Analyst Looks at Relevance of Nuclear Fusion

'It will probably be too late, too expensive and with too low flexibility'.


Although nuclear fusion has been making headlines lately, Rystad Energy doesn’t expect it to contribute new electrons before at least 2040, a recent market note from the company’s CEO Jarand Rystad has outlined.

“Even then it will probably be too late, too expensive and with too low flexibility to be of any relevance for the global energy system,” Rystad stated in the note.

On December 13, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced the achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The achievement was described by the DOE as “a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power”.

“This astonishing scientific advance puts us on the precipice of a future no longer reliant on fossil fuels but instead powered by new clean fusion energy,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said in a statement published recently.

When asked about timings for the commercialization of the technology in a press conference in December, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said, “it’s going to take a while before we see this commercialized”.

LLNL’s experiment surpassed the fusion threshold by delivering 2.05 megajoules of energy to the target, resulting in 3.15 MJ of fusion energy output, demonstrating for the first time a most fundamental science basis for inertial fusion energy (IFE), the DOE noted in its announcement.

Many advanced science and technology developments are still needed to achieve simple, affordable IFE to power homes and businesses, however, according to the DOE, which said it is currently restarting a broad-based, coordinated IFE program in the U.S.

Fusion is the process by which two light nuclei combine to form a single heavier nucleus, releasing a large amount of energy, the DOE highlights on its website. Nuclear Fusion reactions power the Sun and other stars, the site points out.

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