Al Gore

Consider specific people in the fusion research community, business, or politics who should be made aware of polywell research, and how we might reach them.

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Schneibster
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Al Gore

Postby Schneibster » Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:40 am

I have said this before; Al Gore. I would hope he is already aware of it, but I would not count on that.

Zixinus
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Postby Zixinus » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:42 am

Al Gore is a politician, and by very definition is useless when it comes to anything actually done.

EDIT: furthermore, I recall that he was against nuclear power of any kind.

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Postby JoeStrout » Mon Jul 09, 2007 2:27 pm

Zixinus, I'm detecting some prejudice on your part again. :) Politicians are not useless at getting things done; they can get a great deal done (sometimes, even good things!). Moreover, Al Gore is no longer practicing politics; he's a former politician, now better classified as a celebrity — and he's shown a good knack for using his celebrity to accomplish his goals.

Moreover, he may well be against "nuclear power" but that would mean fission power. There are some coherent reasons to be against that. You may or may not agree with those reasons, but regardless, none of them apply to fusion power. Given his clear and strong desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I sincerely hope he is against fission power, because then fusion is really the only practical alternative to large-scale base power generation. (Well, except perhaps for space solar power, but that requires a much larger investment to get going than polywell fusion, if Dr. Bussard is right.)

So I think Schneibster has a valid candidate for our cause here. The question is, how can we reach him?
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Zixinus
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Postby Zixinus » Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:36 pm

Zixinus, I'm detecting some prejudice on your part again. Smile


That's a gut reaction actually.

Moreover, he may well be against "nuclear power" but that would mean fission power. There are some coherent reasons to be against that. You may or may not agree with those reasons, but regardless, none of them apply to fusion power. Given his clear and strong desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I sincerely hope he is against fission power, because then fusion is really the only practical alternative to large-scale base power generation. (Well, except perhaps for space solar power, but that requires a much larger investment to get going than polywell fusion, if Dr. Bussard is right.)


If he wants to limit greenhouse gasses but is againts fission, then he's ignorant enough to not know the difference between fusion and fission, and would care less. Fission has its downsides, but none of them are bad enough to dismiss it completely.

EDIT:

I sincerely hope he is against fission power, because then fusion is really the only practical alternative to large-scale base power generation


Oh and I must disagree. Fission, especially with breeder reactor design, can supply large-scale power for entire Humanity for centuries if not millenas.
Last edited by Zixinus on Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nanos » Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:07 pm

I have to say, with my experience of more than a decade of being around politicans (and for my sins 2 years working in government..) I can say they come close the biggest group of useless people ever..

They can get things done, but more often than not, what the end result is, is some watered down effort that is nothing like what people really need.

Whilst there are some politicans with a good heart, the civil service below them makes sure that very little or nothing remains of their good intentions at the end of the day.

Basically, I wouldn't look to politicans anywhere to solve our issues, instead I suggest we look towards ourselves and get organised.

I still chat with them and they do occasionally take notice of little ideas of mine (or ones told to me by others.) but they are not at all keen on anything more above which type of paperclip to use. (And even then, I coudln't get them to change to larger staples to stop boxes falling apart..)

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Postby Schneibster » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:49 pm

Worth mentioning, I suppose, that Al Gore sat on a variety of military and non-military committees in the Senate; he's pretty well-versed in this stuff, and knows a fair bit of physics- strictly amateur-level, but still, I'd be very surprised if he didn't know the difference between fission and fusion, and even a bit surprised if he'd never heard of the fusor. Since the consensus seems to be that it's not worth doing, I guess I'll do it myself, because I disagree with that consensus. I was just wondering if anyone would like to help craft the letter or has a better contact method than just mailing it to him.

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Postby JoeStrout » Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:43 pm

Zixinus wrote:If he wants to limit greenhouse gasses but is againts fission, then he's ignorant enough to not know the difference between fusion and fission, and would care less. Fission has its downsides, but none of them are bad enough to dismiss it completely.

You must get far with people skills like those. :) Many non-ignorant people see serious problems with fission power, such as the security issues it raises. No, one doesn't dismiss it completely, but one may still see it as an unattractive option, and yet not be too stupid to know the difference between fusion and fission.

Gore, in particular, is neither ignorant nor stupid. You may not agree with him on particular issues, and that's certainly your right. But to underestimate his intelligence or knowledge only costs yourself.

Zixinus wrote:
I sincerely hope he is against fission power, because then fusion is really the only practical alternative to large-scale base power generation


Oh and I must disagree. Fission, especially with breeder reactor design, can supply large-scale power for entire Humanity for centuries if not millenas.

Hmm, there seems to be some misunderstanding there. If one is against fission, then by definition, it is not one of the alternatives (to fission) for large-scale base power generation.

For what it's worth, I agree with you that fission could do that. I'm not a big fan of it though, and if Gore is strongly against it, then he would be a good candidate to support fusion research (if he can be convinced that Dr. Bussard's efforts could yield near-term results).
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Postby JoeStrout » Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:47 pm

Schneibster wrote:Since the consensus seems to be that it's not worth doing, I guess I'll do it myself, because I disagree with that consensus. I was just wondering if anyone would like to help craft the letter or has a better contact method than just mailing it to him.

I'm not sure any consensus has been reached — but for what it's worth, I'll help with that letter.

I do wonder whether anyone has a better method of reaching him, though. He's not active in politics anymore; does he still have staffers? I think he still tours the country giving talks; would there be any opportunity to meet with him personally after one of those?

He's high enough on the celebrity scale that I'm sure he gets approached by lots of nuts and cranks. The tricky part would be reaching him without setting off his crank-o-meter. The ideal way to do this, I suppose, would be an introduction by someone he knows.

So let's think, people — whom do you know, who might know someone who knows Al Gore?
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Postby Zixinus » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:32 am

Worth mentioning, I suppose, that Al Gore sat on a variety of military and non-military committees in the Senate; he's pretty well-versed in this stuff, and knows a fair bit of physics- strictly amateur-level, but still, I'd be very surprised if he didn't know the difference between fission and fusion, and even a bit surprised if he'd never heard of the fusor.


Being member of a community doesn't automatically mean that he knows what he is talking about. Being a politician by very definition is about talking air. To put it mildly.
And honestly, I'd be surprised if he knew the difference between the words "atomic" and "nuclear".

Since the consensus seems to be that it's not worth doing, I guess I'll do it myself, because I disagree with that consensus.


If you think that you can persuade Al Gore, then go ahead. Good luck. You are going to need it.

I was just wondering if anyone would like to help craft the letter or has a better contact method than just mailing it to him.


Emphasize that Polywell can do p-B11, meaning no nuclear waste, and the only by-product is helium. Emphasize that it can be done cheaply, and relatively fast. Mention EMC2, and the badly-funded research due to the Iraqi war (not the whole truth, but part of it).

I often mention that Polywell works on the same principle Farnsworth-Hirch fusors do, and fusors do produce fusion, and are accepted all across the world.
If you can, link some blogs, scientific papers, and if you have the patience for it, universities that experiment or regularly use fusors. www.fusor.net is also worthy mention.

You must get far with people skills like those. Smile


I'm popular with the ladies. They avoid me like the plaque. The priests that know me also regularly do a cross and a small prayer when they see me. And I then look them in the face and smile.

Many non-ignorant people see serious problems with fission power, such as the security issues it raises.


No problem of fission is not solvable with reasonable means, with realistic ideas. Actually most claimed problems are already solved.

Don't thrust the country with nuclear power? Make your own there, with your own engineers and make the country pay for the costs. Radioactive waste? Reprocess it, and either dump the remaining waste or bombard it with neutrons to shorten half-life radically. Radiation? Get some concrete, and just measure how much is really the problem. Safety? Look up "pebble bed reactor", or the Canadian CANDU, meltdown is impossible, heck, pretty much any modern design is very safe. Fuel? Look up thorium breeding.

And I can go on. The only reason why we don't use it that often is because of nuclear hysteria, which had lost their rational basis quite a time ago. That is not to say that fission is perfect, but unlike fusion, it is a working, mature and clean technology. And unlike the hippie dreams of power production by magical pixies, it can supply the modern world with power, guaranteed.

There are technical problems, non-trivial ones, but the real problems lie on political grounds, not in engineering.

Anybody that does not see that, is not clear of the facts.

Nuclear power plants also produce ZERO greenhouse gas. And when I mean zero, I mean that a mouse farting will produce more greenhouse gas then what power plants ever will.
If Al Gore is truly worried about it, then he should be ADVOCATING IT AS AN ALTERNATIVE, not being againts it.

The fact that he doesn't, and that he built up a large group of supporters, makes me think that his political carrier isn't over yet. Being pro-nuclear isn't popular.

I'm not a big fan of it though, and if Gore is strongly against it, then he would be a good candidate to support fusion research (if he can be convinced that Dr. Bussard's efforts could yield near-term results).


I do not mean to insult you, but ask yourself: do you honestly think that someone that is opposed to fission will change his mind regarding fusion? When you are anti-nuclear, you are anti-nuclear all the way.

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Postby JoeStrout » Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:22 am

Zixinus wrote:I do not mean to insult you, but ask yourself: do you honestly think that someone that is opposed to fission will change his mind regarding fusion?

Yes, of course I do, because I am such a person, and I've read many others (e.g., I read Science magazine on a weekly basis, where that is a fairly common view). See, for example, the Union of Concerned Scientists' position on nuclear safety. They're not strictly anti-nuclear — nor am I — but they are very concerned about the safety of our nuclear power plants, and have helped to get a number of them shut down. But I would guess they'd have no trouble with p-B11 fusion (an interesting idea deserving of a separate thread).

Zixinus wrote:When you are anti-nuclear, you are anti-nuclear all the way.

Nonsense. These are considered opinions, not knee-jerk responses... somewhat unlike the views you're displaying of anyone opposed to wide-scale nuclear fission.
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Postby Nanos » Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:26 am

Our approach is a little simlar to geothermal power, expect geothermal has been around for sometime, yet even if you try convincing a politican about that, your onto a loser!

I had the, lets call it good fortune.. to chat with some of my very local politicans and suggested to them the benefits of building a geothermal plant in my own town, only a short time after a brief flutter of interest from the public side, the political side briefly mentioned how they had a relative who investigated it 30 years ago and thought it wouldn't work, and that was it, that was the final word on the issue, that was their entire knowledge base.

They didn't even bother looking at any of the links I gave, didn't read the MIT report recently published, and didn't even seem to take any notice of the fact that there is a working geothermal plant in our own country pumping out electric at 1.4p a KWH !

And then because I wouldn't shut up about it, I got censored and banned from their cosy little forum!

Those links about it for those also interested;

Geothermal electricity generation with GEOHIL technology

http://www.bassfeld.ch


For working out rough costs;

http://www.crest.org/geothermal/geother ... omics.html


More useful links;

http://geothermal.id.doe.gov/publicatio ... 9-1-05.pdf

http://www.insurgent49.com/yanity_geothermal.html

http://www.ormat.com


Whilst I'm all for hoping that we can reach people and get someone to fund things, at the end of the day, I fear any funding will be down to each of us digging into our own pockets to move things forward in anything approaching our own lifetimes.

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Postby JoeStrout » Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:01 pm

Nanos wrote:Whilst I'm all for hoping that we can reach people and get someone to fund things, at the end of the day, I fear any funding will be down to each of us digging into our own pockets to move things forward in anything approaching our own lifetimes.

I've already contributed $50 to EMC2, and I certainly encourage others to contribute whatever they can out of pocket as well.

But this is the networking forum; the purpose of the threads here is to discuss what persons or organizations we might reach who could have a positive impact on polywell research, and how to reach them. If you're convinced that all such efforts are futile, then you might consider not reading this forum, and focusing on the others (Awareness, Theory, etc.).
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Postby Nanos » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:36 pm

I think political approaches are not going to work well, but other approach could well work.

I see more of a grass roots approach being one that could make it work myself, as business is less keen on something so risky.

If people are willing to give money to charities half way around the world, or save some trees, I think we have hope that we could reach those people and get them to pay towards fusion.

I just want us to be fully realistic that there isn't likely to be a magic person we can speak to and make it all happen overnight, as much as I'd like such a person to exist.

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Postby JoeStrout » Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:07 pm

Nanos wrote:I just want us to be fully realistic that there isn't likely to be a magic person we can speak to and make it all happen overnight, as much as I'd like such a person to exist.

We need to plant many seeds, and nurture them as well as we can. There's no predicting which one will grow into the metaphorical tree we need.
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Postby Zixinus » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:06 am

. See, for example, the Union of Concerned Scientists' position on nuclear safety. They're not strictly anti-nuclear — nor am I — but they are very concerned about the safety of our nuclear power plants, and have helped to get a number of them shut down.


Too bad that the Union is a subject of controversy whether it does actual science or not.

http://russp.org/BLC-4.html
Referenced article about how nuclear power is several times safer then coal power plants

About 80 percent of the American public believes it is more dangerous to generate electricity from nuclear power than from coal. Scientific studies show, however, than coal is many times more dangerous. Even Henry Kendall, director of the anti-nuclear lobbying group Union of Concerned Scientists, and anti-nuclear activist Ralph Nader, in private, concede this.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/28/14154/799
Blog from someone who has personal experience with the Union and their methods.

According to the anti-nuclear group that calls themselves the Union of Concerned "Scientists" (quotation marks mine) a terrorist attack on the nuclear station at Indian Point could result in 44,000 immediate deaths and 518,000 deaths from cancer. Now why they choose 44,000 and not 45,000 and 518,000 deaths and not 519,000, I don't know. Many scientists do error bars, but apparently "Concerned Scientists" do not.


http://home.pacbell.net/sabsay/nuclear/chapter6.html

This is a textbook quality work regarding unrealistic expectation, again, from the UCS.

The RSS estimates that a reactor meltdown may be expected about once every 20,000 years of reactor operation; that is , if there were 100 reactors, there would be a meltdown once in 200 years.7 The report by the principal organization opposed to nuclear power, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS),21 estimates one meltdown for every 2,000 years of reactor operation. In U.S.-type reactors, there have been over 2,000 years of commercial reactor operation worldwide plus almost 4,000 years of U.S. Navy reactor operation all without a meltdown (in the sense they are using the word). If the UCS estimate is correct, we should have expected three meltdowns by now, whereas according to the RSS, there is a 30% chance that we would have had one.



Well?

Nonsense. These are considered opinions, not knee-jerk responses... somewhat unlike the views you're displaying of anyone opposed to wide-scale nuclear fission.


Because everyone that is opposed to fission doesn't know all the small little facts and details that make their opinion invalid, to put it mildly.


So you want to talk about safety?

Well, lets see the track record. Name one accident BESIDES Chernobly, where there is generally accepted truth that hundreds of people died.

I can't.

But there is always Chernobyl. It did kill people, even though the tens, even hundreds of thousands death-toll was an estimate, and the proven death-toll was about 140-200.

What you don't know is that Chernobyl, to put it mildly, was a pile of shit.

You don't need a combination of human and mechanical errors. You need incredible amounts of human stupidity, carelessness and as incompetent design as possible, that cannot be found anywhere else but Soviet Union.

Do you know what they did? They disabled a series of safety features and then ran a test to see whether the reactor would work the way it was expected in a meltdown scenario.

And do you why I use the word "shit"? Because it WAS shit, especially when compared to power plants in the West. Because unlike Westerners that do give a shit about human life, the Soviet union cut several mayor features to save money. Most of which would make any nuclear engineer pale when even mentioned.

Let me repeat that: The Soviet Union built Chernobyl without several safety features that were textbook standard in the West, and ran a meltdown deliberate with shutting down several safety measures.

And if you really want to know more about specific problems about how bad Chernobly was, let me quote PweZook:
There were several problems inherent with the reactor design ; One, it was a graphite-moderated reactor, which meant that the water inside the vessel served as a coolant, not a moderator - in a water-moderated design, as heat increases, steam bubbles appear in the water which don't moderate neutrons, and thus the reaction slows down on its own. In the RMBK reactor, bubbles appear, water doesn't absord neutrons (it always absorbs some) and thus the reaction speeds up as heat increases.

The second flaw was monitoring - the sensors only reached to a certain part of the reactor vessel, and thus do not monitor the most crucial areas - that is, the bottom, where heat increases most rapidly.

Third, the design of the control rods was retarded - they were actually tipped with graphite, which means that they temporarily accelerate the reaction when inserted, rather than stopping it right away.

Fourth, the containment building was...not there. Few people know that water-moderated reactors are actually supposed to explode when all other safety systems fail - because that scatters the nuclear material around, destroys the moderator and thus prevents a meltdown, which is much, much worse than a steam explosion.

Of course, they are supposed to explode within an idiotically resillient containment building - and Chernobyl didn't have containment bunkers, because building it without one saved 30% of the costs. Thus, all the results of the explosion got out into the atmosphere. The KGB actually generated a report pointing out all these flaws, but it was dismissed as scaremongering by the Party.

So, you can see that one of the primary reasons for the catastrophe were idiotic design decisions taken when building the reactor.


In other words, if we built a car with the same way the Soviet Union built Chernobly, we would have a car that has perfectly black windshields, has no brakes, no airbags, no seatbelts, no lights of any kind, spits fire right out of the gas tank when you gently push the gas.

Now, lets compare it with the Canadian CANDU system:

For example, the choice of a heavy water moderator inherently solves several problems. The thermophysical characteristics of heavy water are similar to light water, so the moderator system can function as a backup cooling system. Heavy water is also a more effective neutron moderator than light water, so they don't have to use highly refined uranium fuel bundles. The use of low-grade fuel means that it is impossible for the fuel to go critical in light water, so you'll never run into a situation where the light-water coolant can sustain the reaction. The resulting reaction is highly optimized, with very little "excess reactivity". In layman's terms, this means that instead of constantly trying to keep a potential runaway reaction under control, we use a less volatile reaction which is already near its limits. In other words, no matter what goes wrong, it can't run much hotter than it already does. Fusion reactors are an excellent example of minimal excess reactivity; a variety of critical conditions must be met in order for fusion to occur, and virtually any problem will kill the reaction.

But safe engineering doesn't stop with passive measures. The principal philosophies behind the "defense in depth" concept revolve around redundancy, diversity, and isolation. Redundancy means that you should have several systems to handle each function. If one fails, another will take its place. Diversity means that redundant systems should be dissimilar. For example, a CANDU reactor has two redundant emergency shutdown systems, and each system functions on a completely different principle: the primary system uses shutoff rods and the secondary system uses a moderator poison. And finally, isolation means that the various systems are isolated from one another. Each one uses its own computers, sensors, and actuators. They are even physically separated, with sheer distance and atmospheric and/or structural barriers. This ensures that a single physical disaster or a computer, sensor or actuator failure won't affect both systems at once.

Furthermore, "dead man's switch" principles are employed wherever possible, so that a system is ideally activated by a failure condition. For example, a CANDU reactor's primary emergency shutdown system uses shut-off rods that are electromagnetically suspended above the reactor. If the system fails, its electromagnet will lose power and the rods will fall due to gravity, thus shutting the reactor down.


Nuclear power is one of the topics I know a bit about, and what I can tell you, is that almost all anti-nuclear arguments are either a lie, a speach out of direct ignorance or only apply to technology that one should only find in museums.

Anti-nuclear movement doesn't have any rational basis. There is no safety issue, there is no cost issue, there is no waste issue. There is only ignorance and blind, superstitious fear.

I have sincere doubts that someone that cannot be convinced by an armada of nuclear engineers who have papers proving that they are competent in their field, will think differently about nuclear fusion.

EDIT:

Oh and another thing.

Your tone suggests that shutting down nuclear power plants is a good thing. Well, thing is, that the only other power plant that could be competitive with nuclear fission, is burning fossil fuels such as coal.

And unlike fission, you need to burn hundreds of tons of coal to produce the same power as fission produces.

Coal is not clean: there are bunch of other things in it, such as radioactive radon. Which goes out the chimney.

Coal, and other fossil power plants, contentiously release various radioactive elements into the atmosphere BY NORMAL OPERATION.

A coal plant releases more radioactive particles into the air then several fission reactor meltdowns would.

And renewables are NOT competitive with either fission or fossil fuels when it comes to energy produced, so don't for a second think that when a fission plant is shut down, green alternatives will be used.

Think about that when people say that nuclear plants should be shut down.

EDIT:

AND ANOTHER darn THING: http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/index.html
Last edited by Zixinus on Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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