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Build the first fusion plant here

February 11, 2011
Richard E. J. Burke, Shepherdstown resident

Dear Senator Manchin,

I have just read your Jan. 27 press release on your U.S. Senate web page. Congratulations on your appointment to the Senate: Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Armed Services Committee, and Special Committee on Aging.

Regarding these appointments, there is one thing more I would like to bring to your attention.

Since 1974, I have been privy to the politics that have been holding back the development of fusion as a commercial power source. At that time, I (shipbuilder, banker, top-of-class BSAE and Yale MBA) studied a plan that my brother (Ph.D. nuclear physicist associated with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory of UC California) and other physicists had developed for the commercial production of fusion power. I won't go into the myopic pettiness of the Washington politics. I don't need to tell you about the way a major idea in energy production can be strangled in Washington by conflicting interests such as: the oil industry; the long-reach of Saudi Arabia in American politics; the internecine warfare of competing fusion power groups affiliated with various universities; and the ability of DoD to strangle in the womb any civilian use of weapons technology. But, here's the bottom line: today, 2011, the technology is ready for a POTUS to proclaim that America will develop a prototype fusion powerplant by 2023. That's 10 years after the next POTUS inauguration. It's a big enough idea to get any credible proponent elected. But, regardless of your ambitions for 2012, your role could be instrumental in launching that proposal. Why not build the first one in WV? Northwest WV is a seismically stable area, and that's essential to build and maintain the close tolerances involved in this huge powerplant. Until you investigate this matter, you'll not understand how much power just one plant would produce, nor the present state of technology and imminence of it being done. The essential question is: who will commit to doing it first?

I am confident that you see how this relates to your committee appointments:

(1) Energy: you've committed "to make energy independence a reality."

(2) Armed Services: you've "committed to ensuring that we do all we can to bring our servicemen and women home safely." How about replacing Oil as an irritant and primary source of terrorist funding?

(3) Aging: you've "made it my life's work to commit to taking care of those who have taken care of us." What better way than to assure America's no longer dependent on oil provided by our enemies, to whom we divert far too much of our wealth and priorities?

 
 
 

 

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