Deuterium fusion

If we imagine that scientists and engineers crack the problem of getting
the DD reaction going, we have some very good news. There’s 33 g of
deuterium in every ton of water, and the energy that would be released
from fusing just one gram of deuterium is a mind-boggling 100 000 kWh.
Bearing in mind that the mass of the oceans is 230 million tons per person,
we can deduce that there’s enough deuterium to supply every person in
a ten-fold increased world population with a power of 30 000 kWh per
day (that’s more than 100 times the average American consumption) for 1
million years (figure 24.17).

Notes and further reading

page no.

161Figure 24.1. Source: World Nuclear Association [5qntkb]. The total capacity of operable nuclear reactors is 372 GW(e),
using 65 000 tons of uranium per year. The USA has 99 GW, France 63.5 GW, Japan 47.6 GW, Russia 22 GW, Germany
20 GW, South Korea 17.5 GW, Ukraine 13 GW, Canada 12.6 GW, and UK 11 GW. In 2007 all the world’s reactors
generated 2608 TWh of electricity, which is an average of 300 GW, or 1.2 kWh per day per person.

162Fast breeder reactors obtain 60 times as much energy from the uranium. Source: www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf98.
html
. Japan currently leads the development of fast breeder reactors.

A once-through one-gigawatt nuclear power station uses 162 tons per year of uranium.
Source: www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf03.html. A 1 GW(e) station with a thermal efficiency of 33% running at
a load factor of 83% has the following upstream footprint: mining – 16 600 tons of 1%-uranium ore; milling – 191 t
of uranium oxide (containing 162 t of natural uranium); enrichment and fuel fabrication – 22.4 t of uranium oxide
(containing 20 t of enriched uranium). The enrichment requires 115 000 SWU; see p102 for the energy cost of SWU
(separative work units).

Figure 24.17. Deuterium-based fusion, if it is achievable, offers plentiful sustainable energy for millions of years. This diagram’s scale is shrunk ten-fold in each dimension so as to fit fusion’s potential contribution on the page. The red and green stacks from figure 18.1 are shown to the same scale, for comparison.