The latest word from the IEC fusion effort. Basically progress is being made by a dedicated team, but results will be rigorously confirmed before they are published.
A visitor to the lab reports:
The effort is very professional, the crew is made of experienced people who get their hands dirty, and progress is occurring at a rapid rate. The WB-7 vacuum chamber is a dream: stainless steel with hinged doors, large enough for a person to sit in (it would be cramped, but still). It was welded by the same guy who welded my “Carl’s Jr.,” a real craftsman, but EMC wanted it so fast that it couldn’t even be leak-checked before coming to the lab–that was done on site. They definitely have the “balls to the wall.” I brought them a BTI PND dosimeter as a little token of my appreciation for the tour and in the hopes that they get neutrons soon. I watched a video of their first plasma in helium. They’ve got guys working on a magnet current switching scheme and RF plasma diagnostics, among many other aspects. Parts (MaGrids) from the previous WB systems were sitting out on the office floor and were informative to look at. If I tried to describe their program in any specificity here, I’d be abusing my privilege of being a tourist in their lab. But basically, it looked to me like a vigorous and enthusiastic effort.