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  • You guys, humanity is another step closer

  • to harnessing the nuclear powers of the sun.



  • Hey guys, Trace here, for DNews, with some engineering

  • and physics that might change the world.

  • A lot of time, we get you on here

  • and we talk to you about those things.

  • They're more conceptual and sometimes

  • really complicated and kind of jargony.

  • Whoosh.

  • But this, oh man, this is juicy.

  • This week scientists announced that they

  • can produce many suns-- seriously, for real this time.

  • I know, they've been saying, give us 30 more years

  • and we'll have it.

  • They might have been closer than they thought.

  • We are close to solving the mystery of fusion power

  • that keeps the Sun going.

  • While nuclear fission gets a bad rap,

  • nuclear fusion is completely different.

  • It's one of the holy grails of science.

  • Fusion offers a near limitless pollution-free cheap source

  • of energy.

  • The deuterium to power the reaction--

  • harnessed from seawater.

  • And it's waste is the super-rare helium 3 or helium 4

  • or perhaps more deuterium-- plus ideally, hundreds of times

  • more energy than we put in.

  • No big deal.

  • The best part, we get all of this with no more radiation

  • than we're exposed to in an average day.

  • Fission involves using heat and pressure

  • to split an isotope of uranium.

  • Fusion involves combining two atoms into one.

  • Both release huge amounts of energy.

  • But the whole fusion thing, so much more efficient.

  • The National Ignition facility has

  • used 192 laser beams to create an x-ray pocket

  • inside of a 77-ton machine.

  • The pocket super heats the hydrogen deuterium fuel

  • and excites the particles.

  • As hydrogen has a positive charge,

  • atoms normally repel each other.

  • But inside that pocket, as the small piece of fuel

  • burns at 100 million Kelvin, they move so fast,

  • they slam into each other, fusing and creating new atoms,

  • releasing massive amounts of energy in the process.

  • This is amazing stuff.

  • While these scientists have confirmed

  • that they can create this reaction for a microsecond,

  • they can't sustain it.

  • And without sustaining it, they won't

  • be able to use it to create electricity.

  • They say we haven't perfected that little pellet of deuterium

  • fuel.

  • It's microscopically uneven.

  • And those imperfections cause it to burn up too quickly.

  • But never mind that.

  • Even though we're not sure how it works,

  • the EU, the US, China, India, South Korea, and Russia

  • are all funding a single fusion plant in France,

  • separately from the NIF.

  • It's a different design, but here's to hoping one of them

  • gets this to work, because I could

  • use some cheap, clean energy right about now.

  • So there's one tiny little thing that I probably

  • should point out.

  • Scientists are saying that we are about 30

  • years from flipping the switch on a power plant,

  • so there's that.

  • But hey, let's be optimistic, right?

  • Guys?

  • Are you on board with this fusion power thing,

  • or should we just forget it and stick only

  • to renewables and other proven technologies?

  • Let us know your power thoughts in the comments.

  • And be sure you subscribe for more DNews.

You guys, humanity is another step closer

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B1 fusion deuterium nuclear energy fission power

We're Close To Harnessing Nuclear Fusion

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2015/08/14
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