In the special edition of Fusion in Europe, authors Jason Parisi and Justin Ball explain why they are optimistic about achieving fusion power:
"Humanity should have confidence in the eventual success of fusion power because of the many different disciplines involved. There are so many different avenues by which progress can be made, that a failure to build a fusion power plant would require long-term stagnation in several independent fields of research. This seems unlikely."
Many roads to fusion power
Fusion is an interconnected design optimisation problem that requires balancing considerations from many different fields of science and technology. You want to construct robust superconducting coils to create the strongest magnetic bottle possible. You want to find clever ways of taming turbulence, which causes plasma to leak out. You want to develop ever more efficient ways to drive a steady-state electric current in the plasma. You want the solid components surrounding the plasma to be as durable as possible in order to best handle the heat and neutrons produced by fusion reactions. All of these problems are difficult, but, as you read this, scientists around the world are working on them. And when any of them make progress, it brings the whole endeavour closer to reality.
A book on fusion
Justin and Jason have authored a popular science book The Future of Fusion Energy. It explains the fusion quest to non-scientists – discussing everything from the discovery of fusion in stars to power plant design, from the world's biggest experiment ITER to the smallest of fusion start-ups.