Tag Archives | Plasma

All-American Nuclear Explosion Photos

Photo: US Government Defense Threat Reduction Agency

This photo-article in The Atlantic contains some rare and disturbingly beautiful photos from the era of reckless American nuclear testing.  It includes a few of the really interesting photos taken just a millisecond after detonation, when the explosion is still a relatively tiny ball of plasma.

 

“Since the time of Trinity — the first nuclear explosion in 1945 — nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed. Most of these occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. When the technology was new, tests were frequent and often spectacular, and they led to the development of newer, more deadly weapons. Since the 1990s, there have been efforts to limit the testing of nuclear weapons, including a U.S. moratorium and a U.N. comprehensive test ban treaty. As a result, testing has slowed — though not halted — and there are looming questions about who will take over for those experienced engineers who are now near retirement?

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Can You Build a Fusion Reactor for $20 million?

phase-2-plasma-assy-sectionIn a fascinating new interview, the CEO of General Fusion explains why he believes today’s cheap digital signal processors have now actually become powerful enough to control a fusion energy-generating plasma reaction!

“Those involved in science should be curious, but it’s easier to just dismiss us… There’s a feeling that the research has to be done by a government, that it costs billions of dollars and that 3,000 smart people can’t be wrong.” But working with just $9 million from private investors and a $12.9 million grant, General Fusion is currently finishing their components, and in 2011 they’ll assemble the reactor. And if his company succeeds, they’ll create a virtually unlimited source of clean energy.

“Electric plants in the United States take three trainloads of coal a day, but you could run a fusion reactor with one truckload of heavy water for a year.”

The interviewer was blown away by the importance of the moment.… Read the rest

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Thermonuclear Reactor To Use Coconut Shells

“In what sounds like it could be the beginnings of a Star Trek-like Federation, the United States has joined the European Union, Japan, the Russian Federation, China, Korea, and India in negotiations for the establishment of the burning plasma prototype facility…[and] a key component of a $10 billion nuclear fusion plant is vintage 2002 Indonesian coconut-shell charcoal!”

After a 20-year search, German researchers discovered that the coconut-shell charcoal is the best medium for “adsorbing” waste byproducts sucked out of the thermonuclear reaction’s vaccuum chamber. In what will be the first fusion power facility that’s commercially viable, magnetic fields will heat hydrogen isotypes to over 150 million degrees Centrigrade. (Essentially, the super-hot plasma creates artificial stars.)

“It’s not quite a Starship warp drive, but it does harness the power of the sun.”

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