Fusion Power Associates
2 Professional Drive, Suite 249
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
phone: (301) 258-0545
fax: (301) 975-9869
e-mail: FusionPwrAssoc@aol.com
web: http://fusionpower.org


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FPN06-23

Article in Science on Fusion

March 13, 2006

The 10 March, 2006 issue of Science magazine contains an article, "Fusion Power: Will It Ever Come?" purportedly written by deceased nuclear fission advocate and perennial fusion critic William Parkins. In a commentary on the Science article, published in the British science journal Nature, the editor-in-chief of Science, Donald Kennedy, is quoted as saying "I find his argument pretty convincing." Kennedy acknowledges he edited the article "to shorter length from a manuscript received just before Parkin's death last October."

The article is a rehash of debates over the commercial potential of the tokamak fusion concept that have occurred periodically over the past three decades and is filled with outdated "facts." Nature quotes British fusion power plant designer Ian Cook as saying, "It's complete rubbish from beginning to end. He knows nothing about what's happened in the past 15 years." David Ward, a physicist at the UK Atomic Energy Authority is quoted as saying, " I'm surprised this has been published again. This all came out in the early 1990s and was rebutted back then."

The Science article, the Nature commentary, and a detailed rebuttal prepared in 1999 by Bill Stacey of Georgia Institute of Technology are posted at http://fire.pppl.gov and scroll down to the first news item.

Persons interested can send letters to the editor online from the Science web site at http://www.sciencemag.org

Fusion Power Associates sent the following letter to Science:

March 12, 2006

To the Editor
Science Magazine

If Science wishes to publish essays criticizing the U. S. Fusion Program, it should at least insist the author does not base his criticisms on fusion power plant designs completed in 1975 and 1991, as cited in the article. None of the data quoted are valid today. Fusion power plant designs today are not "20 m in major dimensions" but less than 10 m. Projected cost of electricity is not "far outside the competitive cost range" but nearly competitive with the cost of coal plants in Europe today. Fusion temperatures have been reached and surpassed in the laboratory by several methods. While there is much engineering/technology development still required for commercial fusion, there is every reason to believe that fusion can compete in a future marketplace. For the past decade, however, the U. S. Department of Energy has insisted that the fusion technology effort be drastically reduced in favor of fusion physics research. Hopefully, one day the U. S. government will wake up and fund fusion engineering development at a rate that will allow success in a reasonable amount of time because, at some unpredictable point in the not too distant future, the world is going to need all the energy sources it can find, including fusion.

Stephen O. Dean, President
Fusion Power Associates
Gaithersburg, MD 20879