The BBC is reporting that the effort to build a Fusion reactor is making strides with the selection of a location for the project imminent.
The location is of course a huge deal politically because of the “prestige” of the project and the obvious economic benefits in the region from such a huge and long term project.
What is Fusion you ask?
In a fusion reaction, energy is produced when light atoms – the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium – are fused together to form heavier atoms.
This is quite different to nuclear fission in which atomic nuclei are split to release energy.
But to use controlled fusion reactions on Earth, it is necessary to heat a gas to temperatures exceeding 100 million Celsius – many times hotter than the centre of the Sun.
…One kilogram of fusion fuel would produce the same amount of energy as 10,000,000 kg of fossil fuel. What is more, fusion does not produce the long-term high-level radioactive waste that burdens nuclear fission.
The last two sites under consideration are Japan and France. Of the major players in the effort, Europe, China and Russia support France while the US, Japan and Tokyo.
Iter is expected be the final step that experimenters need to take before commercial fusion power is realised.
So this is a critical piece of work. We’re probably talking 50 years before we see large scale Fusion generation capability, but that capability will depend largely on the success of this project.