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Fusion X-Prize

Create an incentive plan to finish Hot Fusion
  [vote for,

Forget the international ITER fusion project, the Federal Government (DOE, etc) should initiate a massive “X-prize” style competition to finally make hot nuclear fusion a reality. This is long overdue in that fusion always seems to be “thirty years away”. ITER is not even scheduled to light up until 2016! The prize should be phased to create an ongoing incentive: a. Phase A – This is a 7 billion dollar prize to the first team that can produce breakeven + 10%. b. Phase B – This is a 7 billion dollar prize to the first team that can produce breakeven + 25%. c. Phase C – This is a 30 billion dollar prize to the first team that can produce energy at less than average going rate for the least cost method (oil, gas, fission, solar etc.) The prize must be claimed by a fixed date (5 to 10 years?). For every year that the team trims off of the delivery of commercially viable fusion (Phase ‘C’), they earn an additional 10% per year. This X-Prize would be like no other in that you could actually make some money, and that money would also provide an additional incremental push to Phase C.

The above numbers are just a starting point and may even seem small compared to what we spend a week in Iraq. Anything is better than what we've been doing.

norfintork, Jan 02 2006

http://www.iter.org/index.htm ITER Info [norfintork, Jan 02 2006]

Official SCSC information http://www.hep.net/ssc/
A thing mentioned in an annotation. [Vernon, Jan 26 2006]


       A reasonable premise, [tork] but the unfortunate thing about hot nuclear is nuclear, and nuclear means Uncle Sam riding piggyback yelling dos and donts in your ear - not just the concerns about waste and emissions from the Three Mile Island days, but now all the terror stuff too.
bungston, Jan 02 2006

       Yes, there is the downside to the federal folks. Perhaps in a couple of months when more and more people have to choose between heating and eating, the peasants will rise up!
norfintork, Jan 03 2006

       This was originally posted as a separate Idea, but was given the [mfd]. There were recommendations at that time that it be an annotation to this Idea, so here you go!   

       Fusion Reactor Proposal; An Open Letter to Microsoft

       It is common knowledge that Microsoft has many billions of dollars of cash-on-hand. It is also fairly well known that Microsoft seeks to invest in opportunities that can generate more billions of dollars. Yes, I know that Microsoft prefers software-related opportunities, but I doubt the policy is cast in stone. So, here is an opportunity:   

       Nuclear Fusion Power has been "just around the corner" for 50-odd years. SOME of the delay has been due to the complexity of the problem, and some of it has been purly political, caused by entrenched interests that do not want this disruptive technology to exist until they have squeezed the last drop of oil and burned it (in spite of the value of petroleum as raw feedstock for the plastics industry). Today physicists in the field are almost certain they know how to build working nuclear fusion power plants. Call them up and ask them! All they need are billions of dollars. A perfect match for Microsoft's resources!   

       For example, ONE way to build a fusion reactor is to build it VERY BIG. The magnetic containment needs to be "regular" in a way that is best served by bigness. Compare an ordinary doughnut to a bicycle inner-tube. If the doughnut represents the shape of a fusion reactor core, the magnetic field is MUCH stronger inside the "hole" than near the outer surface of the doughnut. This makes confining the plasma in that field difficult. But if the reactor core was shaped like the inner-tube, the magnetic field strength inside the tube can be almost completely uniform, great for holding plasma. The bigger inner-tube, the better. Again, call up any magnetic-confinement fusion expert and verify that!   

       SO. Go to Ellis County, Texas, the town of Waxahachie, and buy the former site of the "SuperConducting SuperCollider". There is a partially-constructed "inner tube there" that merely needs to be finished. 14 miles of tunnelling, of the 54-mile circumference of this inner-tube, have been dug; the rest remain to be done. Here is some information about the site: http://www.hep.net/ssc/ After completing the tunnel, install a nice big fusion reactor core, partly based on one of the OLDER designs (like the "stellarator"). Those designs were for continuous-fusion reactors, and required very stable plasma confinement, and so work differently than the modern cyclic-fusion tokamak type. You will probably have to run a pipeline to the Caribbean Sea to obtain cooling water for this reactor. You will be able to sell desalted water to the middle of Texas, "sea salt" wherever that is valued, and probably enough electricity for half of the entire United States, eliminating part of the Energy Crisis. You can also electrolize the water to encourage the upcoming Hydrogen Economy, and thereby eliminate another part of the Energy Crisis. You WILL be able to multiply your investment!IF you are willing to take the risk, of course. Vernon, Jan 03 2006
Vernon, Jan 26 2006

       I don't see why that wasn't allowed as a seperate idea. Both ideas are ways to encourage those with the cash to invest in fusion power but they use different methods to do it. Vernon's idea is actually better as it doesn't require politicians to look for the best solution rather then the one that is best for their owners.
stilgar, May 30 2006


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