I got to talking to the people at the Fusion Power Station, a company that has just received a $250 million loan from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build the world’s first commercially viable fusion power facility.
The company is building the reactor at its own facility in Texas, with an initial cost of $2.9 billion, and is aiming to build 20 MW of power by 2023.
Fusion Power’s first reactor was the original GE Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant which produced electricity for the UK for several decades.
The plant in question, the Somerset Nuclear Generating Station, produced between 0.4 and 1.4 terawatts of power for the United Kingdom, and it was decommissioned in 2002.
Now, Fusion Power is trying to build its own fusion reactor.
“We’ve got a couple of reactors in the pipeline,” says Eric Henson, president of Fusion Power.
“One of them is under construction in New Mexico.
The other is in Georgia, so we’re still in the very early phases of our design and construction.”
Fusion Power isn’t the only company in the field, though.
In 2017, Japanese firm NTT Tokai began construction on the first of two new reactors in Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture, which would have up to 400 MW of capacity.
The reactors are being built at the same time as a major effort to build fusion power plants across the world, with plans to build as many as 300 MW of energy by 2035.
“This is the first time that fusion power has ever been built,” Henson says.
“I can’t imagine anything else.
I can’t think of any other energy source.”
Fusion power isn’t just about energy.
It’s also about technology.
Henson describes the process of creating a fusion reaction as akin to turning on a car engine.
“When you turn on the engine, it makes a lot of noise.
When you turn off the engine it makes no noise at all,” he says.
Hensons team at Fusion Power has been working on developing technologies to control the plasma stream that flows from the reactor to the outside world.
“You’ve got to keep a close eye on what you’re doing with the plasma.
You’ve got no choice but to keep it away from the power grid,” Hensson says.
That’s because a fusion plasma is a high-energy particle of matter, and the more energetic particles can interact with each other and produce a large amount of energy.
Fusion power has been around for a while, but it’s only been in the last decade or so that companies have started to push the technology forward.
Fusion is still a work in progress, but a lot has changed.
“There’s no doubt that fusion has a lot to offer.
It could potentially reduce the cost of power generation by 20 percent,” Hensen says.
Fusion reactors have been around in the United States since the early 1980s.
“In the U.S., we didn’t have the technology to do it, so there was not a fusion reactor to build and run in the U.”
However, in Japan, a fusion plant was built for the first nuclear tests in 1957.
The facility has been operating since then.
“They built the first reactor in 1952, and they built two more reactors, which were all in operation,” Hinson says.
Today, Fusion is in the process the construction of the first two reactors in Kagoshimae, and there is a plan to build four fusion reactors by 2033.
“So we’re looking at a lot more of fusion, and that’s really important,” Hentsons company cofounder and CEO Hiroshi Hirano says.
Hirano is a member of the Board of Directors of the fusion research organization NTT Fusion.
The Japanese government is also working on building a fusion energy research facility in the country, with the aim of building up to 2 MW of fusion power by 2030.
Fusion, which is a combination of neutrons and electrons, produces electricity through the interaction of two highly energetic particles.
The energy released is then transferred into a superconductor.
In this case, the superconditor is a highly conductive, magnetic material.
The superconditioner is the metal that forms the magnetic field inside a fusion device.
Fusion electricity is more efficient than coal-fired power plants because of the smaller amount of carbon dioxide that is used in a fusion process.
The new reactor at Fusion’s facility in New Jersey is also being designed with a larger nuclear power reactor as its primary goal.
“It’s going to be a big project for the energy industry in the future,” Hantsons cofounder Hiroshi Nakamura says.
The US is in a transition phase for fusion power.
There’s a lot at stake, says Hirano.
“People have been working for years on fusion.
It took us 20 years to actually get here.
And we’ve just gone through a lot.
But we’re just