Comments about ‘George F. Will: Fusion energy requires the public's support to succeed’

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Published: Sunday, Dec. 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Fusion energy is a financial black hole. Fission energy is both the short-term answer and the long-term answer. Most people don't realize how close we came to an energy revolution, only to be shut down by crisis-mongering politicians.

Argonne National Laboratories developed the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) in the 80s and 90s. It addressed the major impediments to more widespread adoption of nuclear power. It's core was inherently incapable of meltdown. It could use spent fuel rods from conventional reactors as fuel, reducing the high-level radioactive components to low-level waste. It prevented improper access to nuclear materials. Even though it was a fast reactor, it never produced isolated plutonium. It did not require a pressurized containment vessel. Had we proceeded down that path, we would have no need for windmills, solar arrays, or coal-burning power plants.

But Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and others determined that this was not the path forward and cancelled the project in the mid-90s. Should fusion become feasible, I expect politicians would cancel it also.

Salt Lake City, UT

Well said George, as usual, and I agree completely.

To think our entire country spends less than 1/20th of the money on the research to develop and practicalize this crucially important technology than the poor benighted and misguided tax-payers of California are spending on a "high-speed" rail line is worse than pathetic. It is inexcusable!

There are, obviously, an almost inconceivable number of extremely important things on which our country spends its (and its creditor's) money. Tossing a few of the many billions of dollars wasted, or stolen through fraud, on the many much less deserving current expenditure, toward this fundamentally important endeavor makes all the sense in the world. And, if/when it succeeds, it would have a beneficial effect that is incalculable.

So, the sooner we get our priorities straight on this one, the better.

Houston, TX

The prospects of fusion are enormous, but where are we going to find the dilithium crystals to store this vast reservoir of energy?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

“the fusion project is a perfect example of a public good the private sector cannot pursue and the public sector should not slight.”

Reading this article and especially the quote above felt as cathartic as when Darth Vader threw the Emperor down that shaft and returned to the “good side”… welcome back George!

And he’s right… scientists are almost universal in their agreement that in 100 years from now the sun will be our primary source of energy and will have profound effects on everything from climate change to sustainable economic growth to poverty, etc….

The important question for us is can we reduce the “go live” time frame down a few decades and perhaps be witnesses to this Earth changing event?

We should hope so…

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

What, a conservative admitting that the Government has a role to play in a project that cannot really be done by the private sector! My heart be still!

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