COLLIDER AND FUSION WARS: RUSSIA PLANS NEW FUSION REACTOR AND MATTER-ANTIMATTER COLLIDER

COLLIDER AND FUSION WARS: RUSSIA PLANS NEW FUSION REACTOR AND ...

January 13, 2017 By Joseph P. Farrell

One of the subjects we follow here at this website are the ongoing concerns with CERN's large hadron collider. As readers here are aware, I've proposed my own admittedly wild and woolly high octane speculations about CERN's machine, including some epistemological difficulties represented by it. How does one replicate its results independently of CERN's collider itself? One can only do so by building a similar or bigger collider capable of operating at similar or higher energies. Additionally, I've proposed the high octane speculation that CERN might have other types of experiments going on, more secretive experiments in "data correlations" between collider activity and seemingly disconnected events, or experiments in "higher dimensionality" confirmations. Indeed, on the latter score, CERN has admitted that it is looking for higher dimensions. If one were a power such as China, and suspected such goings on were in fact "going on," then this would provide another impetus to have their own version of it.

Thus, I've also proposed that CERN really set off a kind of "collider race," to close the "collider gap," much as the nuclear powers of the Cold War raced to "close the missile gap" by acquiring nuclear and thermonuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.

Additionally, we've seen interesting stories in the last year about this or that breakthrough in fusion, as German, MIT, and South Korean experiments have achieved very promising results in sustaining plasmas at fusion energies for time periods longer than just a few years ago. These results have not yet generated sustained reactions of several minutes, necessary if fusion power is ever to become a standard energy source. There is thus a "fusion reactor" race that is shaping up.

Interestingly enough, but not very surprisingly, Russia appears slated to enter this race, as the following articles demonstrate:

Siberian Physicists Ready for Next Step Toward Free Nuclear Energy

Harnessing the Power of Siberia: Physicists Creating Matter-Antimatter Collider

The new Russian experiment in plasma heating involves microwaves, and according to the Russian source (Sputnik) has already exceeded the required temperatures for fusion, meaning a practical reactor is now feasible:

The Institute is seeking financing for the GDML (gas dynamic trap) program, which is set to run until 2018, from the Russian Science Foundation,

"We have confirmed recent results on plasma heating to the temperature scale of ten million degrees; this is a very important milestone for our work. Now we can seriously begin to consider options for the establishment of fusion systems based on open traps,” Aleksander Ivanov told RIA Novosti.  The scientist further explained that the institute now has in its possession microwave heating systems stationed at the Moscow-based Russia's National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute", the country's leading research and development institution in the field of nuclear energy, formerly known as Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. The systems will allow them to increase steady plasma heating by three- or four-times, which would mean the completion of the first stage of work on the alternative reactor. Aleksander Ivanov further noted that the nuclear physicists are limited to steady plasma heating capacities of ten million degrees Celsius. However scientists suggest that in subsequent experiments, the plasma temperature will rise considerably, with the lowest figure required to create a nuclear fusion reactor already exceeded. Scientists have developed a promising method of generating plasma using powerful microwave radiation in a large-scale magnetic open trap (GDL), which successfully conducted experiments to improve plasma confinement in fusion parameters.

Notably, this method of heating and proposed containment is different from the ITER reactor being built in France, and in which Russia is a participant. To put this point a bit more plainly, Russia is seeking independent and different means of fusion initiation and containment, a race that clearly includes South Korea and Germany.
But the story that intrigues me even more is the Russian pursuit of an antimatter-matter collider using positrons and electrons (positrons are the opposite of electrons, having the same miniscule mass, but an opposite spin and charge polarity than electrons). There is a statement in the second Sputnik article about this collider that caught my attention, and I hope caught yours as well:

Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics Deputy Director Yevgeny Levichev discussed Russian physicists' ambitious plans with Russia's RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday.

The Institute plans to create the Super Tau Charm Factory, a particle accelerator which would study the collision of beams of electrons (matter) and positrons (antimatter) in an effort to help to identify phenomena and processes beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. (Emphases added)

Of course, scientists already know that matter-antimatter reactions are total annihilation reactions, so what Russia intends to study is perhaps the patterns that emerge from such reactions, to see if perhaps they shed light on significant details of those reactions as yet unknown, and perhaps to see if they could have any practical applications. And Russians being Russians, I suspect, strongly, that this practical aspect is a huge part of their thinking. The very idea of "identifying phenomena and processes beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics" means they are looking for something.
The question is what, and why? One answer, of course, might be evidence of higher dimensionalities. But the context and timing of the two articles also suggest something else, for note both articles appeared in the same outlet - Sputnik - on the same day, Jan 3rd of this year. I strongly suspect, in my high octane speculation of the day, that space is the hidden story here, for last year saw a spate of articles on new propulsion technologies such as the EM drive and various tests of it, to articles on the accelerated race to space and to its collateralization. As I've said many times on this forum and elsewhere, chemical rockets are simply inadequate to any long term commercial exploitation of space, much less to mining asteroids. They're too clumsy, too expensive, and the return on investment is too small, and the risk management factor is too high. Alternative energy and propulsion technologies in this context are not simply wishful thinking, they're a must. And a way to control sustained fusion reactions would be a first step not only toward fusion power, but to fusion space propulsion. And total-annihilation reactions such as matter and antimatter, would be an even more efficient energy source with conceivable propulsion (not to mention weaponization) implications.
Whatever the merit of these speculations might be, however, one thing is clear: the fusion and collider race has begun in earnest, and expect more of it in 2017.
See you on the flip side...