What if fusion became commercial?
Nuclear fusion, says Stephen Hawking, could “provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming”. The technology’s promises are many, but how would the arrival of commercial fusion affect the design of our energy system?
The first thing to note is that while the fuel (hydrogen) will be free, the plant itself will not. Whichever technology ends up on the market first—centralised like the ITER project or decentralised like the ones Lockheed Martin or General Fusion are pursuing—commercial fusion will be a capital-intensive, low-operational-cost business. In that sense, it resembles a typical renewable energy plant of today.
Step into the nuclear future (The Economist – GE Look Ahead)