Fusion Fission Hybrids for Green and Plentiful Energy
If the world were forced to shift its energy “burden” from fossils to nuclear, will ”nuclear energy” be ready to assume this role? Can one, for example, envision an economically, environmentally and socially acceptable path that will guarantee plentiful nuclear energy? Could such an enormous transition be engineered in near future? Could we, even, begin to build a nuclear energy dominant future on the foundations of the current and soon to be available competitive industrial technologies?
To earnestly assume this role, “nuclear energy” must, first, demonstrate safe and acceptable technical solutions to two fundamental problems of fission power:
• The problem of nuclear waste: transuranic isotopes that have long-term radio toxicity and biohazard, and
• The problem of limited “naturally fissile (U235)” fuel supply that must be solved by breeding fuel from fertile materials like U238 and Th232
Our recent design of Fusion-Fission Hybrid reactor - a creative combination of fusion and fission - can indeed lay the foundations of a “green “ and plentiful nuclear energy economy on time scales of less than a couple decades. Although nuclear fusion is not ready for direct energy production, our recent invention of the Super-X Divertor can lead to the design of a workable highly compact intense fusion neutron source. In a hybrid driven by such an intense fusion neutron source, several novel fuel cycles that would be inaccessible to pure fission, become available. The resulting vastly enhanced overall nuclear capability can be readily exploited to slay the twin dragon of the “constraining” problems of fission- the problems of nuclear waste and that of limited fuel supply.
In the global energy context, our fusion-fission hybrid adds a new, perhaps, crucial dimension to the quest for a vibrant, green and plentiful energy future.