Energetics of XXI Century and Civilization Security ENERGETICS OF XXI CENTURY AND CIVILIZATION SECURITY Switch to Russian
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Appeal to World Physicists

Dear colleagues,

At rather alarming time of the coming energetic crisis, which raises a question of further existence of mankind as an intellectual civilization, we would like to appeal to all of you. There are two reasons which justify such an unusual way of stating and, as we hope, searching the problem solution via Internet. Firstly, in our opinion the world community governments have chosen the wrong way out of the crisis by means of the energy consumption decrease that could only prolong the agony and enhance the danger of the civilization self-destruction in global disasters - moral, ecological, nuclear ones. Secondly, due to the fact that such a situation really exists, i. e. we allow it to happen, it follows (accord-ing to short rigid logics which we are to use so that to foresee the most undesirable scenario) there is no solution of the problem in the framework of existing theoretical models and up-to-date level of collaboration between scientific labora-tories. Moreover, taking into consideration a certain level of inertia and conservatism which are natural features of sci-ence, industry and international collaboration, there is no belief that the solution would be obtained in foreseeable fu-ture. At least, we are not aware of corresponding plans, developments and actions at the required level of the reality understanding. So, the conventional method of R&D works organization may give no result. Figuratively speaking, up to now the probability of "nuclear winter" is much higher that that of "thermonuclear summer".

Moreover, as shown in the explanatory note given below, there are no single state or international organization which posseses intellectual and industrial powers for the fast transition of worlds energetics onto new sources. Because of that one of the tasks facing physicists is not only organizing effective cooperation between themselves via such a small inertia information channel as Internet but also to persuade public opinion and world governments to unite their efforts for the purpose of solving the problem which appears to be so important that all world contradictions and all other problems appear to have no sense. Indeed, according to a Russian proverb, is there any sense in tears over hair when the head itself is cut off ? Being well aware of the physisists nature, I appeal to you, dear colleagues, with urgent request to put aside for a while your wish to satisfy your scientific curiosity, ambitions, vanity, career consideration, your plans in the neighbour-ing, perhaps more fundamental fields and to join to the solution of the problem under discussion. In that work we would be all equal (as in a bath). The structure of the collaboration would be clarified in the process of receiving your replies through Internet (as I hope).

With best regards.
Yu. A. Khlestkov
April 2001.

Explanatory Note

Energy resources of the Earth

The Earth available store of non-renewable fuels is about 1013 tons (oil, gas, coal, uranium etc.). Those materials are non-renewable in a sense that it is required millions of years for their renewal by means of tectonic and sedimentary processes, the time being much longer than that of their depletion due to activities of developing civilization. Annual consumption nowadays is 1011 tons. So, even if the energy consumption rate is conserved, the fuels would last only about 100 years. Detailed evaluations indicate that the depletion time for various fuels lies in the range 25-150 years.

Hence, if urgent actions are not undertaken in the nearest future, our life on the Earth would be problematical around 2050 year.

Briefly, that is all that is suggested for discussion. Further on some clarifications and arguments are presented which show non-triviality of the situation. In addition some proposals are given.

For the verification of the quantity (1013 tons) of net fuel resources there are various reasonings

  • It can be determinated as 10-5 fraction of the mass of the Earth crust with the depth value about 1 km.
  • The approximate carbon mass in the crust is about 1016 tons. So, the useful, carbon containing parts represent one thousand fraction of the whole carbon mass that seems to be reasonable.
  • The oil amounts to 10% of all fuels. It is formed in the process of deposition and pressing of plankton in the ocean with the density value 1 kg/m3. The process rate is 1 mm per year, the area under procession is about 10% of the Earth surface, the efficiency of organic substance transformation into oil is about 10% over time period 1 million years. With these parameters we obtain the mentioned amount of 1013 tons of total fuel resources.
  • To confirm the amount of the annual consumption (1011 tons) of fossil fuels one can use the following reasoning. The annual electric energy production is about 104 billion kWh. Electric power plants provide 10% of total amount of energy. If the efficiency of the transformation of primary sources energy into the used one is assumed to be about 10% , the fuel thermal ability being about 10 MJ/kg, then the rate of the fuel excavation from the ground would be equal just about 1011 tons per year.

The problem assessment

To assess the problem of transition of our civilization energy demands onto new energy sources it is helpful to use the reasoning as follows. If the average power requirements per one person (transport, production, heating, feeding etc.) is about 10 kW, then for the normal life of 10 billion of people it is necessary to have the total power amount of 100 TW.

The most reliable source, which is acceptable for the modern technology and not damaging to the energy equilib-rium of our planet ecology sphere, the inter (gravitational) energy of elementary particle interactions in nuclei (i. e. li-ason energy or "mass defect"). Lets consider the problem using the example of the controlled thermonuclear fusion (CTF) that meets the whole complex of requirements. Note, that the assessment would be valid for any other source.

Let the power of a single thermonuclear station is about 10 GW. So it is necessary to build 104 stations. If the cost of works on one station construction is about 10 billion $ (1W = 1$) then the total expenditure for the energetics transition for the thermonuclear stations would be equal 100 trillion $.

Assume that every person participating in this program can master about 104 $ per year. Then for the problem so-lution it is necessary to enlist annually 100 million persons at various work stages and levels.

That result indicates undoubtedly that no single existing organization can solve such a problem independently. Second, for its solution we have to enter the civilized level and build the united community on qualitatively new principles. Third, we observe no activities of governments or scientific institutions which are adequate to the problem importance and urgency.

The most essential is the second conclusion. It means that the problem of the XXI centure and future energetics could not be solved in the framework of narrow professional activities. It would be necessary to consider all aspects of the problem in complex: ideological, political, economical and scientific ones.

As for the third conclusion, we would be glad to abandon it if somebody has indicated that nowadays some works in the field of new energetics are being performed at least at the level ten times less than the required one, i. e at the level about 100 billion $ per year. Moreover, there are no indications that a program exist with the goal to upgrade the financing to the level 1 trillion $ per year.

(The confirmation that there is nothing of the kind one can find in the report of Dr.Velikhov and Dr.Putvinsky on 22.10.99 (fusion.htm) "Thermonuclear Energetics. State and Meaning in the Long-turn Perspective." That report was made in the framework of Energy Center of the World Federation of Scientists. It describes the CTF conception for the XXI centure: The state financing of thermonuclear program in all countries is 1.2 - 1.3 billion $ per year).

So, if we, colleagues-physicists, don`t want that in the nearest future our woman tied us down necks and made us to guard the entrance to the caves from wild beasts, we have to take the initiative of comprehension and arrangement of the problem in our hands. We don`t have to wait for bureaucrats decision, because they are interested only in struggle for their armchairs.

As for the controlled thermonuclear fusion, there are two problems. The first one, the fuel production, is purely technological. The energy obtained in each act of DD, DT synthesis reaction, is about 1Mev/n. So, it follow that for the operation of a thermonuclear station the demand for the heavy hydrogen (D,T) should be about 10 kilotons per year. That is the water resources would last for long.

The second problem has the principal nature. It is connected with the development of a thermonuclear reactor. Here the most perspective appears to be the tokamak direction of the controlled thermonuclear fusion, that is the con-finement of the hot plasma inside a thoroidal magnetic system. At present, because of nonstabilities plasma leaks from it for the time which is less than required for the synthesis positive energy output at necessary power level. There are some optimistic hopes in this respect, so such a problem may be discussed (see supplement 1 on russian).

It should also be mentioned that thermonuclear energetics has definite merits as compared to the "external" ones (wind, water, geothermal, sun, biocarbon sources) because at the required energy consumption level they may break the equilibrium of the Earth ecosphere.

 

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