This is an invention that might change civilization as we know it: A compact fusion reactor developed by Skunk Works, the stealth experimental technology division of Lockheed Martin. It's the size of a jet engine and it can power airplanes, spaceships, and cities. Skunk Works claims it will be operative in 10 years.
Aviation Week had exclusive access to their secret laboratories and talked to Dr. Thomas McGuire, the leader of Skunk Work's Revolutionary Technology division. And revolutionary it is, indeed: Instead of using the same design that everyone else is using—the Soviet-derived tokamak, a torus in which magnetic fields confine the fusion reaction with a huge energy cost and thus little energy production capabilities—Skunk Works' Compact Fusion Reactor has a radically different approach to anything people have tried before. Here are the two of them for comparison:
Above: The traditional Soviet tokamak design of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a gigantic installation being built in France.
Above: The Skunk Works' new compact fusion reactor design.
The key to the Skunk Works system is their tube-like design, which allows them to bypass one of the limitations of classic fusion reactor designs, which are very limited in the amount of plasma they can hold, which makes them huge in size—like the gigantic International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. According to McGuire:
[The traditional tokamak designes] can only hold so much plasma, and we call that the beta limit. [Their plasma ratio is] 5% or so of the confining pressure. [...] We should be able to go to 100% or beyond.
This architecture allows it to be 10 times smaller at the same power output of something like the ITER, which is expected to generate 500 MW in the 2020s. This is crucial for the use of fusion in all kind of applications, not only in giant, expensive power plants.
Lockheed Martin: Compact Fusion Research & Development
This 3' 58" video was published by LockheedMartinVideos onOct 15, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlYClniDFkM
Learn more: http://lockheedmartin.com/compactfusion
At Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®, we’re making advancements in the development of fusion energy, the ultimate form of renewable power. Our scientists and engineers are looking at the biggest natural fusion reactor 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. Learn more about compact fusion: http://lmt.co/1rfsakG
This commentary is full of typical smart arse Amerkkan propaganda shit. It is obviously written by slick Techma Bernaysian bullshitters. In 10 years we'll have military applications... in 20 years the rest of the world can have it... YEAH RIGHT!!!
For an alternative view of this hype see eg:
Scientists Are Bashing Lockheed Martin's Nuclear Fusion 'Breakthrough - http://www.businessinsider.com.au/scientists-bash-lockheed-on-nuclear-fusion-2014-10#ixzz3GKscvd7K
In contrast, Russia's Rosatom is operating a ‘Breakthrough’ energy project [that] enables closed a nuclear fuel cycle and a future without radioactive waste. The first batch of MOX nuclear fuel has been manufactured for the world’s only NPP industrially power generating breeder reactors.
The first ten kilograms of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) - a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides (UO2 and PuO2), have been industrially produced by Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, at the Mining & Chemical Combine (GKhK) in the Krasnoyarsk region.
A world first, tablets of the fuel of the future have been put on serial production and are destined for Russia’s next generation BN-800 breeder reactor (880 megawatts), currently undergoing tests at the Beloyarskaya nuclear power plant.
The production line, now undergoing start-up and adjustment, was assembled in a mine 200 meters underground and will become fully operational by the end of 2014. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/No-nuclear-waste-Fuel-of-future-produced-at-Russia-s-high-tech-underground-plant.shtml
As regards compact plasma power generators Mehran Keshe and the Keshe Foundation appearently achieved development of usuable small power units some years ago. See eg: M T Keshe - USB Stick files release by Taiwanese KF group.- http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/M-T-Keshe---USB-Stick-files-release-by-Taiwanese-KF-group.shtml
And: audio recording of the March 14 interview on the Mike Harris show of Dr. Mehren T. Keshe - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/audio-recording-of-the-March-14-interview-on-the-Mike-Harris-show-of-Dr-Mehren-T-Keshe.shtml
Skunk Works is convinced that their system—which will be the size of a jet engine—will be able to power everything, from spaceships to airplanes to vessels—and of course scale up to a much larger size. At the size of the ITER, it will be able to produce 10 times more energy, McGuire claims:
It's one of the reasons we think it is feasible for development and future economics. Ten times smaller is the key. But on the physics side, it still has to work, and one of the reasons we think our physics will work is that we've been able to make an inherently stable configuration. In our case, it is always in balance. So if you have less pressure, the plasma will be smaller and will always sit in this magnetic well.
The road ahead
But we all know that the road to the dream of clean, unlimited energy is paved with failed inventions. The situation here seems different. First, Lockheed Martin is not a crazy dude working in a garage. It's one of the world's largest aerospace and military companies.
McGuire knows that they are just starting now, but he claims the design is sound and they will advance quickly until its final implementation in just a decade:
We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we've already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn't be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.
Five years after that, they expect to have a fully operative model ready to go into full-scale production, capable of generating 100MW—enough to power a large cargo ship or a 80,000-home city—and measure 23 x 42 feet, so you "could put it on a semi-trailer, similar to a small gas turbine, put it on a pad, hook it up and can be running in a few weeks."
I really hope this works out.
No nuclear waste: Fuel of future produced at Russia's high-tech underground plant. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/No-nuclear-waste-Fuel-of-future-produced-at-Russia-s-high-tech-underground-plant.shtml
Russia’s Rosatom Ready to Produce Fresh Water Using Nuclear Energy. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/Russia-s-Rosatom-Ready-to-Produce-Fresh-Water-Using-Nuclear-Energy.shtml
M T Keshe - USB Stick files release by Taiwanese KF group.- http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/M-T-Keshe---USB-Stick-files-release-by-Taiwanese-KF-group.shtml
audio recording of the March 14 interview on the Mike Harris show of Dr. Mehren T. Keshe - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Environment_Science_69/audio-recording-of-the-March-14-interview-on-the-Mike-Harris-show-of-Dr-Mehren-T-Keshe.shtml