Fusion is the future
Editor, Gettysburg Times,
According to the California Policy Center (CPC), we have plenty of fossil fuels. If the world doubled its energy consumption, and only burned fossil fuels that have already been extracted, we would have enough fuel for the next 50 years. This is a strange argument, as 50 years is certainly not much time considering how little work humanity has done to switch to renewable energy sources. I do not expect humanity to perish in the next century, so what will happen when our fossil fuels are gone? The CPC states that as of 2020, 83% of the world’s energy is generated with fossil fuels. So, will we be able to sustain ourselves by 2100? Well, what if there was an energy source that was practically inexhaustible, and provided limitless 99% clean energy? Allow me to introduce: Nuclear Fusion.
There are two kinds of nuclear reactions that create energy: nuclear fissure, and nuclear fusion. Modern nuclear reactors use Uranium fissure to heat water, make steam, and generate energy. Nuclear fusion, however, only takes place in two locations: sophisticated laboratories, and the sun. The World Nuclear Association states, “In the sun, massive gravitational forces create the right conditions for fusion, but on Earth they are much harder to achieve… different isotopes of hydrogen – must be heated to extreme temperatures of the order of 50 million degrees Celsius and must be kept stable under intense pressure.” This kind of incomprehensible heat can only be created using plasma lasers, and for the last 60 years, researchers have been attempting to achieve a net energy gain from nuclear fusion (Generating more energy than what was put in). On December 5th, 2022, this was performed successfully. Humanity has taken its next step in history; we have harnessed the power of the Sun.
Nuclear fusion is still very young in its success. The BBC is not sure yet when nuclear fusion will be ready to be commercialized and used by the public. Some experts are predicting about 20 years, and Jon Amos from the BBC supports this: “Fusion is not a solution to get us to 2050 net zero. This is a solution to power society in the second half of this century.” Nuclear Fusion is no miracle fix. It will still take time, money, and research before fusion can replace fossil fuels. We are making good progress, so let’s use our momentum and keep advancing!
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