We have previously spoken about how fusion or so-called “free energy” will eventually become a reality but perhaps not in the way that some may envisage. When the Russian Prime Minister, Dimitry Medvedev, made the comment that one day soon Russia would not be economically dependent on oil and gas it went largely unreported and the context even less so.
However in one such development we note that Lockheed Martin is developing a new nuclear fusion reactor which could potentially power 80,000 homes. Furthermore it could also be utilised in a military capacity e.g. in fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
Fusion power is a form of power generation in which energy is generated by fusing two lighter atomic nuclei to form a heavier nucleus, thereby releasing energy. To put this in context, teams have been trying to develop a practical fusion reactor for nearly one hundred years.
In addition the proposed Lockheed reactor is reportedly capable of providing sufficient energy to power a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Lockheed estimates that just 25 pounds of fuel could run the reactor for an entire year and provide a consistent energy output of 100 megawatts for that year.
Generically speaking fusion reactors are safer, cleaner and more powerful than existing fission reactors. However it is likely that Lockheed’s reactor is still in the early stages of development as the US government has apparently not classified the patent.
However we should also note that back in May 2017, the UK’s announced that a development fusion reactor, named ST40, managed to achieve ‘first plasma’ whereby they successfully generated an electrically-charged gas or plasma within its core. The goal for this reactor is to heat plasma up to 100 million degrees Celsius, which is seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun. This would equate to the point where fusion threshold occurs and hydrogen atoms begin to fuse into helium and providing near limitless clean energy in the process.
Furthermore we should also note the vast work that Russia has undertaken in this field for many years and perhaps on that basis we should reflect upon the comments that Medvedev made with regards to the Russian economy.