By: Tom Tamarkin
Founder Fusion4Freedom & President USCL Corp
June 29, 2014
In 1980 the Magnetic Fusion Energy Engineering Act or MFEEA passed the House and Senate with virtually zero opposition and was signed by President Carter in October 1980. The goal was to demonstrate clean, cheap, safe, and virtually unlimited fusion power by 1995 and to have it commercialized and on the power grid by 2005. It did not happen, but not because of science. Here is the REAL STORY on the “Death of Fusion.”
In 1984, President Reagan’s administration had taken a hard line against the Soviet Union. Under the Reagan Doctrine, the Reagan administration began providing military support to anti-communist armed movements.
The Reagan administration also persuaded the Saudi Arabian oil companies to increase oil production. This led to a three-times drop in the prices of oil, and oil was the main source of Soviet export revenues. Following the USSR’s previous large military buildup, President Reagan ordered an enormous peacetime defense buildup of the United States Military; the Soviets did not respond to this by building up their military because the military expenses, in combination with collectivized agriculture in the nation, and inefficient planned manufacturing, would cause a heavy burden for the Soviet economy. It was already stagnant and in a poor state prior to the tenure of Mikhail Gorbachev who, despite significant attempts at reform, was unable to revitalize the economy. In 1985, Reagan and Gorbachev held their first of four “summit” meetings, this one in Geneva, Switzerland. After discussing policy, facts, etc., Reagan invited Gorbachev to go with him to a small house near the beach. The two leaders spoke in that house well over their time limit, but came out with the news that they had planned two more (soon three more) summits.
Finally, in November 1985, fusion was put on the international diplomatic agenda, when the Soviet-American statement issued after the summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev stated that they “emphasized the potential importance of the work aimed at utilizing controlled thermonuclear fusion for peaceful purposes.” ITER was proposed at a Geneva summit between Gorbachev and President Reagan. Gorbachev extracted an agreement from President Reagan that the United States would discontinue its unilateral fusion power development efforts in the U.S. and would also significantly scale back its “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative program (SDI) which was developing a network of very high powered lasers to shoot down enemy missiles, satellites, and the like. Gorbachev suggested to President Reagan that should the United States agree to do this, the Soviet Union would agree to reduce cold war tensions and help boost the U.S. relations with China. Later the U.S. and the Soviet Union signed the INF or Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in a White House ceremony in 1987. Why did Gorbachev want this agreement? Because the Soviet Union was in very bad economic times and could not compete with the military demands the Star Wars laser program placed on them. And Gorbachev knew full well that “HE WHO CONTROLS ENERGY, CONTROLS THE WORLD.” He would not hand that to the United States without a fight, or at least a very good game of chess.
The United States Military did not trust the Soviet Union and immediately classified all SDI laser work and effectively delayed the ground breaking of ITER by 18 years at which point the U.S. lost interest. The military also organized the National Nuclear Security Agency or NNSA under the Department of Energy to maintain control of the nuclear weapons stewardship and the continuation of laser development as part of computerized weapons testing since all nuclear weapons testing has been banned by treaties of which the U.S. is a signatory on. Thus, NIF at Lawrence Livermore National Labs was born. NIF is fundamentally a military and weapons related project. However, because of LLNL’s charter from the California University System, the lab was able to dedicate a small portion of the lab’s resources and “shots” to the study of fusion energy for civilian purposes.
Today by direction of the current administration and the department of Energy, all non NNSA fusion research in the United States has been defunded except that specifically dedicated to our ITER obligations as a 9% partner as required by the Department of State as an obligation based on our ITER membership. The photo below shows President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in the East room of the White House signing this agreement which was the “Death of Fusion.”
For a much more detailed article on “Who Killed Fusion” please click on this link: Who Killed Fusion?