Fusion Energy and Robert Brussard and Tom Ligon

I have never commented on the subject of fusion energy because for the past few years there has been a dearth of material available. It is almost like fifty years of ongoing research on the tokamak is simply coming up empty and no one wishes to admit it.

After saying that, recent articles in Analog have brought us up to date on the efforts of private groups tackling the issue. In particular, work by the late Dr Robert Brussard are now been reported on and they appear to be very encouraging. It seems possible that where money failed, imagination may succeed. Once again, we can be nervously optimistic.

I recommend that everyone reads these articles, even though they are not easy to track down. In the meantime, I would like to make two observations.

Firstly, the enthusiasm over cold fusion generated by Pons and Fleishmann over their experiments should have been stillborn. A successful experiment would have resulted in the instant death of the scientists, but few observers understood that and those that did were unable to stand in the way of a good story.

Secondly, once you forget about tokamaks, one can consider a number of other fuel scenarios like the boron cycle which is totally safe. This makes multiple efforts to make a fusion reactor very promising.

The key article in Analog is by Tom Ligon who reported on the subject as early as 1998 and then got directly involved with Brussard. He has published an update in the January 2008 analog.

There is now a necessary belief that fusion energy will be achievable and perhaps even cheap. And its availability will actually eliminate over time all other sources of static energy.

A note to my readers. It has been just announced that a massive deep water oil field off Brazil has been discovered that is several hundred kilometers in length and will contain several billion barrels of very good oil. It will not see the market for a decade but will certainly allow other producers to produce full out in the meantime. Of course, it is not enough to plug the soon to be expanding hole in production but it provides hope that an extra decade of conventional oil may be located in the deeps.

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