3 thoughts on “Fusion Research: Time to Set a New Path

  1. Arthur Sleeper

    Your comments on ITER are timely but I question the comparison to Rickover’s experience with fission reactors. Fission reactors are relatively simple and several designs were possible as early as the 1940’s. Rickover had a parameter space from which to select his design. After 6 decades of research a fusion reactor prototype has yet to be developed. The only concept close to development is the tokamak and as you point out the ITER has numerous physics, engineering and cost difficulties. We are far from the luxury of optimization along the lines of Rickover’s analyses.

  2. Richard Hull

    Hirsch is in a position to clearly examine the issues related to fusion and the difficulties with fusion energy. His rather negative overall assement of ITER is spot on. The key to his paper here is his careful analysis of the EPRI effort and the economics of fusion.

    So many fusion energy hopefuls look at only the goal post without regard to the realities of what the power companies will need to even think about actually placing that first watt of fusion electrical energy to a consumer’s wall outlet.

    There is a vast gulf affixed between successful over unity fusion and the consumers wall outlet.

  3. Tom Clark

    The other day I watched “futuristic” TV show about how mankind could travel to other star system at something like 1/3 the speed of light. For example we could visit Alpha Centauri with the journey taking a little over 12 years one-way. The propulsion system for this marvelous craft would be nuclear fusion. Knowing the sad state of fusion research progress over the past 60 years, and the size of current Tokamak reactors, I assume that this space faring craft will be flight ready tens of thousands of years from now.


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