Nuclear Power

Lockheed Martin Makes Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough

Reactors may soon be small enough to fit on the back of a truck

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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 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.

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  1. This is obviously a fake article because everone knows that Lockheed is an evil, for profit, private corporation.

    Only gubmint can do good.

    1. And only the gubmint would know how really hard this one is, cause they’ve been trying to crack this for most of my lifetime and still have very little to show.

      Lockheed should be forced to turn the whole thing over to DoE so that it can be done right! After all, just look at how well NASA did when they took the DC-X program… and… oh, never mind.

  2. I usually dismiss these Fusion energy stories pretty casually, because there is always someone claiming they are just about there. But, on the other hand, the Skunk Works have had some impressive achievements in the past and this isn’t one guy, but an entire project team.

    1. That being said, I’ll mentally categorize this in the 5% probability range.

      From the article:

      “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.”

      Whenever a company says, “We are just 5 years away from a prototype”, it generally turns out to be vaporware.

    2. The scientifism is also soft enough to be believable.

      “based on fusion” – “based on a true story”

      “fit on the back of a truck” – “fits on the back of this truck”

      1. To be fair, this is Lockheed-Martin, so they probably mean something the US military currently uses.

        An M1070 can pull a pretty heavy load.

        http://www.military-today.com/trucks/m1070_het.jpg

  3. Let me know when they shrink it small enough to put on a suit of power armor.

    1. You just need to size your suit of power armor appropriately.

      http://boardgamegeek.com/image/34098/battletech

      1. I love mecha. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. I want my *mister fusion* now! Goddamit!

  5. Will it power a flux capacitor?

  6. Fusion power, like the practical electric car and machines capable of learning, will always be just over the horizon.

    1. Is it the same place they’re, hiding the cure fore cancer?

      1. I refuse to correct my spelling, or punctuation.

      2. There’s a cure for cancer: Poverty.

        If you’re too poor to live to a ripe old age, you’re probably not going to get cancer.

    2. Meh, I’m usually fairly skeptical about pie in the sky stories, but “the practical electric car” is well on it’s way to reality.

      A Nissan Leaf is under $30K. You can argue the “practicality” side, but plenty of people think it’s a viable car.

      Furthermore, US electric car sales are 100K per year out of roughly 15,000K total car sales. They’re still a niche product, but the trend is distinctly positive.

      1. I mean something that can drive for at least four hundred miles at a go, and then fully charge in mere minutes.

        Otherwise it ain’t practical.

        1. As someone who routinely makes 300+ mi. trips (2-3X/mo.) and doesn’t own an electric car, I’d say your measure of practicality is a little impractical.

  7. One thing we can be certain of: if practical fusion power does come about, the damned watermelons will come up with some reason why we shouldn’t use it.

    1. Is Helium a GHG?

    2. We’ll all be killed by the neutrinos produced by the fusion reactors.

  8. If it works with significant net energy gain, it won’t matter if it requires a building the size of the Superdome.

    1. The government and the utility companies would all love it if fusion required $30 billion tokamak-type reactors.

      If, as the article suggests, it was something that could fit in the box of a pickup truck, that would really put ‘power in the hands of the people’. It would mean that hurricanes and earthquakes would not leave thousands or millions of people without power for months.

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