Some important news:
Robert Embry of the Abell Foundation has recently written to Sen. Ron Wyden, the new head of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, requesting a Senate investigation into the lack of federal funding for aneutronic fusion !
Please see the following links:
If you have feelings on this subject, please take this opportunity to write to both Sen. Wyden and your local Senators in support of Robert Embry’s request.
For members outside the US, this could be a great time to make contact with your local representatives and raise awareness of focus fusion more generally.
Your letter should be extremely polite, and written IN YOUR OWN WORDS if possible.
Some general advice on writing a letter:
. Say why you are writing (this part it is OK to copy-paste)
. Say why this is important to you.
. Give some background about the present situation.
. Say why you believe federal funding in particular is needed.
. Close with a polite call to action.
. Stick to the point! We want to promote the idea that alternative fusion options could provide clean, safe, inexpensive and unlimited energy.
Making contentious statements about the major facilities (NIF,ITER) is not necessary for our argument, and we don’t want to give the appearance that it is.
This part it is OK to copy-paste:
Dear Senator Wyden,
I am writing in support of the recent request by Robert Embry of the Abell Foundation for a Senate investigation that will ask:
1. Is the current 30-year-old concentration of the US fusion energy program on the tokamak
device and on deuterium-tritium fuels too narrow to lead to economical fusion energy?
2.Should the US fusion energy program be redirected, by legislation if necessary, to fund a
broader range of fusion devices, in particular those capable of using aneutronic fuels, which if
successful could lead to fusion energy that is cheaper than any existing energy sources?
To say why this issue is important to you, just [em]for example[/em]:
I feel that in the current energy crisis, aneutronic fusion represents a direction of research that has been overlooked. A future that is free of devastating impacts to the environment and human society is important for us all, whether these impacts come from climate change, hydraulic fracturing, oil spills, or radioactive waste. Although other renewable energy sources may well form part of the picture, the technology for aneutronic fusion would revolutionize the prospects for an immediate switch away from fossil fuels.
To give some background about the present situation that requires action, just [em]for example[/em]:
In federal funding of fusion research, most approaches other than the tokamak have been sidelined in recent decades. Yet there are good reasons to think that at least one approach to aneutronic fusion will succeed, because there are multiple competing approaches, such as:
Dense Plasma Focus
Inertial Electrostatic Confinement
There are also neutronic fusion efforts other than the tokamak which private capital has seen fit to fund, including magnetized target fusion (http://www.generalfusion.com/) and field-reversed configuration (http://www.helionenergy.com/) efforts; this also illustrates that the narrow focus on the tokamak has not been the optimal path for fusion research.
You may well be able to think of more reasons to be optimistic about the prospects for aneutronic fusion!
To say why you believe federal funding in particular is needed, just [em]for example[/em]:
It is quite possible that private capital alone may not be sufficient in the sector, either due to the up-front investment in basic science research, or the size of investment needed to commercialize a proven concept. In the case of LPP, which claims that in fusion cross-section it is more advanced than Tri-Alpha, it has always been stated that if proof of concept were achieved, a further $100m in funding would be needed to commercialize the prototype.
Close with a polite call to action. Just [em]for example[/em]:
I warmly recommend that you should look into this issue because to fail to encourage the development of aneutronic fusion, as much as possible, would be a colossal missed opportunity.
If you are writing a posted letter, the address for Sen. Wyden is:
The Honorable Senator Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C., 20510
Note that although Sen. Wyden’s office will not respond to your emails unless you happen to live in Oregon, that does not mean your message will not be read.
His contact page:
In writing to your local Senators, it may be a good idea to make the following points:
. Alert them to what aneutronic fusion is, and what focus fusion is.
. Alert them to Robert Embry’s request to Sen. Wyden and ask them to give their support to it.
. Say why this is important to you, why federal funding is needed, and so on.
. Close with a polite call to action.
Feel free to post your letters below in this thread to help inspire others.
on behalf of FFS Board of Directors
Do they listen to numbers? Are the costs over the last thirty years just a drone of noise?
I would like to purpose that a list of people should be started. They are very involved the public discussion of energy. It would be important to vet the list to make sure the letters would not be wasted. An example of a person would be, Richard Kauffman. I have only begun to research his background and need more details before I would send a letter to him. He is a possibility.
Links http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtEzfBoeLP8 (Interview on YouTube) It is about sustainable Buildings 2.0
http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/010913kauffmanappointment (appointment to NY Cabinet Level Leader of Energy Policy and Finance)
http://www.goodenergies.com/ ( associated with this company – Good Energies Capital is a private equity fund investing in the Energy Industry.) Which isn’t that great.
But a list would be good. Crafting a good letter takes time and sending it to multiple people is time well spent.
Frankly, I’m wondering if we asking for the right thing. I think a letter writing campaign is a good idea, but maybe we should be asking for something different.
Right now laws restrict stock purchases in IPO’s to accredited investors (investors of high net worth and/or high earnings). This restriction is allegedly put in place to “protect” people who are not rich from investing in “risky” start-up companies. These restrictive laws could just as easily be characterized as restricting all but the very wealthy from the best investment opportunities. In fact the recently passed Dodd-Frank bill makes the definition of accredited investors even more restrictive by excluding home values from the net worth test.
Now I understand that Derick does not want hundreds of individuals each investing twenty dollars. The paper work hassles wouldn’t be worth it. But I strongly suspect that there may be a lot of people who would love to invest thirty thousand dollars or so, but don’t meet the accredited investor standards.
Everyone goes to legislators with their hands out (understandably). But maybe a more fruitful approach would be to ask for a abolition of this restriction.
Right now laws restrict stock purchases in IPO’s to accredited investors (investors of high net worth and/or high earnings).
It’s already happened. It’s called JOBS and it’s what you get when wall street gets to write new regulations for crowd funding equity… i.e. further deregulation for the benefit of the wall street elites.
The Junpstart Obama’s Bucket Shops Act
And it does enable small equity investments by non-elites in startups without paperwork overload… it also does a bunch of other things that will make wall street very happy and those “other things” will surely come back around to bite the rest of us in the ass in a decade or less.
But the framework for JOBS has been implemented piecemeal over the past several months and the final regulations are supposed to be set up just about… now.
As I said in that thread, “This is not the reform that startup regulation needed but it’s what we’ll have to work with.”
And it should enable true crowdfunding for LPP without burying Derick in paperwork… and even 10,000 one-time investors at, say, 50 bucks apiece would solve a lot of issues for startups like LPP.
The crowdfunding portals that the act creates would handle the paperwork, the investors could treat the investment as “if and when” without being able to micromanage LPP… and LPP should be able to concentrate on fusion engineering.
Actually new reports indicate that the adoption of regulations has been pushed back into 2014. While this would be good when it happens, we also want the government to fudn this work. That is why the Seant letter-writing campaign is important as a first step. And if you write one, cc FFS so we know who is writing.
Lerner wrote: Actually new reports indicate that the adoption of regulations has been pushed back into 2014.
Not surprised… wall street is already making out like bandits with the parts that [em]have[/em] been implemented.
While this would be good when it happens, we also want the government to fudn this work. That is why the Seant letter-writing campaign is important as a first step. And if you write one, cc FFS so we know who is writing.
Does this mean that I have to be… diplomatic? 🙂
This is all good news. I agree that public funding should occur. There is after all a HUGE benefit to be accrued by the public. I do think that stock ownership is better for everyone involved as opposed to donations. It remains to be seen whether our hired bureaucrats screw it up.
Oh, and I should have said “private placement” not “IPO”.
Another good reason to write letters is that President Obama has just put forward his new candidate for Energy Secretary Ernest Muniz, who will have to go through confirmation hearings. It would be nice to have the congress asking questions like…what about the aneutronic fusion idea?
Folks that send letters should CC Webmaster that they’ve written. No need to send us the letters, we just would like to know how many have been sent. 🙂
Does this represent progress?
Excerpt from the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill (pg. 95-96)
The Committee is concerned by the lack of a strategic vision,
which includes research and future facility needs, to advance the
domestic fusion energy sciences program. The Committee directs
the Secretary to submit a 10-year plan, not later than 12 months
after enactment of this act, on the Department’s proposed research
and development activities in magnetic fusion. The report shall (1)
identify specific areas of fusion energy research and enabling technology
development in which the United States can and should establish
or solidify a lead in the global fusion energy development
effort and (2) identify priorities for facility construction and facility
The Committee recommends $183,502,000 for the U.S. contribution
to ITER. No funding shall be made available for the U.S. contribution
until the Secretary submits to this Committee a baseline
cost, schedule, and scope estimate consistent with project manage96
ment principles in DOE Order 413.3B of the U.S. contribution
needed for completing all construction activities.
The Committee is concerned by the rising costs of the ITER
project and the impact to the domestic program. The cost range for
the U.S. contribution for construction activities was between
$1,450,000,000 and $2,200,000,000. The most recent estimate is
$2,400,000,000 and this estimate only fulfills U.S. obligations for
first plasma, rather than all construction activities. The Committee
is further concerned that the latest cost estimate does not properly
account for the technical risk of building the most complicated engineering
facility in the world. The most recent cost range was developed
when the design for ITER was less than 40 percent complete.
The Committee also directs the Office of Science to include a
project data sheet with details of all project costs until the completion
of the project for ITER in the fiscal year 2015 budget submission.
The Committee understands that the Department provides
funding for ITER as a Major Item of Equipment rather than a line
item construction project, which would be consistent with DOE
Order 413.3B. However, the Committee feels that a multi-billion
dollar project, especially of this scale and complexity, should be
treated as a construction project and follow DOE Order 413.3B
benf wrote: Does this represent progress?
Well… insofar as any mention of fusion is better than none 🙂
But the way that kind of Senate PR usually turns out is that ITER funding will get cut and then the domestic fusion programs so prominently mentioned will get little but cries of poor mouth and “austerity…”
… and all the while our drinking water gets fracked to hell and gone.
Do I understand correctly that the private placement restrictions go away this May (May 2016)? I have a friend who wants to invest several tens of thousands in this enterprise, but doesn’t meet the current net worth/income requirements.
It is true that after May 1 all US residents will be able to invest. However, restrictions will remain on how much money any non-accredited investor can invest. We’ll post more details as we ascertain them. But right now the limit looks to be the lesser of 10% of income or net worth. However, regardless of the limit, anyone can invest $2,000.
I think the idea of government money use for research outside of defense is indefensible. It is time for government to focus on fission fuel reprocessing and conversion to short half life isotopes.
Engineer wrote: I think the idea of government money use for research outside of defense is indefensible. It is time for government to focus on fission fuel reprocessing and conversion to short half life isotopes.
And how are they going to do that without spending money on nondefense research? Do you mean maybe they should perhaps spend more money on perfecting an unproven technology such as LFTR reactor technology which we can use to use up all the spent fuel? Or do only you have one solution to promote? Without some new technology we are going to remain dependant on fossil fuels which I personally believe is “indefensible.”