Nuclear Fusion Cannot Fix Climate Crisis?

Nuclear Fusion

Global warming is on the rise with the increasing amounts of carbon pollutants and other toxic gases that are constantly depleting the ozone cover in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Environmentalists and conservative researchers are now contemplating the idea of substituting existing energy sources with Nuclear Fusion to provide clean energy by 2040.

Consequently, the UK’s ruling Conservative Party has announced a £220m research fund for building nuclear fusion reactors to combat the threat of rapid climate change.

Nuclear Fusion offers more effective energy than Nuclear Fission as it binds atomic nuclei together while also significantly reducing the processed nuclear waste.  

Nuclear Fusion reactors are known to emit zero-carbon emissions and hence help to keep our environment clean.

Furthermore, Nuclear Fusion generates energy regardless of wind and daylight conditions. It works without the use of enriched uranium which is another big plus.  

Despite its obvious benefits, Nuclear Fusion research is still in its nascent stage of development as scientists are still toiling to maintain the extreme high temperatures to confine hot hydrogen plasma for fusion.

In other words, the plasma needs to be over 100,000,000 degree Celsius in order to fuse hydrogen nuclei and produce energy.

ITER is one such project initiative taken by some 35 countries with the objective to test plasma’s ability to be confined in a tight space and subject to extreme high temperatures at its highest density.

The ITER project is currently being tested at a research facility in the south of France with a goal of generating more energy than what’s put into the plasma.

The project involves an experiment to build a fusion power plant called “DEMO” after attaining the ITER goal of surpassing its high-energy-output needs.

The ETA to achieve this goal is currently set for 2035 with the DEMO unit set for launch sometime around 2050.

DEMO needs to convert ITER’s high velocity neutrons into electricity after they bombard with the reactor’s internal walls. Such high energy requirement can be achieved only be enabling the fusion reactor to produce its own fuel.

The fuel requirements can be met with a combination of two types of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium. The former is abundantly found in seawater while the latter is a rare commodity on Earth as it decays into helium with a half-life of just 12 years.

However, Tritium can be produced by combining the neutrons from plasma with lithium. This process yields new Tritium fuel through a process called “Tritium breeding”.

The timeline of 2050 for embracing Nuclear Fusion as primary energy source is too far-fetched to prevent the climate crisis due to unrelenting global emissions.

Nevertheless, Nuclear Fusion could become the most-efficient renewable source of energy for the post-carbon era, following the rapid depletion and scarcity of bio fuels across the globe somewhere around 2050.

About author

Vinod is a prolific writer with an immense passion for Technology and Gaming. With more than 7 years of experience in Technology Media (Consumer Technology), he knows the trend and pulse of his audience. He is also a Certified Data Analyst in MS Excel and Power BI with a brilliant knack for problem-solving and cracking business-analytical problems with a lot of grit and enthusiasm.
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