RE: Fusion Reactors

From: Dr. Blake Nelson (
Date: Tue Sep 10 2002 - 08:11:44 EDT

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    --- Rich Blinne <> wrote:
    > If we are talking about a 20-30 yr. gap, there are
    > stop gaps available to
    > us. Our current mix of electric generation is
    > predominately natural gas,
    > coal, and fission. Now I am not as up on the
    > exploration angle to know
    > whether there is a similar problem with natural gas
    > (see below) as there is
    > for oil, but there is not a similar problem for coal
    > expecially if you only
    > have to limp along for thirty years. While natural
    > gas "peaker" plants can
    > be turned on and off to match peak demand, coal and
    > nuclear plants are
    > required to have what is known as spinning reserve,
    > basically wasting energy
    > at night. While clearly this does not have the size
    > of reserves a fusion
    > plant would heve, nevertheless it can be used to
    > store the energy in a
    > convenient chemical form be it H2, CH4, or charging
    > batteries.

    What folks are missing here in the energy issue is
    that known reserves of fissionable materials (assuming
    the construction of new plants), can meet world
    electricity (not auto fuel, etc.) needs for at least
    200-300 years (if there was a total switch over right
    now -- which there obviously couldn't be, so these
    dates would stretch a bit longer) with an open fuel
    cycle and 600-800 years with a closed fuel cycle and
    reprocessing. There are many studies that suggest
    these kinds of time frames. Euratom, the EU, etc.
    have done estimates. Of course, public misconceptions
    of fission don't help.

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