Presentation to the ANS-EWS

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Real name: Carl Greninger
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Presentation to the ANS-EWS

Post by KJNW » Thu May 02, 2013 3:34 am

Recently I was asked to speak to the American Nuclear Society - Eastern Washington Section in Richland, Washington. I showed them the inner workings of our program to create a safe, legal and progressive high school nuclear engineering curriculum using the Farnsworth Fuser. The following commentary was provided to me by Gary Troyer of the ANS-EWS upon my return to Federal Way.

A New Generation of Nuclear Physicists

Fusion research is alive and well in Washington State and is being successfully studied by a number of high school students. This was the message of Mr. Carl Greninger to overflow attendance at the April 16, 2013 meeting of the ANS Eastern Washington Section. Mr. Greninger, IT Operations Program Manager for Microsoft’s Business Process and Tools (Redmond WA), showed how a number of students working in his home garage have built a functioning nuclear fusion machine. Students meet Friday evenings at his home to modify, test, monitor, and study nuclear fusion with a machine they built under Greninger’s organizational skills.

The machine is a Farnsworth-Hirsch type ‘Fuser’ (see also, a spherical high voltage vacuum tube accelerator which causes ionized deuterium atoms to fuse in its center. In the process, students have learned about vacuum systems, high voltages, neutron and radiation shielding, detectors, dosimeter badges and nuclear safety, deuterium, computer automation, electronic control, video records creation, and high energy physics.

While their device is not expected to solve societal energy needs directly, several students have won Gold Medals and scholarships at state level science fairs. The student team from different high schools presented their work to the audience with superior skill, making nuclear physics look simple. The students, Jake Hecla, Raymond Maung, and Rian Chandra, described their multi-disciplined approach in determining that the machines’ flux pattern is not of the expected spherical shape using a combination of track etch detectors and computer modeling. With awarded scholarships in hand and graduation this spring, they intend to study at the University of Washington and MIT in various fields of physics and engineering.

The presentation showed how it is possible to stimulate a new generation of students in the hard sciences. The ‘Greninger’ model has room for students at many levels, interests, and backgrounds. Each is learning STEM topics and the importance of teamwork, technical skills development, and responsibilities, all within safety and regulatory requirements.

In closing remarks, Mr. Greninger challenged the local technical societies to create something similar to the North West Nuclear Consortium (, outside of the traditional school systems, transferring the skills and interests that excite scientists and engineers into the next generation. To that end, the ANS-EWS is now exploring forming a similar student research and training program.
Carl Greninger
North West Nuclear Consortium

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Richard Hull
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Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Presentation to the ANS-EWS

Post by Richard Hull » Thu May 02, 2013 3:02 pm

Fabulous effort and report! keep this ball rolling in the Great Northwest.

In 2009, as a member of the local Virginia chapter of the ANS, I spoke at one of our meetings on the fusor. Our VANS chapter is composed almost entirely of Dominion Power executives, engineers and scientists, College nuclear dept. heads and teachers and a few nuclear industry professionals. Meetings are often arcane, dealing with various issues related to nuclear power and the speaker is an expert or worker in the program's topic. Normal meetings might bring in 20-30 older members and there is always 1 or 2 nuclear engineering students.

When I talked, the room was packed as no one could remember a talk on fusion, much less amateur fusion that could be done at home! The meeting was one of the most active and exciting that some could remember. During my power point presentation, folks would blast out questions, (Supposed to be reserved for a post talk Q&A session). Remember, 100% of these folks are fissioneers or feeding the fission system. I had pleanty of humourous slides and comments in my talk. No one did the traditional "dozing off".

I ended with a bit noting that none of their futures were at stake in the fission industry since it was well known that fusion was the energy of the future and that it always would be. This brought a closing round of applause, laughter and a sigh of relief to some who might have thought that if an amateur could do it, they might be in trouble.

I was pleased at the rare line of folks at adjornment who came to shake my hand enthusiastically with more questions and requests for future contact related to their educational programs and possible demos of my system. The president of the local chapter had to actually request that we all leave after 15 minutes of this as the janitorial staff had to get into the meeting room. (Normally the room empties quickly)

Since then, I have assisted in getting two college fusor programs underway for fellow ANS members who are department heads at Virginia Polythechnic Institute's Dept. of Nuclear Mechanical Engineering (VPI) and at VCU Virginia Commonwealth University's nuclear enginerering school. Their students, who are so inclined, are engaged in a simple but well planned fusor system operated during the year. My help and advice is sought from time to time though many find their answers here at as lurkers.

I recently loaned my old fusor III body shell to VCU's program for a "Career Day" at VCU as high schoolers attend to see the various opportunities offered by different disciplines. (By the way, I need to get that sucker back... Gotta' call 'em 'bout that)

So there are many "fusion-johnny appleseeds" among us out there in one form or another and to greater or lesser degrees.

Let's all see what we can do to spread the word and engage younger folks, as Mr. Greninger has done, in this interesting endeavor.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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