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Japan venture to build country's first nuclear fusion power plant

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First of all they are planning to build FUSION not FISSION (same type as all other operational nuclear power plants). Fusion power plants do not produce nuclear waste which have half life measured in tens of thousands years. Also, fusion reactors do not operate under pressure so they are supposed to be safe. However, what is bugging me is this timeline of five years. It just seems way too short for the first fusion power plant.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

It takes an immense amount of effort to keep the fusion going, which is the reason why only Korea actually managed to keep the hydrogen plasma going at fusion temperature for a prolonged period, all other's efforts failed and fusion plasma control is basically a Korean secret sauce at the moment.

Huh? The Joint European Torus (JET) in Oxford UK just set the record for the most power produced by a sustained fusion reaction. They sustained a fusion reaction for about 5 seconds and produced 59 megajouls of energy.

China holds the current record for the Longest Sustained Nuclear Fusion Superheated plasma reached 126 million degrees Fahrenheit for 17 minutes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Anything to keep the envelopes rolling to stop the advent of a green Japan no longer dependent on graft and corruption. What would they even do?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How much of this is free money from tax payers with no strings attached and no

obligation to pay back. I bet you it is all money down the drain. Easy come easy go.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@drlucifer

Probably, but it's a goal worth pursuing. If they make any contribution to making nuclear fusion power a reality, then it's a worthy investment.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Great news!

Coupled with NIF, ITER, and what the South Koreans and Chinese have been doing, we might finally move from fusion being in a perpetual state of being 30 years away, to being actually 10 years away.

I still say we build loads of mini thorium reactors as a stopgap until then.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Fusion energy has always been 50 years away, according to an uncle who worked in the field in the 1960’s

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This...is actually really cool.

I don't expect to see it operating at a level that we can reliably generate power from it for a long while yet, but you don't get there without transitory steps. Stil, this is the kind of research that could really alleviate a lot of energy problems in the future, safely.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The issue with nuclear energy in Japan is invisible regulations; a lack of enforcement by the government and disdain at compliance from the energy companies. They are clearly in cahoots lining each others pockets, rife with corruption and nepotism. An independent commission after Fukushima clearly stated that the disaster was man-made resulting from incompetence, arrogance, and confusion and not from the earthquake or tsunami. Nuclear energy can be relatively safe in Japan even with the threat of earthquakes if regulations are enforced and complied.

Japan has little too to zero natural energy resources. Pretty much everything has to be imported. They're already behind in renewable energy and hydro electricity is severely limited due to geography.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

LOL, Chinese record is for nothing, since they are heating up electron and not hydrogen ion. Electrons don't fuse, so heating electron is worthless.

So why are Chinese heating up electrons in their Tokamaks instead of hydrogen ions? Because electron is easy to heat up and control unlike hydrogen ion plasma.

Are you sure?

Fusions reactors heat up plasma.

What does heating electrons even mean?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Great news.

The knowledge and will to do such things has been around for at least a decade. In the coming decades, this technology will prevail. We need to understand that the oil industry and related products cannot be shut down overnight, either because of profits or jobs that are not negligible.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nuclear fusion is promising, but I think it is a long time before the engineering problems are solved.

Japan should install Gen III nuclear reactors right now, they work and they are walk-away safe, unlike designs like Fukushima Daiichi.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

from same source cited above https://www.euro-fusion.org/news/2022/european-researchers-achieve-fusion-energy-record/

JET of unique importance

The Joint European Torus (JET) fusion experiment – which can create plasmas reaching temperatures of 150 million degrees Celsius, 10 times hotter than the centre of the sun – is a vital test bed for ITER, one of the biggest collaborative science projects in history. JET can reach conditions similar to those in ITER and future fusion power plants, and is the only operational tokamak in the world that can use the same deuterium-tritium (D-T) fuel mix planned for those devices.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gaijintraveller

I thought started doing this in the 1960s and after spending a fortune on this and a few accidents decided to call it a day and give up on nuclear fusion.

Does not every technology look impossible at first, before it becomes possible? You should read what they said about the first automobiles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If press releases are to be believed, we have been on the cusp of unlimited fusion power for the last 60 years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

zichiFeb. 14  11:15 pm JST

MilesTeg

the nuclear disaster was manmade because the atomic plant was not built to higher enough safety standards. When TEPCO built the site they lowered the cliff to reduce the cost of the cooling fans. Not reducing the cliff height would have saved the destruction from the tsunami.

I have stated on this forum since 2011 that it was manmade even before TEPCO also finally admitted it.

But the plant was not built to high enough safety standards because everyone involved in the atomic village did not believe any nuclear disaster was ever possible. Stupid as it now sounds.

The power companies were in the pockets of the LDP for decades.

That's not what the independent commission report said.

'the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions.'

Collusion, lack of governance, faulty organizational and regulatory systems. These point to a lot more than substandard safety.

The report focuses more on the response from the gov't and TEPCO as it was the reason why it became a disaster not because of the earthquake/tsunami or substandard safety. It was the aftermath; response or lack of, from the gov't and TEPCO that caused the disaster.

Believe what you want. I could care less. But I'll take the word of a panel of experts who thoroughly investigated for over a year rather than some 'guy' on the internet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichiToday  04:05 pm JST

MilesTeg

Believe what you want. I could care less. But I'll take the word of a panel of experts who thoroughly investigated for over a year rather than some 'guy' on the internet.

there is no need to insult. I have posted on the nuclear disaster since 2011 and produced many articles for the media.

I was an electrical engineer with extensive experience including power generation but not with nuclear.

I accept your cause and effect. Because of all those involved in the nuclear village the disaster happened.

I have also read numerous reports and studied them.

You support the use of nuclear energy and at least in this country I do not.

Not my intention to insult. But if you refuse to accept the findings of a nonbiased group of experts who spent a lot of time thoroughly investigating and had the balls to point the finger at the gov't and a corrupt energy company which is never done in Japan, then I truly could care less if you don't believe the report. Sorry.

And I also consider myself just another 'guy' on the internet.

I stated that I support nuclear energy in Japan only if regulations are enforced and complied with. If not, it's too risky a venture. Japan is a country where nuclear energy regulations, enforcement, and compliance have to be much more stringent than other countries due to its natural disasters. Due to the lack of natural energy resources in Japan, without nuclear energy Japan will need to rely heavily on fossil fuels and we'll end up paying much much more since renewable energy development is far behind many other countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese leaders both public and private have known for decades the country had limited ways to generate electricity and power vehicles, but stayed with burning fossil fuels and building nuke plants while minimizing , even sometimes ignoring development of renewables.

It would be nice to think this would work and could replace burning huge amounts of fossil fuels or relying on aged nuke plants, but I worry the fossils who've made fortunes off of fossil fuels and nukes will do what they can to sabotage alternatives to the systems they have profited greatly from for so long.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

*It takes an immense amount of effort to keep the fusion going, which is the reason why only Korea actually managed to keep the hydrogen plasma going at fusion temperature for a prolonged period, all other's efforts failed and fusion plasma control is basically a Korean secret sauce at the moment.*

Nonsense! You don't know what you are talking about. What does that even mean?

Keeping the fusion stable is not the only problem. The challenge is being able to sustain the fusion reaction long enough to extract useful energy. In fact right now, the issue is really to produce as much energy as the energy needed to control the fusion reaction itself. A condition called breaking-even point. Currently the most promising design is based on creating a high-energy hydrogen plasma and then using intense magnetic fields to contain and compress it. This is generally done in a toroidal structure called a tokamak. The EUROfusion group seems to be the most advanced and close to achieve breaking-even fusion energy. They announced a few days ago that they have been able to produce a record 59 mega-joules of energy for 5 seconds on the Joint European Torus device (JET). JET is at the moment the most powerful tokamak on the planet with a previous record of 22 mega-joules of useful energy produced in 1997. The devise serves as an experimental and validation platform for the much bigger device ITER, which construction is being finalized in France. In fact people working on that project believes that if they can maintain fusion for five seconds, they can do it for five minutes and then five hours as they scale up their operations in future machines. The ITER will be the first major step into that scaling and is now expected to begin experimental runs in 2025. ITER is expected to go well past the break-even point and host self-sustaining fusion reactions in which the energy produced remains above the energy needed to control the reaction.

https://www.euro-fusion.org/news/2022/european-researchers-achieve-fusion-energy-record/

Though experimental reactors to prove the feasibility of nuclear fusion reaction exist in Japan and abroad, "a plant that actually generates power is rare even on a global basis,

Nonsense. This dude should make a reality check and get out of his reality distorsion. He is being late in the game, cf above.

As a side remark, another method for achieving fusion is to use many high-powered lasers which deliver an extremely intense burst of energy that crushes and heats a small pellet of hydrogen isotopes, producing a short burst of fusion. This is the approach taken at the National Ignition Facility, which has put up some impressive results in terms of the amount of energy produced. However the current main issue with this design is to be able to create a sustain release of energy because the lasers need to be recycled and the targets need to be replaced. But when the system is ready for another burst, the heat generated by the first has already dissipated.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nphys4220

0 ( +4 / -4 )

China sets record with its 70 million degree Celsius artificial sun. Like the poster wrote, what could possibly go wrong, rains of fire?

But I suppose there were also people who were afraid Columbus would sail off the ends of the earth as well.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Go with Thorium, it's safe, but not interesting from a weapon viewpoint, so it's ignored by the governments.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I would like to know precisely what they plan to research that is not being covered elsewhere, including ITER which Japan is part of. Otherwise this sounds like duplication of effort just to line their own pockets.

They won’t be building a power plant as no one has yet achieved break-even let alone sustained net power generation on an economic scale. It may be the goal to which everyone is working but as yet we simply don’t know how to do it. It is going to take a lot more research, money and time to reach that point. Functioning, operational fusion generation plants won’t be in operation for decades yet to come, meanwhile we need solutions now, which is why Japan and other countries need to implement existing technology in both renewables and walk away safe fusion power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichiToday  01:28 pm JST

The Fukushima nuclear disaster happened because everyone involved with the nuclear village from the government, to the atomic safety agencies and the power companies believed a nuclear disaster could never happen in this country.

It wasn’t that the regulations were not enforced, they just were not good enough to prevent a nuclear disaster from happening from the most powerful earthquake and largest tsunami in Japanese recorded history.

Just imagine what would have happened if that earthquake had occurred under the plant or even next to it.

The commission stated that it had little to do with the scope of the earthquake and tsunami.

A “manmade” disaster The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident it was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly “manmade.” We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of any specific individual. (see Recommendation 1).

https://www.nirs.org/wp-content/uploads/fukushima/naiic_report.pdf

You don't remember prior to this incident, these others:

Reactor workers suffer radiation burns because their boots were too short.

Reactor workers injured carrying heavy water in pails.

Reactor workers remove three control rods by mistake when trying to install one causing uncontrolled sustained reaction.

Three reactor workers exposed to lethal does of radiation; two died during preparation of a uranyl nitrate solution.

More than 100 workers exposed to harmful radiation levels during repairs

There's a history of nuclear energy doing whatever they want when they want with no to little regard for safety mainly because they're all in collusion and the government doesn't check or enforce regulations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The devise serves as an experimental and validation platform for the much bigger device ITER, which construction is being finalized in France. In fact people working on that project believes that if they can maintain fusion for five seconds, they can do it for five minutes and then five hours as they scale up their operations in future machines. 

You do know that 5 second test is JETs last? It is not structurally safe any more. The heat and pressure from repeated tests has weakened it. I'm not sure we have the necessary material science to permit a fusion reaction to be sustained for years in a commercial power generation plant. Temperatures at or above that of the sun are going to be very difficult to contain.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ian

Are you sure?

Yes, I am absolutely sure.

What does heating electrons even mean?

Ask the Chinese why they are doing that.

Chinese are heating up electron in their tokamak, all their claimed temperature numbers are for electrons, hydrogen ion half that.

This is the reason why JET's press release didn't include hydrogen ion temperature number, because nothing has changed in this regards; in plain English, JET carried out fuel injection test during their normal 5 second pulse test, something the Koreans have not done to date as they are focused on sustaining 100 million K hydrogen ion plasma for 300 seconds, at which point you can now sustain the plasma indefinitely.

Was hoping you'll post your sources so we can also see the numbers

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyway I've read iter uses / will use three sources of heating one of which is the electron heating method.

It's not worthless.

iter.org

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The nuclear power plants should have been constructed with 100% safety regardless of the costs.

Nothing humans do and nothing in the natural world are ever 100% safe. Your home has multiple dangers. You probably know about some and you manage those risks. Some like kids climbing on oven doors and over turning ranges are less well known (there is a bracket to prevent these tip overs). Driving, flying, taking a train or bus has dangers. Your office has dangers. It is a physical impossibility to ever make anything 100% safe even if money is no object. The goal is to manage risks to the lowest practical level and the real effort must be aimed at training operators. Training and leadership matter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The nuclear power plants should have been constructed with 100% safety regardless of the costs.

You seem to be saying safety is the only metric that matters. I guess you'd agree in dropping speed limits to 20km/h as well, as that would ensure nearly 100% safety.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good initiative, hope for success.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought started doing this in the 1960s and after spending a fortune on this and a few accidents decided to call it a day and give up on nuclear fusion.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@ian

Are you sure?

Yes, I am absolutely sure.

What does heating electrons even mean?

Ask the Chinese why they are doing that.

Chinese are heating up electron in their tokamak, all their claimed temperature numbers are for electrons, hydrogen ion half that.

This is the reason why JET's press release didn't include hydrogen ion temperature number, because nothing has changed in this regards; in plain English, JET carried out fuel injection test during their normal 5 second pulse test, something the Koreans have not done to date as they are focused on sustaining 100 million K hydrogen ion plasma for 300 seconds, at which point you can now sustain the plasma indefinitely.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

What could possibly go wrong?

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@bearandrodent

What could possibly go wrong?

Fusion can be stopped immediately unlike fission.

It takes an immense amount of effort to keep the fusion going, which is the reason why only Korea actually managed to keep the hydrogen plasma going at fusion temperature for a prolonged period, all other's efforts failed and fusion plasma control is basically a Korean secret sauce at the moment.

So just pressing a big red button will kill the fusion reaction.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

@Desert Tortoise

Huh? The Joint European Torus (JET) in Oxford UK just set the record for the most power produced by a sustained fusion reaction. They sustained a fusion reaction for about 5 seconds and produced 59 megajouls of energy.

Do you even understand what JET does? JET is a pulsating tokamak; because it cannot sustain fusion temperature, it generates plasma in a pulse; temperature goes up, hits the target, then drops off, all in a 5 second cycle. What they are saying is that they actually tested the injection of deuterium-tritium fuel inside the tokamak in a 5 second pulse, not actually sustain 100 million K fusion temperature like what the Koreans are doing.

China holds the current record for the Longest Sustained Nuclear Fusion Superheated plasma reached 126 million degrees Fahrenheit for 17 minutes.

LOL, Chinese record is for nothing, since they are heating up electron and not hydrogen ion. Electrons don't fuse, so heating electron is worthless.

So why are Chinese heating up electrons in their Tokamaks instead of hydrogen ions? Because electron is easy to heat up and control unlike hydrogen ion plasma.

I repeat my statement. Only the Korean team has so far managed to sustain 100 million kelvin fusion temperature of hydrogen ion plasma for more than 1 second. This is what makes the Korean achievement so unique and remarkable.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I don't understand what this venture is trying to do.

Only one country on earth has managed to sustain 100 million K fusion plasma temperature for longer than 1 second(30 seconds to be exact), Korea. Japan is like a decade behind Korea in fusion research, having maxed out at 50 million K before giving up in 2015.

Accordingly, only Koreans have the experience and technology to build a functional fusion powerplant. They are so far ahead of everyone else they aren't waiting for the completion of ITER and is jumping straight K-DEMO, the world's first and only demonstrational fusion power plant.

https://www.ajudaily.com/view/20211231125131521

Government roadmap calls for preliminary concept design of demonstration reactor in 2023

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

What? Oh my God, no.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

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