In today’s Exponential Investor…
- You can’t say the C or F word here
- Fission vs. Fusion
- The UK to host the future of energy
Drop the word “nuclear energy” into a conversation about the energy transition and see what direction it takes.
My guess is it won’t be a pleasant one.
And if the name “Chernobyl” or “Fukushima” doesn’t pop up, I’d be very surprised.
Nuclear energy has a bad name. Horrible PR. Disastrous connotations.
It makes people think of nuclear meltdowns, disasters and every extreme bad thing that could possibly happen with a nuclear reactor.
The problem with this is the nuclear energy is actually one of the most powerful, cleanest and greenest energy sources we have.
The problem nuclear has is a PR problem, that’s really about it. The optics of it as a political policy are such that you’d quickly watch your constituency fade away to the opposition.
However for all the bad PR that comes with “nuclear” what might surprise many people is how nuclear energy may become the single most important energy source the world will ever use.
Also, the UK may become the most exciting place in the world when it comes to harnessing all that, clean, green abundant energy.
It just boils down to which kind of nuclear we’re talking about.
Fission vs. Fusion
To make a highly technical and complicated area simple, let’s explain the two key kinds of nuclear energy.
There’s nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
The “tell me like I’m five” definition is nuclear fission splits atoms, nuclear fusion combines them together.
That’s a key differential important to the future of clean, green, abundant energy.
The process we’re most used to, the kind that typically takes place in current nuclear reactors is nuclear fission, the splitting of atoms.
This generates huge amounts of energy, which in turn heats vast amounts of water, creating steam spinning and powering steam turbines.
And there is the short version of how a modern nuclear reactor works.
Now, I won’t go into the benefits of modern reactors, or how incredibly safe they are, clean and green they are or how even today they really should be the primary energy source for the world.
Most people will choose to side with the visions of melted and abandoned playgrounds in Chernobyl rather than listen to the science.
However what a lot of people forget about is the progress science has made towards harnessing the power of nuclear fusion.
You see, fission creates a lot of energy but fusion creates several-times greater energy from its process.
Nuclear fusion is the process by which the Sun generates its energy. So to be able to repeat that process in a controlled, confined reactor is no easy feat. It requires incredible pressure and temperatures to function effectively.
Historically fusion has always been a bit of a scientific pipe dream, but in our modern world, it’s only a matter of time until dreams become reality. And if scientists can indeed use modern fusion reactors to harness, control and extract energy from nuclear fusion we’ll be talking about a whole new era of abundant clean energy.
Fusion in the UK
However it’s always seemed that a functional nuclear fusion reactor is always “another 10 years away.” A dream destined to always be a dream.
The sticking point has been a net surplus energy output from the reactors. That means the energy output is greater than the energy input needed to create the reaction to begin with.
This is only now starting to become a reality. There are numerous developments around the world when it comes to nuclear fusion. Some are state-funded and run like the ITER in Southern France.
The ITER is being built by 35 nations aiming to be the first net producer of fusion energy that’s large-scale and carbon-free.
There are however private enterprise, with multiple backers taking different approaches to achieve this energy dream.
One such enterprise is General Fusion, a Canadian business which counts one of its backers as Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
They’ve decided to build a pilot plant for their fusion reactor in Oxfordshire. It’s expected the plant will cost around $400 million and construction could start as soon as next year.
Now there’s a great deal of scepticism and negativity about the future of the UK. This is off the back of Brexit and the last year and a half of restrictions on the economy.
However, to see a company like General Fusion, a potential game-changer in energy markets, choose the UK to build a plant is massive. It shows there are companies out there, willing and ready to commit capital and resources here in the UK to future technologies and industries.
There’s even talk that General Fusion may look to go public in the near future as well. If they do, I expect they’ll take a fast-track route to market that most breakthrough, game-changing companies are now taking.
This pathway opens the door for investors in a way that hasn’t really existed before. A way that puts people like you at the front of the queue to get a slice of incredible pioneering companies like General Fusion.
This fast-track path to market is so exciting, I’ve identified a whole list of companies that I believe will shape the future world of tomorrow, that you can invest in today. I’ve even put together a special briefing on what they are, what they do and how everyday investors can get a slice of the action. You can check out my free briefing here.
I’ve been watching General Fusion now for years. I’ve been following their development. I’m thrilled they’ve chosen the UK as the site for their pilot plant and I can’t wait if they decide to go public.
It’s another sign that the future of energy, the future of the UK and the future of markets will be ok. And if you’re smart enough to identify these companies, these trends and how they can benefit investors just like you, the future of your wealth might just be ok too.
Editor, Exponential Investor