MIT: Fusion Approaching “Kitty Hawk” Moment

September 17, 2021

12 Responses to “MIT: Fusion Approaching “Kitty Hawk” Moment”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Kitty Hawk moment? LOL As if coming up with fusion power is akin to a couple of bicycle makers inventing a rather simple device—-the airplane.

    I have been watching the “development” of fusion power ever since that day ~60 years ago when I visited the tokomak at Princeton as part of a field trip for a college physics class.

    We haven’t gotten far since then, and the pics of the lab at MIT even look like the one at Princeton. I am not holding my breath (and I detect the aroma of “start-ups” and “investprs” here, bringing to mind RWG’s cartoon.

  2. Mark Mev Says:

    60 years ago you must have seen a stellarator, 50 years ago the princeton stellarator was converted to a Symmetric Tokamak. 50 year ago as a senior in college I planned on being a plasma physicist working in the fusion field (didn’t happen). I remember then being told it was only 20 years away for a commercial design. Anyway, I disagree that we haven’t gotten far. Magnetic fields have increased along with plasma currents and confinement times. Much better than the machines I learned about in my last year of college when I took a graduate class on fusion reactor design. But again, maybe in 20 years, we will have a commercial reactor? I should have stuck with fusion plasma research, I could of had a consistent job for the last 50 years!

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Yeah, it was a stellarator. Names hardly matter when you can’t get the things to work. When I taught physics after graduation, I spent some time on nuclear fission but hardly any on fusion other than to say that it would be great IF we could get it to work.

  3. redskylite Says:

    If teams of scientists around the world are working on “wobbly muons” – there is a lot of hope we will eventually get nuclear fusion in production, but at very high initial cost.

    Meanwhile, for speed we need to soldier on with turbines, solar, marine, geothermal, fission, and anything else non-carbon emitting that I’ve left off.

    Whichever is the best fit for the geographical region’s solution. We all have our favourite, and I’d love to see fusion in the mix.


    Weird Muons May Point to New Particles and Forces of Nature

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      A million years ago, the Sunday paper magazine insert Parade had a contest to rename the Big Bang (I believe Carl Sagan was involved). I don’t remember the winning name, but my favorite runner up for renaming the Big Bang was “What happens when I push this button?”

    • MorinMoss Says:

      “Meanwhile, for speed we need to soldier on with turbines, solar, marine, geothermal, fission, and anything else non-carbon emitting that I’ve left off.”

      What you’ve left off is REDUCING the collective footprint.
      It’s the very 1st “R” in the 3 Rs of sustainability.

  4. ecoquant Says:

    The premise that renewables cannot get us to 100% is simply false and, from my perspective, is just salesmanship for people trying to divert funds which could be used immediately to decarbonize into this crazy moonshot which we have not idea how to do yet.

    This is less feasible than large scale carbon capture.

    This is a hail mary play by big utilities and big energy who don’t want energy to be decentralized.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      All very good ignoring every ‘location’ is different. When it is the world at risk, indulging in wishful thinking is an unaffordable luxury.

      • ecoquant Says:

        The world is not “at risk.” Human economies are at risk. And it’s the fault of traditional collective economies that they are.

        The economics say solar, wind, various kinds of storage, and smart inverters are here, available, etc. Whether transmission catches up or not determines if the utilities that exist now will survive or succumb to the death spiral. People will continue to receive power, but it will decentralize.

        If anything is an “unaffordable luxury” it’s the wealthy suburbs and places who think they can preserve the unbesmirched vistas they have as white and privileged they think they have earned, even if they are some of the most unnatural grounds and habitats on the planet. And they do that at the price of putting power in low income neighborhoods of color.

        Where, after all, do you think big fusion reactors would be built, if they were feasible? In beautiful downtown Wellesley Massachusetts?

  5. neilrieck Says:

    This video from Sabine Hossenfelder (I remember attending her public lectures in Waterloo when she was at the Perimeter Institute of Physics) contains a welcome reality check

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