Thursday, July 07, 2005

Controlled nuclear fusion

When will we ever have thermonuclear ("fusion") electric power? For something like 50 years the answer has been "in about 30 years". A large part of the problem is political. Here's one assessment of the situation:

Nuclear fusion: power to the people?
But what's changed since JET was built to make it any more likely that fusion won't remain forever 30 years in the future? The materials, says Carpenter, and the computers. From helium-cooled superconducting magnets to tungsten chamber walls to supercomputers that can calculate how the plasma will behave far more accurately and quickly than ever before, the pieces are all there, waiting for the politicians to sign off the cheques and shake hands.

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