By Dan Shapley
The world's first nuclear fusion plant holds promise, but it's a long shot
All eyes are on France, where the world's first nuclear fusion power plant is now under construction. Even in France, which embraced nuclear power in a way that America never did, the $12 billion, eight-story plant is something wholly different. Instead of harnessing the power of nuclear fission, it will harness the power of nuclear fusion -- the same energy released by the sun. Proponents say it has the potential to produce prodigious power without air pollution, and without as much nuclear waste as traditional nuclear power plants. Opponents, however, question the longterm solution for storing waste that stays radioactive for thousands of years, and the technical feasibility of the project. Making this new energy source work on a world scale, they say, also could take thousands of years, or at least a very long time, according to a story in the June 26 San Francisco Chronicle.