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More Time and Funds For Bussard’s IEC Fusion

The U.S Navy is extending and it seems funding Dr. Robert Bussard’s IEC fusion theory at EMC2 with the eighth Polywell device called the WB-8: the official contract was awarded on May 03, 2012.

By the end of 2011, the WB-8 device had generated over 500 high power plasma shots, done by EMC2 to test predications on the Wiffle-Ball plasma scaling law on plasma heating and confinement. The higher plasma density in WB-8 prompted the need for higher heating power, but the team experienced problems with the electron injectors, leading to a slip in the project schedule

During 4Q of 2011, EMC2 modified the electron injectors to increase the plasma heating. They planned to operate WB-8 in high beta regime with the modified electron injectors during 1Q of 2012. The Navy is now funding EMC2 with an additional $5.3 million over next 2 years to work on the problem of pumping electrons into the Polywell.

Quotes on talk-polywell suggets that there are plans to install big new pulsed power supply to support the electron guns (100+A, 10kV). According to the site, WB-8 has been operating at 0.8 Tesla (8 times stronger magnetic field than any previous version). There was a review done of the work (NEAF site lists more details) by an independent committee and the recommendations were to continue and expand the effort.