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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project

Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project

Reuters - Oct 15, 2014
By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed's secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters.

In a statement, the company, the Pentagon's largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.

In recent years, Lockheed has gotten increasingly involved in a variety of alternate energy projects, including several ocean energy projects, as it looks to offset a decline in U.S. and European military spending.

******************** -breakthrough-fusion-energy-project -123840986--finance.html


Anonymous said...

makes you wonder why we need a group-think-laden Sandia at all..

Anonymous said...

Looks likes this came from some sort of black program. Easy to see how a small group of scientists in an echo chamber could convince themselves of a breakthrough. Normally, such claims would be vetted through peer-reviewed articles.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the cold fusion "breakthrough". Time will tell, there were no technical details so it's hard to say.

Anonymous said...

Who knew it was that easy, some folks working for four years develop a bathroom sized fusion reactor? They will have one running next year. No details what-so-ever on the technology.

Oh, and Lockheed's shares dropped! LOL

Anonymous said...

Wow... At first thought this was a late April fools joke, but just watch the video on the LM website. Sounds like they're pretty serious and that NIF will soon be obsolete.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much Sandia technology assisted this effort. If the Sandia contract is like the LLNL contract, patents on Sandia inventions and work are held by LM unless the government exercises a claim for national security reasons.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha 10 years.... in God days.

Anonymous said...

Since this has its origins in a black program, I think they are trying to establish a cover story for something else they are doing. It's pure BS and probably going public was the idea of someone in the intelligence community.

Anonymous said...

We have heard about fusion breakthroughs before that turned out to be BS. Probably the same here.

On a side note, a 100 MW fusion reactor based on DT fusion would put out ~4x10^19 14 MeV neutrons per second, if I got the numbers right. I wouldn't want to be that truck driver .... ;-)

Anonymous said...

October 15, 2014 at 7:20 PM sez: ............ and that NIF will soon be obsolete.

err...NIF has be obsolete for a very long time. Just shows to go you, that BSers can be out BSed.

Anonymous said...

I wondered where Pons and Fleishman settled.

Perhaps Tyler Pryzbylek is leading the program?

Anonymous said...

First liar doesn't stand a chance!

Anonymous said...

Not so fast...

Scientists Are Bashing Lockheed Martin's Nuclear Fusion 'Breakthrough'
- Jessica Orwig
Business Insider Oct. 15, 2014

Researchers at Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Skunk Works, announced on Wednesday their ongoing work on a new technology that could bring about functional nuclear reactors powered by fusion in the next 10 years.

But most scientists and science communicators we talked to are skeptical of the claim.

"The nuclear engineering clearly fails to be cost effective," Tom Jarboe told Business Insider in an email. Jarboe is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, an adjunct professor in physics, and a researcher with the University of Washington's nuclear fusion experiment.

The premise behind Lockheed's 10-year plan is the smaller size of their device. The scientists are designing an improved version of a compact fusion reactor. The CFR generates power from nuclear fusion by extracting energy through the extremely hot plasma contained inside it.

The plasma consists of hydrogen atoms that, when heated to billions of degrees, fuse together. When this happens they release energy, which the CFR then extracts and can eventually transfer into electricity.

Traditional containment vessels for these plasmas are called tokamaks, and they look like hollowed-out doughnuts and are the size of an average apartment. Lockheed says its new CFR can generate 10 times more power than a tokamak in a space that could fit on the back of a large truck, according to Aviation Week. But Jarboe disagrees.

"This design has two doughnuts and a shell so it will be more than four times as bad as a tokamak," Jarboe said, adding that, "Our concept [at the University of Washington] has no coils surrounded by plasma and solves the problem."

Although Lockheed Martin issued a press release saying it had several pending patents for its approach, the company has yet to publish any scientific papers on this latest work.

"It's really great that Lockheed has taken an interest in this important challenge of providing carbon-free energy to the world," Michael Zarnstorff, deputy director for research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, told Business Insider in an email. "We haven't seen any results from the Lockheed experiments but the design is an interesting concept and it looks like they are at a very early stage of exploring this configuration."

While Zarnstorff remains optimistic, others are not ready to believe the hype.

Swadesh M. Mahajan, a thermonuclear plasma physicist at the University of Texas, told Mother Jones reporter James West that there were many reasons to be skeptical of the announcement. Specifically, "We know of no materials that would be able to handle anywhere near that amount of heat," for a device as small as Lockheed is proposing.

As of now, Lockheed's results are purely theoretical, so it's hard to know whether they will work in reality, Rosi Reed, an assistant professor of physics at Wayne State University and researcher at the Large Hadron Collider, told Mother Jones.

When asked if the concept of Lockheed's new design was in any way unique or novel, Zarnstorff told Business Insider that it was too early to tell.

While headlines touted Lockheed's results as a "breakthrough" that could "change the world forever," the corporation used no such language in its press release. However, it appears that we will have to wait at least a little while longer before any reactor Lockheed envisions enters the market.

Anonymous said...

SNL patents and technology are owned by the taxpayer and not owned by Lockmart unless shared under specific WFO/CRADA. There are rules in the SNL contract to prevent an OCI due to Lockmart's management role and to prevent other companies from having a valid reason to protest any federal contract which benefits from taxpayer funded technology.

Anonymous said...

What about this purported breakthrough?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they have finally unlocked secret information from the Roswell alien accident.

Anonymous said...

Can you say "scam" ?

Anonymous said...

more likely Lockheeds IRD rates and program effectiveness are being questioned by the federal procurement officers who are downsizing the F35 procurement program.

this "announcement" helps Lockheed justify the IRD rate.

Anonymous said...

Since the AvWeek article contains a concept that shows the simplest axisymmetric mirror geometry, one hopes the black program folks consulted existing Mirror plasma confinement science literature.

The 40 year evolution was
-aximsymetric mirrors
-min B mirrors (baseball)
-tokamak and stellerators (closed solenoidal field)
-tandem mirrors flanking a solenidal field
-tandem mirrors with strong solenoidal magnetic field plugs (throttle)
-mirrors with electrical potential end isolation
-forms of ion and electron resonance heating to create a stronger end plug plama isolation including additional neutral beams heating the end plugs
-transient compact self-sustaining mirror plasmas created by coaxial plasma acceleration.

Only the tokamak is still being supported, and the size and complexity to approach scientific energy breakeven in colossal, even by NIF standards.

Hope Lockheed has a breakthrough instead of finding a well trodden path.

Science and technology has advanced 40 years since then. Perhaps, new more efficient heating sources are used, perhaps ferromagnetic materials are used to better shape the mirror regions. Perhaps new resonance systems isolate the plug regions. Perhaps higher speed control systems can tailor fields to damp instabilities real-time.

But the key has been, as plasma density and energy increase in the magnetic well, too much leaks out the ends.

Anonymous said...

This goes to show you, the labs don't have a monopoly on the fusion racket for skimming taxpayer dollars. Might as well have industry get in on it too. It would turn con artistry into a more competitive industry.

Alien Visiting Scientist said...

Did anyone say "Roswell" ? I thought we were using energy extraction from the virtual vacuum via a gravometric singularity. Back to the basement !


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