10 Cool Facts About Fusion Energy

credit: NASA.
  1. It’s natural. In fact, it’s abundant throughout the universe. Stars – and there are billions and billions of them – produce energy by fusion of light atoms.
  2. It’s safe. There are no dangerous byproducts. It produces some radioactive waste, but that requires only decades to decay, not thousands of years.  Further, any byproducts are not suitable for production of nuclear weapons.
  3. It’s environmentally friendly. Fusion can help slow climate change. There are no carbon emissions so fusion will not contribute to a concentration of greenhouse gases that heat the Earth. And it helps keep the air clean.
  4. It’s conservation-friendly. Fusion helps conserve natural resources because it does not rely on traditional means of generating electricity, such as burning coal.
  5. It’s international. Fusion can help reduce conflicts among countries vying for natural resources due to fuel supply imbalances.
  6. It’s unlimited. Fusion fuel – deuterium and tritium – is available around the world. Deuterium can be readily extracted from ordinary water. Tritium can be produced from lithium, which is available from land deposits or from seawater.
  7. It’s industrial scale. Fusion can power cities 24 hours a day regardless of weather.
  8. It’s exciting. Fusion produces important scientific and engineering breakthroughs and spinoffs in its own and other fields.
  9. It’s achievable. Fusion is produced in laboratories around the world and research is devoted to making it practicable.
  10. It’s the Future. Fusion can transform the way the world produces energy.

Source: Princenton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Larry Bernard)

Read more10 Cool Facts About Fusion Energy

New alloys could lead to next generation of nuclear plant metals

nordlund_kai
Kai Nordlund.

A new kind of metal could make nuclear power plants more robust by resisting the damage that radiation does to traditional steel.

When neutrons from nuclear cores smack into surrounding structures, they can knock atoms out of place, which makes steel brittle. This means plants periodically require expensive and time-consuming repairs.

So Kai Nordlund, professor in Computational Materials Physics at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and his colleagues tested hybrid metals called high-entropy alloys, which have randomly placed atoms. They ran simulations to see which combinations might be toughest, then made thin discs of the winning metals and fired a beam of ions at them to simulate what might happen in a real nuclear reactor.

Read moreNew alloys could lead to next generation of nuclear plant metals

MIT researchers discover an explanation to heat loss

[source: MIT news]

One of the biggest obstacles to making fusion power practical — and realizing its promise of virtually limitless and relatively clean energy — has been that computer models have been unable to predict how the hot, electrically charged gas inside a fusion reactor behaves under the intense heat and pressure required to make atoms stick together.

Now, researchers at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, in collaboration with others at the University of California at San Diego, General Atomics, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, say that they have found the key.

Read moreMIT researchers discover an explanation to heat loss

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