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Power Science

Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion 147

katarn writes "General Fusion is a startup proposing they can create commercially viable fusion using acoustic shock waves, triggered by 220 precisely controlled pneumatic pistons. Their approach is based on a US Naval research concept called 'Linus' and old research done by General Atomics. They feel we now have the high-speed, digital processing capable of pulling off this feat, where decades ago the technology was not available. I think we can hold off on the 'vaporware' claims for a bit; everyone is aware of the horrible track record for turning fusion concepts into reality, but they don't claim to be the first with the idea or that there are not substantial challenges in the way. If nothing else, it is a fascinating concept." Los Alamos National Laboratory has further details on this type of fusion, and longtime LANL researcher Ronald Kirkpatrick did an external assessment (PDF) of General Fusion's plans. Popular Science had a lengthy story about the company a while back. The reason they're back in the headlines now is that they've secured enough funding to begin work on a prototype reactor.
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Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion

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"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead