“The advantage of fusion reactors over current fission reactors is that they create almost no radioactive waste.” The statement is false.
In the manner we can potentially build them today, the entire facility will be radioactive waste after months of operation.
Battelle disposed of pretty much the entire facility as radioactive waste, most of it buried in the desert of the Hanford reservation in Washington state. TFTR ran for only a few seconds total of actual fusion power production. 14 MeV neutrons do awesome things to building materials. None of them good from an engineering standpoint.
No, fusion is not near. ITER has been around for decades, and it will be decades more before they give up on it, defining the failure in such a way as to call it success. We will learn from it, and maybe the next thing will succeed. Young people will see. Many of us will not.
Fusion is inevitable. We will do it. Until then we will use fossil fuels for decades and regular nuclear fission will become ascendant. There is much more to fusion as we understand it, so far, than engineers can economically overcome. We just cannot. We will, but not for scores more years. Incrementally, it could take a century, even more. We are likely, though, to have a genius-breakthrough, a game changer. It is unknown and unknowable. We might have to do it the hard way, and that will likely take longer than the lifespan of all living today.
No, the governments do not need to prepare for it. Mostly, the governments just need to work at getting out of the way. That goes for everything.
Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according to new research.
Researchers at Durham University and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, have re-examined the economics of fusion, taking account of recent advances in superconductor technology for the first time. Their analysis of building, running and decommissioning a fusion power station shows the financial feasibility of fusion energy in comparison to traditional fission nuclear power.
The research, published in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, builds on earlier findings that a fusion power plant could generate electricity at a similar price to a fission plant and identifies new advantages in using the new superconductor technology.
Professor Damian Hampshire, of the Centre for Material Physics at Durham University, who led the…
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