Wednesday, 13 November 2019


Letter sent to the Daily Telegraph:

In elections politicians seeking support tend to exaggerate, and also leave out inconvenient facts, to bolster their case.

Thus, as your political editor reported on the front page (“Boris Johnson promises 'clean energy revolution' once Brexit is done,” November 13; prime minister Boris Johnson “ announced plans to fund research aimed at developing the world's first nuclear fusion plant, which could power entire towns without creating greenhouse gases or radioactive waste.

This is misleading.

According to the UN nuclear watchdog,  the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): “Fusion does not create any long-lived radioactive nuclear waste.”

But, it adds, fusion “also produces and consumes tritium within the plant in a closed circuit. Tritium is radioactive (a beta emitter) but its half life is short. The activation of the reactor’s structural material by intense neutron fluxes is another issue. This strongly depends on what solution for blanket and other structures has been adopted.” (

Moreover, the technical advisor to the French nuclear regulator, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) says in its detailed 2018 report on Nuclear Fusion:

“[Radioactive ]waste , whether low and intermediate low level short-lived waste, or very low level waste, is processed and stored in the ‘radwaste building.’”

Facts should still matter, especially in elections.

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