CowboyNeal from the iniatives-that-don't-involve-dice dept.
WannabePhysicist writes "Energy secretary Spencer Abraham
announced at the Princeton Plasma Fusion
that the U.S. will join ITER
, the international plasma fusion reactor effort. They're currently
planning a tokamak (doughnut) design, and have some pretty optimistic energy
production predictions for 2014. As many of us in science know, estimated
times are usually off by a factor of two, and then sometimes and order of
magnitude -- but hopefully they'll get it to work.
Many people push this as the cleanest form of energy, but fusion reactors
will most likely contain deuterium, tritium, and lithium (tritium's not exactly
water) The deuterium and tritium fuse, giving off an alpha (4He nucleus),
a neutron, and some energy. This energy causes more reactions (the controlled
fusion part). The neutrons hit a 6Li blanket (surrounding the chamber)
which then produces more tritium for burning."
One has to look out for engineers -- they begin with sewing machines
and end up with the atomic bomb.
-- Marcel Pagnol