For many years scientists all across the world have dreamed of harnessing the sun’s energy and with good reason. The average amount of energy the sun releases in a typical day is more than the entire Earth uses in a year.
This is why scientists are turning to fusion power as a potential solution. Long thought of as nothing more than science fiction, an experimental reactor is finally being constructed in France. In total, there are 35 nations that have agreed to take part in this daunting task.
There are many proponents that would argue that nuclear fusion is far too dangerous to explore. They frequently state the inherent dangers that come with the technology. For example, the average temperatures that would be released with fusion are far greater than any other equivalent technology on the planet.
However, this type of energy release is the reason the technology is so viable for solving the energy crisis for the entire world. As far as fuel sources go, the experimental fusion reactor would use deuterium. This material is extremely plentiful all across the globe and is more commonly known as heavy water.
The excessive heat can reach temperatures as high as 150 million degrees Celsius. To put that in perspective, it is over 10 times hotter than the core of our sun. To contain the heat, the reactor will use a unique design known as a tokamak.
A tokamak design works by using magnetic fields to contain the high-temperature energy within the structure. The heat generated is absorbed by the surrounding walls and is then used to produce steam for electricity.
While there are many potential scientific hurdles that remain for fusion technology, the development of this reactor is a step in the right direction. If we can harness the power of the sun, we are on our way to a much greener future.