This technology pertains to a form of nuclear power that is quite different than the fission process that is used in most nuclear power plants, today. Nuclear fusion is the process in which nuclear weapons work, and the process in which the sun burns. If it can be controlled, it offers potentially unlimited amounts of electrical power. This technology is currently being researched at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). It is the second-largest cooperative scientific research project in the entire world, the first being the International Space Station (ISS). There is also research into cold fusion at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, just outside Silicon Valley. ITER uses a donut-shaped reactor that uses powerful electromagnetism to control the reaction, while LLNL uses a set of over 100 high-powered lasers to start a chain reaction from a small amount of nuclear material as it collapses in on its self. Essentially, it’s like trying to make a mini black hole. The research has also led to knowledge being discovered in the realms of the existence of dark matter and anti-matter.
- Patrick R. McElhiney
- Nuclear Science (N)