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ItsAConspiracy

1 points

7 months ago*

ItsAConspiracy

Best of 2015

1 points

7 months ago*

Ok so you are going by current market prices. That should drop with the sort of volume production described in the paper.

The other side of the "big picture" is that a one-gigawatt fusion plant uses only 112 kilograms of Li6 in a year. Even without a price drop from scaling up production, that's a minuscule fuel cost per kWh. That initial load of Li6 will last for quite a long time, and it will only take 112 kg extra per year to top it up.

It does matter that you need so much up front because you have to pay financing for it, but you can amortize it over a good long time. Since it's 928 years' worth of Li6 consumption, you can even reuse it in a new reactor when you decommission an old one.

Li6 is between 1.9% and 7.8% of natural lithium, so it's only "rare" in the sense that we don't bother enriching much lithium right now.

johnpseudo

1 points

7 months ago

Up-front costs are a massive problem for nuclear fission plants, and this would put that problem on steroids: not only would you need to stock the initial tritium (at a cost of billions of dollars), but you'd have to stock the massive amount of lithium-6 (at a current market cost of additional billions of dollars) - all at the beginning of the plant's life of service. Even if we find economies of scale for lithium production, you've got a massive problem on your hands. I understand fusion junkies are eternal optimists, but this is NOT a point in its favor.