

She also explains that fusion creates a large quantity of high energy neutrons which go through the metals of the reactor and disrupt the molecular lattice, causing the metal to become brittle. But what I find most alarming is that the superconducting electromagnets needed have a huge amount of stored energy and the superconduction can collapse, what is known as quenching. The electromagnet can explode, so it should be surrounded by a containment vessel just like a fission reactor.

I have personally believed that the costs of the fusion programs exceed their benefits and the billions spent should have been used on building factories for renewables. This just confirms my belief.

BTW the ‘inventory of tritium’ mentioned in the screenshot below comes from the supply that is for thermonuclear weapons. Tritium deteriorates and must be replenished periodically.


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