TU/e professor: ‘nuclear fusion operational in 15 years’

TU/e professor: 'The first nuclear fusion power plant will be operational in 15 years'
Photo credit: Bart van Overbeeke/TU/e/Studio040

According to TU/e ​​professor Niek Lopes Cardozo, the first nuclear fusion power plant will be built before 2040. The professor is retiring and therefore sheds light on developments in his field. Generating energy with nuclear fusion could represent a breakthrough when it comes to our daily energy supply.

In Eindhoven and the surrounding area, everyone is aware of the energy transition, if only because the power grid is not ready for the increase in electricity use. But the power grid may have even more to deal with in the foreseeable future.

In the foreseeable future, energy generated from nuclear fusion will also become part of the energy mix. This is what outgoing TU/e ​​professor Niek Lopes Cardozo says on the university’s website.


Developments in the field of nuclear fusion are moving quickly, the professor says. “I think we will see the first working reactors in about 15 years, before the year 2040”, Lopes Cardozo says. In addition, significant investments are being made in commercial companies that are developing nuclear fusion technology. In the US, for example, almost $6 billion was invested by the private sector, compared to only about $270 million from the government.

What is nuclear fusion?

In nuclear fusion, two atomic nuclei are fused to form a heavier atom, releasing a large amount of energy. That process takes place naturally in the sun and in other stars. Nuclear fusion is an interesting way to generate energy because it does not require valuable raw materials, produces no nuclear waste or produces other harmful by-products.

Important role

But before that happens, scientists still have to solve a number of problems, which will require more and more specialised people in the future. TU/e plays an important role in this, Cardozo says.

The biggest

The nuclear fusion education program provides evidence that education in Europe is doing well. “Our education program is the best and largest in Europe”, Lopes Cardozo proudly says. “There are other nuclear fusion programs in Europe, such as in Prague, Rome and York. In the rest of the world, there aren’t really other similarly large options”, Lopes Cardozo says.

“We even have the only fusion master’s program in the Netherlands. Students from other universities come to us for their nuclear fusion education. Each year the group of students consists of approximately a third from TU/e, a third from other Dutch universities and a third from all over the world”.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob

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