What could be the start of a hysterical media campaign against fusion is beginning in Canada. An article on the website of the CBC or Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada’s government TV network similar to the BBC) lists concerns that a hot fusion reactor that startup General Fusion is trying to build might explode. To make matters worse there’s a TV news story about this running in Canada so all some people will know about fusion is that “these horrible people are building something that might explode.” This article also appeared at the left wing website Huffington Post which is where a lot of so called reporters in the United States get their story ideas.
The article does not say there is any public or government concern about the experiments. Instead it merely quotes University of British Columbia Physicist Erich Vogt who founded the Triumf Nuclear Research Lab at that school. Vogt told the broadcaster that there is a risk of an explosion from the fusion reaction but did not say how much of a risk. He also said people could get hurt but did not say what the chance of that was.
It would be interesting to see everything Vogt told the reporter. As a former journalist I have a strong suspicion that whoever wrote and edited the story (which has no byline a sure sign of hack journalism) deliberately left out a lot of what Vogt said. My guess is that all the benefits of fusion and the real likelihood of an explosion did not make it into the final version. Instead only the sound bit was included in what was broadcast.
This report has all the signs of a classic media attack, vague statements and claims from a self proclaimed expert. Not to mention unsubstantiated hysterical claims.
General Fusion is a start up partially financed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos that is trying to develop hot fusion by heating boron. It is unclear how close they are to achieving any results.
To make matters worse this poorly informed reporter states that cold fusion has fizzled. The reporter seems to believe and tell the public that cold fusion failed in the 1980s. He or she is obviously unaware of Andrea Rossi’s work or of the recent advances in it. The reporter says current research is focused on hot fusion, which is also untrue.
Judging by this story it is obvious that the media is ignorant of the subject. Of course the really scary part of this is that people who profit from the current energy status quo such as so called green energy companies that get big government subsidies will use such hysteria to attack fusion and keep it off the market out of concern for their bank accounts rather than concern for public safety.