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The Race for Pure Fusion Power

– A preleminary business plan for building simple fusion energy plants and space ships

If You are interested in pure fusion detonations for civilian energy provision purposes You may be right on my blog. I like to write about technology, that has generally the power to be bad in the wrong hands and to be good in the right hands. I write about ethics and theology, philosophy and new Stellar Ecology a generalization of planetary ecology that gives mankind a very simple but also very beautiful sense in the universe. I write about interstellar travel and the preconditions for that. Mostly I write in German – just because it is much easier to me. In this article I will write about the organizational problems and the main development risks of a pure fusion energy development program.

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Year 2012 – 60 years availability of fusion energy and still energy poverty

Last year I have discovered by accident – actually by watching an interview with Arthur Clarke in an project Orion documentation of the BBC [24] – the possibility for building simple nuclear fusion detonation power plants on the Moon [1][2][3][4]. My first attempt had still a thermodynamic error but the second attempt, the Nomad reactor, seemed to be a bull’s eye. It seemed to work theoretically. Many people were excited about that. First I thought these kind of underground nuclear detonation power plants are only realizable in the deserts of the Moon and thinking about such nuclear detonations plants on Earth would be crazy. But after some months of thinking and discussing about the Moon fusion energy plants, it was becoming more and more clear, that building similar fusion detonation plants on Earth in the underground is also possible and even still safer than any of todays nuclear energy plants [5].

If we had a so called pure fusion detonator and if we would develop civilian nuclear explosive devices out of it to use them in these underground nuclear fusion plants, it was actually the safest nuclear energy plant ever. Safer than Tokamak fusion reactors can be – if Tokamaks will ever provide net energy. With fusion detonations we do not have this problem of getting net energy out of it. Vice versa, we have problems with too much fusion energy rather. But it is possible to size down fusion detonations to the 1 kT yield range, as neutron bombs have shown us, and it is also possible to absorb most of the neutrons and convert them to plasma energy. The kT yield range is also the size that Laser or ion beam inertial-confinement (another term for detonation) fusion  plants would have for getting into the net energy range, if Laser fusion can do so ever. It is also possible to design civilian nuclear explosives that are not applicable as weapons. This is a very important fact. I have written a comprehensive article about all of todays fusion energy attempts and the problem and promise of pure fusion detonations [4].

There is a military legend that the so called pure fusion bomb allready exists. It is said, that the Soviets where the first who had them in their arsenals, that Saddam Hussein got them from Jelzin during the financial bankrupt of the post Soviet era and that this was the secret reason for the second Gulf war [6][7]. Then the nuclear threat from Iraque would have been real and President Bush, who pronounced that first, would be a kind of a tragic figure: then Iraque had of course no uranium or plutonium because they didn’t need that for their nuclear bombs. But the thread would have been real and it might have been thought it would be better, if the public didn’t know the details and therefor many people believed in the president words anymore, regarding this war. A kind of Kassandra complex. A pure fusion bomb is a hydrogen or neutron bomb that does not need any plutonium or uranium nuclear fission for a first stage to ignite the second fusion power stage. Therefor it seems not to be possible anymore to prevent nuclear weapons threat by the control of plutonium or enriched uranium trade. And who wants to admit such a very bad situation?

Is a pure fusion detonation a nuclear bomb? From the physical principles yes. From the practical military needs normally not. It is more a civilian nuclear explosive than a military weapon. It may be thought as an ultimate form of Dynamite. Dynamite is for example a very bad weapon, but of course it is possible to do bad things with such a powerful tool like Dynamite that is actually used for blasting tunnels.

The first stage of a pure fusion detonator for example, a so called magnetized target fusion (MTF) device, needs a lot of heavy electric equipment to heat it up and compress a deuterium-tritium (DT) or deuterium-deuterium (DD) plasma to pre-fusion-conditions. After this magnetized plasma fusion target is provided, a second chemical explosives stage is able to ignite the DT or DD mixture and fusion occurs. This fusion energy burst ignites a bigger nuclear fusion reaction stage that can deliver a lot of energy. It is not possible to ignite a DT or DD core alone with chemicals because of physical reasons. The principle of the MTF relies on the heating and ionizing of the first stage with big electrical supporting devices, that makes fusion by chemical compression in a second stage possible. This supporting power electric equipment makes it a very bad weapon. It is the opposite of the suitcase bomb. One needs trucks to transport the supporting equipment. So the nuclear proliferation risk of MTF driven pure fusion from a standpoint of nuclear thread is relatively small [4][8]. It is also possible to use liquid non-storable nuclear fuels in the following stages of the detonators that reduces the thread further. They are becoming nuclear Dynamite then. I have sadly not invented the MTF, but I see myself as the inventor and advocate of the idea of Nuclear Dynamite, that can be build for example with a MTF first stage: the idea of a non-storable, non-deployable, trackable pure fusion nuclear detonator for only civilian and humanistic purposes.

The mentioned military legends of pure fusion bombs do not deal with this MTF first stages. It is believed that there is another working way to heat up the first stage sufficiently not by bulky and heavy electric means but by means of special, very exotic chemicals (Ballotechnics). But this is a very expensive and dangerous nuclear weapon then, and no cheap and save civilian nuclear explosives. This is not what I’m talking about. This is the other side of this new technology, the dark side. I’m talking about the bright side, about an instrument of peace and prosperity.

Any technology seems to have this two sides, nuclear detonators, vessels, shotguns, axes, even toys. Think about Ego-Shooter simulation software in the childrens rooms as a typical example for a dangerous toy. If You think about technology as an enforced or extended limb it is absolutely understandable why any technology can be good or evil: it only depends on the person, company or country who uses it. The term ‚to arm‘ seems to emanate from this understanding of technology. The computer is more an extended brain – not a limb – and has therefor the most dangerous potential, but there exists no term ‚to head‘, at least in this meaning, as far as I know.

In the near future it may become important to control those Ballotechnics for pure fusion detonations – if they exist and if they work at all – maybe there is something going on behind the scenes. But even simple and normally not dangerous natural uranium that can be used to concentrate, amplify and contaminate pure fusion detonations may be in the focus of intelligence nowadays. One could consider such interest as a sign, that Ballotechnics driven pure fusion bombs exist.

A question of decision

We live in the time of the advent of fusion energy. Not the every day discussed billion dollar Tokamaks, not the weapons laboratories billion dollar Laser Fusion, not the fusion amateurs cheap Fusors, or the awkward Cold and Bubble Fusion will bring us this ultimate power source – as many people and many scientists thought for the last 60 years. Since the first provision of fusion energy on 10/31/1952 at 19:15 GMT [25] there was no consequent attempt to utilize this energy source for civilian purposes. A common fear of that fierce and strong energy source came up and politics and public decided not to use it for power plants. But this is possible. Many other attempts to make fusion energy available have been tried and all failed. Anyone who is interested in that theme knows those very sad stories. May I recommend a very good and well written book about the historic backgrounds of many fusion energy attempts in the last 60 years: [26].

Now, it is not the fission induced Teller-Ulam fusion principle – the scary hydrogen bomb – or it’s brother the Sloika design – both fusion energy sources that work very good – but the smaller, more controllable pure fusion bomb, the chemically-electrically induced nuclear detonation, that will finally make all dreams come true. Of course it is still dangerous, because high concentration of energy is allways dangerous. And it is very cheap, also because it is a high concentration of energy. But it is much smaller, much more controllable and much more applicable for civilian purposes like the hydrogen bombs of the 1950s. And the most important quality: it does not need uranium or plutonium and therefor does not contaminate environment and population with dangerous fission products. And of course it will work and set free a huge fusion energy release because of the same physically reasons the Teller-Ulam and the Sloika work. The most important quality is also the biggest technical problem: the primary ignition without using the thermal power of a fission bomb.

With pure fusion detonators the chances for mankind become very, very good again. It is a new hope. It wipes away all our fears for mankinds future that mostly have their origins in energy and resources provision problems and the enviousness and exasperating wars around that problems. These problems and also the related environment pollution problems dissapear with pure fusion power. The civilian nuclear explosions can bring us peace if we are wise.

With pure fusion detonations it is easy to

  • build the cheapest, simplest and most reliable nuclear electric energy plants ever [5]
  • provide prosperity for any human being without the need of wasting natural resources
  • fight against the effects of global warming, if not possible to stop it, as it seems today
  • fight against glaciers that will come back soon after the interglacial warm interval, we are in at the moment
  • build very cost-effective harbours, shores, lakes, rivers, valleys, mountains, dams and canals as we need it
  • build the cheapest, biggest, simplest, fastest and most reliable space ships ever [8]
  • afford the settlement of the Moon and Mars, not only for governments, but for the common man [8]
  • travel to extrasolar planets (interstellar space travel with pulsed fusion power is possible) [19]
  • mine asteroids and comets very cheap and so provide the cheapest natural resources ever

You can read of most of this amazing possibilites much more detailed here [4]. But this week I recognized for the first time, how near all this things are really. How close we are to it! It is just a question not of several decades but only of several years, if we decide to develop pure fusion detonation power, now.

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We stand at a fork in the road. In the left direction we live for a long time with sparse energy sources like wind and solar energy, that means

  1. high energy cost (because of energy density reasons)
  2. high natural resources cost (because of high energy cost)
  3. high product cost (because of high energy and natural resources cost)
  4. optimization and efficiency (because of high energy and natural resources cost)
  5. high quality standards (because of high product cost)
  6. strict processes and less creativity (because of high quality standards)
  7. control and observation (because of strict processes)
  8. low tolerances (because of control and observation)
  9. high automation levels (because of optimization and efficiency)
  10. low employment (because of high automation levels)
  11. very low prosperity (because of high product cost and low employment)

Or in the right direction we could live with extensive energy sources like pure fusion detonations, that means

  1. low energy cost (because of energy density reasons)
  2. low natural resource cost (because of low energy cost)
  3. low product cost (because of low energy and natural resources cost)
  4. wastage and unefficiency (because of low energy and natural resources cost)
  5. low quality standards (because of low product cost)
  6. mild processes and much creativity (because of low quality standards)
  7. freedom and laissez-faire (because of mild processes)
  8. high tolerances (because of freedom and laissez-faire)
  9. low automation levels (because of wastage and unefficiency)
  10. high employment (because of low automation levels)
  11. very high prosperity (because of low product cost and high employment)

I have seen a German TV commercial spot from an energy provider, where a happy dancing couple was dancing through their house from room to room and the lights were automatically going on in the rooms they were in and going off in the rooms they came from. The company called that pictures the vision of intelligent electric power. To understand the spot I must tell You: In Germany we are just building on a mainly wind energy driven energy provision. They tell us of (ambitious) goals of around 1 Euro per kWh and today we have around 0.25 Euro per kWh. Before we decided to exit nuclear energy and rely on Russian gas and French nuclear energy it was at 0.15 Euro. This is why such TV spots appear, to make the green electricity pallatable and imaginable. Of course they forget to tell that it is not only the lights what will become four times more expensive: nearly anything will become four times more expensive, at least anything that is conveyed or produced by means of electric power.

I do not see an utopian vision in this dancing couple. How can their house detect reliably how many people are in which rooms? By computer vision systems, of course! Watching the TV spot I see a stupid grinning couple who knows exactly that any single movement of them is controlled anywhere they are. I see a Dystopia in this TV spot, a horror vision of a perfectly, throughoutly controlled future that will have no unobservable corners like the niches beside the Telescreens of Orwells 1984.

Human dignity is inviolable. I don’t want to be forced by law to sorting my rubbish with my hands! It’s disgusting! I don’t want to be forced by law to buy that ugly, electronic and unesthetic energy saving lamps! They displease the eye. I want my Wolfram lamps back, that were so genious and beautiful with their simplicity.. I want to drive a V8 big block for the same reasons.. I want to waste as much energy I can and I want to waste resources. I want to fly to the Moon and to settle on Mars and to die there when I’m old. And where I was will be allways a pile of unsorted rubish and dirt, exactly like my ancestors in the stone age already did it (with a lot of cheap energy it is no problem to let it pick it up by well payed people and recycle it again). And no one will force me to other things, because I’m free. And this is why I can not live with that sparse wind or solar energy, because I want to stay free and not become a criminal only because of my personal way of living. In Germany it really happens that quite common people have to pay penalties because of environmental crimes! Neighbours control each other and whistle-blow so called (green) political uncorrect behavior to the police. As anybody knows: we Germans are sometimes fanatic – beautiful minds but very idealistic, and idealism is allways dangerous.

As a german engineer I’m aware of the faults of my scientific ancestors, I’m aware of the danger of racism and idealism. Even if some thoughts of mine seem very „idalistic“ to some readers: it’s not idealism that drives them, it is the pragmatic and carefully considered choice out of a series of pictures I see, of how a possible future could look like, and what is technically possible and what is not. So it is with fusion energy and all possible and impossible paths. It is only a question of simple mathematics. Fusion is possible at any time with detonations but maybe never with continuous fusion Tokamak reactors. Any automobilist never thinks of his detonation device in front of him or cares about contiuous alternatives like turbines, but in case of fusion energy the term „crazy“ appears normally immediately, but why?

But what happens, if anybody wants to live like I want to live, wasting energy and resources, an idealistic eco-minded person may ask me now. I can tell the idealist: Nothing. There is more than enough place in the world for us few 7 billion humans. The very earth can feed only with our todays agricultural technology a minimum of 700 billion people very well without consuming much place [16][17], the solar system a hundred times more. And this is no idealistic dreaming again, it is also raw numbers of usable areas and typical agricultural production rate. But for all that we need lots of cheap energy.

I deeply believe that the right way of the fork in the road is the only human way. It is much more like human beings are functioning. The left way is lack of freedom, birth control, observation, intolerance, control, necessity for anybody of functioning, perfectionism, encouragement of machine like behavior. I put this way intentionally on the left side, because this way reminds me of a materialistic, naturalistic world outlook that considers human beings rather as a kind of biologic machines than souled, predestined and prefered beings. But we are no robots, we are humans with many, many faults (I have many faults and I nearly like every single of them), we are working not exactly and this is the source of our creativity, we love to do stupid things, fool around and have fun with our families and friends in our precious and much too short lifes. This all needs a lot of affordable primary energy. Freedom and prosperity needs cheap electric energy.

Today the right way is only an theoretical option, because – as far as I know – we do not have a practical endless, cheap and extensive energy source running like those possible pure fusion detonations. The uranium and plutonium reactions are thought to be to dangerous and the nuclear waste and contamination problem seems to be a dead end. And the utilization of Teller-Ulam hydrogen bombs of megaton size in big underground caverns if on Earth or on Moon seems to be unthinkable for most people because of their deepest fears. So, maybe there should be done something, to change this displeasing situation, I think. We must have an additional thinkable and practical option available to have the free choice between these two ways.

Two new signs that let me believe in my assumptions

Last week I heard about two things. This two occasions let me be absolutely sure now, that my assumptions and estimations of my last articles, especially [4][5][8] are throughoutly correct and even much to conservative or careful in the essential and crucial points: the stability of nuclear underground detonation vessels and the availableness of powerful MTF devices as pure fusion ignition stages in principal.

This week a commentor of an article about my bloggings mentioned the PACER project. I never heard about it before. I found during my historical investigations that old Edward Teller comissioned his assistant John Nuckols in the late 1950s to do some research work on using hydrogen bombs of classic megaton yield in underground detonations. I didn’t know that this work was taken on in the 1970s again. In this time the work on small hydrogen bombs for building neutron bombs was in work, and so the underground power plants were becoming much smaller, because the new designs used the new fusion technologies with hydrogen bombs down to the sub-kiloton yield to provide hot steam for turbines. And PACER was developed further until the end of the 1980s.

Starting theoretically on the Moon and coming back to Earth, I accidentaly re-invented the PACER energy plant project of the 1970s. But I can not believe that it is so easy like it seems in the papers of PACER [9][10][11][12][13]. Especially the reinforcement of the underground caverns. I have shown a way to build such plants even if it is neccessary to stabilize the complete bedrock above the caverns, and therefor even if the caverns are build in sandy teritories. I was already aware, that my plants had their predecessors in John Nuckols 1950s megaton bomb designs (the first chapter’s title was „No new Fusion Reactor Idea“), and from this to my fusion plant or PACER it is only a small step. One has to know, how small nuclear fusion detonators can be built, and how big they have to be at least for economically providing electric energy. It may be interesting to compare PACER of the 70th, PACER Revisited of 1988 and my Fusion Steam Machine of 2012 [5] in a table to see the differences.

The most important fact for me is, that PACER seems to be much more detailed than my own designs. They are talking about numerical simulations for calculating the blast and the forces on the walls when designing them. I solved the same problems with very conservative margins. And the results looks very good. The underground nuclear detonation plants seem to be much lighter and easier to build and so much cheaper than I thought! If You have read my article, it emerged that the electric energy from my plant would have been already cheaper than the cheapest conventional uranium reactors.

My current level of information is that my proposal to use non-conventional nuclear bombs in the plants but new designed non-storable liquid fueled primaries and secondaries to reduce cost and make mass production safer, thinking about the nuclear proliferation risk and therefor making the idea more realistic, seems to be new. My Moon fusion power plants are also a new idea, because I have solved the problem of getting rid of the huge waste-heat with radiators by the so called Nomad Principle, that uses the moon rock itself as radiator [2]. It is a thermodynamic cycle that lasts centuries, thereby delivering endless and cheap energy from ordinary megaton H-bombs. And I think the idea of Antarctica pure fusion detonation power plants, sending the electricity from there to metropolises like New York, Paris, Delhi by using microwave relais sattelites, is also at least a new combination of ideas [4]. I only say this because You must not be afraid You have to read only boring old stuff on my blog.

In another comment on other web sites regarding my blog I found a link to a paper about magnetized target fusion (MTF) with many detailed calculations about energy needs sufficient chemical explosives and some practical solutions of amplification, neutron deceleration, and even a proposal for a very efficient electric power production from the hot plasma using a classic magneto hydro dynamic (MHD) process for getting the kinetic energy out of the plasma [14]. The MHD in the paper with it’s very high efficiency would make it (theoretically) possible to get net energy out of the detonations in a very low yield range of lower than 1kT as the author proposes. But the MHD is actually not neccessary (it is very, very difficult from an engineering point of view), because it is possible to stage the devices to higher yields and one will allways get into a yield range where energy provision is also possible very economical by using conventional steam turbines. Productive energy provision normally starts in the several kT range for non-continuous fusion energy plants.

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But the reason why I am virtually upset is that the physics in the paper of the scientist shows how easy it is to ignite and fuse ionized deuterium-tritium mixtures in a magnetic field by chemical means! Any industrial country can do this. It is not neccesary to have any extensive nuclear experiences. It is not neccessary to have any fissionable material. It seems that it can be made run and produce energy also by smaller development teams, if provided with an appropriate background and the explicit objective of creating nuclear detonations.

Of course an effective MTF is allways only a one shot device and therefor the next stages of the pure fusion detonator have to be big enough that the wastage of material is small compared to the energy release and income. So the MTF detonator can be thought as fuel, as cheaper as bigger the fusion detonation of the following stages. Similar to the (unrealistic) Laser fusion ignition advances the (very realistic) MTF ignition will become economical typical in the several kilotons yield range.

For me it seems now the nuclear age of mankind has not really begun until now. It was a kind of prehistory. The main chapter starts just in our days. You may read also my articles [2][4][5][8]. In my home country the responsible minister has just yesterday said, in Germany nuclear power industry will never have a chance for a renaissance [15]. He is absolutely right. Because the next step in nuclear technology will be no renaissance, it will rather be the climax of a one hundred thousand years long history of human energy provision development. It is not his fault that he has not that interdisciplinary educational background to be aware of the situation and to recognize the amazing chance we get now in our lifetime: endless fusion energy and the gift of the whole solar system – to use it as we need it. My beloved country Germany plays with little wind wheels in the meantime. Maybe I’m only a newer (and of course much smaller) version of this good Don Quichotte fighting against windmills but I know as he knew: I’m right.

I’m absolutely sure now: pure fusion detonations chemical-electric primaries can work, the underground fusion detonations will also work as it seems – considering older more detailed scientific research (PACER) than my own. The space ships will also work, if they can provide enough electric energy for the MTF ignition stages, and considering the Orion project [22][23][24]. Both, the power plants and the space vessels can be built within a very short time from now on. Only a few years and our world will hopefully be a world full of chances, full of natural resources, full of peace and freedom, full of new places to live and work, full of prosper and happy people. We will have all the time in the world, living in a man-made humanistic paradise on Earth and Space that is built throughoutly on nuclear power. The dream of our ancestors of the 20th century will come true now. We will simply forget to kill each other, one day, when working together on this huge and elaborate task of settling the Earth [16][17][18], the planets [2][3][4] and the stars [4][19][20].

Business plan

I will present now a very short preleminary version of a business plan as a pattern for entrepreneurs who aim the development, building and selling of civilian nuclear fusion detonation power plants in the 100 MW to 1 GW range that can be built in the underground, in the shelf ice of Antarctica and later in much bigger versions on the Moon. The building of big and primitive fusion propelled space ships in the 3000 metric tons to 10,000 metric tons payload range, made of concrete and construction steel, driven by the same detonators the power plants use, will then only be the next logical step. Again, You can read about that kind of powerplants here [5] and about the space ships here [8]. I have added pictures from my former articles to visualize the objectives. Don’t worry that they are no shiny computer generated animated renderings, but they are not from a computer but from a living being. I prefer this. And I hope You also like the cloud photographs which shall tell a little from the man made heaven on Earth, which any economic activity and business has to subordinate and serve!

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I see five development phases for a company that wants to sell simple fusion detonation driven power plants and nuclear space-ships:

  1. two years developing a magnetized target fusion (MTF) electrical-chemical-nuclear first stage
  2. two years adding secondary and tertiary, etc. nuclear stages to obtain the appropriate yields of 1kT to 10kT magnitude order
  3. one year building a robotic fusion detonator production factory
  4. three years building a prototype underground fusion energy power plant
  5. three years building a prototype fusion propelled space ship
  6. worldwide selling phase

And the plan has the following crucial milestones:

  1. the MTF provides a nuclear pulse high enough for igniting a secondary fusion detonation stage
  2. the home country of the developing company provides and hosts civilian nuclear detonations tests up to several 10 kT yield
  3. the roofs of the underground caverns withstand sequent nuclear detonations without collapsing
  4. the space ships damper plates and the electric on-board machinery provides enough electric power for continously igniting the MTF first stages

I will describe now the six phases of a pure fusion development.

Phase 1

The team for phase one is the core team of the company. It does not has to be as big as one would think first. This is because the MTF ignition stage is not very big, only of a yield of some tons explosive power. It is more important to have very creative, talented and interdisciplinary thinking people in the core team. It is compareable to the founding phase of today leading US space company Space X. They also started with a few people but today they are able to supply the international space station.

Scientists:

  • 2 nuclear physicists, doing the overall design and ballancing calculations
  • 2 plasma physicists, calculating and designing the magnetic entrapment for the DT-plasma
  • 2 gas-dynamics engineers: aerospace engineers, who can calculate and simulate the shock wave propagation of the second stage chemical explosives detonation
  • 2 magneto-dynamics engineers: electric engineers who have experiences with strong magnetic fields e.g. from electric motors

Specialists:

  • 3 mechanical engineers, they design any part of the machine
  • 3 electronics engineers, they design the appropriate control electronics and program it
  • 3 explosives experts, experienced persons who can handle safely the dangerous chemicals
  • 3 radioactive materials experts, people from the nuclear industry who have experiences with nuclear substances and waste

Handicraftsmen:

  • 10 metal workers, to build all parts of the machine
  • 10 electric and assembly workers, to assemble all electric and mechanical components
  • 4 truck and crane drivers, some of the parts are very bulky and heavy as I said before

Management:

  • 1 engineering chief, general manager, convinces investors and customers
  • 1 business chief, commercial procuration to relieve the general manager
  • 3 intelligence officers, at least three officers, who report to the government, to the parliament and to the justice are neccessary for the correct balancing
  • 2 secretaries for business administration, the helping hands
  • 1 chief selling manager, starts immediately to plan and build up sales structures and contacts

Team size: 68, team cost: 2 years * (3*8 + 2*12 + 24 + 24) = ca. 200 man years = $10 Mio

The buildings and machines have to be built and organised in the beginning of the company, as always.

Development and Administration Building: $2 Mio

Factory Building: $2 Mio
Machines: $3 Mio
Trucks and Cranes: $1 Mio

Because the MTF fusion detonation first stage is a complete in-house development, the external services and materials to buy are only of smaller amount.

External Services: 1 Mio

Materials: 1 Mio

The complete development of a MTF pure fusion first stage detonation device is compareable cheap. It is a fusion energy source, reaches break even, but is relatively expensive, not suitable as a primary energy source. It’s main purpose is to be the ignition stage for the next stage of the fusion detonator that has to be developed in Phase 2.

Overall: 20 Mio

Risk analysis

The main development risk of this phase is that the MTF provides enough ignition energy for the next stage. If it reaches net energy, it becomes eventually an energy source, but this does not mean that the energy is sufficient to ignite the second stage of the fusion detonator. But only the second stage that is to develop in Phase 2 makes a cheap and economic energy source out of the pure fusion device.

The MTF concept unites the main advantages of the magnetic confinement fusion approach and the chemical detonation approach. Today both do not provide net energy, not the billion dollar Tokamaks and not the tenthousand dollar chemical explosives fusion chambers, but both fuse deuterium and tritium. With the MTF it becomes possible to prepare the deuterium-tritium mixture to near fusion conditions by electromagnetic means and induce the rest of the energy by a chemical explosion. This has the big advantage that the magnet chamber can be very simple and small, the vacuum does not have to be such high, the plasma can even touch the chamber wall for a moment before it is compressed, you do not have all the problems the Tokamaks and Stellarators have. On the other hand the energy of chemical explosives is so low that they normally can fuse only a very tiny portion of deuterium and tritium that only sets free a very small amount of energy, not even enough to destroy at least the reaction chamber. With magnetized target fusion it is much more fuel that can be fusioned. But is it enough for igniting a second more fiercely nuclear fusion reaction? That exactly is the development risk.

The detonation experiments for Phase 1 can be conducted in a light bunker on the factory area, the released radiation is relatively weak. The concrete of the bunker may become partially radioactive with the time.

Milestone 1

It must be shown, that the MTF provides a nuclear blast fiercely enough for igniting a second more conventional DD or at least DT fusion detonator.

Phase 2

The team has to be enlarged for phase 2. We need test managers for planing and conducting nuclear underground tests and military officers from any of the armed forces that supervise the further development. We need two additional nuclear and plasma physicists to have enough manpower for requesting allowances and answering scientific questions in detail, as well providing all scientific results for the military, the government, the investors and others of our supporters. We need some more handicraftsmen, too.

Scientists:

  • 2 nuclear physicists
  • 2 plasma physicists

Handicraftsmen:

  • 3 metal workers
  • 3 electric and assembly workers
  • 2 truck and crane drivers

Management:

  • 2 nuclear underground test managers
  • 4 managing assistants for external military services and suppliers
  • 3 military officers (army, airforce, navy)

The rest of the team remains unchanged.

Team size: 89, team cost: 2 years * (100 + 50) = ca. 300 man years = $15 Mio

We need some additional machines for the bigger structures and an extension of our vehicle fleet. The external services and material will mostly come from the military and are not so expensive, relatively. These services will be providing an area and excavators for conducting bigger underground nuclear explosion tests. But digging deep shafts big enough to contain the nuclear device will be the most expensive part of the external services.

Machines: $3 Mio

Trucks and Cranes: $2 Mio

External Services: $10 Mio

Materials: $5 Mio

Overall: $30 Mio

Risk analysis

The main risk of Phase 2 is the organizational risk to get all testing opportunities fast and relatively uncomplicated. If the first stage works well and provides enough radiation, it should be not that big problem to ignite a second stage using the Ulam principle. But some tests have to be conducted. Of course these tests will not radiate the environment as Uranium or Plutonium fission reactions would do, but a low rest contamination because of the neutron radiation from the fusion reaction in the underground has to be considered as well as the danger of big explosions in the several kT to several 10 kT range.

It must be clear at this point, that though the military is involved for control reasons, the pure fusion detonators are througoutly civilian. A pure fusion detonator for civilian engineering applications uses for example a high power electric MTF primary with some truckloads high current ignition machinery, it uses non-storable cryogenic vapourizing fusion fuels and refuelable liquid explosives for the chemical MTF stage, it provides deeply embedded transponders with ID and chemical trace. The nuclear detonator is therefor non-storable, non-deployable and completely unsuitable as a practical weapon.

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Milestone 2

The hosting country and society has provided the test range for the complete developing time and has allowed all neccessary civilian high yield nuclear underground tests, fast and uncomplicated without loosing too much time and money with bureaucracy. If there are any bigger problems the development should be ended immediately in this country, because it seems the population or it’s administration is not interested in our new technology. Without extensive testing of the energy source each of the following phases is doomed to fail.

Phase 3

In phase 3 a robotic mass production factory for pure fusion detonators is built. No additional team is needed for this. The factory is built by a supplier that works together with our engineers, scientists and handicraftsmen that will have very good experiences until then by building the detonators in a small series. First the factory will adopt the prototyping series while starting to develop an optimized production cyle, much later the factory will produce many units per day with a typical production cost of a typical import compact car per unit material.

Factory building: $10 Mio

Robotic production alley: $90 Mio

Robotic assembly street: $150 Mio

Overall: $250 Mio

Risk analysis

This phase has no known development risk. If the detonators work and if they had been build in smaller manual series for a while it also should be possible to mass-produce them for a price of a typical compact car. This is why companies who build robotic production factories for car manufacturers will be our first choice for this job.

It must be said again at this point that the factory will not deliver thousands of nuclear detonators of barrel size into the world. These devices need a very big machinery for the power electrics and also for the liquid nuclear fuels, e.g. liquid deuterium, at the place where they are utilized. Without that machinery they are only empty casings without any explosive chemicals and no danger for anyone. You can let children play with the devices, they can press all buttons and pull all cables and pipings and nothing can happen, no harm for the children and no harm for the environment.

Any single device has a series number and a transponder inside. The transponder can only be removed with destroying delicate internal structures. But even if a device would once get lost and the transponder would be out of order, it is not working until a technology company with the appropriate equipment and skills in power electrics and liquified gases owns it. Deploying a device as a bomb would mean to drive several truckloads of electrical power equipment and steaming liquified gas tanks from this company to the target. This all means: the chances are very high that despite a mass series production of nuclear detonation devices terrorists will never own a complete functioal system. The risk is the highest in the beginning of the mass production and will lessen with time, because the number of terrorists and their supporters is decreasing because of growing worlwide prosperity due to cheap fusion energy.

Phase 4

Phase 2 ended with a working civilian non-storable, non-deployable medium yield nuclear fusion detonator. Now is the time to use this devices to heat up water to steam in concrete or steel underground vessels and propell turbines on the surface with that hot steam for generating electric energy in huge generators. The explosions are non-continuous but the energy provision is continuous because of the hot steam storing vessels. The energy provision is in the range of 100 MW to 1 GW. The whole plant, the turbines, the generators the power transformers are provided by companies that normally build tunnels, conventional power plants or underground constructions. There is no special nuclear technology needed, because the contamination of the plant will only be underground and very low, because there are no fission products in the pure fusion nuclear detonations.

Management:

  • 4 energy industry managers
  • 8 managing assistants for external industry services and suppliers

The rest of the team can remain unchanged.

Team size: 101, team cost: 3 years * (150 + 30) = ca. 550 man years = ca. $30 Mio

The building of the plant and the machines, as well as the external services and materials is provided by the energy industry. It is relatively expensive, but the power plant will run nonstop as long the turbines and generators work and will therefor enable income in the several $10 Mio per month from the first day of provision. For example with only 5 cents per kWh income a 500 MW plant would earn $18 Mio per month.

Plant Buildings: $200 Mio

Plant Machines: $200 Mio

External Services: $200 Mio

Materials: $100 Mio

Overall: 750 Mio

Risk analysis

The main development risk of this phase is the stability of the roof of the underground caverns. Anything else is well known technology. The radioactivity and contamination is very low and it is not neccessary to ever open the radioactive parts of the plant or to dispose radioactive material of any kind. There is simply not as much radioactive materials production over the centuries that it will be never be neccessary to open the vessels. It should be mentioned here that a plant that can withstand heavy nuclear blasts inside will naturally withstand heavy earthquakes, too.

Milestone 3

The first few hundred detonations with overload show that the designed roof construction will withstand the nuclear blasts under all conditions.

Phase 5

For phase 4 we will need additional experienced managers with very good connection into the shipbuilding, aerospace and robotics industry. Most of the space ship is very heavy and build of construction steel and concrete. The space ship is built in a dock like a sea vessel. Certain instrumentation, flight avionics, cabin climate control unit, will be from the aerospace industry. The generators for the MTF first stage will be from the energy industry, to whom we will have good connections in the meantime. The detonator transportation from the onboard stores of the space ship to the deploy units above the pusher plate during flight will be done fast and very reliable by modern heavy handling robots [4].

Scientists:

  • 2 system engineers, aerospace engineers, doing the overall design and ballancing calculations
  • 2 flight-dynamics engineers: aerospace engineers, who can calculate and simulate the attitude and flight dynamics at lift off and landing
  • 2 quantum electrodynamic experts, physicists that calculate the directed expansion of the nuclear explosion

Management:

  • 2 shipbuilding industry managers
  • 4 managing assistants for external naval industry services and suppliers
  • 1 aerospace industry managers
  • 2 managing assistants for external space industry services and suppliers
  • 1 robotics industry managers
  • 2 managing assistants for external robotics industry services and suppliers

The rest of the team can remain unchanged.

Team size: 119, team cost: 3 years * (180 + 40) = ca. 700 man years = $35 Mio

Space Ship Steel and Concrete Structures: $200 Mio

Space Ship Robotic and Electric Machines: $500 Mio

Launch Area: $100 Mio

External Services: $500 Mio

Materials: $100 Mio

Overall: $1500 Mio

Risk analysis

The main risk when building the space ship is the working of the damper unit. The damper unit not only damps the nuclear detonation supersonic shock wave, it also provides the attitude control of the space ship during propelled flight and the energy production for the high power electric generators that will heat up the MTF first stages during propelled flight. The rest of the space ship is not so risky.

The complete fundamental theory of such nuclear pulse propulsion space ships has been developed during the Orion project [22][23][24]. Nearly all neccessary information has been declassified, because no one seemed to know what to do with that unbeliebable precious treasure for about 50 years.

Mainly the information about the small plutonium bombs for the Orion vessel is still classified, but this is the only relevant subsystem we don’t need at all. The calculation of the directed nuclear plasma expansion is also classified. But in the age of numerical plasma simulation by means of electrodynamics or qantum electrodynamics (QED) it is not such a difficult problem as it was in the 1950s. Yes, the expansion of the nuclear plasma is not spherical, it is a more or less concentrated beam. By means of thin metal layers within the detonators it is possible to give the nuclear plasma a certain direction without the need for a nozzle or any other directing device. This is one of the main principles of a nuclear pulse rocket.

The space ship is huge and heavy because a high mass can absorb the neutron radiation best. This means on the other hand no expensive lightweight construction is needed not at all. It is bulky and built of normal standard off-the-shelf parts, if robots, turbines, generators, computers, pumps. It will look from inside between a vessel and a robotic assembly line. From outside it will look mostly like a flying oil plattform with huge spider legs.

Milestone 4

It must be shown that the blast shield and damper unit construction works properly and reliable. It has to provide a reliable thrust level and attitude control. It must be also shown that the damper unit provides enough mechanical energy to propell huge electric generators that provide the needed high power electricity for the MTF fusion first stages. The modified pure fusion detonators for the space ship must explode in a conical beam in two directions.

Phase 6

For phase 6 no additional Team is required. From now on the company sells the space ships and fusion power plants. It also sells thousands of small size detonators that are needed for the space ships each flight to Mars surface and back. And it sells the medium size detonators that are needed for the power plants one per plant and day.

Selling Nuclear Fusion Plants:

  • the prize for nuclear fusion power plants will be e.g. $1500 Mio each
  • the building time is 3 years
  • the cost for our company will be around $750 Mio as explained before
  • the profit therefore is then $750 Mio total or $250 Mio per anno

Selling Nuclear Fusion Space Ships:

  • the prize for the nuclear pulse space ships may be $2500 Mio each
  • the building time is 3 years
  • the cost is $1400 Mio (it is the $1500 Mio from above minus $100 Mio for the launch area)
  • the profit therefor is $900 Mio total or $300 Mio per anno

Risk analysis

The only risk for phase 6 would be the classical financial risk for the investors of holding money available. The technical development risks should have been solved until this phase, otherwise the company would logically not have reached this phase, if considering the milestones consequently.

The international preconditional situation

Any industry company in the world is able to start the development immediately, any country that has a minimum industry is also able to start immediately. It is also possible to found new startup companies anywhere. The upcoming race may become very interesting. The first few companies who succeed, will become the leading technology companies of the future. The first countries that succeed will become the leading future societies on Earth. This will last at least for the next centuries during the development of Earth and the first steps deeply into the Solar System and beyond. This leader role will not emerge due to military and intellegence power, this is not neccessary for that. It will be the simple but much stronger leading power of inspiration, creativity, willingness to invest, founding of companies, chances for anybody, free science, free living and free trade, compareable to the role the United States had during their moon program.

I personaly hope the United States will be the winners of that fusion and space race because of many reasons. And my hopings will probably come true, because the US have the longest experiences and by far the most experts of inertial confined fusion and MTF. But my own home Europe comes directly on place two and so I think, if I was coincidentally in the right position I could be very pleased to invite interested investors to start immediately developments in my home land Germany. The German laws prohibit the development, trade and transportation of nuclear weapons (§ 17 Abs. 1, Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz, KrWaffKontrG) and this is very good as it is. But it is allowed to develop civilian, peaceful nuclear detonators by law and to test them as long no person and no property is endangered (§ 307, Strafgesetzbuch, StGB). This is my right as a German citicen that I can rely on and I would try so. Whatever the current responsible minister is telling to the German press in this days about the end of nuclear sciences and nuclear industry in Germany [15]. Our ancestors were apparently much wiser and far sighted, when they formulated those laws, than some of todays trendy people are.

So it is in principle possible to found MTF pure fusion development companies under the German law and to approach tests and concern the administrations to support them. Of course, anyone who wants to participate in this nuclear race can do this only with the complete support of his government, parliament and law. And his government has to procure an international consensus to do the developments, e.g. by putting ones card on the table – at least to a certain degree. So there may be some participants in the world who have better chances and some who have very bad chances. This depends on the foresight and vision of the people of Your home country. It seems that I would have very bad chances in my home country despite the very good legal situation. But it is not our job to loose our lifetime while convincing people, is it?

Germany has – like many other countries – ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) [21] but the treaty has not entered into force as of January 2013. This contract forbids the execution of military and civilian nuclear explosion tests. The intention is clear: it is meant to prevent bypassing a test ban for military nuclear explosions by masking them civilian. But the CTBT thereby ends the development of inertial confinement fusion research of every description, because any inertial confinement fusion is by nature a small nuclear explosion. Only continuous fusion research would remain. But this is exactly the field where mankind did not make any major advances for 50 years now because of severe restrictions by physical laws.

The following countries have not signed the treaty until now and therefor will not be controlled by the contract and can further conduct civilian nuclear detonations:

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Somalia
  • Cuba
  • South Sudan
  • Dominica
  • Mauritius
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu

The following countries have not ratified the contract until now:

  • USA
  • China
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel,
  • Egypt,
  • Angola,
  • Brunei,
  • Thailand
  • Burma
  • Chad
  • Congo
  • Sri Lanka
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gambia
  • Nepal
  • Swaziland
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe
  • Comoros
  • Buinea-Bissau
  • Niue
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Solomon Islands
  • Timor Leste

The contract can not enter into force until all these countries have ratified. I disadvise to do so. The treaty may be a big mistake. It does not distinguish between military and civilian nuclear explosions because the initiators did not see or ignored intentionally the great chances of the latter for humanity. Civilian nuclear explosions seem to be the only foreseeable way for humanity to apply fusion energy and get rid of worldwide energy and natural resources poverty. In my oppinion as one of seven billion Earth citizens, as a father, as democrat and humanist, as engineer, as patriotic German and European resident: the treaty has to be formulated completely new and has to distinguish between peaceful and military nuclear detonations. Otherwise any non continuous fusion energy attempt like Laser fusion, ion beam fusion, Z-pinch fusion, MTF fusion had to be closed in the participating countries.

I urgently advise any country in the world that ratified the CTBT to resign. We should start the negotiations again for a test ban treaty for military applications exclusively. A technological distincten between civilian pure fusion non-deployble, non-storable nuclear explosives and their weapons counterpart is possible and is controllable.

_MG_9978

Conclusion

I think the race for pure fusion power has just begun. No one has started it, and it has never been a secret that it could be possible to reach fusion by applying smaller nuclear detonations. But it seems to me that the world recognizes now the MTF as the key technology to clean pure fusion detonations and therefor to the utilization of inertial confinement fusion power plants of the kT yield range. I would like to join this race, immediately, if I could and if my country would support it.

Will other countries have a chance to overhaul the MTF advance of the United States? I think absolutely yes, because, the US didn’t promote this promising technology very consequent. It seems that the funds were much to low and aimlessly scattered. It seems no appropriate defined task existed besides to facilitate the scientific research work to hold an educated and trained atomic scientists staff [26].

It is the biggest adventure any man has ever faced since our common forefathers migration from Africa 1 Mio b.c. It starts in our todays world, planet earth of christian calendar 2013, and ends in a world without any callendar and no need of calculation of time, of virtually endless prosperity, settlement throughout the solar system, affordable spacefaring for the common man, first attempts to reach far stars, and all that in only a few years of development – a very short transitional phase. Possible due to the immense power of nuclear fusion detonations. No idealism, no dreaming, but very hard science, physics, mathematics. This race is as dangerous as it is promising. And it is still enough time for anybody with an industrial background to have part on this adventure of all adventures.

I think it has become clear now how to develop a pure fusion industry in principle. It should be roughly be understood:

  • which kind of professional people are needed
  • which kind of devices have to be developed first
  • which new technologies have to be developed
  • what are the main development risks
  • what are the organizational risks
  • which are the most important existing technologies we rely on
  • which milestones have to be achieved
  • what are the most important supplying industries
  • which political national and international control is inevitable
  • how much money is needed
  • how much time is needed

As I mentioned before, I prefer the US teams and possibly European/German teams for some reasons, but as a sportsman I say for now: Good luck to any competitor and may the best succeed!

Resources

[1] The four stroke thermonuclear motor: https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/the-four-stroke-thermonuclear-motor/

[2] The Nomad fusion reactor: https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/a-revised-version-of-the-fusion-steam-machine/

[3] Transporting heavy duty to the moon: https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/transporting-heavy-duty-to-the-moon/

[4] Why mankind must not fear the pure fusion bomb: https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/why-mankind-must-not-fear-the-pure-fusion-bomb/

[5] The fusion steam machine: https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/the-fusion-steam-machine/

[6] Samuel Cohen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_T._Cohen

[7] Sam Cohen writing about pure fusion weapons: http://www.financialsensearchive.com/editorials/douglass/2003/0311.html

[8] Flying platforms with nuclear pulse propulsion: https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/flying-platforms-with-nuclear-pulse-propulsion/

[9] Project PACER at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_PACER

[10] Small New Scientist column about PACER:  http://books.google.ca/books?id=yySY9lDdGqcC&pg=PA141#v=onepage&q&f=false

[11] Death of PACER mentioned in a New Scientist column: http://books.google.ca/books?id=paExEmGMXlAC&pg=PA437#v=onepage&q&f=false

[12] Some details and drawings of PACER: http://www.osti.gov/bridge/purl.cover.jsp?purl=/6718615-nHBbSQ/6718615.pdf

[13] F. Long, Peaceful Nuclear Explosions in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 1976: http://books.google.ca/books?id=4QsAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA18#v=onepage&q=pacer&f=false

[14] F. Winterberg: Hybrid Chemical-Nuclear Convergent Shock Wave High Gain Magnetized Target Fusion http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvixra.org%2Fpdf%2F1106.0009v1.pdf&ei=V-PmUOWyGJHmtQbUh4HgBg&usg=AFQjCNHOOKmFBwi8HvyrbbiMyDxxEomLXQ&sig2=DNpoWqmdHMC92NYs6Mvrmg&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.Yms

[15] German minister for energy affairs excludes nuclear energy (German): http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/altmaier-sieht-fuer-atomkraft-in-deutschland-keine-chance-mehr-a-875680.html

[16] Distribution of areas on planet earth (German): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/flaechenverteilung-der-erde/

[17] Geopolis Colorado model (German): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/geopolis-modell-der-weltbevoelkerung/

[18] How much people on Earth can be feed with biodynamic food (German): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/wieviele-menschen-koennte-die-oekologische-landwirtschaft-ernaehren/

[19] Methods to reach stellar distances (German): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/methoden-zur-ueberwindung-stellarer-distanzen/

[20] Immortality needed for reaching the stars (German): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/unsterblichkeit-und-die-auferstehung-der-toten/

[21] The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Nuclear-Test-Ban_Treaty

[22] The Orion space ship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_%28nuclear_propulsion%29

[23] George Dyson; Project Orion – The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship: http://www.amazon.com/Project-Orion-Story-Atomic-Spaceship/dp/0805059857

[24] BBC special on the topic of Orion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4k_YZAXSEI

[25] Ivy Mike, first successful nuclear fusion energy release: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Mike

[26] Charles Seife: Sun in a Bottle – The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking, http://www.amazon.com/Sun-Bottle-Strange-Thinking-ebook/dp/B001IH6WOM

Über monstermaschine

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

2 Antworten zu “The Race for Pure Fusion Power

  1. Rasmus ⋅

    „Nuclear detonation oven“ for mining and electricity on the moon, presented by Krafft Ehricke:

    • Krafft Ehricke presented a similar concept in the beginning of the 80th. I developed my lunar reactors without knowing this. Interesting is the difference in the thermodynamic process: His concept of cooling is the so called Harenodynamic Cooling, that is he uses fine sand to get the heat out of the burning chamber. In my concept I use the rock itself as heat sink and blast one burning chamber after tho other. I close the process after a very long time. I appreciate his concept and I’m also happy to see that other people in other times come to similar solutions. My concept is quite more elegant than this of Krafft Ehricke, I would say. But I’m lucky that we know today much more about the moon than he knew at his time.

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