Winding up another stressful year

I am writing this contribution as the year 2022 approaches its end. First, I would like to wish all readers a safe, healthy and successful year in 2023. I realise that this article will not appear until February.

We are all, at some level, affected by the continuation of the war between Russia and Ukraine, as it affects the economy, the material damages to the invaded country of Ukraine and the fear of the unknown in the future effects of the war. We have not yet conquered the coronavirus, as successive strains and variants keep us vigilant in getting the updated vaccines. Stupidity reigns here in the USA, as people have abandoned the use of masks and social distancing. My family continues to avail themselves of every vaccine booster. 

The NDT industry continues to provide services for the detection and evaluation of flaws in materials during construction and service for the petroleum industry, despite the inconvenience of COVID restrictions. Major users of NDT services include the oil & gas industry, which is struggling with its image as a major contributor to global warming.  It seeks to provide a public relations image of working to reduce, and eventually eliminate, fossil fuels as a contributor to global warming, while continuing to drill, refine and provide petroleum products. A shortage of refined products provides the opportunity to raise the price of gasoline and inflate profits.

This week, researchers at the US National Ignition Facility in California achieved a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion. For the first time, human beings have harnessed the same process that powers the stars. The process generates more energy from a fusion reaction than was required to get it started. This process is known as ignition. The process of transforming this from the laboratory to power plants and providing a safe, clean and abundant source of energy has been hailed as one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century. Since generating electricity is responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, the final part of the dream is to have nuclear fusion plants sprinkled across a country to provide high-intensity, carbon-free electrical energy. But remember, it is only a dream. 

Despite its advantages, carbon-free nuclear fusion will not put the oil & gas industry out of business by 2050 and maybe not even by 2100.

Stay safe, pray for peace and be kind to others. I intend to keep the Letter from America articles coming, at least through the next year.

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