George Will: “Fusion energy is possible in the lifetime of most people now living”

George Will: “Fusion energy is possible in the lifetime of most people now living”

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Collumnist George Will devoted his December 22 column to the prospects for fusion energy, with a visit to the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, saying that “A Dazzling Bright Future Dawns in New Jersey.” Although his column does not explicitly mention ASP’s work on fusion, he does hyperlink to ASP’s White Paper, “Fusion Power: A 10 Year Plan to Energy Security” here:

By one estimate, to bring about a working fusion reactor in 20 years would cost $30 billion — approximately the cost of one week of U.S. energy consumption.

He goes on to validate ASP’s projections, and to show how little funding is actually needed to achieve a breakthrough in fusion, saying:

Given the societal will, commercially feasible production of fusion energy is possible in the lifetime of most people now living. The cost of operating the PPPL complex, which a century from now might be designated a historic site, is 0.01 percent of U.S. energy spending. PPPL’s budget is a minuscule fraction of U.S. energy infrastructure investment (power plants, pipelines). Yet the laboratory, which once had a staff of 1,400, today has only 450.

Will is absolutely right that fusion deserves more government research spending.

Instead of focusing solely on Princeton’s lab, one of several centers for research into fusion around the country, he could have gone on to detail the work at General Atomics in San Diego, the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Oak Ridge National Lab, Sandia, the University of Rochester, or the threatened Alcator C-MOD lab at MIT. ASP’s has produced a map that shows that fusion’s reach across America is wider than Will shows. He also could have detailed the important work being done at the ITER reactor in Cadarache, France to build the world’s largest fusion experiment – with substantial funding from the U.S.

Today, we need a call to action, and Will gets it right: fusion is real, possible, and important.  The reason that fusion has not achieved its promise is not because the scientists have “over promised” – it is because policymakers have consistently failed in their side of the bargain. They have not invested the necessary resources to achieve fusion’s promise.

Clink on these links to find out more about fusion power and ASP’s 10 year Plan for Energy Security


nuclear fusion
What is fusion


Magnetic Confinement Fusion
Magnetic Confinement Fusion
Inertial Confinement Fusion
Inertial Confinement Fusion

Below is a map showing where America’s fusion research is being done and where businesses that support the program are located.


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