‘Total chaos’: Tornadoes, storms kill four, injure dozens across South
At least a dozen people were injured, and damage was reported in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Tens of thousands of customers were without power at the height of Monday’s storms.
One person died in a flood in Greenup County, Kentucky, early Tuesday.
A woman was killed in Louisiana. A couple died in Alabama, where the injured included a 7-year-old child rushed to a Birmingham, Alabama, hospital.
“It was total chaos,“ Lawrence County, Alabama, Coroner Scott Norwood said of the destruction. “We had to make due the best we could.”
The National Weather Service was also sending survey teams to assess damage in Sumter, Marengo, Hale, Bibb, Shelby and Chilton counties.
In all, there were 27 reports of tornadoes across the region on Monday, the Storm Prediction Center said.
In Louisiana, Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft said Betty Patin, 59, was killed when her mobile home was destroyed by an apparent tornado. During the worst of the storm, the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center warned that a „strong to potentially intense tornado with potential peak winds of 110 to 155 mph is likely ongoing” in the county.
The tornado was on the ground for 63 miles, according to the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“I don’t know what our records for the longest total in this area is,” but that’s got to be close, meteorologist Donald Jones said.
In Alexandria, Louisiana, students at a religious school were evacuated to the church before the tornado ripped off the school’s roof, Police Cpl. Wade Bourgeois said.
“We are blessed,” Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall said. “This could have been so much worse. But we have had no loss of life, and that’s the most important thing.”
Several school systems in Alabama and Mississippi dismissed students early Monday and canceled afternoon events and activities as a precaution since storms were forecast to be moving through around the usual dismissal times.
More storms were forecast across the Southeast on Tuesday, especially portions of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, the Storm Prediction Center said.
December tornadoes aren’t unusual. Monday was the 19th anniversary of a Southeastern tornado outbreak that produced a twister that killed 11 people in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Also, storms on Dec. 1, 2018, spawned more than two dozen tornadoes in the Midwest.
Contributing: Jordan Culver, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tornadoes, storms kill 4 and bring devastation to Alabama, Louisiana
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — A swarm of tornadoes and other storms that left a trail of destruction across the Southeast killed four people, injured at least a dozen more and left victims to bundle up against the cold as they picked through pieces of their homes on Tuesday.
The death toll rose to four after heavy overnight rains caused flooding in Greenup County, Kentucky. Water rescue crews were called in about 8 a.m. Tuesday to aid two people, and at least one of them died, Kentucky State Police Trooper Bobby King said. He said crews were still trying to rescue another person.
National Weather Service teams confirmed at least 18 tornado paths: nine in Mississippi, six in Alabama and three in Louisiana. The number could rise since teams were still surveying damage.
Col. Bryan Olier, chief of staff at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, told a news conference that at least 25 counties were affected, 150 homes reported damaged or destroyed and about a dozen people injured.
“We had a storm front that went … from the southwest corner of the state to almost central — some 60 to 80 miles (100 to 130 kilometers),” Gov. Phil Bryant said.
The Storm Prediction Center logged more than three dozen reports of storm damage from east Texas to Georgia.
“The cat flew,” said Tonia Tyler of Pineville, Louisiana. “It picked the cat up, and the cat flew — my cat — it flew across the yard. And I knew right there, I said ‘Oh God, we’re not going to make it.'”
In north Alabama, Lawrence County Coroner Scott Norwood said the bodies of Justin Chase Godsey, 35, and Keisha LeAnn Cross Godsey, 34, were found more than 200 yards (183 meters) from their home, the Decatur Daily reported. The couple’s elementary-school-age son was hospitalized.
Betty Patin, 59, died when an apparent tornado struck her home in Vernon Parish, Louisiana, said Chief Deputy Calvin Turner.
The toll could have been worse.
Workers at Hope Baptist Christian Academy in Alexandria got children under pews in the church sanctuary before a twister ripped the roof off the building, said Gov. John Bel Edwards. A worker clung to a beam in a maintenance barn to avoid being hurled into the storm.
„I’m just thankful that we’re looking at buildings and cars and travel trailers and mobile homes that have been destroyed here and not lives,” Edwards said during a news conference in Alexandria. He said about 100 homes were damaged, about half of them either very severely damaged or “practically destroyed.”
Survey teams were working Tuesday to determine whether the 63-mile (101-kilometer) northeast track to Alexandria was continuous or intermittent, National Weather Service forecasters said.
Some cities opened warming shelters as a cold front collided with warmer air over northern Gulf Coast states and sent temperatures plunging.
Overnight lows Tuesday were predicted to dip below freezing, putting pressure on utility crews to restore power to more than 15,000 homes and businesses left in the dark in the region.
Three people were injured, at least one of them seriously, by an apparent tornado that hit Amite County, Mississippi, Monday afternoon, county emergency director Grant McCurley said.
Some houses were destroyed and others severely damaged, he said, with damage spread across the county on the southeast Louisiana state line.
Four counties eastward, seven women received minor injuries when their group home in Sumrall, Mississippi was heavily damaged, officials said.
In Guntown, Mississippi, near Tupelo and about 260 miles (420 kilometers) north-northeast of Amite County, a tornado destroyed a church and damaged dozens of homes.
Brad Poyner and his son rode out that twister in a bedroom closet. „You heard like a cannon going off in your ears and then we walked out and it was calm,” Poynor told the Daily Journal.
However, the tornado — assessed by the National Weather Service as an EF2 twister with 115-mph (185-kph) winds — had ripped off the roof over Poyner’s living room. Soggy pink insulation and drywall covered the floor Tuesday.
It was among at least 60 to 75 homes damaged in Lee County, with assessments still going on, officials said.
Associated Press writer Janet McConnaughey contributed to this report from New Orleans. Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama.
A Methane Leak, Seen From Space, Proves to Be Far Larger Than Thought
The first satellite designed to continuously monitor the planet for methane leaks made a startling discovery last year: A little known gas-well accident at an Ohio fracking site was in fact one of the largest methane leaks ever recorded in the United States.
The findings by a Dutch-American team of scientists, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mark a step forward in using space technology to detect leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, from oil and gas sites worldwide.
The scientists said the new findings reinforced the view that methane releases like these, which are difficult to predict, could be far more widespread than previously thought.
“We’re entering a new era. With a single observation, a single overpass, we’re able to see plumes of methane coming from large emission sources,” said Ilse Aben, an expert in satellite remote sensing and one of the authors of the new research. “That’s something totally new that we were previously not able to do from space.”
Scientists also said the new findings reinforced the view that methane emissions from oil installations are far more widespread than previously thought.
The blowout, in February 2018 at a natural gas well run by an Exxon Mobil subsidiary in Belmont County, Ohio, released more methane than the entire oil and gas industries of many nations do in a year, the research team found. The Ohio episode triggered about 100 residents within a 1-mile radius to evacuate their homes while workers scrambled to plug the well.
At the time, the Exxon subsidiary, XTO Energy, said it could not immediately determine how much gas had leaked. But the European Space Agency had just launched a satellite with a new monitoring instrument called Tropomi, designed to collect more accurate measurements of methane.
“We said, ‘Can we see it? Let’s look,’ ” said Steven Hamburg, a New York-based scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, which had been collaborating on the satellite project with researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Space Research in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Natural gas production has come under increased scrutiny because of the prevalence of leaks of methane — the colorless, odorless main component of natural gas — from the fuel’s supply chain.
When burned for electricity, natural gas is cleaner than coal, producing about half the carbon dioxide that coal does. But if methane escapes into the atmosphere before being burned, it can warm the planet more than 80 times as much as the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
The satellite’s measurements showed that, in Ohio in the 20 days it took for Exxon to plug the well, about 120 metric tons of methane an hour were released. That amounted to twice the rate of the largest known methane leak in the United States, from an oil and gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon, Calif., in 2015, though that event lasted longer and had higher emissions overall.
The Ohio blowout released more methane than the reported emissions of the oil and gas industries of countries like Norway and France, the researchers estimated. Scientists said the measurements from the Ohio site could mean that other large leaks are going undetected.
“When I started working on methane, now about a decade ago, the standard line was: ‘We’ve got it under control. We’re managing it,’ ” Hamburg said. “But in fact, they didn’t have the data. They didn’t have it under control, because they didn’t understand what was actually happening. And you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
An Exxon spokesman, Casey Norton, said that the company’s own scientists had scrutinized images and taken pressure readings from the well to arrive at a smaller estimate of the emissions from the blowout. Exxon is in touch with the satellite researchers, Norton said, and has “agreed to sit down and talk further to understand the discrepancy and see if there’s anything that we can learn.”
“This was an anomaly,” he said. “This is not something that happens on any regular basis. And we do our very best to prevent this from ever happening.”
An internal investigation found that high pressure had caused the well’s casing, or internal lining, to fail, Norton said. After working with Ohio regulators on safety improvements, he said, the well is now in service.
Miranda Leppla, head of energy policy at the Ohio Environmental Council, said there had been complaints about health issues — throat irritation, dizziness, breathing problems — among residents closest to the well.
“Methane emissions, unfortunately, aren’t a rare occurrence, but a constant threat that exacerbates climate change and can damage the health of Ohioans,” she said.
Scientists said that a critical task was now to be more quickly able to sift through the tens of millions of data points the satellite collects each day to identify methane hot spots. Studies of oil fields in the United States have shown that a small number of sites with high emissions are responsible for the bulk of methane releases.
So far, detecting and measuring methane leaks has involved expensive field studies using aircraft and infrared cameras that make the invisible gas visible. In a visual investigation published last week, The New York Times used airborne measurement equipment and advanced infrared cameras to expose six so-called super emitters in a West Texas oil field.
In a separate paper published in October, researchers detailed the use of two satellites to detect and measure a longer-term leak of methane from a natural gas compressor station in Turkmenistan, in Central Asia. Researchers estimated emissions from the site to be roughly comparable to the overall release from the Aliso Canyon event.
The leak has now stopped, satellite readings show, after the researchers raised the alarm through diplomatic channels.
“That’s the strength of satellites. We can look almost everywhere in the world,” said Aben, a senior scientist at the Dutch space institute in Utrecht and an author on both papers.
There are limitations to hunting for methane leaks with satellite technology. Satellites cannot see beneath clouds. Scientists must also do complex calculations to account for the background methane that already exists in the earth’s atmosphere.
Still, satellites will increasingly be able to both rapidly detect large releases and shed light on the rise in methane levels in the atmosphere, which has been particularly pronounced since 2007 for reasons that still aren’t fully understood. Fracking natural-gas production, which accelerated just as atmospheric methane levels jumped, has been studied as one possible cause.
“Right now, you have one-off reports, but we have no estimate globally of how frequently these things happen,” Hamburg of the Environmental Defense Fund said. “Is this a once a year kind of event? Once a week? Once a day? Knowing that will make a big difference in trying to fully understand what the aggregate emissions are from oil and gas.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
© 2019 The New York Times Company
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Police said Tuesday that an Australian teenager and a New Zealand tour guide are the two people presumed dead but whose bodies have not been found after last week’s volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island that killed 18 people.
New Zealand police said the bodies of Winona Langford, 17, of Sydney and New Zealander Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, have yet to be accounted for.
Authorities believe both bodies are in the waters around White Island, but harsh conditions Tuesday forced an abandonment of the search for the second straight day.
Inclement weather struck the Bay of Plenty, where White Island is located, and a water-based search has been ruled out due to the forecast of storms.
Langford’s parents, Anthony and Kristine Langford, died in the eruption, while her brother, Jesse Langford, survived with severe burns and is being treated in a Sydney hospital.
In a previously released statement from the Langford family, Anthony and Kristine Langford were described as “loving parents.”
„They will be greatly missed by all who knew them,” the statement said.
New Zealand police on Tuesday released the names of three more people who died in the eruption: Australians Richard Elzer, 32, and Julie Richards, 47, and Sydney-based U.S. citizen Barbara Hollander, 49.
Of the 47 people on White Island on Dec. 9 when it erupted, 24 were Australian citizens and four others were residents of Australia.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the trauma had taken a toll on the families of the victims.
“I don’t think any one of us can begin to imagine what those families are facing in the coming weeks and months,” an emotional Payne told reporters on Tuesday. “Here in places like Auckland, in Sydney, we’re surrounded by Christmas and celebration, but they face tragedy and devastation.”
“Our hearts and thoughts are with them every step of the way,” she added.
Military specialists recovered six bodies last Friday from White Island, which remains at risk of erupting again.
Scientists have warned that White Island, which is the exposed tip of a mostly undersea volcano, is highly volatile, and has been venting steam and mud regularly.
Survivors are being treated in hospitals across New Zealand and Australia.
Specialist medical teams from Australia, Britain and the United States have assisted in New Zealand.
HELENA, Mont. — Ranchers and government officials here are keeping watch on an enemy army gathering to the north, along the border with Canada. The invaders are big, testy, tenacious — and they will eat absolutely anything.
Feral pigs are widely considered to be the most destructive invasive species in the United States. They can do remarkable damage to the ecosystem, wrecking crops and hunting animals like birds and amphibians to near extinction.
They have wrecked military planes on runways. And although attacks on people are extremely rare, in November feral hogs killed a woman in Texas who was arriving for work in the early morning hours.
“Generally an invasive species is detrimental to one crop, or are introduced into waterways and hurt the fish,” said Dale Nolte, manager of the feral swine program at the Department of Agriculture. “But feral swine are destructive across the board and impact all sectors.”
Wild pigs occupy the “largest global range of any nondomesticated terrestrial mammal on earth,” researchers in Canada recently concluded. They have roamed parts of North America for centuries.
But in recent decades, the pigs have been expanding their range — or more accurately, people have been expanding it for them.
“It’s not natural dispersion,” Nolte said. “We have every reason to believe they are being moved in the backs of pickup trucks and released to create hunting opportunities.”
In the U.S., their stronghold is the South — about half of the nation’s 6 million feral pigs live in Texas. But in the past 30 years, the hogs have expanded their range to 38 states from 17.
Eurasian boar first arrived in Canada in the 1980s and 1990s, imported as livestock or for hunting. They escaped or were released, and sometimes mated with domestic pigs. Their descendants have become common across the Canadian prairie.
Many experts thought the pigs couldn’t thrive in cold climates. But they burrow into the snow in winter, creating so-called pigloos — a tunnel or cave with a foot or two of snow on top for insulation. Many have developed thick coats of fur.
Now they are poised to invade states along the border, threatening to establish a new beachhead in this country.
“It’s concerning that Canada isn’t doing anything about it,” said Maggie Nutter, one of 80 concerned ranchers and farmers who met recently near Sweet Grass, Montana, to discuss the potential swine invasion. “What do you do to get them to control their wild hog population?”
States and federal agencies are monitoring the border. Should the pigs advance, wildlife officials plan an air assault, hunting the pigs from planes with high-tech equipment like night-vision goggles and thermal-imaging scopes. They’re testing waterways for pig DNA, and turning to more traditional approaches — hunting dogs and shotguns.
Why the worry? The harm caused by snuffling, gobbling wild hogs is the stuff of legend. The damage in the U.S. is estimated to be $1.5 billion annually, but likely closer to $2.5 billion, Nolte said.
They are very smart and can be very big — a Georgia pig called Hogzilla is believed to have weighed at least 800 pounds — and populations grow rapidly. Each female is capable of birthing at least two litters a year of six or more piglets.
“Nature’s rototillers,” experts have said. Feral pigs don’t browse the landscape; they dig out plants by the root, and lots of them. Big hogs can chew up acres of crops in a single night, destroying pastures, tearing out fences, digging up irrigation systems, polluting water supplies.
“Pigs will literally eat anything,” said Ryan Brook, a professor of animal science at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
“They eat ground-nesting birds — eggs and young and adults,” Brook said. “They eat frogs. They eat salamanders. They are huge on insect larvae. I’ve heard of them taking adult white-tailed deer.”
A recent study found that mammal and bird communities are 26% less diverse in forests where feral pigs are present. Sea turtles are an especially egregious example.
“Feral swine dig up nests and eat the eggs or consume the baby turtles,” Nolte said. “We have taken feral swine and in necropsies shown their entire stomach and intestines are full of baby sea turtles.”
Feral swine have caused extensive damage to cultural and historical sites. The invaders cause $36 million a year in damage to vehicles alone.
“Hitting a two- or three-hundred-pound pig on a highway is not that much different than hitting a two- or three-hundred-pound rock,” Nolte said. Two F-16 fighter jets have crashed after they hit pigs on the runway.
The swine are also reservoirs for at least 32 diseases, including bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and leptospirosis. Outbreaks of E. coli in spinach and lettuce have been blamed on feral hogs defecating in farm fields.
There are reports that people have contracted hepatitis and brucellosis from butchering the animals after hunting.
“If an animal disease like African swine fever or hoof-and-mouth gets into these animals, it will be almost impossible to stop,” said Dr. William Karesh, a veterinarian who works for EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that studies animal disease. “It will shut down our livestock industry.”
Many countries are frantically trying to contain a global outbreak of African swine fever, which may necessitate the slaughter of a quarter of the world’s domestic pigs. Denmark has built a pig-proof fence along its border with Germany to keep wild boar from entering and infecting domestic pigs.
In the U.S., pig hunting is a popular sport, but biologists caution that it is not always the solution to the nation’s feral pig problem.
In states where populations are not established, hunting creates an incentive for people to distribute feral pigs for sport. Hunting makes the animals warier and scatters sounders, or family groups, which go on to multiply in new family groups.
But where pigs are already well established, hunting can reduce their numbers. Gunning feral pigs from helicopters with semi-automatic weapons is a popular sport in Texas. (There are no hunting seasons for feral swine in the state; the animals, which cause $400 million in crop damage in the state annually, can be shot year round.)
Feral hogs are the descendants of swine brought by European explorers in the 16th century; Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, is credited with introducing them to the New World.
Explorers released pigs as they traveled, and then hunted them for food when they returned to the area. Later, Eurasian wild boar were imported to North America for hunting. In many places the boar and the feral domestic hogs interbred.
This crossbreeding has resulted in a well-adapted animal, Brook said: “It’s created a super pig.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
© 2019 The New York Times Company
Over the past decade, scientists around the globe have made mind-blowing discoveries to help mankind better understand the mysteries of the universe — and space exploration was taken to new heights as probes penetrated farther into the depths of the solar system than ever before.
Here are 10 of the biggest stories in astronomy and space in the 2010s:
1. Space Shuttle era comes to an end
July 8, 2011, marked the end of an era as Space Shuttle Atlantis returned on its final trip from space. This was the last mission in the Space Shuttle Program, which started 30 years earlier with the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981.
|Space shuttle Atlantis touches down, completing the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, early Thursday morning, July 21, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)|
There were 135 missions in the Space Shuttle Program, which was used to help construct the International Space Station (ISS) and to launch satellites, including the famous Hubble Space Telescope.
2. Large meteor explodes over Chelyabinsk, Russia
Residents around Chelyabinsk, Russia, woke up to a calm, mainly clear day on Feb. 15, 2013, when seemingly out of nowhere everything changed.
A meteor over 60 feet wide streaked through the sky, shining 30 times brighter than the sun before exploding high in the atmosphere over the region. The shock wave from the explosion resulted in over 1,000 injuries and caused the windows in buildings to shatter across six nearby cities.
|In this frame grab made from dashboard camera video shows a meteor streaking through the sky over Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/AP Video)|
Meteorites were scattered across the snow-covered landscape following the explosion with the largest chunk crashing through the ice on Chebarkul Lake. That chunk was recovered later in the year.
3. New Horizons takes 1st close-up photos of Pluto
After traveling billions of miles through our solar system, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft arrived at Pluto on July 14, 2015, making headlines around the globe. It was the first spacecraft to ever visit this distant world, and it sent back groundbreaking, high-resolution images of Pluto and its moons.
|NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. (NASA)|
Key Point: Soviet nuclear reactors, particularly on their submarines, were reguarly faulty.
In 1985, a Soviet submarine undergoing a delicate refueling procedure experienced a freak accident that killed ten naval personnel. The fuel involved was not diesel, but nuclear, and the resulting environmental disaster contaminated the area with dangerous, lasting radiation. The incident, which remained secret until after the demise of the USSR itself, was one of many nuclear accidents the Soviet Navy experienced during the Cold War.
Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy.
The first episode of television series The Simpsons, „Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”, airs in the United States.
The Soviet Union’s nuclear war planners had a difficult time targeting the United States. While the United States virtually encircled the enormous socialist country with nuclear missiles in countries such as Turkey and Japan, the Western Hemisphere offered no refuge for Soviet deployments in-kind.
One solution was the early development of nuclear cruise missile submarines. These submarines, known as the Echo I and Echo II classes, were equipped with six and eight P-5 “Pyatyorka” nuclear land attack cruise missiles, respectively. Nicknamed “Shaddock” by NATO, the P-5 was a subsonic missile with a range of 310 miles and 200- or 350-kiloton nuclear warhead. The P-5 had a circular error probable of 1.86 miles, meaning half of the missiles aimed at a target would land within that distance, while the other half would land farther away.
- Scientists believe they’ve uncovered the meaning of some of the Moai stone monoliths found on Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island.
- The scientists analyzed soil in the vicinity of two of the Moai statues and found traces of banana, taro, and sweet potato, according to research published last month in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
- These traces indicate the statues could have been used to celebrate the crop fertility of soils in the region.
The famed stone monoliths that tower over the island of Rapa Nui—colloquially known as Easter Island—have puzzled scientists for centuries.
But now, archaeologists and soil scientists studying the ancient Moai believe they may have uncovered the meaning of the famous statues. Clues in nearby soils suggest the statues may have been placed there to celebrate the fertility of crops in the area.
For more than three decades, Jo Ann Van Tilburg, of the University of California, Los Angeles, has studied the origins of the Moai along with Rapanui artist Cristián Arévalo Pakarati and other members of the local community. They recruited soil scientist Sarah Sherwood, of the University of the South in Tennessee, to analyze the soil the base of two statues found peculiarly perched upright in the Rano Raraku quarry on the eastern part of the island, where most of the more than 1,000 Moai statues originated. (The scientists suspect that work in the quarry began around A.D. 1455.)
The team analyzed soils at the foot of two of the structures, which archaeologists believe were erected by or before A.D. 1510 to A.D. 1645, and found chemical evidence of common food crops. The soils revealed traces of foods like taro, banana, and sweet potato, according to research published last month in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The findings suggest locals on the island may have actually utilized the quarry itself as a place to grow food.
“When we got the chemistry results back, I did a double take,” Sherwood said in a statement. Soils across much of Rapa Nui are in poor shape—either highly eroded or leeched of the vital nutrients that help plants grow. Analysis showed that soils within the quarry are far more fertile than previously thought, with plenty of water and elevated levels of elements like calcium and phosphorus, which are essential in increasing crop yields.
“This study radically alters the idea that all standing statues in Rano Raraku were simply awaiting transport out of the quarry,” Van Tilburg said in the same statement. “That is, these and probably other upright Moai in Rano Raraku were retained in place to ensure the sacred nature of the quarry itself. The Moai were central to the idea of fertility, and in Rapanui belief their presence here stimulated agricultural food production.”
Burnaby, B.C.-based General Fusion says it has closed on a $65 million equity financing round that will spark the launch of a program to design, construct and operate a demonstration nuclear fusion power plant.
- General Fusion is one of several startups pursuing unorthodox strategies to turn the dream of clean, abundant fusion power into commercial reality. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is one of the venture’s longtime backers, and Bezos Expeditions participated in the funding round announced today. The Series E round was led by Temasek, a global investment company headquartered in Singapore.
- In addition to the $65 million in new financing, General Fusion’s demonstration project will draw upon $50 million (Canadian) in investment that’s been released by Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund. General Fusion’s approach, known as magnetized target fusion, has attracted more than $200 million in funding to date. “I feel like this is the SpaceX moment for fusion,” General Fusion CEO Chris Mowry said in Seattle last year.
- General Fusion says it plans to get its demonstration plant up and running at a site yet to be selected in the 2025 time frame. The company estimates it’ll take $300 million or so to complete the project, which means it’ll have to bring in much more funding. Meanwhile, a multibillion-dollar, international fusion research effort known as ITER is aiming to finish construction of a massive experimental reactor in France by late 2025.