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DariusIsLove t1_irw9u72 wrote

They are not even in the concept design phase yet (that starts 2024). It's a bit too early to look at this with anything but casual curiosity.


BeeeMOe t1_irwjb8n wrote

Do you know when we might see stuff like this actually being finished?


thegodfatherderecho t1_irwjkn9 wrote

Fusion energy is 20 years away from being 20 years away.


oldcreaker t1_irwl66s wrote

That's an improvement - I've been watching it be 30 years away from being 30 years away for a very long time now.


imperfectably t1_irwpurw wrote

By very long time do you mean 40 years ago?


Junesucksatart t1_irxasmh wrote

I definitely wouldn’t hold my breath but some companies are getting really close to breaking Q.


CelestialWonderer t1_iry9rqo wrote

What does Q mean? Sorry, I’m a bit ignorant on this topic


Junesucksatart t1_iryb5ux wrote

Q refers to the ratio of energy put into the fusion system compared to the energy that comes out. Creating a fusion reaction is the easy part, getting more energy than you put in is the hard part.


beatthestupidout t1_irzx1kz wrote

It is an improvement. I bring it up in every thread where someone says the same thing, and if you track mentions of the time to fusion over the last 70 years, the jokes and reality seem to converge on a point about 10-20 years away.


tall_strong_master t1_irx3xn8 wrote

Not anymore. Its now Z > 1.0, so now its 5 years away from being an engineering problem.

This for d-T fusion needing a steam generator.

In 20 years they may be able to do p-B fusion, which wouldn't need steam and has no radioactive byproducts.


beatthestupidout t1_irzx9y1 wrote

Not no byproducts, but significantly reduced. You can't control side reactions, however unlikely they are. B11 + He4 (the expected byproduct of p + B11) = N14 + n. There's also a rare p + B11 = C11 + n to watch out for as well.

It's a massive improvement on every reaction shitting out neutrons though, and because the main byproduct is a charged particle you can use direct energy conversion instead of going via steam which means the energy output threshold for viability is around 60% of what it would be otherwise.

*C11, not C12 sorry. That then decays with a half life of 20 minutes back into boron-11.


BeeeMOe t1_irwkg41 wrote

Lmao alright thanks I'm looking forward to it


anschutz_shooter t1_irwo5jd wrote

The claim is a design concept by 2024, first plasma by 2040.

So... first plasma by 2060 maybe?


BeeeMOe t1_irwoeo1 wrote

Well, maybe I'll make it


simple_mech t1_irwrsuv wrote

We'll make sure you're cremated in the fusion reactor's core.


Glum_Can1264 t1_irycylt wrote

What a great send off that’d be


saberline152 t1_irzq30p wrote

nah make them put your ashes in a firework shell and let the funeral be lit


Samurai_PR t1_irzkybc wrote

I wanna be responsible for powering a city for a millisecond


malayaputra t1_irxge6h wrote

Simcity 2000 was released in 1993 and had a fusion power plant option. That was the first time I heard of fusion and I was under the impression it would be ready by 2000.


PapaAlpaka t1_iry0l0b wrote

I've got a children's book that outlines how every home has a small fusion reactor in the basement to meet all energy needs. Written in ~1992, set in 2000. An even smaller fusion reactor powers the flying car we're using to get to work. Guess what? I'm keeping it. To show my kids how some things that may seem possible by 2030 might not be that true.


HardCounter t1_irzjh0i wrote

5-10 years away is the eternal technological promise so they can keep getting funding despite all the 'minor setbacks' and 'delays' from the tech not existing. Reporters are especially bad about vastly underestimating the amount of time it takes to develop tech and make it ready for wide commercial use.


Deyvicous t1_irwossh wrote

Fusion is already being done. The only issue is nobody has figured out how to make it produce energy.

The plasma is insanely hot, so it has to be trapped magnetically in order to not melt everything. However, magnets do not just hold the charged particles in place, it causes them to move. They use a combination of magnets and injecting neutrons and other techniques to try and hold the plasma for as long as possible. In addition, the entire apparatus takes a beating and I believe needs to be repaired every time they run it.

ETA is still unknown.


[deleted] t1_irxfoqw wrote

We already know how to harness fusion energy. Put your fusion energy collector panels on your roof and wait 8 light-minutes for the energy from the nuclear source to provide power.


Oh_ffs_seriously t1_irwun6z wrote

There are few companies that claim they are going to achieve net gain in energy this decade.


hopefulatwhatido t1_irxoqa0 wrote

I was watching a lot of videos on this yesterday and pretty much everything says it’s 2100 most likely. There is simply nothing to sustain plasma at the temperature of our sun for prolonged periods of time.

It also got me thinking, so for like a century we have been taking significant risks by splitting atoms of radioactive isotopes and now to combine atoms and generate and heat plasma hotter than surface temperature of the sun just to boil the water? There’s got to be an easier way than this to generate stream to spin the turbine.

Definitely huge chunk of our energy should be coming from non nuclear renewable sources already. Ideally 100% from non nuclear renewables and then using reactors as contingencies and downtime or just trying to keep the cost down for end consumer by keeping the supply higher than demand. But here we are relying on Russia for oil and gas.


csprkle t1_irxbj6x wrote

If there’s a 3D animation, it is reality.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_irwbiej wrote

Government-led, a quarter of a billion dollar just for the initial design... timelines that span generations... its hard not to think this is pork.


VitaminPb t1_irwdbxe wrote

A quarter of a billion for a fusion design would be cheap. But yeah, this is just a press release of an announcement of a thought to begin thinking hard about it.


ledow t1_irwe7er wrote

Hell, you can cream off 20% from things that don't even exist yet, in fact it's easier to because then there's no "But where is this thing you promised?" element to it later on.

And if you can do that for generations, that's a lot of bunce.


Abominom t1_irx11ox wrote

Pork pie (lie)? or pork barrell (bribe voters)?


cjeam t1_is0j4ha wrote

It’s the Tory party, so yes.


agha0013 t1_irwrhe3 wrote

that's nice, hope they can get it done within the next century. In the meantime, they are cutting down forests in Canada to fuel wood pellet power plants...


JaegerDread t1_irx8x37 wrote

"But biofuel is a renewable and sustainable energy source!" Say the EU bureaucrats.


this_is_not_doge t1_irxw6r0 wrote

Lmao that’s what the Canadian government says too because they haven’t figured out a way to tax firewood yet


project_apex t1_is0j1b1 wrote

It is if you replant the trees you use...


JaegerDread t1_is0jb0i wrote

Yes, again, in THEORY it is. But in practice it's just a bureaucratic way to say you are being green on paper. It's about as green as driving a diesel from the 90's but the color is green.


project_apex t1_is0jfzy wrote

No, it's not just in theory. If you get wood from a production forest that you planted and also upkeep then it's renewable. It doesn't add any co2 to the air.

Burning diesel fuel would actually increase co2 in the air.


JaegerDread t1_is0jn27 wrote

Yes, but that doesn't happen. It's just deforestation. Fuck biomass. Solar, wind, geothermal and wave energy are all muuuuuch much better.


project_apex t1_is0jr7v wrote

Got any sources for that claim? Because in EU this is pretty tightly regulated.

Sure solar and wind are better alternative but they have their own drawbacks that biofuels don't have.


tyytus t1_is1b9eg wrote

Earth needs all the old growth forests it can get, which are massive carbon sinks. Wood plantations are replacing them in this scheme; cut-burn-grow60yrs-cut-burn


one_jo t1_iry1pt7 wrote

It is, but only if you don’t harvest more than you can regrow.


JaegerDread t1_irz4ofy wrote

Chopping trees to stop climare change seems like a stupid idea


oldcreaker t1_irwlo6i wrote

"We're planning to build and put into production something we haven't even discovered how to do yet."

Developing a working prototype might be a better first step.


anschutz_shooter t1_irwoiy2 wrote

> Developing a working prototype might be a better first step.

This is the working prototype. It'll be a research reactor, producing energy onto the grid on a part-time basis.

They've spent enough time with other fusion projects like JET that they reckon they can get a net-positive design running by 2040, and this will be it. They might fail, but that's the theory.


givemoreHavemore t1_irwytij wrote

If by part-time, you mean seconds then yes. The technology has not yet reached a sustainable reaction. This building prototype will be an empty building without first sustaining the reaction.


anschutz_shooter t1_irzx2gr wrote

> The technology has not yet reached a sustainable reaction.

Well no duh, you need the first prototype to move beyond short research shots and develop long-lived plasma. This is the sort of thinking that kills progress. This reactor is a planned successor to ITER and MAST. Scientists have spent decades poking nuclei, ITER is the one which will go net-positive, and and now "this is (one of) the one(s) which will produce power (on a part-time basis)". This is a DEMO-class reactor, with most ITER partners developing their own DEMO facility.

> If by part-time, you mean seconds then yes.

ITER is designed to achieve Q=1 (actually Q>10), with fusion periods of 400-600seconds and ultimate up to 1000s. So multiple minutes.

ITER First Plasma is planned for 2025. The work that has gone into building ITER and MAST Upgrade will inform the design decisions made for this reactor. Research done between now and 2030 will further inform the build process. It's reasonable to expect that after years of work at ITER (and other parallel projects around the world), reactors such as this will not only achieve sustainable fusion, but for many-minutes-to-hours.


givemoreHavemore t1_is1hfut wrote

It is not reasonable to assume that this technology will catch up to be a viable energy source in the timeframe they target for the reactor install. As you noted, they’ve worked decades to achieve seconds. This tech is exciting and I do love the ambition but don’t down vote/ ridicule for being right about the current viability of the tech.


anschutz_shooter t1_is5elyg wrote

> As you noted, they’ve worked decades to achieve seconds.

Minutes now. Last year, EAST ran sustained reactions over a minute, and a long-period plasma pulse over 17minutes.

> It is not reasonable to assume that this technology will catch up to be a viable energy source in the timeframe they target for the reactor install.

The thing to bear in mind is that certain things are a function of size and dimension. We've learnt that a classic torus tokomak needs to be bigger than JET - in fact we reckon it needs to be about the size of ITER. Now we could have just built a big tokomak in the 90s, but we also knew we needed to do lots of research on materials which could withstand neutron bombardment. And methods of extracting heat and waste materials. And a million other things. Even if JET had found Q=1, it was never any good as a power station. We couldn't have started cookie-cuttering JET reactors around the UK. It was very firmly a research reactor.

All of those bits and pieces could be done on smaller, cheaper reactors with second-long pulses. Rigs that are cheaper to build, tear apart, modify and upgrade (as JET has been, multiple times). You don't test a new rocket engine design for the first time by attaching it to a rocket - you put it in an isolated test cell because it probably won't work first time.

We're bringing together those decades of research into a viable reactor. It's now that we're committing to building "the whole rocket" and trying to launch it. We understand the geometries, the materials and the chemistries.

Consider: Nobody had launched a payload to space until they actually did it. Until that day, it was speculative. It was all a lot of work with no proof it would actually work. It was a lot of piddling around in test cells working out why the last engine blew itself to pieces, or working out why it caught fire on the pad. And then Sputnik happened. And it was both scientific and engineering fact.

There will be more unforeseen challenges, and it could undoubtedly have gone quicker if governments were vaguely interested in funding Fusion research properly. But it's not impossible, and at least one of the DEMO reactors is going to work. The level of engineering has risen and the technical risk has fallen. There's a diversity of designs, which improves the odds of finding the sweet spot.


Dermutt100 t1_irwnmb4 wrote

Britain has more "firsts" than any other nation, it sort of invented the modern world.

I'm sure it will be alright.


Aceticon t1_irzwumy wrote

Modern Britain is nowhere near at the same level as 19th century Britain when it comes to the Science & Tech of its age.

Nowadays the country specializes in talk, not in doing.


Dermutt100 t1_irzx2l0 wrote

It's nowhere behind anywhere else.

Even in the 2oth century it still provided most of the world's "firsts", the jet engine, first commercial jet airliner, atm, DNA, IVF, the hovercraft, Concorde, VTOL aircraft and the first nuclear power station in the West,


Aceticon t1_is0154d wrote

Absolutely, the run lasted until the mid XXth century.

(Although some of the stuff you list as "great firsts" didn't turn out quite as amazing as all that or was much better done elsewhere)

After that, not so much. I can only think of graphene, a discovery rather than an actual implementation (and which, by the way, has yet to produce actual practical results anywhere close to matching the grandiose announcement of how groundbreaking a discovery it was).

For a country of 60 million people with all the wealth and institutions it still has left of from the age of Empire, Britain has been punching below its weight since maybe the late 70s or early 80s.

As I said, modern Britain isn't a country of doers, it's a country of talkers (a subsection of whom seems specialized in relentelessly celebrating past glories) or at least a country that rewards tall stories and swindling your fellow man far beyond merit in execution and the direction of travel seems to remain a worsenning of things in that regard.

It's thus not surprising to see a story like this selling this Great British Achievement (tm) which turns out to be a plan to start work on planning it and is clearly a play for getting more funding.


Samsbase t1_irwowem wrote

This will be a follow on from ITER no doubt which is the first prototype at scale.


Henri t1_irwql01 wrote

ITER is another experiment, so no grid connection. What you're thinking of is DEMO.


smopecakes t1_iryzexm wrote

The private spherical tokamak company in the UK has become the second privately funded company to reach 100 million degrees in their test reactor, they recently worked out a five year co-op plan with the STEP group


noelcowardspeaksout OP t1_irx1xl2 wrote

There was a magnetic field density hurdle that MIT broke, described as a watershed moment in the development of fusion -

"It was a moment three years in the making, based on intensive research and design work: On September 5, 2021, for the first time, a large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet was ramped up to a field strength of 20 tesla, the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on Earth. That successful demonstration helps resolve the greatest uncertainty in the quest to build the world’s first fusion power plant that can produce more power than it consumes, according to the project’s leaders at MIT "

Because of the improved materials the machines can be built a lot smaller, they can attain sustained fusion, and they will be a lot cheaper. This much is now widely accepted.

The UK design improves on the flat torus shape to increase magnetic flux further. The fact that it will be grid connected will mark an important milestone on this very long journey.


mrkstr t1_irycu9x wrote

So, how long before it's operational?


smopecakes t1_iryz35s wrote

The physics for the MIT company is being tested in the SPARC reactor under construction, they hope to run a burning plasma in 2026

If that works they'd like to build a 200+MW reactor by 2035. The UK's STEP design is not as strong as the MIT design so it would have a lower magnetic field, however per size and magnetic field it produces 8x more power. It has some notable disadvantages though which is why it's nice to see both being tried

There are several candidates for the first grid connected fusion reactor that plan to build before STEP. Ironically the doubt about it being the first grid fusion reactor is kind of backwards, it's not that it's so unlikely to work but that it's fairly likely others will work first

The big catch that remains may be whether they can be built to produce commercially competitive power


[deleted] t1_irw764x wrote



ledow t1_irwej6s wrote

"Lots of" is a complete lie, and pretending you can harvest that is hyperbole to say the least.

And you can't just harvest the "fraction of a second" and claim profit when it takes orders of magnitude more energy to make that fraction of a second happen.


Taoistandroid t1_irwhqps wrote

Lol I was going to say, this is like thinking that cranking your car is a net positive.


ActonofMAM t1_irwpimt wrote

We already have a perfectly good, very efficient fusion power plant located 93 million miles away. Let's work with that one some more.


Henri t1_irwqefa wrote

Are you suggesting we put all our eggs in one basket with solar panels, or just going straight for a Dyson sphere?


thoruen t1_irxv4h4 wrote

my question once fusion is actually figured out, how quickly will bew plants be built? How quickly does this revolutionize the world?

will it be another 50 years after it's figured out that a fusion plant is built in Africa?


johnpseudo t1_is680mg wrote

It's not going to revolutionize the world. Best case scenario, it will be a somewhat less expensive version of fission with better long-term safety features.

What people should be excited about is the killer combo of solar/wind/batteries/hydrogen. Current retail costs for electricity are ~$130/MWh and they're now projecting $5/MWh with an 80% renewable grid (source) and just $39/MWh with a 100% renewable grid (source) by 2050.


LaserAntlers t1_irxy0rr wrote

It's cool to pledge that you'll do this eventually, but why talk about it like you're going to before we even know the technology can be made to work, lol.


AwesomeLowlander t1_iry1lqt wrote

It's a research reactor. They're building it to further fusion research, with no expectation it'll be commercially viable.


LaserAntlers t1_iry28i2 wrote

What is the relevance in stating it is "grid connected" then? The implication is that it produces power for the grid.


AwesomeLowlander t1_iry3jwy wrote

You really should read the article, ya know. Your answers were all in there. Anyway, they distinguish between net positive power, which they hope to achieve (hence the grid connection), and commercially viable, which they don't expect it to be.


LaserAntlers t1_iry4cja wrote

So it'll be grid connected the same way a rooftop solar panel might be called a grid connected solar plant, gotcha.


foolandhismoney t1_irzu6tr wrote

Is it not as good as your reactor? You should try beans on toast.


LaserAntlers t1_is05o4h wrote

My reactor is commercially viable, it's called a candu.


Frogloggers t1_irzfmg8 wrote

The implication is that it'll actually produce electricity.


LaserAntlers t1_is05q34 wrote

Grid connected hamster wheel to be constructed next year.


FuturologyBot t1_irwbqbm wrote

The following submission statement was provided by /u/noelcowardspeaksout:

Lots of fusion plants are energy positive for fractions of a second. This plant, due to improvements in magnetic field density, is actually designed to harvest that energy, turn it into electricity and to supply the national grid with power.

Please reply to OP's comment here:


Johnni3Walker t1_irwowy6 wrote

This is exciting. I’ve not fully read the article, but the image halfway down the webpage is inside jets reactor. When it comes to fusion, “in jet we trust” should be the global tagline. They have real secret secrets in that place, plus they’ve already made real tangible progress over the last 20 years.


Mangalorien t1_irxbbnv wrote

I'm looking forward to having our grandkids enjoy this nice clean and cheap energy. Too bad none of us will be around to see it.


YsoL8 t1_iry78nx wrote

Anyone who has any idea what is happening in the UK at the minute knows how unlikely this is.


pinkfootthegoose t1_iryq5ki wrote

this means that the grift and thievery has been arraigned. expect billions of pounds to disappear down the rabbit hole with the money somehow getting into Tory hands than investigations of "this tragic incident" being dragged out for over a decade and no body but a few sacrificial lambs punished.


iobeson t1_irznd0m wrote

Are there any legit posts on this sub? Every single one gets blasted in the comments for being outright bullshit or like this one where it'll most likely never happen.


MyBallsAreOnFir3 t1_irznr64 wrote

Like, nobody has yet built a functioning fusion reactor so what exactly are they going to put inside this power plant? Or maybe, just maybe this article is BS?


Markqz t1_iryrpn0 wrote

Maybe instead of investing in fusion, which we don't know if it will ever be feasible, we should invest in deep drilling technologies. There's a reliable energy source just 6 to 12 miles below wherever you're sitting now. Yes, I know where you're sitting.