Newsweek Magazine has published a story by Alexander Nazaryan titled Shine On, Tiny Little Star in its March 17, 2014 issue. It describes recently achievements announced via widely distributed press releases.
It includes the following quote indicating the excitement of the people involved in the project:
The people here at Livermore are pretty stoked, to use an appropriate colloquialism. “This is the Wright Brothers plane of fusion energy,” says Peter J.K. Wisoff, a former astronaut who is now one of the directors of Livermore’s fusion project. The modern-day Wright Flyer directly in front of us is the target chamber, which weighs 287,000 pounds. A portion of Star Trek: Into Darkness was filmed here, and it’s easy to see what brought a Hollywood location scout here: With countless monitors and laser ducts protruding from its surface, the target chamber does look sinister. A low machine hum only enhances the effect.
For balance, it also includes a quote from an avowed fusion energy skeptic – yours truly.
Yet, despite their recent achievements, many here in Livermore and beyond caution against excessive enthusiasm. Rod Adams is a former fission reactor operator who now blogs at Atomic Insights. A staunch defender of fission power, he called NIF, upon its opening, “a gold-plated, expansive playing field producing NO real power,” deeming the whole thing “fusion hype.” Reached by phone late last week, he remained unimpressed with the advances recently made at Livermore. “It’s not a path that’s going to provide useful energy in my lifetime,” he said, “or the lifetime of my children.”
For the record, Alexander Nazaryan quoted me accurately and fairly.
If I had known about Wisoff’s Wright Brothers comparison, I would have pointed out that their plane was built in a garage by a couple of bicycle mechanics who performed careful studies using homemade wind tunnels and financed their own glider prototypes out of their business earnings.
Their self-funded plane actually flew and landed under complete pilot control.
The Wright Brothers did not spend multiple billions of taxpayer money. In fact, I don’t think they spent a taxpayer dime on their early flight experiments. Their Big Science, government-funded competitor was a flight-failure named Langley.