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October 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Voice of America Quotes Ingram on Lockheed Martin Fusion Project

In a report on “Lockheed’s Fusion Reactor Plan Draws Skepticism,” Voice of America quoted Dr. David Ingram, Professor and Chair of Physics & Astronomy, in response to a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works report that it is pursuing a 3-year program to develop a truck-sized fusion reactor that could be used in planes.

Dr. David Ingram

Dr. David Ingram

David Ingram, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio University, said the difficulty of harnessing nuclear fusion is that it requires a temperature as high as the surface of the sun in order to occur.

“The only way to do that is with either in fairly sophisticated magnetic fields or using a laser-driven system like the National Ignition Facility,” he said.

Ingram said that Lockheed appears to be taking a different approach — using a ‘magnetic mirror’ to confine the hot, electrically charged particles inside the reactor.

The fuel that powers fusion — a harmless mix of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium — is abundant, and Ingram says that will make fusion reactors much less expensive to operate than the reactors now in use.

And he said they contain a million times more energy than the equal amount of coal….

The new reactor is being developed by the company’s secretive Advanced Development Programs division called Skunk Works.

Researchers there were responsible for building such advanced aircraft as the SR-71 Blackbird and F-22 Raptor, which, Ingram said, gives them a degree of credibility.

“To be fair to them, the Skunk Works at Lockheed has been very successful in the past at projects like this,” Ingram said.

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