I should have read the emails sooner – last Thursday night saw Alan Boyle put up his report about his conversation with Richard Nebel at EMC2. Quoting Mr. Nebel saying, “We’re fully operational and we’re getting data. The machine runs like a top. You can just sit there and take data all afternoon.”

A peek through the window at Bussard\'s WB-7

Whew, what a relief. Is this the electrical generation salvation? Maybe so, it’s too soon to tell. But one thing is now certain, the basic device can be made and made so it runs well.

Next up is the demonstration to the grantors, the U.S. Department of Defense, who by having any lights on at all would suggest conclusively, that they take energy security seriously from a fundamental science research perspective. I send my thanks to the DOD for the vision and persistence to come this far.

To recap, Richard Nebel and the team set up by the late Dr. Robert Bussard have recreated the last machine Dr. Bussard was testing with the information he had gleaned and added a higher level of engineering and construction to solve the operating stability issues that Dr. Bussard encountered when the incoming power overtaxed the device. With enough money to secure the necessary materials and construction requirements to fuse hydrogen in earnest the “WB7” looks like a success on the way to an much less expensive and more elegant solution to harnessing fusion for electrical power generation.

This summer an independent group of experts will review the machine. Nebel says, “We’ll show them the whole thing, warts and all.” As this is new ground and complex to the point of proving that Dr. Bussard’s theories are correct the experiment’s answers are necessarily subject to interpretation. Nebel says. The answers are going to be kind of nuanced.” Well, will the independent experts have the vision to connect the dots?

I too am quite enthused about IEC fusion. I have admired Dr. Bussard when I connected the dots between the “Bussard Collector” that Star Trek fans recognize and became endeared by him when he shocked the physics world by stating what to many seemed crazy and by others a shot of naked honesty when rejecting the tokamak which as a matter of public responsibility was an early example of whistle blowing that was ignored for the waste of tens of billions of dollars world wide and continues to waste billions each year at the ITER project.

We’ve covered Dr. Bussard here to some length. See the articles under Fusion in the site map. It’s a compelling story.

For now reading the story and the comments which are laced with some notables like Tom Ligon and M.Simon and even Richard Nebel chimes in to correct some errors is time very well spent.

I think this is the story of our time and perhaps a story for all time. We may soon see, because if EMC2 goes on with the road map to fusion successfully we will look back to this time as a period when fuel and energy were problems solved to never to be seen again. Wouldn’t that be something?


2 Comments so far

  1. Al Fin on June 17, 2008 6:41 AM

    My fingers are crossed, hoping that Bussard’s approach will eventually work. A lot of work remains to be done, even should the idea prove feasible by the new ongoing data.

    Thinking about all the money and time being sunk in the Tokamak at ITER, one wonders how much good could have been accomplished by financing eccentric thinkers like Bussard instead.

    It is easy to see the EU building a huge and grand palace to obsolete science, with room to house ITER, the IPCC, and a host of other failed and failing “consensus” approaches to committee science.

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