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    Filed at 4:12 am under by dcobranchi

    OT: HOT FUSION The NYT reports that scientists at Sandia National Lab have produced controlled nuclear fusion by compressing deuterium (a form of hydrogen) with a shock wave initiated by a burst of x-rays. This is way cool if a little impractical. The instrument is capable of producing one shot per day, producing enough power to light a 40 W bulb for 1/1000 second. I still find this fascinating, perhaps because of this PERSONAL ANECDOTE: I was in the Chemistry Department at the Univ. of Utah when Stan Pons announced he had acheived “Cold Fusion.” In fact, I worked for Pons for a brief period before moving next door (literally- we were also in the basement labs next to Pons’ labs) into Ted Eyring’s group. Ever since, I’ve tried to keep up with developments in the field. Fusion holds the potential to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. The deuterium in the oceans would be able to supply the world’s energy needs for thousands of years. The trick is to generate the kinds of temperatures seen in the middle of the sun. That’s what the Sandia researchers have done.

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