Hello,

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

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

Not a subscriber? 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 to Print + All Access Digital.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivered daily

/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.