Is fusion energy just around the corner

Tech & Nature

“As of this writing, New York City has made a desperate call for rain ponchos as medical gowns. Rain ponchos! In 2020! In America! ”The famous Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen is at least disappointed, probably more horrified, at what is going on in the USA, no, actually in the whole western world. Every Western institution was completely unprepared for the corona pandemic, and he now has to watch the US run out of beds in the intensive care unit, medical masks, ventilators and even cotton swabs.

“In the US, we are not even able to get the state bailout money to the people and businesses that need it. Tens of millions of laid-off workers and their families and many millions of small businesses are now in serious trouble and we have no direct method of sending them money without potentially catastrophic delays, "Andreessen wrote in a recent comment. The venture capitalist, who founded Andreessen Horowitz together with Ben Horowitz and has built one of the most impressive portfolios in the startup and tech world, is someone who likes to be listened to.

"It's time to build"

It is remarkable that he is now complaining about the USA's inability to produce urgently needed products and services. The education system, transport, industry, cities - many essential areas of society have no answer to the crisis. Our "lack of readiness" to produce, to build, to create is to blame. You see it all over the western world, but especially in the USA. "When the producers of HBO's" Westworld "wanted to portray the American city of the future, they weren't shooting in Seattle or Los Angeles or Austin - they went to Singapore," says Andreessen. He does not dare to lead China, the US's new archenemy.

How could the US now overcome this crisis? "It's time to build," demands Andressen. You now have to invest massively in order to build again - skyscrapers, gigantic networked factories, and yes, Andreessen would also like to have nuclear reactors built. “I think by building we can revive the American dream. The things we build in bulk, like computers and televisions, are going to drop in price quickly. The things we don't build, like apartments, schools and hospitals, are skyrocketing. "

Nuclear power is finding more and more supporters

Schools, hospitals, factories, of course - but why now nuclear reactors? "Let's solve the climate crisis by building," says Andreessen. "Energy experts say that all carbon-based power generation on the planet could be replaced by a few thousand new, zero-emission nuclear reactors, so let's build them." Andreessen knows that this particular appeal is controversial - which is why he is prudently open to criticism composed and asks the reader immediately what ideas he had for what should now be built.

+++ Fusion energy: "The sun already exists, we don't have to reinvent it" +++

The idea that you can only phase out fossil fuels with the help of nuclear power in order to generate the required amount of electricity has come to the fore again in the course of the debate surrounding the climate crisis. While this idea meets with a lot of resistance in Central Europe (especially in Germany and Austria), it is well accepted elsewhere. New nuclear power plants are being built in the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Finland, just like in China. Now that Marc Andreessen is also pleading for it, nuclear power is now getting support from a new corner.

'Fridays for Future' generation is rather uncritical

Meanwhile, Austria is one of the most vehement opponents of nuclear power. The country had complained at EU level that the subsidies with British tax money for the new construction of two nuclear reactors in Hinkley Point were a breach of competition law in the European internal market (was rejected by the ECJ). Austria has also repeatedly weathered nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic or Slovakia.

79 percent of Austrians describe themselves as opponents of nuclear power, but surveys also show that 33 percent of young men are now supporters. Today's “Fridays for Future” generation is largely uncritical about the use of nuclear power to save the climate, according to a survey by market for the “atomstopp_oberoesterreich” initiative that was published just a few weeks ago.

+++ Report: Fridays for Future is much more than just the climate strikes +++

Meanwhile, the disastrous disaster in Chernobyl in 1986 was not remembered until the end of April. The explosion in what was then the Soviet nuclear power plant on April 26, 1986 resulted in the largest nuclear disaster to date in the civilian use of nuclear power. Thousands of people were killed and injured, tens of thousands of people were forcibly relocated, and entire areas around the nuclear ruins had to be closed due to radiation.