Nuclear fusion can solve our energy and environmental problems
Nuclear fusion has long been a science fiction fantasy, the holy grail of power generation. But it is quickly approaching reality.
The process involves combining several atomic nuclei to generate energy, just like the sun does. It is the opposite of nuclear fission, in which atoms are divided.
Canadian and British innovators are bringing this incredible technology to life and in so doing could unite the warring factions of climate alarmists and skeptics.
The production of fusion energy requires less fuel than fission and this fuel is inexpensive. It is a long-term, sustainable source of energy, and the nuclear waste seen with typical nuclear fission power plants is not replicated with fusion power plants.
This technology offers an opportunity to finally stop building wind turbines on all natural sites and solar panels in countries that just don’t see as much sun.
And it could offer welcome relief from international climate alarmism and Extinction Rebellion extremism.
Nuclear fission today produces around 10% of the world’s energy. According to EUROfusion, a group of research organizations from European Union states, fusion reaction plants could provide about 10% more global energy needs. Over time, this number could increase dramatically.
After decades of experimentation, including breakthroughs in 2014 that allowed scientists to generate more energy than they used to create the reaction, researchers believe the technology is ready for prime time .
This summer, scientists in Los Angeles revealed how lasers as large as three football fields were used to generate enormous amounts of energy from nuclear fusion reactions. Some 200 laser beams were focused on a point to create an explosion of energy eight times the size of any experience in the past.
The UK – newly independent from the European Union – and Canada are leading the way in embracing fusion and preparing for this energy source of the future.
The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) launched a call for proposals for new sites for a prototype fusion power plant in December 2020, and Oxfordshire was selected this year. The plant will be used to prove the viability of a project of a Canadian energy company General merger.
The factory and associated campus are expected to be completed in 2025 at an estimated cost of US $ 400 million. This is a significant investment, but much lower than the €20 billion ITER project which is several years late.
Canadian innovators plan to use mechanical pressure to contain the gigantic amount of heat and plasma generated during the smelting process, rather than the massive electromagnets other factories are likely to experiment with. Mechanical pistons squeeze fuel from all sides, creating intense pressure that generates heat.
This could be a huge economic boost for the UK and Canada. Not only do nuclear fusion experiments create jobs – with research centers in 26 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Korea and Japan – but these power plants offer long-term opportunities.
Far beyond the possibility of uniting climate-skeptics and environmental activists around energy efficiency, fusion nuclear power plants could generate thousands, if not millions of jobs worldwide, in management and development. the maintenance of these plants to the logistics of fuel and waste and to the manufacture of the plants themselves.
It’s the kind of win-win scenario the world needs and another great example of how well an independent Britain can cooperate with Canada. It’s greener, cheaper, more efficient and could generate a lot of jobs. These are goals behind which alarmists and climate skeptics can surely unite as the world moves away from fossil fuels for “green” technology that clearly isn’t ready.
However, the possibility that nuclear fusion technology can unite factions in government, politics and society depends on the willingness of environmental activists to recognize that solar and wind power are simply not ready for hours. listening and that nuclear technology – even with its historical background – is the right solution.
The rejection of such potential by politicians or activists who influence politicians could boil down to the desire of environmental activists to perpetually protest.
Jack Buckby is Associate Researcher at the Frontier Center for Public Policy.
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