Nuclear fusion offers the solution to our concerns about the United States’ long-term reliance on fossil fuels. A recent BBC article discusses both the merits and challenges facing fusion energy, as well as the various approaches towards achieving fusion. Solving the fusion puzzle will require ingenuity and research, but success will repay the investment many times over. From the article:
Nuclear fusion is in principle cleaner and comes from a cheaper, more abundant fuel source: an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium can be extracted from water and only helium is produced as waste. From The Matrix to SimCity 2000 to political dreamers, fusion has often been seen as an inevitability for society.
To see what’s needed to create a sustained reaction, let’s look to the best-known fusion reactors of all: stars. In the core of a star like the Sun, strong gravitational pressure forces together hydrogen plasma – an equal mixture of protons and electrons. Extreme conditions of 15 million-degree-temperatures and high pressures mean that protons have enough energy to overcome their mutual repulsion for each other, allowing the attractive forces to kick in. When protons fuse together they are converted into neutrons and release a lot of energy.
To read the full article, click here.