Let me first of all establish my bona fides, I was at St Edmund Hall for the 1973/74 academic year but left after that without taking ‘finals’. However, I received (in 2016, 42 years later!) a copy of OT in the post along with a mag from Teddy Hall and the latest Oxford History mag, which makes sense, as my course at Oxford was History and Economics. I suspect that interest in, and a contribution to; the Rhodes Statue exercise at Oriel College may have produced these arrivals?
Anyhow I have been reading them all with interest, and have now come to the OT magazine, which was interesting 1) because the new V-C of Oxford, Louise Richardson, (Prof), 2) there is a 3-page article on energy from nuclear fusion, which has been an interest of mine since the 1980s, when I asked my elder brother Colin Hunt, who was working for AWE in Tadley, how long he expected the time delay for commercial fusion energy to be. ‘25 years’ was his reply. Unfortunately it is still 25 years!
There are 2 comments I want to make: 1) The OT article does not discuss the different fusion reactions which can release power, the TOKAMAK, I think or presume, does hydrogen, deuterium and tritium which is good but does deliver one spare neutron per helium atom produced. There are other ways of getting atoms to fuse. 2) There is lack of credibility problem for the fusion ‘industry’, e.g. electricity from nuclear fusion does not even feature on the UK electricity plan. And also, ominously, electricity, from nuclear fusion, was omitted from expected scientific breakthroughs in the 21st century by the BBC, at the turn of the century.
It seems to be the engineering problems that are most challenging. It is interesting to fond that OT has an interest in this quest. If the hope expressed in the OT article , that the 2nd half of this century witnesses the commercialisation of fusion energy, then this would indeed be a breakthrough for science and a beneficial one at that!