back to article US reactor breaks fusion record – then runs out of cash and shuts down

In a tale that tells you all you need to know about the parlous state of American science, a fusion reactor has broken plasma-handling records in the last few days before losing its funding. The Alcator C-Mod tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, run for the past 23 years by MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, managed to contain …

  1. Adrian Midgley 1

    What is its maximum performance?

    Great that it set the record, but the requirement is a lot more than that, no?

    Time for a bigger newer machine.

    1. Mikel

      Re: What is its maximum performance?

      Bigger? Ironically, the answer is smaller.

      1. ToddR

        Re: What is its maximum performance?

        No the answer is much much bigger

        1. Doctor_Wibble

          Re: What is its maximum performance?

          That sort of remark always reminds me of a secondary scene going on in the background,the director losing his rag at the SFX guy, "Bigger! What part of 'bigger!' do you not understand?!?!?"...

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: What is its maximum performance?

          "No the answer is much much bigger"

          And, you so wittily point out the core of the problem here: Fusion *RESEARCH* is being paid for. NOT Fusion reactor designs that make electric power and make money for investors.

          Just pointing THAT out, too...

          (you get what you pay for)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: What is its maximum performance?

      Great that it set the record, but the requirement is a lot more than that, no?

      Not that much, at least in one sense. A pressure of 2.05 bar is most of the way there, since a self-sustaining reaction is possible at somewhere between 3 and 10 bar (depending upon design). Whether they'd reached their design limits or not, I don't know.

  2. Mikel

    Too close

    You know they were getting too close.

  3. DNTP

    Decommissioning

    The tokamak's gettin' took!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why spend billions?

    High densities of hot plasmas more than sufficient to generate sustainable fusion reactions are achieved almost daily in parliaments and other government circles. May as well put all this hot air to good use for once no?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why spend billions?

      I don't know. The favored method (favored by me in my daydreams) of extracting energy from a politician is burning at the stake, and I don't think those are the kind of temperatures they're looking for. But - experiment by all means. Can we donate some of the USA variety for the cause? They have proven to be exceptionally productive gas emitters.

      1. a_yank_lurker

        Re: Why spend billions?

        We definitely have plenty and it would improve the human race in so many ways.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Why spend billions?

        Better approach is to attach the politicians to a pulley and crank and then place them near to sum of money, preferably in a plain brown envelope. You can then extract energy from the continuous attraction of the politician towards the cash. N.b. Use Tory or New Labour politicians for greatest efficacy. Under no circumstances uses UKIP members as they degrade the money pile through a process known as Brexitation.

      3. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Why spend billions?

        They have proven to be exceptionally productive gas emitters.

        It's the gas which is part of the problem in using them for fuel. They're net CO2 emitters. They'd have to be scrubbed after combustion and -- just to be on the safe side -- beforehand too, preferably with a wire brush and caustic soda.

      4. PNGuinn
        Devil

        Re: Why spend billions? @ Etatdame

        As a Brit I'll back you on that one, on one condition.

        Take ours as well. Please.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why spend billions? @ Etatdame

          "Take ours as well. Please."

          That seems perilously close to something Twain is supposed to have said: "Earned a precarious living by taking in one another's washing"

          But I'd consider two for one - our two.

          I'm making a list.

    3. Doctor_Wibble
      Trollface

      Paper-Fuelled Power Station, was Re: Why spend billions?

      The only reason they don't just burn the money directly and generate power off that is because this way looks more impressive and has lots of jobs involved.

      Also, this is a cunning way of making sure you have something ready to explode in the man-made black hole if the people at CERN break the terms of their contracts and succeed.

      The locations of these projects are not by accident - a sufficient land mass and body of water separates them, without being suspiciously close to exact opposite sides of the world. Check the map, you know it's true.

      1. Doctor_Wibble
        Unhappy

        poor judgement of crowd or wrong icon

        That sucks. I had hoped the non-seriousness would have been obvious, but I guess not.

        I'll just go and sulk I think...

    4. PNGuinn
      Go

      Re: Why spend billions?

      "High densities of hot plasmas more than sufficient to generate sustainable fusion reactions are achieved almost daily in parliaments and other government circles. May as well put all this hot air to good use for once no?"

      Yes, that'd likely work very successfully, but I can think of at least 2 unsolvable drawbacks:

      1. What can you do to prevent some totally random event causing a major energy spike and such a vast destructive thermal runaway ...

      2. What do you do about the inevitable vast quantities of toxic waste the process would produce?

      On the other hand, looking on the bright side, 1. might solve another of humanity's more intractable problems. Let's go for it.

  5. Nolveys
    Meh

    The (ITER) facility will now cost over $15bn and won't be operational until the next decade...

    What a waste of money, they should reallocate it to cover almost a whole percentage point of the F-35 project costs. Or use it to cover 0.01% of the money the US has shoveled into the banking sector.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Well, a small bipartisan land war on the eurasian landmass that "will pay for itself" would pay for 200 over-budget ITERs. There is not enough place in France to put them all there though.

      1. elDog

        If the F35 could fly reliably,

        We could drop a few billion$ on whatever landmass we want to conquer. Unfortunately, we'll probably have to use B29/52s and heavy metal reactors.

        I guess this is a total non-sequitor, but it certainly seems stooooopid that the richest country currently on earth can't get behind true research, LHC, ITER, cancer, genome, global warming. They all have an Issa's chance of a snowball in hell.

        1. Crazy Operations Guy

          "richest country currently on earth can't get behind true research"

          What are you on about? China is throwing billions into Fusion research as both part of ITER as well as home-grown CFETR tokamak. Then there are all the various fission-power research projects, not to mention being the largest contributor to the field of clean-technologies. China is also home to the greatest number of super-computers (Including #1 and #2). China also has the highest STEM scores in the world across the board. R&D spending is growing faster than any other country and will be greater in both terms of raw spending and even percentage of GDP of any nation in the world by 2022.

          1. cray74

            Re: "richest country currently on earth can't get behind true research"

            What are you on about? China is ...

            ...not the richest country on Earth and won't be until the late 2020s, barring a correction in its economy.

            China does, however, have a wiser R&D investment strategy than the richest country on Earth.

            1. d3vy

              Re: "richest country currently on earth can't get behind true research"

              "...not the richest country on Earth and won't be until the late 2020s, barring a correction in its economy."

              ...Or you know... a certain bewigged politician trashing the US economy.

            2. Bronek Kozicki

              Re: "richest country currently on earth can't get behind true research"

              China does, however, have a wiser R&D investment strategy than the richest country on Earth.

              Indeed. Although given the volume of treasure notes held by Chinese it is quite possible that one and the other are the same. Not really sure either way ...

    2. Mikel

      What a waste of money

      Money is a philosophical abstract. The trick to it is to understand this basic concept: it has no more power than you give it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a waste of money

        It pays the bills though.

        One should also not confuse the toilet paper "money" like EUR/USD/GBP under control of bureaucrats and establishment sycophants, named and unnamed, and actual money backed by ... solid amounts of refined uranium for example.

        1. cray74

          Re: What a waste of money

          actual money backed by ... solid amounts of refined uranium for example.

          There are several problems with money backed by uranium, gold, or something else tangible.

          First, most candidate substances are subject to market supply and demand just like paper money. Look at gold and uranium prices over the past 20 years. They bounce all over the place, which is not what you want for a stable monetary system. You could try to fix the value of the underlying commodity, but that just leads to opportunities for abuse by other nations. Venezuela is offering a gruesome case study of price fixing and monetary controls.

          Second, pegging money to a substance with a restricted supply is a perfect recipe for triggering depressions due to monetary shortages. It's hard for a thriving economy to grow when you don't have enough money to represent that growth because you can't find enough shiny or radioactive minerals in the ground.

          Which leads to the third point: the candidate substances are divorced from the majority of the economy. You're asking the market to accept that some shiny, radioactive, or other rare substance to be a metaphor for the sweat, labor, skill, and effort of people in a global economy increasingly dominated by the service industry, just like fiat paper or digital monies do. The difference is that a gold- or uranium-backed money supply isn't controllable in an economic crisis. There might not be enough of it, there might be too much, or the underlying substance might be devalued by a market crash or technological change (e.g., tree huggers outlaw nuclear plants).

          1. YumDogfood

            Re: What a waste of money

            Problems? Oh, I don't know about that...

            http://www.larryniven.net/stories/roentgen.shtml

      2. Afernie

        Re: What a waste of money

        "Money is a philosophical abstract. The trick to it is to understand this basic concept: it has no more power than you give it."

        I expect if you explain that to your landlord/mortgage provider they'll be very understanding.

  6. Len Goddard

    120 years away?

    I have 40+ year old books promising fusion reactors in 25 years. It stayed 25 years for decades. I might last another 25 years but 120 is pushing it. Come on, guys, get your fingers out!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 120 years away?

      So... Fusion reactors will show up what, 5 years, after we exhaust IPv4?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 120 years away?

        > Fusion reactors will show up what, 5 years, after we exhaust IPv4?

        Nah. The world only needs 3 IP addresses: one for Google, one for Facebook, and one to NAT the rest of the planet behind.

        1. theblackhand

          Re: 120 years away?

          Re: Nah. The world only needs 3 IP addresses: one for Google, one for Facebook, and one to NAT the rest of the planet behind.

          TIME_WAIT.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 120 years away?

        And 2 months later, someone will find a way to miniaturize it and strap to his chest in a "prosthetic" suit of armor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 120 years away?

      Well commercial fusion power is likely 5 to 25 years after an experimental reactor succeeds. That experimental reactor may succeed in generating sustainable power tomorrow or ten thousand years from now.

      On the other hand the reward of achieving fusion power are so unimaginably astronomical (it means an end to scarcity as with practically limitless energy you can do wild things at an atomic and sub atomic level) that it's well worth pouring hundreds of billions into every year on the off chance that that year is the year someone cracks it.

      1. Paul Smith

        Re: 120 years away?

        Sadly, no. Did you not read the article? They have achieved fusion power. It just took 1.4 million amps of power generated by something else to generate fusion power for two seconds.

  7. streaky
    Facepalm

    ITER..

    There are advances being made that make ITER look like a bit of a silly investment. Argument behind ITER is you had to go big because of the technologies at the time, but the technologies have moved on since ITER was outline-designed and the project hasn't really changed in scope to accommodate. There are various alternative projects that look sensible taking into account of those advances. ARC at MIT is one of them. Still not sure it's a good idea to kill ITER though, it wasn't a commercial demonstrator anyway and will still fill various gaps in knowledge; it might be too late to pull the plug now and it's still not clear that we even should so it will live on.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: ITER..

      Nice presentation there, thanks!

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: ITER..

      Interesting. Nevertheless, the key thing to understand about basic research is that you do not know what comes out of it. Anything that's not patently stupid, and ITER, is worth pursuing; it might be pointless, but it might also be the only way to do something amazing, and you can't know until you try. Even the stuff that's patently stupid is at least worth the effort of debunking. Always remember that there was a time *electricity* was considered a useless novelty.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dead End

    TOKAMAC and the MIT approach to fusion have pretty much proven to be a dead end.

    MIT has had their incremental press releases periodically throughout the years, but they really are pretty much where they were at the beginning.

    Perhaps ITER will be more successful, but bar a major discovery not currently on the agenda - I have my doubts.

    *I always think you should have a major discovery on the agenda: "And a miracle occurs at this point in the process."

    1. streaky

      Re: Dead End

      You know you're wrong, right? Expensive yes, too expensive.. possibly, probably not.. Dead end? No.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Dead End

        The MIT tokamak might not have been a leap to commercial hrade production but it was a leap to greater understanding

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dead End

          Yes, I won't argue with that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dead End

        "You know you're wrong, right?"

        Sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes I know it - but it's never a one-to-one correlation.

        Barring an unforeseen breakthrough, I doubt continuing to go down that path will ever yield anything besides more incremental improvements.

        But as you say......

        1. streaky

          Re: Dead End

          Barring an unforeseen breakthrough, I doubt continuing to go down that path will ever yield anything besides more incremental improvements.

          It's supposed to yield what it's supposed to yield. Fusion is a thing. Fusion reactors are a thing. Making fusion reactors produce more energy than they consume is a difficult thing. It's supposed to be there to narrow down designs for the demonstration commercial reactor which is in early designs phase.

          It's like people that say ISS isn't a thing despite it constantly changing our understanding of everything from medicine to space flight to nutrition in a way we couldn't possibly ever hope to replicate without the existence of the ISS.

          Fusion hasn't even really been a long time coming in terms of timeline and actual engineering science.

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Okay, to paraphrase one of my own posts from a different thread: I'll be riding to my paperless office in a fusion-powered, self-driving car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Ahh, still having to go to the office, are we?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Then VOTE HILLARY who will be helping you help her to help us all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Then VOTE HILLARY who will be helping you help her to help herself and her chums to whatever she can lay her fat little fingers on.

          1. Afernie

            Re: @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            "Then VOTE HILLARY who will be helping you help her to help herself and her chums to whatever she can lay her fat little fingers on."

            On the other hand Trump will be helping himself to *whoever* he can lay his fat, perverted little fingers on.

            1. PaulFrederick

              Re: @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Isn't that what we all do?

      2. nil0

        Re: @Etatdame

        > Ahh, still having to go to the office, are we?

        Well, yeah, superfast broadband will still be "coming to your area soon"

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: @Etatdame

          OK, so the list so far goes:

          Brexit

          self-driving cars

          fusion

          running out of IPv4 addresses

          paperless office

          paperless toilet

          100% national broadband coverage

          heat death of universe

          middle management allowing people to work from home

          Is that about right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Etatdame

            Re: The paperless toilet - our office seems to be making trial runs of that now. Can't say i'm a big fan so far.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
              Happy

              Re: @Etatdame

              Why? Do you not know how to use the three seashells?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Etatdame

                "Why? Do you not know how to use the three seashells?"

                Please tell me that is not a thing.

                1. Afernie

                  Re: @Etatdame

                  "Please tell me that is not a thing."

                  Pretty much what John Spartan said, but with more violations of the verbal profanity statute.

                2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                  Re: @Etatdame

                  Please tell me that is not a thing.

                  As happens one of our best new products is a unit for providing people with a warm clean bum after a visit to the toilet while also complying with the water regulations. So no paper is required. We haven't put a dryer on it yet, but you can always do a handstand above the Dyson Air Blade...

          2. PNGuinn
            Boffin

            Re: Is that about right?

            Paperless toilet has been here for some time already.

            C'mon, 1 out of 11 ain't bad.

  10. TDog

    Prospero

    The only British launched and built satellite

    Now I wonder what sort of financial scenario that reminds me of. Saw it launched (TV); heard it's signal; doubt if I'll be around for re-entry. Vaguely feel good that a tad of my taxes is still lining faster than I am.

  11. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    They should go away and invent a better concept...

    There must be a more-clever way to do fusion. Sooner or later somebody will invent it, and then it'll be commercialized and production-ready within a year or two.

    Although I'm all in favour of Science and R&D, fusion projects are so damn slow that fusion probably has zero promise of addressing the CO2 quick enough to have any relevance.

    I'd put the fusion pot on the back burner on simmer. At least until somebody has a brighter idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They should go away and invent a better concept...

      Yep, it's probably going to be some "outsider" with fresh eyes that finds the breakthrough.

      1. d3vy

        Re: They should go away and invent a better concept...

        "I'd put the fusion pot on the back burner on simmer. At least until somebody has a brighter idea."

        So your idea is to stop doing research and hope that somehow the answer just pops into someones consciousness out of the blue?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: They should go away and invent a better concept...

      There must be a more-clever way to do fusion.

      Well - you could scrape together several trillion tons of hydrogen, wait for a couple of million years for it to drift together and self-fuse...

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: They should go away and invent a better concept...

      Fusion *is* on the back burner, simmering.

      15 Billion spent over a long period is not even simmering really, it is a tiny percentage of the GDP of the countries involved for instance, and that figure is for the whole build, many years.

      Given that much of the actual spend is returned as economic activity, it is even cheaper. Since France has an unemployment issue, economic activity matters even more.

      If we knew, really, really knew, that climate change on its current path would cook us in the next century, to the point of the few left over all being underground dwellers, we would probably build enough Nuclear power stations (with a one-off CO2 hit) to remove almost-all succeeding CO2 emissions, including cars, in the next decade and then spend everything feasibly possible trying to make fusion work.

      But we don't know (really, really know) do we? So, switch on that ordinary light bulb they still allow to be sold, leave your desktop running, just in case, and drive to the local Tesco, because walking takes 10 minutes.

      And leave the simmering fusion work to maybe get lucky and even possibly teach us a thing or two about something (probably magnetic fields and fusion).

      1. Toltec

        Re: They should go away and invent a better concept...

        "drive to the local Tesco, because walking takes 10 minutes"

        51 minutes according to Google maps, it is also my closest large supermarket and I live in SE London not the countryside. Not to mention it would take at least three trips a week.

        Of course I could have stuff delivered, but I doubt they would do so on foot.

        Other than that I agree, though we don't need to know if CC is real as it is irrelevant we should be building the Gen IV plants asap anyway.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They should go away and invent a better concept...

      > Although I'm all in favour of Science and R&D, fusion projects are so damn slow that fusion probably has zero promise of addressing the CO2 quick enough to have any relevance.

      Plus there are all those pesky high-energy neutrons which will come flooding out of the reactor, which nobody wants to talk about.

      If I remember rightly, when JET managed to fire up for one minute, it left the vessel so radioactive that nobody could go back inside it for a week.

      (seaches)

      Oh yes, in wikipedia:

      "After a series of D-T tests at JET, the vacuum vessel was sufficiently radioactive that remote handling was required for the year following the tests."

      Elsewhere it suggests one way of dealing with the neutrons is to capture them in neutron blankets to produce material for use in fission reactors or bombs - nice.

      Under "waste management", there is some hand-waving. It says that a fusion reactor at decommissioning time will likely have as much radioactive material as a comparable fission reactor, but most of it will decay within 500 years. So that's OK then.

      "Safe", "clean" and "cheap" are not words I would associate with nuclear fusion. These seem to be fundamental limitations, independent of the engineering difficulties of making it work in the first place.

  12. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Quotation from the article: "the high pressures required for burning plasma"

    It seems that Riccardo Betti is unable to distinguish physics from chemistry. As he's the "the Robert L McCrory Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester", maybe that's also relevant to the parlous state of US science?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quotation from the article: "the high pressures required for burning plasma"

      Mr Betti is"Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Physics and Astronomy" so I guess he can burn plasma and burn it at any temperature he damn well pleases.

      Or maybe he was differentiating between burning plasma and the other kind.

      1. David Dawson

        Re: Quotation from the article: "the high pressures required for burning plasma"

        Its not an oxidisation reaction, however by definition a plasma is, to use a technical term, damn hot.

        So, in the common parlance, burning.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Quotation from the article: "the high pressures required for burning plasma"

          however by definition a plasma is, to use a technical term, damn hot.

          Not the plasma running round my veins and arteries. It's roundabout 37C.

    2. 2Fat2Bald

      Re: Quotation from the article: "the high pressures required for burning plasma"

      More likely, he's just speaking loosely for the purposes of a non-scientist, popular audience.

      In my job I'm forever paraphrasing and simplifying stuff for non-technical staff.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Quotation from the article: "the high pressures required for burning plasma"

        In my job I'm forever paraphrasing and simplifying stuff for non-technical staff.

        Switch it off and switch it back on again?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Hey, we have to keep funding the wars...

    We've got to get all that oil, because fusion is still 120 years away.

    1. LaeMing
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Hey, we have to keep funding the wars...

      The US tactic is:

      1 - let some other nation develop fusion.

      2 - liberate the fusion reactor in the name of freedom.

      3 - profit (but only for the 1%)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey, we have to keep funding the wars...

      Here's something to ponder. The US has spent the equivalent on fusion research since its inception in the early 50s as just 72 days of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.*

      Makes you wonder if we'd already have fusion by now if a whole war's worth was spent on the problem.

      * - http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/reframe/wasteful/

  14. harmjschoonhoven
    FAIL

    We should not forget

    the Huemul Project an Argentine effort to develop a fusion power device known as the Thermotron which also supposedly failed by lack of funds.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: We should not forget

      Most scientists of the time agreed it failed simply because it didn't work and the guy running the project was a fraud.

    2. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: We should not forget

      The "Thermotron" failed due to a surplus of fraud, not a lack of funds...

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: We should not forget

      Theres always that eCat thing... The one that lives in a shipping container full of AA batteries that nobody is allowed to open when they "test" it.

      I'm sure that uses fusion. And cold fusion too, which is the best kind.

      Or perhaps it's powered by Schrodinger radiation? Which is of course why it can't be opened, as it disappears when you open the box. Which is when you find that the cat is neither alive nor dead, but in a state known as "bloody annoyed".

      Personally I don't believe in trying to control exotic matter with magnetic fields. I prefer the honest reassurance of tinfoil to protect my head.

      1. Colin Critch

        Re: We should not forget

        Just getting my Brownian motion generator ( and biscuit ), already wearing tinfoil today.

      2. Adam 1

        Re: We should not forget

        > Theres always that eCat thing... The one that lives in a shipping container full of AA batteries that nobody is allowed to open when they "test" it.

        I'm sure that uses fusion.

        Not quite. It's a bit hard to explain, but in essence you have what looks like a miniature wind turbine, except attached to each blade is an array of cats, arranged in such a way that some of them always have their feet up in the air. The feline self righting principle then takes over causing the turbine to spin at very high velocity. Most of the box is simply sound proofing (very high rpm) and the inverters to produce AC and various step up transformers (largely off the shelf stuff).

  15. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Coat

    Can I introduce you...

    to Flieschman and Pons? They seem to have the whole fusion thing nicely sewn up...

    --> what has it got in its pocketses, Preciousss? Why, yes! Platinum!

    1. Afernie

      Re: Can I introduce you...

      "Can I introduce you... to Flieschman and Pons? They seem to have the whole fusion thing nicely sewn up..."

      Well, if Lockheed Martin's 10-year plan to produce a working commercial cold fusion reactor succeeds 8 years from now, I guess we'll find out if that's true or not.

      1. Anonymous John

        Re: Can I introduce you...

        With the military potential,Lockheed won't need to worry about finance. And something that would fit in a large truck, can be built on a production line.

        My money is on the succeeding, and before Hinkley C is up and running (if it ever is).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can I introduce you...

        The Lockheed concept is a hot plasma design at least what they've said of it.

        1. Afernie

          Re: Can I introduce you...

          "The Lockheed concept is a hot plasma design at least what they've said of it."

          Yeah, sorry the article I initially looked at was clearly written by someone who'd got the wrong end of the stick with regard to what the concept involved.

  16. Daniel B.
    Boffin

    Sad thing

    ... that the US seems to lack the money to keep these projects working. Reminds me of the Superconducting SuperCollider, which was to be 3 times larger than the LHC ... but was never even finished.

    Because the US Government prefers to blow money on blowing other people up.

  17. Hawkeye Pierce

    Money

    >> "The MIT reactor used 1.4 million amps of electrical current"

    And I'm guessing they ran out of money just after the electricity bill arrived?

    1. Hans 1

      Re: Money

      >And I'm guessing they ran out of money just after the electricity bill arrived?

      Thanks, laughed a good 5 minutes, there!

    2. Alistair
      Coat

      Re: Money

      @H-P

      Ontarian are we?

    3. Cynical Observer
      Trollface

      Re: Money

      If only they had opted to have a smart meter installed.......

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would the USA shoot itself in the foot like that anyway?

    If you've spent the better part of the last 3 decades destabilising countries so you could get at their oil reserves why would you fund a technology that would render all your efforts moot? Who wants clean sustainable and cheap(eventually) energy anyway?? After all, you cant control the masses when they don't rely on you anymore

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would the USA shoot itself in the foot like that anyway?

      "If you've spent the better part of the last 3 decades destabilising countries"

      I think it's a little unfair that you don't recognize the enormous strides we've taken in destabilizing our own country.

      Not like we're singling anyone out.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tin foil hat

    did the Koch brothers have a hand in pulling the plug?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    The EU isn't happy

    > The EU isn't happy about this, nor are other partners, since it means funds have to be diverted from other fusion projects to make up the shortfall.

    How wonderful for useless managers everywhere: not only can you screw-up your own project, you can screw-over those of your competitors as well.

  21. skies2006

    Why not call Bill Gates or Warren Buffet and have them fork over the cash. 1 billion is peanuts for them.

  22. Stevie

    Bah!

    "ITER, currently under construction in southern France"

    [MODE = CLOUSEAU] No feelthy Brexiteering Eengleesh need applah, you neow.

  23. Michael Sanders

    NO. To most of your comments. Yes to only a few.

    Come on you Reg hacks. Not one mention of the Lockheed magnetic bottle? The fact is nobody at Lockheed just openly speaks about a little fusion project they're working on. It's obvious they've had it working for years. It's already working better than the tokamac which is such a flawed concept it might never work. Why would you fund MIT when Lockheed is about to roll a fusion reactor out on the back of a truck.

    1. Mark 85

      Citations needed.

  24. Number6
    Joke

    Good job they managed to shut it down before the money ran out, otherwise it would still be running.

  25. alcalde

    Non big deal. Lockheed-Martin is working on fusion now and claims they'll have a working reactor in 10 years and a proof-of-concept in 5.

    Their page even leads "it's closer than you think".

    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @alcade

      Interesting article. But it sounds as if they are still at the concept rather than the hardware/experiment stage.

      "Our concept will mimic....."

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon