Things which catch my eye or make me think - looking for aquamarinegreen, the evidence and the truth of it all.....

Friday, 7 September 2007

Laser Nuclear fusion could be the answer

So a British- lead team of scientists has won support from the EU to construct an experimental nuclear fusion reactor - which could make nuclear fusion energy a commercial reality within 20 years.

This is the Physicist's dream - unlimited energy with no harmful waste products, from a freely available unlimited resource - hydrogen (from seawater). The worlds most powerful laser would generate the required temperatures of millions of degrees, at which hydrogen burns to form helium, the process which drives the sun.

The fuel would be the heavy isotopes of hydrogen, known as deuterium and tritium. Deuterium can be made cheaply from seawater, and tritium is produces as a by-product in the reactor. When fusion of these isotopes occurs, helium is produced, and a stream of neutrons which release vast quantities of energy in the form of heat.

At the moment, the energy required to start fusion is greater than the energy released. With laser fusion, a powerful laser is directed at a fuel pellet about 2mm across - the pressure compresses the pellet and generates temperatures of tens of millions of degrees. How cool is that?

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