Energy industry: Canadian scientists propose fusion energy research and development program

Energy industry: Canadian scientists propose fusion energy research and development program

The old joke among energy technology researchers is that fusion energy is 50 years in the future and has been for at least the past 50 years. According to Futurism, a group of Canadian scientists is trying to change that truism and make the fusion future the present.

According to a report called Fusion 2030, prepared by a number of Canadian universities and private companies, a prototype fusion reactor could be built by the year 2030 for a relatively modest investment of $125 million. All that is needed is for Ottawa to come up with the money.

Fusion energy involves the fusion of two atomic nuclei into a larger nucleus under immense pressure, releasing heat that is used to run a steam turbine. Unfortunately, no one has been able to create a sustained reaction that generates more energy than it takes to create it. Scientists have spent decades and billions of dollars chasing the fusion energy dream.

If the Canadians are right, and the technology is either there or in the pipeline to solve this problem, then the era of clean, limitless energy may be at hand. Unlike fossil fuels, fusion does not create emissions that pollute the environment and cause climate change. Unlike nuclear energy, fusion does not create radioactive waste, nor is there the danger of a meltdown causing a nuclear catastrophe as happened at Three Mile Island. Chernobyl, and most recently Fukushima. Unlike solar and wind, fusion power plants would run 24/7. Hydrogen isotopes, such as deuterium and tritium or helium 3 from the moon constitute the fuel that fusion power plants would use and are virtually limitless.

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