Fusion made more accessible: it does not need super-powerful lasers and magnets

The researchers said their new projectile approach could provide the fastest, easiest and cheapest

path to thermonuclear energy.

Modern nuclear power plants emitenergy by splitting atoms in fission reactions. Fusion reactors release energy in the same way that the sun does - they push atoms against each other so hard and so fast that they fuse.

Most of the major fusion projects inBased on tokamaks and stellarators, they operate at ultrahigh temperatures, higher than in the core of the Sun, as well as in magnetically limited plasma. This is necessary to make the atoms move quickly.

First Light Fusion said they havea completely different approach that does not require expensive, powerful lasers or magnets. We need hypersonic speed: it launches a projectile at a falling target. The latter is designed to create finely tuned collapsing shockwaves. Further, these waves form a pressure almost a billion times higher than atmospheric pressure: it is high enough to explode small deuterium fuel pellets at high speed. This will help start thermonuclear reactions.

According to the researchers, the projectile flies at a speed of about 6.5 km / s, or 23,400 km / h.

The company says it's a relatively simple technology that can generate power that costs less than $50/MWh.

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