US National Academies panel recommends expanding alternative nuclear fusion experiments

( -- The National Academies in the United States, made up of the four organizations: the National Academies of Science and Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, has issued an interim report in the National Academies Press, advocating that additional research be put into studying alternative technologies for imploding fuel used in fusion reactions.

Currently, the bulk of on fusion research goes towards finding out how it can be used in . To that end, the government has invested billions of dollars in the (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. There researchers say they are on the brink of achieving “ignition” the point at which they get as much power out of the system as they put in. The NIF achieves fusion by imploding hydrogen isotope pellets by shooting them with the world’s largest laser. The problem the Academies says, is that no one knows for sure if it will work and if it does, how well. Also, no one really knows if there might be a better way to go about imploding fuel for use in such reactions. Thus, it makes little sense to pursue just one way to get the job done. Standing in the way of research into other ways to implode the fuel necessary for a fusion reaction is the huge amount of money such research takes. Making matters worse is next year’s US federal budget calling for less spending overall into such research.

Others, such as Geoff Olynyk, agree. He argues in a gust column on MIT’s The Tech that the United States can’t afford to not invest in because other countries are already hard at work doing so. He points out that China has made fusion research a national priority and that the European Union is spending billions to do so as well. Not doing the research required to build a true fusion program in this country, he maintains, will lead to the United States falling behind in a technology that could prove to be one of the most vital in the near future as energy demands worldwide continue to increase.

Thus, at this juncture, the real issue is whether the will continue to see nuclear as a means for creating weapons of unparalleled destruction, or as a means for solving the looming energy crises stemming from both high demand for oil and the cost to the environment of the continued use of coal and other highly polluting nonrenewable resources.

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Researchers at NIF moving closer to fusion ignition point

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Citation: US National Academies panel recommends expanding alternative nuclear fusion experiments (2012, March 8) retrieved 17 October 2019 from
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Mar 08, 2012
I think it would be much more cost effective to offer an X-Prize of $1billion or whatever for developing workable nuclear fusion, or several smaller X-Prizes for developing critical steps to workable nuclear fusion plants.

Mar 08, 2012
Andrea Rossi has developed a new design of the ECAT Home unit which is 33cm x 33cm x 6cm and can be put vertically or horizontally. Total weight is 10 kg. By law a customer has 60 days of time to give back the device if unsatisfied, and Leonardo Corp give all the guarantees required by the law. The hydrogen is now stored inside a solid material due to safety reasons. Production capacity of new factory is one million units per year (preorder form). This is what the real science means for future, not the adventurous militaristic projects.

Mar 08, 2012
The US National Academies is right. It is not wise "keep all eggs in one basket". It is needed to fund other fusion approaches. Some well-conceived fusion machines are relatively cheaper in comparison to ITER and NIF. A fusion breakthrough will simultaneously solve global warming and energy shortage problems. http://www.crossf...iew.html

Mar 08, 2012
When enough paid preorders are in, his semi-honest Italian Venture Capitalist friends will invest, believing that Rossi will not be exposed before the Second Round of VC capital. But they don't know that Rossi has already a packed suitcase and tickets to ex Prime Minister Berlusconi's villa, where a face-change surgeon is already waiting. Then a fake suicide is staged somewhere else.

Please bookmark this page so you can come back in 2 years and see I was right.

Mar 08, 2012
Some well-conceived fusion machines are relatively cheaper in comparison to ITER and NIF

The brute force approach of hot fusion can never be so effective, like the cold fusion from simple reason: during overcoming of coulomb barrier a great portion of energy is wasted in acceleration-deceleration of fusion constituents. What's worse, the resulting products are of high energy, so they're difficult to utilize into communal energy density. Third problem of hot fusion is the neutron flux, which not only removes a substantial portion of energy without utility, but it even makes a brittle radioactive waste from the whole reactor.

Work smarter, not harder: this rule particularly applies at the case of fusion. The problem is, most of people qualified enough to judge it are involved in hot fusion research already, so that their main interest is not to lose jobs and salary.

Mar 08, 2012

You and I have been following the ECAT news for a while and you might be interested in what a company called Infinity Turbines can do for an small ECAT. They make small electric turbines that operate on an organic rankine process, which uses r134a as the expansion matter instead of water steam. We were very silly to think that only water steam was important for generating electricity. The ECAT cannot make steam hot enough to use in an old fashioned water steam turbine, at least not at any efficiency worth doing.

The organic Rankine process is absolutely ideal for the temperatures the ECAT operates at, and a system using the Infinity Turbine would be as safe to operate as a modern air conditioner.

It's really exciting to think of the possibilities once ECATs are available and the hysterical skeptics are put to rest.

Mar 08, 2012
The prototype version of the E-Cat is a small and smooth device, controlled with an on/off button. On February 20, 2012 Rossi performed a demonstration to show the actual level of development. Among the participants was Roland Pettersson, retired Associate Professor from the University of Uppsala and a former member of Swedish skeptical society, who also attended a test of Rossis E-cat on 6 October 2011. The E-cat was operated without refilling from a hydrogen canister. Instead the hydrogen was supposedly stored in a piece of solid material possibly in a metal hydride. The material contained a few grams of hydrogen gas which would last for six months of operation, according to Rossi. Production is planned to start next winter or at least within 18 months, and a million units should be manufactured per year for a price between 600 and 900 dollars.

Mar 08, 2012
The list of reputable scientific institutions that have done Ni H experiments is quite impressive and includes: The University of MissouriKansas City, the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois, the University of Siena, Italy, the USAF, the SRI, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Italy) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Members of these respected institutions have already publicly declared that they have also achieved anomalous heat from the Ni H reaction. On Thursday, March 22nd, the CERN Colloquium held by two successful replicators of cold fusion will be dedicated to overview of theoretical and experimental progress in low energy nuclear reactions.

Mar 08, 2012
The proof the the pudding will be when customers buy and run the device for several months.My money is on them finding out they have been duped.

Mar 08, 2012
Nope, this is not a proof of effects in science. With such approach we should wait for acceptation of Higgs boson, until somebody will buy its practical application and he will run it for several months - which is an apparent nonsense. In science even minute effects are enough for acceptation, when they're replicated. You're apparently applying double standard for acceptation of evidence, which is one of signs of pseudoskepticism and intellectual dishonesty. http://www.anomal...udo.html

Mar 08, 2012
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Mar 09, 2012
Nope, this is not a proof of effects in science. With such approach we should wait for acceptation of Higgs boson, until somebody will buy its practical application and he will run it for several months - which is an apparent nonsense -ZephyrTard

What is nonsense is you equating an obvious scam designed to liberate cash from the gullible, with a scientific theory at the root of current understanding of the physical underpinnings of the universe and whose single goal is greater understanding, rather than deception and thievery.

Mar 09, 2012
The USA should start another Manhatten-esque project for legitamate and practical fusion research, for national security purposes.

Mar 09, 2012
The NIF has stated they will have a sustaining ignition within the year. This should be interesting to see, Rossi vs. NIF.
(Or NIF vs Nitwit as it were)
Rossi has been promising, as Callipo tells us after every fusion story, a product within 12 months. Since he has been promising this for a year now, I wonder what the holdup might be.

It is easy to ask for more government money for research, with so many projects being deserving. With the NIF being so "close", and the economy in the state it is, funding probably won't pick up unless something VERY promising comes up. There are a number of privately funded fusion efforts such as Edison's Idea Factory and Lawrenceville Plasma Physics that are exploring different ways of attaining fusion power.

I have a prototype version of the Higgs boson which I will be selling within 12 to 18 months. Get your preorder now!

Editors, second paragraph, "Geoff Olynyk argues in a GUST column"
Are you implying he is a windbag? :)

Mar 10, 2012
What is nonsense is you equating an obvious scam designed to liberate cash from the gullible

Why not - but it would mean, I'm wrong in some of my predictions, because I don't understand the subject well enough. Which I simply never did so far.

Mar 10, 2012
In response to the article, duh, been saying this for many years. Stoopid monkees (sorry Davy)

Mar 10, 2012
If the U.S.A invested half of its military budget to engineering and science nobody would be hungry any more and everyone would be able to have a proper job in maintaining a sustainable system.

Mar 11, 2012
Whole the NIF facility is an impressive achievement of USA technology and it could become definitely an appreciated destination for tourists, but the whole concept of brute force thermonuclear fusion is fringe and the idea of bursting tritium pellets in sequence is simply crazy from technological, if not physical point of view.. It's simply the largest firework which scientists have ever build for money of tax payers, but this firework is hopelessly useless. It should be never considered as an energetic research, because it can never serve as such. It's a product of certain singular thinking of mainstream physics of the end of the last century. The thinking, which I do consider as crazy and separated from reality, as the adventurous thinking of Jules Verne and another authors of sci-fi books. Maybe in distant future we will reconsider this device as an entertaining toy, but I'm sure, our civilization will appear quite differently, than today.

Mar 11, 2012
Any proof of this Callipo? Or just another "not Cold Fusion Not Gonna Work"?

Mar 11, 2012
I linked the explanation here already: Will NIF work? There are two ways how to overcome Coulombic barrier and to achieve Lawson criterion: the low energy and high energy density one. But the using of high energy density always produces energetic particles and neutrons, which are difficult to utilize for communal energy production. Instead of it, these particles will create a brittle radioactive waste from the whole device. The another problem is the pulse regime of NIF, which appears nice at the paper, but from practical perspective is very difficult to achieve sustainable production. So you can never win with brute force approach. I'm sure, the advance in cold fusion will wipe out these experiments from memory of civilization.

Mar 11, 2012
Or just another "not Cold Fusion Not Gonna Work"?
Nope, the problem isn't whether the hot fusion couldn't work or not. The problem is, whether it can run economically. And the scientists doing basic research never cared about economy, being payed from mandatory fees. They simply cannot think economically, their only criterion is the continuation of research, grants and salaries. They're the same lobby, like the lawyers or politicians, separated from the needs of society and their activities should get the thorough public control - or we would face serious problems in the near future.

I am not an enemy of scientists, I've simply a theory which explains, how every large group of people thinks and behaves in context of the rest of society. No matter how well minded these people are individually, their interests will become detached from the interests of the society as a whole. They will collapse into social black hole, driven with different laws, than the rest of society.

Mar 11, 2012
We should attempt to overcome the Lawson criterion not with increasing of energy, but with increasing of the time, during which the particles remain in mutual contact. The ideal hot fusion would collide the deuterons under low angle in such a way, their kinetic energy would remain exactly the zero at the moment of fusion. The heating of particles increases the energy, but it decreases the time, during which the particles remain in mutual contact. But if we shot or compress two deuterons each other with high speed, the particles resulting from fusion will get high energy as well and they couldn't be transformed to heat effectively. IMO the hot fusion could work in device similar to synchrotron colliders, where the deuterons would be compressed inside the particle beam with magnets in such a way, their contact would remain prolonged as long as possible.

Mar 11, 2012
My another idea of fusion is based on device, which should emulate the high temperature superconductivity. The basic idea is, the charged particles can be compressed and attached to the surface of thin layer of insulator with strong electrostatic field. It should form a superconductive boson condensate here even at the room temperature. J.F.Prins has created such device before many years with embedding of positive oxygen ions beneath the surface of diamond. The ions embedded into lattice of diamond attracted the electrons to the surface of diamond, which created a dense layer there, superconductive in vacuum even at room temperature. The question is, what would happen, if we would compress the deuterons in the same way to the surface of inert matter.

In general, the fusion of charged ions is disadvantageous with respect to Coulombic barrier. The cold fusion of neutral atoms is much more advantageous, because the positive charges of protons are already balanced with electrons here.

Mar 11, 2012
In addition, the tiny nuclei are behaving like small bubbles or droplets with strong curvature of surface. Their merging releases the high amount of energy, but it requires to overcome highest potential barrier (the activation energy). Analogously, the merging of tiny mercury droplets at the flat surface is more difficult, than the merging of larger droplets, which have surface less curved. So it's advantageous to fuse large atom nuclei with small ones. This is another trick, in which the cold fusion works.

The third trick is based on so-called Mossbauer effect. In brief analogy, it's difficult to achieve sparks, when you shake a sand inside of small box - it requires a lot of energy. But if we would shake a larger pebbles, then the sparks are released even under mild shaking, because of higher inertia of larger pebbles. What's better, the energy released during fusion is dispersed across larger bodies, so it will be emanated in form of thermal vibrations, i.e. without radioactivity.

Mar 11, 2012
My understanding NIF funding always had more to do with end run around treaties against nuclear testing than production of energy from fusion. For this reason I'm not holding out much hope of anything useful coming out of NIF.

Mar 11, 2012
"Based on what is known today, it is unlikely that NIF will
produce practical amounts of fusion energy." From your article.

Your source is already outdated with many, if not all of the concerns addressed by changes in the hohlraum and ignition pulse.

This is dated 2009, and the NIF scientists are very aware of the issues raised br Dr Nellis because they were the main source of technical information provided in the Argonne National Laboratory workshop cited in 2008. It also came out a year before real fuel was fired on.

The goal of this facility is not to create fusion economically.

Most research into energy sources prove the underlying concept first, refine the methods to optimize the process and then move toward efficiency, the NIF is still between the first and second stages.
"but the whole concept of brute force thermonuclear fusion is fringe" Your quote. Really? The whole world is fooled by the misanthropic antisocial scientist fiends into believing this?

Mar 12, 2012
Has it ever been shown by *reputable* people (and not salesmen) that cold fusion produces more energy than can be attributed to chemical reactions? ... and/or bad math where the energy in the electricity or fuel needed to run it is conveniently left out? No? .. that's what I thought ...

Mar 12, 2012
Has it ever been shown by *reputable* people that cold fusion produces more energy than can be attributed to chemical reactions?
As part of the IAP Course on COLD FUSION at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Mitchell Swartz, JET Energy, and Prof. Peter Hagelstein demonstrated a significant energy gain greater than 10 http://www.infini...emo.html
The whole world is fooled by the misanthropic antisocial scientist fiends into believing this?
These scientists aren't misanthropic more than just me or you: the do simply follow their benefits, jobs and salaries.

Mar 12, 2012
If that is true, then we have lost over twenty years worth of valuable research into the phenomenom.
At the case of global nuclear war with Iran such delay could be fatal for the whole human society and this time the scientists would be fully responsible for it. Mainstream physics suffered with most serious moral failure of modern era. The society must build a protective mechanisms against such failures for future.

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