Friday, October 4, 2013

Fusion history

I am reading Search for the Ultimate Energy Source by S. O. Dean (Springer, 2013).  Dean tells how the bureaucrats took control of the direction of the U.S. fusion energy program.  He also tells of the decline of the program.  I would suggest there is a causal relationship there. Europe is now in the lead in magnetic fusion energy research with the ITER and the U.S. effort in inertial confinement fusion just saw the failure of its NIF to reach ignition. I, personally, was unable to get funding for my RSX-IV device (Reactor Studies Experiment) and switched over to artificial intelligence research.  On page 24 Dean, who was head of (plasma) confinement systems for DOE, admits that "In reviewing many proposals over the years, I have observed that it is almost impossible to get a positive review of a proposal to pursue any idea that is not already being worked on in the government's own fusion program."  Clearly a formula for failure. No new ideas are allowed. And this in what is intended to be a research organization.

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