Reality TV star seeks $250m to build nuclear fusion reactor

A reality TV star is seeking investment of à‚£200m ($249m) to help build two nuclear fusion reactors.

Richard Dinan is a technology entrepreneur who has also appeared in UK television show ‘Made in Chelsea‘.

His company, Applied Fusion Systems, has designed a spherical tokamak reactor design called STAR (Small Toroidal Atomic Reactor) and is now hoping to win the investment needed to get the project from the drawing board into construction.

Dinan believes that current nuclear fusion projects, including the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), uses dated designs, which rely too heavily on scaling the reactor’s size to unaffordable proportions.

He believes his STAR models could be smaller and cheaper to construct with the help of modern supercomputing and a deeper understanding of plasma physics.

Dinan says his design offers more favourable magneto hydrodynamic behaviour, “which means they can be run for longer and are less prone to damaging plasma instabilities”.

And he maintains that as spherical tokamaks are known to operate more efficiently, confining plasma at a higher pressure than conventional tokamaks, they use less intense and therefore cheaper magnetic fields.

The STAR design and is part of the new breed of spherical tokamak reactors which are intended to produce 100 MW of electricity using the new generation of materials suited to fusion science.

Their design also features symmetrical diverter systems, which can be used to aid heat extraction from the plasma.

Now Dinan is hoping to raise funds for STAR independently through high net worth individuals and investment brokers, and if successful he expects to generate data and results from in the next four-to-six years.

“I have visited many of the world’s nuclear fusion projects and to me it is clear that fusion is not a matter of if, but when,” said Dinan. “Fusion technology is moving at a faster rate than ever before, and rapid iteration and short lead times are necessary in such a competitive field of development.

“Seemingly government projects lack the essential tenacity and agility of private firms, which now have unprecedented access to supercomputing and know how.”

He said the new breed of tokamak reactors utilise “the new generation of materials. The toroidal coils contain rare-earth Barium copper oxide superconductors, which make the design far easier to service because they are simpler to join.”

He added that his STAR design will also make use of 3D printing. “Major components can now be laser sintered, rather than cast or milled, reducing build costs and times. Complex geometries become possible with additive manufacturing, so Applied Fusion Systems can explore novel approaches to existing design challenges.”

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