Is this Another Scam Like Cold Fusion?

 

No.


Polywell WB-6 was a true working model that did produce substantial fusion in 4 separate trials in November 2005.  However, in attempts to push it to ever-higher fusion production, the Magrid coils burned out on the last trial.  Data analysis of that run suggests that nearly 100,000 fusion reactions were produced in the final 0.25 millisecond of operation.


Polywell WB-7 really exists today at EMC2 (Energy Mass Conversion Corporation) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It is reported to have successfully made plasma in January 2008, and was scheduled for peer review in August 2008.  However, there have been no reports on the review as of Oct 23, 2008.  On the right is a recent (Apr 2008) photo of the vacuum chamber for the WB-7:

Both WB-6 and WB-7 use Deuterium as a fuel.  Neither one is a p-B polywell.   Both WB-6 and WB-7 are very small test models.  Neither one has come anywhere near “net power” (the “break-even” point at which the reactor begins to produce more energy than it consumes).  However, research with the WB-6 has determined all the basic features and engineering physics constraints for a full-scale prototype.  All of the design scaling laws have been verified.  Because of the B4R3 scaling of the fusion output, which makes the fusion power scale as the 7th power of size, it is obvious that little can be gained short of building the next system at full-scale .  Further research at the present level does not come remotely close to reaching the conditions to prove net power.  The cost of a full-scale 2 m radius p-B prototype will probably exceed $200 million.  The present funding level is $1.8 million.  Clearly, a much higher level of funding is required.

No.


The United States Navy resumed present funding of the research on August 21, 2007.  The Navy also funded the research from 1994 through 2005.  Before the Navy, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Products Agency) funded the project from 1989 through 1992.   It is commonly believed that the Navy plans to power future ships and submarines with the Polywell.   Is it likely that the U. S, Navy would fund a scam for such an extended period of time?


No.


The Polywell was invented by Robert W. Bussard, who has a long and distinguished career in nuclear physics.  He headed a group which developed the NERVA nuclear rocket for the Air Force in the late ‘50s. The program was canceled for political reasons, but not before the group had perfected a 250,000 lb thrust engine that could be cycled on and off 40 times.  Before the cancelation, NASA had intended to use the rocket for a 1978 manned Mars mission.  Robert Bussard was also assistant director of the fusion division of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1971-73.  He has published multiple papers on Polywell-related issues.  He has received multiple awards, such as the 2006 Outstanding Technology of the Year Award from the International Academy of Science.  If you read his Valencia Paper you will see that he provides a lengthy step by step description of the years-long process of inventing the Polywell.


No.


The Polywell project is currently under the direction of Dr. Richard Nebel, a physicist from Los Alamos National Laboratory, with published papers on this issue.  On April 15, 2008, talking about the WB-7 (below), he said, “We don’t have enough power yet to get into the regimes of interest.  There are some circuit issues that we are dealing with.  We don’t want to get too gung-ho too soon and start breaking things.  We’re on such a tight schedule that we can’t afford to make any mistakes.  If we do, we won’t have time to recover.  This is not the way to run a program, but you have to play the cards you’re dealt.”  Now.  Does this sound like the voice of someone who is perpetrating a Scam?    


No


The Polywell progress has been reported in the press, for example by Alan Boyle on MSNBC. The validity of the program has not been questioned by the news media.