Local weather-obsessed UK politicians are embracing imaginative vitality options – extra watts with them?
h/t Peta of Newark; The British government is seriously telling people in working-class areas that by 2040 they will have jobs in an operational, electricity-generating nuclear fusion power plant.
The following story is over a month old, but I decided to cover it anyway for reasons that will become clear.
Another STEP toward near-unlimited, low-carbon energy at West Burton
SELECTED GENERAL NEWS
February 8, 2023
Updated: February 8, 2023
The future of abundant low-carbon energy without the need for fossil fuels may be in sight after Science Secretary George Freeman announced the creation of a new body for the UK’s fusion program to be called UK Industrial Fusion Solutions Ltd.
Visiting the future site of Britain’s first prototype fusion power plant at West Burton, near Retford, the Minister urged energy companies and investors to recognize the huge potential of fusion power for both Britain and the world.
The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) power station will be built by 2040 to demonstrate the ability to use fusion energy to generate electricity for the UK grid.
Read more: https://www.eastmidlandsbusinesslink.co.uk/mag/news/another-step-towards-near-limitless-low-carbon-energy-at-west-burton/
Is the spherical tokamak a world-leading design? Absolutely. Spherical tokamaks, like stellarators, are a promising attempt to fix the topological defects affecting traditional donut-shaped fusion plasmas to reduce the possibility of energy loss and fusion plasma flameout.
But there are still enormous hurdles to overcome. For example, even if they manage to create a self-sustaining plasma, the unsolved problem of creating materials that can survive the radiation emitted by the plasma remains. Not only is the heat manageable, the particle radiation emitted by the plasma is so intense that it destroys the supporting structures at the molecular and atomic level, leading to rapid embrittlement and structural failure.
But I think there’s another reason these overly optimistic promises are being made.
Nottinghamshire’s lost mining jobs could be ‘replaced’ by nuclear power stations
Inquiry will explore why Britain’s former mining districts are ‘limping’
By Oliver Pridmore Agenda Editor
04:00, 3 DEC 2022
MPs in Nottinghamshire’s former coalfields say the construction of Britain’s first nuclear fusion plant in the county could replace some of the jobs lost to coal mining. A national inquiry has been launched to examine questions as to whether job losses in the coal industry have been fully replaced and whether these jobs are adequate in terms of pay and opportunities.
A decentralization deal to give Nottinghamshire councils more power was also highlighted as something that could improve long-term opportunities for people living in former coalfields. Nottinghamshire was home to several collieries in areas such as Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Mansfield, but most of these closed in the 1990s and early 2000s, with the county’s last active colliery at Thoresby closing in 2015.
Since then, studies have shown that people in these former mining areas have a harder time getting good jobs than in other parts of the country. A 2019 Sheffield Hallam University report found that the former coalfields have just 55 jobs per 100 working-age residents, compared to a national average of 73.
Read more: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/nuclear-site-could-replace-nottinghamshires-7877382
We already know why former mining regions and other disadvantaged areas in Britain are not moving forward. High taxes deter investment. Adding to this witchcraft brew of economic desperation have been high energy prices in recent years. If you would like a detailed discussion of this topic and why such once prosperous areas fell into poverty, I recommend checking out The Trillion Pound Horror Story.
So why promise fusion jobs in the near future, people in working-class neighborhoods who have suffered decades of severe economic hardship and broken promises?
In my opinion, the merger hype is a cynical campaign tactic.
British Conservatives know they face a difficult general election in 2025. They would like to hold onto the working-class neighborhoods they snatched from Labor in 2019.
Promising an operational reactor by 2040 while glossing over the huge and likely unsolvable short-term engineering challenges, gambling on people’s hopes and promising people that they will have jobs to replace lost fossil fuel and mining jobs is mine In my opinion an act of political contempt. In my view, the fusion hype is a hideous political fraud whose sole purpose is to maintain political support among demographic groups who understandably feel abandoned by the British Conservatives’ utter failure to reclaim the lives of ordinary working people improve.