Nuclear Fusion Is Not the “Holy Grail of Clean Energy”

Nuclear fusion was recently praised as "the holy grail of clean energy" last month, but this claim isn't necessarily accurate.



What is your favorite clean energy source?

In December, the National Ignition Facility announced a breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology: for the first time, a nuclear fusion reaction created a net gain of energy, and since that reaction doesn’t emit carbon or other pollutants, a lot of people have proclaimed that we are one step closer to achieving “the holy grail of clean energy.” But as exciting as this breakthrough is from a scientific perspective, “holy grail of clean energy” is a bit of a stretch. Ethan breaks down why today’s clean energy sources are way further developed than nuclear fusion and why nuclear fusion isn’t necessarily required for a clean energy transition in this week’s “Tip of the Iceberg.”

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Writers: Ethan Brown, Madeleine Salman, Maddy Schmidt

Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley

Editor: Megan Antone

Producers: Ethan Brown, Olivia Amitay, Hallie Cordingley, Shannon Damiano, Maddy Schmidt

Ad Voiceover: Maddy Schmidt

Music: Brett Sawka

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.

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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


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