Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
Lu Zhou looked at the old mans solemn expression. He paused for a second and smiled.
Theres no need to thank me. Im just doing what a scholar is supposed to do.
For him, studying those difficult research problems were interesting in and of itself.
It was just like solving a mathematics question.
Whether it was the exploration of the unknown or the satisfaction from walking out of the maze, all of this made him feel happy.
He didnt care what other people thought, this was his opinion.
And it had never changed.
Therefore, even without the pressure from the system mission, he would still try his best to try and bring fusion energy to the world.
It was just that, without the pressure from the mission, it wouldnt happen as fast
The old man said with emotion, Our country is honored to have such a scholar!
Lu Zhou replied humbly, Youre too kind. If other people didnt help and if the department didnt cooperate, it would be impossible to achieve this with just me alone.
The old man smiled and didnt say anything.
Even though the Manhattan Project was the result of the joint effects of thousands of people, everyone placed their attention on Oppenheimer.
He paused for a second before saying, Regardless, you are our countrys hero. If you have any requests, please let me know.
Lu Zhou thought for a bit and smiled. He said, Theyre not requests, more like suggestions.
The old man said seriously, Professor Lu, please continue.
Lu Zhou: The breakthrough of controllable fusion technology will inevitably impact the traditional energy industry. If these impacts are not properly cared for, it might become obstacles to the increment of the productivity of our society.
The old man smiled and said, Professor Lu, please rest assured. These problems dont exist for us.
China was different from western countries.
There was no such thing as a Chinese energy giant.
Whether it was the oil companies or the State Grid Corporation of China, even though they are technically public companies, they were all owned by the state.
After all, the socialist market served more than just the private sector.
In the fact of the greater good, there were only two paths to choose from. Either one could follow the trend of history, or one could be left behind.
That included but not limited to the capital.
Lu Zhou nodded.
Since the old man already thought about this problem, he didnt have to say anything else.
How to balance the interests of the parties, how to properly manage the coal-power industry These topics were in the field of sociology and economics. He didnt want to comment too much on them. He believed that the Institute of Social Sciences had many experts that knew more than him.
What he was interested in and responsible for was only research.
Therefore, the second problem was the real problem.
Lu Zhou paused for a second and said, The second thing is about controllable fusion itself.
The old man said, Professor Lu, go ahead.
Lu Zhous head was lying on the pillow as he stared at the ceiling of the hospital room and organized his thoughts. He said, Right now, controllable fusion is using tritium and deuterium as fuel. Controllable fusion technology is headed toward commercialization. However, no matter how efficient the self-sustaining fusion reaction is, there will be an inevitable loss in tritium.
Therefore, theres an idea in the academic world. Which is to use deuterium and helium-2 as reactants to carry out the fusion reaction. The fusion of helium-3 produces electrons instead of neutrons. This reduces the impact on the reactor material and can release more energy.
The old man couldnt keep up with Lu Zhous worlds. He frowned and said, Helium-3?
Lu Zhou nodded and said, If you dont understand, you can think of deuterium-tritium as burning coal, while helium fusion would be like burning oil.
This was quite an abstract example.
It wasnt academically rigorous, but it could be understood by a layman.
Old man: The helium-3 fusion youre talking about, its not easy to do, right?
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Definitely not.
The more charge the nucleus carried, the greater the Coulomb repulsion was, and the greater the kinetic energy required for the nucleus to merge.
According to the theoretical calculations, the deuterium-tritium fusion reaction section was several times that of the fusion reaction section of deuterium-helium-3. This meant that the Lawson criterion for achieving a fusion reaction might be billions of degrees higher for helium fusion.
Using the technology available right now, it wouldnt be possible to achieve helium-3 fusion.
Therefore, helium was widely regarded as an ideal fuel for the next generation of fusion reactors.
The old man went silent for a bit and said, But the power cost of the deuterium-tritium fusion is already low enough, and its inexhaustible for hundreds of years. Do we really have to develop this helium-3 technology now?
Lu Zhou: I think its necessary.
Old man: Really?
Lu Zhou said succinctly, The helium-3 fusion reaction does not produce neutrons, which makes it safer than the deuterium-tritium reaction. Looking at it from an engineering point of view, this is the only possible way to reduce the weight and size of the fusion reactor. Also, the controllable fusion reactor has already achieved fusion ignition. The next generation of controllable fusion ignition will be created by a country within the next 20 years.
It was not the industrial era anymore. There wasnt any technology that could be permanently kept confidential.
Even if other countries created worse control schemes and anti-radiation materials, they could achieve a similar result. It was just like the atomic bomb, the latecomer always walked a smoother road than the firstcomer.
The way to maintain an advantage had never been to lock the doors, but rather, it was to walk in front of others forever.
The old man looked serious, and he asked, What is your suggestion?
Lu Zhou said, Restart the moon landing program.
Of course, landing on the moon wasnt enough.
It would be best to establish a permanent research station there and colonize space
The old man couldnt keep up with Lu Zhous thought process. He asked, Why are we talking about space now?
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Helium-3 is extremely rare on earth and arent suitable as industrial fuels. However, the moon has a rich reserve of helium-3. If we want to lead the world forever, we have to be at the forefront, whether its from the technology standpoint or from the raw materials standpoint.
The old man nodded thoughtfully.
Seeing that the old man understood Lu Zhous ideas, Lu Zhou continued to speak, The energy problem has been solved. We have a ten or even twenty-year window to the Space Age. We are closer to the future than anyone else. Itd be a pity not to use this advantage.
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Our current interests are important, but we should also build a foundation for the future.
The sky above us will one day become the new Persian Gulf of our century. Its not just energy, but also inexhaustible minerals. From the Earth to the Moon and to the more distant Milky Way. That is our path to the universe. Whoever has control of the stellar system, has control of the future!
Compared to international politics and financial markets, as a scholar, Lu Zhou was much more concerned about the far future.
Even though the ideas in his mind might not be possible to achieve in the short term, he still had to do something about them.
He believed that one day, he would see his ideas come to life.
Even if he didnt, he was certain that someone in the future would see them.
The old man was touched, and he looked at Lu Zhou. We will consider your proposal.
He looked at his watch and saw it was getting late, so he stood up from the chair.
The old man suddenly remembered something, and he spoke in a casual and relaxed voice.
I came here to visit you. I didnt expect to talk about national affairs with a patient. Speaking of which, Professor Lu, are you not going to think about yourself?
Lu Zhou: Myself?
Old man: Yes.
At the beginning, the old man asked if Lu Zhou had any requests.
As long as it was within the old mans capabilities, he would try his best to satisfy Lu Zhous needs.
However, Lu Zhou went beyond his expectations.
Lu Zhou looked at the ceiling and smiled as he said, This is a difficult question. I really dont want anything Actually, my life is not lacking in any particular area. The only thing I wish for outside of research is probably to see my research results being used properly.
The old man nodded solemnly. I can promise you that.
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Well then, Im relieved to hear that.