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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast

fajensen Silver badge

Maybe, Just Maybe - Lockheed is a bit slow on the uptake like most corporates are and they are now IN BUSINESS to TAKE money, like, pretty much everyone did all the way through the 'naughties?

The confinement system they propose is simply not going to work in steady state* - unless, perhaps, they can somehow manage to compress the plasma magnetically to a density *much higher* than seen before and then hit it with neutral beams in the right moment and spot.

If they miss, the 16-20 MW or so of neutral beams will make a fine dent in the vacuum chamber. Even if they don't miss, neutral beams are terribly inefficent; one wonder why they do not simply shoot charged beams through the magnetic axis of the thing - the ends will be pretty "leaky" anyway to a high-energy beam. (The power supplies, vacuum systems, bending magnets and cooling pipes for the neutral beams will be a building in itself; I would say 30 x 50 x 10 meter).

This confinement system is not a new invention. Many, Many people have attempted this.

We don't have "abominations" like ITER, JET and Wendelstein because some researchers made a bet on who could make the most complicated machine with the biggest budget overrun. We have them because all "the easy" ways did not work with the physics involved.

*) Charged particles are going to spiral around the magnetic field lines, then get "reflected" at the ends if the field is strong enough; but all this bending of the particle paths mean lots of Synchrotron radiation and the plasma density increases "Bremsstrahlung" - so the steady- state losses will be huge and they have to pulse the machine.

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