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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.
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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.
Lockheed said it had shown it could complete a design, build and test it in as little as a year, which should produce an operational reactor in 10 years, McGuire said. A small reactor could power a U.S. Navy warship, and eliminate the need for other fuel sources that pose logistical challenges.
The polywell is a type of nuclear fusion reactor that uses an electric field to heat ions to fusion conditions. It is closely related to the magnetic mirror, the fusor, the biconic cusp and the high beta fusion reactor. A set of electromagnets generates a magnetic field which traps electrons. This creates a negative voltage, which attracts positive ions. As the ions accelerate towards the negative center, their kinetic energy rises. If the ions collide in the center, they can fuse.
The polywell is one of many devices that use an electric field to heat ions to fusion conditions. This branch of fusion research is known as inertial electrostatic confinement. The polywell was developed by Robert Bussard, as an improvement over the fusor. His company, EMC2, Inc., developed the initial devices for the U.S. Navy.
originally posted by: palg1
a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71
Remenber that big oil has alot of their eggs in the Natural Gas basket. Fusion energy would pretty much make all of those natuarl gas generation plants obsolete, and electric power would be much cheaper to produce by a factor of ten.
Places like the Baltic States, Europe and the Ukraine would no longer be subject to Russian oil extortion for their every day power needs.
Plus this would feed the eco/green movements clean air campaign as it is a non pollution methode of power production. Imagine all of those gas and coal power plants being replaced.
This could literaly change the world. Even if it takes a decade to get things moving.