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Nuclear fusion gets boost from private-sector startups

Startups bring a new attitude to the energy quest — will it be enough?

By
12:30pm, January 27, 2016
General Fusion Reactor

RENEGADE FUSION  Private-sector startups, like General Fusion, are betting they can develop an energy source for the future faster than government-funded projects. General Fusion's prototype (shown) uses pistons that converge on magnetized, superhot plasma.

The lab where a company called General Fusion is trying to spark an energy revolution looks like a cross between a hardware store and a mad scientist’s lair. Bins full of electrical gadgets are piled high against the walls. Capacitors recycled from a bygone experiment are stacked up like bottles in wine racks. Ten-foot-high contraptions bristle with tangled wires and shiny plumbing.

Michael Delage, General Fusion’s vice president for strategy and corporate development, makes sure nothing is turned on when he takes a visitor through the lab, which is tucked away in a bland industrial park near Vancouver. He’s worried about the voltage.

“If you get a broken wire or something like that, you get a very loud bang,” Delage explains.

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