Last month, construction kicked off on the world’s largest experimental nuclear fusion reactor. It marked the start of a new era in the energy sector: The fossil fuel industry has historically dominated this arena, but renewable energy is quickly taking over. Now, nuclear scientists are hoping that the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, the experimental power plant under construction in southern France, can play a role alongside already-established technologies like solar and wind. The United States alone has 90,000 metric tonnes of nuclear waste with nowhere to go. Nuclear fusion doesn’t create the same level of long-lived radioactive waste as the more popular process of nuclear fission, but it isn’t waste-free, either. The construction of ITER certainly does mark a new chapter in the world’s energy sector. It marks a moment of technological breakthrough and scientific accomplishment, but it won’t save us by itself. No new energy source can. At the heart of the climate crisis is human behaviour. If we’re to survive it – and, more importantly, solve it – we need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Reducing emissions will require more than finding the perfect clean energy source; it will need a massive shift in human behaviour, lowering our emissions through energy efficiency and less consumption. Then again, emissions aren’t everything. If we’re lowering our carbon footprint without protecting the health of vulnerable communities, what good is it after all? A nuclear future needs a justice and equity lens if it’s to actually be successful. Otherwise, it’ll be another damaging industry. The world already has enough of those.
Gizmodo 10th Aug 2020 read more »