Hurdles to Fusion
Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor.
A Quora post from earlier this year is gaining visibility on social media platforms. The post asks and tries to answer what has been keeping us from making a viable fusion reactor. It cites a half dozen barriers that have proven difficult to overcome. Three can be grouped as communication issues, with the other three as funding issues.
The communication issues cover public ignorance, poor communication from the scientific community and over hyped claims. People are generally unaware of fusion power, its potential and of current research efforts. It’s not a topic that garners mainstream media attention. Most folks don’t seek out such news. The lack of accessible communication from the fusion community exacerbates this knowledge gap. Time consumed by research and technical publication leaves little attention for public outreach. Lastly, lofty projections that prove difficult to achieve inure the public to further information. It’s a common cycle in the insanely difficult pursuit of fusion power.
Here at The Focus Fusion Society we try and alleviate all three of these shortcomings. We try to provide information in a clear and accessible manner. Our reporting covers recent achievements in fusion research. The difficulties projects encounter in their pursuit are emphasized. Fusion is hard. Achieving a viable fusion power plant won’t be easy or quick. Yet the potential for global transformation continues to inspire brilliant researchers.
These brilliant researchers need funding to investigate their ideas. Since their work lacks revenue, project funding for salaries and job security is always at risk. The public sector is the source of much funding. Governments and politicians annually evaluate the application of funds. Tweaking or eliminating project budgets besets most programs. Making a cogent argument for continued fusion funding can be challenging in the face of modern alternative power sources and growing wind and solar options.
Our recent post highlighting private funding shows what some projects have been able to achieve in spite of these financial hurdles. The LPPFusion investment round is approaching their goal. Hopefully great things result.