mercoledì 1 maggio 2024


 Nuclear Fusion Energy: Very Uncertain

Popularized in the most misguided way by the press as "the artificial replication of the Sun's operation" to produce clean energy. This message leads laypeople, including politicians, to believe that the solution to the energy problem is near.

It is theoretically impossible to duplicate on Earth or any other planet the process that only occurs in stars the size of our Sun and therefore with immense pressure at the center.

We have known the physics of how to trigger that energy since the 1950s with the first thermonuclear atomic bomb, precisely called hydrogen bomb, which to achieve that pressure exploded an atomic bomb inside it.

To achieve that process in a controlled manner, all the details are known, and for this reason, the international ITER project was established, the largest machine under construction in the world comparable to the space station in orbit.

ITER represents our only hope for the distant future. In short, since we cannot create the pressure of the Sun, it has been calculated that at least 150 million degrees Celsius are needed to trigger the process instead of the Sun's 15 million. Furthermore, we cannot fuse hydrogen atoms like in the Sun, but two of its isotopes, deuterium, and tritium. Deuterium is found in the sea, while tritium needs to be created. ITER foresees that tritium will be self-produced internally for a power plant to become possible and it will take at least another ten years to verify this. Then, it will take more decades to build a prototype that produces reasonable amounts of energy at an acceptable cost, and from that point on, the design of reproducible power plants, that is, by the end of the century.

In all the small and ridiculous experiments praised by the press worldwide, and by over thirty money-sucking startups, the tritium they use is produced by other means outside the process and in quantities of fractions of a milligram!

Nuclear Fission Energy: Certain but Dangerous


The principle of its operation, as always for humanity, stems from the development of the atomic weapon. The thermal energy used to drive turbines that produce electricity is mainly obtained from the impact of neutrons generated by the breaking of the nuclei of certain minerals properly treated, essentially uranium and plutonium. Fission reactors control this flow of neutrons, thus regulating the heat generated and therefore the electricity produced.

It is a very consolidated technology that today sees its fourth generation and above all the development of small nuclear power plants with powers below 300 Megawatts and that, recently, in micro versions, range from three to a few tens of megawatts.

Are they dangerous? Certainly, everything we build has a degree of danger. The collapse of the Vajont dam in 1963 in Italy destroyed a valley and caused thousands of deaths. Every year we have millions of deaths on the roads worldwide. Every vaccination creates problems.

What do I want to state with this: that once again humanity must decide, between two possible evils, which is the lesser evil. Do we accept to produce more CO2 and not install new fission power plants? It seems that, after so many often-useless debates on alternatives, Europe has decided to include nuclear power plants among those of the "Green Deal". Between the risk of containing the GDP and some risk of radiation, the choice of politics, after so much talk, could not be otherwise!

My books on the subject


ENERGY, EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. Energy consumption statistics in the world, electric cars, and environment. Electric power plants, hydroelectric, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, geothermal, wind, fusion.

ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE. Exploring the interplay between energy, civilization, and climate change: a journey through history and the challenges of the future.

Italian version books

ENERGIA: Tutto quello che è bene sapere.

ENERGIA E CLIMA: la grande questione.

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