IEC Fusion, National Ignition Facility and Other Nuclear Fusion Projects

Alan Boyle at MSNBC cosmic Log reviews the status of nuclear fusion projects

He does not mention General Fusion or Japan’s Muon fusion project.

For IEC Fusion:

In September, EMC2 Fusion was awarded a Navy contract, backed by $7.9 million in stimulus funds, to develop a scaled-up version of a Polywell fusion reactor. Development and testing of the device is expected to take two years, and there’s an option to spend another $4.4 million on experiments with hydrogen-boron fuel (known as pB11).

The Navy contract for $7.9 million and the $4.4 million option

Award includes an option for a Wiffleball 8.1 for an additional $4,455,077.

National Ignition Facility

The National Ignition Facility is a the $3.5 billion laser research site at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. NIF is designed to produce fusion power on a small scale by aiming 192 laser beams simultaneously at a hydrogen target the size of a pencil eraser for a burst lasting just a few billionths of a second.

NIF was certified for operation in March, and last month officials reported that the laser beams could generate enough X-ray energy during the initial testing phase to ignite the fuel capsules as required. The research campaign is scheduled to begin in earnest early next year, and there’s already talk in the fusion community that the reaction could reach the break-even point by the time 2010 ends.