Cheap, practical fusion may be closer than you think.
Nuclear fusion is 30 years away, and always will be. That’s the refrain we’ve heard, again and again for decades.
But this is a story that few have noticed. Unlike computers, fusion has to get really great before it’s useful at all. Right now it’s pretty good, but not quite good enough. It’s getting close though.
There’s another reason the story’s been missed. We’ve spent billions on enormous, horribly complex fusion reactors that aren’t expected to be commercially available before 2050…and even then, it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t be too expensive.
But those are not the only game in town. The real overlooked story is this: a handful of small research projects, often running on a shoestring, ready to beat the big projects at their own game. Some of these little projects have attracted serious investment, from venture capitalists and Goldman Sachs.
And not a moment too soon, with CO2 levels already at 400ppm, and no significant emission cuts in sight. The clock’s running out. We need something dramatic.
If we may be permitted a football analogy: We’re five points behind, there’s half a minute left in the game, we’re a long way from the endzone, and we’re not going to get there in time by playing it safe. We need a long pass. We might not win, but it’s the one play that gives us a chance.
Or in gambling terms…it’s worth drawing to an inside straight when there’s enough money in the pot.
The fusion projects listed here give us a shot at power competitive with fossil fuels or (in some cases) far cheaper, with no pollution, perfect safety, and no nuclear waste. Sound too good to be true? Read on. Find out what these projects are, and how we can use better funding mechanisms to improve our odds.
The Latest on: Fusion Reactor
- Student, 14, honored as youngest person ever to build nuclear reactor on April 17, 2019 at 10:33 am
The budding nuclear engineer set off on his scientific ventures by turning his playroom into a laboratory, and ordering a various vacuums, pumps and chambers from eBay to build his very own nuclear ... […]
- Memphis teen honored for work on nuclear reactor on April 17, 2019 at 3:23 am
Memphis city leaders honored a teenager who became the youngest person to ever build a nuclear reactor. On Tuesday ... assembling parts to create nuclear fusion at home, he developed this project ... […]
- Chinese Scientists Aim to Generate Fusion Power by 2040 on April 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm
“Five years from now, we will start to build our fusion reactor, which will need another 10 years of construction,” Hefei Institute of Physical Science deputy director Song Yuntao told Reuters. […]
- This 12-year-old built a nuclear reactor at home using equipment he found on eBay on April 13, 2019 at 1:07 am
Using Open Source Fusor Research Consortium— an online forum for amateur physicists — Oswalt relied on trial and error to ensure he was taking the appropriate measures to build a reactor and ... […]
- China targets nuclear fusion power generation by 2040 on April 12, 2019 at 6:11 am
HEFEI, China (Reuters) - China aims to complete and start generating power from an experimental nuclear fusion reactor by around 2040, a senior scientist involved in the project said, as it works to ... […]
- China aims to generate energy via nuclear fusion by 2040 on April 12, 2019 at 5:29 am
China is hoping to get an experimental nuclear fusion reactor running by 2040, a senior scientist working on the project has said. Reuters reports that the country is preparing to restart its stalled ... […]
- Scientists Find a New Way to Kickstart Stable Fusion Reactions on April 11, 2019 at 6:41 am
The new technique, described in research published last month in the journal Physics of Plasmas, provides an alternate means for reactors to convert gas into the superhot plasma that gets fusion ... […]
- New device in Z machine measures power for nuclear fusion on April 11, 2019 at 5:10 am
If you're chasing the elusive goal of nuclear fusion and think you need a bigger reactor to do the job, you first might want to know precisely how much input energy emerging from the wall plug is ... […]
- Nuclear fusion breakthrough breathes life into the overlooked Z-pinch approach on April 10, 2019 at 8:24 pm
Tokamak reactors and fusion stellarators are a couple of the experimental devices used in pursuit of these lofty goals, but scientists at the University of Washington (UW) are taking a far less ... […]
- U.K. fusion reactor will test fuel of future power plants on April 4, 2019 at 11:49 am
In the chaos of the United Kingdom's effort to leave the European Union, or Brexit, there is now at least one certainty: A leading fusion reactor located in the United Kingdom but supported by the ... […]
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