5 days, 2 hours ago

Young Xia, under the existing technical conditions, if you really intend to use particle accelerator or nuclear reactor to make "turning stone into gold", which seems to be a "very rich way", you will really lose a lot. Next, let's talk about what problems you will encounter in your alchemy business, including electricity charges. 




By means of particle accelerators or neutrons in nuclear reactors, "bombarding" target matter can literally turn a stone into gold. As early as 1941, sherr et al. Successfully produced gold by bombarding mercury with neutrons. By 1980, the U.S. Berkeley National Laboratory used Bevalac heavy ion accelerator to bombard bismuth target, and obtained gold 
 [2] 
. 
 the cost of this experiment is about US $10000, which converts one billionth of bismuth in the bismuth target into gold with a total value of US $0.01. 
 in view of the technological progress in hardware in recent decades, compared with inflation, the current cost is about two or three times higher than that in 1980. 


 
 cumulative inflation in the past 100 years in the United States 
 
 
 heavy ion bombardment of bismuth, conversion rate is so low, 
 What about fast neutron bombardment mercury target? Can we guarantee that most of the products after the reaction are gold? Unfortunately, the answer is No. 
 the following figure is a simple simulation in GEANT4: put a fast neutron source into mercury with a side length of 1 meter. The column diagram shows the product distribution of nuclear reaction after 50000 simulations. As you can see, the gold you want is surprisingly low compared to the various isotopes of mercury and thallium. 


 
 the product distribution map after the reaction of fast neutron with mercury (Note: Y-axis is the exponential coordinate) 
 
 
 therefore, you encounter the first obstacle in the" entrepreneurial road ": extremely low output rate. Even without considering the cost, the efficiency of its mass production can not satisfy investors. 


 2. Harmful substances in production: radioactive isotopes of gold. 


However, in any case, after all, we have obtained trace gold, which is also the first step on the long march of entrepreneurship. However, unfortunately, 
 among the many isotopes of gold, except for gold-197, the rest are radioactive. In other words, a considerable part of the gold you have worked hard to produce is radioactive, and the half-life of these radioisotopes is very short, and the longest gold 195 is only 186 days. Therefore, you encounter another obstacle on the road to entrepreneurship: how to extract the gold-197 you need from the gold element of production? Once the product contains a radioactive isotope of gold, it is clear that no customer will buy your product. After all, this is not America in 1930, when radium was needed for drinking water. Therefore, the market price of this batch of goods is zero. 


 
 would you like some radium water, young man? The one who drinks his chin. 3. Separation and purification of mercury, gold and platinum. 


After seeing that the half-life of the radioactive isotopes of the gold was not long enough, Zhu ó's partner decided to place the product for a period of time and wait for the decay to end. After a long wait, these isotopes decay into stable mercury and platinum, and a new problem arises: Mercury, because of its low boiling point, can be separated by simple distillation. Gold platinum alloy needs more complex method 
 [3] 
 to purify. Therefore, this step makes the production cost increase again, which makes the street. 


 4. 


Seeing this, most of the partners may feel that compared with the material cost and radiation protection cost, the electricity bill is not a big problem. Unfortunately, the electricity bill is also a problem. The good news is that current medical accelerators are moving towards miniaturization and low energy consumption. Mevion is one of the more successful equipment companies. In a report in 2016, its CEO happily mentioned 
 [4] 
:

The smaller accelerators also draw significantly less power, with Jachinowski saying that electrical costs can be slashed from $1 million annually to about $80,000.

The price of industrial electricity in the United States is not expensive. According to an article of sina in 2019 
 [5] 
, the industrial electricity price is about RMB 45 Fen / kWh, which is not much different from the industrial power price of Shenzhen mentioned by the subject. Well, it looks good. The annual electricity bill can be reduced from one million dollars to eighty thousand dollars. However, such a compact proton accelerator should be mainly used for the production of medical radionuclides. If it is used to produce neutrons and then conduct the nuclear reaction between neutrons and target materials, the efficiency of gold production will be lower. It is not realistic to expect such a small proton accelerator with low energy consumption. As a result, a million dollar electricity bill may still be on your desk. 

In addition, when you produce radionuclides, you use accelerators, which is completely different from that of radiotherapy hospitals

 
 during proton radiotherapy, each patient will be irradiated for less than a few minutes each time, and most of the time of the day is in standby state. 

If you want to produce gold by irradiating the target material with an accelerator, it's almost like running an accelerator for a long time. 
In 1941, sherr et al's experiment was taken as an example 
 [1] 
. In order to obtain trace radioisotopes of gold, mercury reacted with fast neutrons for 78 hours. 
 if your accelerator works for 12 hours a day (if the equipment can hold up), your annual electricity bill on the accelerator will never be lower than that of a radiotherapy hospital. 
 not to mention the equipment depreciation cost and maintenance cost caused by long-term operation. We should know that the replacement and maintenance costs of the core components of the accelerator, which is a high cost equipment, are monopolized by the manufacturers. 


 
 well With this money, why not buy gold directly?

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