Fusion Energy Finds Its Feet
This summer is hot, but you know what's even hotter? Nuclear fusion. In the world of clean and renewable energy, nothing rides the cutting edge like fusing hydrogen isotopes at millions of degrees Celsius.
This summer is hot, but you know what's even hotter? Nuclear fusion.
In the world of clean and renewable energy, nothing rides the cutting edge like fusing hydrogen isotopes at millions of degrees Celsius. Competition is heating up, too, with numerous well-capitalized companies racing to develop a viable reactor.
The technology dates back to the '50s but is only recently seeing breakthroughs. The international community has been collaborating on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) since 1985 with a goal of producing a ten-fold return on energy. Energy is required to heat the plasma for fusion, so one of the first milestones is simply producing net positive energy: more energy is produced by the fusion reaction than required to heat the plasma.
We're still years away from commercialization and adoption of fusion energy, though there are numerous challenges that I think we need to work out in advance.
One is the stigma around nuclear energy in general. Nuclear energy has been a viable, high-density energy source for decades, but it hasn't dominated energy production.
With the war in Ukraine and Europe's energy security in question, Germany is begrudgingly revisiting its decision to abandon nuclear energy. France plans to scale back its nuclear energy production from 75% of the country's electricity to 50% by 2035, however.
Closely related is the need to educate the public on fusion energy: how it works, any safety concerns, and its importance to a sustainable energy future. If people only associate nuclear energy with disasters like Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island, it's going to impact the viability of building reactors around the country. It's not a stretch to imagine the NIMBY conversation extending to nuclear power: it already is.
That said, the future is bright for fusion energy. With companies rounding a corner on commercial viability, it's easy to get excited about the new frontier. Want to help make it a reality? Check out the job opportunities in this week's issue.
- Greg (@gregrancourt)
P.S. Interested in a particular type of job or topic? DM me on Twitter or send us an email at email@example.com with your suggestions!
This week's reads
The chase for fusion energy
An emerging industry of nuclear-fusion firms promises to have commercial reactors ready in the next decade.
Nuclear Fusion Is Doing the Impossible—Uniting Politicians
Fusion has the potential to provide a clean, near limitless source of energy, and optimism for the technology is soaring.
This Google-Backed Fusion Reactor Must Run 8 Times Hotter Than the World’s Largest Tokamak
What do you get when you add $250 million and one billion degrees Celsius?
Nuclear fusion energy inches closer toward reality
The quest for nuclear fusion technology started around the 1950s. It's now within sight.
There's a caucus for fusion energy?
When researching our topic this week, I found out that there's a congressional caucus dedicated to fusion energy. Pretty cool!
As you can imagine, there are political implications for the development of fusion energy. Recent legislation has created tax credits to help accelerate development, and even once the technology works, it will take significant partnership between the public and private sectors to modernize our electric grid to interface with fusion energy sources.
All that said, it's good to see members of Congress taking a proactive stance to this budding technology!
(Psst: apparently there's a caucus for everything.)
Find a meaningful career
TAE Technologies is on a mission to create a global energy revolution by developing clean, safe, carbon-free, commercial fusion power.
IT Specialist - Foothill Ranch, CA
Jr. Computational Scientist - Foothill Ranch, CA
Lead Technical Program Manager - Foothill Ranch, CA
Accelerator Physicist - Foothill Ranch, CA
Data Engineer - Foothill Ranch, CA
Commonwealth Fusion Systems
Commonwealth Fusion Systems is designing and building commercial fusion energy systems to provide limitless, clean energy to the world.
Controls Engineer - Cambridge, MA
Head of Communications - Cambridge, MA
Nuclear & Radiological Engineer - Remote
Senior Buyer – Electrical Systems - Remote
Helion is a fusion power company with a mission to enable a future with unlimited clean energy.
Nuclear Engineer (Tritium) - Everett, WA
Electrical Engineer - Everett, WA
Production Technician - Everett, WA
Experimental Technician - Everett, WA
Corporate Attorney - Everett, WA
Thanks for reading!
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