Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Research: Nuclear Fusion


The nuclear power plants which supply most of our electricity work by nuclear fission, splitting atoms and releasing energy. But they also release radioactivity and create dangerous waste materials. 

The sun works by nuclear fusion, forcing atoms together to create new atoms and energy. The fuel needed is much more easily obtained and the process is clean and non polluting.

There’s a detailed article on Wikipedia about nuclear fusion that explains it very well.


An article on the ITER website lists the advantages: Abundant energy, sustainability, no CO2, no long-lived radioactive waste, limited risk of proliferation, no risk of meltdown, and cost.
ITER fusion plant under construction
ITER is the world's largest fusion experiment, set up in southern France, but the UK government has just announced a £200 million investment to fund a British experiment at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford.
Nuclear Fusion Plant artist's impression
The drawback is that scientists have not yet been able to make nuclear fission which produces more energy than the process takes to run. But they are working on it and hopeful of eventual success.

The book A Brief History of the Future predicts that we achieve nuclear fission by 2155 and it leads to the end of alternative energy, like wind and wave turbines and solar power. The British experiment hope to have a working plant by 2040.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz





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