Polywell FOIA

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:07 pm

PS: The best homage to Bussard this group could do is focus any political energy expended toward passing that legislation. It would ensure the most rapid development of Polywell Boron-11 energy -- if passed that is.


The political capital required has already been spent and the goods are on order.

If the experiment is successful no further government funds are required although they may be forthcoming. Industry is vitally interested in Polywell. If it fails I'll go looking for the next fusion target of opportunity.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

jabowery
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Postby jabowery » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:17 pm

MSimon wrote:
PS: The best homage to Bussard this group could do is focus any political energy expended toward passing that legislation. It would ensure the most rapid development of Polywell Boron-11 energy -- if passed that is.


The political capital required has already been spent and the goods are on order.

If the experiment is successful no further government funds are required although they may be forthcoming. Industry is vitally interested in Polywell. If it fails I'll go looking for the next fusion target of opportunity.


And then invest more political capital in a particular technology?

That is the point of the legislation. Since the legislation is independent of which fusion technology is going to work, it is a better expenditure of political capital than going down the list and trying to pick winners. Picking winners is the job of private capital and nature.

That being said, I hope the sunk investment in Polywell pans out so there is no need for this legislation.

kurt9
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Postby kurt9 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:52 pm

MSimon wrote:
The political capital required has already been spent and the goods are on order.

If the experiment is successful no further government funds are required although they may be forthcoming. Industry is vitally interested in Polywell. If it fails I'll go looking for the next fusion target of opportunity.


I agree. Private industry does appear to be interested in the polywell experiments. If they are successful, there will be considerable privately funded development efforts. There will also be the Navy's effort to make it into a ship propulsion and power technology, which is why they are funding Nebel and his crew in the first place.

If polywell does not work, then the FRC concept is the one we should push here. John Slough's concept is the only one that appears to not be funded at this time. His is also the one that Carlson thinks has a chance of working.

Art Carlson
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Postby Art Carlson » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:31 pm

KitemanSA wrote:Except that Dr. N. has already stated they have shown that the Polywell isn't subject to (maybe he said limited by) classic collision theory. So who am I to believe? You who repeatedly gripes that you have no data or the man who has the data? Dr. N., who has no axe to grind here (having a cushy job to fall back on) seems to think Polywell is worth pursuing. I think I'll stay on Dr. N's side for the nonce.

That's reasonable, if the best you can muster is a faith-based position. Rick Nebel has never stated clearly either what data he has or what conclusion he would draw from it. He has only hinted that it is neither fatal nor entirely unequivocal. That leaves us with theory. I have tried to lay out my theoretical arguments in this forum for your judgment. Rick (for reasons I presume are reasonable and honorable) has been rather sketchy here. If you have the background to evaluate and compare our positions, then you can make a reasoned choice of what to believe. If you don't, it would seem most reasonable to say so and leave the question open. If you nevertheless choose to believe that the polywell isn't limited by classic collision theory, then that is known as wishful thinking. More power to you.

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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:40 pm

jabowery wrote:And then invest more political capital in a particular technology?

That is the point of the legislation. Since the legislation is independent of which fusion technology is going to work, it is a better expenditure of political capital than going down the list and trying to pick winners. Picking winners is the job of private capital and nature.

That being said, I hope the sunk investment in Polywell pans out so there is no need for this legislation.


I'd go at it one project at a time to avoid having to give 80% or 90% of the money to toks. Also the idea is to keep costs low in the current era of restricted budgets.

There is no rush. We have enough carbon fuels at an economical enough price for at least 50 more years. Maybe 100. If we can get a workable machine in 20 years or so that will be soon enough.

In any case that is my thinking today. It may change depending on events.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:54 pm

Let me add that there is significant private interest in Europe re: Polywell.

I'm sure that there is also interest in other non-tok devices. Although unlike the Polywell I have no direct evidence of that.

And no. At this time I am unable to reveal my sources. I can add that the interest is independent of EMC2.

My point is: even if EMC2 is not up to managing a large manufacturing base for Polywell there are many others who can and will step in if EMC2 fails in execution.

===

What do I see coming out of all this? The tok route is losing its luster. And with alternatives coming in at low cost, interest in alternatives is picking up.

I see this as a direct result of the interest in Polywell that has accelerated and enlarged over the last 2 or 3 years.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Giorgio
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Postby Giorgio » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:19 pm

Art Carlson wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:Except that Dr. N. has already stated they have shown that the Polywell isn't subject to (maybe he said limited by) classic collision theory. So who am I to believe? You who repeatedly gripes that you have no data or the man who has the data? Dr. N., who has no axe to grind here (having a cushy job to fall back on) seems to think Polywell is worth pursuing. I think I'll stay on Dr. N's side for the nonce.

That's reasonable, if the best you can muster is a faith-based position. Rick Nebel has never stated clearly either what data he has or what conclusion he would draw from it. He has only hinted that it is neither fatal nor entirely unequivocal. That leaves us with theory. I have tried to lay out my theoretical arguments in this forum for your judgment. Rick (for reasons I presume are reasonable and honorable) has been rather sketchy here. If you have the background to evaluate and compare our positions, then you can make a reasoned choice of what to believe. If you don't, it would seem most reasonable to say so and leave the question open. If you nevertheless choose to believe that the polywell isn't limited by classic collision theory, then that is known as wishful thinking. More power to you.


Whatever the theoretical belief each one of us have the fact remains that only a correct set of experiments can prove or disprove it.
We will gain knowledge in any case.

jabowery
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Postby jabowery » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:41 pm

MSimon wrote:
jabowery wrote:And then invest more political capital in a particular technology?

That is the point of the legislation. Since the legislation is independent of which fusion technology is going to work, it is a better expenditure of political capital than going down the list and trying to pick winners. Picking winners is the job of private capital and nature.

That being said, I hope the sunk investment in Polywell pans out so there is no need for this legislation.


I'd go at it one project at a time to avoid having to give 80% or 90% of the money to toks. Also the idea is to keep costs low in the current era of restricted budgets.


Then you haven't read the legislation.

It eliminates all public Tokamak funding and indeed all direct public funding to any fusion technology.

Now, why would Bussard basically blow off his entire career's political capital on such "insane" legislation?

Read it to understand.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:18 pm

jabowery wrote:
MSimon wrote:
jabowery wrote:And then invest more political capital in a particular technology?

That is the point of the legislation. Since the legislation is independent of which fusion technology is going to work, it is a better expenditure of political capital than going down the list and trying to pick winners. Picking winners is the job of private capital and nature.

That being said, I hope the sunk investment in Polywell pans out so there is no need for this legislation.


I'd go at it one project at a time to avoid having to give 80% or 90% of the money to toks. Also the idea is to keep costs low in the current era of restricted budgets.


Then you haven't read the legislation.

It eliminates all public Tokamak funding and indeed all direct public funding to any fusion technology.

Now, why would Bussard basically blow off his entire career's political capital on such "insane" legislation?

Read it to understand.


That was then. This is now.

In any case - what ever the way forward we would be in big trouble without the US Navy's help with Polywell. That has opened the door to other things.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:22 pm

Now, why would Bussard basically blow off his entire career's political capital on such "insane" legislation?


Because he wrote it with his ideas in mind?

Look at the bit about readily available fuels. I don't think T currently fits that definition.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

jabowery
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Postby jabowery » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:41 pm

First of all, I just noticed that the web archive of my scanned in copy of Bussard's letter has been partially deleted -- specifically the legislative language itself.

There is, however, another copy of Bussard's letter online in PDF form.

MSimon wrote:
Now, why would Bussard basically blow off his entire career's political capital on such "insane" legislation?


Because he wrote it with his ideas in mind?


No, because Bussard had one priority higher his pet technology:

Make fusion practical.

(For the history of the legislative language see footnote 1 on page 3 of the above-linked PDF.)

Look at the bit about readily available fuels. I don't think T currently fits that definition.


The legislative term is "commonly available fuels" and it is operationally defined in the definitions section:

9. “commonly available” is any fuel whose dollar (1992) per ounce commercial price multiplied by the number of tons of plant and equipment required to burn it per million watts sustained power product less than a quantity less than 10,000 dollar-tons per megawatt-ounce;


Tritium is not mentioned in the context of "commonly" nor "readily" available fuels.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:47 pm

So he had a good technical lawyer help with the draft.

In any case I wouldn't pursue things that way today. The path is now different.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Art Carlson
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Postby Art Carlson » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:11 pm

Giorgio wrote:Whatever the theoretical belief each one of us have the fact remains that only a correct set of experiments can prove or disprove it. We will gain knowledge in any case.

Prove or disprove what? That a polywell can be used for economical fusion? Making money selling polywell electricity would prove that. What could disprove it? No matter what experiments yield negative results, what is to prevent the ghost of Bussard from coming and saying "they just haven't been done right yet"? But you have to stop somewhere. Proving the negative will always entail some theoretical extrapolation. So why not say we've already done plenty of experiments proving Maxwell's equations, and showing how MHD works, and demonstrating the nature and effects of Coulomb collisions? Put that all together and we already have experiments that prove - not perfectly, since that is a logical impossibility, but to a high degree of certainty - that a polywell will never be able to produce economical fusion. Why don't we cut our losses by stopping the research now and spending the money someplace that has a higher probability of giving us a return (in terms of either money or knowledge) on the investment?

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:57 pm

Prove or disprove what? That a tokamak can be used for economical fusion?

If we are going to waste money on fusion I think keeping the waste in the millions and the time in decades is preferable to billions and centuries.

I have no doubt that ITER or some such device will eventually produce net power. But economical? Not until we have scraped the earth of coal.

In fact I believe windmills with flywheel storage will produce superior economics vs tokamaks. And the economics for that are lousy.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

chrismb
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Postby chrismb » Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:06 pm

MSimon wrote:If we are going to waste money on fusion I think keeping the waste in the millions and the time in decades is preferable to billions and centuries.

Depends what you mean by "waste". I would expect an economist, politician or business man to use such a term, but engineers should know that money isn't "a thing" but is merely the virtual representation of a bargain.

That's why the financial services are in melt down (and will keep on repeating) because so long as they 'trade' money then it just proves they no longer understand it. How can you 'trade' what is a virtual representation of a bargain? It's like making friends with a photograph of someone, or like eating the invoice for a steak and chips!

Trading money should be made unlawful. How can you trade something that isn't *a thing*, that doesn't exist? People get locked up for selling 'dreams' - impossibly expensive vacuum cleaners, or double glazing you don't need, but it seems OK to sell, for cash, the mere *idea* of buying something!!!!???


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