American Nuclear Society

Home / Publications / Journals / Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 56 / Number 1

The IEC Fusion-Plasma Torch - A Path for Closing the Materials Cycle

William C. Gough, George H. Miley

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 56 / Number 1 / July 2009 / Pages 501-506

Experimental Facilities and Nonelectric Applications / Eighteenth Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy (Part 1) /

There are two interrelated requirements for achieving a sustainable modern world: 1) the availability of clean energy sources, and 2) the ability to close the materials cycle from use to reuse. Nature has always operated on a closed cycle process powered by solar energy. After the industrial revolution humans increasingly embarked upon an open cycle process extracting resources from the earth, dispersing them, and depositing the wastes into the earth's life support systems of air, water, and soil. Fusion energy has unique capabilities for addressing the root cause of the resulting energy-environment-economy dilemma that our planet now faces. We propose an industrial evolutionary path for solving the dilemma based on the hydrogen-boron (p-11B) fusion fuel cycle and the application of ultra-high temperature plasmas (fusion plasmas) for materials recycling. This concept is known as the Fusion Torch and would return waste material back to its original 92 elemental states. An Inertial Electrostatic Confinement fusion device is proposed due to its characteristic non-Maxwellian plasma which enables burning p-B11.

Questions or comments about the site? Contact the ANS Webmaster.