May 25, 2022

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There is still a long way to go before nuclear fusion, but Draghi says otherwise. And newspapers are using misunderstandings to push the corn

There is no point in succumbing to any illusions, nuclear fusion will not remove the chestnut from the fire either in relation to the goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions or, let alone, as a factor in diversifying energy supplies in a hypothetical “detachment” from Russia and its countries. Gas. Illusions will do well even if they don’t exist Mario Draghi Even in his speech in Parliament last year March 7 “With regard to nuclear power, technical and economic efforts are focused on magnetic confinement fusion, which is the only currently feasible way to build commercial reactors capable of providing electricity in an economical and sustainable way. The European strategy for fusion energy has been developed by the Eurofusion Consortium, which manages Euratom funds with more than 500 million for the period between 2021 and 2025. This consortium expects to start operating a prototype fusion reactor in 2025-28“.

After Eurofusion Program Manager Tony Doni He recently stated “to nuclear fusion There was always ten years leftExplain how, realistically, times are much longer. The most serious and advanced project they are involved in 35 countriesis the reactor eter in the south of France. You have raised investments for more than 22 billion dollars and if all goes well, it will be connected to the network in 2035 When it will be able to supply power equal to that of a small coal-fired power plant (But the reactor construction was temporarily suspended due to the need for some checks on the reinforced concrete structure).

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But there was a strong commercialization of nuclear power after that private companies They are starting to throw themselves into a sector that was once almost exclusively public. In search of the Holy Grail of energy, giants like Google or Goldman Sachs Which fund some of the approx Today 60 private companies conduct research in this field. Public-private collaboration is a good and functional way to make faster progress in research also thanks to the multiplicity of approaches to solving the same problem. But it also introduces another logic to the system. “Talking about tight deadlines attracts capitalDonne explained to the scientific journal nature. There is also at stake Eni who owns the majority stake from the United States Commonwealth Fusion SystemsIt is the company that has so far raised the financing 550 million dollars. Former CEO of Eni, now Vice President of Rothschild BankPaolo Scaroni he said to printing: Who knows what the second thoughts of other European countries are and what France is doing? Reflection reopened here too“.

that of timing It is the number one misunderstanding that pushes politicians and newspapers for nuclear work. The second is Deliberate confusion between fission (currently used in power plants) and nuclear fusion. Completely different techniques, including in terms of risks. Fusion generates energy from matter that “progresses” after two atoms are united, and fission is the opposite of their splitting. merger Does not produce radioactive waste and obstetric process Easily stop to improve safety. The problem is that fusion takes place in a plasma that has to reach very high temperatures, well above those in the Sun, so to speak. How do you control this luminous substance? First of all, with magnetic forces that in turn require a lot of energy. In the current state the techniques available to manage this process are used More energy for what is produced. The headlines that appeared in many newspapers after Draghi’s words played a large role in the misunderstanding of fusion and fission: “Draghi clears nuclear customs. The Prime Minister’s announcement is a turning point,” wrote the paper March 10 last. On the same day, he wrote: “The nuclear plan appears.” Prophet While Morning (also from Caltagirone publishers) “Draghi opens up to nuclear power”. news Similar reports mentioned “Draghi switches to nuclear power”.

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