Monday, December 12, 2016
For decades scientists have pursued nuclear fusion that would generate energy in the same manner as the sun and other stars, but on Earth, essentially providing Earth with limitless clean energy, forever.
Nature Communications, researchers confirmed that Germany's Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device is on track and working as planned. Known as a stellerator, generated its first batch of hydrogen plasma when it was first fired up earlier this year. The new tests basically give scientists the green light to proceed to the next stage of the process.
It works like this: Unlike a traditional fission reactor, which splits atoms of heavy elements to generate energy, a fusion reactor works by fusing the nuclei of lighter atoms into heavier atoms. The process releases massive amounts of energy and produces no radioactive waste. The "fuel" used in a fusion reactor is simple hydrogen, which can be extracted from water.
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