BBC reports a new milestone has been reached for nuclear fusion. In September, scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) based at Livermore in the US state of California achieved excess net energy, the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world. In other words, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel.
“…the latest achievement has been described as the single most meaningful step for fusion in recent years, and demonstrates NIF is well on its way towards the coveted target of ignition and self-sustaining fusion.”
See also Huffington Post, Nuclear Fusion Energy Research Inches Closer To Elusive Break-Even Point
With regard to cold fusion, Cold Fusion News says Andre Rossi’s E-cat is undergoing third part validation and R&D. (Background on Rossi and his E-cat here.) The validation work is being done by an unnamed third party while the research and development work appears to be carried out by him and his colleagues. As usual Rossi is quite secretive about this so little is known about the latest prospects for his cold fusion generator. The author speculates that Rossi no longer has control of the E-Cat and has passed control to some third party which could be a customer.
For those interested in the latest developments in cold fusion and low energy nuclear reactions (LENR), keep an eye on the website E-Cat World.
OILPRICE tells us about another cold fusion device that is attracting commercial interest. US firm Brillouin Energy Corporation (BEC) has entered into international licensing agreement covering three nations with respect to its low energy nuclear device – Controlled Electron Capture Reaction (CECR). Using hydrogen and nickel or a similar metal, the company says it can create 24 units of energy output for every 2.4 units of energy input. The post has a diagram of their cold fusion “boiler”.
The released energy is initially absorbed by the metal element, and then made available as heat. At lower temperatures, this generated heat can be used directly for space heating, hot water and similar applications. Further refinements of the Brillouin Energy system will produce the higher temperatures needed for electrical generation, dry industrial steam and industrial processes.
The author claims that investors are now lining up to put money into the company as well as take an ownership interest in the company.
Tom Whipple at the Falls Church New-Press has an update on cold fusion here. He explains the Brillouin Energy Corporation process as follows:
Hydrogen is loaded into a metal matrix, a controlled proprietary electro-magnetic pulse is sent through the metal and a series of reactions take place which ultimately result in the production of helium, lots of heat, and almost nothing else...This reaction produces only helium and heat, not the radioactive wastes that come from fission reactors.
The owners of Brillouin believe that their cold fusion “boiler” could easily be put into existing coal, nuclear and natural gas plants to produce energy without any negative environmental effects such as emission of green house gases or radioactive waste.
live mint says China is getting ready to build 200 nuclear reactors. China will build 200 new nuclear power plants and speed up the construction of 29 more as part of its efforts to cut the high level of emissions generated by the large-scale use of coal. China plans to increase nuclear power generation capacity from 10.7 gigawatts in 2010 to 160 gigawatts in 2040. As a result, China will account for 40% of the global net increase in nuclear capacity between 2010 and 2040.
The Moscow Times tells us Bangladesh is getting its first nuclear power plant. The plant is scheduled to be completed by 2020 to assist the Southeast Asian country that is plagued with electricity shortages. Mostly relying on natural gas for electricity generation, the country’s existing generating facilities are unable to meet demand. The 2 GW power plant will be built on the River Padma, 160 kilometers northwest of the nation’s capital, Dhaka.
From Business Insider we learn Old Russian Warheads Power 10% of the US. Over the past 15 years, uranium from 20,000 scrapped Russian nuclear missiles has accounted for approximately 10% of all electricity produced in the US. To-date the US has paid $8 billion for this fuel source.
techdirt discusses the future of nuclear energy while treehugger writes about the decline of the US nuclear industry. One of the catalysts for this decline is the current low natural gas prices in North America brought about by the shale gas revolution.
The National Journal writes about how small nuclear reactors could be the industry’s future. Small modular reactors, or SMRs. have a generating capacity of less than 300 MW or about 1/3 of a typical reactor today. The US sees these as a possible way to diversify that country’s energy portfolio. Proponents of SMRs argue that they are cheaper to build than conventional reactors because they are smaller and can be mass produced as modules in factories. In addition they are a proven zero greenhouse gas technology.