South Korea Fusion Breakthrough: 20s 100 Million Degree Fusion Plasma With No Instability

Essay by Eric Worrall

South Korean Nuclear Fusion researchers have claimed to have sustained a stable confined burning plasma at fusion temperatures for 20 seconds, producing 100Kj of fusion energy.

South Korea takes massive step toward sustainable nuclear fusion reactions

Plasma at over 100 million kelvin for 20 seconds adds to list of noteworthy fusion breakthroughs in 2022

Lindsay Clark Thu 8 Sep 2022  // 19:13 UTC 

Scientists in Korea have succeeded in sustaining a plasma gas at 100 million kelvin for up to 20 seconds without significant instabilities, a feat thought to be a significant step forward in the quest for a sustainable nuclear fusion reaction.

Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research, or KSTAR, operates using a hydrogen plasma confined by a magnetic field.

But researchers have so far been unable to achieve a sustainable fusion performance, which requires a high temperature above 100  million kelvin and sufficient control of instabilities to ensure steady-state operation in the order of tens of seconds.

Researchers at the facility now report they have overcome the threshold. “Here we report experiments at the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research device producing a plasma fusion regime that satisfies most of the above requirements,” a research paper published in Nature said.

“A low plasma density combined with a moderate input power for operation is key to establishing this regime by preserving a high fraction of fast ions. This regime is rarely subject to disruption and can be sustained reliably even without a sophisticated control, and thus represents a promising path towards commercial fusion reactors,” the authors said.

Read more: https://www.theregister.com/2022/09/08/korea_sustained_fusion/

The nature paper ;

Published: 

A sustained high-temperature fusion plasma regime facilitated by fast ions

H. HanS. J. ParkC. SungJ. KangY. H. LeeJ. ChungT. S. HahmB. KimJ.-K. ParkJ. G. BakM. S. ChaG. J. ChoiM. J. ChoiJ. GwakS. H. HahnJ. JangK. C. LeeJ. H. KimS. K. KimW. C. KimJ. KoW. H. KoC. Y. LeeJ. H. LeeJ. H. LeeJ. K. LeeJ. P. LeeK. D. LeeY. S. ParkJ. SeoS. M. YangS. W. Yoon & Y.-S. Na

Nature volume 609, pages 269–275 (2022) Cite this article

Abstract

Nuclear fusion is one of the most attractive alternatives to carbon-dependent energy sources1. Harnessing energy from nuclear fusion in a large reactor scale, however, still presents many scientific challenges despite the many years of research and steady advances in magnetic confinement approaches. State-of-the-art magnetic fusion devices cannot yet achieve a sustainable fusion performance, which requires a high temperature above 100 million kelvin and sufficient control of instabilities to ensure steady-state operation on the order of tens of seconds2,3. Here we report experiments at the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research4 device producing a plasma fusion regime that satisfies most of the above requirements: thanks to abundant fast ions stabilizing the core plasma turbulence, we generate plasmas at a temperature of 100 million kelvin lasting up to 20 seconds without plasma edge instabilities or impurity accumulation. A low plasma density combined with a moderate input power for operation is key to establishing this regime by preserving a high fraction of fast ions. This regime is rarely subject to disruption and can be sustained reliably even without a sophisticated control, and thus represents a promising path towards commercial fusion reactors.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05008-1

There is still a long way to go until you can buy a Mr. Fusion reactor in your local Walmart, but this seems a promising development. Though to put that 100Kj of energy into perspective, this is the kind of energy you need to boil water for a large mug of coffee.

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Shoki Kaneda
September 9, 2022 2:27 pm

Where will they get all the tritium needed? Fission reactors?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 9, 2022 3:28 pm

Berillium spheres. Never give up, never surrender!

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 10, 2022 7:02 am

Lithium will act as a neutron absorber, thus quenching the reaction.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 10, 2022 7:24 am

But by the time they get the fusion reactors to work there will be no lithium left unless they start buying up used EV batteries. 🙂

J. R.
Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 11, 2022 3:43 pm

If barrels of lithium are required, then lunar and/or asteroid mining will be needed.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 9, 2022 7:01 pm

Janus IV.

Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 9, 2022 7:13 pm

You can get deuterium and tritium (DT) fuel from sea water. Don’t know cost or feasibility, but if doable/scalable, it’s a reliable, 24/7 source.

Also, I think inertial confinement fusion (e.g., Lawrence Livermore Nat Lab version) is more likely to succeed (aka “break even”) than magnetic (Tokamak) fusion.

PCman999
Reply to  Bill Pekny
September 9, 2022 11:37 pm

Tritium is $30,000 per gram! Burning coal, even at today’s prices, would be cheaper, not even counting the huge expense of the fusion plant vs a super critical coal fired power plant.

Fusion is the same category as utility scale wind and solar – subsidy and other government cash mining operations with no net benefit.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Bill Pekny
September 10, 2022 12:42 am

You can not get tritium from sea water or at least not in any quantity large enough
for a commerical fusion reaction. Tritium is radioactive with a 1/2 life of 12 years.

Basically DT fuel is a fantasy and hence so is the idea of commerical fusion on earth.

kzb
Reply to  Izaak Walton
September 10, 2022 4:06 am

Give it a chance ! Models have shown they could get a tritium breeding ratio of 115% in the lithium blanket. It’s not been proven in practice though, the best experiment so far managed 32%.

kzb
Reply to  Bill Pekny
September 10, 2022 4:09 am

The energy requirement for all those lasers is enormous, all to set off a tiny sphere of fuel.

You don’t get tritium from seawater. It is made in nuclear (fission) reactors. The single biggest source are the CANDU reactors, but of course they are nearing end of life.

niceguy
Reply to  kzb
September 10, 2022 1:14 pm

CANDU sounds awfully pro proliferation.
Will Canada be allowed to build more?

kzb
Reply to  niceguy
September 11, 2022 5:35 pm

Do they want to ? Tritium is an unwanted waste product for fission reactors and modern designs minimise its production.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  niceguy
September 13, 2022 1:25 pm

Not with the current federal government.

Bindidon
Reply to  Bill Pekny
September 10, 2022 2:44 pm

” … and tritium … ” / ” … it’s a reliable, 24/7 source … ”

Never have seen such a level of incompetence wrt the nuke context.

Tritium does not exist in nature, except a few kg above the oceans due to incoming radiation.

You have to breed it… but how, in a D+T fusion reactor, typical of brute force and scarce neutron output at 14 MeV?

That’s why beryllium is supposed to be added to the lithium in the blankets: it serves as a neutron replicator (which NOBODY has ever tested before).

The next problem is that tritium is probably the most volatile element on earth, as it even bypasses steel cladding: how will you keep it in the blankets, regardless whether these are located in fusion or fission reactors?

Finally, as mentioned above: how much lithium will you be able keep for the job, due to its use elsewhere?

DaveK
Reply to  Bindidon
September 10, 2022 5:57 pm

I don’t mean to quibble, but monoatomic hydrogen is arguably the most “volatile” element. It causes havoc in steel (and any other containment). While duterium and tritium are both highly volatile, because of their extra neutrons, they are larger and somewhat less able to diffuse (in their monoatomic form) through containment materials.

Still, both duterium and tritium in their monoatomic forms will both cause havoc in containment materials, since when they run into another monoatomic hydrogen isotope, they combine to form a significantly larger molecule (HT, DT, DD, HT, TT) that deforms the molecular structure of the containment materials.

Still, in essence, you are mostly right… breeding tritium may be a fools errand.

And then there is the problem of what happens with all those thermal neutrons that get generated and end up “somewhere”. The neutrons generated from D/T fusion tend to cause the surrounding materials to become highly radioactive, which would seem to negate the argument that fusion reactors are “clean” compared to fission reactors.

Last edited 14 days ago by DaveK
D.M. Anderson
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 10, 2022 10:20 am

Currently $30K/gram

Orson
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 10, 2022 12:15 pm

We’ve seen so many positive reports like this one. When does it al collapse into Cold Fusion of the 1980s into lame pseudoscience?

Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 15, 2022 1:58 pm

you should no better than to search for answers to tough problems in the land of cant do, wont do, scepticism.

there is no advance in science or engineering that people here wont doubt, question or deny.

there must be a word for the opposite of invention, the opposite of american ingenuity.

thats all youll find here asking a question like that.

Marty
September 9, 2022 2:27 pm

I’m 71 years old. When I was in the sixth grade in 1962 my class studied nuclear energy. Among the other propaganda we were fed we were told that there would be unlimited fusion energy by the time we were adults.

You know, even if they eventually figure out a way to sustain a continuing fusion reaction in an experimental setting (1) how do you make the process simple enough, cheap enough, and reliable enough to build hundreds or thousands of commercial reactors and (2) how do you transfer the heat of the reaction from the plasma to your water boiler to generate electricity?

By the way when I watched the launch of the first Mercury astronauts into near space the teacher told us that by the time we were adults we would be going to the moon for casual luncheons. When you are young you believe.

Ain’t science wonderful? Just toss in some more research money.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Marty
September 9, 2022 2:38 pm

I heard there are wonderful restaurants on the Moon, the food is excellent, there’s just no atmosphere.

william Johnston
Reply to  Matt Kiro
September 9, 2022 5:28 pm

Big deal. We have the same situation here on earth.

Felix
Reply to  Matt Kiro
September 9, 2022 5:45 pm

Nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded.

Reply to  Felix
September 9, 2022 11:38 pm

And it’s filthy … everything is covered in dust !!

Frank Hansen
Reply to  Matt Kiro
September 10, 2022 7:20 am

I heard that there is not much life on Mars except maybe Saturday evening.

Dennis Kelley
Reply to  Marty
September 9, 2022 2:58 pm

And how about the cars we would be driving that rode on a cushion of air!

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Dennis Kelley
September 9, 2022 3:27 pm

Or the domed pollution free cities.

rho
Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 9, 2022 7:58 pm

Thank God THOSE haven’t materialized. Can you imagine being confined in a domed city like Chicago or DC?

oeman 50
Reply to  rho
September 10, 2022 8:08 am

Snake Plissken could escape from them.

J. R.
Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 11, 2022 3:36 pm

Also rain-free, snow-free, wind-free, weather-free. And how would they prevent everything from dying from heat under a dome of glass?

H.R.
Reply to  Dennis Kelley
September 9, 2022 4:15 pm

Flying cars in every garage… still waiting.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Dennis Kelley
September 9, 2022 11:18 pm

Mine rides on four cushions of air, encased in rubber.

Reply to  Marty
September 9, 2022 4:24 pm

“I’m 71 years old”
A mere babe in arms … just wait till you get to my age !!!

I never expected to see society start to implode in my lifetime, but we seem to be rapidly returning to the ‘good bad old days’ of the 1930s … but with out the survival skills of our forefathers !!

Scissor
Reply to  saveenergy
September 9, 2022 6:23 pm

J. Edgar Hoover was ahead of his time.

Masle
Reply to  Marty
September 9, 2022 4:46 pm

Once the physics is solved it’s just engineering.

Russell
Reply to  Masle
September 9, 2022 5:26 pm

but mostly social engineering …

Rich Davis
Reply to  Masle
September 9, 2022 10:22 pm

Despite claims of “major breakthroughs” every few months, the physics may never be resolved. But assuming the unlikely, then comes the really impossible task, making it cheaper than competing technologies. There are many fantastic things that are possible to do but that are not economically feasible.

In a sane world, nobody is going to engineer the ancillary systems to commercialize fusion when the price per kW-hr needed for profitable operation is not remotely competitive with fission reactors.

These reported “major breakthrough” press releases are designed to keep the research dollars or in this case, Korean won flowing. There will never be a commercially viable fusion reactor. Sustained fusion on earth will come when the sun goes red giant and engulfs the planet. Up to that point, I’m sure the researchers will still be promising commercialization in 30-40 years.

It’s a dead end that refuses to die.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Masle
September 9, 2022 10:39 pm

Well, not always. A simple, piece of cake compared to fusion energy, bit of science was coming up with the Free Electron Laser (FEL). Highly efficient, spectrally tunable, no physics barrier to scaling, and it just needed electricity, which nuc warships could provide (in theory at least). But the scaling stopped at a uselessly low power level. Among other intractable engineering issues (x-rays!) it turns out the beams have such high power density no optical materials hold up to it. So, dreams of plug-in megawatt FEL laser weapons died after years of effort and buko bucks were spent. The FEL effort came after and so benefited from the Star Wars SDIO laser technology developments – untold (we’ll never know) billions spent on laser weapons. So, there was a lot of money spent on laser hardened optical materials. To scale the FEL to anything useful would require several varieties of unobtanium just to solve the optical materials problem. There were other nasty aspects that didn’t appear to be “engineerable”.

Dean
Reply to  Masle
September 9, 2022 10:41 pm

Which is where that “devil is in the detail” issue arises.

Engineering is also the field which is interested in costs and economics.

Duane
Reply to  Marty
September 9, 2022 6:01 pm

Not propaganda, just optimistic projections. At the same time other optimistic projections came true, such as JFK’s pledge in 1961 to put men on the moon by the end of the decade. And other projections not made yet the reality was far more consequential than anyone could have imagined in 1962 … such as the end of communist domination of Eastern Europe .. putting computers more powerful than any used in the Apollo space program in the pockets of billions of people … and the ability to instantly access virtually any and all recorded information into the hands of billions of people.

Projecting the future is an impossibility, while pretending to do so is a universal human game.

Rhb2
Reply to  Duane
September 9, 2022 6:30 pm

How about JFKs election promises to solve the missle gap. The day after the election it disappeared!

mark
Reply to  Duane
September 9, 2022 8:57 pm

Yes – “making predictions is difficult, especially about the future”

Which is a neat segway to climate science and global warming

Rich Davis
Reply to  Duane
September 9, 2022 10:26 pm

Duane how hard is it to predict that pigs will never fly?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 9, 2022 11:31 pm

Only because they can’t afford tickets.

otsar
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 11, 2022 12:20 pm

I have seen pigs fly! It came out of a 48″ pipeline and landed on the other side of the valley.

Scissor
Reply to  Marty
September 9, 2022 6:21 pm

At least you weren’t told that you could grow up to become a beautiful woman.

Hivemind
Reply to  Scissor
September 11, 2022 12:47 am

Is that a reference to Michael Jackson, the poor black boy that grew up to be a beautiful white woman? Check out the before and after photos.

JBP
Reply to  Marty
September 10, 2022 7:01 am

I’m 71 years old. When I was in the sixth grade in 1962 my class studied nuclear energy. Among the other propaganda we were fed we were told that there would be unlimited fusion energy by the time we were adults.”

well then please grow up…………

sarc off

D.M. Anderson
Reply to  Marty
September 10, 2022 10:23 am

They are starting to realize that even if they get it working, it won’t be cheap.

kzb
Reply to  Marty
September 11, 2022 9:49 am

(1) I can’t see fusion being cheap energy at all. Not for a long, long time anyhow.
(2) the heat is transferred from the plasma to the lithium blanket via the 14MeV neutrons. These neutrons carry off most of the energy from the D-T fusion reaction. Their kinetic energy is absorbed in the blanket as heat.

Bill Toland
September 9, 2022 2:33 pm

Tokamak fusion is almost certainly a technological dead end. The technical problems in getting a working commercially viable Tokamak fusion reactor are so great that I doubt it will ever be accomplished.

https://energyskeptic.com/2021/why-tokamak-fusion-not-likely-to-work-out/

Ed Norman
Reply to  Bill Toland
September 9, 2022 4:18 pm

I agree as I wrote a few years ago at:
https://thopid.blogspot.com/2019/04/futile-technological-dreams.html
While they may get an experimental reactor working for short periods, any real power plant needs to run continuously, with limited retrofit and maintenance. Given that the engineering challenges for any future fusion power plant go far beyond those of a modern fission plant, the eventual capital and operating costs would be enormous, and the maintenance would also be expensive.
I suspect that this team kept their plasma stable largely because it was low density. To produce gigawatts, they would need a much higher density and probably a larger volume. Then the instabilities would creep in. “Just another twenty years”?

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Bill Toland
September 13, 2022 8:31 am

Isn’t the €18 to €22 billion ITER project essentially a scaled-up Tokamak?

Kit P
September 9, 2022 2:38 pm

Nuclear fusion is one of the most attractive alternatives to carbon-dependent energy sources1.

Sure pixie dust is attractive.

Producing a finite amount of electricty with coal, gas, and fission is not a problem. I am not sure why what works is not attractive.

I think it is a rational fear that something vital in our life is not understood.

Allen Stoner
Reply to  Kit P
September 9, 2022 2:56 pm

The entire point of the war against coal, gas and fission nuclear is that they do not want us thriving and want a much smaller human population at the end of the path. Which is why they only are willing to accept energy sources that do not work. The moment wind power becomes viable, they will start shrieking about the number of dead birds. The moment solar power becomes viable, they will shriek about the land use. As soon as unicorn farts can solve all of the world’s problems, they will call for open season on unicorns and put trillion dollar bounties on their horns.

commieBob
Reply to  Allen Stoner
September 9, 2022 4:09 pm

The other way ’round, we’ll know fusion energy is viable when the greens start shrieking about how evil it is. 🙂

Mind you, the greens are the ones most enraged when their fossil-fueled goes out. They’re also the ones who imagine we can remove 9/10 of the Earth’s population and it won’t affect them.

They really are not in their right minds.

Chuck
Reply to  commieBob
September 9, 2022 8:08 pm

I’m not sure if they can’t see it or whether they don’t care. Since environmentalism is their religion and gaia is their god, self-sacrifice may be viewed as good.

Yooper
Reply to  Chuck
September 10, 2022 5:55 am

They don’t self-scarifice, they others-sacrifice.

Chuck
Reply to  Allen Stoner
September 9, 2022 8:02 pm

This is 100% dead on correct. Everything the far left environmentalists do makes perfect sense when you look at it from this point of view. It frustrates me to no end how few people see this. If you ask them, and if they are honest, they’ll tell you this is the long term goal.

mark
Reply to  Allen Stoner
September 9, 2022 9:02 pm

I have always wondered why the challenge of capturing 100% of the CO2 from a thermal plant isn’t followed-up. Surelt the technical challenge (and cost) must be orders of magnitude less than fusion ? Perhaps this is the explanation

Allen Stoner
Reply to  mark
September 9, 2022 9:51 pm

There is no way to capture and store all that CO2 that is efficient. The only place to put the CO2 is deep water ocean, there is no other storage solution for the volume, but the amount of energy to compress it enough to pump it to the bottom of the ocean uses almost all the energy it produced. They have tried putting it in depleted oil fields, but that is not stable and it eventually escapes.

Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  Kit P
September 9, 2022 3:10 pm

When will the Greens find something wrong with it.

Of course in its present form its not a practical way to generate electricity, it may never be one.

We have many ways to generate electricity, so let’s use the most economicable.

But Wait, what about that emissions stuff the Greens keep talking about.

When will the politicians listen to someone as qualified as William Harper who says that we should stop worrying about the tiny gas CO2, especially as India & China don’t believe in the West’s fairy tale , that it’s plant food only.

Michael VK5ELL

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Kit P
September 9, 2022 3:42 pm

It’s that carbon [sic] dependency. It leads to CO2.

Last edited 15 days ago by Retired_Engineer_Jim
Allen Stoner
September 9, 2022 2:51 pm

I would imagine that the magnetic field would require exponentially more energy as the size of the fusion zone increases, and in order to maintain continuous fusion reactions the size of the fusion zone and mass of fusion material would have to be significant.

In order for fusion to be commercially viable, you would have to be able to string fusion reactions perpetually. So, either be able to create 20 second fusion reactions every 10 seconds or 72 hour fusion reactions every day and have multiple fusion reactions happening all the time. All with the system being available 24/7 for many months running.

Once a fusion reaction starts, the pressures and temperatures as well as the containment would preclude you from adding fuel to the process. It all has to be in place at once.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Allen Stoner
September 9, 2022 3:26 pm

The Inertial Confinement US Lab ‘solves’ that problem by discrete holraum shots. What they don’t say is that it presently takes at least 4 hours to cool down the 4MW laser focusing optics between shots. Just an engineering detail.

otsar
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 11, 2022 12:29 pm

Additionally, the hohlraum wires have to be replaced after every shot.A rebuilt hohlraum or a new one is needed after each shot as the wires are vaporized during the implosion.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Allen Stoner
September 9, 2022 7:21 pm

The question I have is are those strong magnetic fields shielded so that they don’t perturb the local geomagnetic field? If not, is there any chance that bird migration could be interfered with?

Allen Stoner
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 9, 2022 9:53 pm

I would imagine that there would be a large amount of steel in the containment to make an effective faraday cage? Is that the right term? My memory is not as sharp as it once was…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Allen Stoner
September 10, 2022 12:28 pm

I can relate to one’s memory getting dull with age. However, I’m pretty sure that a Faraday Cage is for shielding electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than the width of the mesh screen. For shielding magnetic fields, it is my understanding that a solid wall of high magnetic permeability metal is required. What I don’t know is whether the various fusion devices using magnetic confinement of the plasma employ such shielding, and I was hoping someone here would know.

Gordon A. Dressler
September 9, 2022 2:59 pm

There really is only one simple question that needs to be answered:
“Was the energy produced during those 20 seconds of stable fusion greater or less than the energy input needed to sustain those conditions?”

I other words, were those 20 seconds of stability even close to “breakeven” in the energy balance?

There are commercially-available IEC neutron sources that produce stable fusion for much longer time periods (ref: https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/gasturbinespower/article-abstract/133/12/124502/466199/Cylindrical-IEC-Fusion-Neutron-Source-for-Broad?redirectedFrom=fulltext ), albeit a lower power levels.

Stable, controlled nuclear fusion exists today, outside of the lab.

Please get back to me when there is much more progress to share . . . that is, shades of net power generation.

Last edited 15 days ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
September 9, 2022 3:40 pm

Your instincts are good. I ran the numbers and posted the result just below.

Rud Istvan
September 9, 2022 3:07 pm

Hopium is ‘real’ in greenie world..

Thought I would put the resultant ‘makes a large cup of coffee’ into perspective. Took some fast digging, as the reality was obscured by the Hopium reporting,

The facility is the KSTAR tokamak at SNU. It’s not very big compared to others. SNU has been working on it for now about 15 years.

The confining supermagnets draw about 35.2 kA continuous. Now 50 kVAis about 0.5MW, so KSTAR is about 0.035 MW. Ah, but the Korean grid is 220 V, so that is actually a continuous super magnet need of about 7.7 MW. For a smallish experimental device.

Oh, and the electricity needed to heat the hydrogen to a plasma for injection is about another 8 MW.

So, KSTAR needs about 15.7 MW for 20 seconds to produce enough fusion heat to brew a large cup of coffee. You cannot get there from here.

To paraphrase yet again here a French physics Nobel prize winner:
”Fusion. A pretty idea. We put the Sun in a box. The problem is, we do not know how to make the box.” See also the $30 billion ITER ‘hopium’ analysis in essay ‘Going Nuclear’ in ebook Blowing Smoke.

Ridicule is an effective Green response.

Russell
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 9, 2022 5:41 pm

Democrat JFK’s classic line about “… we choose to go to the moon ..”.
Sure they got there … very impressive … but haven’t been back for 50 years.
Greens and Dems always have the “big” ideas and imagination.
But not so much “good” ideas and near-term survival.

Observer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 9, 2022 11:25 pm

Rud — thanks for working that out. That info is never part of the press release because it would reveal just how far this technology is from being useful. Especially because those numbers are something that non-technical folks can understand too.

otsar
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 11, 2022 12:33 pm

H opium!

David Dibbell
September 9, 2022 3:28 pm

“Nuclear fusion is one of the most attractive alternatives to carbon-dependent energy sources1.”
Attractive to whom?
A more realistic statement: Carbon dependent energy sources are the most attractive alternatives to intermittent wind and solar PV, batteries, hydrogen from electrolysis, and imaginary new sources not yet demonstrated, for folks who actually need energy.  

John Bell
September 9, 2022 3:45 pm

OT a bit but related to making electricity: Welcome to the Green New Deal, California – PJ Media

angech
Reply to  John Bell
September 9, 2022 4:30 pm

Anyone can have stable plasma at 100 million degrees for 20 seconds as long as it is small enough:
10 supercharged atoms.
100?
Any more and the problem becomes the amount of energy melts the equipment.
reminds me of cold fusion.
The 100 million degrees (whatever that means)
has to happen so irregularly
two atoms to fuse in 10 to Avogadro’s number a minute will produce both 100 million degrees (more) locally, around the atom and yet no detectable heat change (temperature) in the mole of material.

John C Pickens
September 9, 2022 4:18 pm

While it is true that fusion power could potentially produce orders of magnitude greater energy density than fission, nobody should fool themselves that it will be safer than fission. The only large scale deuterium tritium experiment, the TFTR at Princeton, had to be sealed to “cool down” for years before it could be disposed of due to its radioactivity. It was only run for several second of total operating time, and it was dangerous enough that it had to be remotely cut apart with huge diamond embedded wire saws. The nuclear waste was tranported to the Hanford Reservation in Washington state and buried.

Michael in Dublin
September 9, 2022 4:22 pm

A good friend worked his whole life in the field of ceramics. He told me about the successful small scale lab experiments in brickmaking. They failed when they tried to ramp them up to a commercial scale. The South Korean scientists can make no claims till a working prototype can be built and work but even then there is no guarantee of final success.

Dean
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
September 9, 2022 10:48 pm

But in this greenie madhouse we are getting rid of a viable electricity generation system without ever going through the “pilot plant” phase.

And we do more checking on a $10M bridge design than we have done on climate models which drive trillions of dollars of policy decisions.

Josh
September 9, 2022 4:52 pm

Be careful. If you post many more articles about nuclear fusion you’ll discover Gov. Newson will mandate that every new car in California will need to be powered by a fusion generator.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Josh
September 9, 2022 7:25 pm

With micro-stamping of the individual neutrons to be able to trace their source, just like the firing-pins of guns.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 9, 2022 10:45 pm

Why are you bad-mouthing sensible neutron-control reform? Are you now, or have you ever been a MAGA Republican?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 10, 2022 12:31 pm

I refuse to answer on the grounds that I may self-incriminate, or possibly cause serious damage to the heads of nearby liberals.

ScienceABC123
September 9, 2022 5:18 pm

The same old problems still remain…
1) How to get the energy out in a useable form?
2) How to get the fusion waste products out?
3) How to get addition fusion “fuel” in?
4) How to do 1-3 while maintaining fusion?

I’ll say it again, a tokamak type reactor is dead end technology. We need a new approach.

rhs
Reply to  ScienceABC123
September 9, 2022 6:12 pm

Still just going to boil water is quite likely.

Duane
September 9, 2022 6:03 pm

Fusion power will be a reality, it is only a matter of investment of time, effort, and capital. It is inevitable.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Duane
September 9, 2022 10:47 pm

Like the success of socialism, eh Duane?

Reply to  Duane
September 10, 2022 5:57 am

Cheap abundant electricity can be produced now by Thorium liquid salts cooled reactors.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Antigriff
September 12, 2022 5:06 pm

Which, of course, explains why there are so very many of them now producing electrical power at commercial scale.

/sarc off

Slowroll
Reply to  Duane
September 10, 2022 9:06 am

Just another 2o years, again.

tgasloli
September 9, 2022 6:08 pm

What was the carbon foot print for those 20 seconds?😃

Philip CM
September 9, 2022 6:34 pm

So, there are some real scientists still at work. Maybe the future isn’t as dismal as the CAGWarmists claim. Who knows where this experiment may ultimately lead.

Last edited 15 days ago by Philip CM
rho
Reply to  Philip CM
September 9, 2022 8:05 pm

That particular experiment doesn’t look like it’s going to go anywhere but trying is better than just throwing up your hands.

Philip CM
Reply to  rho
September 9, 2022 10:20 pm

Perhaps nuclear pulsejet powered space exploration. NASA has been funding such experiments for years.

The first calculations going back to the Los Alamos lab of the 1940’s. In the 50’s and 60’s Project Orion. The 70’s Project Daedalus. Project Longshot of the 1980’s. The Medusa Design of the 90’s. Which brings us up to NASA funding MSNW LLC and the University of Washington in 2011 to study and develop a fusion rocket through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts NIAC Program. -Wikipedia

Where all this ends, I’ve no idea, but one experiment has built upon the other And this latest bit of news out of S. Korea fits the general mold.

So, Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century! 🤣

Last edited 14 days ago by Philip CM
Nick B.
September 9, 2022 8:05 pm

The “energy” is just calculated energy. I checked ones the whole ITER website. They have no idea how to transfer energy from plasma to the outside world. It was mentioned somewhere on website that it would be the subject for next research.

SAMURAI
September 9, 2022 8:20 pm

Let’s just burn gold and platinum for our energy needs rather than waste another dime on the Tokamak Fusion concept.

it’s likely going to take another Eisenstein to come up with a novel new fusion reactor concept, so until that breakthroughoccurs, can we please stop wasting money on this?.

20 seconds… Jeez..,

AndyHce
September 9, 2022 8:42 pm

Though to put that 100Kj of energy into perspective, this is the kind of energy you need to boil water for a large mug of coffee.

While it doesn’t say, that is probably something like 100 or 1000 in for 1 out. Some distance from ready for use.

pochas94
September 10, 2022 4:02 am

Why only 20 seconds? Could it be that any longer and the machine will melt down? A big problem for fusion is heat transfer. How do you get the heat out of the plasma before it destroys the machine?

Mark - Helsinki
September 10, 2022 4:11 am

Sounds like they tried multiple times and 20 seconds was the best they could manage (up to 20 seconds, so not always, why?, why only 20 I wonder?

we’re still at 0 here. Continuous or not is the question. So we’re 20 seconds closer to continuous than we were 60 years ago.

Last edited 14 days ago by Mark - Helsinki
Peta of Newark
September 10, 2022 4:24 am

Very nice.

How are they intending, in the full scale final version, to capture and then utilise this bounty?
As I understand it’s in the form of high energy neutrons.
So, how do you get them to go where you want them?
More important, how do you stop what is effectively A Philosopher’s Stone, from turning your entire facility to a pile of mush?

That’s all even before their name is beguiling, Neutrons are as far from ‘neutral’ as anything can possibly get.
Maybe they are not electrically charged but they are insanely radioactive, with a half life of 12 minutes.

PS 100kJ is as much energy as comes down on every square metre of Earth, every 3 minutes from ‘Downwelling Radiation’

So why are these things needed, Why in fact are any power stations of any sort needed?

JBP
September 10, 2022 6:59 am

so then we’re what, only 30 years away from commercial fusion energy?

Captain climate
Reply to  JBP
September 10, 2022 10:15 am

Always 30 years

September 10, 2022 7:54 am

If all the investment into fusion – or even half if it – had gone instead into development and rollout of advanced (including fast-breeder) modular fission reactors, then the west would have no vulnerability to blackmail – or retaliation to NATO aggression – based on hydrocarbon supply.

As it is though, we went for wind, solar and fusion and we now have our trousers around our ankles.

Durachki

As US Cultural Ambassador Anton Chigur once said:

“If the rule you lived by brought you to this – of what use was the rule?”

Captain climate
September 10, 2022 7:59 am

I’m so sick of fusion hype. I will be dead and gone and so will my kids before fusion is used to generate commercial power. Meanwhile, fission with thorium goes uninvested.

Michael E McHenry
September 10, 2022 9:34 am

Nuclear fusion is scientists and engineers having fun with other peoples money

John Hardy
September 10, 2022 12:48 pm

This is a seriously big deal. I have always been uncertaian about fission because of the highly radioactive waste with very long half-lives. Fission should be waste-free.

Captain climate
Reply to  John Hardy
September 10, 2022 6:48 pm

Fission can be waste free, essentially. Politics are the only problem

otsar
Reply to  John Hardy
September 11, 2022 12:41 pm

The neutrons produced by the fusion reaction are captured by the containment materials rendering them radioactive.

September 10, 2022 12:48 pm

to quote Albert Einstein the father of nuclear energy … boiling your coffee with nuclear energy is not a good idea … 100 Kj is enough to heat a small cup of coffee AND if they ever did achieve any degree of efficiency then it is still taking an inert material and creating heat to convert to electricity which uses the carnot cycle and ultimately about 80% of that heat goes into the atmosphere .. can you say global warming ???

David Muller
September 11, 2022 10:32 am

Stop saying “Kj”. The correct abbreviation is “kJ”. The abbreviation for kilo is always lower case “k”, and the abbreviation for any unit named after a person is capitalized. In this case, the abbreviation for a joule is “J”.

Power = energy per time. 100 kJ in 20 s is 5 kW. If they can get half of that power converted into electricity, they might be able to run the LED lighting in the room with the reactor.

But it’s a start! Baby steps!

September 11, 2022 6:00 pm

Wait – what? I thought this was going to be an economical means in the way of a ‘primary energy source’? Are these guys using the ‘wrong physics’ some where to have failed on every attempt up to this point? WITH the ‘right’ physics one would think scaling up and building practical working units would be a -wait for it- cake walk.

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