Fusion – Closer to Reality

MIT (of course, who else? :P) has discovered radiowaves can be used to effectively manipulate plasma used in would-be fusion reactions. Theorists are stumped and cannot explain exactly what is happening to induce this behavior. This brings Fusion based power generation one step closer to reality, a development that could effectively deal with most of the world’s energy problems.

Fusion (not fission)

Solar panels, yada yada…
Fusion is where it’s really at. Using 192 massive lasers sucking 500 trillion watts, we MAY have ignition!(source)

Fusion power is the other nuclear power. Instead of ripping atoms apart and harvesting the released energy as in fission, fusion takes two atoms and smashes them into one, releasing even MORE energy than fission. We have been using fission for many years, starting with the atomic bomb and leading to the many nuclear plants around the world. While we have touched on using fusion in hydrogen bombs, we have yet to make a viable fusion reactor.


The most common candidates for fuel I have seen (since we don’t live in a star and can’t just use everything up to iron on the periodic table) are tritium and deuterium, both isotopes of hydrogen. If we can create a fusion reactor capable of a sustained reaction, then we find the holy grail of energy (until we get to anti-matter). Cheap (relatively) fuel, waste that is only radioactive for decades instead of milennia, very little possibility for nuclear proliferation (neither uranium nor plutonium are directly involved), no possibility for runaway chain reactions,  and the bragging rights that our electric power source uses the same reaction as the sun.

Yes, my friends, fusion. Let’s hope we get there soon so we can all forget about oil and get on with our lives. And for those that are too far from the grid, SOLAR PANELS!