By: Tom Tamarkin
Founder Fusion4Freedom & President USCL Corp
In anticipation of a possible nuclear renaissance, there has been an enthusiastic renewal of interest in the fusion-fission hybrid concept, driven primarily by some members of the fusion community. A fusion-fission hybrid consists of a neutron-producing fusion core surrounded by a fission blanket. Hybrids are of interest because of their potential to address the main long-term sustainability issues related to nuclear power: fuel supply, energy production, and radioactive waste management.
A fusion-fission hybrid is defined as a subcritical nuclear reactor consisting of a fusion core surrounded by a fission blanket. The fusion core provides an independent source of neutrons, which allows the fission blanket to operate sub-critically.
The fundamental mission of the fusion-fission hybrid is to address an important national and worldwide problem — namely, converting nuclear power from its current deployment path, which is sustainable only for perhaps another 50 to 100 years, to one that is sustainable for millennia. A realistic expectation of long-term sustainability might also motivate a more rapid expansion of conventional nuclear power to help meet our energy needs in the near-to-midterm.