John Kerry, the U.S. Climate Envoy, states that the United States is working with other nations to speed up efforts to make nuclear fusion an alternative source of carbon-free energy. Nuclear fusion involves merging two hydrogen atoms to generate a helium atom along with a substantial amount of energy.
Special climate envoy John Kerry calls for global cooperation while unveiling US nuclear fusion plan.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 5, 2023
This energy can fuel many applications such as cars or residential heating and cooling; ultimately replacing fossil fuels including coal, oil, and gas. The importance of nuclear fusion is its ability to address the burning of fossil fuels, which some believe to be the major cause of “climate change.”
Nevertheless, it is admitted that fusion technology still has its challenges, while other clean and less dependable energy alternatives such as wind, electric, and solar power are already in use and could be further improved.
In the U.N. climate talks in Dubai, Kerry admitted the progress toward nuclear fusion but also indicated the existing scientific and engineering challenges. He emphasized the need for cautiousness and thoughtful policy implementation along this intricate path.
The U.S. strategy outlines five key areas for international partnerships: supply chain and market research, legal issues, human resources, and community engagement. This plan was outlined by Kerry at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum stressing the need for “global collaboration” to channel fundamental physics and human creativity to “mitigate climate change.”
Thirty-five countries are working together on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in southern France, a machine designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale, carbon-free energy source. However, this project has also seen delays and cost overruns.
The U.S. works with other countries as they attempt to compete with China and Russia in the realm of fusion research and development amid global competition. During this trip, Kerry went to Commonwealth Fusion Systems in Massachusetts, which was actively engaged in developing, constructing, and commercializing fusion power plants.
Fusion, on the other hand, is a cleaner alternative to the traditional nuclear fission reactors that produce both energy and radioactive waste. More than $6 billion have been invested in this global race towards sustainable and renewable energy, with over 40 fusion companies, of which more than 80% are within the United States.
Commonwealth Fusion Systems, established in 2018, is developing fusion inside a tokamak, a donut-shaped machine which uses magnets to enclose and isolate plasma in order to trigger the fusion reaction. By building the unit smaller and cheaper, the company hopes to make commercial fusion a realistic option for the world market.
There are skeptics; for instance, Edwin Lyman from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who still argues that reliable and affordable nuclear fusion is still far off and its huge cost might divert resources from more promising alternatives. However, Commonwealth Fusion Systems still believes in its first power station, “ARC”, which may be connected to the grid in the early 2030s.
Another promise from the salesmen in our apparently international government.