Skip to comments.Japan boldly igniting a national fusion revolution
Posted on 05/26/2023 3:22:03 AM PDT by FarCenter
The Japanese government has opted to build up a huge domestic fusion industry to secure a leading role in the future commercial utilization of fusion power.
This policy is clearly set forth in a document published on April 14 by the Japanese Cabinet, entitled “Fusion Energy Innovation Strategy.” The new policy goes far beyond merely stepping up the participation of Japanese industry and scientific institutes in international projects.
The explicit intention is to create the industrial and manpower base for Japan to build – and no doubt export – its own commercial fusion plants, if possible in advance of other industrial nations.
One cannot help but recall the way the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) famously built up Japan’s industry, systematically, sector by sector, starting in 1949. The new “Fusion Innovation Strategy” is solidly rooted in Japan’s industrial policy tradition.
At first glance, the new policy still seems oriented to the “ultra-conservative” scenario, according to which the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a giant tokamak reactor now under construction, will provide the essential scientific and engineering basis, by around 2035, for designing and constructing a first prototype fusion power plant, the DEMO, likewise as an international project.
The first commercial fusion power plants might then be built starting around 2050. As I stressed in an earlier Asia Times article, this scenario is intolerably long.
Significantly, Japan’s “Fusion Innovation Strategy” departs from it in several decisive ways. First, Japan intends to build its own prototype fusion power plant at least five years ahead of the standard scenario.
Second, this “JA-DEMO” will be a national project, based as much as possible on Japanese technology and Japanese industry. Third, the cited document hints at the possibility that scientific and technological breakthroughs might accelerate the process even more.
The document notes that the US and UK are already restricting access to some of the technologies they intend to use in future fusion power plants. It stresses the urgency of beginning immediately, to build up the fusion industrial sector. Otherwise, Japan might come in too late.
Just 10 years away?
The technology isn’t there, so this is hypothetical at this point. That said, you have to admire the Japanese penchant for planning ahead.
If anything ever does come of fusion power, it will be cheap and relatively simple and will not take decades or centuries to do.
Just wait till e-cat hears about this
As I like to say, commercial fusion power has been 20 years away for the last 60 years.
Should be some pretty awesome Kaiju coming out of those fusion reactors.
interesting. I wish them well...
It's always 25 years away.
Yep, I’m still waiting for the unmetered electricity that I was promised 60 years ago when I was a kid visiting fission pilot plants.
I’ll be nearly the first to volunteer be a Jaeger driver.
The US and UK were particularly adverse to nuclear energy, since they wanted to keep a monopoly on atomic weapons and maintain their grip on energy through the Anglo American oil companies.
The latter are no longer a factor, and other countries are now ready and able to advance the field. France, Russia, and China lead in fission reactors. France, China, and Japan lead in fusion.
Most likely real approaches would include cold fusion which has never had a fair hearing, and Eric Lerner’s plasma focus idea. Or something else like that. A year or two, and a few million dollars at most.
It’s their version of the Manhattan Project for Fusion....................
By 2050, the few survivors of WWIII will be living in huts and hunting with bows and spears.
Please, some thorium nuke reactors as a bridge technology, someone.
India planning to use thorium as nuclear fuel to generate power
I doubt whether the next period of total global war likely to commence before 2050 will use nuclear weapons.
Conventional and cyber will be the most likely weapon technologies, with nuclear held off due to the possibility of retaliation with bio doomsday weapons.
Even a second rate power should be able to wipe out upwards of 95% of global population with bioweapons. After all, Australia was able to kill that high a percentage of the rabbit population twice decades ago.
“Fusion has been in the “works” for 75 years. It is no closer to reality than when it was first conceived.”
Yep. It may take another 75 years or more. If it ever worked fusion has the potential to become an incredible energy source. But I doubt many if any of us will see it.
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