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The Case for Pulsed Fusion-Fission

Author: F. Winterberg
Requested Type: Consider for Invited
Submitted: 2006-12-12 16:45:09


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University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV   89523

Abstract Text:
The advantage of combining fusion with fission can be expressed in the formula: Fusion produces neutrons and fission produces heat. Unlike a hybrid fusion-fission reactor, where a burning fusion plasma is surrounded by a subcritical fission reactor, in a pulsed fusion-fission reactor a thermonuclear DT target is encapsulated in a shell of U238 or Th232, becoming part of the entire microexplosion assembly, with the DT of the assembly ignited by a powerful particle or laser beam [1,2]. The advantage of such a pulsed fusion-fission concept is that it does not require any U235 or Pu239, and the feared meltdown is there impossible. In addition, the first wall problem is eliminated by making the diameter of the chamber confining the fusion-fission microexplosion sufficiently large.
The ignition of the fast fission supported DT microexplosion can be facilitated with a shell of a high explosive, preferably made up of lithium and deuterium to breed tritium. This latter configuration is also of interest for Orion-style nuclear rocket propulsion, where the high explosive can be made from liquid oxygen and hydrogen, also to serve as a propellant.
With the fast fission assisted microexplosion making a hot spot, large yields are possible by thermonuclear detonation waves launched from the hot spot.


1. F. Winterberg, Raumfahrtforschung 15, 208 (1971).
2. F. Winterberg, Z. Naturforsch. 61a, 559 (2006).

Characterization: D,E10


University of Maryland

Innovative Confinement Concepts Workshop
February 12-14, 2007
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