US to unveil first global plan to commercialize nuclear fusion energy at UN climate summit: report
The US President’s Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, announced on Monday that he will unveil a first-of-its-kind global strategy to commercialize nuclear fusion energy at the United Nations summit in Dubai.
“Fusion energy is no longer just a science experiment,” Kerry said during a visit to the Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) corporate headquarters in Devens, Massachusetts, near Boston, giving -view of the plan. “Benefiting from decades of investment from the Department of Energy’s flagship Fusion Energy Sciences programs, it is now also an emerging climate solution.”
“I will have much more to say about the United States’ vision for international partnerships for an inclusive fusion energy future at COP28, at an event on December 5,” Kerry said, according to a reading of his remarks. CFS, another Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) company, is working to bring fusion power plants to market.
The 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) will be held from November 30 to December 12 at Expo City Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
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Two sources spoke to Reuters ahead of Kerry’s announcement on Monday. They told the outlet that the former Secretary of State’s plan envisages stronger cooperation with other countries and that this is the first international strategy aimed at accelerating commercialization nuclear fusion.
As a US senator more than a decade ago, Kerry sponsored legislation that funded research at MIT aimed at replicating fusion, or the process that powers the sun and stars, to generate electricity on Earth . The process aims to use lasers or magnets to break two light atoms into one closer, releasing a lot of energy.
If done successfully, fusion could have a significant advantage over nuclear fission plants that split atoms, as it does not produce long-lived radioactive waste, and could also provide a cheap source of carbon-free electricity, according to Reuters.
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Due to economic uncertainty and inflation, investments in the clean energy industry have stalled this year.
The Fusion Industry Association (FIA) found international fusion companies to have raised about $1.4 billion in investments for a total of about $6.21 billion in mostly private funding by 2023. That’s a decline from the $2.83 billion in new investment scheduled for 2022.
Although some skeptics fear that integration will be too expensive and take too long to develop to adequately address climate change, this year’s COP28 is seen as an opportunity to support partners global to plan international use of the technology.
From 2022 to 2023, FIA said the number of companies that received investments in global fusion jumped from 33 to 43. Commonwealth Fusion Systems is one of about 25 of these companies in the United States, and there are other countries that investing in fusion technology including Australia, China, Germany, Japan and the UK
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Kerry visited the Boston-area company with CFS CEO Bob Mumgaard and Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian energy company Eni.