If the processes powering the fusion reactor at the Sun's core could be recreated on Earth, it would be one of the most important events in the history of our species. Nuclear fusion power plants could end our dependency on fossil fuels and provide a virtually limitless, highly efficient source of clean energy. We went to two of the world's leading nuclear fusion research centers—Sandia National Labs in New Mexico and General Fusion outside Vancouver—to see how close we are to bringing the power of the stars down to Earth.
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- Phare Ouest, Radio Canada with Marie Villeneuve:
General Fusion Chief Science Officer Michel Laberge spoke to Marie Villeneuve on Radio Canada's Phare Ouest French-language program about fusion energy, private fusion companies and the latest research being presented at the 2017 Exploratory Plasma and Fusion Research Workshop in Vancouver this week. (Interview in French):
La recherche du plasma et de la fusion nucléaire permet de développer une source d'énergie propre, sécuritaire et illimitée. Des chercheurs sont présentement réunis à Vancouver pour partager leur expertise en la matière. Les explications de Michel Laberge, fondateur de General Fusion de Burnaby en Colombie-Britannique
- Early Edition, CBC Radio Vancouver with Gloria Macarenko:
General Fusion CTO Michael Delage spoke to Gloria Macarenko on CBC Radio's Early Edition about fusion energy, private fusion companies and the latest research being presented at the 2017 Exploratory Plasma and Fusion Research Workshop in Vancouver this week.
- The SPACE Channel:
Dr. Michel Laberge and Dr. Mark Henderson (ITER Organization) speak to the SPACE Channel about the new documentary Let There Be Light. Alongside the film's director, Mila Aung-Thwin, the trio entertained audiences at Toronto's Hot Docs Film Festival with a Q&A session following the screening of the film.
- Bryson Masse, VICE Motherboard:
In the suburbs of Vancouver, a team is working on what they think is humanity's best chance at clean, unlimited power, something we desperately need. A startup called General Fusion is building a nuclear fusion reactor and, if they succeed, it could mean the end of the fossil fuel era. Instead, we'd get our power from the same process that occurs in stars—at least, that's the dream.
- Quirks & Quarks, CBC Radio with Bob McDonald:
The Hot Docs International Documentary Festival is underway in Toronto this weekend. In it's line-up is a documentary about nuclear fusion called Let There Be Light. It's about the feasibility of fusion as a carbon-free source of energy.
The film explores two different approaches to achieving this holy grail. One is the very large scale, twenty billion dollar project called ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), which is currently under construction in France.
ITER is described by Dr. Mark Henderson, the project's Microwave Heating System leader, as the largest ever scientific enterprise in the the world. The other is the much lower cost fusion research by the Burnaby, British Columbia company General Fusion, founded by Dr. Michel Laberge.
- Daniel Clery, Science Magazine
When finally complete in 2025, the $20 billion fusion reactor called ITER, rising near Cadarache in France, will be seven stories tall. Even then, nothing guarantees that it can induce nuclei to fuse and release energy. Now, a small U.K. company has unveiled a 2-meter-tall chamber that looks like an oversized beer keg and cost about £10 million to develop. Using a different reactor shape than ITER and, eventually, superconducting magnets, the company says it has a cheaper and faster path to an energy-producing fusion reaction. It is not alone. A few other privately financed startups are also challenging the status quo and two in North America are building new machines in the next few years that aim to get close to the break-even point, where the energy generated equals the energy put into the system.