Thursday, February 9, 2023



HB927: Don’t Buy the Hype: Fusion is a Dangerous Delusion

By Lynda Williams

A bipartisan group of Hawaii legislators have submitted bill HB927 to create a task force to ‘determine the feasibility of amending the Hawaii State Constitution to include provisions to allow for fusion-powered reactors.” Everything in this Bill is wrong or a lie and it must be stopped in committee. Let me break it down line by line.

A nuclear fusion power plant is a giant facility that consumes tremendous amounts of energy and water and produces radioactive waste in the breeding of tritium fuel and in the reactor building. 

The legislature finds that in December 2022, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that it had achieved fusion ignition, producing more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to initiate the ignition.

There was a lot of media hoopla about this ‘breakthrough’ but it is misleading propaganda. The nuclear fusion reaction lasted less than a billionth of a second and it took much more energy to make the laser beam and the tritium fuel source than was released. The term ‘ignition’ doesn’t mean efficient or self-sustaining – it’s a milestone word invented by the Fusion industry who have been in a failed business for over 70 years and have sucked nearly 50 billion dollars from US taxpayers to try to reproduce on Earth fusion that makes the Sun and stars shine. “Achieving ignition” is pure engineering hype and the Hawaii State Legislature should not be perpetuating such pseudoscience & misinformation.

The legislature recognizes that once fully realized as a source of power, fusion could allow the State to more efficiently meet the State's net-zero emission goals.

Being decades if not centuries away from being practical, efficient, and affordable, Nuclear Fusion Power cannot address the urgent clean energy needs of the world in time to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of Climate Change. Although fusion reactions do not release CO2, every aspect of the fuel cycle, from breeding tritium fuel with fission reactors at $30,000 per gram, to building the $30 billion football field sized reactor buildings, to decommissioning what will end up to be a highly radioactive building, produces tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases. Nuclear power, be it fission or fusion, is not a zero-emission power source. The Hawaii Legislature should not ‘recognize’ what are in fact, absolute lies.

 The legislature notes that, unlike fission reactors, fusion reactors produce shorter-lived radioactive byproducts and are a safer and cleaner alternative to nuclear-powered fission reactors.

The fusion reaction fuses deuterium and tritium into helium and releases radioactive neutrons that decay by beta emission and when absorbed by uranium produce Plutonium used in nuclear weapons.  

This is the biggest lie in the bill. As stated above, the fuel source for fusion reactions is the rare and short-lived radioactive isotope of hydrogen, tritium, which must be created or ‘bred’ in a fission reactor.  You cannot have fusion on Earth without fission to breed tritium. Tritium behaves chemically like atomic hydrogen and bonds with oxygen to form radioactive “tritiated water” and then decays to regular hydrogen by very dangerous beta emission so if it is ingested it is carcinogenic. Released or leaked into the environment, tritiated water is very dangerous because biologically it behaves like regular water. 

Power generated from fusion reactors still boil water to turn a turbine. Since it is hot power plant, the generator needs a lot of water to boil and to cool the plant. Hot water is released back into the environment. Tritiated water leaks and releases are common at fusion reactor sites. Hawaii is already facing severe droughts and water contamination from the military, does it really want to invest in and risk more contamination to the water and ecosystem?

Short lived radioactive atoms are MORE dangerous because they are more active and decay more often! The fusion reaction also releases neutrons which make everything they come into contact highly radioactive. If you put uranium inside the reactor building it will create plutonium, the main ingredient in nuclear bombs and the deadliest substance ever created by humans. Fusion reactors therefore have a very high risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and must be guarded by the US military. Because of this security risk, fusion power will never be distributed and democratized and must be operated by militarized corporate state control. There is nothing safe and clean about nuclear fusion or fission. Again, the Hawaii Legislature should not ‘note’ such dangerous lies.

 Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to establish a future fusion task force to:

(1)  Determine the feasibility of amending the Hawaii State Constitution to include provisions to allow for fusion-powered reactors;

Why amend the Hawaii State Constitution? Because during the 1978 Constitutional Convention a provision prohibiting fission power or radioactive waste disposal in Hawaii was added to the constitution. The reactor and housing will become radioactive and would most likely have to remain & stored on site effectively forever. Fusion power produces radioactive waste and is therefore illegal in the state of Hawaii.

(2)  Evaluate potential sites that may be reserved for fusion reactors; and

(3)  Identify ways for the State to accelerate the progress of fusion development.

We should not waste a penny or an ounce of human energy establishing a ‘future fusion task force’ to evaluate potential sites or accelerate the progress of fusion technology when Nuclear Fusion Power is a dirty dangerous militarized expensive and unviable power source that cannot solve our energy needs or mitigate the climate crisis and is currently illegal in the state of Hawaii.

The Hawaii Legislature Energy & Environmental Protection (EPP) committee will hear testimony on February 14th at 9:10 am.  Testimony can be submitted here by :

More info on Fusion Delusion:

Lynda Williams is a physicist and peace activist living in Hilo Hawaii.