Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dr. Bussard's Final Interview

Tim Ventura has a 53 minute audio interview of Fusion Pioneer Dr. Robert Bussard at his site American Anti-Gravity. Let me give you a bit of what Tim has to say.

In our exclusive interview, Bussard describes the disenchantment with big-science Tokamak research that led him to return to the roots of Farnsworth-style fusion in the "Polywell" project that he initiated in 1986. Funded for over 20 years by the Department of the Navy, Bussard's EMC2 corporation was tasked with solving 19 fundamental challenges that stood in the way of designing commercially viable Farnsworth fusors - and in an unexpected twist, a race to bring the prototype online after project funding was cut in 2006.

Never straying far from the dream of manned spaceflight, Bussard's Polywell design is exceptional in being not only designed for high-efficiency, but also for portability - making it perfect for not only the Navy's intended use in powering ocean vessels and submarines, but also for providing high output thrust for proposed nuclear space-applications. Bussard's first intended application was an 8-foot diameter naval reactor capable of generating 100-megawatts of output energy, with the ultimate goal of using these reactors in high-velocity transorbital spacecraft capable of reaching the moon in less than 8 hours time.
To hear the audio go to Tim's site. He has links there. It is a most interesting talk and well worth your time. Dr. Bussard discusses his Fusion Reactor and other Fusion developments like Cold Fusion and Sonic Fusion. He explains why the last two, though real effects, are unlikely to lead to net power production.

Let me add that the US Navy funded Dr. Bussard's research this past August, about two months before he died. Two scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratories, one a long time friend of Dr. Bussard's, continue the work.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did Bussard die, like Arafat, of AIDS?? Just thought I'd ask since you seem to enjoy posting rumors of all sorts here on your blog. Why not start another one?

M. Simon said...

I leave that to you.

As to Arafat and AIDS: I have sourced that from a major news source. If you have any objections take it up with them.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the lights just flickered here...WB-7 must already be built and is up an runnin' baby!!!! WOOOO HOOOOO!

Neil said...

Simon,

I don't mean to be skipping the FAQ, but do you have a simple explanation for why a polywell reactor will be more economical if it is built with a higher power output? I have read the technical descriptions and it seems to me that the "Mr. Fusion" size shouldn't be uneconomical. Is it just that the waste heat dissipation is easier to deal with in large ones?

Thanks,
Neil

M. Simon said...

Neil,

We really do not have a proper FAQ. So ask away.

The 100 MW (nominal) size is to insure we get above break even conditions.

It can be run at lower power.

Actually thermal problems get worse (to some extent) with larger sizes.

For the most part the reactor is a geometry problem. Even more so than a fission reactor. Size matters.

Building a "large" unit insures that there is margin for error. To a great extent we are groping in the dark. Its why it's called research.

Once we learn enough (assuming the Doc's ideas pan out) we can just work with a series of simple formulas and crank out any size you want. i.e. we can reduce it to a set of algebra and trig problems.

Anonymous said...

WB-7's gonna be one spectacular piece of playground equipment for the your legions of unfrozen embryos.

James said...

"WB-7's gonna be one spectacular piece of playground equipment for the your legions of unfrozen embryos."

Bussard's drive (pun intended) is the kind of long-reaching, forward-thinking investment in humanity's future that will make ALL the difference for future generations - and if the legions of embryos to come are to be protected, you might ask whether or not they'd like to have Safe Nuclear Fusion as a backbone of their economy, rather than the junk we have now.

"Watermelons" and Luddites, Indeed.