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mistermack

Tokamak fusion at Culham Oxfordshire

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Posted (edited)

I don't know if this should go into politics or physics or science news. 

I just heard on my tv, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his big speech at the Conservative Party conference, that the people at Culham Tokamak project in Oxfordshire are on the VERGE of producing successful mini fusion reactors, and selling them worldwide. 

He then acknowledged that they have been on the verge for a long time, but now claims that they are on the "verge of the verge". 

I haven't heard the slightest whisper of any such thing. Are they actually winding up the Prime Minister of the UK ? It's not April Fool's Day. Or did he dream it? I couldn't believe my ears when he said it.

Edit :  I just found this link reporting on his visit. It doesn't match his claim at the conference, but it must be where he's got the idea from. 

The MAST part of the project seems to be the relevant bit :       https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/08/09/boris-johnson-hails-world-leading-fusion-energy-research-in-oxfordshire/     

And I found this  :    https://www.energylivenews.com/2018/10/19/prince-william-tours-uks-new-fusion-energy-experiment/    

Edited by mistermack

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

I just heard on my tv, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his big speech at the Conservative Party conference, that the people at Culham Tokamak project in Oxfordshire are on the VERGE of producing successful mini fusion reactors, and selling them worldwide. 

Presumably it is not true, then.

About the only source less reliable than Johnson is the Daily Mail, closely followed by D.Trump...

1 hour ago, mistermack said:

It doesn't match his claim at the conference

Surprise.

Basically, if Boris "there are no reporters here" Johnson said it was hot and sunny out, I would get a jumper and an umbrella.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Strange said:

Presumably it is not true, then.

I agree he's a windbag. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't expect too much from him.

But as Prime Minister, speaking to the party annual conference, with every news station covering him, I would have expected SOME kind of resemblance to the truth. They must have people fact-checking these speeches surely? 

Maybe it's the Trump effect. People are catching on that you can say whatever you like, if you are leader, and not get laughed off the stage ??

Edit : Come to think of it, I did hear some suppressed gasps from the audience when he said it, but no outright response.

Edited by mistermack

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Thank you for the subsequent links.

I note the BBC had none of it in the 1 o'clock news nor under 'What else did he say' on their website.

 

I also wonder (tongue in cheek since it would be marvellous if they finally succeeded) if this is the same team that has been promising commercial fusion since the late 1950s when they were on the brink of......... with ZETA.

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A politician making science-based claims can be several steps removed from the facts. Someone may have explained something to them (and this could be the Nth step of that happening), with the truth eroding each step of the way. The caveats get dropped, and maybes become certainties. All of this before you worry about the track record of the individual.

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He's not an idiot, (IQ wise at least) , he just missed out on a first from Balliol College Oxford, leaving with an upper second. And he spend a day at Culham, being shown around and briefed on the project by the top brass, so he should by now know more than most of us, about the subject. 

I can't see how anyone with half a brain could come away from doing that, and then announce it the way he did at the conference. 

If what he said had been true, it would be the end of global warming problems, it would transform the economy of the entire world, and make the UK the equivalent of the new Saudi Arabia of the energy market. No big deal really. 

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9 minutes ago, mistermack said:

If what he said had been true, it would be the end of global warming problems, it would transform the economy of the entire world, and make the UK the equivalent of the new Saudi Arabia of the energy market. No big deal really. 

Unlikely, most countries wouldn't be able to afford fusion, and those that could would prefer their own anyway. then there's the problem of having enough qualified engineers, South Africa being a good example.

To be the new Saudi we would need to sell the fuel, not the "engine" so to speak. And China and the US would soon overtake us, especially with the size of their military and space agency.

It would definitely be a game changer, especially for space propulsion, but I don't think it will change the world.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Curious layman said:

Unlikely, most countries wouldn't be able to afford fusion, and those that could would prefer their own anyway. then there's the problem of having enough qualified engineers, South Africa being a good example.

To be the new Saudi we would need to sell the fuel, not the "engine" so to speak. And China and the US would soon overtake us, especially with the size of their military and space agency.

It would definitely be a game changer, especially for space propulsion, but I don't think it will change the world.

But if the US, the UK, China, Germany and Japan etc had good working fusion generation, all of the cars and trucks would be going electric, and that would force the price of oil, gas and coal to the floor on the world markets. So even countries that couldn't afford the tech would benefit.

If the UK held strong patents on the technology, then it would benefit financially. The fuel for fusion is a tiny insignificant fraction of the cost, so it would be the tech that made the money in that circumstance.

 

The video file is too big, but here's what he said, if it will play

Boris fusion .mp3

 

Edited by mistermack

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4 hours ago, mistermack said:

I can't see how anyone with half a brain could come away from doing that, and then announce it the way he did at the conference. 

There is a good chance that if pressured he will say that it was a 'joke' or a slight 'hyperbole'. I would be (positively) surprised if an actual scientist working on  it would come forward with such an announcement. Because then there would be someone more trustworthy who would put their credibility on the line. The cost for politicians misrepresenting science is not very high. 

4 hours ago, mistermack said:

If what he said had been true, it would be the end of global warming problems,

While a commercial system would be game changing, it would not solve the current problems immediately. Even if we imagine a working system in 10 years (which is far beyond the even more optimistic estimates), an actual commercial system would take longer to develop and build. So it will still takes decades before we can actually start transitioning, which gives us plenty of time for challenges in-between. 

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4 hours ago, mistermack said:

I can't see how anyone with half a brain could come away from doing that, and then announce it the way he did at the conference. 

He is a pathological liar. Did you see the clip of him gesturing at the TV cameras and, barely audible above the sound of cameras, say "there are no press here".

But, fascinating as it is, this is off topic. :mellow:

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6 hours ago, mistermack said:

Maybe it's the Trump effect. People are catching on that you can say whatever you like, if you are leader, and not get laughed off the stage ??

It must be something like that. People have compared Trump and Johnson before.
 

Boris also announced a solution to the brexit problem in Ireland. It's one  that was already rejected.

He announced the building of 40 new hospitals. It's actually just 6- and they aren't new.

He's on record as lying to the population, the police, his wife, his mistresses, his party leader, his editor,  his readers, parliament and the Queen.

Many of his supporters are probably only worried about the last of those.

 

Boris is really good at promising good things.

He's not good at doing good things.

 

 

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5 hours ago, mistermack said:

If the UK held strong patents on the technology, then it would benefit financially.

Aside from it probably not being true, I am now wondering who would be able to apply for patents. The facility is EU-funded and the researchers working on the technology are internationals from different institutions. I would think that patents would be held by the international consortium, depending on what the agreements are. 

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I'm still (not) waiting for Lockheed-Martin's "Fit in a shipping container" fusion reactors - solar and wind and storage have moved further in the time since the first announcements than Skunk Works Fusion has.

I am cynically skeptical of Johnson's announcement and cannot help but suspect it is part of a "don't worry, we don't need climate policy or low emissions energy plans" position on global warming.

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Posted (edited)

I think, you are not entirely fair with them. Any (at high enough position) politician is liar.. Without lying to people, they would not get votes and sustain position..

Promising something which they cannot do, or don't want to do, or doing it would be plain stupid, I also consider as "lying to people".

Edited by Sensei

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1 hour ago, Sensei said:

I think, you are not entirely fair with them. Any (at high enough position) politician is liar.. Without lying to people, they would not get votes and sustain position..

I think that we (the population) at the end of the day get the politicians we deserve. They wouldn't lie, if they always got punished by the voters, but the fact is they don't. They usually lie carefully, so that they can say "I actually said this" while giving an entirely different impression. Most politicians would get slaughtered by the press, if they told the unvarnished truth. So it's a game that they play, avoiding trick questions, with devious half answers etc. 

But this fusion one is way out of that league. And for what? He isn't claiming credit for it for himself or the government. He was just using it as an example of what the UK can do "on it's own" when of course, it's totally untrue, and certainly not just British. 

But he's got away with it, nobody seems to have pulled him up for it, so like I said, you get the politicians you deserve.

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31 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I think that we (the population) at the end of the day world get the politicians we deserve.

That requires extremely well educated population, extremely well informed, extremely well understanding everything..

32 minutes ago, mistermack said:

They wouldn't lie, if they always got punished by the voters, but the fact is they don't.

..if population is intelligence, quantum physicists, you cannot lie to us...

(one can try, but the only thing you will get is smile, which can be interpreted "I know you are telling BS")

 

49 minutes ago, mistermack said:

But he's got away with it, nobody seems to have pulled him up for it, so like I said, you get the politicians you deserve.

Merkel graduated quantum chemistry, her husband too... what UK have.. ? ;)

I said to somebody here, Merkel is the only politician who could speak with me... (the rest would not have idea what I am talking about anyway so waste of my time)

 

 

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2 hours ago, mistermack said:

They usually lie carefully,

Not Trump + Boris.

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6 hours ago, Sensei said:

..if population is intelligence, quantum physicists, you cannot lie to us...

(one can try, but the only thing you will get is smile, which can be interpreted "I know you are telling BS")

Yeh right. People primarily believe what they want to believe. A science education gives no protection against liars. A sceptical nature and upbringing helps, but gullibility is part of the human genome, and can only be partially cured.

Adolf Hitler wasn't particularly academic, but it didn't stop him. Lots of clever scientists in Germany at the time, depending on him for a living.

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13 hours ago, Sensei said:

..if population is intelligence, quantum physicists, you cannot lie to us...

I’m not sure if there have been any formal studies, but it certainly seems that physicists are particularly easily fooled by the tricks used by people claiming to be psychic (eg studies by physicists sometimes show a small effect but when replicated by people from another background, the effect disappears).

This may be because physicists are used to seeing the unexpected (“who ordered that”) and looking for explanations. While others might be more likely to say, “no, that can’t happen” and tighten up the experimental conditions. 

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17 hours ago, mistermack said:

I think that we (the population) at the end of the day get the politicians we deserve. They wouldn't lie, if they always got punished by the voters,

Do you realise that Boris was voted in by a poll of party members

He was elected by 

92153 people

Roughly enough for a good football crowd.

The rest of us - 99.86%- didn't get a vote.

Exactly how are we supposed to punish him?

17 hours ago, Sensei said:

.if population is intelligence, quantum physicists, you cannot lie to us...

Is there some link between intelligence and quantum physics?

It's not so long since we had a prime minister who studied quantum mechanics.

She was every bit as good at lying- and being lied to- as the others,.

 

17 hours ago, Sensei said:

Merkel graduated quantum chemistry, her husband too... what UK have.. ?

https://www.quora.com/How-many-Members-of-UK-Parliament-have-science-degrees

17 hours ago, Sensei said:

I said to somebody here, Merkel is the only politician who could speak with me... (the rest would not have idea what I am talking about anyway so waste of my time)

Was it your intention to come across as laughably conceited and illiterate there?

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Posted (edited)

I am not all that trustworthy of what politicians might say to the public.  They have power, they exercise that power regardless of public interest and keep the show on topics outside of their personal actions.  I didn't know about Tokamak Reactors before seeing this thread and some shallow research has brought a wealth of science articles and youtube videos all about this novel little machine.  Here is a demonstration of the inside of the reactor off YouTube.  As you can see the machine operates to a limited capacity and hasn't been through full development.  The science appears to be finished, now all they need is to refine the construction, dimensions and design to get a Tokamak that can be used as a continual power source.  This seems very exciting but honestly looks dangerous were one of the components to fail.  Selling these things on a mass market?  I don't know about that.  Boris Johnson's words shouldn't be read too seriously.  Tokamaks wouldn't be cheap.

 

The Supreme Court has left Boris Johnson with zero credibility - and no way to deliver Brexit

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/supreme-court-brexit-boris-johnson-europe-eu-parliament-a9118011.html

The effect of nitrogen impurity seeding in the COMPASS tokamak

 

Edited by Rhodium Gold Titanium

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Rhodium Gold Titanium said:

The Supreme Court has left Boris Johnson with zero credibility - and no way to deliver Brexit

Nice  picture.

Boris left Boris with no credibility, and the promised unicorn was never going to be delivered.

 

7 hours ago, Rhodium Gold Titanium said:

I didn't know about Tokamak Reactors before seeing this thread and some shallow research has brought a wealth of science articles and youtube videos all about this novel little machine. 

 

Not novel, and "little" is a matter of opinion.

Edited by John Cuthber

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On 10/3/2019 at 4:58 AM, Sensei said:

I said to somebody here, Merkel is the only politician who could speak with me... (the rest would not have idea what I am talking about anyway so waste of my time)

 

 

Wow, easily the most arrogant post I've read from you, are you really that intelligent?

Im sorry but Boris, yes Boris, would leave you looking like a idiot if you challenged him, in fact, most of them would, and I'm including politicians from all over the world chump.

You probably think Donald Trump is an idiot too. Y'know, that dim witted billionaire who's the president of the United States. Yep, clearly an idiot.

Sorry, but that's just intellectual snobbery at its worst, I hate to think what you think of the general public.

Shame really, i normally find your posts informative.

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On 10/2/2019 at 10:24 AM, mistermack said:

He's not an idiot, (IQ wise at least) , he just missed out on a first from Balliol College Oxford, leaving with an upper second. And he spend a day at Culham, being shown around and briefed on the project by the top brass, so he should by now know more than most of us, about the subject. 

There are plenty of smart people who can't science their way out of a paper bag. A briefing is a veneer. It does not convey they depth of the information required to understand it, and you aren't going to learn the subtleties of topics in physics in an hour. (We have many, many examples of this here on this very site)

At the end of it you are trying to repeat something you perhaps could memorize, but that approach fails if you are trying to paraphrase since the understanding of the concepts just isn't there.

And all of that assumes it isn't someone who just makes stuff up out of the convenience of having a good narrative.

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