Nuclear Fusion: Is this finally jam tomorrow?

Everyone remembers the promise of the White Queen to Alice in Through the Looking Glass: “…..the rule is: jam tomorrow and jam yesterday-but never jam today.” Children of the nineteen sixties and every subsequent decade will remember the same promise for nuclear fusion: it’s just around the corner, it’ll be an endless supply of cheap clean energy, the living standards of the world will step change……..” and so on, and so on.

So news of yet another exciting breakthrough [1] US Lab stands on the threshold of key nuclear fusion goal” by Paul Rincon for the BBC has once again caused us to utter the hackneyed words “oh yeah?” It’s not that we don’t want controlled nuclear fusion. It’s just that we’ve sat around wanting it since 1973 (really, some of go back that far) Good luck to the hard working experts who are still plugging away at it. But they may be missing a trick.

Because sitting close to us is a free source of illimitable controlled nuclear fusion. It’s called the Sun. It already provides abundant power, as anyone with a solar panel will tell you. It drives the winds which turn all those lovely turbines. God help us, it even put the energy in all that filthy coal and oil which ignorant people so love to burn. Wouldn’t a little money poured into tapping that pay better dividends, at least in the medium term?

One day controlled fusion will arrive. But we think the timescale is so long that there is more chance of the White Queen redeeming her pledge to Alice first. Meanwhile, let’s use what we’ve got. It’s so much easier.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58252784

#nuclearfusion #renewables #solarpower #cleanenergy #globalwarming #thesun

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