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Is nuclear fusion the energy of the future?

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An innovative method of clean energy generation

Written by Devan Štoka, 5E

16th February, 2017

Nuclear fusion is the process of two atoms, usually those with the lightest mass like hydrogen and helium, merging to form a bigger atom. The fantastic thing about it is the fact that during this process huge amounts of energy are released – in fact even more energy than in the usual nuclear reactors. That is, without leaving absolutely no nuclear waste.

The problem

So why have we not started using this ideal source of energy yet? Simply because it is extremely difficult to merge two atoms together; as we know, the cores are made up of neutrons and protons, the latter contributing to their positive charge. Even bringing two magnets together is difficult; now imagine doing this on a subatomic level!

How could this problem be solved?

Scientists overcame this problem simply by heating the atoms to extremely high temperatures. As the temperature rises, the atoms begin to scatter around faster and faster, eventually bumping into each other hard enough to merge. However, for now such high temperatures can only be maintained for a really short period of time.

Let's keep it cold

Low energy nuclear reactions or “cold fusion” is the name of a highly controversial technology that apparently allows bringing the whole process of nuclear fusion on a much lower scale. In fact, it can even be reproducible in someon´s garage. This can simply be accomplished with a special electrolytic cell like the one shown in the picture. Anyway, a lot of research still need to be conducted and only time will tell if this is the energy of the future.

Sources:

Reactor