The US is set to detail its strategy on nuclear fusion at the UN summit on climate change, COP28, to be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023, Reuters has reported.
US Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry will set out the plan, described as the first international strategy for nuclear fusion power commercialisation.
Kerry stated: “I will have much more to say on the United States’ vision for international partnerships for an inclusive fusion energy future at COP28.
“Decades of federal investment is transforming fusion from an experiment to an emerging climate solution.”
The latest move demonstrates the US’s commitment to a switch to low-carbon energy sources and its efforts towards addressing climate change.
Nuclear fusion has long been looked to as a potential source of clean and virtually limitless energy.
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It involves fusing lighter hydrogen atoms to form heavier helium atoms, releasing enormous energy in the process.
This process powers the sun and all the stars and will not produce harmful radioactive waste, unlike fission reactions seen in conventional nuclear power plants.
According to media company BNN Breaking, the US nuclear fusion strategy targets fast commercialisation, bringing down the timeline from decades to years.
It could also serve as a framework to deploy the technology globally by securing support from international partners.
The announcement at COP28 will highlight progress so far, impediments ahead and the strategy’s overall potential.
A central aspect of the strategy is supermagnets producing strong magnetic fields to contain plasma.
The strategy will also focus on the development of compact spherical tokamak reactors, an experimental technology to harness the energy of fusion.
The fusion process has not yet achieved commercial success and faces a number of obstacles.
An experiment conducted at the US National Ignition Facility in 2022 generated only 0.5% of the energy that was put into powering the lasers.
Reactors have achieved fusion for only a few seconds up to this point, failing to maintain it steadily for longer periods of time – a basic requirement for commercial-scale power generation.
Beyond these scientific hurdles, the technology also faces regulatory, construction and siting challenges.