fusion

Collin Csuy ccsuy at KENNEDY.WAUSAU.K12.WI.US
Mon Jun 2 00:15:07 MDT 1997


Dennis Putnam wrote:
> Prediction time. In 11 years fusion technology will be perfected. In about
> 20 more people will finally realize that fusion is safe, non-polluting and
> radiation free. Of course, until then the environmental wackos will
> continually lie and confuse fusion and fission scaring everyone about it.
> Governmnet regulations will be rampant trying to control this new nuclear
> menace which is as dangerous as water. The cost of this virtually
> inexaustable energy source will put it out of reach until the third decade
> of the new century. Meanwhile the rest of the world will quickly switch to
> it and stop producing oil sending the prices soaring for it's lone consumer
> the US.
>
As a physics teacher, it is obvious to me that fusion power is the
answer to the eventual shortage of fossil fuels.  Forgive the lesson,
but in case some of you are not informed and too shy to ask . . .
.Fusion is the energy releasing process that occurs in the sun (and
other stars).  As hydrogen atoms are fused and become helium atoms,
there is some leftover mass (m) that is converted into energy (E)to the
tune of E=mc^2. Harnessing the energy-making process that occurs in the
stars is pretty cool in theory, but pretty hot in practice.  To get the
hydrogen to fuse requires million degree temperatures which have the
nasty habit of melting the darn container.  The reason for the 11 year
prediction is to allow time for the perfection of magnetic containment
walls and/or laser targeting systems.   In the end, we will take
hydrogen from water and convert it into virtually unlimited low-cost
electricity.  Oh, and about the helium waste product; I suggest using it
in childrens' balloons. :)
A side note: Some scientists are still working on cold fusion which
would not require the million degree temperatures.  To me, fusion, by
any other name, sounds just as sweet.
Optimistically yours,
--
Collin Csuy
Chemistry - Wausau West Science Department
ccsuy at wausau.k12.wi.us
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