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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.
Hidden away in the secret depths of the Skunk Works, a Lockheed Martin research team has been working quietly on a nuclear energy concept they believe has the potential to meet, if not eventually decrease, the world’s insatiable demand for power.
No carbon emissions. The only by-products of fusion reactions are small amounts of helium, which is an inert gas that will not add to atmospheric pollution.
Abundant fuels. Deuterium can be extracted from water and tritium is produced from lithium, which is found in the earth's crust. Fuel supplies will therefore last for millions of years.
Energy efficiency. One kilogram of fusion fuel can provide the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuel.
No long-lived radioactive waste. Only plant components become radioactive and these will be safe to recycle or dispose of conventionally within 100 years.
Safety. The small amounts of fuel used in fusion devices (about the weight of a postage stamp at any one time) means that a large-scale nuclear accident is not possible.
Reliable power. Fusion power plants should provide a baseload supply of large amounts of electricity, at costs that are estimated to be broadly similar to other energy sources.
originally posted by: SLAYER69
...Let's hope this time something tangible for the publics greater good will be brought out instead of squirreled away into some black budget defense department lab for further 'Research'
With just such a “Holy Grail” breakthrough seemingly within its grasp, and to help achieve a potentially paradigm-shifting development in global energy, Lockheed has made public its project with the aim of attracting partners, resources and additional researchers.
When we think of nuclear power, there are usually just two options: fission and fusion. Fission, which creates huge amounts of heat by splitting larger atoms into smaller atoms, is what currently powers every nuclear reactor on Earth. Fusion is the opposite, creating vast amounts of energy by fusing atoms of hydrogen together, but we’re still many years away from large-scale, commercial fusion reactors. (See: 500MW from half a gram of hydrogen: The hunt for fusion power heats up.)
LENR is absolutely nothing like either fission or fusion. Where fission and fusion are underpinned by strong nuclear force, LENR harnesses power from weak nuclear force — but capturing this energy is difficult.
A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Fuel cells are often compared to batteries. Both convert the energy produced by a chemical reaction into usable electric power. However, the fuel cell will produce electricity as long as fuel (hydrogen) is supplied, never losing its charge