Robert Neil uarn at MCK-UAII.MCK.NCSU.EDU
Tue Jun 3 12:42:58 MDT 1997

On  3 Jun 97 at 10:32, Stephen A. Frye wrote:
> >This is my point. The envronmental wackos will play this confusion
> >to the hilt. Robert, there is no radio-active waste with fusion.
> >
> There is some.  Most definitely not on the grand scale of fission,
> but there is radiation - that's one of the primary methods of
> detecting fusion is the escaping neutrons.  The huge majority of
> these neutrons are captured and converted to heat, but on the scale
> necessary for power generation, there will most definitely be
> detectable radiation.

Thank you, Stephen!

Actually, the plan is for most of the escaping neutrons (a deadly
form of radioactive waste from fusion reactions) to be captured by
U238, causing it to transmutate to Plutonium (to be used in a fission

Most people hear helium and they think kids' balloons. The fact is
that it is not helium at all. Since it is in a plasma condition the
resultant is a helium nucleus - otherwise known as alpha radiation,
which can be very nasty if ingested or breathed in - and free
electrons - otherwise known as beta radiation, also quite nasty to
human flesh.

I think the confusion stems from the fact that there is no radiation
from spent fuel rods like there is in fission reactors. However, the
problems we have with spent fuel rods today is not a technical one.
The technology is here to safely store spent fuel for tens of
thousands of years. The obstacle to its implementation is political.

> If you are worried about what liberals are going to say and confuse,
> then don't give them ammunition by saying there is *no* radiation.

Actually, I think the fusion crowd have done a good job of laying the
groundwork for public acceptance of fusion. One advantage fusion has
had over fission is the weaker association between fusion and
weaponry in the public mind. Most people think of fusion as being
non-radioactive, which is a good thing.

Robert Neil
Computing Consultant II
Urban Affairs - NC State University, Box 7401
Raleigh NC 27695   fax: (919) 515-3642
"A candle may light the way in the darkness, but NUCLEAR POWER
 means we can have cold beer while we watch the Superbowl." CS

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