2022.12.18 Fredmas Fusion
Today is the annual remembrance of my Dad's birthday: Fredmas.
It's also the negative 1-month mark for Amy and I getting married. I think he would have really liked her, and there is some complicated deconstruction to do in my head about what I think he might have thought about getting re-married. But maybe I'll save that difficult bit for some other Rant™ and just focus on the happy part about marrying Amy.
Except that today I finally found out the technical details of the Helion fusion reactor, and I'm very busy having my mind blown. I thought tokamak's were pretty cool, and stellarators were amusing, but this pulse fusion technique is genuinely thrilling.
The main elements that blow my mind (in order of mind-blowing-ness):
- direct output of electrical power - bypassing the need to crudely use heat to run something like a turbine
- simplified fuel - use of relatively-common deuterium and helium instead of ultra-rare tritium (or plutonium, ick)
- massively reduced radioactive byproduct - even compared to tokamaks, and removing the need for beryllium layer
- a demonstration reactor to supply output power in 2024
I just realized as I was adding another iota to Dragon Toasters how often I've used "tokamak" as the go-to future-fusion method in my science fiction stories. Gah. Clearly I should just leave it for all those that were done before this recent fusion breakthrough, for pleasantly humorous posterity. But Dragon Toasters isn't done yet, and it bothers me to be working on it knowing I've got something pointlessly wrong (as opposed to all the bits that are intentionally wrong, often because I'm lazy). Which then rolls into the amusing problem of what exactly to replace tokamak with, since it's such a nicely succinct term. Hmm.