Project: Fusion Reactor - a chronicle (WIP)

Discussion in 'Community Showcase' started by Ieldra, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    In this thread, I'm going to document my progress to a ReactorCraft fusion reactor, starting from a functional infrastructure without any ReactorCraft elements.

    It is my goal to create a 100% self-sustaining fusion reactor, which powers its own infrastructure and creates its own fuel, with the only input from outside being heavy water (with extraction powered by the fusion reactor of course). Such a reactor could run constantly since there is an effectively unlimited supply of heavy water (which is somewhat realistic since a fusion reactor uses deuterium and tritium only by the gram). It is also my goal to integrate the reactor into the landscape as far as that's possible at all for a machine of this size, which basically means that I'll try to avoid flattening hills and mountains as much as possible. The underground is fair game.

    Construction of the fusion reactor will likely consist of the following steps:
    (1) Construction of a functional fission reactor for breeding an amount of tritium sufficient for firing up the fusion reactor and for test runs, consisting of:
    (1a) Production of enriched uranium
    (1b) Heavy water extraction and deuterium production
    (1c) Construction of the actual reactor
    (1d) Running the reactor to produce tritium.

    (2) Construction of the Tokamak reactor, consisting of:
    (2a) finding an appropriate site.
    (2b) creating the logistics infrastructure to supply the reactor
    (2c) construction and connection of the required multiblock components
    (2d) test runs.

    (3) Creating the power infrastructure to make the reactor self-sustaining
    (How this will proceed is still a little unclear)

    Mod setup:
    I'm making this with an FTB Monster modpack, version 1.1.2 with the following mods added manually:
    (1) Ars Magica 2 (won't play a role in this project)
    (2) Mekanism 6.04 (will likely play a role, possibly a big one in step 3)
    (3) Carpenter's Blocks (may play an ancillary role).
    (4) ReactorCraft, RotaryCraft, ElectriCraft and Geostrata updated to the latest versions, even if they're not yet part of the Monster release.

    Cheating rules:
    I will not cheat to progress, neither in resources nor construction. I may cheat to maintain progress already achieved but lost to accidents or updates, such as expensive machines falling into the void, inventory lost to death or machines that need to be replaced after an update (as will happen in the Reactorcraft/Rotarycraft v25 update). This is for the simple reason that the alternative is no fun.

    Chapter 1: the starting setup

    I'll give a few impressions of my base here:

    My workshop. I like to build u-shaped consoles for easy access to a maximum of machines. You see my main workplace to the left, between the celestial portal and the window. The machines here are used for crafting, batch-processes too slow to be integrated in the ME network and manual work with machines like the painting of facades. In the left background is the power hub, with two tesseracts feeding power from my two power generators - a dam of 296 Engineer's Toolbox hydroelectric generators for baseload power (3KRF/t) and a big reactor (will be switched on if needed, 12KRF/t).
    To the right there are the two ME (sub)networks for ores and farming products, and the Deep Storage Units for gravel, dirt, stone, cobble and netherrack, whose contents can be sent to an ME Condenser with what I call a "void switch". I now keep most of my resources in form of ores until I need them, simply because they take up five to 20 times less space that way. All farming overflow is also sent into the ME condenser.
    In the center background my bee breeding workplace behind the MAC to the left, mostly abandoned now since I've switched to Magical Crops for renewable resources, and 27 lasers pointing at a BC assembly table.

    Next, what I call the "Lower Factory". This started as a small room for Ethanol production, set at level 40 for a near-optimal temperature to run the fermenter. It is now a 21x21 room which will contain most of the production and processing facilities for the reactors. Facilities already there: ethanol production (right), jet fuel production (center), pulse jet furnace (back corner), blast furnace and normal furnace with friction heaters, switchable by multidirectional clutch. My RotaryCraft grinder is integrated into my autocrafting facility upstairs (no picture) which I can access with the crafting terminal beside the fractionizer.
    What you're *not* seeing is my standard engine setup, based on the principle "Off is off damn it!". Which means that between every switch and RotaryCraft Engine Control Unit, there is a redstone NOT gate in an Engineer's Toolbok Modular Socket, so that pulling levers down switches engines on, and default is off, so they won't turn on if I remove the lever. The metal plates on the floor are facades covering such sockets, since unfortunately there are no BC facades for GeoStrata blocks.
    What you're also not seeing is some of the piping and cabling, since I'm in the habit of using EnderIO conduits integrated into walls and covered by facades.

    Next, the farming area. The colored tiles are GeoStrata tiled opal. In the front my Magical Crops, which are automatically crafted into useful resources by Cyclic Assemblers under the walkways. The Nether Wart field is non-automated, I just put them there because I needed a batch at short order. The far field has my golem-run farm of Ender Pearls, canola seeds and sugarcane. Every square has four lilypads of fertility, with space for five more, and is affected by the AM2 sigil in the center. I don't have wheat or tree farms at the moment since I have 32k wheat and seeds and 64k oak wood stored from my old base.
    The boxes at the back are for the livestock. Cows and sheep. I don't really need the cows at the moment but keep them just in case. The sheep are producing wool for the reactor (we'll get to that).
    In the background there is my mana bean farm, also run by golems. I don't have much use for it at the moment but it's better to run it anyway since production is very slow.

    My Mystcraft room, "photographed" just after I built it. These days five of the lecterns are occupied. Of note: some of the corner blocks are Mariculture custom blocks: bookshelves on the inside and fitted quarried stone on the outside.

    And lastly, an impression of my base as a whole. You are looking right into the workshop from the first screenshot. I put my workplace there for the view. The walkway over the river conceals my hydroelectric power plant. Obviously, there is a lot of stuff hidden underground. I also have outposts in the End and the Nether. The platform in the foreground is the top of my two-level magic area: my Thaumcraft infusion room and the so-far all but empty Ars Magica room. Blood Magic stuff will be added when I get to it. The platform might actually be big enough for a Tokamak, but for performance reasons I want to build the reactor out of render range of my base.

    Chapter 2: Nuclear fuel production

    I've started with uranium enrichment. Two uranium processors (which don't need power) make the UF6 (Uraniumhexafluoride) which is processed by four centrifuges run by microturbines. The cyclic assemblers make uranium pellets so that no intermediate product ever enters the ME network. I'm using such setups wherever I can, since high ME network traffic slows down the NEI-synchronized autosearch in the crafting terminal, often to the point that it becomes effectively unavailable. Components of the system: microturbines using the standard engine setup (see above, ET redstone NOT gates, ECUs, EnderIO redstone conduits), bedrock 16:1 gearboxes, centrifuges, EnderIO item conduits, EnderIO pressurized fluid conduits, EnderIO energy conduits (to power the Cyclic assemblers), export buses for fuel, import buses below the Cyclic assembler for the pellets.
    This system creates about 16 uranium fuel pellets in half an hour, which is approximately enough to run a 16-core fission reactor, and about 12 times as much depleted uranium, thereby using about 75 buckets of jet fuel. Jet fuel store is 4 kilobuckets, and is replenished by the fractionizer in 3-4 minutes if empty. I have not automated control of jet fuel production, since producing ten buckets of the stuff is inefficient because the microturbines have a warm-up period. I'd have to make redstone logic where the fractionizer is turned on for 3 minutes if stores get low, and won't be switched off if the threshold is reached from below. This is probably not too hard using a state cell, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. The same applies to ethanol production.
    The second shot is a close-up with exposed conduits. EnderIO lets you see and work with conduits behind facades if you have an EnderIO-compatible wrench in your hand, or a conduit.

    Next, heavy water extraction. Unfortunately, the underwater view is not optimal but TTKami's Night Vision makes things somewhat recognizable. Heavy water extraction is reasonably fast. I'm running three heavy water extractors with a tier-3 magnetostatic engine each (these output the necessary 512 Nm torque so I don't need gearboxes). Quite probably two would be enough, maybe even one, but I'd rather overproduce resources. Yet again, I'm using ET modular sockets for redstone control. The reason is that most redstone cables won't connect to RotaryCraft/ReactorCraft machines, but you need redstone signals output directly into the block for it to be affected. In addition, the sockets let me control output direction, so that the signals don't go where I don't want them to go, and I can integrate logic gates without needing an additional block. I really don't know what I would do without Engineer's Toolbox. At the very least, my setups would become more bulky, and I'd absolutely hate that. Note that I haven't seriously tried to use RedNet cables in such cases after my first unsuccessful attempts to force a connection. It is quite possible that RedNet cabling works just as well, except that I can't integrate logic gates. Buildcraft structure pipes with pipe lining and logic gates also work but require a little more space.
    The second picture is my one-room offshore base, connected to the base with a celestial portal for me and a tesseract for everything else. The opening goes directly into the ocean. The room is bigger than it needs to be since first I thought to place my electrolyzers here as well, but they need too much remote infrastructure.

    Next, deuterium production. The principle is this: heavy water is pumped into the electrolyzers, which take in the charge produced by the Van De Graaff generators to separate it into deuterium and oxygen. For electrolyzing water, the electrolyzers don't need to be powered. This is a shot from an early version. I've discovered that with higher charges, neither EnderIO conduits nor fluiducts are moving the heavy water fast enough, so I switched to Extra Cells fluid export buses. Also, the electrolyzing speed is proportional to the square root of the surplus charge (charge beyond the minimum needed) created by the Van De Graaff generators, which means that by doubling the number of electrolyzers, I get the same output for half the total power. The final version will have six or eight electrolyzers. This process is considerably slower than heavy water extraction.
    As for functionality, heavy water is right, drawn from the top of the electrolyzers, and oxygen to the left. Conduits pump the oxygen into a fluid void (for now) and the deuterium into a fluid interface. I've made those switchable for visual effect and testing. In standard operation mode the tanks will be empty unless the ME storage modules are full.
    I've powered this by tier 4 magnetostatic engines (standard engine setup) in order to experiment with the power input. I don't know if this is final, but it appears likely since eventually they will be powered by the fusion reactor itself. At that point I may also be able to reduce the number of electrolyzers again because...well...ridiculous amounts of power.

    And here my first planned reactor layout. Four sets of four cores each, separated by control rods. Steam boilers on the outside, irradiation chambers outside of that. Since I don't need the power at this point, I may place the irradiation chambers where the steam boilers are now, but first I'll try and see how much tritium can be produced by this setup in a tolerable time.
    Actually, first....I need more clay. And since I dislike mining stuff I can make, I'll make an excursion into automated clay production before I continue.

    (to be continued)

    (If someone knows how to deactivate the permanent status effect display and the Haste II particle effects,I'd be grateful for the info)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
    Padfoote, ThomazM and Pyure like this.
  2. Pandemoneus

    Pandemoneus New Member

    Type /amuicfg and click the options button. I forgot which button you have to click after that, but it should be self-explanory.
  3. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    That's for the Ars Magica UI. This is Thaumcraft/Thaumic Tinkerer stuff? Are you telling me that AM2 settings affect these?
  4. Pandemoneus

    Pandemoneus New Member

    Yes, the display of your current (de-)buff effects is from Ars Magica. Unfortunately, you can't disable the particle effects, at least there is no way I know of (other than disabling ALL particles in the Minecraft options).
  5. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    @Ieldra, great start. Your base looks great and this is going to be a fun project to watch.

    Just an fyi: I know you're not much interested in power output on your fission reactor, so I won't bug you about that. But there are 4 cores in your setup that have no active cooling.

    I don't think it will be a big deal, even in a warm biome, but if you ever decide to increase your tritium production by adding neutron reflectors, they're going to be an explosive bottleneck.

    This can be mitigated most simply by replacing the 4 inside control rods with steam boilers. And if you decide to add neutron reflectors for neutrons that escape past the 70% absorbancy of the tritium blocks, put control rods as a layer first. (so an entire column would be: core, core, boiler, tritium, controlrod, reflector)
  6. trajing

    trajing New Member

    I'm curious, how would Mek play a role in making the reactor self-sustaining?
  7. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Oh shit. More horizontal space required. Just what I need. I have a big high room, damn it! Also, don't the steam boilers absorb neutrons? I do want to utilize more than 70% of them, but I thought perhaps there's not enough left beyond the irradiation chambers to make reflectors useful.

    As for the cooling: if I have only four control rods between the quadrants, will that be enough?
  8. trajing

    trajing New Member

    Neutron reflectors are needed to get the most out of your reactor.
  9. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    Not sure if boilers absorb neutrons but if they do, its not an appreciable amount. And reflectors would simply be an optimization quirk here to get more neutrons flying through your irradiation chambers.

    Control rods suck at cooling. If you're really concerned, put steam boilers instead.

    With your current design, if you replaced all your control rods with boilers, and have no reflectors, your reactor will never get hot enough to overheat.
  10. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Mekanism batteries have unlimited power input, which means I can use them to distribute power to facilities that need up to 20 KRF each but more in total. I'm really not sure about how this will look in the end. I'm considering a two-layer structure with an ElectriCraft auroral battery as the first layer of storage, which will distribute power to Mekanism batteries who then will distribute to different facilities.[DOUBLEPOST=1405346740][/DOUBLEPOST]
    Ah, I was wondering if I needed steam boilers for cooling even if I didn't need the power, or if control rods would keep temperature down by regulating fission events. That might make things easier.
  11. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    I believe technically there's a reactor cooling block that uses water to keep temperature low, and doesn't create steam. If you really want zero power, you can look into that instead. I've never used one (waste of power), and I don't recall the name, but I'm 90% sure it exists :)
  12. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Agenda for this evening:

    (1) Expand my deuterium production. Here some pictures. The first is of the modular socket I use for engine control. Engineer's Toolbox has a reputation for a high learning curve, and that's not completely undeserved, but once you know how to things you won't want to do them any other way. In this case, it's as simple as putting a redstone input module on the back of the socket, an output module on the top and configure both to use channel 1 (of 3) using the socket remote. The second picture is the finished deuterium production facility. This will use 6 MW of power to make 1 bucket of deuterium in 3-4 seconds. This should be enough to run the fusion reactor, and if it's not - well, there is always more power to use.

    (2) Make clay for concrete with Mekanism's Rotary Condensentrator and Chemical Injection Chamber. I found this recipe more or less by accident, and it's one of the most efficient ones. There are various recipes for endless clay, but many of those are cheaty. This is basically turning dirt plus water vapor into clay. If I need the blocks broken, I'll use a setup with an autonomous activator and an ME transition plane, but ReactorCraft's concrete fortunately needs the blocks, not the pellets.

    (3) Update the tritium production reactor layout with suggestions from this thread. I do not need the power produced by this reactor, but I hate to waste anything, so I'll build it with the capability to generate power anyway. I'm not sure if I'll actually store any power before I start on the fusion reactor, since that means I'll have to create an ElectriCraft infrastructure almost right now. it appears easy enough but the lack of documentation is a little frustrating.
    @Pyure: Is this what you had in mind? The other reflectors are in the wall. I'll keep only components out in the open if I have to interact with them or they need to move.

    (4) Testing methods of getting stuff (fuel, waste) in and out of the fuel cores. I have a few ideas. The objective: I don't want the reactor to do *anything* if it's "off". Since the fission events can't be 100% suppressed if fuel is in the cores, that means making sure there's no fuel in the reactor when I tell it to stop. I have no idea if that can be done, but I'll have to try. I'll post the results later.

    ....and fifth, watching more of PurpleMentat's Agrarian Skies Let's Play. I recommend those videos.
    Pyure and Padfoote like this.
  13. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    Nailed it. Just be sure to raise the control rods a couple at a time after you fuel the reactor to get a feel for the heat.

    Let us know if you manage to automatically extract fuel from the reactor; I'm interested in this. I wonder if SFM could do it for you? It could be handy for a number of things.
  14. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    I have to say that the standard methods don't work. There appears to be no way to get unspent pellets out of a fuel core. Now I'll let two pellets "run" in order to see what I can do with spent pellets and the waste products. I hope I can pump at least those out. As for Steve's Factory Manager, that's not a part of Monster so I don't have it installed. But I'm stubborn....I'll have a look at it and hope installing it won't crash my game. 194 mods and counting.

    Also, I had to build something as mundane as stone stairs. Yep. That's because I'm using the hazmat suit, which has no jump enhancement so I'm "climbing" my test setups on stone stairs.... is there an enchantment for this? For all that I like magic mods, it's odd I don't know the list of vanilla enchantments.
  15. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    For someone who likes Engineer's Toolbox so much, and hates inelegant infrastructure (and horizontal sprawl), I'm surprised SFM isn't a standard item in your repertoire. (Personally I just can't get past the learning curve of either of them)
  16. Wagon153

    Wagon153 New Member

    I use Steves Factory Manager for all my reactors. It completely eliminates the need for itemducts/conduits, plus has sneaky pipe functionality.
    madnewmy and Padfoote like this.
  17. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    Pics please; thumbnails if you dont wanna pollute @Iedra's nice thread :)
  18. Wagon153

    Wagon153 New Member

    Geostrata has a pendant that will give you jump boost.[DOUBLEPOST=1405363398][/DOUBLEPOST]
    I only have one unfortunately.
    Pyure and Padfoote like this.
  19. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    Better pics plz (or not, but bonus if you can :p)

    Iedra, I believe Engineers Toolbox has a native elevator capability now. Alternately you can install yet another mod (pneumaticraft) which has...really badass elevators.
  20. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Yeah, I know. I have Pneumaticraft installed but haven't gotten around to playing with it. I am using OpenBlocks elevators and Thaumcraft Arcane Levitators in my base, but the stairs are not for climbing between different parts of my base but to climb up the two blocks of my test setups. So imagine that reactor picture with a few stairs at the side, LOL!

    As for SFM, watched the spotlight. Awesome, and not at all hard to understand as far as I'm concerned. As for how useful it would be for my reactor, hmm....I would have to place those cable blocks so that they touch every fuel core. That has disadvantages but I might try it. Also, how do I get to that TPPI pack which SFM is part of? Or can I just use the normal download from the mod's site?

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