A Fusion President?

What Presidential candidate is most up on fusion and specifically the Bussard Fusion Reactor Program. Interesting question. Which candidate was interested enough to have his staffers look deeper into it in August of 2007? The answer? John McCain.

A week ago I attended a lecture given by Sen John McCain given to the Economic Club of South West Michigan.

In the question and answer session following the lecture I asked about resuming funding for Robert Bussard's project. Sen McCain said that he was unaware of the project but would like to talk to me about it.

Afterwards a aid of his spoke with me and I emailed a summary to them.

The packet I forwarded to the aid had most of what is on the Mr. Strout's web site, except the youtube vids.

I tried to insert some summaries, such as excerpts from the "Fighting for fusion"[pdf] article, rather than simply links.

Since then of course the project has been funded and experiments are ongoing. None of the other candidates that I am aware of have evidenced any similar interest in any kind of fusion let alone the Bussard Fusion Reactor. BTW the funding resumed in late August of 2007. I wonder if John McCain had anything to do with it? Did he go to the Navy and ask what's up? Interesting speculation. Maybe we will find out some day.

Just another reason I'm going to vote for John McCain in November.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

Welcome Instapundit readers.

posted by Simon on 05.22.08 at 08:39 AM










Comments

I've been thinking of sitting out this election, but you have touched a chord with this story. What I hear about McCain is that he's a man of his word (I'm trying to ignore what he told Sean Hannity about immigration and what he really wants to do) who will take informed action. It doesn't sound like he's afraid to say he doesn't know and wants to discover more. That has raised him considerably in my estimation.

Helen   ·  May 22, 2008 9:03 PM

This is good news. A Simon endorcement carrys more weight with me then a nod from Schwarzeneggar or Thompson. With all the baggage that McCain brings with him - hostility toward the first amendment, a disturbing dedication to keeping the borders open, - a classicly liberal attitude toward energy production helps calm my misgivings.

I want to like the guy. This helps.

Papertiger   ·  May 22, 2008 10:17 PM

I fail to understand the reasoning here. McCain tells the guy he knows nothing about fusion thing and the guy then sends material to McCain--cause McCain happened to be there. McCain says nothing at all as Senator on the floor...but suddenly he is the only candidate
who shows an interest? wow. Now that is A stretch. Why not simply say: I like McCain because I usually vote GOP and so I support him.

david still   ·  May 22, 2008 11:18 PM

Papertiger -

Any more the 'liberal' attitude towards anything nuclear is BANANA. "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything." But that's the 'progressive' liberal attitude - classical liberalism which encouraged innovation and ideas would have funded it a few years back at WB-6.

David Still - "McCain says nothing at all as Senator on the floor...but suddenly he is the only candidate who shows an interest?"

In August '07 he showed an interest and got sent information. In LATE August '07, the project got funding. You do the math - especially considering the project had been essentially mothballed and the government fiscal year starts in October. I'd say he shows an interest, especially if this could help wean us away from overseas oil.

JLawson   ·  May 22, 2008 11:28 PM

Tiger,

Fortunately Obama is running. I'm sure he is much closer to your ideal candidate.

David,

You need to put you glasses on. You missed:

Just another reason I'm going to vote for John McCain in November.

JLawson,

Thank you.

M. Simon   ·  May 23, 2008 12:15 AM

"In August '07 he showed an interest and got sent information. In LATE August '07, the project got funding. You do the math - especially considering the project had been essentially mothballed and the government fiscal year starts in October. I'd say he shows an interest, especially if this could help wean us away from overseas oil."

I'm very much in favor of funding this research. I think that McCain will be the next President. Therefore, I too very much want to believe that McCain is interested in this program... but I also insist on intellectual discipline. Your "math" may be a post hoc ergo propter hoc error.

Funding for the program was never officially ended. The entire ONR budget was temporarily cut by 10% and the OMR zeroized the Advanced Propulsion research budget. Then funding has been restored. The polywell was never specifically targeted in either case.

http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/viewtopic.php?t=26


What I;m saying is - Let's not get carried away.

e blair   ·  May 23, 2008 12:38 AM

I'd like for one of the candidates to look into some of the advanced fission reactors, particularly those that use the thorium cycle, such as the Molten Salt Reactor. This reactor has a number of key advantages, namely, abundant and indigenous fuel sources, inherent safety with passive shutdown features, low risk of proliferation, significantly smaller waste stream than conventional reactors (~1%), and waste that has a relatively short half-life, decaying to background radiation levels in about 300 years.

Noah Nehm   ·  May 23, 2008 12:40 AM

Something else that hasn't been mentioned in the comments is that the McCain's from a big Navy family (Father and Grandfather were Admirals). I think if you take the timing of the continued funding into account along with the fact that McCain was in the Navy, and that it was a Navy program, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence to point to him at least helping a bit with funding. He may not have done it personally (someone on his staff may have done most of the work), but I would be surprised if he wasn't at least indirectly responsible for continued funding for the program.

BR   ·  May 23, 2008 8:52 AM

Simon

The choice between living in an Obama-nation or McCain-country isn't really a choice at all (especially for Californians or Illini).
My vote is a forgone conclusion, just like the fact it won't matter as my liberal state votes for the democrat (whomever that might be).
What we are talking about is how to feel about the inevitable.

And I feel better about it because of your post.

Papertiger   ·  May 25, 2008 3:20 PM

Tiger,

Thanks. A lot of the situation we are in is because the Rs have factionalized. They stopped thinking about the coalition and focused on their faction. Every one was thinking about the best candidate for their faction and not the best candidate for the party. I think Fred could have united the factions. Oh well.

By the time Illinois came around Fred was gone and my mate said McCain. So here I am.

M. Simon   ·  May 25, 2008 4:58 PM

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