How Do Y'all Feel About Nuclear Fusion?

I was just wondering, I have mixed feelings myself, but lord knows we need a quick bridge technology to get us off fossil fuels…

And if 'ya missed it, we have done a fusion reaction now in a lab, it wasn’t sustained though…


I had a friend in high school who was raving about that stuff. It’d be the future, he said. I’m still patiently waiting… article is from feb 2014. Still waiting… and waiting…

What we need to do, is getting rid of coal/gas/petroleum in order to reduce our Co2 footprint.

Whether that’s via solar or wind or fission or fusion doesn’t matter much on the short term. But solar/wind cannot sustain the masses on the short term, and fusion can’t either since it isn’t ready yet. So it is going to be fission, supported by some solar/wind.

We already got nuclear power (fission) available, right now, but it has a bad name (which is partly justified). But it is less bad than coal/gas/petroleum. Thorium might be a more suitable alternative on the short term as well.


What makes you think fission is remotely safe? You do know about the ramifications of fukushima, right?

And solar and wind couldn’t provide enough juice right now, at least not without new batteries we don’t yet have. Fusion is more likely to come first, as we have been working on it longer…

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I’m a 100% against nuclear energy of any kind. We don’t need to develop more technologies that will cause nuclear waste that we don’t know how to get rid of and that will probably be used in weapons of mass destruction.
If we wanted to we could build enough real clean power plants to be off of fossil fuels in a few years.


Especially if there would be the same amount of taxpayers’ money available for “clean” or rather sustainable energy, as there was and still is for coal and nuclear energy. Not to mention the amount of money that will be needed to get rid of the existing nuclear power plants.

*I put “clean” energy in quotes, as every kind of power plant has it’s “stains”, like bird strikes by wind turbines.


If you fear about ramifications of Fukushima, weapons or nuclear waste in the context of fusion, you should do some more reading, e.g.
Unless of course you already know more than came across from those answers :wink:

In fusion they create Helium out of Hydrogen. Those are not long-lived radioactive end products. There is some problem with the neutrons created in the process, that’s true.
And the fusion plasma is “instable” in the sense that it collapses when “something goes wrong” so you don’t get a nuclear meltdown.

Edit: ok, somehow I missed the part where Thorium fission entered the game, simply overlooked it, sorry :frowning:


There are some places in the world where a traditional fission reactor isn’t a good place. Fukushima was one of them.

Traditional fission isn’t remotely safe but it is better for Co2 footprint than the other broadly used current defaults (coal/gas/petroleum). We need to stop with coal/gas/petroleum for our environment’s sake. We cannot stop right away, obviously (e.g. I don’t see solar or nuclear powered airplanes any time soon), but we need to work towards dismantling our dependence on these.

Is fission the best on the long term? No, but thorium is more safe than the current fission options. Solar is becoming more scalable thanks to the Chinese dumping it on our markets. Wind isn’t space efficient though, and water is very local. Fusion is not available, end of story. I’d rather see more fission and less coal/gas/petroleum right now than keeping coal/gas/petroleum in use.

And that’s fission based on thorium. See the TEDx talk I linked. The molten reactors don’t require water to cool, they use salt and are far smaller and therefore more easily available, cheaper, and due to smaller size (and not requiring water) also more safe. They are prime minister safe because a nefarious prime minister cannot fiddle with it to cause a large nuclear fallout. The same is true for a nefarious engineer or terrorist. Both is due to the size. The waste lasts less long (300 years), and the old waste can be mixed with thorium in the molten reactors reducing the end product waste to 300 years.

For these reasons, thorium fission reactors are a logical step for our current position in history.

PS: I’m also all for more research in fusion as well though.


I don´t think fusion is the better solution. Even if we had it already, it anyway would cost money to keep it going. Who of us ever forced companies like Tepco or others “not” to invest enough money to keep the entire plant save and have regularly inspected and if needed repaired (properly)? How come there are always critical issues found at every inspection no matter at which plant? How come many of them are found regularly not being fixed for sure? Fusion does not look like being a cheaper alternative. I would not rely on persons in power to do a better job with running fusion than they have shown up to now with fission.

It´s always been told nuclear power was so “cheap and clean”. Cheap! Surely not here in Germany. Right after Denmark we have the most expensive price on electricity.

25cents/KWh usual non-ecologic (imported from french atomic plants). It can go up to 30 cents if ecologically produced. Just ridiculous high. “” Clean! Well, this don´t need any further statements…
While all this major discussion about electricity going on I always have to wonder how come ecological electricity in Norway can be so cheap. And still they have enough free capacity, they could backup Europe with about 20 GWatts. “

This as often belongs to the so called “little known facts””.

I agree, every single remain has to be searched for, after a disaster. A meltdown would be more easily located…

I am for more hydroelectric-power We have more than sufficient water recourses. The mass won´t increase or decrease. It can only change its aggregate state. It is almost independent of seasons, day/night, sun etc. As with nuclear and other power plants the electricity needs to be transported. So no differents unless we find a clean solution for this as well.
I believe this would do the least sustainable environmental impact. For all the money which was spent on research for atomic power, waste treatment and distaster control there could have been built and operated quite a lot more hydro-electric power plants in the world despite its lower efficiency in comparison but never the less much cleaner.

In a survey which type of power generation should be built, I probably would had voted for hydro-electric.

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The link to those prices points to an article that’s already 5 years old. Here is new data:

But you have to take into account taxes etc.
If you look at still Germany in number 2 after Denmark, but a lot is taxes (visible in the diagram). Without that it looks quite different, i.e. cost of production look like for several European countries.

Im no expert but since a year ago we as a family of two people became energetically indipendent with solar energy and lead-free batteries.
I do think that solar and wind, whose cost halved in the last five years, can totally replace any fossil or nuclear source. Its on Germany whishlist within the next 20 years.
Maybe we should try to educate people about where their energy comes from, just like Fairphone does on an even more technological level.


Yeah, and that’s a great achievement of you but a lot of people rent their housing, and good luck buying a house in a capital city or SFO, and, second: 20 years is a long time. Plus those Tesla batteries and the like? They’ll wear out.

My uncle lives in a boat in the middle of Amsterdam, if he wants to power hydro-electric then he’ll have an ROI in like 15 years or so (his neighbor did it). That’s how expensive and unrewarding it is. Energy is very expensive in The Netherlands as well, can’t compete with Chinese cryptominers.

We do yearly reassessments of our insurances & water/electricity/gas, to go for cheap yet green deals based on our usage (we also got subscriptions for public transport). I can highly recommend at least that (and we use Consumentenbond for that, YMMV). We even do it for our parents as well but it costs us yearly a good Sunday afternoon, and some people barely have leisure time as it is. Other comparison websites use your personal data. So once again, free is relative.

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This is a good thing for people having a selection. People living in rent often don´t have the choice. Here in Germany we may choose for electricity and gas. Not for water, the supplier for this city/region is the only available. Gas only in some cases. If there is an administration for the apartment/building they often don´t care as they don´t have to pay the price but all renters.
Anyway an annual change for electricity is mandatory here. There is always a slight drift on the market which can be beneficial for households. Does not make sense to sign a contract lasting for over one year. Specifically as you won´t earn any further bonus in the second year lowering the overall price.
At the end I tend to believe that we don´t have too much influence in how much of our money goes into research of alternative energy sources. If you take a look at the chart
it seems completely mixed. No specific rule to make out between the overall price and the amount of tax compared among all listed countries. Could also be the result of a dice.

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As a answer to the birds thematic of wind turbines: Cats (not the wild ones, the cats we have at home) are killing way more birds only for fun soooo… :smiley:

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Yeah I get what you mean, in Italy we have lots of sun and still have good tax savings for solar in our house, but I guess every EU country has its own policies.I tend to think its more a question of national priorities than of technology and costs, and of the role of the legacy power market.

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(Changed the topic title to save people some time who wanted to talk about music or cooking or …)


True; just 2 points:
1st: I mentioned it only to illustrate, that there is no such thing as “clean” energy, because every energy production has it’s downsides.
2nd: In fact the overpopulation of cats is already threatening the population of some songbirds; still, they hardly ever catch birds of prey or storks (and I know, that more birds of prey are dying of lead ammunition or are being killed by passing high-speed trains and cars).

Your conclusion is correct obviously, if you always are looking out for the cheaapest green energy on the market. Do you include every offer into that search/comparison, like tariffs by Vattenfall, EON and the like?
To me, there is just a limited choice, as I only accept suppliers of electricity, that don’t sell coal or nuclear power as well. And they should clearly state what they are doing for the developement/building of new sustainable power plants.
Especially suppliers certified with the OK+ label (Germany)

That way you have more influence where your money goes and what it is used for; although it might be more expensive.

It’s comparable to Fairphone.
You could chose an IPhone and have the good feeling, that according to the latest Greenpeace report, you have chosen a phone, that is built using renewable energy only.
But you can chose a Fairphone and have the even better feeling that you have chosen a phone, that is being produced with all steps of the prodution process in mind when aiming for fairness (social, ecological, operational …)


Very interesting.
Most of them are not listed at all by well known comparison databases not even when pure green energy is selected. (I was not so amused reading the name Prokon here though).

Looks as a basic form of greenwashing to me…hence I have my first ever smartphone FP2.


Not so sure about that.
My guess would rather be, that this is compatible to the lifestyle of their target group. More a kind of “Silicon Valley” thing. Therefore it might really be conviction.
Tax and other business reasons should not be disregarded as possible explanations though. :wink:

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For reference:

In my opinion, the main issue that we have to solve is waste. We have to reduce and reuse it.
We have to build a society that use resources whithout abusing them.
Renewable energy is a solution only if we found ways to reduce the need of energy itself: optimizing the technologies that we already have and thinking about it building the future ones.

P.S. I’m happy that the FairPhone community discuss about something that is not just a product, but about ideas.