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Fusion 2020 White Paper Part II

Fusion 2020 White Paper Part II

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Published by Amber Allen
This is the second white paper produced by the American Security Project outlining the potential of fusion power. Learn more at www.secureamericanfuture.org.
This is the second white paper produced by the American Security Project outlining the potential of fusion power. Learn more at www.secureamericanfuture.org.

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Published by: Amber Allen on Jul 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/15/2011

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Fusion Energy: An Opportunity forAmerican Leadership and Security 
Introduction
Electricity is the lieblood o the American economy.
From Silicon Valley to Detroit, Wall Street to MainStreet, I innovators, small and large scale manuacturing companies and investors depend on reliable,aordable access to electricity to power job growth, innovation, and prots.In the coming years, increasing demand or electricity will need to be met with a commitment to moreaordable, sustainable, and secure orms o energy production. By 2050, every power plant in theUnited States will reach the end o its liespan and need to be replaced.Te pending recapitalization o American power utilities represents a challenge and an opportunity.But even more undamentally, it is a choice: between business as usual with its unsustainable, unclean,unsae, and costly hallmarks, or we can set a new course to rmly establish American leadership in clean,sustainable energy production. Wind and solar, together with eciency and conservation measures, will certainly be a part o the new energy paradigm. But none o these will meet the increasing need or baseline power—the power avail-able 24 hours every day, regardless o the weather.Tis new course should include usion, the energy that powers the stars. During the last 30 years, therehas been great and generally unrecognized progress toward achieving controlled usion energy.Fusion power is sae and clean, and when commercialized, will solve many o the world’s energy prob-lems.Te primary obstacle to realizing usion’s potential is the integration o technologies into a power plantscale acility. Te leaders o the main U.S. national labs state that they are now ready to start buildingU.S. pilot plants to nd ways to overcome those obstacles.China, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union are pushing orward with aggressive eorts toresolve these challenges and secure leadership in the energy technology o the uture. In contrast, U.S.eorts, although very signicant, have been crippled or decades by severe unding constraints.Clear plans and recommendations or U.S. leadership have not been implemented.Te implications o delay are clear. We are in danger o alling behind.Establishing a national priority level o eort or usion, together with support or a balanced energy portolio, can reestablish American preeminence, achieve absolute energy independence, and developnext generation energy or the world.
    W
    h    i    t    e
    P
    a    P    e    r
 
2
 AMERICAN SECURITY PROJECT
Key Facts
•
 We know usion works.
 
Fusion is taking place
in laboratories all over the world, including in theUnited States. It is the process that powers the Sun and all the stars.
•
Te key step, through engineering, is to turn this
science act into a commercial product.
•
 At the heart o usion energy is the world’s most amous equation,
E = mc 
 2 
which captures the relation-ship o mass and energy.
•
Te process is very dierent rom a nuclear reactor, which splits large atoms to create energy but leaveslong-lived radioactive byproducts.
Fusion combines small atoms together
. In doing so, energy is re-leased and the byproduct is simply helium gas.
•
Commercial usion energy plants would use relatively tiny amounts o uel to generate millions o  watts o electrical power.
 
•
Fusion is sustainable
: the uel is extracted rom seawater and lithium. Due to the amount o uel re-quired, the supply o these basic ingredients is essentially limitless.
•
Fusion is sae
: there is no chain reaction and there is no possibility o a meltdown. Unlike a nuclear s-sion reaction, control o usion is as simple as ficking a switch. When you turn it o, the reaction stops.Tere is no spent uel.
•
Fusion is clean
: there are no pollutants released in the air and no carbon is released.
•
Not only will usion give
 America energy independence
, it will also create a large number o jobs.
•
Te
United States runs the risk o losing the race to commercialize usion
to China or South Korea,due to lack o political will. America could be orced to buy its energy rom oreign countries that may not share its values or have its interests at heart.
•
Tere will need to be mass recapitalization o the energy generation market, as each present power plantin the U.S. will need to be replaced by 2050. Te question is:
 what will those plants be using or uelin 2050
?
 
3
 AMERICAN SECURITY PROJECT
Potential Strategic Gains or the United States
 With the political will and the right investment, the potential strategic gains or the U.S. in the aggressivedevelopment and deployment o usion power plants are extraordinary. Tese would include:
•
Clean, sae, sustainable, and aordable electricity generation in the U.S. and the world;
•
Energy independence and associated reedom rom oreign countries or our energy supplies;
•
ransition to an electricity-generating economy to power our cars and trucks;
•
Elimination o the actinides in spent nuclear-uel by building usion/ssion hybrid plants (using thehigh neutron elds rom usion to transmute the actinides in spent uel and thereby render the spentuel non-toxic within 200 years – not tens o thousands o years);
•
Te two-old boost to the U.S. economy o reducing our huge trade imbalance by eliminating the costo importing oil and making the U.S. a world-leader in the energy market by providing usion generat-ing plants or the whole world;
•
Creation o a large number o jobs in building and maintaining commercialized usion power plants;
•
Demonstration o how U.S. leadership in technology can be leveraged to drive leadership in energy; and
•
Increase interest and high-paying jobs or young people going into scientic and engineering elds.

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