In other words, scientists today are much closer to creating fusion energy than they were 40 years ago. And while most large public research projects are still decades from producing a reactor that can compete in the marketplace, a number of private companies have jumped headlong into the fusion race. Propelled by advances in engineering and science, changes in public funding, and tens of millions in high-risk high-tech investment dollars, they’re betting they can create a scalable, sellable reactor in less than a decade.
“It’s clean, safe, secure, and sustainable,” said Andrew Holland, senior energy and climate fellow at the American Security Project, a bipartisan Washington DC think tank with connections to former senators like Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, for whom Holland was once a staffer. “It has all the benefits of nuclear without the downsides.” With a bathtub of water and a lithium computer battery, a fusion reactor could create the same amount of energy as 40 tons of lung-blackening coal. It could also take a cut of a domestic energy economy that Holland says is worth a trillion dollars annually.
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