Revolutionary Nuclear Rice Cooker 1 MW Fusion Reactor
... one interviewee, in a face-to-face conversation in an exotic location abroad, told us of a small company he’s involved with that he claims has built a working 1MW fusion reactor the size of a rice cooker (though it’s dubious that approximation includes the requisite shielding, cooling, turbines, etc.) The company is now apparently in the process of building a 10MW version that it plans to trial in 2012.Well that is a lot to take in at once. A natural, immediate skepticism begins to set in early in the description of this Australian wonder-fusion device. And yet, the stakes are so high, that one cannot help but wish to learn more.
... Our source, concerned he was telling us too much, initially wouldn’t even reveal its name.
The fission wonder down under?
As mentioned, this company and its story seem to have all the elements of a Hollywood thriller:
Harnessing the power of nature! The analogy most often applied to fusion is harnessing the reaction of the sun. But this company’s fusion reaction, fueled by deuterium and tritium, isn’t nearly as high temperature, our source claims, and is more “rooted in nature.” Specifically, the reaction is said not to require the high temperature, high pressure or accelerated particles of others’ approaches. “The key is not how many neutron hits you generate, but how you sustain them, how well you can control them.” For a 40-watt power input, the reactor is said to be able to generate a megawatt.
Exotic locales! The company is based in Australia. Why? “Everyone’s expecting big nuclear innovations to come out of China, or France,” said our source. But it’s replicated its intellectual property and technology “around the world in case they get infiltrated.”
Self-funded by mad scientist! The technology’s inventor has apparently tinkered with his design for 40 years, and self-funded the company’s early stages, reinvesting income from earlier lucrative inventions. Now, strategic investors are said to include family money, such as a Shanghai real estate baron and decedents of American industrialist John Pitcairn, Jr.
Culture of secrecy! The company’s secrecy about its actual progress makes Apple look sophomoric. In development since the 90s, it has sworn employees and investors not to let on how successful its research has been. It’s said to have retained the former head of Israel’s counter terrorism unit as its chief of security.
No to takeover offers! The company is said to have already fielded a buyout attempt by General Electric (NYSE:GE). The founder apparently didn’t want the invention owned by just one corporation, characterizing it an invention for mankind, apparently.
Requisite military involvement! The company is said to be secretly working with the Australian Air Force and Navy, and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to trial a 10MW version of its reactor in 2012 with an Australian utility.
Political and industrial upheaval! If fusion can be made to work at scale, it could indeed affect the world in profound ways. All the ingredients for drama!
More about this secretive company, and other companies working to radically improve nuclear power as we know it today, is available in Kachan’s new Emerging Nuclear Innovations report, just released. This 64-page report rounds up 6 months of looking carefully at the nuclear power industry for companies best placed to usurp big, conventional fission of the type that powers the 432 non-military nuclear reactors that exist worldwide today. _Cleantech
Dallas Kachan is the author of the Cleantech story excerpted above. Mark Halper is the author of the Kachan report referred to above, which is offered for $1,295 to single users.
Al Fin energy analysts suggest waiting until more information is forthcoming from conventional channels or press release -- unless you have a burning desire to learn more immediately, and have no better use for the $1,295. The report itself covers a wide range of other issues, and is only likely to mention the Aussie fusion project in brief. At this point, there is no reason to expect any more from the Aussie rice cooker fusion than from Andrea Rossi's LENR device.
But simply hearing about efforts such as this helps to keep us on our toes. Because eventually, one of these breakthroughs will turn out to be real, and revolutionary. And if we have not trained ourselves how to react to such an event, we are likely to be quite lost.
Another interesting nuclear news tidbit
Previously published at Al Fin Energy
Update 3 Dec 2011: Brian Wang follows up this story with information about Australia's Star Scientific, a company working on muon catalysed fusion. (Video below is via Brian Wang)