Monday, October 13, 2008

Scientists Move Closer to Nuclear Fusion

Is nuclear fusion close to becoming commercially viable? While the National Ignition Facility in Livermore is, by all accounts, behind schedule and overbudget, scientists in England are close to achieving controlled fusion in a lab, and this week will begin work on a fusion reactor that could be the future for commercial nuclear reactors.

According to "Unlike nuclear fission, which tears apart atoms to release energy and highly radioactive by-products, fusion involves squeezing two ""heavy"" hydrogen atoms, called deuterium and tritium together so they fuse, producing harmless helium and vast amounts of energy."

Currently, there are two fusion reactors already under construction-- one in France which uses magnetic fields to generate the energy necessary to stimulate the fusion process, and the NIF in Livermore which uses high powered lasers.