Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Fast trains or fusion?

The surprising thing is that someone else has finally noticed that we are not spending enough money on developing fusion as the power source of the future!

Andrew Steele wrote in the Guardian:

In among a raft of new infrastructure spending announced by the UK government in the wake of last week's spending review, it was revealed that the cost estimates for the HS2 high-speed train line had been revised significantly upward. According to the new projections, HS2 will be completed in 2033 at a total cost of £42.6bn for construction and £7.5bn for trains – a total of just over £50bn.

What is immediately striking about this figure is that it's about the same as estimates of how much it will cost to develop nuclear fusion to the point at which it could supply affordable electricity to the grid.

What is also strikingly missing is that the £50 billion for HS2 is being paid by the British taxpayer, whereas the $50 billion estimated for fusion could be shared by all the countries in the world.  That makes it much more affordable.

However, in general Steele gets the point.  Good for him!

1 comment:

Derby Sceptic said...

In principal I agree that we should spend far more money on fusion. Whether it should come from the HS2 'pot' I am not sure.

We spend far too much on international aid that does not reach the people for whom it is intended or sent to countries with no valid need.

There is also a considerable amount of money spent on other 'clean energy' solutions that in my opinion are far less effective than fusion promises to be.

Discussion of the HS2 is going to raise the question of creation of employment. In recent years there has been a lot of upset in Derby because Bombardier lost out on a major contract and was therefore unable to sustain the size of it's workforce. I am not going to revisit that argument but we do need to consider how much employment in the UK will be created by HS2.