Despite the hype, we shouldn’t bank on nuclear fusion to save the world from climate catastrophe « Antinuclear

The trouble is that we have been presented with such visions many times before. In 1958, Sir John Cockcroft claimed his Zeta fusion project would supply the world with “an inexhaustible supply of fuel”. It didn’t. In 1989, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced they had achieved fusion using simple laboratory equipment, work that made global headlines but which has never been replicated.

To this list you can also add the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), a huge facility being built in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in Provence, France, that was supposed to achieve fusion by 2023 but which is over 10 years behind schedule and tens of billions of dollars over budget.

In each case, it was predicted that the construction of the first commercially viable nuclear fusion plants was only a decade or two away and would transform our lives. Those hopes never materialized and have led to a weary cynicism spreading among hacks and scientists. As they now joke: “Fusion is 30 years away – and always will be.”

Despite the hype, we shouldn’t bank on nuclear fusion to save the world from climate catastrophe « Antinuclear