Ahmed Abdulla recently published a discussion paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. Co-authored with Professor George R. Tynan, Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego, the paper identifies the characteristics that fusion reactors will need if they are to fit into the emerging low-carbon energy system of the twenty-first century.

Outside of entrepreneurial endeavours, the fusion energy community still envisions demonstrating the technology through large reactors that would require billions of dollars in capital expenditure. This article is intended to prod the community into integrating considerations from the unfolding energy transition as it optimizes reactor design.

Many scientists and engineers are conducting state-of-the-art research to master fusion and preempt challenges that depressed the deployment of similar technologies, like fission. However, in fixing mistakes of the past, it is important that we also anticipate future challenges to emerging technologies; otherwise, we risk designing systems that will be challenging to scale up.