The mayor of Burnaby, B.C., says he’s concerned about the development of a fusion reactor in his city as revealed in a CBC News report on October 3, 2011, and wants assurance the company involved has the proper licensing and oversight.
Nuclear energy is prohibited in B.C., but that can change — although it would not be a simple process, provincial energy minister Rich Coleman.
Mayor Derek Corrigan says future testing of the project’s massive plasma injector, which will heat plasma gas to one million degrees Celsius, will be monitored by local officials.
“It is the conclusion of staff that the current operation of General Fusion at the Bonneville site does not pose any risk to its neighbours or the surrounding community,” Corrigan said in a statement on Thursday.
The company hopes to build the world’s first commercial fusion reactor within the next three years.
The reactor would be a three-metre-wide steel sphere filled with a spinning mix of molten lead, lithium and super-heated plasma gas. The contents would be compressed with 200 computer-controlled pistons and the resulting shock waves, in theory, would produce a fusion reaction.
In 2011 and 2012, they are planning to collapse liquid metal cavity with 14 pistons to check the symmetry achieved. They also plan to compress in 100 microsecond with high explosive the spheromak plasma from our generator from an initial 40 cm, 1E17 cm-3, 100 eV, 100 us life to a final 4 cm, 1E20 cm-3, 10 keV, 10 us life and therefore demonstrate break-even conditions. We presently have 24 M$ in the bank and 47 employees (and still hiring) to achieve these goals.
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According to company spokesman Michael Delage, the first laboratory tests of the design have gone well, achieving a temperature of 5 million degrees for 1 microsecond. It remains to be seen whether this approach can be scaled up all the way to fusion – and beyond that to break-even. “There are no magnetised plasma experiments that we are aware of at the plasma temperatures and densities necessary for net-gain fusion,” Delage says. “The only way to verify this is by experiment.” The firm has raised the $30 million it says it needs, some of it from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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