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Michel Laberge in TED on Magnetized Target Fusion

Michel Laberge - the director and founder of the General Fusion - gave a talk at Vancouver's TED2014 conference in March, on the prospects of fusion energy and his company's attempt to bring fusion energy to the grid at competitive cost.

With a French tongue, the 52-year old Quebec-born scientist started by explaining the TED audience what would be the advantages of having fusion as a source of commercial energy, and why he is such “a fan of nuclear”. We learn that Laberge quit his job in September 2001 and how he got to build his first fusion reactor in a rented gas-station garage near his home on Bowen Island, near Vancouver. Four years later, with the help of government grants and money from friends and family, the company General Fusion emerged with a novel approach to achieving nuclear fusion.

With animations, we learn the basic approach behind this novel approach, now commonly referred to as Magnetized Target Fusion. Laberge then explains us why this original idea for Magnetized Target Fusion didn't work out, and what design changes his company is now making to tame the plasma once and for all. His point, in any case, is that fusion is coming. The thinking, Laberge says, has changed from “Can it be done?” to “How can it be done cheaply? Fusion is getting very close. We’re almost there.”

Watch the full TED talk here: