Scientists just took a major step towards achieving nuclear fusion

Scientists just took a major step towards achieving nuclear fusion

Viable fusion energy on Earth has been the dream since the dawn of the Atomic Age and engineers have just taken a major step towards achieving nuclear fusion

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Nuclear fusion promises to provide almost limitless energy free from radioactive by-products and greenhouse gases. However, actually engineering a system that can do it has proved difficult.

Today, researchers have taken a small step closer to their goal.

A big problem in engineering fusion reactors has been run away electronics, caused by the immense pressure and high temperatures, wreaking havoc and even destroying reactors without warning.

The new technique works by decelerating these electrons before they can do any damage.

When we can effectively decelerate runaway electrons, we are one step closer to a functional fusion reactor Chalmers University of Technology’s Linnea Hesslow, co-author of the paper

The team achieved this by injecting heavy ions (argon or neon in the form of pellets or gas) the electrons are given something to collide with, and they slow down.

The next step will be integrating this breakthrough into reactor design and seeing how it works in practice.

Published as “Effect of partially-screened nuclei on fast-electron dynamics

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