Thanks to a couple of readers who have alerted me to a new article published on the Medium site by Brian Bergstien titled “Finally, Fusion Power Is About to Become a Reality”
The article catalogs many of the problems that fusion projects have had to deal with over the decades. Designing, testing, redesigning has been very expensive and time consuming, and sometimes funding gets dropped suddenly (as happened in 2012 when the US Department of Energy suddenly quit supporting a fusion project at MIT.
However, the article paints an optimistic picture, reporting that there are many startups now working on new approaches to fusion power, trying to solve old problems with new approaches. For example, a MIT group has the idea using a layer of molten salt to absorb neutrons in order to preserve the lifetime of the steel container.
After reading the article, I don’t really get the sense that, as the title suggests, fusion power is about to come a reality. There are different teams working hard in the field but all are still very much in the fundraising and/or R&D stage. The earliest demonstration would seem to be at least six years away; one company, named Commonwealth Fusion Systems, does intend to demonstrate fusion power by 2025.