NYT Article Misleads Readers On Fusion Energy News

Major Fusion Energy Breakthrough to Be Announced by Scientists

That’s the headline for an article by NYT staff writer Kenneth Chang about an impending announcement from the Lawerence Livermore National Laboratory to the effect that Lawrence Livermore has improved upon previous experiments that have used enormous laser arrays to create – for a nanosecond or thereabouts – a controlled fusion reaction that generated more energy that was consumed in the process of creating the energy bubble.

Not cold fusion, thankfully, but an actual experiment that produces actual results…just not enough results to make a real difference because the experiment yielded an infinitesimal amount of energy more than the amount of energy that was invested to create that effect.

This is a prime example of headline pimping, the practice of writing sensationalized headlines that are not supported by the following article.

Laser fusion systems are decades away from realization, a fact that Kenneth Chang made quite clear in his report.

The number of plants that would be required to generate the power required to satisfy our energy requirements would require an investment several orders of magnitude greater than the potential return on investment when other, cheaper energy-generating systems are taken into the accounting process.

The author of this piece appears to have never been in a power generation plant because three football fields – the amount of space required for ONE such fusion reactor –  wouldn’t begin to cover a standard facility when, on average, power generating stations occupy ten times that amount of space or more, depending on the motive power source.

The article itself makes these points quite clearly. A system that gives back only slightly more energy than it consumes isn’t a solution to our energy problems. It’s a symptom of them.

This is another example of the sensationalization of scientific developments in the popular press that has the net effect of raising unreasonable expectations and consequently encouraging many to believe that the dire emergency that we are living through isn’t as dire as it really is.

It’s also clickbait.

While we are investing absurd amounts of money in nuclear fusion, we could be spending that money to develop real-world here-today thorium reactors…but you think that nuclear is a big mistake.

Before you pledge yourself to that belief, watch this: