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Biden Wants Fusion Power by 2032. It’s Likely to Take Far Longer.

Biden Wants Fusion Power by 2032. It’s Likely to Take Far Longer.

(Bloomberg) -- A remarkable nuclear fusion milestone announced in Washington shows it may be possible to use the technology to build a commercial power plant — it just may take longer than the White House expects.

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“The president has a decadal vision, to get to a commercial fusion reactor within 10 years,” US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday during an event disclosing the breakthrough. “This shows that it can be done.”

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That schedule may be overly optimistic, according to the director of the laboratory where the experiment took place. While the achievement brings the world closer to commercial fusion, it will still probably take “decades” to shift the technology from the lab to a real power plant, said Kim Budil of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

“There are very significant hurdles, not just in the science, but in technology,” Budil said at the event. “A few decades of research on the underlying technologies could put us in a position to build a power plant.”

Still, the excitement generated by the achievement will generate momentum in the fusion industry — and that may accelerate the timeline.

“With real investment and real focus, that timescale can move closer,” Budil said.

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