President’s Science Advisors Briefed on Fusion Progress

On Friday, May 25th 2012, I represented Lawrenceville Plasma Physics in providing one of five public comments at that day’s meeting of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST.  My remarks were well received, and three PCAST members with physics backgrounds took copies of our publications for review.  The remarks are below, and you can also watch them delivered at 10:29 in the archived webcast available here.  After the meeting, copies of the remarks were delivered to several of the offices of New Jersey’s congressional delegation.

Remarks as Prepared for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

May 25th, 2012

Derek Shannon

Director of Business Development & Lab Coordinator 

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc.

Thank you to the Council for this opportunity.   I want to first make the Council aware of the major scientific advances achieved by our dense plasma focus fusion research device in Middlesex, NJ; second, address how we hope federal energy programs will evolve in response; and third, share the news of an international scientific collaboration.

On March 23rd, 2012, we published in the journal Physics of Plasmas a report of the  confinement of plasma with ion energy equivalent to 1.8 billion degrees C for a period of tens of nanoseconds using a dense plasma focus device.  This achieved  two out of three conditions—temperature and confinement time—needed not just for fusion energy, but for fusion energy using advanced, aneutronic fuels that have long been considered out of reach. We did all this with an innovative device costing less than one million dollars.  If we are able to achieve the third condition, density, we could be on track to commercializing fusion within five years.

However, if our resources remain limited to the private sector, our chances of success may diminish, and we urge that federal energy policy evolve.  This new promise for fusion shows we must not only preserve our existing investigations, but also expand the fusion energy program to include many more diverse contenders, especially aneutronic fusion and, in particular, the dense plasma focus device.

Finally, I want to announce that we reached a scientific publication collaboration agreement on May 20th, 2012 with Iran’s lead fusion facility, the Plasma Physics Research Center.  This agreement grew from the “Fusion For Peace” initiative that we proposed with Iranian and Japanese colleagues this spring.

If you watched the video, you’ll note I had time to add this quote from Einstein: “If we have courage to decide ourselves for peace, we will have peace.”  Let’s have courage!


The meeting was just in the Metro Center Mariott, but it was nice swinging by the Capitol on the way to hit up congressional offices.









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