At least the kid's project cost was a bit more reasonable than the 12.8 billion dollar ITER reactor at Cadarache in southern France.
And, mercifully, the article avoids making the endlessly repeated phony claim that its the "energy source of the sun."
If that were the case, they wouldn't need hundred-million-degree temperatures, and they wouldn't need deuterium or tritium.
Of course admitting that its really the energy source of hydrogen bombs, doesn't sound nearly as attractive to politicians, the media, and the public....
With this kind of hyperbole, we could also claim that, because fission reactions are *nuclear*, its also " the power of the Sun and the stars."
Guess we just lack the requisite PR finesse :O)
TEEN GOES NUCLEAR: He creates fusion in his Oakland Township home
November 19, 2006
BY GINA DAMRON, (Detroit) FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
On the surface, Thiago Olson is like any typical teenager.
He's on the cross country and track teams at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills. He's a good-looking, clean-cut 17-year-old with a 3.75 grade point average, and he has his eyes fixed on the next big step: college. But to his friends, Thiago is known as "the mad scientist."
In the basement of his parents' Oakland Township home, tucked away in an area most aren't privy to see, Thiago is exhausting his love of physics on a project that has taken him more than two years and 1,000 hours to research and build -- a large, intricate machine that , on a small scale, creates nuclear fusion.
Nuclear fusion -- when atoms are combined to create energy -- is "kind of like the holy grail of physics," he said. In fact, on www.fusor.net, the Stoney Creek senior is ranked as the 18th amateur in the world to create nuclear fusion. So, how does he do it?
Pointing to the steel chamber where all the magic happens, Thiago said on Friday that this piece of the puzzle serves as a vacuum. The air is sucked out and into a filter. Then, deuterium gas -- a form of hydrogen -- is injected into the vacuum. About 40,000 volts of electricity are charged into the chamber from a piece of equipment taken from an old mammogram machine. As the machine runs, the atoms in the chamber are attracted to the center and soon -- ta da -- nuclear fusion. Thiago said when that happens, a small intense ball of energy forms. He first achieved fusion in September and has been perfecting the machine he built in his parents' garage ever since.
This year, Thiago was a semifinalist for the Siemens Foundation's National Research Competition. He plans to enter the Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit, which is in March, in hopes of qualifying to be in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in New Mexico in May.
To his mom and dad, he's still reminiscent of the 5-year-old who toiled over a kid-friendly chemistry set and, then at age 9, was able to change the battery in his older brother's car. Now, in a small room in the basement, Thiago has set up a science lab -- where bottles marked "potassium hydroxide" and "methanol" sit on shelves and a worn, old book, titled "The Atomic Fingerprint: Neutron Activation Analysis" piled among others in the empty sink.
Thiago's mom, Natalice Olson, initially was leery of the project, even though the only real danger from the fusion machine is the high voltage and small amount of X-rays emitted through a glass window in the vacuum chamber -- through which Olson videotapes the fusion in action. But, she wasn't really surprised, since he was always coming up with lofty ideas. "Originally, he wanted to build a hyperbolic chamber," she said, adding that she promptly said no. But, when he came asking about the nuclear fusion machine, she relented.
"I think it was pretty brave that he could think that he was capable to do something so amazing," she said.
Thiago's dad, Mark Olson, helped with some of the construction and electrical work. To get all of the necessary parts, Thiago scoured the Internet, buying items on eBay and using his age to persuade manufacturers to give him discounts. The design of the model came from his own ideas and some suggestions from other science-lovers he met online.
Accord signed in France on breakthrough nuclear reactor
Agence France Presse, 21 November 2006
PARIS, Nov 21, 2006 (AFP) - A seven-member international consortium Tuesday signed a formal treaty to build a multibillion-dollar experimental nuclear reactor emulating the power of the Sun, sealing a decade of negotiations.
Representatives from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States signed a pact in Paris on the construction of the 10-billion-euro (12.8 billion dollar) reactor at Cadarache in southern France.
Work on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which aims to provide a clean and limitless alternative to fossil fuel, is set to start in 2008 and be completed by 2018.
The ITER scheme is designed to be a test-bed of nuclear fusion technologies, with an operational lifespan of 20 years.
Instead of splitting the atom -- the principle behind current nuclear plants -- the project seeks to harness nuclear fusion: the power of the Sun and the stars.
If it is successful, a prototype commercial reactor will be built, and if that works, fusion technology will be rolled out across the world.
The EU is to put up half the cost of building the reactor, with the rest evenly divided among the other parties. The project will employ 400 scientists, two-thirds of them non-French.
Following years of wrangling, Japan agreed in 2005 to withdraw its bid to host the project instead of France -- in exchange for 20 percent of staff posts including the director general's job.
A Japanese engineer turned ambassador, Kaname Ikeda, was named earlier this month to head the project.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
Behalf Of Kristian Ukkonen
Sent: November 22, 2006 7:10 AM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Reactor in the Basement!
Flanigan, Floyd wrote:
> Sounds to me like this kid got a whole lot of photons. Enough applied
> voltage in that environment seems like it would cause a flash ... but not neutrons.
The fusors do indeed produce D-fusion neutrons, measured directly with He3-, B10-, BF3-tubes, doped scintillators, bubble dosimeters etc..
As well, the neutrons have been used for activation, and the energy spectrum measured from activated metals using MCA with NaI(Tl) to detect the characteristic peaks.
Of course, the fusors produce lots of x-rays and gamma too.
The "flash" is actually a beatiful "star" in the middle of the vacuum chamber with the electrostatic confinement electrodes, and it stays there - ie. not any flash but a plasma lasting as long there is the high-voltage.
An enthusiastic amateur can do wonderful things. :)
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
Behalf Of Bill
Sent: November 21, 2006 7:46 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Re: [RadSafe] Reactor in the Basement!
You can build or buy a Fusor for about $1000 that can produce 1.0E+06 neutrons/sec.
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