The European Union has approved a UK proposal for a Â£500 M experimental fusion reactor. The project will be one of the new-fangled HiPER reactors, which uses a focused Petawatt laser to initiate a fusion reaction within a small pellet of fuel.
Fusion fuel, for those who don't know, is just deuterium, which can be made cheaply from sea water, and the only waste product is helium, which is inert and, frankly, in demand for industrial use. The plant is building on successes at an American military project that is expected to produce more energy than it consumes within the next five years.
That will be a first for fusion power, and possibly a first step toward a world of plentiful, pollution-free power. The British plant will use a less expensive method for generating power in roughly the same way. Experts are saying that, if this pans out, commercial scale fusion plants could be going online within 20 years and producing the majority of the world's energy in less than 50.
As always, fusion promises a great deal. I can't help but feel that it's worth every penny we throw at it, but I'm not placing any bets on a fusion-powered future just yet.
Via Times Online
A Better Way
written by M. Simon, September 04, 2007
True or False
written by weee recycling, September 04, 2007
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