Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pro-Fusion

Hoo-ray! At Last it looks like we might be taking realistic steps to deal with the energy crisis and go some way to combat global warming in a practical way.
It’s probably not fair to suggest that this is the start of something entirely new because scientists and other authorities have no doubt been beavering away for years to make today’s announcement of an international cooperative project to develop a programme to produce energy by nuclear fusion a practical reality. But thus far this public have not been involved very much until this moment .
Now we know what’s happening we can all step forward to encourage the project by letting our MPs and other folk who speak for us know we’re behind it and want to see it succeed. I intend to write to my MP today. So at least he’ll be aware of this. Could I ask you to do the same – even if you disagree with me, at least it will raise the level of debate.



Glowing plasma inside a fusion test reactor (Image: Princeton Particle Physics Laboratory)
Of course there will be resistance. On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, they wheeled out Friends of the Earth’s Roger Hinkman to whinge about it but luckily he was unable to raise any convincing objections and the pro-fusion spokesperson was conciliatory and sensible enough to affirm that we also need to make more progress in the development and encouragement of renewables – wave, wind, solar, geo-thermal etc – alongside fusion.[And let’s not forget the still tangled mystery of such phenomena as cold fusion.] But it is clear that there will be huge campaigns by well-meaning Luddites who really object on philosophical grounds rather than for any genuine ecological or economic reasons. They may have valid viewpoints but they cannot be allowed to stymie every positive step forward by raising petty objections thus adding years to each painful stage in progress. Let’s have an upfront debate at the outset, come to some mutually acceptable way forward and seize it with enthusiasm. [Am I sounding a bit like Trotsky or Mao?]
Maybe it’s now time to boost the advancement of renewables and fusion by discouraging the use of oil and coal etc with progressive taxes that will phase them out gradually. We will need to develop a strategy for helping the developing regions of the globe to do the same. It’s seems that most of our major UK political parties are climbing on board this bandwagon. Again they need encouragement.
Of course, the underlying problem of population control needs to be introduced into this arena, but there are lots of religious and other groups who do not wish to face up to this one, but until they do the problems will continue to escalate. As the population grows, the more resources we need, the more land we occupy, the more other species are threatened, the more the natural order will become unbalanced, the hungrier we will all get etc etc etc.
But let’s leave that one for another day…


USEFUL LINKS
http://www.jet.efda.org/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6165932.stm
http://www.nuclearfusion.com/
http://www.nuclearfusion.com/

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