[ExI] Obama Transition Team Examining Space Solar Power

ben benboc at lineone.net
Sat Dec 27 22:03:09 UTC 2008

Talking about what the Obama administration might and might not take 
into consideration:


 From the final section, "Current/future work":

"In December 2008, further news was announced concerning progress. 
Following submission of the final WB-7 results, Dr Richard Nebel has 
commented that "There's nothing in there [the research] that suggests 
this will not work," but that "That's a very different statement from 
saying that it will work.". Of possible interest is the fact that US 
President-elect Barack Obama's chosen Energy Secretary Steven Chu is 
specifically aware of the project, though there is no evidence that this 
in itself will lead to any federal funding from an Obama administration. 
Eighteen months ago when questioned during a talk at Google, Chu 
remarked of the Polywell that "So far, there's not enough information so 
[that] I can give an evaluation of the probability that it might work or 
not...But I'm trying to get more information."

Bussard seemed convinced that this design will work, if it's scaled up 

So, assuming that this design does indeed work, and that Keith is right 
in saying:
"it is a sure thing that running out of energy will kill
an awful lot of people.  So I don't care if you are concerned about
energy or global warming, they both lead to the need for space based
solar power, or (second best) 10 to 20,000 nuclear reactors.",

and Bussard's opinion that:
"Thus, we have the ability to do away with oil (and other fossil fuels) 
but it will take 4-6 years and ca. $100-200M to build the full-scale 
plant and demonstrate it.",
is correct, would the successful demonstration of a Polywell reactor be 
a good thing, or a bad thing, bearing in mind that it would be likely to 
kill any efforts to realise SPSs?

I'm sure that it's extemely naive to look at the above figures and come 
up with $1 - 4 Trillion for Polywell reactors, as opposed to Keith's 
estimated, um, I don't know how much, and i'm not looking back through 
all the posts on this topic to find out, for enough powersats.
Also, i don't see any mention of how much power these Polywell reactors 
could be expected to produce.

So I suppose the point of this post is to ask:
Polywell reactors, worth supporting or not?
Bearing in mind that the design is already done, the principle is 
proven, and all that needs to be done, it seems, is the scaling up. 
("Bussard believed that the system had demonstrated itself to the degree 
that no intermediate-scale models will be needed, and noted, "We are 
probably the only people on the planet who know how to make a real net 
power clean fusion system"": Robert W. Bussard (2006-03-29). "Inertial 
Electrostatic Fusion systems can now be built". fusor.net forums.)

(Apologies if the Polywell design has already been discussed on here)

Ben Zaiboc

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