I can’t let the sentiment of this article go unchallenged. One must be careful of using purely current short-term financial arguments to select technologies for investment, for matters that have a global scale. From a physics perspective, renewables and fossil fuels are very diffuse in energy density, and one must harvest vast amounts of material, or vast volumes of air, or vast areas of the earth’s surface to get just a puny amount of energy. These modalities will ultimately not be scalable, either for online demand, or for storage. It will make less and less sense as society advances, with imminent advances pending, like new materials, better health care, improved transport, deeper mining, higher scales of integration in manufacture, desalination plants, space travel and so on. By contrast, power from nuclear fission or fusion has an awesome energy density. Its hundreds of millions or more times greater. A speck of dust scales up to become equivalent to a vast acreage in output, while any side-effect measured in the physical volume of the engineering problem also scales down by the same amount. The engineers and the businessmen operating directly in power utilities already know that although renewables have a place, but its ...
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Posted: 19 May 2016 at 10:31


Thanks for your great comment, Simon. Fusion is obviously the holy grail of energy sources, and worth pursuing. This MindBullet is however a scenario for the future, and not advocating any particular policy. Personally I can't help thinking that the bureaucratic process embodied in ITER might spell its own doom! But perhaps there will be other breakthroughs in fusion research.
Posted: 19 May 2016 at 10:39

Doug Vining Fusion energy UK

A private company has turned on their latest attempt at delivering nett energy from a fusion reactor, in the UK:

Speaking after the ST40 reactor was officially turned on and achieved “first plasma”, Tokamak Energy chief executive Dr David Kingham said: “Today is an important day for fusion energy development in the UK, and the world.
“We are unveiling the first world-class controlled fusion device to have been designed, built and operated by a private venture. The ST40 is a machine that will show fusion temperatures – 100 million degrees – are possible in compact, cost-effective reactors.
“This will allow fusion power to be achieved in years, not decades.”

Call me sceptical, but fusion energy as a commercial provider of electricity is still decades away, and may never cross the chasm from dream to reality.
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Posted: 28 April 2017 at 15:20

Doug Vining Fusion energy UK

On the other hand, "those that say it can't be done shouldn't interrupt those who are doing it!" Anything is possible.
Posted: 28 April 2017 at 15:22

Doug Vining Another nuclear hopeful fails

Compact modular molten-salt reactors were touted as the future of nuclear energy - they could be mass produced at a factory and shipped to the town where they were needed. And they would be safe. Yeah, well great ideas don't always work out in practice, and the hard reality of getting a new nuclear technology off the ground has collapsed Transatomic.

Let's face it, nuclear is difficult, and just keeps getting more expensive. Why bother, when solar tech gets cheaper and more widespread all the time?
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Another nuclear hopeful fails") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 25 September 2018 at 14:40

Doug Vining Another nuclear hopeful fails

And fusion remains "decades" away:
"Although its potential to generate electricity at a commercial scale is several decades away, nuclear fusion can become a promising option to replace fossil fuels as the world's primary energy source." - IAEA 19 Sept 2018
Posted: 25 September 2018 at 14:59
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