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Debate: Fusion power

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Revision as of 15:17, 28 June 2010 (edit)
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Revision as of 15:19, 28 June 2010 (edit)
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
''Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here'' ''Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here''
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====Con==== ====Con====
*'''The transformation of kinetic energy of neutrons to electricity is a complicated process''' - Most of the energy obtained by fusion of atomic nuclei is in the form of kinetic energy of emitted neutrons. It's a long way from there to electricity - at least from present day perspective, since the only way known how to utilize this energy is to convert it to heat first (usually through neutron collisions with (molten) sodium), and then use this heat to drive a heat engine (steam turbine usually) connected to an electrical generator. Naturally, with new theoretical and experimental findings, this may all change in the future, but for now, fusion is primarily just a way how to (possibly) generate a lot of heat. *'''The transformation of kinetic energy of neutrons to electricity is a complicated process''' - Most of the energy obtained by fusion of atomic nuclei is in the form of kinetic energy of emitted neutrons. It's a long way from there to electricity - at least from present day perspective, since the only way known how to utilize this energy is to convert it to heat first (usually through neutron collisions with (molten) sodium), and then use this heat to drive a heat engine (steam turbine usually) connected to an electrical generator. Naturally, with new theoretical and experimental findings, this may all change in the future, but for now, fusion is primarily just a way how to (possibly) generate a lot of heat.
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=== Safety: Is fusion a safe way to produce electricity? === === Safety: Is fusion a safe way to produce electricity? ===
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*'''No chain reaction is involved.''' Given the fact that no chain reaction during fusion is involved, fusion can be easily brought under control in a matter of seconds. *'''No chain reaction is involved.''' Given the fact that no chain reaction during fusion is involved, fusion can be easily brought under control in a matter of seconds.
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*'''There is no known way how to efficiently produce muons''' - Muons are usually obtained by the decay of pions, which can be prepared rather inefficiently in hadron collisions. There is currently no known way how to produce muons in some easier way. *'''There is no known way how to efficiently produce muons''' - Muons are usually obtained by the decay of pions, which can be prepared rather inefficiently in hadron collisions. There is currently no known way how to produce muons in some easier way.
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
*'''Fusion does not produce any GHG emissions.''' Fusion powers is beneficial for the environment as it does not produce any harmful gases that would contribute to global warming or would harm the ozone layer. *'''Fusion does not produce any GHG emissions.''' Fusion powers is beneficial for the environment as it does not produce any harmful gases that would contribute to global warming or would harm the ozone layer.
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*'''No transport of radioactive materials is required''' in the day-to-day operation of a fusion power station, as the intermediate fuel is produced and consumed within the power plant. *'''No transport of radioactive materials is required''' in the day-to-day operation of a fusion power station, as the intermediate fuel is produced and consumed within the power plant.
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====Con==== ====Con====
''Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here'' ''Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here''
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- +===Future: Will fusion power become a reality within the next 30 years?===
-===Will fusion power become a reality within the next 30 years?===+
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
*'''Prototype tokamak fusion reactor proves successful.''' [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080910090831.htm "Prototype Superconductor For Tokamak Fusion Reactor Proves Successful", ScienceDaily, September 2008] Fusion for Energy Director, Didier Gambier: "This is a breakthrough for the fusion community. We have successfully tested and demonstrated a key technology milestone which is integral to the success of ITER." *'''Prototype tokamak fusion reactor proves successful.''' [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080910090831.htm "Prototype Superconductor For Tokamak Fusion Reactor Proves Successful", ScienceDaily, September 2008] Fusion for Energy Director, Didier Gambier: "This is a breakthrough for the fusion community. We have successfully tested and demonstrated a key technology milestone which is integral to the success of ITER."
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''Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here'' ''Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here''
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Revision as of 15:19, 28 June 2010

Does fusion power represent the future of energy generation?

Background and Context of Debate:

Efficiency: Is fusion an efficient way to generate electricity?

Pro

Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here


Con

  • The transformation of kinetic energy of neutrons to electricity is a complicated process - Most of the energy obtained by fusion of atomic nuclei is in the form of kinetic energy of emitted neutrons. It's a long way from there to electricity - at least from present day perspective, since the only way known how to utilize this energy is to convert it to heat first (usually through neutron collisions with (molten) sodium), and then use this heat to drive a heat engine (steam turbine usually) connected to an electrical generator. Naturally, with new theoretical and experimental findings, this may all change in the future, but for now, fusion is primarily just a way how to (possibly) generate a lot of heat.

Safety: Is fusion a safe way to produce electricity?

Pro

  • No chain reaction is involved. Given the fact that no chain reaction during fusion is involved, fusion can be easily brought under control in a matter of seconds.

Con

Is muon catalysed fusion a viable option?

Pro

  • Muon catalyzation would bring the temperatures at which fusion can occur down - Muons, due to their higher mass than electrons, binds the deuterium and tritium nuclei much tighter than electrons, significantly increasing the probability of the fusion process, enabling the fusion to occur at near-room temperatures.

Con

  • There is no known way how to efficiently produce muons - Muons are usually obtained by the decay of pions, which can be prepared rather inefficiently in hadron collisions. There is currently no known way how to produce muons in some easier way.

Environment: Is fusion desirable?

Pro

  • Fusion does not produce any GHG emissions. Fusion powers is beneficial for the environment as it does not produce any harmful gases that would contribute to global warming or would harm the ozone layer.
  • Fusion produces less waste than fission. Compared to nuclear fission, fusion produces less packaged waste. Moreover, this waste won't be a long-term burden on future generations as any radioactive waste generated will be small in volume and the radioactivity will decay over several decades with the possibility of reuse after about 100 years.
  • No transport of radioactive materials is required in the day-to-day operation of a fusion power station, as the intermediate fuel is produced and consumed within the power plant.

Con

Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here


Future: Will fusion power become a reality within the next 30 years?

Pro

Con

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See also

External links and resources

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