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Dec 5, 2023, 1:36pm EST
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Nuclear fusion is a hot topic at COP28

REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
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The United States is planning to spearhead efforts to boost nuclear fusion as a new — and eventually dominant — source of clean energy, the country’s climate envoy John Kerry announced at COP28 on Tuesday.

Nuclear fusion — which involves smashing two hydrogen atoms together to release a lot of energy — is still in its infancy, but its potential to combat climate change is huge.

“There is potential in fusion to revolutionize our world,” Kerry said at the climate summit, while acknowledging the “significant scientific and engineering challenges” to fusion’s production of commercial electricity.

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A more than 20-country pledge at COP28 to triple the world’s nuclear energy by 2050 is ironically missing one major player — China. With 22 nuclear plants in the works and more than 70 to come, China is speeding towards its goal to double its nuclear energy capacity by 2035, Canary Media writes. But Beijing’s absence from the pledge likely makes it impossible for the other countries to meet the ambitious COP goal.

A promising boost to nuclear fusion is the recent inauguration of a six-story high reactor — the world’s biggest so far — in Japan. The JT-60SA — the product of collaboration between 500 scientists and engineers in Japan and Europe — aims to figure out the feasibility of producing large-scale nuclear fusion as a carbon-free net energy source. The EU energy commissioner called it a “milestone for fusion history.” The reactor’s “big brother in France” — the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor — is however, over budget and behind schedule, the Guardian reports.

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