Neutrons have a permanent magnetic moment and can be accelerated (controlled) by magnetic gradient fields. This included dynamic gradients of many sorts. And nanoscale fields. search “neutron acceleration” and “neutron deceleration” to see people have not ignored the need to control and use neutrons. There are a thousand times that many people working on parts of the problem of efficient atomic fuels. Just not working together.
Their target is “100” – a hundred times the current energy density. A simple way to visualize this: think of a 300 foot tall fuel tank on some rocket. Now take 3 feet (1 meter) of that to see the rough size of an atomic fuel element to replace the current chemical stuff. Then shrink it again, when you allow for rapid global collaboration on models, measurements and prototypes.
No one is doing this now. People talk to each other, but do not share the data and models and tools and help everyone work most efficiently. The difference in “best practices” collaboration and what we have now is roughly the same “100”. Groups are taking a year do do things that should only take a few days. That is what is going on with “covid”, “global climate change”, “clean water”, “global education”, “malnutrition”, “atomic fuels” and thousands of other critical global issues and opportunities. Neutrons are a high value product in any reactor or conversion process. You never throw anything away, nor waste useful energy. If your model is wasteful, start over and try again. Laser induced fission is currently easier than laser fusion. But the answer will probably be a combination of a range of technologies – and orders of magnitude better models and design efforts. Start sharing your models and data and assumptions in symbolic math formats, and data formats and computer language forms that can be compared, curated, combined, checked and verified completely. It is all possible. Solve global collaboration and then problems like “fusion”, “atomic fuels”, “solar system colonization”, and “taking better care of our planets and moons” become easy enough to do in a human lifetime. Not spread out with gaps of decades and many lost opportunities. Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation