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One Small Step for Nuclear Fusion, No Giant Leap for Climate Action The achievement being touted by the DOE is the first time that a fusion reaction has generated “net energy.” But the energy gain generated by the fusion experiment is not even enough to generate a net gain in electricity — not counting the massive energy that went into powering the lasers. Heat converts steam to turn a turbine at a rate of about 33%-50%, so you need to create 2-3 times as much heat energy energy as you put in, just to get the same amount of electrical energy out. The DOE experiment reportedly generated  about 1.5 times the amount of energy the laser put in. Not counted is the fact that it took up to 250 times as much electricity to power the lasers than the energy delivered to the target. Currently, the DOE’s experimental reactor can do this once per day. A fusion reactor would need to do it 864,000 times per day (10 times per second), day-in and day-out. While it is true that engineering can lead to great advances in technology over that used in basic scientific experiments, it remains unclear whether an operable fusion reactor would truly be possible. Nuclear Information and Resource Service, December 13, 2022

Comments on nuclear fusion Nuclear fusion is a mesmerizing illusion of a nuclear utopia that simply has no substance in the near term and cannot live up to its grandiose promises. At present it is highly unlikely to make a bit of difference other than to gobble up much of the money allocated to reduce greenhouse gases without doing a thing to solve the problem. By Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, November 25, 2021

How close is nuclear fusion power? This video presentation, from a fusion enthusiast, explains how deceptive the promoters of fusion can be, bending the simple concept of “net energy” completely out of shape in order to keep the money flowing in their direction. By Sabine Hossenfelder, October 2, 2021 (To skip the ad, start at 1:30.)

Fusion reactors: Not what they're cracked up to be After having worked on nuclear fusion experiments for 25 years the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, I began to look at the fusion enterprise more dispassionately in my retirement. I concluded that a fusion reactor would be far from perfect, and in some ways close to the opposite. Neutron streams from fusion lead directly to four regrettable problems with nuclear energy: radiation damage to structures; radioactive waste; the need for biological shielding; and the potential for the production of weapons-grade plutonium 239—thus adding to the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, not lessening it, as fusion proponents would have it.
Also: Tritium fuel cannot be fully replenished; Huge parasitic power consumption; Radiation damage and radioactive waste; Nuclear weapons proliferation. By Daniel Jassby, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 19, 2017

Confounding Fusion Weapons with Fusion Energy Federal research on fusion energy is conducted in service of the US nuclear arsenal. By Robert Alvarez, February 15, 2014.


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