Well now, finally, after too many months, something new to report here on the front page of Fusor.net.
Oh, I know, there have been some stories, but most of them have been about how the debt and currency crisis in Europe has de-railed ITER, which strikes me as not much of a loss since that was all about institutional funding for a monolithic dinosaur to begin with. Let it die along with the rest of the corporate dinosaurs that need to roll over and die (BP, anybody?).
So meet Brooklyn, NY -based Mark Suppes — Fusioneer Neutron-Club member number 37 by my count — who was recently subject of a profile by the BBC news (let’s see… guys live in US but gets coverage from the UK. How exactly does that happen?).
The coverage is pretty interesting, actually, even if it does seem to dwell a bit unnecessarily on the sensational, scare-the-neighbors, “is it safe!?!?!” angle of having a fusion reactor in the middle of a Brooklyn neighborhood:
Many might be alarmed to learn of a homemade nuclear reactor being built next door. But what if this form of extreme DIY could help solve the world’s energy crisis?
As we witness the endless carnage in the Gulf of Mexico, it seems to me it’s about time somebody asked the question. .
So take the time to watch the video that accompanies the article online (I’d embed it here, but the site doesn’t offer any embed code). About a 1:10, Mark says “I’m going to take you through the steps to create nuclear fusion.” And yes, it’s a bit technical and all, but in its totality the clip makes the point we have been making here for more than ten years now:
FUSION IS EASY
It doesn’t require billions of dollars and machines the size of a soccer stadium that are more complex than “The Machine” in the movie Contact to produce nuclear fusion – the same process that powers the sun and stars.
To the contrary, as Mark Suppes and three dozen other members of the “Neutron Club” have demonstrated, fusion can be produced on a workbench with components that can be purchased off of eBay.
No, the devices we are talking about here do not produce “net energy.” They do not produce more energy than it takes to produce the reaction. So they are not yet useful as an actual “energy source” to power industry and commerce.
But that time will come, and I bet it will come sooner from the kind of devices these “amateurs” are building than it will from the humongous institutional behemoths like ITER or NIF. My God, will you look at the sheer SIZE of these things?? These things aren’t being built and operated to experiment with fusion; they’ve being built and operated to keep physicists employed.
Unfortunately, the piece ends by returning to the “safety” issue with a series of “man in the street” interviews wherein the man behind the camera must have asked the question “do you know there’s a guy running a nuclear reactor in a warehouse across the street?” in order to generate the sort of reaction that kind of question could be expected to generate.
Maybe he should have asked him “do you know that the oil in the Gulf of Mexico was being drilled to power your iPhone?” I’d rather see what sort of reaction a question like that would generate. If people made the connection between their gizmos and the energy it takes to keep them going, they might take a more serious interest in the guy next door who is fusing hydrogen atoms.