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Why Mankind must not fear the Pure Fusion Bomb

- A Science Fiction Story of Today

Along with the sun thermonuclear detonators are the only way to produce relevant amounts of fusion energy. All other methods ever tested – if they provide fusion energy at all – consume much more energy for igniting the fusion reaction than they release. So, if mankind plans to use fusion energy for civilian purposes within the next decades, it has eventually to accept, that there is only one foreseeable, realistic and practical way: using smaller hydrogen detonators in power plants, within huge underground vessels, where fusion explosions heat up a medium – similar to the explosions in a motorcar [1]. There is one big problem: all of todays hydrogen fusion detonators are ignited by plutonium-239 fission bombs, the so called primaries. These fission bombs produce highly radioactive, lethal fission products like iodine-131, strontium-90, caesium-137 [2]. It is exactly the same problem as with our fission reactors. The fission products contaminate humans, animals and plants and cause radiation sickness and cancer. This is why I have started to write about thermonuclear fusion energy plants on the moon or nuclear pulse space ships with home bases on the lunar surface. You can read about it here [3][4] if You are interested in that topic. With this kind of machines, based far away from earth’s biosphere, it would be possible for mankind to use fusion energy by todays means without any potential side effect for earths environment and human society. But can a fusion detonator only be ignited by a fission bomb? Is there another non-nuclear way of ignition? Is it possible to build a 100% clean detonator, the pure fusion bomb?

Why Inertial Confinement Fusion is the shortest Way to Fusion Energy

There are many possible ways of utilizing fusion energy. Some of them are multi million dollars projects like magnetic confinement fusion (e.g. Tokamak reactors [5][6][7][8]) or inertial confinement fusion (e.g. Laser fusion [9][10][11], Z-machine [12][13]). Some of them are smaller research projects. Some of them are even amateur cellar devices for a few thousand dollars, that provide real fusion reactions – scientifically confirmed [14][15]. Some of them are just stupid ideas that ignore physical laws but produce nice renderings. Some of them have become modern myths. Some of them work, and there is a verified fusion reaction, some of them not.

Most of them have one thing in common: they don’t produce energy. And they have a second thing in common: they are far away from doing so [16][17][18][19]. Of course the Tokamaks are closer to a net-energy production than any other attempt. Scientists estimate their energetic break even within the next decades or twenty to thirty years [20]. But even if they reach break even, they seem to be still endlessly far away from economic energy production. There is a nice dissertation available in the net that mathematically shows this [18][19]. Economic energy production means producing huge amounts of hot steam per second for giant turbines and gigawatts of electric energy for big cities. Which fusion approach will reach this goal?

This is a list of all of todays known methods to achieve nuclear fusion:

  • Muon-catalyzed fusion [21]: a well-established and reproducible fusion process that occurs at ordinary temperatures; the energy to create muons, a kind of exotic physical particles, is extremely high, so it is impossible to get a net energy source out of muon-catalyzed fusion
  • Electrostatic fusion: accelerates deuterium and tritium ions with electrostatic fields of several kV in a vacuum chamber or tube to let them collide and fuse thereby; there are several ways of electrostatic fusion that all work very well, but all consume much more energy than they produce: beam-target fusion (widely-used neutron generators for locating and mapping oil reserves [22]), several derived types of Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusors (the famous amateur cellar fusion reactor [14]) and Robert Bussard’s Polywell [23]
  • Pyroelectric fusion [24]: using pyroelectric crystals to generate high strength electrostatic fields to accelerate deuterium ions into a metal hydride (deuteride) target with sufficient kinetic energy to undergo nuclear fusion; related to beam-target electrostatic fusion; consumes much more energy than it produces
  • Thermonuclear fusion: a way to achieve nuclear fusion by using extremely high temperatures; the key problem is how to confine the hot plasma; there are three known types of plasma confinement, that I will explain later: gravitational, magnetic and inertial confinement
  • Sonofusion or bubble fusion [25]: a controversial unconfirmed theme, suggests that acoustic shock waves and cavitation can produce temperatures and pressures sufficient for nuclear fusion

From these several methods of achieving fusion there are only two approved to provide energy: thermonuclear fusion with gravitational confinement as it happens in the core of the sun and thermonuclear fusion with inertial confinement as it is used in hydrogen detonators. Muon-catalyzed fusion can never become an energy source because of physical reasons. There are speculations about electrostatic fusion, particularly the polywell, that – if big enough – may once get into the net-energy range. It has been found impossible to produce energy by shooting particle beams into targets. The pyroelectric fusion may once become a practical useful neutron-source – like the electrostatic beam-target fusion – but not more. Sonofusion is not confirmed until now (although it sounds interesting). So, there is only thermonuclear fusion and perhaps electrostatic fusion as possible candidates. We will have a look on the thermonuclear fusion principle, now. Later we will compare it with the electrostatic fusion method.

Thermonuclear Fusion

Thermonuclear fusion means to heat up the atoms to very hot temperatures – millions of degrees. In this temperature region the matter becomes a plasma, a fourth agregate state besides solid, liquid and gas. Plasmas behave totaly different than gases, they react extremely sensitive on electric and magnetic fields, thereby forming new electromagnetic fields that feed back to the plasma (and so on..). The main problem of thermonuclear fusion is the confinement of the hot plasma. The plasma can not be in direct contact with any material, it has to be located in a vacuum. But extremely high temperatures also imply extreme high pressures, so the plasma tends to expand immediately and a strong force is necessary to act against this thermal expansion. There are three different ways of thermonuclear confinement:

  • Gravitational confinement: the gravitational force is keeping the plasma in place, like in the center of a star
  • Magnetic confinement: strong magnets produce a magnetic field which keeps the electric conducting plasma together with the help of Lorentz forces; typical devices that use magnetic confinement are Tokamaks, Stellarators and Magnetic Mirrors
  • Inertial confinement: the fusion reaction occurs before the plasma starts to expand, so in fact the plasmas inertia is keeping it together; this is successfully used in thermonuclear weapons, other attempts are with laser-, ion-, and electron beams, with magnet forces (Z-pinch, magnetized target fusion), with antimatter-catalyzed fusion, with chemical explosives (Voitenko compressors, mixtures of deuterium-oxygen in a spherical implosion chamber) and controversial discussed with ballotechnics

Gravitational confinement is the continuous fusion in the sun that burns for billions of years, yet. It rapidly oscillates as we all know with an 11-year frequency, but there definetely will be slower oscillations in the sun that we do not know until now. There are huge dynamic plasma cyclones and even deep plasma holes on the surface of the sun. If we see a sunspot, we actually look deep inside the sun, where no light ever reaches to – completely dark. It is impossible to realize gravitational confinement technically, we had to reverse engineer a smaller star, several times bigger than Jupiter.

Magnetic Confinement Fusion

Magnetic confinement fusion is an attempt to get to a continuous fusion reaction just like gravitational confinement in the sun. There are several technical problems. First of all the stability of the plasma in the magnetic field. Stellarators and open-ended magnetic mirror confinement systems had big problems with the so called “kink instability” and “sausage instability” of the plasma. The Tokamak [5] idea by Andrei Sakharov [26] that merged ideas from the Z-pinch solution with the stellarator was the way out of the plasma instabilities. Today nearly all magnetic confinement fusion reactors are Tokamaks.

JET, a typical Tokamak magnetic confinement reactor. It's follower ITER will become several times larger and still produce no energy but reach the break even point, researchers hope, Fig: [29]

JET, a typical Tokamak magnetic confinement reactor. It’s follower ITER will become several times larger and still produce no energy but reach the break even point, researchers hope, Fig: [29]

Another problem is the strength of the magnetic fields, that have to fight these huge pressures from plasmas of million degrees. The electromagnets are allready superconducting and the magnet forces are at the technical feasible limits. The reactivity of deuterium-tritium (D-T) reactions is determined by the given nuclear forces. If the magnet force and thereby the pressure of the plasma is also given you can only increase temperature to increase the number of fusion reactions. This means at a given pressure more volume for the reaction chamber. To get net-energy out of the plasma the reaction chambers of our Tokamaks have to be much bigger than they are today. But with growing size the volume of the chamber grows faster than the outer surfaces of the chamber. So there will be more heat per area that is to transport outwards. Today we are at the limits of our cooling techniques, we use liquid sodium, a very dangerous technology, because liquid sodium burns with air and water spontaniously. Water cooling is not possible from a certain size on, it has not the heat conduction ability to remove the amounts of heat from the reaction chamber surface, the chamber walls would melt. So it is questionable if we can build much bigger reaction chambers because of this cooling problem.

D-T reactions massively emmit neutrons, that contaminate and molecularely desintegrate the reactor blanket with time by changing the molocular structure of the metals. After a certain period of time the reaction chamber blanket therefor has to be removed and rebuild completely. Because of the neutron radiation the metal blanket has become profoundly radioactive. This will make the work highly dangerous. Giant robotic handling systems are in development to do this job quick and save [27]. Some people ask, why not use deuterium-deuterium (D-D) reactions that emmit less neutrons. But the reactivity of D-D is about 100 times lesser than that of D-T, that means again 100 times more voluminous reaction chambers.

Magnet fields at the limits, plasma density at the limits, cooling at the limits: net-energy only with much bigger Tokamaks than todays. Todays Tokamaks are as big as apartment houses, the next generation is as big as city blocks and still will not produce energy. This means Tokamaks that produce economic energy will become huge – literally as big as pyramids. More than a few experts therefor say: if Tokamaks once produces energy or not doesn’t matter. Because it is physically proven that the D-T Tokamak reactors will be many times bigger than todays fission reactors of the same output. This means their electric energy will be many times more expensive. With D-D Tokamaks the things would become even worser. And therefor any further development makes no sense.

But why are some industry countries still developing at least one big Tokamak reactor and bundle their budgets to one international project for developing a Tokamak that once reaches break-even? A Tokamak that can keep alive it’s own fusion reaction. Far away from becoming a power plant. Is this only to keep the plasma and fusion experts and to train their skills? I don’t think so. After the Apollo moon project was discontinued no government cared if former rocket and space experts had to work as taxi drivers. There’s another reason for that reactor development – a good reason.

It seems that finding a much safer method to breed plutonium-239 from natural uranium-238 than todays fission breeder reactors is the main reason why many countries put a lot of money into the Tokamak fusion reactors. This technology is a more secure and effective alternative of breeding tritium and weapon-grade plutonium for bombs or reactor-grade plutonium for fission reactors [28]. The goal seems to be to get only to the break evenand not more. At break even the Tokamak just produces some small portion of net-energy but a lot of neutron radiation already, that is needed for breeding. Now it can support the breeding processes by itself and no additional energy is needed for breeding plutonium. With a self containing Tokamak breeder reactor the world problem of limited fissible uranium-235 for fission reactors could be solved relatively elegant by breeding plutonium without the need of dangerous fission breeder reactors. Just replace the reactor blanket inner layer metal in the Tokamak throughoutly with uranium-238 and you have the perfect plutonium-239 breeder. Now I really think the Tokamak research is worth it’s money. But I also can understand why our ministers of scientific affairs don’t shout this from the rooftops. In Germany we officially want to completely abandon nuclear power within the next 10 years, we actually don’t need new reactor-grade plutonium.

Electrostatic Confinement Fusion

There are many people today that realize the dead end of magnetic confinement fusion. Some of them propose to redirect the research funds to electrostatic confinement fusion, especially the most advanced device of it: the Polywell [23]. They say the chances would be greater to reach the goal of a working power reactor. I can’t see this. In my opinion the facts that are against magnetic confinement fusion:

  • maximum realizable plasma density
  • resulting huge reactor chamber volume
  • D-D results in 100 times more volume than D-T
  • resulting geometrical cooling problem
  • predictable high energy cost

would be just the same for a possible big Polywell research or power reactor. Electrostatic confinement fusion reactors also would have to become huge, to get into a net-energy output range. Today, all electrostatic fusion reactors use D-D fusion. Because of fundamental nuclear physics laws, with D-D fusion they would become at least 100 times more voluminous than todays Tokamaks if they had the same power level and the same plasma density. That is not feasible, and so they also had to use D-T fusion, to get a higher reactivity and to become the size of todays Tokamaks. This in turn means high neutron emissions and the reaction chamber has to be rebuild in intervals. They also had to use superconduction for the electrostatic fields to minimize the energy losses. They also had to be cooled with liquid sodium from a certain size on, to get rid of the immense heat production of the plasma, concentrated in an almost spherical vacuum chamber.

Polywell, the most advanced electrostatic confinement fusion approach, Fig: [30]

Todays electrostatic fusion devices don’t have all these problems only because of one reason: they are tiny. When they grow with time and get into the range where they may once approach break-even, they will run into the same problems. From this standpoint any further development makes no sense, unless they had another goal than economic power production: maybe reactor grade plutonium production.

Inertial Confinement Fusion

At inertial confinement fusion it is no outside force that stems against the pressure of the hot plasma. It is the innermost inertial force of the plasma itself. The plasma has an inertia and if the fusion reaction rate is faster than the heat explosion of the plasma, then the fusion fuel can burn to a certain percentage. This sounds easy but means on the other hand much higher pressure and/or temperature levels to get the needed high fusion reaction rates.

Inertial confinement fusion has one big practical difference to gravitational and magnetic confinement fusion: it is not continuous. It is the same difference as between a turbine and a diesel engine. In the turbine a stationary flame is heating the gas and propelling the shaft, in the diesel engine it is many discrete explosions, one after the other, that propells the shaft. This means any inertial confinement fusion reactor will finally become an explosion machine. This is a very important conclusion for the rest of the text.

Inertial confinement is a wide field of fusion energy approaches:

  • Layer cake detonators
  • Teller-Ulam detonators
  • Antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion
  • Laser beam fusion (ICF)
  • Ion beam fusion
  • Electron beam fusion
  • Z-pinch fusion
  • Wire-array Z-pinch fusion
  • Magnetized target fusion (MTF)
  • Ballotechnics
  • Deuterium-oxygen stoichiometric mixtures in a spherical implosion chamber (UTIAS)
  • Voitenko compressor that compresses deuterium gas

The layer cake detonators were the first attempts to get artificial fusion reactions. They worked but had a limited yield. Any plutonium fission weapon of today uses this principle with its deuterium-tritium-gas fusion booster stage in the center. The layer cake as well as the Teller-Ulam thermonuclear detonator are along with the sun the only known fusion energy sources. Laser beam fusion is often a synonyme for inertial confinement fusion (ICF), but from the long list we see that this is the wrong naming for just one of many approaches. There’s a big Laser fusion research device [10] at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [31]. Ion and electron beam fusion are not as well developed as laser beam fusion, although they have a better energy balance. The Z-pinch is a simple idea but had many practical problems with plasma instabilities. From a standpoint of pure research it has revealed a deeper insight into plasma effects than any other technology and is therefor very important. Wire-array Z-pinch is the successor of Z-pinch and is not as much related to it’s predecessor as it sounds. Wire-array Z-pinch is also used in a large research device: the Sandia Z-machine [13]. Magnetized target fusion (MTF) [32] is more and more realized as a practical way to get to laboratory-scale high power fusion reactions at less extreme condtitions and therefor at lower cost than laser or wire-array Z-pinch. The chemical explosives driven fusion reactions with premixed deuterium-oxygen or Voitenko compressors [33] were successful but of a very small scale level. Antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion is a promising and theoretically well working idea [34]. It has the practical problem that today there is worldwide not enough antimatter available. Ballotechnics is a kind of chemical explosives that actually don’t explode but produce immense heat [35]. They are very controversial discussed and touch some myths about a substance called Red Mercury that is said to be responsible for the first pure fusion weapons made by the soviet union. Later I will go into that theme a little deeper.

To answer the question of the head of this chapter “Why inertial confinement fusion is the best way?”: it’s because it has no problems with:

  • maximum realizable plasma density
  • resulting huge reactor chamber volume
  • D-D results in 100 times more volume than D-T
  • resulting geometrical cooling problem
  • predictable high energy cost

Ok, but if all problems are solved, why is there no zoo of inertial confinement fusion reactors and only two: the Teller-Ulam detonator and the layer cake detonator? The problem of inertial confinement fusion is: to do it at all..

If it works, the plasma density must be automatically very high, of course. Therefor the reactor core can be very small: only some centimeters to decimeters for the actual self destroying reaction chamber. The following statement is very important, because it is common for any inertial confinement fusion power reactor resulting from their nature of being explosion machines:

To convert inertial confinement fusion into electric energy a voluminous and rugged steam vessel enclosing the detonation is needed. It has to be big and stabile enough to withstand the detonation wave of the nuclear explosion of a certain size. But it can be a very primitive armored concrete construction. Inertial confinement fusion power plants are comparable to water power plants with their huge, primitive and cheap concrete constructions around concentrated complicated and expensive power transformers. It is not possible to realize economic miniature inertial confinement fusion with smaller pressure vessels at higher explosion frequencies, because the effort per kW is rising with smaller explosion yields and higher explosion frequencies. Only from a certain explosion size on, the energy balance between input energy for initiating fusion reactions and output energy from fusion becomes positive (break-even). For economic energy production the size of the explosions yields have to be even much bigger.

Because of the naturally big size of the steam vessels in combination with the relatively small size of the complicated self destroying reaction chamber, the energy density inside the vessel after the detonation will be low without cooling problems. But there is still the problem with energy efficience, how much energy is put in, how much is obtained. For example lasers are very bad in the energy balance because of their low energy efficiency. Plutonium fission detonators have a relatively good efficiency. This efficiencies simply mean: economic inertial confinement fusion with lasers would result in much bigger explosion yields and pressure vessels than economic power production with Teller-Ulam detonators. The goal has to be to find alternatives to Teller-Ulam detonators that have a comparable good or even better efficiency and not a worser.

For any of the different inertial confinement fusion approaches it can be calculated or at least estimated how often a single detonation can be repeated and of which size it has to be to get to net-energy break even and to get to economic energy production. Because all inertial confinement fusion systems have actually the same physical problems, the calculations or estimations for all approaches are also in the same magnitude order: net-energy production roughly from the range of tons on and economic energy production from the range of kilotons (kT) on. Tons and kilotons mean the TNT equivalent where one kiloton 1 kT = 4.18 * 10^12 J. This is the same for a Teller-Ulam as well for an ion-beam ICF or a magnetized target system, just because the energy effort for initiating the reaction must be rawly of the same magnitude (deviating with the technology, evolution grade and the resulting energy efficiency). This is a fundamental insight into fusion power that is often extenuated, because a comparision with a nuclear bomb sounds rather publicity unfriendly. Especially when the bomb is much more efficient and economic.

In the next sections I will go into the inertial confinement approaches a little more detailed. I will first explain in short how a Teller-Ulam thermonuclear detonator works in principle. The laser-, ion- and electron beam fusion, as well the wire-array Z-pinch work in principle exactly the same as the Teller-Ulam. I will explain the remaining differences. The modern antimatter catalyzed fusion idea works more like the layer cake than the Teller-Ulam. The magnetized target fusion (MTF) works totally different than the Teller-Ulam. The pure Z-pinch is only of historical interest and I will not go into that subject, because I write from a futuristic not a historic perspective. But I will explain the chemical explosive approaches and will try an explanation of the (mythological?) ballotechnics approach.

How a Teller-Ulam Detonator works

A Teller-Ulam detonator or hydrogen bomb is actually three bomb shells: The outer shell (radiation case, hohlraum), that contains the primary fission bomb and the secondary fusion bomb. The plutonium-239 fission bomb ignites first. The fission bomb ionizes and heats up the hohlraum and the secondary fusion bomb shell to extremely high temperatures by radiation. This is called thermalization. The hohlraum is used as a kind of radiation mirror and secondary radiation source occuring from ionization of the wall material. It has to withstand the radiation pressure of the primary at least as long until the secondary’s shell is hot enough for the next step.

The primary fission bomb is normally boosted by a deuterium-tritium (D-T) gas mixture, that is located in the middle of the implosion sphere of the primary. In the middle of the sphere the implosive forces are centered in one point, so there is enough pressure to inertially confine a D-T fusion reaction. This fusion reaction is ignited by the heat of approximately the first 1% of the reacting fission fuel surrounding it. The D-T fusion emmits massively neutrons, that accelerates the chain reactions in the Pu-239 fission bomb. With boosting theoretically up to 29% of the material of a D-T boosted plutonium bomb can be fissioned, without only approx. 1%. With boosting the ammount of plutonium for a certain yield is effectively reduced, practically every fission bomb uses boosting today.

The secondary fusion bomb shell is heated up to millions of degrees by the primary and its outer layer becomes a plasma. This abruptly expanding plasma has a huge mechanical impulse to all outer directions and a opposite mechanical impulse inwards. The ablation pressure on the fusion bomb shell is so huge that it compresses the fusion fuel inside to thousands of bars. That is why this bomb shell is called the tamper. So it is not the pressure or the heat or the radiation of the plutonium-239 primary fission bomb that compresses the fusion material as one may think. It is the ablation due to ionization of the secondary fusion bomb tungsten, lead or uranium-238 shell material that lets it implode. The heat for heating up the tamper outer layers vapourizing that fast comes from the primaries radiation energy and from the outer shell that radiates secundary X-rays. This is called thermalization of the hohlraum. The plutonium-239 primary fission bomb has the role of a radiation heater. The tampers outer layer vapourizes and releases plasma so fast that it heavily implodes.

Because the primary fission bomb radiates most of its energy within a short instant a further mechanism may be needed to prevent the secondary fusion bomb from heating too quickly. This could cause it to explode in a conventional heat explosion without a fusion reaction. This mechanism is called the interstage. There is not so much known about it. Probably the interstage is a layer of X-ray absorbing and re-radiating material, that might focus the radiation on the second stage. It might work similar like the Casaba-Howitzer directed energy beam device [36] or the strategic defense initiative (SDI) X-ray lasers [37], or the Orion nuclear pulse units with directed explosions [38].

When the tamper of the secondary fusion device starts ionizing, the plasma release of the surface is so fiercely that the massive tamper mechanically implodes as Newtons third law “actio est reactio” predicts it as opposite reacton. The effect works similar to a rocket at lift-off, that emmits hot gas of low density and high velocity to one side and thereby accelerates a huge mass slowly to the opposite side. This effect actually got Stanislav Ulam to the idea of a nuclear spaceship using nuclear detonations [39], later named the Orion.

In the center of the deuterum fuel within the tamper cylinder is mostly a second fission bomb, the so called spark plug, that is compressed to critical mass conditions and starts a fission chain reaction. The spark plug thereby heats up to millions of degrees. The spark plug works like the primary plutonium fission bomb, the only difference is, that it is not compressed by chemical explosives but by ablation pressure of the tamper. Heat from the spark plug and ablation pressure from the tamper together provide the temperature and pressure conditions for nuclear fusion and the deuterium starts the fusion reaction. A certain percentage of the fuel has fusioned before the bomb explodes miliseconds after ignition. In the moment the fireball starts to expand fission and fusion have ended.

Radiation implosion firing sequence, Fig. [40]

The figure above from [40] explains the firing sequence with tamper-pusher ablation implosion. Each step lasts only a fraction of a milisecond:

  1. The thermonuclear device before firing. The nested spheres at the top are the fission primary with chemical explosive (green), plutonium-239 fission fuel (black) and booster gas (violet) of deuterium and tritium. The nested cylinders below are the fusion secondary device with steel shield plate (gray), tungsten, lead or natural uranium-238 tamper cylinder (gray), enriched lithium-6 deuteride fusion fuel (blue) and plutonium-239 or enriched uranium-235 fission spark blug (black).
  2. Fission primary’s explosives have detonated (yellow) and collapsed the primary’s fissile pit (black) with booster gas (violet). The booster’s fusion reaction produces neutrons that enhance the primary’s fission reaction.
  3. The primary’s fission reaction has run to completion, and the primary (red) is now at several million degrees and is fiercely radiating gamma and hard X-rays, heating up (yellow) the inside of the hohlraum, the shield (gray plate) and the secondary’s tamper (gray cylinder). Secondary radiation of softer X-ray is radiated from the walls. Anything has the same very high temperature. This is called thermalization.
  4. The primary’s reaction has finished when it starts expanding. The surface of the tamper is now so hot that it is ablating plasma, pushing the rest of the fusion fuel (blue) and fissile spark plug (red) inwards only by the impulse of the fast expanding plasma. This is called ablation implosion. The spark plug starts to fission (red).
  5. The secondary’s fuel has started the fusion reaction (red) and shortly will burn up.

Most of todays nuclear weapons are Teller-Ulam detonators. But these so called thermonuclear weapons are no pure fusion devices. They are a mixture of fusion and fission reactions ranging from around 20% nuclear fusion energy to a maximum of 97% fusion energy [41][42], depending on size and technology. The rest of the released energy (3% – 80%) results from nuclear fission reaction, most from the natural uranium-238 tamper. The fraction of chemical energy that is used for igniting the fission bombs is negligible. A chemical bomb ignites the nuclear fission bomb (that is boosted by fusion) which ignites a fusion bomb. And that fusion bomb is used to ignite a large amount of natural uranium as a very big, cheap fission bomb. Therefor these weapons are also called fission-fusion-fission bombs.

This is the main reason, why thermonuclear weapons have been developed: to use natural uranium-238 as fuel, because it is much cheaper than enriched uranium-235 or breeded plutonium-239. And this is why the developers engineered the two stage principle with ablation implosion. It was a question of cost. The use of the fusion of deuterium for providing the neutrons that are needed to fission natural uranium-238 was merely a side effect. But anyway there have been some weapons with at least 95% fusion energy: the 50 megaton Tsar Bomba test [41] at 97% fusion, the 9.3 megaton Hardtack Poplar test [43] at 95.2%, and the 4.5 megaton Redwing Navajo test [44] at 95% fusion. They were called “clean” weapons and militaries used them particularly to reduce the global statistical lethality rates from fallout of their athmospheric weapon tests. Clean hydrogen bombs were an immediate reaction of the militaries to the very bad publicity after the Castle Bravo nuclear accident [45]. In principle clean fusion weapons are thermonuclear weapons without a uranium-238 tamper but a nuclear inert tungsten or lead tamper.

Ivy Mike, November 1st, 1952, the first Teller-Ulam fusion detonator, Fig: [46]

The fusion fuel can be solid lithium-6 deuteride or liquid deuterium. The first working Teller-Ulam detonator ever, Ivy Mike [46], had cryogenically cooled liquid deuterium as fuel. Liquid deuterium is just similar to liquid hydrogen but it consists totally of the hydrogen isotope deuterium with two neutrons. All later hydrogen bombs after Ivy Mike used solid lithium-6 deuteride as fusion fuel, because it is storable and the handling is more easy. Lithium-6 deuteride is a metal hydride. Lithium hydride LiH has the highest hydrogen content of any hydrides. In lithium-6 deuteride the hydrogen is of the isotope deuterium and the lithium is of the enriched isotope lithium-6 [47].

High Energy Beams replace Fission

Early attempts of inertial confinemant fusion with high energy beams were firing on spherical pellets of deuterium-tritium from all sides with many huge lasers in one instant, that their surface was heated up to million degrees and they started to implode from ablating plasma that pushed the spheres inside to one point. But the so called “Rayleigh-Taylor instability” which occurs between liquid and gaseous phases when the gas has a higher pressure made this impractical.

Rayleigh-Taylor instability at laser fusion, Fig: [9]

The inertial confinement fusion with lasers today in so called indirect drive is nothing else than miniature hydrogen bombs. It vapourizes the inner surfaces of a hollow cylinder – the hohlraum – and the arising X-rays heat the fusion fuel containers (pellets) and let compress them by their own plasma release (ablation pressure) just like the Teller-Ulam thermonuclear weapons do [9].

Indirect laser fusion hohlraum, Fig: [9]

The difference is the primary, the energy source for thermalization, that is no nuclear fission bomb, as in the weapons, but many concentrated high energy beams. So there is no minimum limit for the primary, like in the fission bombs, due to critical mass and the mini bomb is limited more due to manufacturing problems. Of course, inertial confinement fusion with lasers is the perfect experimental bomb for laboratory research. Research on thermonuclear weapons has probably made many achievements with this research devices in the last decades. An energy break-even or net-production was absolutely not necessary for that, and there have been less progress to the “far goal” of developing a power plant.

Lasers banks for inertial confinement fusion, Fig: [9]

Electrons and ions as energy beams would be much more efficient than lasers as inertial confinement fusion primaries [48] but they are not as well suited for weapons research than lasers that imitate the X-ray of the real nuclear primaries much better. If someone intended to build a perfect laboratory simulation of nuclear bombs they would use lasers as primaries of course (I hope the wire-array Z-pinch experts don’t outcry now). If someone intended to build a power plant and aspired to an energetic break even they would use ion beams because of their much higher efficiency. But that is ok. Inertial confinement fusion plants with laser primaries will allways be very ineffective as energy source if they become a source ever [18][19][48]. But if the investigations result in better thermonuclear Teller-Ulam detonators they are worth their money. Because Teller-Ulam detonators play an essential role in the further evolutionary development of mankind as I will show You later in the text.

Antimatter Catalyzed Fission/Fusion

Antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion is another very interesting variation of high-energy beam induced inertial confinement fusion. The idea of antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion is to avoid the problem of critical mass in a Teller-Ulam primary. Today the smallest plutonium primaries can be build in the minimum size of 10 tons to 20 tons TNT equivalent.

The primary is limited in minimum size by it’s critical mass. At plutonium-239 it is between 4.5 kg and 10 kg, depending if there is a metal radiation mirror around it or not. It is possible to build bombs between yields of 10 tons and 1 kT with exactly the same mass of plutonium [49][50]. The difference between the bombs from 1 ton to 1 kT is simply how much of the given mass of plutonium will fission. The rest of the plutonium will only vapourize, remelt and rain down as fallout dust. This fallout is poisonous and radioactive. But it is relatively harmless compared to some of the fission products in the fallout, that are much more dangerous. So a fission bomb is more radioactive the more it fissions – indipendent from it’s plutonium mass. But the critical mass is necessary for the ignition and can not be ommited. The non-fissioned plutonium is unused expensive material.

In a antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion reaction the primary is far below critical mass, say in the range of one gram. It could never be fissioned by compressing it alone. But when it is compressed in a vacuum with high energy beams and some positrons (anti-electrons) are shot on it, they release so much energy (by direct mass anihilation) that the fission can occur (a little bit like the U-238 tamper of the Teller-Ulam). The fission now is energetic enough to heat up the second stage, a deuterium-tritium pellet and fusion occurs. The geometry of the pulse units is spherical and more like a layer cake than a Teller-Ulam.

A quick scetch of the Penn State University’s ICAN-II, an antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion space ship. You will find some nicer renderings than my scribble in the internet [51][52]. The antimatter fission/fusion could end the wastage problem of unburned Pu-239 in nuclear pulsed space ships as long they need plutonium fission as primary to kindle the fusion reaction.

The idea of antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion [51][52] was primarly invented to overcome one of the main problems of the Orion nuclear pulse spaceship [38]: the plutonium wastage due to critical mass requirements. It is legitimate to call antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion a micro neutron bomb. In a todays 20 tons TNT plutonium fission detonator only 1 g fissions. This means at 4.5 kg critical mass, entire 4499 g are only needed for criticality and don’t fission at all. Antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion doesn’t replace fission at all but removes the 4499 g mass of plutonium per pulse that is wasted. A technically sweet idea, but it has one problem: today it is just impossible, because humanity is not able to produce sich giant amounts of antimatter that were needed for a space mission with antimatter catalyzed pulse drive: some micrograms..

The Z-Pinch

If a strong current is conducted through a plasma it is pinched and implodes to a thin fibre. Early Z-pinch attempts tried to simply compress a plasma to fusion via this effect. But the plasma was disturbed by two instabilities: the “kink-instability” and the “sausage-instability”. Both instabilities impeded and stopped the fusion immediately.

Kink-instability, Fig: [83]

To avoid this a new indirect attempt was developed. In a contemporary wire-array Z-pinch fusion reactor a bundle of 300 tungsten wires of 100 micro meters is aranged around a D-T target and shielded by a metal cylinder. If a current of 20 million ampere is conducted 100 nanoseconds through the wires they vapourize immediately to a plasma, pinch and emmit a strong radiation. This radiation heats the surrounding cylinder to up to over one billion degrees and the cylinder emmits a strong X-ray inside the hohlraum that lets the target implode by it’s own ablation [12].

Wire-array Z-pinch in action, Fig: [12]

You see, the wire-array Z-pinch is related very much to the Teller-Ulam than to the classical Z-pinch. And so the biggest Z-pinch research reactor at Sandia Labs [13] is therefor primarly used to discover the physical effects in thermonuclear weapons. I can’t say if the Z-pinch or the laser fusion is the better research device for that, or which are the pros and cons of each of them. It’s in the nature of things that most of the data is classified and I don’t understand enough of fusion physics for such subtle distinctions. Ask a fusion specialized physicist, maybe he can tell you, which of both devices is the better weapon laboratory.

Magnetized Target Fusion

In the magnetized target fusion (MTF) a plasma is produced and magnetically confined – both shortly before it is compressed. Because the plasma has to stay in the magnetic confinement only for fractions of a second, the requirements for the confinement are correspondingly low and less costly [53]. In magnetic confinement fusion [54] the requirements were very strict, that lead finally to the expensive Tokamak [5], which was the first to meet the requirements.

Then the compression of the plasma is done via the destructive compression of its container. A thin liner metal around the plasma is compressed from outside and builds up pressure up to the level where fusion starts. Because the target is a plasma that is of high temperature already, the requirements for the pressure levels are not as high as for other inertial confinement fusion methods.

Because the compression occurs very fast, it is possible to allow the plasma to touch the liner walls during compression, without cooling down the plasma too much. This makes the process as simple as thinkable. The compression can occur in many different ways: magnetically, chemically, wire-array Z-pinch, ion-beam, actually with all means the different inertial confinement fusion concepts use.

MTF – magnetized target fusion, Fig: [55]

In every respect magnetized target fusion seems to be a pragmatic compromise between magnetic confinement fusion and inertial confinement fusion that brings the requirements for magnet field accuracy, plasma temperature, implosion pressure to levels where they are less extreme. It seems that magnetized target fusion is a good candidate along with Tokamak reactors for the next break-even after the the Teller-Ulam (“1.”, 1952) and the Layer Cake (“2.”, 1953). It may even overhaule the Tokamaks and become the “3.” on the podium. There is a medium sized MTF research reactor [55] at the Los Alamos National Laboratory [56].

Explosives and Ballotechnics

Inertial confinement fusion with chemical explosives has been achieved to this date in two different ways [57]. The first is to compress a region of premixed stochiometric deuterium-oxygen gas in the center of a spherical detonation chamber. The second is to compress a deuterium gas in the second stage of a Voitenko compressor [33][58].

Both methods rely on a precise concentration of the detonation wave in the center point of the detonation chamber. This is achieved by filling the chamber with a stochiometric premixed hydrogen-oxygen gas or deuterium-oxygen gas and igniting it exactly in the center of the chamber with a simple heat wire. The explosion wave of the gas hits the spherical wall on all points exactly at the same time. The wall is covered inside with a thin chemical explosive layer that ignites when getting hit from the explosion wave. Then the detonation wave of the explosive hits the center of the detonation chamber exactly at the same time in a very small volume and triggers the nuclear fusion in this volume of approximately one cubic milimetre.

Ballotechnics are chemicals that burn at the speed of sound like explosives do, but don’t produce a shock wave. The whole energy of the chemical reaction is converted in one instant to heat and not to pressure. To ignite the ballotechnics they have to be exposed to a shock wave, that usually comes from explosives [35]. This technology to ignite fusion reactions is speculative and not approved.

The inventor of the neutron bomb, Sam Cohen [59], thought it would be possible to ignite a deuterium-tritium fusion reaction by means of ballotechnics. He also thought this has been done successfully by the soviets in the end of the eighteeth. He also thought the mythological substance Red Mercury was actually this soviet ballotechnics chemicals. He also believed that president Boris Yeltsin in a time when russias government was practically bankrupt, allowed to sell this substance for a lot of foreign currency to other countries like Iraq [60]. Cohen also claimed, that terrorists would own approx. 100 of them and Iraq finally owned approx. 50 pure fusion bombs with an unknown yield [59].

This was all Cohens believe. Other reputable nuclear scientists in the world did not agree with him. But if he was true it would mean that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons would have become senseless. From now on it would be impossibel to track or control who – or who not – has the ability to build nuclear weapons, because control is built on the supervision of the trade and distribution of uranium-235 and plutonium-239. Let’s assume Cohen was right – just as a mindgame – and no one wanted this to be true. Sometimes groups of people speak as one, when alternatives seem to be absolute unbearable. Did someone did a mathematical calculation that prooves ballotechnics don’t work? Cohen was the leading expert for small thermonuclear weapons and said yes – all other respected experts denied. Chemical explosives do work – but only with a very small mass of deuterium. Let’s assume US President Bush was right when he argued that Iraq was able to build nuclear weapons, although Iraq didn’t have weapon grade fissile substances, as it was found out later. Let’s assume it was more than a simple misinterpretation of the situation. Let’s assume today the trade with ballotechnics is as strictly controlled as plutonium trade. If the latter would be the fact it would be another indicator that ballotechnics possibly work as Cohen claimed, and the pure fusion detonator, the pure neutron bomb, a very small and clean nuclear weapon, already exists. These are interesting speculations so far, but not more.

Principles that seem to work achieving Fusion

Inertial confinement like the Teller-Ulam design and the layer cake design work. Other inertial confinement designs, particularly the MTF, have very good chances to succeed. Magnetic confinement may work one day but with a very bad power density that makes reactors too big for being economical. This would be the same for a big electrostatic confinement reactor, if it ever will produce net-energy. Gravitational confinement is impossible to build. All other fusion principles are definitely energy sinks as though they produce fusion, or they are ideas that are not confirmed.

Indirect, staged ignition with a primary and secondary stage with a thermalizing hohlraum works better than a direct approach. This is the result for weapons where a layer cake did not work as efficient as a Teller-Ulam two stage design. Or for high power beams where a direct bombardment resulted in Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities and indirect attempts with a hohlraum work much better. Or for Z-pinch fusion where direct approaches resulted in kink- and sausage instabilities and indirect hohlraum approaches also worked better.

First stages (primaries) that evidentially work are fission bombs from 0.25 kT yield (Sam Cohens neutron bomb W79), that fissions 12.5 g Pu, up to the maximum buildable yield for a fission bomb of approximately 500 kT. Smaller fission bombs have to be build as a spherical implosion design of Pu-239. Small U-235 primaries are impractical. There seems to be no physical reason why smaller fission bombs down to the smallest buildable yield of ca. 0.02 kT (Ted Taylors W54 – Davy Crocket – tactical weapon) that fissions 1 g Pu should not also work.

A deuterium-tritium (D-T) booster gas in the core of the pit is commonly used to enhance the fission reaction rate and to reduce the ammount of fission material for a given yield. This is actually a small fusion stage within the fission primary in a layer cake design that uses the pressure of the chemical explosion and approx. the first 1% of the fission radiation-heat to ignite the fusion reaction in the center of the spherical pit.

Antimatter may once make fission detonators independent of critical mass. They may help to save expensive plutonium-239 when fissioning only 1 g Pu alone for 0.02 kT yield (and not 4500 g), and will even further reduce the yield down to 2 tons when fissioning only 0.1 g Pu. Ion beams may also work well as first stage in the low yield range. Wire-arrays that ionize due to extreme current to Z-pinching plasma also work as primary. Chemical explosives work alone uneffective, but in connection with magnetized target fusion (MTF), where the pressure ranges are much lesser than with targets at normal temperature, very well. In MTF devices it is also possible to use magnetic fields in conjunction with a strong current through the liner cylinder as a Z-pinch primary that compresses the plasma.

Second stages (secondaries) that work are e.g. spherical deuterium-tritium (D-T) metal capsules with 0.75 kT yield like in the neutron bomb W79. Lithium-6 deuteride metal hydride cores within a lead-, tungsten-, or uranium-238 tamper cylinder also work. They may have a cylindrical spark plug from plutonium-239 or uranium-235 of critical mass that heats them up additionally. But there are speculations, that the research on neutron bombs have lead to the spark-plug free second stage that uses a deuterium-tritium gas like a booster stage in a primary. A plasma, shortly stabilized in a simple magnetic confinement is the easiest second stage to ignite by compression, as it is used in the MTF device.

Energy sources for heating and compression are fission bombs of all yields. Huge stationary capacitor banks are used to power the ion beams, or the current through the wire-arrays of the Z-pinch, or the plasma production, confinement and compression in the MTF. Chemicals may be also used to produce the electric power alternatively to capacitors like in helical flux-compression generators (HFCG) or disk explosive magnetic generators (DEMG). The latter’s are much more compact and cheaper than capacitor banks. Chemicals can also be used as direct energy sources for the compression and/or heating of the plasma in a MTF device.

Now, what is the Pure Fusion Bomb?

In principle, a pure fusion bomb would be a fusion detonator which is not ignited by a fission primary [81]. This would mean that the conditions for fusion, extremely hot temperature and pressure are to be provided by non-nuclear means:

  • Ion beams
  • Z-pinch
  • Chemical explosives
  • Ballotechnics

There are at least two possible ways to reach this goal: top-down and bottom-up from a point of view considering yield. At a top-down approach one could begin to design thermonuclear detonators always smaller:

  1. One would start with Cohens 1 kT yield neutron bomb. It had a 0.25 kT primary of boosted spherical Pu-239 and a 0.75 kT D-T secundary of a metal sphere with deuterium-tritium gas
  2. It should be also possible to build a 0.07 kT primary with a 0.18 kT D-T secundary and a 0.25 kT total yield
  3. Then a 0.02 kT primary – which is around the smallest buildable yield possible – with a 0.05 kT D-T secundary and 0.07 kT total yield

Cohens 1 kT neutron bomb with additional neutron absorbing outer shell could become an excellent primary for a 10 kT thermonuclear detonator. If one would now chain all this stages one had a 0.02 kT unboosted plutonium-239 primary that ignites a D-T secundary capsule and both produce 0.07 kT, enough to ignite a 0.18 kT D-T tertiary. Together this is 0.25 kT, the same yield as Cohens primary. With this yield a D-T quarternary of 0.75 kT could be ignited. This is together the 1 kT stage that ingnites the last stage, a 9 kT lithium-6 deuteride fith stage without a spark-plug [80] but a D-T booster mandrel in the center of the lead tamper cylinder. But this is all just assumptions, I don’t know if such a device ever existed or even if it could work at all.

Together this hypothetical device would be a five stage thermonuclear detonator with 10 kT yield from which is 0.02 kT or 0.2% from fission. So it would provide 99.8% fusion power and would be the cleanest hydrogen bomb ever (record is 97% fusion [41]). Of course there would be still fallout with extremely unhealthy and dangerous fission products from 1 g plutonium which underwent fission, and 4499 g vapourized Pu-239 dust that didn’t underwent a nuclear reaction but had to provide the critical mass and is also unhealthy especially when inhaled. The mass of the device would be roughly estimated 23 kg + 20 kg + 80 kg + 320 kg = 443 kg. The 23 kg is from the Davy Crocket [50].

At a bottom-up approach one would not start from a thermonuclear detonator but from a promising inertial confinement fusion approach. There are not so many alternatives available today:

  • High energy ion beams – only ion beams have a chance of foreseeable break even, but they still need a huge electric power
  • Wire-array Z-pinch fusion – also needs a huge electric power to compress D-T capsules
  • Magnetized target fusion – compresses targets that are allready plasma
  • Explosives and ballotechnics – the first seems alone inefficient, the second speculative

The most promising of this methods seems to be magnetized target fusion (MTF). One starts with a small electric device like it is described in [61]. The electric power is provided by a chemical helical-flux compression generators (HFCG) [62] and disk explosive magnetic generators (DEMG) [63]. The plasma is produced in a MAGO chamber [64]:

  1. MAGO plasma producing chamber with HFCG’s, a Z-pinch cylindrical liner with DEMG: 2.5 t yield, 300 kg mass + 2.7 t explosives
  2. Bigger MAGO with HFCG’s, a Z-pinch cylindrical liner with DEMG: 5 t yield, 600 kg mass + 3.9 t explosives
  3. Z-pinch cylindrical liner with DEMG is replaced by a simple high explosives implosion liner design: 5 t yield, 500 kg mass + 3.5 t explosives
  4. MAGO is replaced by a simple ballotechnics plasma producing chamber: 5 t yield, 300 kg mass + 2.7 t explosives

Only the yield and masses from 1 are based on a analysis by experts in [61]. The yields and masses of point 2 and 3 are guesses or geometrical extrapolations. Explosives alone are very inefficient to ignite fusion reactions but they are able to ignite small amounts of D-D, that is more energy-intensive than D-T.

A few words about point 4: The spontaneous, extreme heat emission of ballotechnics alone to ignite D-T fusion reactions seems very speculative indeed. Explosive driven ballotechnics will be sufficient to produce plasmas, without blowing them away like explosives alone but not fuse the D-T plasma. If there is a second stage then, a explosive driven implosion liner that compresses the plasma sufficiently, immediately after it’s production, then fusion may however occur. So a staged or multistaged ballotechnics MTF approach doubles or triples the chemical induced energy and may work with D-T very well. A MTF multi-stage approach suddenly becomes very realistic.

There is still a gap between the top-down and the bottom-up approach:

  • The widest gap is that, what is officially approved. Then bottom-up has a zero yield because officially there has never been a MAGO detonator with net-energy output. Top-down has a primary of ca. 250 tons (the conservative reverse engineered primary of the approved 1 kT neutron bomb from [65]). The gap may be 250 tons yield at the highest estimate then.
  • The more speculative gap seems to be bottom-up that of the officially non-existing (but realistic) MAGO-MTF with 2.5 tons yield from [61]. Top-down the smallest approved (Orion, directable plasma) fission bombs designs with 30 tons yield range, that can – dispite their small size – quite certain be used as primaries for D-T fusion detonations. The more speculative gap is then 27.5 tons yield.
  • My speculations from above go slightly further and say it might also be possible to build a MAGO-MTF with double yield of 5 tons and the top-down approach goes down to 20 tons non fizzling (reading the officially results from nuclear tests), directable and still usable primaries to ignite a D-T fusion detonation. This most speculative gap is then 15 tons yield.

I will assume now, there are still 15 tons yield to gap between the top-down smallest Teller-Ulam D-T detonator and the bottom-up pure fusion MAGO-MTF detonator.

Closing the Gap for Military Purposes

If one builds a MTF with 5 t yield and use it as a first stage in a tiny 20 t yield neutron bomb one could close the gap between top-down and bottom up. Then one could even stage the device to a pure 10 kT fusion detonator and the first stage of 5 t yield could be ignited electrically or chemically. If the ballotechnics approach doesn’t work one had to use point 3. Then the mass would be 4443 kg or rather more for a pure fusion bomb of 10 kT yield. If the ballotechnic approach works then it would be 3443 kg or rather less.

The yield would be in both cases diable in discrete steps between 5 t and 10 kT. A yield of 5 t TNT at a weight of 4.4 t seems to make no sense – one could also take conventional chemicals for that – but as explained in [61] the device is also a neutron bomb and can kill tank crews by neutron emission through their thick metal shelters. Article [61] also explains that it is possible to multiply the yield up to 5 times by adding natural uranium-238 as shell material. This is no weapon grade material but with a strong neutron source like a D-T fusion reaction it may fission very well. Then the clean bomb becomes very dirty again but as powerful as standard thermonuclear warheads.

The proliferation of natural uranium and tritium are impossible to control. This may become the biggest problem of our lifetime. This means any (industrial) country in the world may soon have the ability to build hydrogen bombs in the several tons to several ten kilotons yield range without having any weapon grade materials as Pu-239 and U-235. This also may have happened already. Our governments and their secret services won’t tell us of course they may just loosing the control of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Pure fusion weapons are not as traceable as Pu-239 or U-235 weapons. The latter can be detected by typical radiation emissions of these isotopes and of their decay isotopes, pure fusion weapons only by direct neutron radiation observation from tritium. Pu-239 or U-235 have only some particular sources where they can come from – maybe a few hundred on the planet – and are therefor manageable. Any source is known, any new source is fought by the international community of states. I can’t see how to manage that task with simple natural uranium and tritium. Maybe with the attempt of total global observation of society. A sisyphus task and a dangerous too. Maybe more dangerous than the weapons they will fight [66].

This is an extremely dangerous development that just happens [82]. The world just changes to a world without manageable nuclear proliferation control. One could prohibit the development of small pure fusion devices like the MTF by law. But it is practically not controllable. A ban actually makes no sense. Total observation is the logic response.

Closing the Gap for Civilian Purposes

The last chapter was very gloomy or burdensome. But as an optimistic philanthropist I believe in the positive of human action. Any technology has two sides. There isn’t one single thing ever created that can only be used for destruction. The more powerful the destructive forces of a device or a machine the more powerful the constructive forces must be. And I think this is particularly the case for nuclear weapons. You hear right. Nuclear detonators can be of great benefit for mankind, they can be used as a peaceful universal powerful tool, like a huge version of chemical explosives, if they

  1. have no deadly fission products in the fallout
  2. are non-storable, therefor not deployable, and this means of no military use
  3. have a traceable signatur to locate them where they are used

Todays nuclear detonators fulfill only point 3 and the pure fusion military detonators I was talking about in the last chapter fullfill only point 1. So how to make a peaceful strong tool out of a fiercely strong weapon? “If there is no chance to get rid of it, then let’s make the best of it”, a pragmatic democratic politician may say now about pure fusion weapons and he would be absolutely right. If he knew what a great gift to humanity this pure fusion detonators could become, he even may demand their fast development. At least faster than the others do.

First to clear the question, what to do with nuclear detonators for civilian purposes at a first glance. There have been big scientific research programs for the use of nuclear detonations for civilian purposes in history [69]. First project Orion [38] in the United States from 1957 to 1964. Orion was aimed to build large, cheap space ships with a nuclear pulse propulsion concept that had several hundred times more power than any chemical rocket propulsion. It would have made direct flights from earth surface to mars surface possible with some thousand tons payload and dozens of astronauts on board for a small fraction of the cost of convential rockets. Second project Plowshare [67] in the United States from 1961 to 1973. This project aimed to do civil engineering tasks in a very economic manner, like building dams, channels, harbours, lakes, tunnels, underground caverns by using nuclear detonations. The same did – third – Program No. 6 / Program No. 7 [68] in the Soviet Union from 1965 to 1988. It was more enduringly and more successful than the american counterpart: several new usable oil and gas fields exist now as a result and even a new lake, Lake Chagan, in Kazakhstan [70].

All these programs ended because of one reason: nuclear contamination of ground, water, of oil and gas and of the general public. It could be exactly calculated how many people would be killed statistically from one nuclear stroke to build a harbour or from one launch of a nuclear Orion rocket [71]. Local authorities, public, politicians and finally most of the scientists, didn’t want that: to use a tool from which is exactly known how many people are killed, each time it is used. A very low number of course, less than the deads from traffic or even air traffic, but exactly predictable and nothing could ever lower the numbers. This were the main differences of civilian nuclear detonation technologies to others: death tolls were exactly statistically predictable (death tolls from other technologies fluctuate) and there was no chance to reduce the numbers (a chance that other technologies have when they develop with time). That made any civil engineering applications or spaceship launches to a 100% sentence of death to a small number of human beings. Nearly no one wanted this, of course. One has to be very cynical to be able to live and sleep well with such an awareness.

With a pure fusion detonator anything would change. Of course, nuclear detonations were still very dangerous, because of their power and of their hard neutron emission. But all in all they would become more a kind of super-explosives for engineering purposes than “the destroyer of worlds” as Oppenheimer mentioned [72]. The economical benefit of nuclear power for reaching highly energy-intensive goals would be virtually limitless. Pure fusion detonators can be used for:

  • Producing cheap fusion energy: Pulsed power reactors that detonate pulse units in certain time intervals to produce steam for turbines and power generators to provide cities with economic energy, cheaper than waterpower
  • Cheap space travel for everyone: Large concrete flying platforms of 30,000 tons to 300,000 tons lift-off mass that fly between earth, moon, mars and the jupiter moons, tickets in the range of some thousands of dollars
  • Building very cheap dams, channels, harbours, lakes, tunnels, underground caverns
  • Terraforming: economic building of man-made valleys, mountains, lakes, coastlines
  • Asteroid mining and towing
  • Geoingeneering

Now how to build a civilian version of a pure fusion detonator? It is similar to the military device but different in some points.

  1. It must not be storable and therefor not deployable. That means it needs some big machining around it to load it with cryogenic chemicals and fusion fuel to arm it. Without this very heavy machining the chemicals and fusion fuels boil off in a very short time and the device is unusable.
  2. It can only be ignited with a big machinery on trucks or railway cars that provides the extreme high power for the pure fusion primary stage.
  3. It must be trackable with a build in signature, a kind of a transponder with a number code, plus a chemical dispenser that leaves a chemical trace that is measable with detectors or the best with tracking dogs. Call it the stinking device. The detonator must be build in such a way, that if the signature devices ar removed the rest will also not work and it needs a big engineering effort to make it working without it.

A hypothetical 5-stage “design” [61][64][65] of a pure fusion detonator for civilian engineering applications: high power electric primary with some truckloads high current ignition machinery, cryogenic vapourizing fusion fuels, deeply embedded transponder with ID and chemical trace; non-storable, non-deployable. Completely unsuitable as a weapon. Throughoutly civilian – the Nuclear Dynamite of the future.

Magnetized target fusion (MTF) is a good starting point if the primary detonator is driven throughoutly electrical. If one builds a electrical driven MTF with 5 t yield and use it as a first stage in a tiny 20 t yield D-T detonator one could close the gap between the top-down and bottom up approach to pure fusion detonators. Then one had a pure 10 kT fusion detonator, of several stages with an electric power driven first stage of 5 t yield. The fusion fuel deuterium in the last stage would be cryogenic and not of solid lithium-6 deuteride like in a military storable version. This would limit the storable yield to a maximum of 1 kT. If the last D-T stage was also of cryogenic liquids rather than a D-T gas mixture the storable yield could be further limited to 250 tons and so on. The machinery for igniting the first electric MTF stage would be big and clumsy – more than one truckload.

A pure fusion detonator for civilian purposes will be a very bad weapon with no military relevance. It will be big, eye-catching, because it needs truckloads of ignition inventory and is the opposite of the suitcase bomb, therefor absolutely uninteresting for terrorists.


In the following of the text I will explain some of the engineering applications of civilan pure fusion detonators. From the day the pure fusion detonators exist, these projects can immediately start. Some of them will be ready for use after a view years, some are of global and solar system scale and need decades to finish. Some are long-term development projects aiming the propagation of mankind in the near proximity of our galaxy. The latter eventually becomes feasible with pure fusion detonators.

Producing Cheap Fusion Energy

Pure fusion detonators would solve mankinds energy problems for all times. Pulsed power reactors can be build that detonate pulse units in certain time intervals to produce steam for huge turbines and electric power generators in the GW range to provide big cities with economic energy, cheaper than waterpower. For 1 GW electric power a pulse unit of 100 kT can be detonated every 24 hours, or alternatively a pulse unit of 4.2 kT every hour. The energy output will be the same, the 100 kT solution will be more economic but needs a higher investment.

Huge concrete vessels are to be built deep beneath the surface, which roofs can withstand the brutal shock waves. We should start with a 4.2 kT version. Later the plants can become of bigger sizes up to 20 GW and more. They also work without pure fusion detonators, it is also possible to use standard Teller-Ulam detonators with plutonium primaries. Deep beneath earths surface radioactivity seems to be very well contained and of no danger for the general public, as research on former underground detonations in the US and the soviet union has showed [73][74]. But their operation is more dangerous and therefor less economic than with pure fusion detonators. If You are interested in the subject of underground fusion explosion plants You can read about it in more detail here [1].

A fusion power plant for future 100% pure fusion detonators or for todays standard Teller-Ulam detonators with plutonium primaries and only 95% maximum fusion, Fig: Author

An even much cheaper version of pure fusion power plants could be power plants in the antarctic shelf ice. The plants don’t need concrete vessels. The vessels are blasted with pure fusion detonations into the shelf ice. First a 30° slope, 5 m diameter tunnel is build by means of a tunnel boring machine. This tunnel will later be used to place the detonators. Then the pressure vessel is blasted by pure fusion. The pressure vessels are of inherently static and dynamic stability because ice is allways in flow. So cracks from the detonations heal themself before caverns collapse. The ice will be vapourized by pure fusion detonators and the steam propells giant 2 GW turbines and generators.

The electric energy is transfered to all corners of the world by microwave via relais satellites in geostationary orbit. The loss for the space transport of the power will be totally less than 50%. The energy production of the power plant is so extremely cheap, that this loss doesn’t really matters. If You think now, this project had the goal to hollow out the shelf ice and making it a “swiss chease” You are wrong. Vessel after vessel will be blasted, but after a while the first has cooled down again, then it can be reused and a cyclic process starts within the power plant.

A fusion power plant in Antarctica. The pressure vessel has been blasted and molten into the shelf ice with pure fusion detonators. They also produce the steam by melting ice, Fig: Author

A related power plant as in antarctica can be built on the moon. Even at a much bigger and therefor much more economic size. The antarctica power plants only work with pure fusion detonations to prevent contamination of that very sensitive eco-system. The moon power plants however can be build today with standard Teller-Ulam detonators with plutonium primaries. The losses of the microwave power transport from the moon to the earth are even lower than that of the antartic power plant, because the longer distance is not as relevant as the loss of crossing clouds (two times for the antartic plant).

Power plants on the moon will use water from the moon poles as well as water from comets as working medium. The underground vessels will be blasted exactly like the antarctica vessels by means of fusion detonators. Then a dirt/ice mixture will be pressed mechanically into the vessel that vapourizes from the detonations rest heat and propells steam turbines. After the vessel has been cooled down it will be loaded with dirt/ice mixture again and a fusion detonator vapourizes it to steam. The steam will propell the steam turbines for up to several years and the electric power will be transfered via microwave link from the earth to relais sattelites and from there to all corners of the world. Your growing city needs 500 MW more electric energy? No problem, build the microwave receiving aerial in a cornfield near Your city and we will deliver immediately.

A fusion power plant on the moon seen by infrared camera from moon orbit. The process of blasting caverns started on the right in counter clockwise direction. The first caverns or steam vessels have cooled down after several hundred years and are ready for reuse. The moon bedrock is the radiator itself – the plant needs no radiator fields, that would at gigwatts of electric power mean to carry tenthousands of tons to the moon. So the mass is limited to the turbines, antennas and generators, only a few hundred tons. The rectangular arrays are microwave antennas to send the power to geostationary relais satellites. In the center is a partly molten crater lake, where a comet has been landed by a controlled crash, before the first vessel had been blasted, Fig: Author

How to reduce the water consumption of the plant to a minimum and how to reduce the radiator area? These are both the main problems for any high-power moon energy idea. The steam flows through the turbines from one vessel to the next vessel. A certain amount of steam can not be used and remains in the old vessel. The new vessel is refilled with ice again to the limit and ignited. This is done further, vessel for vessel, until the first vessel has cooled down to ambient temperature again. Then it is reused again. After one cycle of the machine the water consumption is a minimum. There are only some small losses due to typical sporadic leakages. The walls of the cylinders are of volcanic glas and therefor watertight. The cylinders are several kilometers deep and have a diameter of several hundred meters. The diameter of the complete machine is in the hundred kilometers size. One complete cycle until the first cylinder is reused leasts several hundred years. The machine needs no radiators at all. The moon bedrock is the radiator. You can read more about my so called Nomad Fusion Reactors here [3].

In the middle of the picture above we see a crater from a controlled crash of a comet. The crater is filled with ice. 2 weeks a month, when the sun shines and warms it, it is full of spouters and evaporating liquid water regions, the 2 other weeks it is deeply frozen at minus 170 degrees. This cycle can be used technically to facilitate the handling with the comets water ice.

Cheap Space Travel for Everyone

In the end of the fiftieth the US had a secret research program, called Orion, to investigate the usage of small nuclear detonations for propelling large spaceships. Most of the information is declassified today. Anything that has to do with the pulse units (the atomic fission detonators) is still classified, because its knowledge could be used by terrorists to build cheap and simple suitcase bombs [75].

The Orion standard drive, Fig: [38]

The scientists made many progresses in all related fields. Finally it was clear that the spaceship should work, and should be several hundred times more powerful and cheaper than any chemical rocket. The BBC has produced a very interesting television show about Orion [75]. If You have read my text until here You should watch it. You will like it.

But it was also clear that Orion would contaminate the launching and landing site, the atmosphere and – the worsest – the whole magnet field of the earth. The highly radioactive plasma of the engine would be trapped in earths magnet field and stay there for a very long time – years, accumulating with every launch and continuously contaminating humans and nature near the poles. This is where the magnet field lines end. States like Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia would have suffered from Orions fallout. Antarctica would have become a nuclear fallout zone. That was all unbearable and therefore the usage of nuclear detonations in space was permitted by the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

But with pure fusion detonators the usage would become possible. They are as clean as possible, so they don’t accumulate and contaminate the magnet field over time. The plasma is still trapped in the field but this doesn’t matter because it contains no radioactive fission products and no particle fallout. The tritium plasma exposure will be very small, probably zero. Hydrogen is the lightes element that needs a very long time to diffuse and rain down on earth and it’s radioactive isotope tritium decay rate is very fast. So Orion will become finally a reality. Chemical rockets will become ancient technology in a very short time.

A Orion standard drive to carry heavy loads from orbit to orbit, in this scetch we might transport some hundred tons of liquid fuels to a waiting spaceship in mars orbit as well as two urgently needed CAT 797-OVM for building channels and underground cities, O would mean oxygen direct injection, V vacuum class, M mars, Fig: Author

Now it is possible to build space ships that use the Orion engine as it was designed (see both pictures above) and fly from earth orbit to any other orbit in the solar system at very high speed and with a very small mass fraction because of a high specific impulse. Actually the specific impulse can be much higher with fusion but the neutron emission of the fusion reaction has to be reduced by using a compensating medium like concrete or ice. This is, because Orion is actually very small for a nuclear pulse rocket. Larger systems like the following are better suited for fusion energy. But nevertheless, manned journeys to the jupiter moons or saturn rings within months would become possible even with the Orion drive.

A 30,000 t flying platform with fusion pulse drive, specific impulse Isp 15,000 sec. Best chemical fuels have Isp 450 sec. This means 1100 times more power per kg fuel or 1100 times less the fuel for a given mission. The platform is made of concrete and weighs empty 10,000 t. It is a hexaeder platform with 6 retractable gears, a goliath crane and a tower. At the top of the tower is the raddome, below it the command and instrumentation floors. Along with nearly 20.000 t payload, it carries a small hotel with 200 tourists to the moon, notice the orange truck to the right of the crane and the stacked standard containers. Fig: Author

A more appropriate solution for fusion power than the classical Orion is this design: Large massive armored-concrete flying platforms of 30,000 tons lift-off mass as the small version and 300,000 tons lift-off mass as standard version have to be built and they throughoutly use the entire potential of fusion energy. They can start and land on earth and any other solid celestial body in the solar system. Pure fusion nuclear pulse units in the 1 kT to 10 kT yield range propell them. The high mass of these platforms is necessary to give the detonations an appropriate counterpart and neutron radiation drain that otherwise would endanger the passengers. They are several hundred meters long, as big as aircraft carriers but much less complex, and transport all kinds of loads, even complete buildings and power plants. Because of their big pusher shields that deflect much of the kinetic energy from the fusion reaction, they will have specific impulses of 15,000 sec for the small version and even more for the standard version. Todays best chemical fuels have Isp 450 sec. This means 1100 times more power per kg fuel or 1100 times less the fuel for a given mission. So their mass fractions and therefor deuterium fuel needs will be very low. So the huge concrete and steel mass doesn’t matter. In todays chemical rockets the mass fraction for fuel is around 80%. That’s why chemical space travel will allways be very expensive. With fusion fuel tickets to the moon will cost in the range of some hundreds to some thousands of dollars, and tickets to mars some thousands to some tenthousands of dollars.

The flying platforms will be very simple, indeed. The most complex part of the Orion designs was the lemonade-bottling-plant-style pulse unit conveyor, that allowed one pulse per second. This complex part would be done today with standard handling robots that quickly grab the pulse units from palettes and pass them on to the ejector. There will be more than enough room for all that pallettes and moving robots in the giant hollow concrete plate of the platform. Today the interior of a pulse drive space ship would be more redolent of a smaller robotic assembly line than an bottling plant.

The six landing gears are heavy and primitive, made of cheap construction steel. The pulse plate is made of armored-concrete and iron. The dampers are made of steel. The heavy-duty crane as well the tower are moveable on railways on top of the hexagonal hollow concrete plate. The aerodynamic drag during ascend will be constrained by limiting the maximum speed during the first 30 km. A hovering approach will limit the heating to a maximum when landing. With chemical propellants such low acceleration starts and hovering landings would be impossible, the fuel consumption would go beyond the technical feasibility, with concentrated fusion energy it is only a percental loss and no problem at all.

If You ever have read somewhere of space elevators to reduce space transportation cost: next time you may laugh about that science fiction ideas made of hypothetical materials and unrealistic assumptions. After the upcoming invention of the pure fusion bomb (it is possible that it already inofficially exists) we will only need a lot of reinforced concrete, construction steel and a few handling robots to bring down space transportation cost – affordable for everyone. Who needs mythologic space elevators then? Forgive me, Mr. Clarke.

Modern Civil Engineering

Civil engineering will become of a totally new dimension. Building of very cheap dams, channels, harbours, lakes, tunnels, underground caverns will shortly become possible. This was planned in Project Plowshare [67] and partly successfully done in Program No. 7 [68] but actually didn’t make sense because of radioactive contamination of the ground, water and the air. Now it makes sense.

An artificial harbour for Cape Thomson, Alaska, as it was planned in project Chariot of the US Plowshare program. Local authorities blocked it wisely because of the danger of nuclear contamination of the whole region, Fig: [76]

“The mountain is in front of the wrong window of Your home? Send us an email.” This advertisement is a joke, of course. But this will be technically feasible, soon. Local authorities can decide to build a railway, a highway or a canal where they couldn’t afford yet, or where it was simply impossible. This will boost prosperity of the communities.

Terraforming and Preserving Cities

Building of man-made valleys, mountains, lakes becomes finally possible. Soviet Program No. 7 tried the same and blasted a lake: Lake Chagan [70], it is very beautiful, I think. A perfect circle. It is the first lake mankind has ever built without a dam just by removing the bedrock under a plain. The lake is still radioactive, although it has decayed to the point where people can swim in it. From now on lakes that are built in minutes can be used after a short time. They have to cool down and fill with rain water and that’s it.

Lake Chagan, 49.935°N 79.009°E, Kazakhstan, created on January 15, 1965. Volume is 100,000 m3, it is still slightly radioactive, Fig. [70]

With pure fusion detonators it will become possible to change coastlines, mountains and valleys as it is needed. Land reclamation like the Netherlands do, will become a very easy task. To fight against rising water levels due to global warming will become possible. We will not be committed defenseless a global climate change. Our seaside towns will not helplessly drown as we approach the end of the interglacial holocene.

We are able to build cheap dams of virtually arbitrary size and safe our precious cities against the rising sea levels until the near ice age. When the sea levels fall again and the glaciers return (they are actually overdue, have a look on the Vostok core samples [77]) we will build average mountains in the north that bypass the glaciers that otherwise would destroy New York, Moskow, Berlin and most of our cities. With a great likelihood clean hydrogen bombs will soon become the preservers of ours cities, not the destroyers as most people would think. Fusion detonators are the solely instrument to fight against such huge destroying forces of nature like oceans and glaciers and they are still very small against them.


Pure fusion detonators will make it possible to redirect hurricanes by deflecting them and turning them to mild winds. We will be able for the first time to control vulcanoes, to release their overpressure before they can explode catastrophically, and even thereby using them as power plants. We will be able to prevent earthquakes and tsunamis by controlled release of the continental plates tension. We will end droughts by artificial induced rain periods. We will quickly build cheap channels to drainage floodings before they become destructive. This will safe the property and lifes of millions of people in the future of men.

Asteroid Mining

Mining and towing of asteroids and comets becomes finally possible. Just like the Orion pulse drive, giant pure fusion hydrogen detonators are ignited at one side of the comet. Pulse by pulse the comet changes slowly it’s orbit and spirals down to the moon. Finally it lands in a conrolled crash. This is not possible on earth but on the moon: our moon’s gravity is not high enough to let comets vapourice when they approach slowly. Craters full of boiling water, ice and minerals can then be used for new cities on the moon and their powerplants.

The same is done with iron and chondrite asteroids. The basic materials are sold and transported with 300,000 t flying platforms from the moon to earth. The nuclear fusion propelled transport will be cheaper than our diesel ocean vessels today. You need 1 Mio tons raw iron for your building project? No problem we deliver next year within 30 days with 5 soft landings, precisely where You need it, anywhere on earth, anywhere in the solar system.

Towing asteroids and comets to the Moon is not that difficult with the appropriate energy source. Here a comet is steered in a spiral to the moon by many fusion energy pulses. We see the crater from the detonations, the factory that builds the detonators from the comets materials and the radio station with the qarters for the personnel, Fig: Author

What is possible for mining, can be done for earth protection against asteroid crashes, too. Never has society to fear a deadly impact from outer space again. We will just deflect the celestial body slowly by some hundred controlled pure fusion pulses to the next available mining installation on the moon and make homes, cars, boats, planes and toys out of it.


Transport of bulk cargo, containers, raw materials and oil by fusion propelled flying platforms of the 300,000 t class will soon become cheaper than our diesel propelled sea vessels. It is just a question of time. It depends only on the cheap deuterium and steel production from comets and asteroids on the moon. The flying platforms may be saver, less complex, more reliable and several hundred times faster than todays ships. The word “harbour” may have a completely new definition in 50 years.

Interstellar Space Probes and Arcs

Flying platforms with pure fusion drive as explained above transport moon concrete and moon aluminium as well asteroid steel to a building site in the moon orbit. There a several hundred meters diameter and length cylinder is built. It is connected to a huge spherical or ellipsodial aluminium pulse plate that is very thin and stabilized by rotation. The pulse plate can transform a big fraction of fusion energy from huge detonations into directed motion. Pulse by pulse with cooling down periods between. The specific impulse will be about 1000 km/sec or 100,000 sec. It is sufficient to reach other stars in several hundred years.

The armored concrete cylinder can withstand the galactic radiation as well as the barrage of hydrogen atoms and some dust particles that will hit like small nuclear bombs at an extremely high speed of one percent of light-speed or 3000 km/sec. The ship can accelerate and decelerate at it’s destination and therefor has a delta V of 6000 km/sec. Although it is build mostly of concrete precast elements, it is relatively very lightweight because of it’s huge size. It’s electric energy source is a thermoelectric field in the center of the aluminium ellipsoide without moving parts. The flight time to the next extrasolar planets will be in the several hundred to thousand years range. The cylinders will carry landing shuttles and robotic probes in a small version of the spaceship and a smaller city for some generations of men in a bigger version.

The drive has been invented by Freeman Dyson in 1968 [78], the cylinder to protect machines and lifeforms for very long times against the deadly galactic  environment is inspired by Arthur Clarkes “Rendezvous with Rama” from 1972 [79]. The building of those interstellar space ships can start just a view decades after the official presentation of the pure fusion detonator and after the power plants and the flying platforms have been built. When power plants and cities on the moon are growing with materials and ice supplied from asteroids and comets. Let’s say from now on (year 2012) with some luck in twenty five years (year 2037) – but not in a thousand years without the pure fusion detonators. I hope my last claim – even if not proovable now – gives You a sense of the economic and engineering power of pure fusion explosions used for civilian, humanistic purposes.

A Clarke-Dyson type interstellar spaceship. It’s an ark that can withstand hundreds of years the interstellar environment. It accomodates several hundred space travelers in a small city within the concrete cylinder. They get their energy from the nuclear detonations via thermoelectric conversion (red area). In the background we see it’s sister ship pulsing a fusion load, Fig: Author

Summary and Outlook

Pure fusion detonators will be available in a short time – if they are not available secretely by now. There are at least two possible realistic solutions to get to pure fusion detonators, and there is a standard way to accumulate them to big yields. They will come definitely. Nuclear weapons proliferation will therefor become uncontrollable in the near future. This will become a great danger for world peace, for our freedom, for our security. It will become more and more difficult to defend scarce goods like oil, metals, fertile ground, rich oceans, that new, fast growing societies demand for themself. It will also become difficult to defend our democratic way of life, that is based on Aufklärung and science, while autocratic and medieval religious thoughts grow.

I’m not afraid, because I will ever believe in the constructive and intelligent behavior of men – in spite of everything. Because I know the other side of the story: these pure fusion detonators that threaten us, will on the other hand give us a huge constructive engineering power that there must be no scarceness nevermore. Endless energy, endless basic materials, endless forces to move huge loads, even smaller celestial bodies. We don’t have to be afraid. Paradise on earth, as it was the dream of our ancestors, is very near, if we let it happen. A free paradise based on human intelligence, based on endless energy and endless reserves of raw materials – literally endless space to discover and settle. There is enough room for all of us.

We must not get involved in a race for apparently scarce goods, in a fight for apparently wrong philosophies, religions, or ways of life. This is the wrong way and will push us back. We will loose our democracy while paranoid searching for enemy terrorists. We will loose our hope and spirit. The enviers will turn us to one of them.

Now is the time to proceed fast forward, to leave all enemies behind us, to not further wasting our time, our power and resources on them. Enemies will become admirers that educate their children to follow us and not to destroy us. They will quickly understand that true power is not to dominate weaker countries and men, but to master the forces of nature. To be able to build big cities on other planets, to deflect asteroids and use them, to redirect hurricanes to mild winds, to control vulcanos using them as power plants, to prevent earthquakes and tsunamis, to build space harbors on the moon, to settle extrasolar planets of nearby stars. We can do this things – here and now. But only if we use pure fusion as the ultimate tool and not as a weapon.

References and Notes

[1] The Fusion Steam Machine:

[2] Nuclear fission products:

[3] The Nomad fusion reactor:

[4] A flying construction platform:

[5] Tokamak reactor:

[6] ITER:

[7] Joint European Torus (JET):

[8] Tore Supra:

[9] Inertial confinement fusion:

[10] National Ignition Facility (NIF):

[11] Laser fusion principle, Youtube video:

[12] Sandia Z-machine at Wikipedia:

[13] Sandia Z-machine Home:

[14] Amateur fusion reactors (Fusors):

[15] Home made fusion reactors:,

[16] Nuclear Fusion – Do the Math:

[17] The Trouble with Fusion:

[18] T.H. Rider, Dissertation 1995:

[19] T.H. Rider writes 1995 as a final conclusion in his dissertation: “As a final point, it is very important that the ultimate goal of this entire field of research [note: fusion energy research] should not be forgotten. The stated goal for fusion for over half a century has been to produce large quantities of clean, safe, affordable, and essentially limitless power for the world. If, after a detailed examination [note: he means his own dissertation] of all forseable approaches to fusion, it does not seem at all likely that the technologically feasible types of fusion reactors can meet this goal, then energy research should instead concentrate on improving other power generation methods such as fission reactors, solar energy conversion and fossil fuels.”

[20] Critical fusion power article “Nuclear fusion and the “three years law” of scientific research”:

[21] Muon Catalyzed Fusion:

[22] Neutron Generator:

[23] Polywell:

[24] Pyroelectrid Fusion:

[25] Sonofusion or Bubble Fusion:

[26] Andrei Sakharov

[27] ITER tokamak reactor, development and research on the subsystems, Youtube video:

[28] Tokamaks as breeders – research papers on magnetic fusion production reactors (MFPR’s):

[29] Tokamak Vacuum Chamber Picture:

[30] Polywell Vacuum Chamber Picture:

[31] Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

[32] Magnetized Target Fusion

[33] Voitenko Compressor:

[34] Fusion Reactions and Matter-Antimatter Annihilation for Space Propulsion (also Antimatter catalyzed fission/fusion):

[35] Ballotechnics:

[36] Casaba-Howitzer, a classified nuclear weapon concept, that works like Orion pulse units (details also classified):

[37] Project Excalibur, X-ray lasers for SDI:

[38] Project Orion, a nuclear pulse propulsion drive development:

[39] Stanislaw Ulam:

[40] Thermonuclear Weapon Design on Wikipedia:

[41] AN602 hydrogen bomb, nicknamed Tsar, 10/30/1961, Novaya Zemlya Island, yield 50 MT:

[42] AN602, biggest man-made explosion ever, Youtube video:

[43] Operation Hardtack Poplar:

[44] Operation Redwing Navajo:

[45] Castle Bravo nuclear accident:

[46] Ivy Mike, first successful Teller-Ulam design test:

[47] Lithium hydride:

[48] Ion beams and electron beams as better way to break-even in ICF (german):

[49] Mk-54 (SADM) warhead, 0.01 kT to 1 kT selectable yield,

[50] Davy Crocket tactical weapon system:

[51] ICAN-II spaceship at enciclopedia astronautica:

[52] ICAN-II antimatter documents at Penn State University:

[53] Magnetized target fusion (MTF):

[54] Magnetic confinement fusion:

[55] Magnetized target fusion at the Los Alamos National Laboratory:

[56] The Los Alamos National Laboratory, where humanities first nuclear detonators have been invented:

[57] Sagie; Glass: Explosive-driven hemispherical implosions for generating fusion plasmas

[58] Voitenko compressors at NASA:

[59] Samuel Cohen:

[60] Sam Cohen writing about pure fusion weapons:

[61] Jones, Hippel: The question of pure fusion explosions under the CTBT

[62] Helical flux compression generator (HFCG):

[63] Disk explosive magnetic generator (DEMG):

[64] Ivanovsky et. al.: Experiments on long-time confinement of fusion plasma in MAGO chamber

[65] about neutronbombs:

[66] The 10 most dangerous technologies ever

[67] Project Plowshare, USA 1961-1973:

[68] Program No. 7, USSR 1961-1973

[69] Peaceful nuclear explosions overview:

[70] Lake Chagan, the lake that was blasted by a nuclear detonation:

[71] George Dyson: Project Orion – The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 2002

[72] Robert Oppenheimer:

[73] The containment of underground nuclear explosions:

[74] The containment of soviet underground nuclear explosions:

[75] BBC TV special on the topic of Orion

[76] Project Chariot, the plan to build a harbour in Alaska by nuclear blasts:

[77] Vostok ice core samples, that show we live at the end of a holocene:

[78] Freeman Dyson: Interstellar transport

[79] Arthur C. Clarke: Rendezvous with Rama

[80] Fusion device:

[81] Pure fusion weapon:

[82] Thermonuclear Fusion Research Could Result in New Weapons and Greater Proliferation Dangers:

[83] Kink instability:

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Über monstermaschine

Blogger, Diplom-Ingenieur, TU, Raumfahrttechnik, Embedded Systems, Mitglied VDI, DGLR

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