The Future is Bright With Fusion Essay

1456 Words 6 Pages
With the supply of fossil fuels declining at a predicted rate of about 3% per year since 1971, alternative sources of power are an important issue in the minds of scientists and world leaders alike. While everyone scrambles to find the most effective way to harness solar, wind, and water power, they forget about a form of producing energy that has been researched for 70 years and is only a hair's breadth from being usable (26). Fusion, or the fusing of two atoms, the same power that fuels the sun, could fuel the world’s homes and cars. A 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant requires 2.7 million tons of coal per year (21) whereas proposed fusion power plant designs only require 250 kilos of fuel per year to produce more power than current …show more content…
Fusion, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. Instead of splitting, two atoms fuse together to make a heavier element. Fusion is attained when two atoms of hydrogen are placed under high heat and pressure, about 150,000,000oC and 200,000 times the pressure on earth (27,29). When the atoms fuse, an extra neutron is given off as energy and absorbed by the walls of the tokamak. The tokamak is the machine that has been designed to contain and provide the conditions for fusion. The walls absorb the heat and use it to heat water into steam (Iter-The Way to New Energy). Fusion only occurs naturally in stars. Stars convert 600 million tons of hydrogen to helium every second, but while all forms of fusion produce large amounts of energy, scientists have discovered a fusion reaction even more powerful than the sun. While the sun uses H-H (hydrogen-hydrogen) fusion, scientists have found that D-T (Deuterium-Tritium) fusion is the highest producer of energy (8). Tritium and deuterium are both still hydrogen, but they are different isotopes of hydrogen. Deuterium is basic hydrogen with one proton and one neutron, while tritium is hydrogen with one extra neutron. Deuterium is found in every source of water on the planet, in concentrations of about 33 milligrams per liter (15), and it is routinely produced for scientific uses. Because of it being in every form of water, it is widely available and virtually inexhaustible (14).

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