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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Bloomberg Article on NIF
Bloomberg Article on NIF http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-03/fusion-scientists-see-progress-as-obama-shows-no-ardor-correct-.html Excerpts: Moses, 63, wants to raise $1.5 billion, partially from utilities and suppliers, to get commercial fusion technology ready. In a possible prototype, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PCG) and others agreed in December to pay the Livermore lab $150 million to use its supercomputers for improving California’s electricity grid. Wealthy individuals may contribute, and some have expressed interest, Moses says, declining to name them. Detractors say cost estimates are meaningless because they involve technologies not yet invented. “Moses is destroying his credibility,” says Burton Richter, a retired Stanford University physics professor. The Energy Department itself has trimmed expectations: “Experience shows we didn’t have as good an understanding of the physics as we thought,” says David Crandall, who retired in March as the department’s senior fusion adviser. Congress is getting tougher, too. The NNSA has spent about $6 billion to build and run the NIF. Lawmakers were planning to press the NIF in May for measurable goals for reaching ignition, people familiar with the situation say. Obama wants to cut the NIF budget to $329 million in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 from the prior $409 million. The NIF may close the gap by charging outside researchers to run basic science experiments, such as how elements like iron behave under extreme pressure. Moses is allocating time slots with the facility and its laser into 2022. For now, the ITER is the U.S. government’s preferred path to civilian electricity compared with other fusion choices, says Chris Deeney, the NNSA’s assistant deputy administrator. Deeney’s thinking puts Moses’s work at odds with the prevailing U.S. sentiment. A smaller version of an ITER-style machine, in Culham, England, produced 16 megawatts of power after consuming 24 megawatts to get the reaction started.
By scooby at May 07, 2013
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