Could fusion be a solution to our problems ?
Even if energy efficiency is today’s best solution to all our climate change and energy scarcity problems (see why), I was thinking that I never wrote here about fusion, the future of nuclear energy.
Due to be environmentally friendly and even safer than current nuclear with fission, fusion will provides us tremendous amounts of energy once it will be ready for commercialization.
Today’s article will have a look at the current main project on fusion, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor also known as ITER.
ITER combines the efforts of many countries: China, India, the whole European Union (as well as Switzerland) , Japan, the United States of American and the Russian Confederation.
This timeline brings us to the main problem of this project: at the current speed, the construction of ITER would be completed by 2016. Then ten years of further research would be needed as shown in this page. That brings us to around 2025.
CleanTechnica notes that things could go a little bit faster and banks on the assumption that
” a pilot power generation plant could be ready as soon as 2020, with commercialization following soon after. “
The readers of Dot Earth also believe things have to be pushed forward. Indeed, the opinion of Josh King, San Diego, CA was recommended 64 times, making it the second recommendation for Barack Obama out of a list of 11.
Here is a short extract :
The only way I see of breaking this vicious feedback loop is through the development of an environmentally benign, cheap, reliable, and abundant energy source.
None of the current alternatives (i.e. solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, and conventional fission) fit all four of these criteria, and the only possible source of energy that could, is fusion.
Over the past 50 years our countries Department of Energy has been charged with the task of developing fusion into an energy source.
However, in fusions entire history an experiment intended to generate net power output has never been attempted.
In any case, that let us with plenty of time to make our civilizations more energy efficient and respectful of our environment by the more extensive use of renewable energies.
My conclusion is the following: fusion won’t be the solution for the first half of the 21st century, but my guess is that it could play a large role in the second half of this century and well beyond.
What about you ? I look forward to reading your comments !