At a Solve for X talk, Charles Chase of aerospace giant Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs (which goes by the alias Skunk Works) talks about a project of inventing and developing is working on a nuclear fusion (‘hot’, not ‘cold’) process on a compact scale, something that could be built on a production line rather than a massive ITER-like tokamak reactor.
Chase says that in a process Skunk Works has develped they put deuterium gas in a 1m x 2m cylindrical reactor, and heat it up with RF energy to create a plasma. The plasma is confined by a magnetic field in a stable manner — much more stable than in a tokamak, according to Chase. This apparently created conditions in which fusion much more possible.
Here’s a video of Chase’s talk.
He says they hope to be able to create a 100 MW prototype plant in five years and in ten years hope to build a commercial 100 MW plant, which he says is decades ahead of the projections of the ITER project. At this point, however, Chase does not mention whether they have been able to achieve a thermonuclear reaction.