Arthur Turrell takes a good look at some of the 25 or so private fusion companies pushing towards commercialization, and appraises them alongside the public projects ... The Star Builders is realistic and positive — an interesting snapshot of the current situation and key players. And, as if the challenge of clean energy weren’t enough, Turrell has one last stretch for our imagination: to fusion propulsion for space travel. Humanity, he shows, is always reaching for the stars.
Turrell would have been well qualified to judge the prospects of these different fusion technologies, but he withholds his opinion, except for expressing mild skepticism about the most audacious claims ... I generally agree with Turrell that nuclear fusion could be an incredible solution to our energy problems and is worth the investment. We understand the physical principles that would make it possible — the problem is one of engineering. I disagree with him, though, on the reasons the engineering bit is taking so long, and when we can expect the problem to be solved ... I came away from this book more pessimistic about the prospects of nuclear fusion than I was before ... The field suffers from hype, obfuscation, empty promises and well-meaning enthusiasts like Turrell who uncritically report what those with vested interests say. What nuclear fusion most needs is a reality check. This book isn’t it.
[A] thoroughly researched, yet accessible book ... Turrell’s enthusiasm for the topic, as well as his clear and easy-to-understand explanations of the physics involved in nuclear fusion, make this a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in learning about the cutting-edge technology that’s being applied to solving the climate crisis.