Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Your fusion dollars
Date: Nov 16, 11:08 am
Poster: Jim Lux

On Nov 16, 11:08 am, Jim Lux wrote:

>Well guys and gals, another debacle for fusion...

Something to be aware of with respect to these nominally pure science projects that have dual applicability is that they are often a "conduit" for weapons work. Without getting into a discussion of the "rightness" of nuclear weapons, presuming that an organization (e.g. the US) wants to develop the best weapons, they need the best minds working on the problems. However, some of those best minds have philosophical objections to weapons work . Some other clever fellows (and gals) figure out a way to partition the work and the hard problems to cast them as pure science, which can then be funded and worked on in "good conscience".

Some overruns are expected in any project, how many experimental projects actually come in under budget? (I don't really condone concealing it, though; you should 'fess up and say you blew it).

And, as far as gov't waste goes, farm subsidies are probably a more egregious case. At least the extra money for the NIF is probably going to produce some sort of scientific data, and is providing employment for nuclear physicists and keeping them off the streets. Also, what would WE do without the surplus from these projects.

Without a huge expenditure on nuclear weapons development during WW II (which, I daresay, massively overran its budget, but it was secret, so nobody knew), we probably wouldn't have nifty things like Teflon (used for seals on UF6 equipment) and a variety of other handy things.

As someone who is essentially employed sucking at the government teat (somewhat indirectly), I have to say that the benefit of public funding science and engineering is probably a net good, even if I think they are wasting their time on a particular project. I am sure that there are others would say that I am wasting my time on the projects I work on.