“Fusion Energy” is the ultimate source of energy for humankind

“Fusion Energy”, called the sun on earth, aims for realization during the mid 21st century and is a new source of energy for which research is being conducted in Japan and in several other countries. It produces energy using the same principles as the sun.

 

The Mechanisms of Fusion Energy

Fusion is the process in which, in the same way as our sun, lighter nuclei such as hydrogen collide at high speeds and fuse into heavier atoms. Tremendous energy is released in this process. The light of the sun and stars in space are produced by fusion energy. Fusion energy can be produced on earth using the hydrogen isotopes, “deuterium” and “tritium”.

 

Fusion on the Sun

On the sun, high temperature hydrogen atoms in the form of plasma fuse with each other, are contained by strong gravitational forces and constantly create fusion energy. * Plasma is the condition in which “electrons” are separated from “nuclei” at extremely high temperatures and fly around randomly.

When heat is applied to deuterium and tritium, creating plasma, their nuclei fly around at very high speeds (over 1,000 km per second) and the nuclei of the electrically charged plasma overcome the natural electrostatic repulsion that exists between the positive charges of their nuclei, and the atoms become easier to fuse.

 

Fusion Energy on Earth

In order to build a reactor to generate fusion on earth and to facilitate the fusing of the nuclei of the hydrogen isotopes “deuterium” and “tritium”, ① the deuterium and tritium must be heated to temperatures in excess of 100 million degrees and converted into the plasma state, ② their density must be increased, and ③ the plasma must be contained using, for example, high performance magnetic fields.

 

 A plasma experiment

Break-even Plasma Test Facilities(JT-60:JAEA)

 

 

 

There are several benefits to fusion energy.
Deuterium and tritium, which will be used as fuel in future fusion power plants/reactors are abundant in sea water. Furthermore, creating fusion energy with these sources of fuel does not emit carbon dioxide, which is a cause of global warming. Fusion, therefore, has the potential to simultaneously resolve both future energy shortages as well as environmental issues.

 

Main characteristics of fusion energy

One square meter (1 kl) of sea water contains 33 grams of deuterium, which is used as fuel for fusion energy. Tritium is produced from lithium, which is often used in batteries and can also be found in abundance in sea water and minerals.

 

● Abundance of fuel resources

 

● Earth friendly form of energy

The fusion of deuterium and tritium does not emit carbon dioxide, one of the causes of global warming. Atomic waste generated is of low radioactive levels.

 

● Reactions can be quickly and safely stopped

Fuel in fusion reactors to be used for future energy production will be supplied externally from outside the reactor in gaseous states. Similar to when the main valve of a gas cooker is turned off, the fusion reaction within the reactor can be promptly stopped by turning off the external fuel supply into the reactor.。

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