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Over the period 1971-1994 the world energy demand grew at a compounded average annual rate at 1.74% and the electricity demand in the same period grew at a rate of 3.87%. As far as the future needs of energy are concerned, one should take into account that any prediction is inherently uncertain. Therefore different scenarios of social and economic growth should be investigated. Across the different cases that can be envisaged, the primary energy needs are likely to increase between 1.5-3 times by 2050 and between 2-5 times by 2100. Therefore in order to keep the global warming under control, it seems clear that a move away from fossil fuels is needed to limit the CO(2) emissions. This implies a progressive shift to non-fossil options, such as renewables, nuclear fission and eventually, fusion.

An independent study has been recently conducted on behalf of the European Commission to assess the scientific technical, environmental, socio-economic and financial aspects of the fusion energy. The main outcome of the study was that fusion could be a viable option for electricity supply in the second half of the next century. It is worth noting that, as an option, it neither precludes nor competes directly with the development of other energy systems. .

Additional information

Authors: MEROLA M, The NET Team, Garching (DE);VIEIEDER G, The NET Team, Garching (DE);SMID I, The NET Team, Garching (DE);SCHLOSSER J, CEA Cadarache (FR);ESCOURBIAC F, CEA Cadarache (FR);BOSCARY J, CEA Cadarache (FR)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Heat and Technology, 15 (1997) 2, 27-34
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