Compact Fusion Reactor (CFT) Announcement from Lockheed Martin

One of the US Governments largest contractors Lockheed Martin is proclaiming it has made a massive technological breakthrough in the fusion power sector.  This breakthrough will allow them to fabricate a 100-megawatt compact fusion reactor (CFR) that has the proportions of 10 feet by 7 feet. If this is true the very world around us will be transformed in the next few century’s.

Lockheed being a defense contractor is stating:
“Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts.”

They have also created a small video:

It appears here that they have not get constructed this prototype but understand what is needed to do so. The designs where developed within Lockheeds R & D department called Skunk Works which show them to look cylindrical rather than a donut shape(toroid) which is used in the recently developed fusion reactors.

Neutrons released from plasma (coloured purple) will transfer heat through the reactor walls to the turbines

Neutrons released from plasma (coloured purple) will transfer heat through the reactor walls to the turbines

The main problem with fusion reactions is the sheer energy it requires to start it, then maintaining that reaction would be a whole new role as there will be leakage within the machine.

If the machine was made the size of the ITER McGurie claims that it would produce 10 times more energy than the ITER tokamak

It’s one of the reasons we think it is feasible for development and future economics. Ten times smaller is the key. But on the physics side, it still has to work, and one of the reasons we think our physics will work is that we’ve been able to make an inherently stable configuration. In our case, it is always in balance. So if you have less pressure, the plasma will be smaller and will always sit in this magnetic well.”

While also adding:

“We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn’t be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.”

 

The CFT team lead by Thomas McGurie (left) focusing on the plasma containment following successful magnetized ion confinement

The CFT team lead by Thomas McGurie (left) focusing on the plasma containment following successful magnetized ion confinement

Fusion reactors are usually the size of buildings, so with Lockheed suggesting this means there has been a massive achievement in fusion physics. Lockheed seems self-confident that the CFR testing can begin within a year then iterate quickly to a prototype within the next five years, with a commercialized fusion reactor being available within 10 years.

These small reactors are able to produce an output of 100 megawatts of power, this would be enough to power a small city! However the first applications of this technology are going to be within the military inside of large ships and airplanes and even within the future space travel!

For more information upon this subject  visit:

http://aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-reveals-compact-fusion-reactor-details

 

 

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