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RE: starship-design: Re: debate

On Monday, December 08, 1997 1:09 PM, Ken Wharton 
[SMTP:wharton@physics.ucla.edu] wrote:
> Re: debate
> Kelly writes:
> >>>No we have had runing fusion reactions that produced more power then
> >>>they
> >>>took to run, and have other systms that could work efficently at those
> >>>scales.
> >>
> >>Huh?  Give me a hard reference!  This would be very exciting news!
> >
> >Why?  It hardly made the evening news at the time, and isn't that big of
> >a
> >milestone.  Its not like they were comercially usable systems, or even
> >adaptible to such things.  Even if they were, they certainly wern't
> >adaptable
> >to commercial operation in our power grids at competative prices.  Even
> >the
> >DOE is grdgingly admiting their tours fusion systems, even if capable of
> >producing power competativly, could not be used in any power market now
> >invisioned.
> I think you're referring to the recent JET results, which didn't reach 
> break-even point... quite.  They broke 50%, I think.  Of course, you 
> never make a workable power plant from a device that didn't reach fusion
> ignition (a self-sustaining reaction), even if it does break even.
> As for your statement about no fusion system ever being competitive,
> you're
> forgetting that there will be another oil shock one day, and one other 
> coal is going to be a lot more expensive than it is now.  True, fusion 
> never be cheaper than a fission breeder reactor, but it still may be
> competitive if current sentiments about fission don't change.

Perhaps there is some confusion in semantics here.

We have built plenty of fusion devices that surpass breakeven - just not 
devices that are viable as commercial powerplants. We aren't necessarily 
looking for a powerplant design, we are looking for a propulsion design. By 
default that includes a lot of the devices (such as bombs) that have 
surpassed breakeven.

The antimatter catalyzed concept is just that, an Orion concept with 
extremely small fusion bombs.