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 The military connection to the fusion experiment.

Frank N. von Hippel

December 15, 2022 at 10:20:50 AM EST

Below is the letter I sent to the NYTimes:

“The achievement of fusion in a tiny pellet of heavy hydrogen at the National Ignition Facility represents a scientific and engineering but not an energy achievement. 

“After an expenditure of about $10 billion over three decades, it converted 80 kilowatt-hours of electric energy into less than one kilowatt-hour of fusion heat.  The investment was justified as necessary to check the computer codes used by nuclear-weapon designers in the absence of nuclear weapon test explosions, which the US ended in 1992.  

“Extrapolating this achievement to a competitive source of electric power “a few decades” hence, however, is a huge reach. As a source of power, laser fusion is in the same league as lunar power. One could construct a huge mirror and focus moonlight to generate power, but not at a cost comparable to solar power. This achievement should not be used as a pretext to divert precious energy research and development funds to subsidize nuclear-weapon R&D.”

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December 16, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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