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"It will change everything (on the potential of fusion)."

LABAN COBLENTZ, HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS, INTERNATIONAL THERMONUCLEAR EXPERIMENTAL REACTOR

Two major fusion initiatives are making headway in the decades long goal to find the ultimate source of clean energy. In this episode of Grid Talk, we visit with Laban Coblentz who is the head of communications at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in the south of France.

Coblentz described the long quest for fusion and its implications. 

“Fusion has the potential to give a baseload source of energy without only a fraction of the waste concerns of fission, without the safety concerns of fission, but with the ability to provide clean energy for a planet in a concentrated way.” 

It will be safe and should not trigger many of the concerns of conventional nuclear reactors that have been around for decades.

“Fusion will not be without waste, but it won’t have any long-lived, high activity radioactive waste.”  

“The fact that the physics don’t allow a meltdown or that kind of thing; you could in fact place it in greater proximity to cities, to industry if you get the local—if you get the regulatory authorities to agree.”

The European Union and the United States are two of the seven key, international players in ITER.

“ITER is not just a fusion device, it’s an exercise in what happens when the global community believes so much in a common goal and in a better future for our kids that we are willing to put aside our known ideological differences to try to pool our best expertise, something that science has done for a longtime.” 

Laban Coblentz has been with ITER since 2015. He is an entrepreneur and consultant with leadership roles at several companies. He has been involved with communication, energy policy, advanced science and technology, and entrepreneurship since attending the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School in the 1980’s.

He holds an M.A. in English, English Literature from San Francisco State University  and a B.A. in  degree in English, Psychology from Malone University.