Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from David Appell

Misguided Greenpeace

The international environmental organization Greenpeace is against ITER, the recently agreed-upon nuclear fusion reactor that will reside in France. (See the recent Technologyreview.com article on the reactor.) It’s too expensive, they say (about $15 billion dollars), and the money could…

  • July 14, 2005

The international environmental organization Greenpeace is against ITER, the recently agreed-upon nuclear fusion reactor that will reside in France. (See the recent Technologyreview.com article on the reactor.) It’s too expensive, they say (about $15 billion dollars), and the money could be better spent on “10,000MW offshore windfarms, delivering electricity for 7.5 million European households.” In any case, they argue, the project “is a dead end, as the technical barriers to be overcome are enormous.”

This strikes me as penny-wise and pound-foolish. Sure, nuclear fusion–fusion that generates more power than is expended on its production–has been 25 years in the future now for about 50 years. It’s a difficult task, but thousands of scientists aren’t dedicating themselves to ITER because it’s a “dead end.” It’s a worthwhile task, and, if it happens, it would truly solve our energy problems–which are going to be severe–forever. Besides, Western society is certainly rich enough to fund both ITER and offshore windfarms–it’s just a matter of priorities; and, given the long-term task of providing energy sustainability, delivering electricity to 7.5 million households is a very shallow goal. We have to shoot higher.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.