[ExI] Can AI Make a Better Fusion Reactor?
spike at rainier66.com
spike at rainier66.com
Sun Aug 15 05:17:07 UTC 2021
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of John Grigg via extropy-chat
Subject: [ExI] Can AI Make a Better Fusion Reactor?
"Since the 1940s, physicists have tried, but no one has yet created an efficient nuclear fusion reaction. Meanwhile, AI and machine learning (ML) have, across many industries and applications, proved themselves quite capable at detecting subtle patterns in data that humans can't recognize. So could neural nets and the GPUs that power them help in nuclear fusion? The challenge, and it's a big one, would be to accelerate the worldwide quest to tame instabilities in hot plasmas and ultimately provide a source of sustainable, and carbon-free power."
John, no sir. The problem is not that we aren’t smart enough to know how to extract energy from hot plasma. We are smart enough to know how to extract energy from hot plasma.
The problem with fusion, the same problem with fusion we will still have when you are much older than I am now, is that most of the energy released from a fusion reaction comes from the hot neutron. To extract or convert the energy from a hot neutron, ya hafta capture that neutron somehow, and if so, whatever is used to capture that neutron is an atom with an extra neutron, an isotope, which is less stable than it was before the neutron joined us way down there in the nuclear family.
OK then. The material, absolutely regardless of what it is, which is used to capture that neutron, is degraded and less stable than it was. It has itself become radioactive. Every fusion reaction creates a hot neutron and every hot neutron (if its energy is captured) degrades the containment vessel in some way.
Upon this realization, I stopped waiting for a new hotshot Tokamak or any other tech miracle to come along and save our butts. Now I am firmly convinced that the technology we have had for 80 years, the fission reactors, in sufficient quantities, can carry enough of the base load to prevent us from cooking ourselves with carbon dioxide. Before you start typing a rebuttal, note please that our world runs primarily on three power sources: oil, gas and coal.
Oy vey I am such a downer today, my goodness. It really is me writing, but Boeing and fusion are both heading for failure.
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