Powering the Future: Fusion

26 Aug. (LPAC) The start of construction of the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER) in southern France led to a prominent CBS News article today, “Powering the Future: What Will Fuel the Next 1000 Years?”.

CBS quotes Dr. Ned Sauthoff, U.S. director the project, that “ITER solves the technical problems” of fusion — “It is estimated that ITER will produce 500 megawatts of power for about 50 megawatts put in” — and that “Then government and industries in each country decide whether it will build reactors.”

The article inaccurately places both fusion and fission among the category of “renewables” along with wind and solar power, and predictably uses climate-change as a motivation; but it says emphatically that fusion is the only power source with the long-term potential to power human societies in the future (“1000 years”). Mike Mauel, Prof. of Applied Physics at Columbia University, is quoted: “Many people who work in fusion power look 50 to 100 years into the future, and we say, ‘What else can provide sustainable clean energy source for thousands of years on a large scale?’

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