A Revised Version of the Thermonuclear Fusion Steam Machine
This article presents the proposal for new fusion power plants made exclusive of existing technology, how they work and how they are built in detail and that they work. The latter is proven by means of basically thermodynamic considerations. Also, the text proves the safety and ecologic cleanness of the plants. It shows in detail how to build them economically, of course by apparently unusual and violent means, and it takes some getting used to. The electric energy they deliver on Earth will be cheaper than any form of electric energy before, although they are built on the Moon. In this case it is because they are built on the Moon. Fusion energy is available.
A First Public Discussion
I posted my idea for a thermonuclear fusion steam machine on the Moon  in a scientific discussion forum. I was very lucky that some of the scientists or engineers were considering the idea seriously and critizised it. Very fast they got to the thermodynamic problems, that I thought I had solved and they found an error. The idea is in principle a giant steam machine, where the steam is heated up by fusion energy from thermonuclear devices. It relies on the use of the surrounding bedrock as a huge pressure vessel. These pressure vessels themself are built at very low cost by thermonuclear energy. In my first revision I didn’t recognize that while the temperature is spreading out during operation into the bedrock around the spherical stone vessels, the heat conduction into the bedrock is falling with time. After some time it reaches values that you can think about the rock as a adiabatic vessel. So the system would suffer the heat death after a while, that means it could not produce any more energy.
For example LegendCJS wrote me: „You are still dumping heat into rock, that will only work until the rock warms up. The heat must be radiated into space to really get rid of it in a long term fashion. For the same power output a continuous system and a pulsed system will have (to first order) the same heat rejection requirements.“
This was my answer when I had to admit, that my first thermodynamic considerations had errors: “Of course: 3GW in, 3GW out at thermal equilibrium. You are right, the system behaves nearly adiabatic and produces at least 100 times more power than the stone absorbs. The stone walls are only able to transport the roughly 2GW thermal power away until the radius of the temperature front grows up to a maximum of 100m in a 16-cylinder version. But this might be relatively fast. [..]
I will rework the idea. I want definitely get rid of the radiators. The caves have to become much bigger. The fluid doesn’t matter at this size, any possible gas is appropriate. You are right: the process time of the 4-stroke-process is centuries and not months!
But I’m a little afraid of calculating the needed energies for building the caverns. Let’s see what the future of Lunar reconaissance brings – maybe we don’t have to build the caves by our own and vulcanism did this for us long ago, regarding the latest discoveries by ISRO.
Thank You all for constructive criticism” 
Very fast it was becoming clear to me, that the devices were getting much bigger than I was thinking originally. And I was getting really afraid of the huge numbers and values that I avoided in my first attempt. But now I knew quite certain they had to come.
The original goals of the thermonuclear fusion steam machine were:
- to provide at least 90% nuclear fusion energy by todays means
- to provide gigawatts of fusion energy as a workhorse and not a scientific fusion reactor
- to offer green and safe nuclear power for cities on planet Earth
- to underprice all electric power generating methods available
- to hold the precious water into a closed cycle, because water is very rare on the moon
- to use the surrounding bedrock as heat sink to get rid of the need for huge masses of radiators
- to use standard thermonuclear devices and to use maximum the biggest devices ever tested
The Four Stroke Thermonuclear Motor – that is how I called it – provided points 1 to 3, 5 and 7. It didn’t reach point 4, because waterpower on Earth was still cheaper than the fusion device on the moon. And the other scientists found a trap in point 6 and so my approach would only work for the first cycle at the beginning of operation.
Shortly after I had to admit the thermodynamic error of the proposal, I reviseted the thermodynamic problem. I still wanted definitely to get rid of the radiators, because this would have ended all thoughts about fusion energy on the moon, like they ended many years before . The plants would have become very expensive, as any energy provision method in space. How to get rid of the heat if not radiating it into space? How to put it elsewhere? Once again I started to think how to put the heat into the rock and use it as a distributing medium as well as a huge natural radiator, as I tried in my first approach of the Thermonuclear Four Stroke Motor . The other points should not be affected. After a very short time, I knew that I only would have to give up one point: point number 7: to use standard thermonuclear devices and maximum the biggest devices ever tested.
I have given up point number 7 now. For that I have won:
- to provide at least 99% nuclear fusion energy by todays means
- to underprice all electric power generating methods available
And I don’t have to give up any other point than number 7. And number 6 is now physically correct. If this is all true, that would be very good!
But I hope, someone finds a new error in this – let’s say – new field of „non-continuous available-technology fusion plant theory“. We need to find all errors in the theory and to define the research objectives now. I think this machine was allways there, it is not an invention. It is so simple because nature has the character to provide simple and not complicated solutions. This is my deepest belief and this gives me a good feeling, that this plant will finally work.
The Revised Thermonuclear Fusion Steam Machine
On the Moon in the northern or southern polar region in the middle of a crater there is a rectangular building. In this building there are three big steam turbines running. These steam turbines get their hot steam from a pressure vessel in the underground. The mechanical rotational power of the turbines is transmitted to generators that turn it into electric power. The power is transmited by an overhead contact wire to a site of hundreds of Hertzian dipoles on the rim of the crater. Here the electric power is transformed by power electronics to a microwave of high beam power.
The microwave beam is actively targeted to a relay station in the geostationary Earth orbit. This station apparently stands still above an equatorial point on Earth. The geostationary station is actually two big sattelites. One is facing to the Moon power station and uses the optimum microwave frequency for this link to have losses as low as possible. The second sattelite is targeted to an area a hundred kilometers near a big city on Earth, an agrarian region, maybe some cornfields for example. The two satellites are connected by a free floating power cable. Target trackers track the opposite transmitting stations and let the giant sattelites control their attitude by solar sails. The solar sails also support position holding to reduce fuel consumption.
Across a region of cornfields in the near of a big city, there is an array of dipole antennas similar to that on the Moon. The slim poles with the dipole antennas on the top are standing directly within the fields. The link between orbit and Earth works on a different frequency than the Moon link. It has a frequency that has a minimum loss by clouds and rain. Because of their different wavelengths, the two frequencies crossing at the relay station will not interfere. The cornfield array is directly connected via power masts to the power distribution stations of the nearby city.
So the big city gets a Gigawatt of safe and clean, ecological electric power directly from the Lunar surface, actually from three big steam turbines in a building on the Lunar surface. But where does this steam come from?
In the underground are two big pressure vessels. One vessel has a water supply. This water supply is a lake on the bottom of an almost spherical cave of 3 km diameter. The cave is several thousand meters beneath the Lunar surface. A cyclic process starts. Pressure vessel number 1 (see figure above) is ignited, during some minutes all water of the big lake in vessel 1 is vapour of several hundred bars at 1000K. This water vapour has an outlet that pipes it up to the surface by pressure, then through a distributor, through the three big steam turbines, back beneath the Lunar surface on the back side of the turbines, and finally to pressure vessel 2, that is opposite of vessel 1.
The quantity of hot steam of one pressure vessel is enough for driving the turbines and generators at about 2GW electric power on the Moon or 1GW on Earth for ten years. At the end of the time the remaining rest of the cold steam of vessel 1 is pumped into vessel 2 until vessel 1 contains again a vacuum.
A new spherical cave is blasted: pressure vessel number 3. The hot gas from stone is immediately vented into the vacuum of the Lunar surface, that the bedrock around the new sphere remains relatively cold. This is done by drilling a shaft through the now crushed roof again. The pressure falls and the condensing stone or glas absorbs most of the heat within the cave. Parts of the roof fall down until it stabilizes with a flat roof angle in the Lunar low gravity field. At the end we have a 3 km diameter cave with cold bedrock around it. If the rock of the cave wall has become hot in some meters depth, this doesn’t matter. The temperature will flatten in a short time, because there is no more heat from inside that drives it.
A new turbine building is built on the surface exactly between vessel 2 and 3. It uses refurbished turbines from the first turbine building. A new power line is built to connect the new turbine building via the old turbine building to the dipole fields. They have no mechanical parts and so they can be used further.
A new detonator is placed beneath the surface of the new lake of pressure vessel number 2 and ignited. Vessel 2 gets very hot at very hot pressure. All water and cold steam gets hot steam in an instant. The hot steam is piped through the new turbine building on the lunar surface and delivers again high amounts of electric power. From now on pressure vessel 2 will provide enthalpy for the turbines for the coming 10 years. Pressure vessel 3 fills up with condensing steam at 373 K.
After 10 years the process of building a new vessel and a new turbine building, of pumping the remaining cold steam from the last hot vessel 2 to the last cold vessel 3, and of installing a new device inside the last cold cave, is completely repeated again. So we get vessel 4 and now we fire vessel 3, that will fill-up vessel 4 with time. Most of the unusable heat of pressure vessel 2 got into the bedrock around it during the operation time and there it will stay for a very long time.
The process is allways repeated any 10 years and the pressure vessels are built after each other in a continuing line. We will slowly wander through the Moon landscape with a new step any 10 years. This is why I call this new thermodynamic approach the Nomad Fusion Reactor. But it is no straight line. Many of the vessels will become a big circle on the lunar surface, so that the circle is once closed again, when pressure vessel number 1 has cooled completely down to the ambient lunar temperature. Let’s assume it is after building 100 pressure vessels or 1000 years. Now the cyclic process is closed, and we don’t have to build allways more and more artificial caves until the Moon would become a „Swiss Cheese Moon“.
Our heat distribution medium is the Moon rock as well as it is our huge natural radiator. So we don’t need any technical radiator devices. This is important, because this detail makes the steam machine very cheap. As long there is a heat sink between the hot vessel and the cold vessel, the machine runs. It starts with a very high carnot efficiency and ends with a very low, while the cold vessel is becoming warmer and the hot vessel is becoming colder with time. Pumping the rest of the cold steam from the previous to the current pressure vessel for not loosing water in the system will need a high amount of electric energy, which must be delivered by a second plant. Also the pumping of water and as well the moving and refurbishing of the turbines will need some time. Therefor there should be at least two plants, which are running in a staggered manner, to provide a continuous energy supply.
The water is allways in a closed process and there is only a small loss of it, that has to be refilled sometimes. This is very important. First, water is very valuable on the Lunar surface. Second, the water is getting more and more radioactive with time. The problem is now: How can we vapourize so much liquid water with one ignition that it will suffice 10 years a power of 2GW on the Moon or 1GW on Earth?
We have some losses in the energy provision line. From the power distributors of the city to the dipole plastered cornfields. From the dipoles on Earth to the Earth facing relay satellite. The loss between the two sattelites. From the Moon facing sattelite to the crater rim dipole site on the Moon. From the dipole site to the turbine building. The loss within the generators and the loss within the turbines. And the last loss is the pipe friction from the pressure vessels to the turbine building.
Let’s say as an assumption we have to provide about 4 Gigawatts thermal energy on average to make 1 Gigawatts available on Earth. After 10 years or 315.36 Million seconds it is 1.26144 x 10^18 Joule or 350,400 GWh. This means we have to vapourize and overheat a huge amount of water. If we want to provide this energy by TNT explosive we need about 300,000 kT (one thousand tons of TNT or one kT is 1.162 GWh). 300 Million tons explosives are impossible to carry to the Moon. But there is a solution for that problem: we take a thermonuclear detonator – a hydrogen bomb it weighs some ten tons and is mostly Deuterium, a form of Hydrogen. Of course it is the biggest bomb ever build, 5 times bigger than Sakharovs Zar bomb, and one should not try to test in on earth, because the fireball alone would have a diameter of about 13km at ambient pressure. Below the Lunar surface it would be 3km at a high pressure. It would be a three stage thermoncuclear device and at this size it should provide more than 99% fusion energy of the total energy released. We would ignite such a device every 10 years two times: One for building a new vessel and one for firing the previous vessel. Then it would give us 10 years enough electric energy for one big city on Earth simply by water steam pressure. It doesn’t matter so much what it will cost to bring the turbines and generators to the moon as long we use bombs to build the pressure vessels and reuse our steam turbines and generators as long this is possible: the cost of the electric power will be the cheapest energy ever in any case.
We can call this design a Four Stroke Thermonuclear Motor because the plant is in principle a giant four stroke motor running in slow motion that is not heating air with chemical explosions but water with fusion power:
- The first stroke is to install the nuclear device in the underground lake, similar to the intake stroke of the motor.
- The second stroke is the explosion and thermal compression similar as the motor does in the compression stroke.
- The third stroke is the expansion through the turbines and producing of primary mechanical rotational energy similar to the expansion stroke of the motor.
- The fourth stroke is cooling down and leveling of the pressure similar to the exhaust stroke of the motor.
In the motorcar any of the four strokes lasts 10 ms at 3000 rpm (the four strokes need two revolutions of the crankshaft). In the Four Stroke Thermonuclear Motor it is 1 week, 2 minutes, 10 years and 1000 years. A motorcar has a typical cylinder volume of 500 ml at 25 kW per cylinder with hot air as working medium at 10 bar. The equivalent Four Stroke Thermonuclear Motor sphere volume for 4 GW with steam as working medium at 100 bar is in the 14,000 Million m³ size that corresponds to 3 km cross-section dimension – just to visualize the giant dimensions.
The needs for computers are very low in this project. Of course they can make any step more efficient and more automatically, but actually you don’t need any computers for the plant. The microwave beam trackers could also find their direction with analog electronics, also the steam turbine regulators. Think about it as fail-save redundancy. This fusion energy plant is truly simple. It could have been build – from a technologically view – long before the computer age, just after the invention of the bomb and the heavy lift rocket, if people had known all what we know, today.
Building giant Pressure Vessels beneath the Lunar Surface
When you start building the Thermonuclear Fusion Steam machine you have to bring some equipment to the Lunar surface first. Therefor you need big rockets. But they have been build, e.g. the American Saturn V  or the Russian Energia , and so they can be build again, even much bigger like the Nova studies showed . There is only one limitation of lift-off mass: if rockets become as heavy as mountains they start sinking in the ground like mountains do. But then we talk about devices a thousand times bigger than the Saturn V. I have mentioned this just to show that we have much space to the upper limits. We need much smaller rockets. Our heaviest devices are the steam turbines. If we can get them to the Lunar surface, the rest will also fit.
But how to dig these huge spherical caves of 3 km diameter? Don’t you need thousands of miners for it? The astonishing answer is: No, not a single miner! We dig the mine shafts by the means of molten Uranium. This is what some leaking lava from the Chernobyl reactor core actually did during the reactors melt-down . It fell through the stories of the reactor building while melting and vaporizing steel and concrete (China Syndrome). Today it lies on the lowest level of the building. The Chernobyl lava dug it’s way extremely slow, of course, because it was polluted by other molten parts of the destroyed reactor and particularly it was cooled all the time to prevent a melt-through into the ground beneath the building. Chernobyl firemen are still trying to stop the lava 26 years after the melt-down!
We will, of course, rather accelerate our molten Uranium than stopping it. First we will drill a normal pipe by using a drilling rig. We will use this pipe as a channel to remain the direction. Then we will build a special Wolfram pot to prevent fast mixing of Moon Regolith  lava with molten Uranium and to be able to remove the lava periodically by a kind of bucket at a cable winch. The pot will remain its direction with a spike that reaches into the pipe. Parts of the molten and solidified lava thereby stabilizes the shaft walls. This drilling device works internally similar to one of my older liquid core reactor designs , but even hotter. You can calculate the exact amount of Uranium that produces the thermal energy you need for a certain depth by the calculation of the heat to melt the cubic meters of Anorthosite to reach the intended deepness. The diameter of the molten shaft will be exactly that of the thermonuclear device, not more.
The escaping radioactive gas from the molten lava doesn’t matter. On the Earth we would have a nuclear disaster now, the athmosphere would distribute the nuclear fallout all over the planet and the oceans as well as underground water would do the rest. On the Moon nothing happens but a local contamination. We do this Uranium rock liquification digging one time to get a mine shaft several thousand meters deep.
Into this mine shaft we lower a smaller thermonuclear device by wire ropes and ignite it. We open the crunshed mine shaft again, lower the actual thermonuclear device and ignite again. So we get the spherical caves of 3 km diameter during seconds. For a spherical cave with 3 km diameter we need a 300 MT three stage hydrogen bomb, for example. Handling with big caves beneath the surface by means of nuclear bombs is a tested technology  .
First I was thinking, I have become mad, planning to blast many giant holes into the lunar crust by nuclear means, and to transform it locally to a kind of swiss cheese. But then I read that scientists have found giant natural caves beneath the lunar surface that have been formed by similar energy release in former times . The Moon crust seems to be a swiss cheese already. Blasting holes into the Moon crust isn’t a crazy idea. It’s an ambitious one, but it certainly isn’t crazy. It is just a new method of imitating the forces of nature on the Moon. Maybe it’s also possible to additionally use some of the deeper natural caves for fusion plants. So, please read the rest of my explanations regarding the technology of blasting targeted spherical caves into the lunar crust.
We are talking about detonations beneath the surface, resulting from hydrogen bombs of the size of 5 times the biggest explosion ever. Will they not cause catastrophic earthquakes? In fact, on Earth there would be a remaining risk that such a big explosion could trigger the movement of tectonical plates, that were under tension. But the Moon is a tectonically still body. It does not have tectonic plates, that are rubbing on each other, at all, and so no major accumulating tensions that could be released. The seismic activity is very low, as the Apollo seismic sensors showed for several years. So the only seismic oscillation on the surface would be that of the mere explosions while building the caves. But the stones are damping explosion waves and it can be calculated exactly how deep the explosion has to occur, that the seismic activity on the surface above the explosion remains moderate. And depth is no bigger problem for our drilling devices, as I showed before.
Building stable underground caverns on the Moon is much simpler than on Earth because of Moon’s lower gravity of one sixth. When we explode a load deep beneath the ground on Earth a slightly ellipsoidical cave is created during miliseconds which has a size which depends only on the amount of kT of the detonation, the depth of the cave and the density of the rock . At the end the pressure in the cave has exactly the pressure of the surrounding rock in the depth of the cave. After a view minutes the hot gas in the cave starts too cool down and thus the pressure sinks. Normally the cave is getting unstable then and rocks fall down from the roof, first some few, then more and more and the rocks build a growing pile of debris on the ground of the cave . The rocks above them fall down afterwards like a domino effect and a chimney is raising with a wall slope of approximately 12° to 15°, which can be very high or even reach the surface. There’s only one testet rock formation on Earth where the wall slope of the chimney is flat enough so the chimney is only a stub, and the pile of debris does not fill the whole cave: salt deposits .
On the Moon the chimney and debris of the cave is not such a big problem. Today we know quite good how the Moon is made up of. Beneath a severel meters thick layer of Regolith  is a crust of 50 km to 150 km thickness made up of Anorthosite  , a stone very similar to Granite. From several nuclear cave blasting experiments with Granite on Earth we know empirical coefficients of Granite . Because of the known gravity constant, the high homogenity of the Moon crust and a similarity between Anorthosite and Granite, we can apply this empirical coefficients to calculate that our caves on the Moon will have chimneys of approximately 55° to 58° slope that means that the roof will still remain relatively flat and the pile of debris on the caves ground will remain small in any case.
Lunar reconnaissance has found big caves just below the lunar surface . Scientists think they are actually lava tubes. It seems that only the parts of the lava tubes that are just beneath the surface have a collapsed roof. This can be simply explained with the chimney slope of Anorthosite at Moon gravity. Otherwise deeper parts of the caves should have been collapsed too. I interpret those Moon caves as a nature-given proof that blasting self-supporting stable spherical caves in lower depths will work as theory states. From a statics point of view Anorthosite at Moon gravity seems to behave at least as good as Salt in Earth gravity.
Now we drill holes to the underground layers of frozen water ice. We melt this ice by means of nuclear heat and fill the first pressure vessel with a water lake. This is the reason why we build our plant in the polar regions of the Moon, here the Moon has frozen underground water. Probes have found millions of tons of water ice on the Moon. This has been verified meanwhile  . We will later reuse the water from vessel to vessel, because it is still very precious on the moon.
Then we build our steam turbine house from Moon concrete, that we get from Moon soil with water and cement. It’s a very simple building with big side openings, it is build mainly for providing a solid base for the big steam turbines and to protect them from sunlight and smaller meteorites. After the turbine building is finished and ready for installing the equipment, we get the steam turbines delivered from Earth and start to install them and to build all the plumbings in the turbine building.
After some weeks we get the generators delivered and the dipoles as well as the overhead contact wires and their masts, and start to build the electric part of the power plant. Meanwhile our big Moon rockets had been used to install the geostationary satellites, too. The dipoles, power lines and power electronics on the Earth have been installed as well.
The first bomb is installed just below the surface of the water lake in pressure vessel number one. Such an installation damps the detonation very well, that you will feel next to nothing standing on the surface while ignition . The first cycle starts and provides at least 1 GW electrical power for a big city on the Earth for the coming 10 years. Sphere number 2 is ignited after 10 years and so on. The whole cycle is theoretically some 1000 years for all spheres. After 10 years the machines are moved like nomad settlements 10 km to the next turbine building and are completely refurbished, so they might work hundreds of years.
The cost to develop and build a Fusion Steam Machine will be a percental fraction of the Earth based fusion energy approaches, though it is based on the Moon and this might sound very expensive, first. It is actually a very simple, rather primitive process-heat machine. The investment is save, because it works. There is no reason why it should not work. We have validated that there are million of tons of water ice at the poles but the exact locations of the ice and how to convey it is still uncertain . This should be clarified first to be sure where to build the power plants and how to convey the water best by means of nuclear heat.
The raw cost of the electric power will be that of one thermonuclear device in 10 years. If it will cost 500 Million Dollars including transport to the Moon, it will be 0.3 Cents per kWh on the Moon and 0.6 Cents/kWh on Earth.
I try a very simple and raw cost estimation for building and operating the plant, all values are Billion Dollars:
- 2 thermonnuclear devices including transport: 1.0
- 3 turbines including transport: 3.0
- 3 generators including transport: 1.0
- 2 stone melting drilling devices: 1.0
- 1 drilling rig, all pipes and boring heads: 1.0
- 1 nuclear reactor for powering the drilling rig and melting water: 1.0
- 1 heavy goods transport vehicles including transport: 1.0
- 1 dipole field: 1.0
- 1 plumbing, electrification, power lines: 1.0
- 1 infrastructure on the Moon 3.0
- 2 relais satellites: 5.0
- 1 infrastructure on Earth: 1.0
Sum of building: 20 Billion Dollars
The time our turbines and generators can run, when they are completely refurbished any 10 years, should be at least 100 years. So we can calculate with an operation time of 100 years for breaking down the building cost on the electric power. We get 1.2 Cents/kWh on the Moon and 2.4 Cents/kWh on Earth at 100 years operation time.
- 1 thermonuclear devices, including transport: 0.5
- 1 stone melting drilling device: 0.5
- 1 all pipes and boring heads for drilling: 0.5
- 1 plumbing, electrification, power lines: 1.0
- 1 refreshing infrastructure on the Moon: 1.0
- 1 refuel relais sattelites: 0.5
Sum of operation: 4 Billion Dollars
During operation we will reuse the turbines, generators, drilling rig, nuclear reactor, heavy goods transport vehicles, dipole fields and parts of the infrastructure. The operation cost of the plant will be 2.4 Cents/kWh on the Moon and 4.8 Cents/kWh on Earth.
The total cost would be 3.9 Cents/kWh for moon industries and 7.8 Cents/kWh on Earth.
If You think my cost estimation is too optimistic think about newer tendencies in space commercialization. The total cost is about what it costs to buy the material and machines and to bring it to the Moon. Think about the new private rocket companies like Space-X  or Orbital  and their followers, that have begun to provide cheap space access technologies. When we think about the great successes of Space-X during the last years, it’s absolutely believable that they could build us a big cheap launcher to carry 200 tons to the Lunar surface to bring our steam turbines to the building sites. Of course we would use our new infrastructure to start building many plants in parallel after the first successful 11 years that proofe the functionality of the concept.
[I have done a much more detailed analysis to the subject of space transportation of huge payloads: Tranporting Heavy Duty to the Moon]
What happens, if we some day dare to use bigger thermonuclear devices, for example three times bigger, touching the GT size? Such a device provides three times the power in 10 years. Because the cost for building and operating, when increasing the electric power does not grow linear but with a square root function, the cost will then decrease by a factor of 1.73/3 per kWh. Then we had 2.25 Cents/kWh for moon industries and 4.5 Cents/kWh on Earth.
It may sound odd for people who think space and Moon things have to be the most expensive things in the world, but this kind of thermonuclear motors would be quite cheaper than offshore oil production or offshore wind power, even cheaper than waterpower. With fusion energy anything changes.
Dangerousness and Feasibility
First you can’t build such a nuclear fusion plant on Earth. It is simple and cheap, but it is much to dangerous, if something goes wrong. We are talking about single energy pulses of 300MT. Anyone who has intelligence does not want to have this on an inhabited planet. There is a video of the 60MT Zar bomb build by Sakharov . After watching this, You know what I mean. There is only one place where it can be build and operated without harm: beneath the surface of the Moon.
But if we think about nuclear energy on the Moon, if fusion or fission doesn’t matter, we get fast into a big problem: thermodynamics dictates us the minimun waste heat, we have to get rid of. If we do not, our machines will suffer the heat death, that means they will not produce any energy. But the only way to get rid of heat in space is radiation. This is a very inefficient method compared to convection or evaporation methods we use on Earth. So we have to build huge radiator fields to emmit the heat. If we talk about gigawatts of electric power it means inherently that we have to radiate heat power of this value during the operation. This means huge cost to bring the radiators to the Moon and the discussion about nuclear energy on the Moon is immediately closed.
What happens with the waste heat of a nuclear plant on Earth? Heat convection that uses the ocean water or a river puts the heat into the surrounding environment. And this puts it into the athmosphere. Cooling towers use the evaporation heat of water steam to put the waste heat directly into the atmosphere. The oceans and the atmosphere distribute the waste heat very fast, and the athmosphere is finally the radiator that puts the heat into space.
We have no ocean and we have no athmosphere on the Moon. So it seems we are doomed to radiators. Are we? No! There is one available distributing medium: the Moon rock! It is very slow, of course, compared with an ocean or an athmosphere, but it can work if we respect its characteristics. This was the approach of my Thermonuclear Four Stroke Motor. I made an error in the assumption of the heat distribution behavior of the rock. A scientist who knew similar problems with heat pumps on Earth advised me to that problem. I changed the size and geometry of the plant to retain the heat removal method and I think it will work now. Trying to visualize the process I found a suitable name for it: The Nomad Fusion Reactor. The Moon rock finally radiates the heat into space. This makes the ultimate fusion power plant so simple and cheap.
But how to get the power from the Moon to the surface of the Earth? As I explained before, it is by microwave radio connections. They have relatively low energy losses over large distances and are well known, well proven technology. You may ask now: I know that microwave is well proven technology, I use it every day in my mobile phone. But it’s a low power data connection and absolutely no power connection. Is it also possible to transport high power with microwave? There is one good example: Your microwave oven does this every time You use it. And there would be not much more loss of energy, if it would send bundled waves thousands of meters or even thousands of kilometers (if Your focusing antenna would have the appropriate mechanical accuracy). Because of that Your microwave oven does not focus the waves, has a Faraday cage and stops immediately if it is opened. Otherwise it would be a very dangerous kitchen utensil.
Isn’t it very dangerous to send bundled Gigawatt microwaves to the surface of the Earth? Yes it is. But not as far as dangerous as a nuclear power plant on the Earth. Because:
- First you can limit the microwave focusing to a maximum that you will allow by design
- Second there is a very nice detail of this plant a nuclear power plant on Earth does not have: the off-button
The maximum microwave focusing that you have choosen by design can’t be changed in operation, it is the absolute upper limit. There shall be an international contract for maximum allowed power density, monitored by supervisors during the design phase, that no one can use the beam as an effective weapon. If the Earth facing satellite looses it’s target tracking and the beam becomes uncontrolled, maybe the satellit has lost any controll, ground personal can simply turn away the second Moon facing satellite, that it doesn’t receive the energy from the Moon no more, or alternatively switch off the turbines on the Moon. Nothing else happens then. The steam is simply turned off and the dangerous situation has been overcome. After the sattelite is repaired, the tap in the turbine house is opened again and anything works as before, and there was even no loss of unused energy. It is still waiting underground as hot pressurized steam and ready for use. This combination of limiting the maximum microwave focusing by design and providing redundant power-down functionalities can be easily combined to an absolute fool-prove concept.
You may ask now: Apropos effective weapon, what if the staff of a plant once suddenly decides not to use their hydrogen bombs as fuel but to send them to Earth and aiming world domination? First, that is physical impossible. If they would use rocket engines to let the bombs lift off and leave Moons gravity, the bombs would at the latest burn up at ultra high velocity in Earths atmosphere. They will have no space ships that are able to land on Earth directly and the Moon offers no materials, that make reentry technology possible. They could try to detonate a bomb in Earth Orbit distance to use an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to destroy electronic devices on Earth, but afterwards they would be burned by the counterstrike from Earth. Second, after the reflection of all possibilities and future developments, it would be finally the nuclear balance (the same we daily use successfully on Earth) that would prevent both parties, Earth and Moon, to begin a nuclear offensive.
What happens if such a 300MT device ignites by accident on the Lunar surface, just after it was assembled and before it was lowered into the shaft? The astonishing answer: nearly nothing. There is no athmosphere and no biosphere. Of course there would be an immense heat radiation and anyone who would be nearer than hundred kilometers may be killed by the heat. But tell me the names of the Lunar cities that are endangered of such a remaining risk.
And what’s about danger from radioactivity? The plant runs on the Moon. The Moon is dead. There’s nothing to kill, because it’s all dead allready. In normal operation radioactivity stays in the spherical caves, the plumbings and turbines of the plant. But if there is a leakage or the turbines need complete refurbishment, radioacivity can escape off the system and can get to the Lunar surface. Is there any bigger problem with it? Of course, not! The contamination will remain locally, because the Moon has no distributing medium like an athmosphere or an ocean. Just take a caterpillar and sweep up the fallout to a pile, mark it as radioactive zone, and no wind will ever move the radioactive dust not a single Millimeter in a Billion years. The biosphere of planet Earth is 400 Thousand km far and the Moon has a strong gravity field, that no radioactive dust can ever escape from there. Any nuclear plant on the Moon, whatever radioactive and dangerous it is, is by definition 100% clean and ecological on Earth, because it’s impossible that it harms the biosphere.
What do You think?
In my opinion a non-continuous-fusion energy plant like the Thermonuclear Fusion Steam Machine is entirely realistic and todays usual continuous fusion concepts are not, although they are built . They are so far away from producing energy and even more far from producing huge amounts of thermal energy for operating gigantic turbines like any true electric power plant does.
The Thermonuclear Fusion Steam Machine is a simple – rather a primitive – fusion power plant, it is a workhorse and not a complicated research reactor. That is the main difference between these plants. Our machine, if built, will produce huge amounts of steam from the beginning. And it will work, because it uses throughoutly well-proven technology:
- drilling rigs
- microwave radio
- carrier rockets
- geostationary sattelites
- thermonuclear bombs
- melting furnaces
- concrete and steel constructions
- simple computers
To use thermonuclear bombs as steam generators seems crazy at first view. But they are ignited in deep underground on the Moon and do not harm or destroy anything. No human can ever hear them, see them or feel their heat. They work just like the deeply embedded explosions in a motorcar, but in contrast without any noise, and with a mild vibration once a decade, but only if you stay near. Our whole fusion power plant works actually like a four stroke motor, only many, many times bigger and slower. It’s not a reactor, it’s a process-heat machine, a steam machine, the actual fusion reactors are the well-proven thermonuclear 3-stage hydrogen bombs, that will produce about 99% of their energy by nuclear fusion.
Our machine is no danger to anyone, because it can only be build on a completely dead and uninhabited celestial body like the Moon. If someone attempts to adapt it to Earth he must be crazy. It is driven by 300MT devices. The complete fusion power plant will become about a hundred times more expensive than on the Moon. Earth has a six times higher gravity than the Moon that makes the underground caverns unstable, he has to reinforce them. Today no one knows how to do this, but even if there was a way, it would be extremely expensive, because of the huge size of the reinforcing structures of 3 km diameter. This crazy man has to add hundreds of fully redundant safety and security systems to prevent radioactivity from escaping and killing residents, he has to add gigantic staged heat exchangers, early-warning systems, air crash safeness, he has to prevent the triggering of earthquakes by the plant, etc. But he could do what he want, the plant would allways remain very dangerous to humanity when built on Earth.
It is a Moon machine, never intended for planet Earth . On the Moon it is not crazy to build such machines, it will become normality. Above all the plant produces extremely cheap electric energy for Moon industries. But it also provides huge amounts of clean, fail-save, fool-safe and surprisingly cheap energy for the use on Earth, if we permit it . The cost of the electric energy depends merely on the scalable size of this plants and will underprize any of Earths energy sources, if big enough. Apart from a certain energy independency, power plants on Earth will not make sense any longer.
As I explained before, you can switch the power delivery off and on whenever you want. It is the first 100% clean and ecological nuclear plant from the biosphere point of view – the only view that makes sense. But it even pollutes the dead Moon insignificantly during building and operations. It is the first fusion power plant at all, buildable today with existing technologies, and presumably the only buildable fusion power plant for centuries . The realization of the dream of producing large quantities of clean, safe, affordable, and essentially limitless power for all mankind on planet Earth is within grasp now.
Resources and Explanatory Notes
 The Four Stroke Thermonuclear Motor
 Critical fusion power article “Nuclear fusion and the “three years law” of scientific research”: http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.de/2012_03_01_archive.html
 NASASpaceFlight.com Forum http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=29492.0;all
 Operation Crossroads, Baker test, 7/25/1945, underwater ignition in 27 m depth, yield 21 kT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Crossroads
 Saturn V Moon rocket: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V
 Energia heavy lift launcher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia
 Nova heavy lift launcher: http://www.astronautix.com/fam/nova.htm
 Steam Turbine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_turbine
 Chernobyl meltdown: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html
 Moon surface Regolith: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regolith
 Operation Plowshare: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plowshare
 Th. Ginsburg: Die friedliche Anwendung von nuklearen Explosionen, Verlag Kar Thiemig KG, Muenchen 1965
 AN602 hydrogen bomb, nicknamed Tsar, 10/30/1961, Novaya Zemlya Island, yield 50 MT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba
 AN602 hydrogen bomb, biggest man-made explosion ever, Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwlNPhn64TA
 Moon crust Anorthosite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorthosite
 Measured heat conductivity of Anorthosite http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbib.gfz-potsdam.de%2Fpub%2Fstr0113%2F0113-4.pdf&ei=J-AKUK7FFLPO4QShibW7Cg&usg=AFQjCNGQilYJYsf2G6l7wllpcV7Fd-vjPw&sig2=D9I4SlyH2mZxrX7obeP5Og
 Natural giant caves beneath the lunar surface: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/12jul_rabbithole/
 Lunar polar ice found: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/03/water-moon-north-pole/
 Lunar water: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_water
 Space-X: http://www.spacex.com/
 Orbital: http://www.orbital.com/
 Pictures of atomic tests, Operation Castle, Union test, 4/26/1954, Bikini Atoll, yield 6.9 MT: http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/testpix/
 Operation Gnome: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Gnome
 T.H. Rider, Dissertation 1995, it shows that all contemporary attempts of fusion energy will fail: http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/11412
 Partial nuclear test ban treaty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_Nuclear_Test_Ban_Treaty
 Nuclear Fusion | Do the Math: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/01/nuclear-fusion/
 The Trouble with Fusion: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=16&ved=0CGsQFjAFOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.askmar.com%2FRobert%2520Bussard%2FThe%2520Trouble%2520With%2520Fusion.pdf&ei=s24OUKXwL8HNtAbB_4DgDg&usg=AFQjCNHQAaGTFkWTG2Tlf4MNjUwcjCIZYA&sig2=Ex5WbhQxwWDEZgMeyPBCrg
 The machine can also be build on the Jovian moons, on the Saturn moons and even on Mercury at its poles. On celestial bodies with higher gravity and atmosphere like Mars it has to be investigated, if it makes sense or not.
 H.H. Koelle, inventor of the Neptun design: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Hermann_Koelle
Addendum: Transporting materials to the Moon
[If You are interested in this subject You can read a much more detailed analysys here: Transporting Heavy Duty to the Moon]
My first launching cost estimations on the basis of a geometric extrapolation of the Saturn V expendable rocket system have produced tranportation cost that is much to high. There is a huge discrepancy between the cost for fuel and for structures. At 200 tons payload to the Moon the expandable parts of the rockets will cost billions of dollars, but the fuel will only cost some ten million dollars!
It seems to be better to start from the first design with a two stage rocket with both stages reusable. Because the rockets must become huge to allow low mass specific cost, they can only fly back to Earth in a ballistic way. Wings or parachutes are not possible at this size. Both stages land on the sea and are tugged back to the launch pad. Heinz Hermann Koelles  „Neptun“ design in a bigger version and with modern engines may be appropriate. The first stage will have an Isp of 300s with high pressure RP1 engines, the second stage 470s Isp with long nozzle vacuum LH2 engines.
A commuting space ferry will fly between Earth and Moon and will become so huge, that it also makes no sense to design it expendable. It will be fueled in low earth orbit (LEO) by the two stage rocket and will fly to the Moon orbit. Here it will fuel the waiting lunar lander and assign the payload to the lander.
Then the lander will descent, bring the material to the surface, will ascent again and wait in the lunar orbit for the rendezvous with the next ferry. The ferry will fly back to LEO. There it waits empty for its next usage. The ferry as well the lander will have an Isp of 470s.
The delta v for one roundtrip will be:
The lunar lander and the ferry burn together 7700t fuel and deliver a payload of 200t to the lunar surface. The lander has 600t take-off weight, the ferry is of 8400t take off weight! They are fueled by 4 or 8 flights of the two stage ballistic rocket, depending on whether the two stage rocket is „super“-big or „monstrous“-big. That means the two stage rocket has a payload of 1000t or 2000t to LEO. The fuel for one flight of the two stage rocket will be 18,000 or 28,000 metric tons. The lift off mass of the two stage reusable ballistic rocket will be 20,000 or 32,000 metric tons.
Because all stages and their parts are reused, the total launch cost will become
- the fuel cost a) 8*18,000t+7700t=151,700t with $2/kg is ca. $300 Mio
- or fuel cost b) 4*28,000t+7700t=119,700t with $2/kg is ca. $240 Mio
- + operations $30Mio
- + start campaign a) $80Mio or b) $40Mio
- + recovery a) $80Mio or b) $40Mio
- + refurbishment a) $400Mio or b) $200Mio
a total sum or specific cost for 200t payload to the Moon of
a) $890Mio or $4450/kg
b) $550Mio or $2750/kg
With $10Billion pure tranportation budget for one plant, it will be possible to transport a) 2200t or b) 3600t to the surface of the Moon.
The transportation budget for operation for 10 years is ca. $2Billion. For this sum it is possible to transport either a) 400t or b) 800t in ten years to the Moon.
The GEO capability of the Moon ferry is at least 1800t. It’s very valuable for building the relais satellites. But I don’t think we ever need the full tank capacity to bring the sattelites into GEO, because they should not become as heavy. After the relais satellites are installed the ferry returns to LEO to standby orbit, waiting for refuel.
It should be clear now, that the Neptun HLLV’s, the ferries and the lunar landers are very big and only NASA could master such a huge project. The public authorities must pay for the development of this machines, for the infrastructure. But it is worth it! After a few years the extensive tax payments of the new U.S. power plant companies, which would sell their cheap electric power to all corners of the world – quick, save, clean – would bring back the multiple of the public investments.
It will not be easy to build such big reusable vessels, for building up fusion power plants on the Moon, but it is possible. Without any doubt.
Addendum: Eclipses of the Power Satellites
An interested reader in a science forum mentioned: „Lunar transmitters would not work because you forgot the moon has its own orbit around the earth. It does not sit over a fixed point of the planet. So how many relay stations would you need? [..]“
This is an interesting question and I was thinking of it before I even started thinking about the rest. Lunar eclipses occur if there is a full moon within 11° 38′ and solar eclipses occur if there is a new moon within 17° 25′ of a ascending or descending node. This means by first view, that there are 4*18°=72° of 360° or 0.2 * 27.3 days = 5.5 days each month when Earth can eclipse the relais sattelites. The sattelites themselve do a full revolution in 24 hours. So 0.2 * 24 hours = 4.8 hours 5.5 days a month the relais satellites might be eclipsed. Statistically is this 50% at night.
But it remains 4.8 hours at daytime in more than two days a month. That is too much and too long, I think.
So there should be a second relais satellite from the beginning. Later, if we have more relais satellites there is only one reserve system for a certain number of relais neccessary. Because of the large reusable Moon ferry, we need anyway, I don’t think it will become a crucial argument.