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13 December, 2005

Fusion power

I was browsing trough some scientific news on internet, when I found informations about this. Involved countries agreed to build first real fusion reactor ever (existing smaller reactor filled with real plasma in picture above). They will build it in Southern France, and it is planned to be completed in 2016. Now I got curious about this whole fusion thing, because when I played SimCity, I noticed, that in year 2035 fusion power plants became available. I knew, that they are some kind of a future power sources, but I never understood the concept. Now I understand, and it's so cool:)
The force, which keeps atoms apart is called electromagnetism. The thing is, that this force became extremely weak at extreme temperatures at some atoms (materials). When this happens, material change his phase to so called plasma. This is a state of matter like liquid, solid or gas. Fire, for example, can be considered to be a very low temperature partial plasma. There is active plasma in neon lights, as well as in electrical sparks (lightnings are pure examples of plasma phase). In this state, under the right conditions, it is possible to merge specific, specially adapted atoms, what causes a giant energy release. They managed to do that already, but they only established a stable energy source for less than a second. In France they intend to maintain a fusion reaction for at least 8 minutes.
There is still a lot of questions about how power plants like that will be able to be economically efficient, if it will even be possible to safely maintain fusion reaction, or even if this sort of experiments, won't eventually destroy the world. Like with nuclear (fission) energy, it's also possible for fusion energy to be used for weapons - in fact hydrogen bomb (based on fusion processes) is already deadliest than atomic bomb.

You can find out more about plasma, fusion energy, or fusion power plant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic!!! I really love the way you look at and think about things. I'm just in love with you!