TODAY: Toad’s new fad- nuclear fusion
Sadly, in this age of omnipresent Disney characters, it is rare to see the whimsical children’s favoutites of last century. Mr Toad, of the Wind in the Willows, was a great favourite. Lovable, but foolish, he entertained with his enthusiastic obsessions for new technology, inevitably ending himself in trouble. Luckily those surrounding him saw through his follies, and helped him scrape out.
Not so lovable, today’s technical experts come up with new nuclear gimmicks, and the media fawn over them.
Today I find news item after news item, whether it be in print, radio TV or social media – extolling the wonder of the latest nuclear fusion breakthrough.
Wow! It will be boundless, super-clean, cheap electricity for all of us! We can hardly wait – to spend $squillions of tax-payer funding to produce this planet-saving marvel!
I tell you – you gotta scour through a heap of information to find these little scraps of thoughtful knowledge:
- The lasers creating the nuclear fusion emitted 2.05 megajoules, but they took about 500 megajoules of energy to power,
- the actual experiment made a tiny net gain of 1.1 megajoules of energy. (Expert Gordon Edwards estimates that a typical household averages 273 megajoules per day).
- it will take at least 20-30 years to have a prototype fusion reactor in operation, even if things go quite well, and more decades will be required to scale it up to a commercial level.
- fusion reactors will not produce high-level nuclear waste, but will release an enormous amount of tritium (radioactive hydrogen) to the environment.
- the structural materials in a fusion reactor will become very radioactive. The decommissioning wastes will remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years
Posted by Christina Macpherson |
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