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The Problems and Potential of Fusion Energy

Thursday, May 15, 2014

lightburst bright light star The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor's goal is "sparking and controlling a self-sustaining synthetic star," writes Raffi Khatchadourian. (Copyright: SWEviL/Shutterstock)

In the south of France, scientists from around the world are constructing the most complex machine ever built. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is the latest in a long line of expensive and promising attempts to create fusion energy on earth. Raffi Khatchadourian, a staff writer for The New Yorker, wrote about the project in his article "A Star in a Bottle," in the March 3 issue.

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Raffi Khatchadourian

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Comments [6]

Robert from NJ

I have a BS in Physics (copper union in the 70's) and the plasma physics class professor stated that fusion has been the future of energy going back to the 1940s. It still is that and will be for a LONG time.

Ciro - Hydrogen is at very low levels in the atmosphere. The only sane hydrogen source is electrolysis of water.

May. 19 2014 10:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If the hydrogen for fusion energy is obtained by desalination of sea water, could returning the separated salts to the oceans help balance dilution from the influx of fresh water from melting glaciers & ice caps? Or would it be so little that it wouldn't make any significant difference?

May. 15 2014 01:50 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Since we need to look at any energy source's full life cycle, what would be involved in obtaining all the components of a fusion energy system, not just the hydrogen itself?

May. 15 2014 01:46 PM
Ciro from Garfield, NJ

If fusion were ever achievable, wouldn't the depletion of hydrogen cause an a massive atmospheric imbalance which could cause either an extreme acidic, or basic atmosphere?

May. 15 2014 01:45 PM
Daniel

Leonard, radiation is a byproduct of _everything._ Light bulbs radiate light (and heat). The accurate question is: is _harmful, high-energy_ radiation a by product. (Or really, will it produce radioactive byproducts?)

May. 15 2014 01:37 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

What's the point? The fossil fuel industries - oil/coal/gas - will oppose and try to kill fusion off the same as they have been to solar, wind and electric vehicles. It's technological; it's political. Any "green" power source that competes with oil, coal and gas will face a long and tough uphill battle regardless of its merits.

May. 15 2014 01:30 PM

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