Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What's French for nuclear fusion?

An interesting story in the Times: "France won an international competition today to be the site of the world's first nuclear fusion reactor, an estimated $12 billion project that many scientists see as essential to solving the world's future energy needs."

It's not so much that France won the competition that matters -- however galling (De Gaulling?) that may be to those of us with Francosceptic inclinations -- but rather the fact that the six members of the international consortium (U.S., Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the E.U.) have finally put aside their differences (and their bickering) to launch what could turn out to be a revolutionary development in energy generation -- and a long-term solution to many of the world's most pressing problems. It may take several decades for nuclear fusion to achieve anything in the way of commercial success, but it certainly makes sense for the international community to cooperate with an eye to that future.

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  • Apparently, according to a conspiracy theorist friend, good ol' renewable hemp that is illegal to grow in the US (this I did not know and can not confirm) is an excellent, renewable source for most energy needs. Good for paper, fabric, and oil. Since it is such a resilient crop, so says my friend, it does not need pesticides and pesticides use petroleum (like corn does!). Very tricky. I'd rather hemp than atoms.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:10 PM  

  • I also think that this consortium did have a generally like mind (although, for obvious reasons to some, not in correspondence with my own mindset...) toward a dislike of France, perhaps? If any of 'em are going to go "kablooey" secondary to a fusion mishap, might as well be on the turf of someone the rest of the team doesn't like so much???

    Or, more appropriately, France got the vote because they are, as a whole, much more experienced with nuclear power than the rest of the world, and already have the capacity and infrastructure to implement such a plan.

    As an aside to Micheal - I don't seem to be getting famous here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:48 PM  

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