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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Hunter Biden's Testimony Called "Dishonest" and "Defiant;" Claims You Can't Trust His "My Father Is Sitting Next to Me Here" Because He Was High on a Very-Conveniently-Timed Crack Break
March 01, 2024

THE MORNING RANT: Tennessee Taxpayers to Fund a Startup Company’s Nuclear Fusion (not Fission) Project

Atomic Dollar.JPG

Tennessee is a conservative, low-tax state that for some inexplicable reason keeps committing taxpayer money to pursue fairy-tale projects in service to the green agenda.

As I’ve discussed here and at The Pipeline, Governor Bill Lee and the Republican legislature re-allocated almost $1 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to entice Ford to build a new electric vehicle plant outside Memphis. With Ford’s EV dreams collapsing, it is becoming more and more likely that this $1 billion of taxpayer money will be lost.

You’d think this experience would have proved educational to state leaders.

It has not, for now the state of Tennessee is about to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to lure a start-up nuclear fusion operation to the state. Fusion, not fission. Fission is the process of atom splitting that produces electricity at nuclear power plants. Fusion, by contrast, is a still hypothetical form of energy production from fusing together the nuclei of two atoms into one.

For the past 50 years, fusion has been touted as the future of nuclear energy – but it’s always been just 10 more years away. Actually, it’s become a bit of a punch line after all the failed timelines, and especially after the “cold fusion” controversy of 1989. Whether nuclear fusion is as unobtainable as perpetual motion, or whether it is now finally just 10 years away, it’s embarrassing for a “conservative” politician to state as a fact that steering taxpayer money to a private company will result in the production of “reliable” fusion energy.

This is Governor Bill Lee’s press release from 02/21/2024:

“Our administration created the Nuclear Energy Fund in partnership with the Tennessee General Assembly to recruit companies like Type One Energy. Tennessee is ready to secure its place as the top state for energy independence, and we are proud to partner with Type One Energy to further that mission and bring hundreds of high-quality jobs and more reliable energy to Tennesseans.” – Gov. Bill Lee

History would indicate that it’s an almost certainty that this venture will produce zero fusion energy, “reliable” or otherwise.

Type One Energy is the name of the company that will be receiving Tennessee taxpayer money. It was started in 2019 and has received funding from an innovation fund created by Bill Gates. Public records I’ve found show $29 million raised by Type One to date.

Here is the story as reported in the Knoxville newspaper: “TVA's closed Bull Run plant could get second life harnessing fuel hotter than the sun” [Knoxville News – 02/21/2024]

When Type One Energy was founded in 2019, it formed a team of leading U.S. experts to strive for commercial fusion. The company hopes to capitalize on enthusiasm from private investors and federal and local governments. Its Infinity One prototype is the first grant recipient of Tennessee's state nuclear fund, created by Gov. Bill Lee last year to accelerate nuclear innovation.

I could probably get behind using the state’s nuclear fund to bring small modular nuclear (fission) plants online, but not this.

The bad news for those of you outside Tennessee is that you are throwing money at this private company too.

The company also was included in the Department of Energy’s $46 million Milestone-Based Fusion Development program.

In exchange for Tennessee taxpayer money, this startup company with no revenue is promising to create more than 300 jobs and invest $223 million into the region in the next five years.

The company also announced Feb. 21 it would establish its headquarters in East Tennessee, creating more than 300 jobs over the next five years with an average salary of $130,000. Though its headquarters will likely be in the Knoxville area, the company has not selected a location. It plans to invest $223 million in the region over the next five years.

Per the Chattanooga newspaper, about $7 million in state funds will be steered to these fusion promoters. The TVA is involved at some level since it is their decommissioned coal plant that will house Type One Energy’s operation, but TVA’s involvement may not be financial so much as it will be about having a tenant.

East Tennessee Congressman Chuck Fleischman (R) also joined in the celebration of this taxpayer fleecing: "I think Bill Lee did something that was pure genius when he came up with this idea for supporting new nuclear in Tennessee. This announcement by Type One Energy is very significant because it places a flag in the ground telling people that Tennessee is going to be open for business for fusion."

Putting aside my revulsion about using taxpayer money for a very dubious green energy hustle, a few quick questions come to my mind.

• Where will the $223 million that Type One Energy will invest in Tennessee be coming from? It has already tapped venture capitalists for $29 million, plus about $7 million from the state Tennessee, and an amount less than $46 million from the Department of Energy. That totals at best less than $85 million, and the company has no revenue. Whose $223 million does Type One plan to spend?

• What are the required milestones for jobs, investments, and production of electricity?

• What are the consequences if/when this venture fails?

$7 million is not an extraordinary amount of taxpayer money to squander, but there are an endless number of promoters who would love to get their hands on $7 million of taxpayer money, at which point Tennessee becomes Illinois.

Low-tax states cannot remain low-tax if their elected officials are throwing money at green fantasies such as EVs and fusion energy.


I have a new piece that was published at The Pipeline this week. I’d be honored if you’d give it a read.

While it would be fun to laugh and compare the Ford F150 Conflagration Lightning to the Exxon Vydec word processor, it’s only fair to note that Exxon’s office machines weren’t known to spontaneously combust.

Exxon - Vydec.JPG

Have a great weekend.

[buck.throckmorton at protonmail dot com]

digg this
posted by Buck Throckmorton at 11:00 AM

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