Fusion heating up?

This was, more or less, the headline on an article in today’s Montreal Gazette. Subhead claims hurdles are immense but “Success is close”. Is this really true?

There were a couple of disquieting things in the article. For one thing they talked of fusing deuterium and tritium. I know deuterium is relatively common, although concentrating is not trivial. But I thought that tritium was radioactive and not found in nature. Or not found in any quantity, which would seem to make it hard to scale this. Also, they said that while they were now producing more energy than they were using, they needed to be producing 60 times the amount of energy they used if it was to profitable. This kind of belies the “Success is close” claim.

So my question really is, can someone who knows a lot more about this than me enlighten me about the real situation?

You make tritium from hitting lithium with neutrons or you can recover it from heavy water - Ontario apparently produces 2.5 kg of the stuff every year (http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/cnf_sectionD.htm#x5).

I went looking and it seems that the energy release from the pellet was greater than the energy* incident on the pellet*. That’s great but there’s a lot of energy that needs to be made up due to conversion losses.

It’s cool but we’re still a ways away - http://fire.pppl.gov/NIF_NIC_report_rev5_koonin_2012.pdf

Any hope of a link to the article? I’m curious to read (and to see if they offer the famous five-to-seven years to viability), though certainly not qualified to answer your question.

I think it’s about a BBC article related to the National Ingition Facility.

NIF operates by blasting a pellet with 192 lasers. It basically slams the fuel together. The other big fusion project is ITER which where you have a torus of magnets containing a plasma and heating that to fusion temperatures.

This seems to be the same article, from an Edmonton paper. The Gazette is behind a paywall.