June 8th, 2012
09:07 AM ET

Taylor Wilson: Why we need nuclear energy

Editor's note: Taylor Wilson first became fascinated with nuclear power at the age of 10. The Nevada teen-ager is the youngest person in the world to build a nuclear fusion reactor and has won dozens of national science awards. Now 18, he is now aiming to use his vast knowledge of nuclear physics to try and make nuclear fusion a viable source of power.

By Taylor Wilson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Many of the problems we face as a society are rooted in energy. Conflicts are driven by our unending quest for fossil fuels. Clean water, stable food supplies and manufacturing and innovation are all driven by this unquenchable appetite for energy.

As a society we lack that stable supply of energy. There is, however, one source that is completely clean, immensely powerful and incredibly abundant: nuclear fusion.

When the power of the atom was first discovered in the 1930s, scientists immediately realized the atom’s potential not only as a weapon but as a force of good - one that could provide abundant energy, ensure stable food supplies and eradicate disease. In the 1940s, the crash program known as the Manhattan Project brought together the greatest minds in the country to unlock this strong nuclear force. During the next two decades, the promise and peril of nuclear technology was demonstrated and entered American popular culture.

I recently went with a group of friends to see the new "Avengers" movie. It’s impossible to avoid how nuclear technology directly influenced many of characters, from the peril of Bruce Banner’s alter ego, the Hulk, to the promise of Tony Stark’s Arc Reactor. These characters were first penned during the height of American nuclear research in the early 1960s. Popular culture as a whole recognized that while threatening, the newfound power of the atom was the future.

One of these technologies, nuclear fusion, is perhaps the disruptive technology that we are in desperate need of. We don’t have the energy source that the human race will need to survive centuries into the future. We are polluting our planet with fossil fuels and even without this eventuality, the simple fact of the matter is we won’t have fossil fuels forever. In fact, we won’t even have uranium to run commercial nuclear power plants for all that long either. Even if we did, the problems with accidents and spent nuclear fuel are still a major concern with these plants.

Nuclear fusion, on the other hand, is potentially more powerful than our fission-based power stations but depending on the fuel cycle, produces very little to no residual radiation or radioactive waste. It is also universally abundant. The fuels, whether they be hydrogen, heavy-hydrogen, lithium or boron, are found all around us.

Unfortunately, after decades of research, the so called “break-even” point — obtaining more power out of a fusion reaction than is put in - has eluded researchers. The traditional approach of magnetic confinement (typically Tokamaks which essentially consist of a large magnetic thermos for super-hot plasma) works great in principle but as these reactors are scaled up, so are the instabilities that cool the plasma.

Even with these billion-dollar machines, Tokamaks such as ITER are only able to burn Deuterium-Tritium fuels - the byproducts of which lead to low and medium level radioactive waste, extreme structural materials degradation and lead to much of the energy leaving the reactor without imparting energy to the system.

I built a fusion reactor, although very inefficient, when I was fourteen. While that device is old news and intrinsically cannot produce break-even, it can burn the other fuel cycles - the “holy grails” of fusion power that the big-boys’ toys can’t.

For a few million dollars, smaller disruptive technologies of various designs like that reactor will, in my opinion, bring nuclear fusion power closer to reality than the billion-dollar projects ever will. Nuclear energy from fusion provides the energy for all the life we see around us - plants and animals, you and me.

And while it’s easy for the stars to do it with lots of gravity at their disposal, we scientists here on earth have to get clever to unlock its secrets. When we do, we will have brought the power of the heavens down to earth, unlocking the fabled Prometheus’ Fire. and we will have the energy source we need to survive long into the future.

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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Douglas

    secure and safe atomic energy
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8n7j5k-_G8&w=640&h=390]

    June 20, 2014 at 10:47 am | Reply
  2. klausttimo

    We are very, very far from creating usable fusion. Our containment vessels fail to contain the several million degrees fusion needs, and they can't sustain the impact of a freaking miniature sun blowing up in them.

    Perhaps one day we will research fusion, but we won't get it in time. Fossils fuels are going to run out in a century or two.

    Why don't you talk about RECYCLING FISSION WASTE. I wrote about it here: http://thetruthinmyopinion.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/nuclear-energy-recycling/

    But basically it will make our 200 year supply of URANIUM last around 30,000 to 60,000 years. Then we would have plenty of time to research fusion. We need an intermediate energy first before we can devote ourselves to Prometheus.

    September 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  3. drinking

    I do accept as true with all the concepts you have introduced to your post. They're very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for starters. May just you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  4. Pharmb621

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    July 25, 2012 at 3:51 am | Reply
  5. Steve

    Very impressive indeed. Taylor Wilson was featured on our facebook page

    http://www.facebook.com/TechGeniusonline

    Keep up the great work! The great minds of our future.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  6. jlmemom

    Cute, but too immature to think about safety and ecology.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:18 am | Reply
    • Sage

      There are many, many unforeseeable problems that can, and WILL arise when attempting to smash tiny atoms together. First of all you need a containment vessel, strong enough to withstand the initial blast (which will probably have the same energy output as the surface of the sun, if not more) then you will need to build subsequent containment vessels around the original (due to the original containment's collapse from the immense power outburst) to hold this newly created plank length star together until it can mature into something actually useable. Conditions at the facility where the actual 'fusion' is occurring would have to be near absolute zero, anything higher and you may severely alter the climate of the entire planet. Not saying fusion is impossible, but we've known how to DO it for a long time, it's just the factor of CONTAINING the energy that makes it nearly impossible to replicate without causing severe irreversible damage to our Eco-sphere

      June 12, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
  7. Michael

    I'm still in favor of going back to the hunter-gatherer concept of survival. Seems like there would be many less problems.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • Nathan

      I agree with Michael. We should all do away with technology and agriculture and live among the forest!

      June 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  8. Kynt

    Great article, concise summary of the issue. But while you address the finiteness of fuels, what about the finiteness of those resources and materials needed to build reactors in the first place?

    http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals/Recycling.htm

    June 11, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  9. Alkebu

    Considering the United States is the only nation that ever used a Nuclear Bomb on anyone. Why is it that this nation consistently puts road blocks in the way of other nations developing their nuclear capabilities. Yet the media plays up this young persons achievements and reports that other nations are terrorist for what they do in their own sovereign nations. Double Standards in reporting doesn't make for a believable media.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
    • avogt

      Read the story a little closer. He is talking about nuclear fusion rather than fission. Currently all reactors being built are fission reactors (splitting of atoms). The inherent dangers of these reactors and the weapons they can be used to produce are why countries are against other countries gaining that ability.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • feras

      Yes, fission is like a baby fusion. It's the energy found on the surface of the sun. Now the sun is 93 million miles away yet we still receive heat from it. Imagine that amount of energy applied to a whole city. Now imagine that amount of energy used as a weapon. Big trouble.Very big trouble.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
      • Bcow

        "Yes, fission is like a baby fusion. It's the energy found on the surface of the sun. Now the sun is 93 million miles away yet we still receive heat from it. Imagine that amount of energy applied to a whole city. Now imagine that amount of energy used as a weapon. Big trouble.Very big trouble."

        The human race will likely never be able to produce fusion energy on the same scale as the sun does. The sun converts millions upon millions of tonnes of matter into energy every second. I am not talking about hydrogen, I am talking about strict matter (E=mc^2). When a thermonuclear bomb detonates it converts a small portion of its mass into energy. It does not take much mass to get a lot of energy.

        Now, nuclear fission and fusion are two different things entirely, but both death with the strong and weak nuclear forces. The strong nuclear force delivers most the punch, but the weak force is responsible for a slight bit to, but that is not important.

        We cannot just bury our heads in the sand because something can be used as a weapon. Oil was once used as a weapon. Many technologies have unwanted abilities associated with them. We managed to create fusion and fission powered bombs before we were able to make power stations from them. Nuclear fusion is the next logical step in our technological evolution, with perhaps anti-matter after that... who knows.

        Our energy needs will always rise as with our population. New sources, as well as cleaner more efficient fuels need to be developed, and nuclear fusion, whether it be from inertial confinement, or magnetic confinement, is important.

        June 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  10. Gerrit

    Energy production from the strong nuclear force causes many problems, that's true. Recently there are indications that energy production from the weak nuclear force is also feasible, which would not produce radioactive waste. Maybe Taylor could invest some time in that topic too.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:26 am | Reply
  11. Fill

    There is no such thing as safe nuclear. It is inherently unsafe and then you also are asked to take the leap of faith that the industries, governments, and human operators and designers will work flawlessly. What will replace oil and coal will be better efficiency in energy use, and regular old hydro, geothermal, solar, bioengineering, etc. Richard Sears gave a brief TED talk that essentially said that: replacing energy coming from oil and coal will simply be coming by the very nature of the evolution of technology as time goes on.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:10 am | Reply
    • Johan S

      You need to educate yourself about nuclear physics. Start by reading about aneutronic fusion.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:27 am | Reply
    • Johan S

      You need to first know the differene between nuclear fission energy (current technology) and nuclear fusion which is much safer for a variety of reasons. And 100 times safer than plain nuclear fusion enrgy is aneutronic fusion.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:30 am | Reply
  12. Logan

    A better alternative to both fission and high-pressure U235 fusion is a low-pressure Thorium LFTR. Check out this link... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw

    June 11, 2012 at 1:46 am | Reply
  13. jaimie

    Nuclear energy is not clean. Yes, it goes a long way but the aftermath is thousands of years of radioactivity. What do we do when there is no where else to place nuclear waste? Why subject the future humans that will be on this earth to deal with the radiation and leaks. Sounds selfish which it is. We can be energy efficient tho not in the capacity of nuclear energy. But the consequences of nuclear energy merits other means of energy generation.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
    • bob

      You clearly didn't read the article, our current reactors run on fission, not FUSION. fusion does not create nuclear by-product but has the potential to produce enormous amounts of energy by using hydrogen as its fuel. Like the article says, the stars already do it with ease because of their huge masses, we have to become more clever to figure out how to harness fusion reaction. you don't seem to even comprehend this subject.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
    • Johan S

      Do yourself a favor and google aneutronic fusion.

      And btw, producing solar panels and windmills release radioactive substances too. A coal plant releases more radiation that a regular nuclear power plant (not even a fusion plant) –look it up google coal power radiation. Anyway this stuff is above your head probably.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply
    • Johan S

      There is no long term waste from nuclear fusion. In fact nuclar fusion can be used to burn up waste from nuclear fission reactors. And 100 times safer than plain fusion (which is already safe) is aneutronic fusion.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:36 am | Reply
  14. 1Comment

    We need nuclear energy but we don't need nuclear waste.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      That's right. Those nasty wastes that are used in nuclear medecine and save lives. The wastes that are fed to the human body, injected in the human body or whose gamma radiations are exposed to the human body.

      I wish strontium, technetium, barium and caesium would no longer be produced by nuclear fission so that more people could die of cancer sooner.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Reply
      • bob

        You are right, medical isotopes are very precious and are also something were running out of. Nuclear energy is the future...

        June 11, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  15. Obelisk ©™

    The denuclearization of South Asia (Subcontinent) particularly India is imperative.
    Quid pro quo transfer of nuclear technology by USA to third world countries such as India needs to be opposed on moral grounds. Billions of people live in that neighborhood and would be at risk from such catastrophes which I am sure the American people would not like to be a party to. We are all well aware that that region is prone to floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and of course terrorism placing such nuclear installations at tremendous risks. US Congress is urged to reconsider and cancel all the agreements for the transfer of such technologies due “Force Majeure”.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      I agree entirely. Let's be elitist. Let's not have the third world have cheap, reliable and clean electricity. How dare they ?

      Kidding aside, nuclear energy is the ultimate equalizer for resource stricken countries that happen to be all in the third world.

      SMRs (small modular reactors) are around the corner. They are the future of humanity for water desalination, refrigeration of food & medecine and confort.

      India and all my friends from the third world deserve a change to confort and energy, which has a direct correlation to wealth and birth rate decrease.

      Let's all be civilized and share the power of the atom.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  16. aranoff

    We must discuss how to teach gifted children. The TV show does not discuss this, and so is missing. See Gifted Education Press Quarterly. You may read sample issues on http://www.analysis-knowledge.com/msgTeaching.htm.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  17. Dale

    There is free energy and 100% carbon free energy ready to be tapped into now.

    I am wondering why geothermal is never mentioned By the department of energy or the president of United States?
    There are geothermal hotspots located all over the United States and “”Offshore hot spots””, some of these hotspots are shallow. Some of the states are New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, North and South Dakota, California and Nevada have geothermal power plants already.

    These hotspots located all over the United States could easily produce half if not more for U.S. need for electricity.

    Every time geothermal is mentioned, all of these different excuses not to use geothermal come up, the biggest excuse have to drill to deep, “”there are oil wells and natural gas wells drill to depths needed to reach geothermal hotspots””.
    Drill down into these hotspots fracture the rock, pump down wastewater raw sewerage and contaminated commercial wastewater, let it make superheated steam let it go through steam turbines to generate electricity, then back to a closed loop back down to make steam again, just add more wastewater when needed.
    If the geothermal hotspot is not quite hot enough to make superheated steam, "it will take very little fossil fuel" to raise it to superheated steam.

    Geothermal is 100% free energy and it is 100% carbon free.

    I can tell you why it is not mentioned by the president or Department of Energy, big energy companies, big natural gas companies, big coal companies, big railroad companies, they are doing everything they can to SQUASH geothermal, that is why it is never mentioned.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      Call geothermal energy what it is: nuclear energy. Where do you think the steam comes from ? What do you think makes that steam ? That's right, fission of Uranium and Thorium deep down under.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Reply
    • Johan S

      How the heck is geothermal energy free .. you're gonna come by Saturday and build a facility for us? Or is it gonna build itself?

      Why don't you google the cost of a geothermal plant .. especially of one outside iceland (which sits on a volcano).

      June 11, 2012 at 3:09 am | Reply
  18. Grey

    I love his optimism... he's going to need it for a long time to make even simple breakthrough's in fussion. While brilliant, his arrogance assumes the other "big boys" are not also brilliant. Time will tell if he is for real, or just another arrogant, brilliant, optomist.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  19. Grey

    While many issues are rooted in energy, just as many are rooted in the massive waste of that energy. While seeking new energy sources is nobel, it is just as nobel to conserve that which we already have.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  20. Dr Faust

    Let's be clear. The so called fusion reactor this kid built, is about the same in scientific reality as a lightbulb. In other words, it's a glass enclosure filled with gas, and a high voltage shot inside that causes the deuterium gas (welding gas) to glow green... Basically... an expensive light bulb. Though originally conceived by Dr. Hirsch and Dr. Farnsworth in the 1950's it is junk science, and it is totally worthless... The problem is there is so much of this "hype" flooding into the public domain from amateur scientists, that people actually start to listen to them over real physicists who devoted their lives to science and we are talking about some of the smartest people in the world. This machine has also been called by other names such as a "spherical convergent focus electrostatic ion accelerator". If you want to see something really interesting, replace the deuterium with cesium gas.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Gabriel

      We should encourage young people to have new ideas instead of trying to dissuade them.
      You are right saying "originally conceived by Dr. Hirsch and Dr. Farnsworth in the 1950's", but you are wrong saying "it is totally worthless", because Dr. Farnsworth was a real genius who invented the television, and his electrostatic fusion machine "fusor" was proven successful in performing some fusion reactions. I believe most of real physicists are not so smart as they think because most of them blindly support the ITER which is a fool’s way instead of supporting electrostatic fusion machines which is a smarter way to harness the fusion energy.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  21. Fusion-guy

    As a researcher in the field, it is sad to listen to all of the public talk about things they really don't understand and comment as if they were experts. Fusion is viable, but we are many years away, not because we can't reach break even, but more for the cost. The issues are with the materials of the walls, etc. with that being said, there has been many important research gains, but our government keeps reducing funding. As a fusion researchers I believe that must will flee the country and go to china, Korea, Germany,... And yes, this may make some people happy but when research in many vital areas leave the country, we will only follow other countries in the future and not lead. We lead from innovation .. TFTR showed that break even was achievable...some shut it down. Our leadership now needs to focus more on first principle simulations on exascale computers.....

    June 10, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  22. Lysco Contracting

    Lysco Contracting

    Nuclear energy is the energy that is released from the nucleus of an atom, as it is evident from the term nuclear. During the process, mass gets converted into energy. The relation between mass and energy is given by Einstein's famous formula E=mc2, where 'E' is energy, 'm' is mass, and 'c' is the constant speed of light. In brief, nuclear energy is the energy that is obtained from the splitting of uranium atoms in a process known as Nuclear Fission. Although, there are three ways from which nuclear reaction is possible – fission, fusion, and decay, only the energy from the first has been utilized till date.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply
    • Daniel

      @ Lysco,

      Not so fast. Cesium clocks use decay as a source of power and is the base of their precision. Strontium and Plutonium are also use as battery fuel in space travel.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
      • Daniel

        And of course, battery powered by Plutonium and Strontium use the decay of the atoms as the energy source.

        June 10, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  23. SunTzu

    One must look at the malfunctions and negative effecs that are resulted from nuclear energy.
    Such as the "situation" in Indiana.

    http://www.radiationnetwork.com/

    June 9, 2012 at 3:48 am | Reply
  24. Jamie

    Nuclear energy is nothing but dangerous. How about reporting to us on the massive radiation leak in Indiana instead????

    June 9, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
    • Johan S

      You need to look up what aneutronic fusion is. The current nuclear plants are based on fission, not fusion.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:11 am | Reply
  25. Joe

    The problem of energy, as someone said, is directly correlated to the problem of over-breeding. It is bizarre to me that we, as a planet, will turn a blind eye to the societal problems of endless breeding and act like the world's coming to an end unless we find some holy grail of energy production. Wouldn't it be easier to reverisbly sterilize people at birth, and reverse the procedure ONLY if the parents have been married for longer than 10 years and have each passed a battery of psychological, physical, financial, and intellectual testing? Over time, we could generationally reduce the world's population down to a cool million and take it easy on this planet as a species. Generations from now, when there are only a milllion of us living here, this place could be like an absolute paradise... and energy needs would be a thing of the past. We should be focusing our energies on population control and the development of robot technology to do mundane tasks such as farming, manufacturing, etc. for us. I know the religious nuts will disagree with me, since they like to breed like flies and think that "god" wants humans to spread like a virus to bring about their beloved "Armageddon" regardless of what we're doing to our world.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
    • Andy kruger

      Joe your factually right within reason but you cant tell a genetic muppet theyre a muppet .

      Also the religious say all men are equall in the eyes of god is why the inadequate flock to religion and often the most pious .
      I suspect the human race will wipe its self out and a new life will be born as time as we see it is barley relevent.A

      June 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
    • GatorALLin

      ...the population for the earth will max out at 10 Billion as shown in this ted.com video here

      ..You may make some great points, but what you propose will never happen (unless you can get Hitler back in power)....so I have to argue that it makes more sense to fix the worlds problems using technology and education rather than sterilization or some forced control from outside (vs. inside each person individually). Education is working as you can watch by the stats ted video

      June 9, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • JoeP199

      Eugenics, anyone?

      June 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      All the crazies come out at night... People have been claiming that the human population growth was unsustainable for centuries, but the world is still here. In fact, there's room for every man, woman, and child on Earth to have 1/4 acre each in Texas. The fact that you're proposing to sterilize babies and stand judge over who is worthy or reproducing would certainly make your Fuhrher proud. Humanity has survived and prospered because the rest of us realize that it is better to develop technologies to help us more efficiently utilize natural resources and expand into new habitats.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:22 am | Reply
    • Alex2

      Scary concept, that would be too much power for the state to have. As much as I would agree that some people certainly shouldn't be reproducing, it's really no one's right to say otherwise. And like Alex said, there is plenty of land. But to that point, a lot of it is desert and isn't very sustainable. I'm willing to think the human population will balance out eventually.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • Johan S

      From where do you gain the right to tell another human being whether he can reproduce or not?

      June 11, 2012 at 3:13 am | Reply
    • Johan S

      No, even 100 million may be too many. The problem is the greed of the few ..like you .. I'll bet you use more resources than 20 Africans .. who don't own a car or all the other stuff we own. Fact is, there is enough on the Earth for everyone - if we wanted to we could build desalination plant powered by solar energy that pipe desalinated sea water into canals that green the entire Sahara desert .. there would be enough farmland to feed billions (the concept works .. Isral and a few mid eastern countries do it on a small scale). The problem is this .. even if there were two people left they may STILL fight over resources. One guy may be envious that the other guy's territory includes Mount Everest .. and next thing you know they are nuking each other over it. "There are enough resources in the world for each person's need, but there isn't nough for even one person's greed." - Mahatma Gandhi

      June 11, 2012 at 3:20 am | Reply
    • Matt

      A 10 year marriage minimum will mean that if you marry at 18 you cant have kids till 28. Given that most people (here in America) are getting married ain their late 20's and early 30's that many women are going to miss the most fertile and safe times to have children. Which to me would lead to earlier marriages to get the 10 year period ended in the mid 20's. So its like arranged marriages at age 16...Doesnt sound good.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  26. Daniel

    Taylor is wrong about the Uranium supply for fission nuclear energy. Ever since the seventies, it was proven that Uranium supplies would outlast the sun.

    Now with Gen IV reactors within reach, the supply of waste that still has 95% of the original energy could be used and really take out of the equation the supply of Uranium

    June 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  27. Douglas

    We need aneutronic nuclear fusion energy because it is clean and safe.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro5-QYqqxzM&w=640&h=390]

    June 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
    • Tad Pole

      Clean and safe "in theory".

      June 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
      • Douglas

        Aneutronic fusion is really clean and safe. No concerns, it is needed only little safeguards; just few layers of tungsten are enough to block the X-rays. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aneutronic_fusion

        June 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  28. biohodge

    What a great idea! And I have the perfect place to store all those spent fuel rods.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      If Nevada were visionary, it would take today's waste realizing that it is the fuel for GEN IV fission reactors that will be as clean as fusion reactors. Closed loop, no waste. The technology is around the corner. Fusion is 50 years away and always will be.

      But hey, we know there is a paradigm shift and that Nevada is short sighted.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
      • Ron

        I am an educator in Nevada and have been advocating what you propose for more than a decade. Yucca Mountain is the ideal place to launch those technologies. My prediction is that spent nuclear fuel rods will become a valuable resource some day and we should store them in such a manner that we can monitor and retrieve them for reprocessing. Mainly because of ignorance and political posturing, Nevada is missing a great opportunity to assume a leadership role in development and implementation of those technologies.

        June 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
      • Daniel

        Ron,

        Then join us at atomicinsights.com

        The level of discussion is way up there. Way up.

        June 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
      • Daniel

        Nevada has a choice: Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of GEN IV reactors fuel or well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Boring.

        June 9, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Steve Schoner

      Even though the heat output of these hot waste rods is low, instead of cooling them with water why not take advantage of that excess heat by using thermocouples? Low power RTG's banked together outside the main reactor all put to work supplying power to the electric grid? Put those waste rods to use rather than considering them spent nuclear fuel, radioactive heat producers non the less..

      June 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
      • Daniel

        You can also take the waste to your basement and it will provide heat for the winter without hurting you or your family. But hey, who wants to understand. A pint of Uranium will provide energy for a lifetime to a family of 4 and generate the waste that is equivalent in size to an aspirin. Talk about a compact and manageable waste chain.

        June 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Johan S

      There are no spent fuel rods in nuclear fusion you dingbat. Educate yourself, fool. Nuclear fission is totally different than nuclear fusion energy.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
      • Andryvyayney

        Its really funny about ininads.After 96 world cup it is a habit that Sri Lankan team throw them out of multi nation tournements.In Asian cup also ininads last match is against Sri Lanka.I really feel soory for them. Best thing for india is playing their own country.the pitches are made for them.out of their country indian team is nothing.I hope atleast they will win 2 t20 matches against zimbabwe.After that they can think about making a good fight against Sri Lanka. (0)

        August 22, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  29. BK

    We need nuclear power because you breeders won't stop popping out babies and there isn't enough energy to go around, so we're forced to resort to dangerous methods until we get something better, if we get something better that can keep up.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Chris from Chicago

      BK-

      You're right....I think humanity would be best served if we all stop having children. Starting with your parents.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
    • Latsman

      So u did not pop out from a breeder?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Matthew

      I am always fascinated by the comments of those that overpopulation is the curse. They only need to look in the mirror and start solving their perceived problem by leading by example. End your live and let the lemons follow.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  30. David

    I have always wondered if trying to create large scale fusion reactors wasn't a mistake, that perhaps the goal should be much smaller devices. Perhaps that is the problem with this research, they need to think on a smaller scale instead of such a large one. Because serisouly, when this finally does work will it really be an issue too have a bunch of smaller fusion reactors maybe spread through a state that one huge reactor? I can't imagine that it would. And besides, aren't we going to have to be able to make these on a small scale for them to be of any use to things like the space programs?

    June 8, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • Martyr2

      Well considering how dangerous such devices could be, I think they go large scale to 1) provide a central place to make things more secure and 2) Keep things managed in one area in case of a disaster.

      Last thing we need is a bunch of smaller devices which could be more easily mismanaged, become disasterous across a large area rather than isolated and also centrally managed means easier to track int he way of billing for energy and keeping track of expenses.

      That would be my guess as to why they go large. :)

      June 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
      • Hanz

        Look into LENR and you'll see why that is probably not the case. As far as we can tell it should be safe enough for home use. Time will tell.

        June 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Piyush

        lankan soul come on my dear inadin friends try to understand the reality u guys r not talented like srilankans ..india always wins a match with one man performance , with umpires help or with crowd support not as a cricketing team .no team spirit with you guys ..only anger and jealous.that's y u guys always have fights inside the team.. (0)

        August 22, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • great things

      portable technologies always begin with a larger version of it....look at the computer. What used to be a huge warehouse in size is now able to fit in the palm of our hands. We must learn to walk first before we run.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:04 am | Reply

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