General Fusion Vice President for Technology and Corporate Strategy Michael Delage will appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources in Ottawa on Tuesday, to discuss the current state of nuclear energy in Canada, and to answer questions for MPs on yet unproven nuclear technologies such as fusion, which promise to revolutionize energy production in the 21st century.
Based in Burnaby, B.C. and founded in 2002, General Fusion has become the face of a new attempt to legitimize nuclear fusion, last year featuring as part of a Time magazine cover story touting the promise of nuclear fusion as “Unlimited Energy. For Everyone. Forever.”
“Clean fusion energy could play a key role in Canada’s future energy policy and help the world tackle climate change,” said Delage. “Our mission is to make sure that our political leaders understand fusion’s vast potential and how it fits into the picture of our energy future.”
Delage’s appearance before the Ottawa committee highlights the fact that the face of nuclear power is changing, shortly after General Fusion made a similar appearance before a committee of the US House of Representatives in 2015.
Delage will be highlighting points made in a recent report called “Fusion 2030 – A Roadmap for Canada”, produced by the Fusion 2030 Working Group, consisting of researchers from the University of Alberta, the University of Saskatchewan, General Fusion, the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, the Alberta/Canada Fusion Technology Alliance, and the Canadian Nuclear Society.
The nuclear energy facilities that are constructed in the near future are just as likely to be newer small modular reactors (SMRs) as as the more conventional CANDU reactors of the 20th century, including fast-neutron reactors and Integral Molten Salt Reactors (IMSR).
“These are also opportunities to explain how General Fusion is part of a new movement in fusion energy – we are one of a small group of private companies focused on developing the fastest, most practical, and cost-effective path to commercial fusion energy,” said Delage. “Our focus and our method suits Canada. Now, with the recommendations of the Fusion 2030 report, there is a real opportunity for Canada to play a significant role in pursuing the opportunity that fusion holds and support the development of a key piece of the future energy generation mix.”
The report makes the case that a national fusion energy R&D program is urgently needed in Canada, the only industrialized nation that has no national fusion program, which the report insists will provide a catalyst for rapid innovation, and also create high technology jobs and provide an example of Canada’s long-term strategic leadership.
The Fusion 2030 roadmap lays out a strategy to position Canada to be a world player in fusion research within five years and a leader in 10, calling for a harmonization between a national Canadian fusion program and provincial initiatives, and to prepare Canada for an era in which energy production is much cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly than it is now.
General Fusion has attracted over $100 million in investment, including a $27 million fundraising round led by the Government of Malaysia’s investment fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad in 2015, and previous investments from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Braemar Energy, Cenovus Energy, and Chrysalix Energy.
Nuclear fusion was also endorsed recently by Stephen Hawking at a conference in Sydney, where he named fusion when asked to choose the one idea that would transform our society.