It was December 17th, 1938.
Two scientists, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman, did what all scientists hope to do: They made a discovery that changed the course of the world forever.
Together, the two scientists laid the foundation for the advancement of nuclear energy. Today, nuclear energy accounts for nearly 20% of the total energy production in the United States.
Although we hear so much on the news about solar and wind power, other forms of alternative energy aren't making headlines. But that could soon be changing...
Like the birth of nuclear fission in 1938, the world might be on the cusp of another game-changing discovery.
You may not have heard about this, but key developments in nuclear fusion were recently announced by aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) highly-regarded Skunk Works division.
Word of this advancement came in mid-October, when the trade publication Aviation Week & Space Technology was granted an inside look at Lockheed's compact fusion reactor project.
What they found was spectacular.
"[T]he idea of nuclear fusion," Aviation Week's Guy Norris wrote, "in which atoms combine into more stable forms and release excess energy in the process, is not new. Ever since the 1920s, when it was postulated that fusion powers the stars, scientists have struggled to develop a truly practical means of harnessing this form of energy ... but none have gone beyond the experimental stage."
That is, until now.
The geniuses at Skunk Works are working on a reactor "containing the power of the sun in a small magnetic bottle" that could be mounted on a truck, according to its website.
An unlimited clean power source of this kind could provide enough energy to power an aircraft, a spacecraft, a ship, a train or even your own neighborhood or city.
Normally, embarking on such a journey of discovery would take decades. But Skunk Works has a history of getting the job done fast. "We would like to get to a prototype in five generations," project head Thomas McGuire told Aviation Week. "If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we've already shown we can do that in the lab."
Five years after that, McGuire thinks a small version of the compact fusion reactor could be delivered and up and running within weeks, able to generate the 100 megawatts necessary to power 80,000 U.S. homes -- or, say, an aircraft carrier.
Oh, and the fuel? About five pounds of the stuff will keep the reactor humming for an entire year.
To summarize this for you in layman's terms -- within the next decade we could see applicable, compact nuclear fusion. Implementing a technology like this would be a game-changer to say the least.
And it's no surprise that an innovative company like Lockheed is at the forefront of the development.
You see, as Chief Investment Strategist for Game-Changing Stocks, I love finding ways to invest in disruptive technologies. Normally, that means I tell my readers about smaller companies that are quietly working on what I like to call "The Next Big Thing."
But in this case, even if it takes a decade for nuclear fusion to become applicable, I believe in parking my money where the IQ points are and Lockheed's got 'em.
The innovation potential for this company is backstopped by its strong core businesses, which are protected by huge barriers to entry including brain power, intellectual property, a leading market position and its existing client portfolio, including the U.S. military and its allies.
Even more, shares of Lockheed pay a fairly rich dividend, with a yield of 2.9%. So far this year, they have outperformed the market, gaining 25.1% to the S&P's 10.8%. Over the past year, they've beat the benchmark by a factor of two. Their five-year return is also strong: 141% to the S&P's 87%. Investors who have been reinvesting their dividends have done even better.
An infinite supply of cheap, clean power is the ultimate game-changer for Lockheed as a company, for investors and for a world ever thirstier for energy. Most of the picks I tell my Game-Changing Stocks readers about are smaller companies, more suitable for the 20% of your portfolio dedicated to aggressive growth. However, I recommend Lockheed as a blue-chip holding with strong potential -- suitable for the other 80% of your portfolio.
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