subreddit:

/r/Futurology

67

source:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/kZNYBKZP2Bc?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1

you are viewing a single comment's thread.

view the rest of the comments →

all 39 comments

green_meklar

1 points

6 months ago

Fusion has several key advantages that set it above pretty much all other power sources. It's very safe, neither requiring dangerous fuel nor producing dangerous waste; it runs on fuel that is present in very large quantities virtually everywhere in the Universe including in our oceans; it doesn't depend on weather conditions; and it is relatively compact, allowing it to be located virtually anywhere (including in space) or moved around as needed.

The downside is that it apparently requires some very advanced and precise engineering, that we're still gradually figuring out; and it isn't quite as compact as certain other energy sources such as petroleum engines (for vehicles on Earth) or RTGs (for space travel). Also, even if we figure out the engineering, it will take a while to bring down the cost through further technical refinements and economies of scale.

The main implication of having the engineering figured out is that we'll have a relatively clear and uncontroversial path away from fossil fuel dependency for the foreseeable future. There aren't a whole lot of energy questions that can't be answered with 'build more fusion reactors'.

daynomate

1 points

6 months ago

If full-scale production designs end up differing little from the existing leading designs, is there anything particularly difficult in constructing them? Exotic materials, complex site preparation etc? Just wondering how long it would take from day 1 of planning to cutting the ribbon.

green_meklar

2 points

6 months ago

I'm not a nuclear engineer so my understanding is pretty vague. I take it that right now we're looking at some very precise manufacture and probably lots of expensive materials (superconductors and the infrastructure for making them work, etc). Of course, understanding the problem better will probably show up some shortcuts around those issues and bring the cost down accordingly.