Friday, October 2, 2015

I've Heard This Song Before

In fact, I've heard this song so long ago it's a real oldie.  According to an article quoted on Watts Up With That, nuclear fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades.

Talk about an oldie, I heard that when I was in high school, and I'm approaching retirement. 
Researchers at Durham University and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, have re-examined the economics of fusion, taking account of recent advances in superconductor technology for the first time. Their analysis of building, running and decommissioning a fusion power station shows the financial feasibility of fusion energy in comparison to traditional fission nuclear power.
That's a pretty interesting paper considering what they're studying still doesn't exist, and has been "a few years away" since at least the early 1970s, when I first read about them.
Professor Damian Hampshire, of the Centre for Material Physics at Durham University, who led the study, said: “Obviously we have had to make assumptions, but what we can say is that our predictions suggest that fusion won’t be vastly more expensive than fission.”
"Had to make assumptions?"  Sorry, old man.  It's a nice study, but I'll consider it meaningless until it's studying something that actually exists.
But they did put up a cool graphic; I'll give them credit for that!


  1. Oh, groan....looks like yet another variation of a Tokamak.

    BTW....where's my Flying Car??

  2. We're just 20 years from commercially viable fusion.

    I think I've been hearing that for at least 30 years.

    An older friend tells me that it used to be 25 years, 40 years ago.

    I guess that's progress...

  3. I remember this vaporware from the 70's too. Lockheed is working on a mini fusion reactor right now. I will be very surprised if that ever produces anything.

  4. It's a bit like the sign outside the Pub - "Good ales, given away free tomorrow".

    When you go back the next day, the sign still says "Good ales, given away free tomorrow".

    I remember when nuclear power stations were first introduced in the UK (Calder Hall, which was renamed Whinscale, then Sellafield) that electricity would be so cheap that new houses would not have light switches because the cost of the switch would far exceed any savings in the cost of the electricity used.

    I'm still waiting for my Windswept, sun drenches Ingrid Bergmann kiss .. (reference here: ). And the free electricity ...

    Phil B

  5. I can't make out the middle of the graphic. There is a little too much smoke in the mirrors.

  6. Good to see the man in the lower right corner is wearing his obligatory reflective vest....but what's with the nonchalant pose?

  7. But when the glorious day arrives, we'll still be using fusion instead of fission to boil water, right? Or am I missing something about the wondrous fusion energy emissions? (Not an engineer, so don't laugh at me too hard, please)