Lockheed Martin pursues compact fusion reactor concept

October 16, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

Lockheed Martin is making news this week with declarations about putting the Atomic Age on Restart and advancing in the realm of energy. "We are on the fast track to developing compact nuclear fusion reactors to serve the world's ever-growing energy needs."

The company's Skunk Works has provided new details to the public about its work in compact . "At Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, we're making advancements in the development of , the ultimate form of renewable power. Our scientists and engineers are looking at the biggest natural for inspiration – the sun. By containing the power of the sun in a small magnetic bottle, we are on the fast track to developing compact fusion reactors to serve the world's ever-growing energy needs." Thomas McGuire, compact fusion project lead, said they think they can get to a prototype in about five years. "That's what we are doing here; we are testing the concept out." He said, 50 years ago when people were "super-excited" about nuclear power, "we tried putting it on everything," including airplanes. He said some big operational issues prevented widespread use. "Fusion is a much safer option," he stated. The next generation of airplanes not relying on fuel can just stay aloft—with unlimited range, unlimited endurance. That's what can do for an airplane.

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The old promise of Atoms for Peace was a noble one, but the technology wasn't right for it. "We can achieve that grand vision and bring clean power to people. The true Atomic Age can start," he said.

Lockheed defines fusion as "the process by which a gas is heated up and separated into its ions and electrons. When the ions get hot enough, they can overcome their mutual repulsion and collide, fusing together. When this happens, they release a lot of energy – about one million times more powerful than a chemical reaction and 3-4 times more powerful than a fission reaction." A reactor small enough to fit on a truck could provide enough power for a small city of up to 100,000 people.

In a discussion of the Skunk Works effort in Aviation Week, Lockheed's McGuire spoke about the company's interest in attracting interest in the project. "One of the reasons we are becoming more vocal with our project is that we are building up our team as we start to tackle the other big problems. We need help and we want other people involved. It's a global enterprise, and we are happy to be leaders in it," he said. "We have a long ways to go, and there are lots of challenges, but we have a path to do it and a community of fusion researchers and national labs. There's a collaborative atmosphere and we have got some really good feedback so far." Lockheed Martin aims to get at a prototype in five years. According to the Aviation Week report, the prototype would demonstrate ignition conditions and the ability to run for upward of 10 sec. in a steady state after the injectors, used to ignite the plasma, are turned off. It would not be at full power like a working concept reactor, "but basically just showing that all the physics works," McGuire said.

Explore further: UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

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61 comments

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Kedas
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 16, 2014
Selling nuclear material on the free market, that's going to be fun in 10 years from now.
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (10) Oct 16, 2014
The next generation of airplanes not relying on fuel can just stay aloft—with unlimited range, unlimited endurance
...
The old promise of Atoms for Peace was a noble one, but the technology wasn't right for it. "We can achieve that grand vision and bring clean power to people.

Why do I get the feeling that planes that 'stay aloft indefinitely' are not the ones that are designed bring peace?

the company's interest in attracting interest in the project

Erm..so they have a plan for a plan?

That said: if they can make a prototype in 5 years: good for them.
Birger
4.1 / 5 (17) Oct 16, 2014
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
So Lockheed Martin has outsmarted all the fusion researchers that have been working on the problem since the sixties, and at a fragment of the costs other have invested?
My BS alert has its lights flashing and klaxons going off.
wkingmilw
3.4 / 5 (9) Oct 16, 2014
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
So Lockheed Martin has outsmarted all the fusion researchers that have been working on the problem since the sixties, and at a fragment of the costs other have invested?
My BS alert has its lights flashing and klaxons going off.


Check the recent advances reported in "UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal" from this site. We may have turned the corner if the "skunk works" is getting involved.

It time to rethink how we do this, America!!
Doug_Huffman
2.3 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
It is amazing, the damage done to industry credibility by thorium and MSR vaporware.
Eikka
4.6 / 5 (11) Oct 16, 2014
Why do I get the feeling that planes that 'stay aloft indefinitely' are not the ones that are designed bring peace?


Si vis pacem, para bellum.

That said, the idea of the device seems to be to use the steel containment vessel as a means to direct the magnetic field to concentrate it into a "reflector" at the ends of the magnetic well, to keep the plasma from escaping. That way they can increase the pressure of the plasma relative to the magnetic pressure holding it together to 1:1, as opposed to tokamak designs where the plasma pressure can be only 5% of the containment pressure before it starts to leak out through various "cracks" in the magnetic bottle, which is why tokamak designs have to be huge.

Their biggest problem appears to be that the superconducting magnets are not sufficiently shielded from the neutron flux, and will break down in use.
orti
2 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
Curious, opening the door of the Skunk Works a crack within a week of the announcement by the University of Washington that it is pursuing a design for a low cost fusion reactor.
orti
2.6 / 5 (7) Oct 16, 2014
While the UN and governments advance self-serving hyperbole to scare women and children, others are at work doing something potentially useful.
katesisco
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
Well, the best claim is the doing. If you look at fusion history, the problem is instability at the quantum level that disrupts the chain. That doesnt sound like a surmountable problem. Several claims have been in the news lately, from university research labs. Iter problems listed above. So, every time the same old claim get old we offer a new set of Emperor clothes?
winthrom
4.3 / 5 (12) Oct 16, 2014
Lockheed is one of the most conservative companies in the world. If they say this is going to happen, you can bet on it.
Retired Lockheed Martin Employee
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 16, 2014
The magnetic reflector works by the fact that charged particles in a magnetic field experience force that makes them follow the flux lines in a spiraling path, and when the flux density changes - is pinched tighter as it goes through the reflecting coil - the non-linear interaction with the changing field causes a net force that steers the particle back the other way.

So if you place two magnetic coils opposite one another, the space in between them where the magnetic flux bulges out becomes a plasma bottle.

However, the reflector effect only works for particles with certain speeds and approach angles, so some particles always escape. The point then is to minimize loss by shaping the reflecting field to bounce back as many particles as possible. The reasearch into this kind of magnetic bottle containment went on from 1960's through to 80's before the US government cut funding to the projects, and it was never developed further.

orti
3 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
Eikka, I definitely do not comprehend plasmas and containment, but the previous article on the UofW specifically says they are not using superconductors and implies a twisted magnetic field containment by putting a heavy current in the plasma itself.
Very interesting that Lockheed is putting out a help-wanted ad immediately following the UofW announcement.
Eikka
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 16, 2014
The method of operation of the magnetic bottle reactor is, that even though it's losing plasma all the time, more is being added by shooting streams of neutral atoms into the middle of the plasma where they collide, which serves to both provide the initial heating to start the fusion reaction, and to add new fuel. Since the neutral atoms don't mind the magnetic field, they just plow through if they don't hit anything. If they hit, they add their kinetic energy to the plasma and become contained.

The reactor vessel is operating under hard vacuum, so there's a pump that is continuously evacuating the gasses that escape the magnetic bottle. They are put through a centrifuge to separate the waste helium from the hydrogen and the unspent fuel is injected back into the reactor.

Eikka
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 16, 2014
Eikka, I definitely do not comprehend plasmas and containment, but the previous article on the UofW specifically says they are not using superconductors and implies a twisted magnetic field containment by putting a heavy current in the plasma itself.


They're probably using a different design called a stellator, which tries to bind the plasma in a ring like a tokamak, but makes the ring twist and turn on itself to improve the containment.
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
http://en.wikiped...llarator

The tokamak is basically a circular solenoid, but the problem is that the magnetic field density is higher on the inside curve than on the outside curve, so the charged particles will eventually drift towards the outside and hit the wall. The tokamak designs try to compensate for this effect by applying various extra magnetic fields to cancel it out.

The stellator on the other hand makes the plasma flip around as it goes, so it follows a kind of figure 8 pattern where, if it tries to drift towards the outside of the curve, it ends up on the inside curve at the other side of the device and so stays in the middle of the magnetic lane.

But since you can't actually make a figure 8 magnetic field, it has to take a weird spiraling path around the device, and the question is how to produce that path.
orti
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
UW calls it a spheromak.
Eikka
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 16, 2014
The tokamak designs try to compensate for this effect by applying various extra magnetic fields to cancel it out.


This statement is wrong, but I can't edit it out anymore.

UW calls it a spheromak.


It's a variant of the tokamak.
http://en.wikiped...pheromak
orti
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
Thanks. I'll have to do some reading.
KBK
2.2 / 5 (10) Oct 16, 2014
This happens at the same time Rossi's E-Cat is shown to be functional to a COP of 3.8, in a third test. A third test that covers the complaints of the 'negative proofers'. A limited test of the device which is why the COP was so low...a test in which it ran for 32 days, 24-7.

This time all the ingredients and aspects required for anyone to do their own proofing, to build their own, have emerged.

Lockheed shows something definitively inferior to Rossi's E-cat. For what appears to be less than a thousand bucks, one would be able to make their own E-Cat, which is allowed by patent law.

And be energy independent now, not like this 'hydrogen tomorrow, free beer tomorrow', always tomorrow announcement by Lockheed.

Elon Musk is making electric cars NOW because he tired of the 'Liedrogen' car and energy game.

This fusion announcement from Lockheed is more of the same crap.

Bergholm
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 16, 2014

You can get the e-cat report at
elforsk.se
Could not post the Link due to spamfilter
someone11235813
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
@Antialias

Erm..so they have a plan for a plan?


Not really, they have a notion which they hope to turn into an idea for a concept of a plan.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

If you want peace - prepare for war?

That doesn't work for me. I always thought that...

"If you want war - prepare for war"
or
"If you want peace - prepare for peace"

...make a lot more sense. But that's just me.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.1 / 5 (9) Oct 16, 2014
""The team acknowledges that the project is in its earliest stages, and many key challenges remain before a viable prototype can be built."

So why the sudden publicity offensive? Presumably because Lockheed Martin also announced that it's looking for commercial partners to help fund the intervening years of research that will be required. By making the developments sound inevitable, the company increases its chances of attracting someone to share the risk."

[ http://arstechnic...-fusion/ ]

@KBK: That test 'shows' nothing. It is a) not peer reviewed and b) not proofed against scams, which was the immediate science criticism here in Sweden. (Sorry to say, there are swedish nut scientists in on this.) Rossi, a known scammer in a known scam branch, has likely amped up his scam by "seeding" the suddenly 'cold fusion' material akin to how goldmines were seeded in US. (Earlier 'chemical mechanism'...)
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 16, 2014
That doesn't work for me.


It's the same idea as, "There's an army in every country. If it's not their own, then it belongs to someone else."
El_Nose
3 / 5 (2) Oct 16, 2014
I was thinking

http://www.empire...rier.jpg

US for the win
paulshaheen
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
How many gigawatts does it take to build a Death Star sized laser? Just sayin'...
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
I was thinking

http://www.empire...rier.jpg

US for the win


It can't be a helicopter because material fatique and wear will destroy the mechanics in a few hundred hours due to vibration. Ordinary helicopters have to be inspected every 25 flight hours and maintained every 150 hours. The rotor blades have to be replaced every 10,000 hours. An engine overhauled is due at 2,400 hours, the transmission at 1,200 hours, and various bearings and shaft seals and o-rings at about 600 hours.

It's a bit difficult to swap bearings out of a spinning shaft.
teslaberry
2.5 / 5 (6) Oct 16, 2014
the is neither tokomak or stellerator (modified torroidal) geometry.

skunkworks claim it's a cynlinder bottle. this makes no sense to me as there are end effects in a cyclindrical system, cyclidrical shaped magnetic conflinment has been used i believe in magnetic mirror confinement bottles and polywell devices,. as well as intertial confinement systems which cannot realistically be engineered as energy sources.

but this 'breakthrough' is still 'mysterious' which makes me particularly suspicious. they are not claiming to have made cold fusion, but this might still be a load of hot plasma.
sirchick
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
Could this ever be safe enough to be used in trucks on the road for transporting cargo around the globe or would it be restricted to military simply due to security/safety issues?
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 16, 2014
Could this ever be safe enough to be used in trucks on the road for transporting cargo around the globe or would it be restricted to military simply due to security/safety issues?


The minimum scale for a functional reactor of this kind is on the order of 100,000 horsepowers, so it's a bit infeasible anyhow.

It can be transported by a truck, but not power one.

Whydening Gyre
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
The stellator on the other hand makes the plasma flip around as it goes, so it follows a kind of figure 8 pattern where, if it tries to drift towards the outside of the curve, it ends up on the inside curve at the other side of the device and so stays in the middle of the magnetic lane.

But since you can't actually make a figure 8 magnetic field, it has to take a weird spiraling path around the device, and the question is how to produce that path.

Eikka.
Think Moebius and loops...
Also - see the article discussing magnetic properties of light...
sirchick
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
Could this ever be safe enough to be used in trucks on the road for transporting cargo around the globe or would it be restricted to military simply due to security/safety issues?


The minimum scale for a functional reactor of this kind is on the order of 100,000 horsepowers, so it's a bit infeasible anyhow.

It can be transported by a truck, but not power one.



According to Lockheed their reactor measures 7ft by 10ft. For a truck this could be do able - i don't know the power output. But it could be used to charge batteries on an electric truck for example rather than be the main power output.
WillieWard
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2014
It is needed that net energy gain is confirmed because some fusion reactions are easy to occur, but overcoming the breakeven point is that the real challenge that is yet to be resolved. http://youtu.be/u8n7j5k-_G8
Da Schneib
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 16, 2014
My first impression is "more hyperbole." The stock market is going down, so they're trying to boost it up again with pie in the sky. "We'll have something next decade! For sure this time!!!"
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
My first impression is "more hyperbole." The stock market is going down, so they're trying to boost it up again with pie in the sky. "We'll have something next decade! For sure this time!!!"

As a market player, I agree...:-)
Osiris1
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2014
This story has been on Yahoo for three days already. Why is it just now being picked up by our favorite website, PhysOrg? The story on Yahoo was that it would put out 100 MegaWatts from a package that would fit on a truck about the size of a military 5 ton. That is enuf to power over ten thousand homes, about the size of, maybe Temecula, California. Nice if they can get the tritiium. A video from the skunk works referred to power from MagnetoHydroDynamics...that is direct energy from proton plasma inducted to superconducting coils on the way out what could also be a fusion rocket. Get us to Mars in 30 days or less too sports fans.
Seeker2
3 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2014
Enough power to accelerate a spaceship at 1g for 2-3 days would get us to Mars? Nice way to travel and much better for your long-term health. Sure beats taking up permanent residence there.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Oct 17, 2014
But since you can't actually make a figure 8 magnetic field, it has to take a weird spiraling path around the device, and the question is how to produce that path.


Nature does it;

http://phys.org/n...ula.html

http://phys.org/n...ces.html

https://www.googl...imgdii=_

...maybe humans will figure it out someday. Possibly sooner than you think...

http://lawrencevi...reviews/

It's good stuff;
http://vimeo.com/89969450
Code_Warrior
4.8 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2014
That guy strikes me as a used car salesman long on bullshit and short on results. In the Reuters article that I read, this guy stated he's been working on this for 4 years and now they're looking for partners in academia and industry. My first impression was that he was having fun for the last 4 years with his toy plasma maker until Skunk Works management called him out to explain exactly where this was all going. Then he went into full bullshit mode to save his boondoggle, claiming to have made a breakthrough to buy him some time. In the meantime, the management team has realized that they got conned and are trying to save face by letting him convince others to partner with Lockheed so they can spin that shit off in the near future, dumping his ass on the new partners. Lockheed gets the temporary publicity, and can claim to have done fusion research, but will be insulated from the inevitable failure later on while the spin off crashes and burns. I hope I'm wrong.
mosahlah
5 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2014
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

If you want peace - prepare for war?

That doesn't work for me. I always thought that...

"If you want war - prepare for war"
or
"If you want peace - prepare for peace"

...make a lot more sense. But that's just me.


If you prepare for war, you have some control over your destiny. Fail to prepare for war, and someone else will probably determine your future.
mosahlah
4 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2014
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
So Lockheed Martin has outsmarted all the fusion researchers that have been working on the problem since the sixties, and at a fragment of the costs other have invested?
My BS alert has its lights flashing and klaxons going off.


Lockheed Martin has quite a reputation for technological prowess. Besides, there are historical parallels to their potential achievement, such as John Harrison's timepiece during the quest for transoceanic navigation.
Bob Osaka
5 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2014
Don't know. Solve cold fusion in five years...is that before or after getting the F-35 to take off, fly and land without exploding on the runway, falling from the sky or crashing?
Princeton University's fusion lab has the same magnetic bottle with plasma which almost anyone can sign up and play with different settings remotely, online.
Skunk Works treats fusion science as if it were some national security secret. That maybe where this con is coming from. You know a fusion con....con...fusion.
Science isn't in it for the money and doesn't keep secrets. Nature does, but will answer honestly to all who ask.
Good luck with that.
mosahlah
5 / 5 (3) Oct 17, 2014

Why do I get the feeling that planes that 'stay aloft indefinitely' are not the ones that are designed bring peace?


Military aircraft actually spend the vast majority of their lifespans parked on the tarmac. Adding an exotic power source may seem to make sense compared to the cost of the platform with all it's advanced technology, but during time of war, the price of the fuel used to drop bombs is pretty insignificant compared to all the other expenses. Commercial airliners and cargo aircraft on the other hand, must constantly fly to be economical, and fuel efficiency makes a very significant factor for profitability. Tactical aircraft are probably too small for this power source.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2014
Military aircraft actually spend the vast majority of their lifespans parked on the tarmac.

The point was that aircraft that stay aloft indefinitely are pretty bad at taking on/letting off passengers (or cargo).
That's more the area of surveillance drones (or first-strike/sevond-strike platforms).
MandoZink
5 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2014
I recently read an interesting comment from a highly honored Caltech physicist:

"Between cold fusion and respectable science there is virtually no communication at all. ...because the Cold-Fusioners see themselves as a community under siege, there is little internal criticism. Experiments and theories tend to be accepted at face value, for fear of providing even more fuel for external critics, if anyone outside the group was bothering to listen. In these circumstances, crackpots flourish, making matters worse for those who believe that there is serious science going on here."
-- David Goodstein
Noumenon
1 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2014
I recently read an interesting comment from a highly honored Caltech physicist:

"Between cold fusion and respectable science there is virtually no communication at all. ...because the Cold-Fusioners see themselves as a community under siege, there is little internal criticism. Experiments and theories tend to be accepted at face value, for fear of providing even more fuel for external critics, if anyone outside the group was bothering to listen. In these circumstances, crackpots flourish, making matters worse for those who believe that there is serious science going on here."
-- David Goodstein


But it's Lockheed Martin.
KBK
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 17, 2014
@KBK: That test 'shows' nothing. It is a) not peer reviewed and b) not proofed against scams, which was the immediate science criticism here in Sweden. (Sorry to say, there are swedish nut scientists in on this.) Rossi, a known scammer in a known scam branch, has likely amped up his scam by "seeding" the suddenly 'cold fusion' material akin to how goldmines were seeded in US. (Earlier 'chemical mechanism'...)


The engineering masses, even the PHD level commentators, are trained in lattice/Newtonian fundamentals- largely without understanding of quantum interactions.

The E-Cat is about electrochemical potential, in the quantum domain. (gaseous, plasma, etc)

Critically, nano/quantum has different interactive considerations than Newtonian, lower by many orders of magnitude - Many. This is the error point in most analysis.

Cold fusion is dismissed by most, and confused in the supporters - through this key point in illiteracy in quantum considerations.
Eikka
5 / 5 (6) Oct 17, 2014
Nature does it;


No it doesn't. You can't make magnetic field lines cross because the magnetic field in the crossing point would point in two directions at once, which is physically meaningless. The field at that point will bend to point in the vector sum of both fields.

That means you can't make a perfect figure 8 magnetic loop. It always has to twist a bit.
ECOnservative
5 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2014
Sci Fi author Larry Niven was seen dancing..
Egleton
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 17, 2014
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.


What extraordinary evidence do you support your extraordinary claim with?
Egleton
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 18, 2014
Better.
The extraordinary claim is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"
Then by that measure extraordinary evidence needs to be presented to support the extraordinary claim.
So where is this extraordinary evidence?
Crickets.
Therefore the statement is just a pithy homily with no substance and can be ignored.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Oct 18, 2014
Nature does it;


No it doesn't. You can't make magnetic field lines cross because the magnetic field in the crossing point would point in two directions at once, which is physically meaningless. The field at that point will bend to point in the vector sum of both fields.

That means you can't make a perfect figure 8 magnetic loop. It always has to twist a bit.

I was generalizing, it's more of an hourglass shape than a "perfect figure 8". In a pinched Birkeland current the "magnetic field lines" do not have to cross, the crossing point is the plasmoid which creates the focused particle beams.
http://electric-c...xies.pdf
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Oct 18, 2014
We do not need a Magic Box to give us ultimate power. It will be in the hands of politicians.
tritace
Oct 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Oct 19, 2014
We do not need a Magic Box to give us ultimate power. It will be in the hands of politicians.


So is everything else, because you can't have any sort of coordinated effort on the large scale without someone running the management.

The age of total self-sufficiency ended 200 years ago with the invention of steel. After that, increaslingly many people have increasingly relied on someone else to make stuff they need, and today, thinking that you can live "off the grid" with your windmills and solar panels is just fooling yourself because you're utterly reliant on minerals and materials mined and manufactured in China.

If the "politicians" decide so, you won't get any of that.
pianoman
1 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2014
The late Ben Rich, head of skunkworks was quoted as saying " we have the power source to take "ET" home. ( check out his video ) So why mess with atomic power?

summerhike
not rated yet Oct 20, 2014
What a bunch of smoke blowing. Labs, governments, companies have been working on creating a working commercially viable fusion reactor for, what?, 30+ years, 40?, 50 years?, more? and they haven't made a working excess energy out, device, yet! Now, Lockheed Martin boasts that they will be able to have a working device within 5 years?! Sure! Their article also gives them an "out" because they also say they have alot of challenges and hurdles and blah blah blah. All these articles hype what they are trying to achieve so that they can get backing/support. I should write and article and say that I'm going to build a ship to fly me to each end of the universe in 10 seconds! I'll believe it, when I see them build it and sell it for real use in the real world! That's by 2020! Get busy!
dbsi
5 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2014
Progress is not linear! They don't have to repeat all the research themselves and to judge feasibility you can not just consider past fusion research you need to take in to account the accelerating progress of science and technology in general.
JIMBO
2 / 5 (2) Oct 22, 2014
Skunks Stink ! Likewise this Hype (`Take heed its Lockheed'), paralleling that from the DOE & LLNL. To put it all in context, about 10 yrs ago, controlled nuclear fusion was first achieved on an ultra-low power scale in a solid material(Nature, April 28, 2005 "Observation of Nuclear Fusion Driven by a Pyroelectric Crystal") Of course it was just a proof-of-principle, w/no hope of generating any useful level of electric power. Forty yrs prior to that, fusion began as a research pipe-dream, again hyped thru the roof. So in 40 yrs, that's the closest we've come, a pure physics experiment.
In the interim, congress has pumped Billions of $$ into magnetic & inertial fusion, w/nothing to show for it but PhD theses & papers. Private companies have also tried & failed. Yet like the multi-headed Hydra, fusion cannot die. Like a vampire seeking blood, it stalks on thirsty for sustenance & gullible politicians keep on feeding the monster.
Brian185
not rated yet Oct 22, 2014
Perhaps Lockheed's Skunk Works has morphed into Stunt Works - lets hype our own super secret, proprietary, fusion reactor - please DoD and DOE, become our "partner" - provide 5 years of bottomless funding - turn on the public funding spigot, make the project "black" for national security reasons (and prevent any meddlesome congressional oversight), at the end of 5 years claim we are so very close - we just need another 5 years of funding. Lets keep spending over $600B / yr for military applications and ignore our current infrastructure used by simple peasants - no wonder our cities can't even compare to Eastern European standards - Lockheed - this is just B.S.
Mazarin07
not rated yet Oct 24, 2014
no wonder our cities can't even compare to Eastern European standards - Lockheed - this is just B.S.

:-)
Have you ever been is Eastern Europe?
Just asking. ☺

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