The standard joke about clean power from nuclear fusion is that it’s about 30 years away and it always will be. Given this state of affairs, I had pretty much given up on the fusion story happening this century. This made the gloomy prognostication about our ravenous energy future and its attendant carbon burden all the more depressing. Then Matt turned me on to this Long Now talk on fusion research at Lawrence Livermore. In it, Ed Moses of the National Ignition Facility talks about the remarkable progress being made toward a net positive fusion burn: Clean Fusion Power This Decade. Give it a listen. I found it very encouraging.
One decade… Maybe at last we’ve gone from fusion energy being forever 30 years away to the exciting prospect that fusion energy is instead forever 10 years away. Still, that’s progress!