March 29, 2014

A Star in a Bottle

The New Yorker delivers a truly fantastic in depth article on ITER's problems and promise. A long read but an extremely good one!

At times quite depressing but here and there glimmers of hope do shine through. The people working on it not only have to conquer physics and engineering problems, they also have to deal with mindnumbingly complex bureaucracy and politics. We can't allow politicians to question if fusion produced energy will ever work, the answer, quite simply, is that it must. The question has to be when and paradoxically its answer rests squarely on the shoulders of those very same politicians. Fusion is in dire need of funding but the political will to commit to the level an undertaking as monumental as this one requires is severely lacking. We can not keep on dragging our feet as we have been doing for the past decades, not on an issue as important as this one.

There are few things certain in life but failure on fusion is highly likely to clear the board of all options. If we don't manage to ignite stars on earth, our future will be dark indeed. In Latin ITER means the way. Both in theory and on paper it has already shown us the way, we know where it leads. The rise of fusion would change more than just the energy equation, it would change geopolitics forever. In many way its path leads to enlightenment, straying from it to the dark ages. We must stay the course and make haste because once the light goes out, we are not likely to ever find our way again.

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