Star Struck

The endless race for fusion energy pits a giant reactor in France against two upstarts in North America.

In the still and silent scrublands of Provence, France, near a 1,000-year-old castle that overlooks two rivers, 3,500 scientists from countries that represent over half of the world’s population are about to start work on ITER, a device as grand as its ambitions: a $15 billion, aircraft-carrier-size reactor built to withstand a fire that will burn at 100 million degrees and prove, finally, whether fusion, the energy that powers the sun and stars, can be harnessed.

In a small shop on the outskirts of Vancouver, B.C., a plasma physicist and a staff of seven, armed only with a credible idea, a sprinkling of venture capital and the important-sounding name of General Fusion, thinks it can outrace the world’s fusion scientists with a far cheaper and simpler reactor.

Star Struck (Forbes)