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Fusion: Our 1st, best and only hope
Posted By Pat Boone On 04/09/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Life is so wonderful. Just when you think you may have experienced virtually everything you’re going to, something may pop up so unexpectedly, so “out of the box,” that it opens a door to new possibilities or exciting new opportunities. At least it’s been like that with me.
I’m a singer, an author, a businessman, a regular though multi-dimensional guy, but I’m certainly not a scientist. I’m aware, like you surely are, that the world is in serious, serious trouble when it comes to our energy needs. We cannot go on depending on fossil fuel, because there’s a finite supply and it adds to environmental problems. And absolutely no known alternative can do more than scratch the surface. Even nuclear energy, with all its power, has just demonstrated the dark side of its potential.
But that’s nuclear fission. I’ve just been learning about nuclear fusion.
They are vastly different. And the latter, nuclear fusion, is the answer. It has much greater proven power potential – and none of the negatives. Let me explain what I’ve learned. And I’ve learned it from people who know.
World population is projected to rise to over 9.5 billion people by the year 2050. Much of this increase will take place in developing nations. The citizens in these developing nations, along with those of established high-density population nations like China and India , have an absolute right and desire to increase their standard of living to the level of the Western world. Due to the proliferation of the Internet and frequent travel, populations can no longer be subjugated by corrupt regimes and kept from demanding the good things of life. And moral-centric nations like America and Israel feel impelled to help them achieve these things. It’s truly in our nature. But how?
The fundamental ingredient required to support mankind is energy. If other nations are to enjoy our standard of living, they will require energy resources equivalent to those consumed in the United States and the West, in ratio to their populations..Today the population of the U.S. is slightly more than 300 million, or 4.4 percent of the world’s peoples. Yet America consumes 28 percent of world energy production. So for the rest of the world to rise to anything like our standard of living, we’d have to increase world energy production by 15 times.
Energy production from fossil fuels, by most estimates, has peaked in terms of capacity. We will run out of oil. So a new, much higher flux density source of energy must be found and developed. There is only one realistic source. That is the direct conversion of mass into energy based on Albert Einstein’s law, E=MC2. This law teaches us that a very small amount of matter – even one gram – can be converted into a very large amount of energy equivalent to the burning of 2,500 gallons of gasoline!
So why keep on drilling for energy? Energy is all around us. And the key is described in the opening verse of the Bible. It’s the very energy of creation, what many scientists describe as “the big bang,” in which indescribable energy erupted from solid mass – and formed the universe as we now know it. Through nuclear fusion.
Can we utilize it? Yes. Has it been tested? Yes. It’s the same process by which thermonuclear warheads work. Isn’t anything nuclear dangerous? Not necessarily. We’re not considering nuclear plants that operate on the principal of fission, the ones that have been functioning in the U.S. and Europe for over 50 years, currently providing Europe 35 percent of its power. As Japan has just shown us, fission has serious drawbacks. It requires expensive, highly radioactive fuels such as uranium and plutonium, which are dangerous and highly sought after by black marketers and terrorist organizations … with deadly intentions.
Fission also produces dangerous radioactive waste, with a half life of 25,000 years. And, as seen in Fukushima and Chernobyl, a fission reactor can melt down under certain circumstances, releasing enormous radioactivity and even explosion.
By contrast, fusion has none of these dangerous drawbacks. It uses simple hydrogen isotopes from the ocean for fuel. It produces virtually no long-term radioactive waste. It cannot go critical, leading to a chain reaction explosion. And there is an abundant source of fuel to power the world for millions of years, if necessary. As an added bonus, fusion produces 1,000 times more energy per gram of matter than fission!
Why hasn’t this been done? It should have been, and almost was. In 1980 the Congress overwhelmingly passed the Magnetic Fusion Energy Engineering Act, signed by President Carter. The goal was to have demonstration reactors by 1995, and reactors actually feeding the American power grid by 2005. What happened? Nothing. Other things “came up,” and the Act was never funded to a level high enough to achieve its goals. Since then, the science has been virtually shoved aside and forgotten by the public and our leaders.
Are there any other answers, any easier or safer “renewable” energy sources? No. Collectively, all the solar, hydro, tidal, biofuel, geothermal and wind energy sources combined can produce only 4 percent of the projected world energy requirements of 2050, for a population of 9.5 billion.
Fusion is the only possible solution.
How do we achieve it? The U.S. and Israel, with its tremendous scientists, must immediately commission a serious fusion development program, with the same military-like efficiency and focus of a war effort – which it surely is.
We can use shale oil and natural gas reserves to bridge the gap, buying the time necessary to bring fusion to commercial utilization. How much time? That depends on the funding and the sense of urgency, but it may take $25 billion and as much as 10 years, but it is possible in less.
We’re clearly living on borrowed time – if we want to preserve life as we’ve known it, America must be even more insistent about developing nuclear fusion than we have about restoring constitutional government and a sane economy. And we’ve got to begin now.
I’ll write more about this later, while I’m learning more myself. But I’m certain this nuclear fusion is nature’s choice for energy, the very essence of Creation itself. And it’s our only hope.
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