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fusion power

Fusion powers the sun and the stars, where gravity compresses hydrogen gas to the temperatures required for fusion. The challenge for fusion energy is how to create those conditions on Earth in a controlled way that can be used to provide power. Fusion occurs when atoms are heated to very high temperatures, causing them to collide at high velocity and fuse together.

When two light nuclei collide to form a heavier nucleus the process releases a large amount of energy. The most practical fusion reaction uses isotopes of hydrogen named “deuterium” and “tritium”. These can be extracted from seawater and derived from lithium, both in abundant supply. There is enough fusion fuel on earth to power the planet for hundreds of millions of years.

Fusion has the unique capability to provide utility-scale energy on-demand wherever it is needed, making it an excellent complement for intermittent renewables and battery storage. Combined, these technologies make for a practical energy portfolio that mitigates climate change while driving economic prosperity.



advantages of fusion


Fusion produces zero greenhouse gas emissions, emitting only helium as exhaust. It also requires less land than other renewable technologies.


Fusion energy is inherently safe, with zero possibility of a meltdown scenario and no long lived waste.


There is enough fusion fuel to power the planet for hundreds of millions of years. A fusion power plant runs on deuterium and tritium, isotopes which can be extracted from seawater and derived from lithium.

on demand

Fusion can produce energy on-demand, and is not affected by weather. Because it is also safe and produces no pollution, a fusion power plant can be located close to where it is required.

The world’s population is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2040, driving global demand for electricity up by 45%¹. Meeting this demand with the technologies available today will require that fossil fuels remain a primary means of electricity generation. To sustain economic growth while at the same time overcoming climate change, we need to develop sources of energy that are emission-free, safe, globally available and economically viable.

Fusion has the unique capability to provide utility-scale energy on-demand wherever it is needed, making it an excellent complement for intermittent renewables and battery storage. Combined, these technologies make for a practical energy portfolio that mitigates climate change while driving economic prosperity.


One of the brightest hopes for controlled nuclear fusion, the giant ITER reactor at Cadarache in southeastern France, is now on track to achieve nuclear fusion operation in the mid- to late-2040s, says Dr. William Madia, a former director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory who led an independent review of the ITER project in 2013.

Construction of the ITER reactor — a doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber known as a “tokamak” that spans more than 60 feet — recently passed the halfway point.

NBC News

leading the charge

Another form of nuclear energy known as fusion, which joins atoms of cheap and abundant hydrogen, can produce essentially limitless supplies of power without creating lots of radioactive waste.

Fusion has powered the sun for billions of years. Yet despite decades of effort, scientists and engineers have been unable to generate sustained nuclear fusion here on Earth. In fact, it’s long been joked that fusion is 50 years away, and will always be.

But now it looks as if the long wait for commercial fusion power may be coming to an end — and sooner than in half a century.

Fusion power is a proposed form of power generation that would generate electricity by using heat from nuclear fusion reactions. In a fusion process, two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. Devices designed to harness this energy are known as fusion reactors.

Research into fusion reactors began in the 1940s, but as of 2022, only one design, an inertial confinement laser-driven fusion machine at the US National Ignition Facility, has conclusively produced a positive fusion energy gain factor, i.e. more power output than input.

Fusion processes require fuel and a confined environment with sufficient temperature, pressure, and confinement time to create a plasma in which fusion can occur. The combination of these figures that results in a power-producing system is known as the Lawson criterion. In stars, the most common fuel is hydrogen, and gravity provides extremely long confinement times that reach the conditions needed for fusion energy production.

Proposed fusion reactors generally use heavy hydrogen isotopes such as deuterium and tritium (and especially a mixture of the two), which react more easily than protium (the most common hydrogen isotope), to allow them to reach the Lawson criterion requirements with less extreme conditions. Most designs aim to heat their fuel to around 100 million degrees, which presents a major challenge in producing a successful design.

As a source of power, nuclear fusion is expected to have many advantages over fission. These include reduced radioactivity in operation and little high-level nuclear waste, ample fuel supplies, and increased safety. However, the necessary combination of temperature, pressure, and duration has proven to be difficult to produce in a practical and economical manner. A second issue that affects common reactions is managing neutrons that are released during the reaction, which over time degrade many common materials used within the reaction chamber.

Fusion researchers have investigated various confinement concepts. The early emphasis was on three main systems: z-pinch, stellarator, and magnetic mirror. The current leading designs are the tokamak and inertial confinement (ICF) by laser. Both designs are under research at very large scales, most notably the ITER tokamak in France, and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser in the United States.

Researchers are also studying other designs that may offer cheaper approaches. Among these alternatives, there is increasing interest in magnetized target fusion and inertial electrostatic confinement, and new variations of the stellarator.

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