THE FUSOR REACTOR: Philo Farnsworth

Several writers, seeing ahead to the time where industrial scale fission systems might be employed everywhere, pointed out the dangers of forcing Nature to yield these energies. Some went so far as to predict a crisis of world proportions, should such energies accidentally be released beyond control. New words began emerging in the literature. CHAIN REACTION. WORLD DEVASTATION. These began permeating the human psyche with terrible consequence. Surface storms on the otherwise calm Dream Sea.

A few engineers calculated the problem of storing spent atomic fuel, stating that such fuel would be radioactive in lethal proportions. The storage of spent fuel would be the major problem of future generations. The lethal spent fuel cartridges would be strong enough to be used in their primary atomic generators anyway. Seeing this would be the result of fission generating systems, most researchers went back to their own experiments.

Deriving usable power from natural radioactivity would be the true means for utilizing this power. No purification process was ever necessary in these systems, as can be seen by the earliest atomic battery patents. In large enough devices, the output power could become enormous and constant, lasting for centuries. Certain of the atomic batteries were vacuum tubes. These systems employed radio frequencies to electronically “pump” the natural radioactive fuels, producing far more electrical output than has ever been seen today in atomic batteries. These systems remain, curiously and conspicuously, forgotten.

While these inventions were being patented and demonstrated in public arenas, fission was gaining new predominance in more military venues. The BOMB was a new “promise”, by which present wars would be won, and future wars prevented. But there was a social expression, which caught academicians quite unawares. It was a defined resistance to the development of destructive atom technologies. No one believed that atomic energy could become a weapon first, and then a social power. It was always assumed that atomic energy would be safe and benign. In the minds of informed society, “true atomic power” would have no repercussions. True atomic power was a gift, a benefit, a promise and potential of future safety. Viewed in the light of those forgotten atomic battery patents, one can understand the hope. The documents yet remain; proof that the dream sea expresses truth when willing hearts search and find.

Yet, the fission camp was far more powerful than the innumerable private atomic generator researchers. Intent on proving that Nature could be forced to yield her atomic energies, physicists began performing their deadly experiments under the cloak of military secrecy. Fueled by incredibly wealthy investors, who saw the future atomic industry in the hands of far more “academically accredited” personnel, fission research mounted.

The very term “atomic” had acquired a dirtied name. The sense in the word “Atomic” being reversed from one of golden hope to one of leaden death. Used in war, it was soiled. Guilt and shock. HIROSHIMA. NAGASAKI. Overkill. The thoughts radiated out like deadly rays. Guilt and shock. Even then, wherever and whenever the bombs were tested, fear and doom followed. MUSHROOM CLOUDS. The sense was cold dread. The fear real. The mere thought of an atomic accident made people go into a cold sweat. Cold War sweat and paranoia. Curious, how the fear of atomic fire brought cold sweat. Regulatory attempts to redirect consciousness, renaming it “NUCLEAR” energy, did not much matter.

The word ATOMIC was soiled. DIRTY bombs. Radioactive. FALLOUT. Atomic, Nuclear, terms did not matter. MEGATON. Nightmares in children betrayed the world-permeating sense. STRONTIUM-90. Duck and cover! Prayers directed to protect against WORLD WAR III. The world, ending in atomic fire. ARMAGEDDON. Children thought deeply. If high technology produced atomic energy at its apex, then the world was doomed. The social dream expression had been deferred, suppressed, and eradicated once again by the powerful social predators. The dreams of a few ruled the dream of the many. More hope deferred.

The cutting buzzwords of the Cold Atomic War became a helplessness, which eventually produced a strange social movement away from the curse of high technology. It was as if the bombs had already done their deadly work in the heart, fallout covering the bodies of growing children and producing mutants. Running away. Running dreams. Running from the atomic light, from the Moloch, which threatened to eat children, and parents, and worlds. Running within, rejecting every external thing. Rejecting and reforming. The inner movement among youth did not stop with low-tech. It ran down to no-tech. In a strange psychic plunge, American youth dove into the green psychic earth, reemerging as Amerindians. PEYOTE. BEADS. LONG HAIR. GRAFFITI. EARTH DAY. New buzzwords.

After the War, Uranium was a clean name only in the minds of those who sought it in deserts, with Geiger counters. Uranium was now a money making claim, not a science or dream questing technology. But Fusion was new. Fusion would be the perfection of the nuclear science, which began with the Curies. Fusion would be clean. The process, though nuclear, was CLEAN. It was The FUTURE, a sleek and shining surface of blue metal. Streamlined, with glass spheres, cylinders, and dials. If fission split the world and dream and heart apart. Fusion would heal it back together again.

And so the dream wove itself anew. Smiling white-coated operators, walking through black marble halls and wavery glass windows. Pillars and gold filigree. Beautiful halls and Fusion Reactor sites set in the evergreens. Breathing clean air once again, the perfect vision again. Hydrogen gas, medically hissing from large blue-steel cylinders into the large central glass dome. The Fusion Reactor, a science fiction dream. It was a vision to drink in.

The power of a future civilization. It was where we could become our own future. We could be the advanced aliens from another world, the popular theme of science fiction folklore. We could become the placid Utopians once again. Internalized deep in the heart, where dreams are cultivated, where sensations formed the heart of the quest, we hoped for Fusion, and the promises, which seemed never to stop.