Do the best we can with high probability technological improvement but the tech moonshots should be targeting civilization transformation

The problem that I have with the Tokamak fusion project is that it is classified and justified as a technological moonshot but would NOT be transformative or even better than incremental improvement of nuclear fission or even possibly scaled up solar technology.

The Tokamak is targeting a 35000 ton power generator that would not be radically cheaper and may not be cheaper than various existing nuclear fission or low risk nuclear fission progress. There is fast neutron breeder reactors that combined with offsite pyroprocessing that can close the uranium fuel cycle. China’s long range (multi-decade) nuclear plans have that program starting to phase in and scale in the 2030-2040. The program also costs billions of dollars. Nuclear fusion is a great target, but I do not like that the result is targeting 2050-2080 and is vastly underwhelming IF it works as they are planning.

The integrated molten salt reactor from Terrestrial Energy is a reactor that could be completed in 8 years. Early systems could be built that do not have turbines to generate steam for Canada’s oilsands for economically valuable oil recovery. This would fund creating the first few hundred molten salt reactors. Molten salt reactors were already made in the 1960s that produced megawatts of power. The Terrestrial Energy reactor would 50 times smaller for the same power as nuclear reactors that now are put into submarines. It also has the potential to lower the cost of energy by 5 to ten times.

Granted a Tokamak is far better than coal plants and natural gas plants which are currently dominating. There are incremental advances in turbines and fossil fuel power plants and other lower risk advancements in turbines which would boost the current thermal power plants (fossil fuel and nuclear).

Supercritical CO2 could make thermal power more efficient for fossil fuel, concentrated solar and nuclear.

Wind technology has the potential to be vastly improved as well.

There are several solar power advancements that can lower the cost.

I will expand upon those later.

What are my favorite Civilization transformation projects and technology ?

The molten salt reactor as mentioned. More transformation potential than horizontal oil and gas fracking.

The Lawrenceville plasma Physics dense plasma focus fusion project. Which could lower energy costs by 20 times.

SENS and other radical life extension technology

Molecular Nanotechnology

Space – reusable rockets from Spacex and others
Space Planetary Resources – space telescopes and satellites that are far cheaper
Space – ion drives for cubesats
Nuclear propulsion technology for space
Large scale construction approaches to space (several NIAC projects)

There are a few others from my Mundane Singularity technology list.

If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on ycombinator or StumbleUpon. Thanks

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