When I was in undergrad school I took several classes related to energy conversion, generation, and transmission. I ended up not getting a job in that field but I still have some interest in the topics. Hence, I sort of follow what’s happening with fusion reactors.
So what is going on? I’m seeing two divergent stories in the media. This is the long running, slow progress, version:
ITER announced last year that it hopes to complete the construction of the world’s largest tokamak nuclear fusion reactor by 2025. The goal of the project is to prove that commercial nuclear fusion is possible by demonstrating that a reactor can produce more energy than it consumes. But even if the ITER experiment is successful, it would likely take until at least 2050 for a nuclear fusion power plant to come online.
A PROTOTYPE nuclear fusion plant with a value predicted value of £1billion has been tipped to generate £11billion and create thousands of jobs as the UK races to create limitless clean power and solve the energy crisis.
So far, no fusion reactor has been able to use up less energy than it produces.
But the UK is racing to crack the code, and the prototype for a proposed site to host a nuclear plant near Goole in East Yorkshire has been given the green light by the Government.
This is the programme, which was supported by an initial £222million by the Government, to construct a prototype fusion energy plant that will one day create limitless clean energy.
The U.S. government wants to send a tiny nuclear fusion reactor into space, and it has partnered with a private company to get a prototype operational by 2027.
There are even stores about do it yourself nuclear fusion but I suspect these are probably getting radiation from something other than fusion. And if there are actually some fusion occurring it is producing less energy than the input to the reactor.
But the “tiny reactor going into space in 2027” story seems to be in a different class than the DIY reactors. My hunch is that it is just wishful thinking by someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing. But they managed to tell a good enough story to get a government grant from some agency that needed to get rid of some money before they lost it for lack of use.