Spherical tokamak. By Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. - link, CC BY-SA 3.0, link

Climate Obsessed British Politicians are Embracing Fantasy Energy Solutions

h/t Peta of Newark; The British Government is seriously telling people in working class areas they will have jobs at an operational, power producing nuclear fusion plant by 2040.

The story below is over a month old, but I decided to cover this anyway, for reasons which will become apparent.

Another STEP towards near limitless, low-carbon energy at West Burton

8th February 2023
Updated: 8th February 2023

The future of abundant low-carbon energy without the need for fossil fuels could be in sight after Science Minister George Freeman announced the creation of a new delivery body for the UK’s fusion programme, named UK Industrial Fusion Solutions Ltd.

On the visit to the future site of the UK’s first prototype fusion energy plant at West Burton, near Retford, the minister urged energy companies and investors to recognise the vast potential fusion energy could have for both the UK and the wider world.

The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) plant will be constructed by 2040 to demonstrate the ability to use fusion energy to generate electricity for the UK grid.

Read more: https://www.eastmidlandsbusinesslink.co.uk/mag/news/another-step-towards-near-limitless-low-carbon-energy-at-west-burton/

Is the Spherical tokamak a world leading design? Absolutely. Spherical tokamaks, like Stellarators, are a promising attempt to address the topological defects which afflict traditional donut shaped fusion plasmas, to reduce the opportunity for energy loss and a fusion plasma flameout.

But there are still enormous obstacles to overcome. For example, even if they manage to create a self sustaining plasma, there is the unsolved problem of creating materials which can survive the radiation emitted by the plasma. It is not just the heat, which is manageable, the particle radiation emitted by the plasma is so intense it causes the supporting structures to break down at the molecular and atomic levels, leading to rapid embrittlement and structural failure.

But I think there is another reason these over optimistic promises are being made.

Nottinghamshire’s lost mining jobs ‘could be replaced’ by nuclear site

An inquiry will look into why the UK’s former mining areas are ‘lagging behind’

By Oliver Pridmore Agenda Editor
04:00, 3 DEC 2022

MPs in Nottinghamshire’s former coalfield communities say the construction of the UK’s first nuclear fusion site in the county could replace some of the jobs lost from coal mining. A national inquiry has launched to consider questions such as whether the job losses from the coal industry have been fully replaced and whether these jobs are adequate in terms of pay and opportunities. 

A devolution deal to give more power to Nottinghamshire councils has also been highlighted as something which could improve long-term opportunities for people living in former coalfield areas. Nottinghamshire was home to several pits in areas such as Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Mansfield, but most of them closed in the 90s and early 2000s, with the county’s last working colliery at Thoresby closing in 2015.

Since then, studies have shown people in these former mining areas find it harder to get good jobs than in other areas of the country. A 2019 report by Sheffield Hallam University found the former coalfields have only 55 employee jobs per 100 residents of working age, compared to a national average of 73.

Read more: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/nuclear-site-could-replace-nottinghamshires-7877382

We already know why former mining regions and other deprived areas in Britain are not advancing. High taxes are deterring investment. In recent years you can add high energy prices to this witches brew of economic despair. If you want a detailed discussion of this issue, and why such once wealthy areas fell into poverty, I recommend you watch The Trillion Pound Horror Story.

So why promise fusion jobs in the near future, to people in working class areas who have suffered decades of severe economic hardship and broken promises?

In my opinion, the fusion hype is a cynical political campaign tactic.

The British Conservatives know they face a difficult general election in 2025. They would really like to hang on to working class areas they snatched from Labour in 2019.

To promise an operational reactor by 2040, while glossing over the enormous and near term likely unsolvable engineering challenges, to toy with people’s hopes, promising people they’ll have jobs to replace lost fossil fuel and mining jobs, in my opinion is an act of political contempt. In my opinion the nuclear fusion hype is a vile political deceit whose sole intention is to retain political support amongst demographic groups who understandably feel let down by the complete failure of British Conservatives to improve the lives of ordinary working people.

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Chris Foskett
April 2, 2023 2:10 am

Unfortunately the Labour Party, likely winners of the next election, are even more deluded when it comes to energy supplies. The disconnect between politics and reality has never been greater in this country and this includes economics as well as energy. The downside of career politicians and incompetent civil services.

Reply to  Chris Foskett
April 2, 2023 2:35 am

I wouldn’t be so confident of labour winning. Starmer is doing his absolute best to try and sabotage the party’s chances.

Reply to  Archer
April 2, 2023 3:40 am

I’m confident that we will be the losers in any event

Reply to  Chris Foskett
April 2, 2023 2:41 am

It will get much worse, politics has been taken over by natural selection in reverse.

Reply to  vuk
April 2, 2023 4:11 am

Many of them, would qualify, as Darwinian candidates.

Leo Smith
Reply to  vuk
April 2, 2023 6:10 am

Turds float to the top?

James Snook
Reply to  Chris Foskett
April 2, 2023 8:17 am

“The disconnect between politics and reality has never been greater in this country”.

……..and all made more dangerous by the fact that we have quietly segued into a command economy under the guise of ‘taking action’ on climate. History shows this to be a path to economic calamity. It is guaranteed in our case.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Chris Foskett
April 2, 2023 8:39 am

‘Incompetent civil services’: Nope. They’re not incompetent, they have their own, green, agenda and they don’t give a toss for MPs who are ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ and they know how to play them: they have a desire to see a Labour and/or Green government. Then, we’ll all be sorry.

ethical voter
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 2, 2023 1:45 pm

The comedy series ‘Yes Minister’ springs to mind. Perhaps it was a training tool for civil servants.

Mark BLR
Reply to  ethical voter
April 3, 2023 4:44 am

The comedy series ‘Yes Minister’ springs to mind.

“Yes Minister” and “Yes Prime Minister” are often incorrectly classified as “comedies”.

The correct term is “documentaries”.

old cocky
Reply to  Mark BLR
April 3, 2023 5:04 pm

The correct term is “documentaries”.

The writers said on a number of occasions that much of the series was based on snippets provided by acquaintances in the Civil Service.

ethical voter
Reply to  Chris Foskett
April 2, 2023 1:37 pm

In a democracy you get what you vote for. The delusion, ignorance and incompetence belongs first with the voters. Their failings will bring just rewards. However the voters are also the solution if only they would vote for people rather for parties.

Reply to  ethical voter
April 3, 2023 1:08 am

what came first? the miseducated voters? or the way they vote?

ethical voter
Reply to  heme212
April 3, 2023 6:05 pm

The sum of democracy is a perfect reflection of the people. (voters). Better ethics and education will result in better government.

Mark BLR
Reply to  ethical voter
April 3, 2023 4:41 am

In a democracy you get what you vote for.

“It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.” — Elizabeth May

More seriously, the perils of people losing the motivation to get themselves to the polling station on election day isn’t a new idea.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” — Plato (allegedly …)

The advantages from having an educated / informed electorate have also been known for decades, if not centuries.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

That apples to the domain of “climate science” as much as anything else.

Reply to  ethical voter
April 3, 2023 8:44 am

When I got out of collage, I came across come co-workers who were claiming their local government was rife with crooks. Showing my naievete, I said “just get rid of them”, which generate a quick retort “why would I do that ? Once we get rid of them, we get new crooks who have to start all over again filling their pockets.”

ethical voter
Reply to  Neo
April 3, 2023 6:11 pm

Yes but its much harder to be a crook in the system when one is an individual.

Reply to  Chris Foskett
April 3, 2023 8:41 am

You mean the public will cast away “The World’s Longest Suicide Note” ?

April 2, 2023 2:51 am

We put up with this crap on a daily basis.
If it’s not the BBC, The Guardian orThe Met Office, it’s Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, it’s MPs from all parties, it’s brainwashed kids screaming and crying because someone, somewhere, drinks real milk and eats sausages!!
The world is going to hell in in a handcart and the UK are pulling it!!

Reply to  mrbluesky
April 2, 2023 5:06 am

The western Unipolar World, that the Multipolar World call the Golden Billion is going to hell in in a handcart and the UK are pulling it!!
There fixed it for ya.

April 2, 2023 2:53 am

the particle radiation emitted by the plasma is so intense it causes the supporting structures to break down at the molecular and atomic levels,”

A mere detail to be ignored, ( the pleb voters wont know or care what that means )

The important thing is saying anything that will get the sitting MP re-elected & able to keep their nose in the trough.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  1saveenergy
April 2, 2023 4:26 am

haha@ “The particle radiation”

That is exactly the point of building a fusion reactor, to make that ‘stuff’
It comprises a blizzard of neutrons and is how you collect/harvest the energy from the fusion reaction, in 2 ways:

The immense half-emm-vee-squared energy they come away withThat neutrons are insanely radioactive and rapidly decay into fast moving alpha, beta and gamma rays = more energy when you slam them into ‘an absorber of some sort’
Maybe folks need to reminded old Ye Olde Colde Warre Tymes when they were ‘re-assured’ that no mushroom clouds or radioactive fallout was going to happen in the future.
Because the ever so friendly & helpful ScienceBoffins had devised The Neutron Bomb

The really great thing about Neutron Bombs was that they were detonated up in the sky (no mushroom cloud or blown-away buildings) and they they simply slaughtered every living thing down on the ground beneath them – via the blast of those sweet and lovely Neutrons.
Without damaging the buildings and infrastructure – they simply sterilised the landscape.

And even better, because Neutrons have a half life of barely 12 minutes, just a few days later all the radiation had dispersed so that the invading forces could simply move into and take over wherever it was they fancied – just like me and you might move house.

And The Little People were scared shitless – as they had every right to be

Problem is, as that quote alludes to, Fusion Reactors are Neutron Bombs.
As soon as the humongous blobs of Concrete, Steel and Unobtanium are switched on, those pesky neutrons are going to start eating it from inside out. turning it into a Ground Detonation Neutron Bomb with a burning fuse of indeterminate length.

Yet now, TheMuppetsInCharge imagine that neutron bombs are going to save them

perfect madness

PS: On the subject of madness: How many times have I urged you all to ‘Learn To Dance’?
One more reason

Last edited 2 months ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 2, 2023 5:09 am

 How many times have I urged you all to ‘Learn To Dance’”

I play the music….

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 2, 2023 10:03 am

If that was written in English rather than fluent gobbledygook then I might understand what you’re trying to say

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 2, 2023 11:22 pm

Are the fusion plant managers and operators going to switch on the first plant by remote control from some bunker far away?

Or are they hoping that by the time an actual working fusion plant is ready, they’ll be retired and have flown far away to sunnier climes?

Seriously, it’s one thing to point out serious problems with the tech, in fact it may never be cheaper than fission power, but it’s not really useful to make up stuff or just being ridiculous.

Brian Catt
Reply to  1saveenergy
April 2, 2023 5:04 am

It is true BUT deterioration occurs over quite a long time. So its a matter of mtbf and what the mode and effect of the “f” is. So it is also well studied.

Material breakdown occurs for all sorts of reasons under different stresses in different machines. Damage from fast neutrons is a problem, but modern techniques are being used to analyse how metallic crystalline structures are affected and how the effects can be minimised to maximise the life of components. Welding the early stainless with welding rods made from old cars was one problem (the copper in the wiring harnesses that were left in the cars as they were then processed created migration nodes within the structure of the metal.I have attend talks on this in the last two decades where the brittling of stainless steel in particular was a problem for aging nuclear fission reactors. Nano probe levels now available allow the physical and chemical nature of the damage to be visualised, and the causes determined, etc. But its long patient road to develop something that works really well for many decades before being replaced , it took 100 years to get coal fired power working safely and most efficiently with super criticak fluidised bed boilers using sophisticated metals . Coal plant life is about 40 years now. Nuclear is already 60 years on…. building on the fossil fuel experience always learning. Unlike politicians. And as with getting to the Carnegie Hall, “lady, you gotta practise”. In this case over several lifetimes. How real science gets turned into engineering. JUst sayin’

Tom Johnson
Reply to  Brian Catt
April 2, 2023 5:44 am

Nuclear is already 60 years on”

That’s true for nuclear fission as well as fusion. Nuclear fission plants were producing consumer electricity about a decade after the first bomb. Coal was producing useful heat just minutes after it was commercially available. In its 6 decades, fission hasn’t produced a single BTU of commercially useful power.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
April 2, 2023 6:43 am

The first nuclear reactor that produced electricity industrially was the Russian APS-1 Obninsk reactor 27 June 1954 (5 MWe ) closed 29 April 2002.
In 48 years of operation there were no significant incidents.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
April 2, 2023 1:21 pm

Did you mean “fusion” hasn’t produced any commercial power in 60 years Tom?

Tom Johnson
Reply to  Mr.
April 2, 2023 6:17 pm

Oops, yes

April 2, 2023 3:25 am

While I agree with everything in the article, I would like to correct the last sentence – or rather, since it is only an opinion, improve it:

the nuclear fusion hype is a vile political deceit whose sole intention is to retain political support amongst demographic groups who have been let down by the complete failure of British Conservatives to improve the lives of ordinary working people.

The sad fact is that British Labour will be even worse.

The Real Engineer
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 4:12 am

Interesting idea Eric, but in reality it is worse than that.
The Fusion process is well understood, and it is understood by a complex science known as magnetohydrodynamics. This has been studied by many people over a long period. The problem with any kind of Earthbound nuclear plasma process is that plasma by definition has a huge electrical content that generates a very strong set of magnetic fields. But to control the plasma (a chaotic process with very few constraints) large external magnetic fields are applied. This of course does not really work as the unknown fields in the plasma (which are chaotic at small and large scales) interact with the fixed fields in uncontrollable ways. This is exactly why for 50 years “fusion is 10 years away”! It is even further away than that as the only available constraining method is probably a gravitational field (AKA a sun) which we do not understand, cannot generate and again cannot be controlled! These claims are pure lunacy!

The Real Engineer
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 4:52 am

Possibly Eric, but the point is that the fusion and plasma need to be stably continuous. There is no point in a one time flash reaction and then nothing for a period however small. I suggest that nuclear bombs are not a wise method of electricity generation, even if it were cheap (it is not!). However even this exposes the lies further. How many people would want an unstable nuclear plant which is well capable of instant explosion to be close by? Any minor problem and it would stop. Continuous power, I rather think not.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 2:26 pm

Have you forgot the negative peak in the wave?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 5:52 am

I chatted with the NIF (NOVA) guys about their system – they winked that they were playing with High-Z, but they did not mention the new magnetic scheme – see my post above. Maybe it was too soon.
Since NIF is now off-limits, rather like Sandia across the road, one would expect a blackout. Instead the new results have been made vary public!

Last edited 2 months ago by bonbon
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 11:32 pm

Why in the world is the hohlraum so tiny? They have a warehouse of super-lasers focused on a little bead about 1mm wide – isn’t a lot laser energy just wasted? Wouldn’t a bigger target, say even just 1cm, produce even more implosive force?

Reply to  PCman999
April 3, 2023 8:12 am

DoD mandate, too big and then blow the facility. This changes everything – the solenoid :

Reply to  The Real Engineer
April 2, 2023 4:48 am

MIT has claimed to have discovered a high temperature flexible superconducting material that will allow the containing magnetic field to be build in any desired form. A prototype system is being constructed now in Massachusetts. “Fusion is only 5 years away”.

Rich Davis
Reply to  DWM
April 2, 2023 8:22 am

April 2028. The newest addition to my ‘I told you so’ list

Last edited 2 months ago by Rich Davis
Reply to  DWM
April 2, 2023 2:29 pm

Neutrons are NOT deflected by magnetic fields and that’s why they stream away from the reaction and embed themselves into whatever is next in line.

Once absorbed, the material is either one neutron too heavy, (radioactive), or soon to be two too heavy, etc, etc Sooner or later, bits come off and decay happens. If the decay particles are alphas, then they can be blocked, if they include gamma and electrons, then not so easy. And there lies the problem. For every fusion event their are LOTS of neutrons all trying to make some downstream problems.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 6:30 am

That just means only the insane vote. Look what happened with Dutch farmer protest

What is needed is someone to step up with a realist option and speak plain truth, scare the hell out of the conservatives and force them back to the center

Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
April 2, 2023 8:57 am

Didn’t Trump do something of that sort? What is the result?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 8:53 am

How about option 3

While I fully understand that route, the unfortunate side of it is that there seems little chance of it happening this century.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 10:09 am

Spoilt ballot papers are more effective as far as I’m concerned

Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 11:09 am

Option 3 – yes, most definitely as I see no chance of anything like the Dutch farmers party appearing to save us. People need to realise that a huge slump in votes won’t be ignored. If you think they are not worried about turnout then you have missed all of their ideas to improve it such as postal votes for everyone (done), or online voting. I would be surprised if any MP actually received 50% of the electorate’s votes so if we can cut turnout to 30% or less MPs would probably have barely 20% of people voting for them so we could rightly question their legitimacy to govern.

I would expect the election will be in 2024 not 2025 because if they go for the last date possible of 28 January 2025 that means campaigning will be over the Christmas and New Year period when MPs have long holidays. Spring and Autumn are the normal times for UK elections.

Last edited 2 months ago by gezza1298
Reply to  gezza1298
April 2, 2023 3:02 pm

The real power of democracy is not the people’s ability to choose the government tnhey want, it is the people’s ability to throw out a government they don’t want. It happens a lot. The price they pay is that they have to endure the replacement until the ejected side regroups to recognise the people’s will (rinse and repeat). In Britain, the price is particularly high, because the political cycle is 5 years long.

ethical voter
Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 2, 2023 2:03 pm

Regarding option 3. I think that “something” should be obedience to conscience, knowledge and integrity. But of course one would need to be independent.

April 2, 2023 3:26 am
April 2, 2023 3:26 am

Another minor item never mentioned is the stringent security clearance required for employment at a nuclear facility, even at the lowest levels of security & maintenance. Highly doubt such requirements were used during the coal mining years. Economically depressed areas usually have greater crime which would eliminate many from even applying.

April 2, 2023 3:37 am

Just teach ’em to code. Biden reckons it’s the bees knees.

Reply to  leefor
April 2, 2023 4:15 am

Saw an article the other day, about a young coder guy. They said he was fluent in languages, spoke several languages, as well as several programming languages!

Reply to  bobpjones
April 3, 2023 2:44 pm

But can he point and click?

April 2, 2023 3:39 am

It’s going to cost billions just to redecorate Parliament with rubber wallpaper.

I saw that they don’t feel encumbered by the EU anymore – they’re going to out green the EU, double quick

Reply to  strativarius
April 2, 2023 4:20 am

Apparently, when negotiating the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the EU, inserted a binding clause about setting energy commitments. After the sign-off date of the TCA, any legislation already in place could not be removed.

Our d*ckheads, raced to implement their net-zero legislation, whereas the EU, waited till after the sign-off.

Apparently we’re now legally stuffed!

Reply to  bobpjones
April 2, 2023 5:10 am

They [Parliament] made sure of that.

April 2, 2023 3:43 am

And talking of “cynical political campaign tactics” makes me think of the long-established nonsensical plan to electrify all means of transportation, when the argument for doing so cannot be proved unless as a “cynical political campaign tactic”! Without any genuine consideration having been given even to the means of distribution of this massively-increased amount of electrical current.

michael hart
April 2, 2023 3:53 am

As the article notes, the coal mining jobs disappeared many decades ago.

As ever, fusion is still many decades in the future. Fission works now, and has, safely, for many decades.

Reply to  michael hart
April 2, 2023 4:23 am

Of course, the big question is, will they ever achieve it? Achieving a positive output, which lasts for less than a second, and takes a day to set up before the next go, IMO, hardly qualifies as real success.

Reply to  bobpjones
April 2, 2023 9:01 am

A positive output by ignoring the real 300X input.

Rich Davis
Reply to  michael hart
April 2, 2023 8:27 am

As the article notes, the coal mining jobs disappeared many decades ago.

As ever, fusion is still many decades in the future.

The coal mining jobs will be back, long before there will ever be a single fusion power plant job!

April 2, 2023 4:10 am

Jobs, for coal miners!

“OK guv, where do we fit the pit props?”

Reply to  bobpjones
April 2, 2023 5:50 am

I could suggest…

April 2, 2023 4:31 am

I think this explanation by French physics Nobel laureate de Gennes explains where the fusion problems lie and why commercial fusion is still 50 years away.

The fusion idea is to put the Sun in a box. The idea is pretty. The problem is that we do not know how to make the box. 

Reply to  chascuk
April 2, 2023 5:03 am

The good Physicist needs to think outside the box – his problem is ITER in south France, a finance Black Hole.

Reply to  chascuk
April 2, 2023 3:12 pm

Fusion will have its own Moore’s Law. ‘commercial fusion is still 50 years away’ sounds about right – maybe even longer – but we all have plenty of uranium and fossil fuels to keep us going until well past the start of commercial fusion. Fusion isn’t the main problem. In case you hadn’t noticed, western society at present is crippled by a virulent epidemic – Gang Green – which has to be overcome first in order just to keep the lights on.

Brian Catt
April 2, 2023 4:40 am

What is the basis for this statement? Or did they make it up, a lie?

The materials are simply not there nor the way to sustain a plasma for more than a few seconds.

THEN you have to extract the heat energy created by the fast neutron flux. No one has done this yet, to my knowledge. Not sure how the Russians do it with Fast Fission – which is what they have to make work to have the technology to transfer, IMO.? They have some ideas, like Lithium jackets. The people involved have been working on this at JET and MAST for 40 years so far, not started energy capture yet or even reached net positive energy output, ignition as recently abused by LLL in the US accompanied by similar BS.. FFS.

This is core research that should be followed, for the next century perhaps, not the next election. As Carl Sagan said about colonising space. “In the future, perhaps. But not yet”.

Politicians in general seem to self select by their pathetically and transparently ignorant and deceitful combination of skill deficits. Arts degrees so NO idea and no education to understand how a developed economy works, and less about how what actually makes it work. Most have never had to live in it doing a productive job. Many have been burdens on the tax payer as a career. Starmer is one of the lowest layers of this primordial slime. A shallow, ignorant and deceitful man. He is in good company at Westminster. These are the key check boxes for party leadership across the patch of “established” parties.

All ideology, greedy for power and wealth at taxpayers expense. NO IDEA about how to run a country best for the people. FULL of ideas to enrich vested interests and themselves,

April 2, 2023 5:05 am

2040 — That’s 17 years from now
Those British politicians must think the British riff raff are big dummies who just fell off the back of a turnip truck

British politicians arbitrarily make up a 17 years number
No even one decimal pace.
17.493 years would have been believable.

That 17 years is claptrap.
Everyone knows fusion power is coming in 10 years, not 17 years
We have been taught that fact for many decades.
These politicians never learned anything
Fusion is coming in 10 years, you fools.
And always will be.

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
April 2, 2023 6:52 am

Still waiting for my compensation after falling off the back of a turnip truck !!
My lawyer was Queer Stammer.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Richard Greene
April 2, 2023 6:59 am

Yeah, but it will take them an extra 7 years to get planning permission for the building!

April 2, 2023 5:17 am

I would love to teach those poli-tricksters some real climate science, such as:

From 5,000 to 9,000 years ago, the average temperature was at least +1 degree warmer than today. That was called a climate optimum, because it was good news. Even the IPCC admits that fact.

The science has since changed

Now we are told a +1 degree warmer than today climate in the future will be a climate emergency, not another climate optimum. We should be thankful that brilliant scientists have made that scary climate prediction. because even an intelligent person, with great common sense, would never have figured that out. +1 degree warmer than today used to be called a climate optimum, but now. +1 degree warmer than today is predicted to be a climate emergency. That there factoid is the result of really high IQ thinking, done by real science brainiacs. We are fortunate they are goobermint bureaucrats. And they use really big computers too. So how could they be wrong?

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Greene
April 2, 2023 5:22 am

Likely what has filtered through the air conditioning at Westminster is the latest breakthrough at NIF (DoD National Ignition Facility, Lawrence Livermore National Lab)
There is a laser-magnetic hybrid design, brand new even if the idea is from the 1980’s.

And aneutronic fusion progress there too : stellerator-experiments-boost-pb11-fusion

Besides, LPPFusion achieves billions of degrees with the plasma pinch, almost no financing.

The NIF has a strict DoD mandate and budget for weapons testing even with a test moratorium.
The lasers are ancient, new tabletop Petawatt lasers are available.

It is beginning to look like hybrid is the way to go.

Only a Manhattan Program approach that gave us nuclear power will work. That implies a completely different budget last applied in the UK with the Bradbury Pound which I just saw is talked about – time to pester MP’s about this :

Reply to  bonbon
April 2, 2023 5:42 am

Much better info on Bradbury Pound :
Bradbury Pound: QE By Another Name?

April 2, 2023 5:47 am

Interesting discussion. What do you guys think of Helion’s rather unique approach?

Reply to  Yooper
April 2, 2023 6:02 am
Reply to  Yooper
April 2, 2023 6:03 am

They have gotten serious money, private, all proprietary and IP.
Density, not just Joules is key.

Reply to  Yooper
April 2, 2023 3:23 pm

I would think that Helion is a lifestyle company – one whose main aim is its directors’ lifestyle. It doesn’t have to ever make a profit – the directors can draw fat salaries from the raised capital. I hope I’m wrong.

Last edited 2 months ago by Mike Jonas
David H
April 2, 2023 5:52 am

Here is a crazy idea….why don’t they build a couple of old school fission reactors. Start employing some people now to design and prepare the sites. And now that you have cheap dependable energy in the area you might be able to re-shore or expand manufacturing. I know it’s an outlandish and futuristic idea….but it just might work.

Reply to  David H
April 2, 2023 8:26 am

Build a fission reactor and put a Fusion Reactor sign on it

Then we won’t have to wait the full ten years for a fusion reactor to become reality

The ten-year count started when fusion research began in in 1951, but let’s not be nitpickers.

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Greene
Rich Davis
Reply to  Richard Greene
April 2, 2023 8:49 am

To be fair, they originally promised fusion in 40 years. That promise expired about 32 years ago.

Pat from Kerbob
April 2, 2023 6:25 am

I think it’s simply a way to fool people into thinking there is no need for investment in conventional energy sources because look!! Magic!!
We see the same tactic in canada. No need to develop fusion or LNG because magic

Rich Davis
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
April 2, 2023 8:52 am

I guess that you meant to say
“No need to develop FISSION or LNG because magic.”

And I think that you’re spot on with that.

April 2, 2023 6:35 am

The engineering challenges of a fusion power plant are immense. I bet that a fusion powered rocket engine will be be developed long before a stationary terrestrial power plant is viable. The rocket engine could be discarded before the materials become embrittled and weakened.

Both of these ideas are likely hundreds of years away. … perhaps our forthcoming AI Overlords can figure it out more quickly.

April 2, 2023 6:57 am

Remind me again how “they” plan to harvest the black body heat in the hard X-ray to soft gamma ray range from the tokamak plasma. Also, how do “they” plan to shield the areas surrounding tokamaks from said radiation? Why not embrace “Superman,” (1978,) and mine for heat? Earth contains about ten billion years worth of heat energy at the current human rate of energy consumption. Some of Earth’s heat is convenient in places like Yellowstone.

April 2, 2023 7:02 am

17 years may look like near term in regards to fantasies like fusion power, however to someone who’s out of work and looking for employment, it’s several eternities.

April 2, 2023 7:25 am

Illogical to be advocating unproven fusion while demonizing an already proven energy source like fission. Maybe they do that because it’s unproven….

Last edited 2 months ago by beng135
Reply to  beng135
April 2, 2023 8:29 am

With fusion power there will be TWO types of nuclear power to protest, which is better than just one type of nuclear power to protest.

April 2, 2023 7:43 am

Fusion energy by 2040 (unlikely even by 2073)?!?!? I’ll put that next to 100% green energy from photocells and windmills.

Walter Sobchak
April 2, 2023 7:52 am

Fusion is less fantastic than the idea a technological civilization can be run on wind and solar.

I am not saying that fusion will definitely work. But, even if it is 1,000,000 to 1 against, it is a longer chance than wind/solar which has a 0% (no ± on that) chance of being useful.

April 2, 2023 8:00 am

”…….in my opinion is an act of political contempt”. This is what politicians do, regardless of party!

Beta Blocker
April 2, 2023 8:33 am

WUWT reader ‘Yooper’ points to a promotional video from Helion. That firm and its senior managers aren’t the only ones claiming they are on the cusp of a transformational fusion power breakthrough.

Helion is one of several fusion developers who claim they can have a commercial-scale fusion power plant in operation within a decade’s time using their own flavor of breakthrough fusion technology. 

As these claims go, the only bottleneck to progress is access to money. If enough money can be invested in their technology ASAP, then the promise of limitless energy from fusion is at mankind’s doorstep in a decade’s time or less.

In addition to being its own brand of energy promise scam, the promotion of fusion power has another purpose which will become more apparent as the vendors for small modular nuclear reactors get closer to placing their first SMR designs into production operation.

The argument will be made that since the SMRs have already been made obsolete by these new fusion technologies, and because the costs of the oncoming SMRs are continuing to rise, no further money should be spent on fission reactors.

Which is exactly the same claim that the advocates of wind and solar are now making about new-build nuclear.

The Real Engineer
Reply to  Beta Blocker
April 2, 2023 10:04 am

Do you know how many people have said “here is an idea, all I need is a lot of money” and then taken it and nothing happened? Take our high speed railway in the UK. A significant length of it connecting several cities was estimated to cost £30 Billion and be ready in 5 years. So far only part of it has cost £100 Billion and is expected to cost a lot more. Just the interest on this money will cost £1000 per seat even if 5 million people a year use it, which they won’t. These seats will save about 20 minutes journey time. The they decide to not connect a mainline station at the London end, needing a 30 minute journey by subway to get to the start point. Stupid or what?

Beta Blocker
Reply to  The Real Engineer
April 2, 2023 10:46 am

It’s not precisely accurate to say that nothing happened. Billions of pounds were handed to people whose participation in the high speed railway project benefited them personally, but at what cost to the long-term productivity of the UK economy?

Paul Hurley
April 2, 2023 8:44 am

This looks like a non-solution to a non-problem.

Reply to  Paul Hurley
April 3, 2023 1:14 am

Good for some .Great salaries and conditions with out actually producing any thing useful. When will they ever learn?

Gary Pearse
April 2, 2023 8:55 am

“An inquiry will look into why the UK’s former mining areas are ‘lagging behind’”

No comment.

April 2, 2023 8:58 am

No, it’s 2053. Fusion is thirty years away. Didn’t they get the memo?

April 2, 2023 9:03 am

Seriously … it is gaslighting to tell Joe Q. Public that he will have a job working at a fusion plant, or even ON one down the pike. All the juicy construction jobs will be jobbed out to a water-starved army of transnational consultants with fancy certifications, and the actual operations of the thing(s) will be as dummy-proof as the proverbial nuclear reactors that Homer Simpson enjoys employment at.

Well, maybe there’ll be a lot of high-risk jobs of very short duration, scraping the walls of the Fusor to suck up the unobtainium bits.

But overall employment? I hardly think so at all.

FIRST … we need to get ANY POWER from fusion at all.
Then we need to get a LOT of power from it.
Then we need to rubber-stamp the things cheaply.
And lastly, import the last unicorn horn magic fairy dust to keep em publicly hot.

Just saying…

April 2, 2023 9:41 am

Even NATO’s think-tank Atlantic Council has woken up :


“Fusion energy could eventually underpin the entire US energy system, but it cannot do so without solid policy backing and regulatory clarity. The private capital-fueled fusion boom and international policy headway proves that the time to engender that support is now.”

Beta Blocker
Reply to  bonbon
April 2, 2023 10:40 am

What the Atlantic Council has done is to get on the bandwagon of giving the near-term delivery of fusion an aura of technical and economic credibility which it most certainly does not actually possess.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
April 2, 2023 12:19 pm

Sez you.
NATO knows what a Manhattan Program actually means, they keep rabbiting on about B61’s.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  bonbon
April 2, 2023 3:19 pm

Sez me. And with gusto. Put that in your magnetic field and plasma it.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
April 3, 2023 7:59 am

Have a chat with NATO Sec. Stoltenberg – oh wait , Ursula van der Leyen reported as next chief.

Curious George
April 2, 2023 9:46 am

Fusion power made a big progress. We will get it in 17 years, not 50 as usual.

The Real Engineer
Reply to  Curious George
April 2, 2023 10:13 am

Please tell us how to :

  1. Get confinement of a plasma at at least 30 million degrees C in a stable and continuous way.
  2. Extract energy from this as no material can survive the temperature or radiation or necessary heat transfer rate to make it work at useful power levels (Say 2GW).
  3. Keep the public near it at safe levels of X-rays, neutrons, or anything else.

Look at the Sun’s surface, what do you see? I see chaotic reactions with a huge spectrum of products, in obviously random patterns of magnetic fields, none of which can be predicted. This is exactly what happens in our test “reactors”, without the constraint of a huge gravitational field holding everything down!

Reply to  The Real Engineer
April 2, 2023 12:17 pm

Plasma focus achieves a billion degrees, a miniature version of Sun plasma pinches, plus quantum effects.
Look at the Sun again, and for that matter Quasars.

April 2, 2023 11:38 am

One thing I didn’t see here is how much money is being spent on this fusion experiment. My guess is you could take that same money and build a brand new clean burning coal burning power plant, open the closed mines and most important have energy and jobs now.

April 2, 2023 12:14 pm

 Fusion News, March 22, 2023 Fusion Industry Association

April 2, 2023 6:39 pm

Act now and receive your first free shipment of bugs and 10 percent off your Paul Ehrlich cemetery plot.

April 2, 2023 7:42 pm

“The disconnect between politics and reality has never been greater in this country”. Oh that it were only a disconnect between politics and reality. Step back and look at the entirety of our civilization. Close to a majority believe that reality is just a suggestion and Man controls everything.

No matter how many times you point out that all of modern civilization, from roads to medicines is dependent on oil, the faithful believe that we can merely find cost effective alternatives. No matter how many times you point out that solar panels cannot generate more energy, and actually far less, than the energy of the sunlight that falls on it, they think Moore’s law will apply ad infinitum. Regardless of a straightforward analysis of battery technology showing the limitations of energy densities, a breakthrough of super batteries will happen any day now. batteries.

Then add in social issues. Some believe if you suppress some hormones and boost others you can override a person’s biological sex, as though that is the only difference.

Move on to random acts of crime. Pushing an innocent unsuspecting person onto the tracks as a train approaches has no consequences in the perpetrators world.

Some do not see that the real world precludes socialism ever working.

I would guess that close to 40% of voters hold beliefs that deny reality. We are in a world of trouble.

April 3, 2023 5:26 am
Ronald Stein
April 3, 2023 6:22 am

An absurd opening sentence “the future of abundant low-carbon energy without the need for fossil fuels could be in sight”
·        Low carbon energy, i.e., renewables and fusion, only generate electricity. Wind, solar, and nuclear manufacture nothing for humanity, they only generate electricity.
·        Fossil fuels, on the other hand, manufacture everything for humanity, products and transportation fuels.

In fact, all the parts and components for wind, solar, and nuclear are made with the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil!

Thus, ridding the world of oil will eliminate wind, solar, and nuclear!

April 3, 2023 7:29 am

Fusion by 2040? Someone has been working the pipe too long.

I think we will eventually have workable fusion, and that will resolve all the electricity problems of the world (except those caused by politics). But we cant set a date until we have workable experimental fusion — then we can predict scietally functioning fusion power plants.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 3, 2023 8:16 am

JFK set a date for the Moon, FDR et al set a date for the Manhattan Program. Looks like it all about setting dates.
Then when the going gets tough the tough get going and deliver.

April 3, 2023 8:39 am

It was the British who claimed to have fusion int the bag back in the 50’s, when the phrase “too cheap to meter” became popular.

Back during the Fukushima disaster, I remember looking up the number of nuclear power plants active or under construction. I seem to remember finding 3 (or 4) plants under construction that were designated “fusion” plants .. in France, I seem to remember.

April 3, 2023 9:53 am

story tip :
Pentagon fake news about Chinese fast breeder reactors
Assistant Secretary of Defense John Plumb knew better when characterizing Russia-China reactor cooperation as a nuclear weapon threat

“.achieving a “closed” fuel cycle, increasing by a factor of 100 the amount of energy that can be extracted from uranium, and creating a basis for fission reactors to potentially supply the world’s energy needs for hundreds or even thousands of years. ”

Fusion does not mean fission nor oil is finished – The Bronze Age did not mean we had run out of stones.

Last edited 2 months ago by bonbon
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