What is Fusion power: Definition and 37 Discussions

Fusion power is an experimental form of power generation that generates electricity by using nuclear fusion reactions. In a fusion process, two atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. Devices that produce energy in this way are known as fusion reactors.
Fusion occurs in a plasma confined at sufficient temperature and pressure for a sufficient interval. The combination of these constraints is known as the Lawson criterion. Higher values for one element permit lower values in the others.
In stars, the most common fuel is hydrogen. Gravity provides long confinement times and high pressure. The power produced by the fused nuclei sustain the necessary temperature to keep the reaction going. Proposed reactors generally use hydrogen isotopes such as deuterium and tritium (or a mixture of the two), which react more easily than individual protons. This allows them to reach the Lawson criterion without extreme values of the other constraints.
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 Lawson criterion has not been met in a practical system.
Research into fusion reactors began in the 1940s, but to date, no design has produced more fusion power output than the power input. Most fusion designs produce a stream of energetic neutrons that over time degrade the materials used within the reaction chamber.
Fusion researchers have investigated many confinement concepts. The early emphasis was on the z-pinch, stellarator, and magnetic mirror. Later the tokamak and inertial confinement took the lead. Both designs are under research at large scales, 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, inertial electrostatic confinement, and new variations of the stellarator.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. D

    Nuclear fusion energy calculations

    Me again! For a sci-fi story I'm working on, I've created a sci-fi technology called an Aneutronic Triple Alpha Fusion Reactor. It works via aneutronic fusion, in this case, fusing Deuterium with Helium 3, but it also mimics the triple alpha process found within stars to maximise fuel use...
  2. M

    What kind of fusion do you think Star Wars has?

    Fusion power is mentioned a lot in Star Wars. In the Bad Batch arc of the second to last season of Clone Wars, the Separatist facility was powered by a fusion reactor. The A-wing is powered by fusion. GNK droids are walking fusion batteries and they have made fusion furnaces the size of a small...
  3. BWV

    Halite / Centurion and fission - fusion power plants

    Its unclear to me what exactly these tests entailed and how much today is still top secret. They involved inertial confinement fusion with x-rays from a fission explosion. never see this discussed - forgetting about political issues with fission, how feasible is a fusion reactor utilizing...
  4. J

    Fusion power generation: percentage of neutrons expected to be caught?

    Surely the real efficiency of Fusion power is the percentage of neutrons that can be caught to extract kinetic energy from. I am assuming it is the neutron that is carrying the nuclear energy that can be recovered from the fusion reaction. Now I'm pretty sure neutrons cannot be focused, so the...
  5. F

    Alternative for lithium in Deuterium-Tritium fusion power

    Is there alternative ways for producing Tritium for fusion power plants other than using lithium?. In the wiki article about fusion power I read that Deuterium-Deuterium fusion produce Tritium so I wonder if this can be used as a way to produce tritium for Deuterium-Tritium fusion power plants...
  6. S

    B Wouldn't fusion reactors also cause global warming?

    A fusion reactors releases a lots of energy. Most of this energy will end up as thermal energy after it has been used by the consumers. Wouldn't this heat up the earth? People use the energy to run cookers, drive cars, light up houses, etc. This energy (99%?) will end up as thermal energy where...
  7. N

    B A New Way to Make Fusion Reactors More Efficient

    I am quite new to this site. I have been following this technology (fusion) for many years now. It never seems to be any closer to actual deployment. Do you think we are getting closer? What do you think are the major stumbling blocks? The article below I read today. My understanding is that...
  8. phyzguy

    What if we had commercial fusion power?

    There have been several recent threads on the feasibility of fusion power. There is reason to be hopeful. This study from MIT claims, due to the breakthroughs in high-temperature superconductors, that an economically feasible Tokamak can be built in the foreseeable future. For the purpose...
  9. H

    Current State of Nuclear Fusion Power

    When I was an undergrad doing research in a university lab, the director of the lab also consulted at a Nuclear Fusion company. I remember like it was yesterday him making a statement that commercial Nuclear Fusion was going to be a reality within 10 years. That was 1977. What happened? Lack...
  10. A

    Fusion power, still the king of power?

    Is fusion power still considered to be the most powerful energy source possibly achievable of technology by mankind, or there is any other type of fuel that has passed it? I'm not looking for anything outrageous like a hurricane engine or a black hole engine, but some kind of reaction scientists...
  11. L

    Engineering Career advice to become a Fusion Engineer

    Hello, I am posting to get some career advice about pursuing a career in fusion physics/engineering. With the construction of ITER in France and all the worldwide research into fusion as an energy source, I am extremely interested in the field and I want to help develop fusion technology. I am...
  12. S

    Danger and risks of fusion power

    As someone who has had an interest in the potential outcome of various scientific en-devours, I have weighed potential outcomes of things that interest people to be good to potential outcomes they may not have yet seen as being bad. I wonder if anyone has asked the questions about how our...
  13. marco_nuc

    MCNP Simulation of Tokamak Energy Deposition

    Hello there, I am using mcnp6 to simulate a tokamak. I am interested in the energy deposition in the blanket and I am using a fmesh4 and the tally multiplier fm4 as follow: fmesh4:n ORIGIN=0 -24.2 -50 OUT=CF imesh=35.2 iints=352 jmesh=24.2 jints=484 kmesh=50...
  14. kubaanglin

    B Exploring Nuclear Fusion: IEC Fusion Reactor Construction and Operation

    << Disclaimer by PF -- You may need to get government permits to operate a reactor that produces neutrons and radiation, and this could potentially be a dangerous project >> Hello, I recently finished building a functioning IEC fusion reactor and posted a video of its construction and...
  15. I

    Could a Helium 3 Fusion Reactor Power a Settlement on the Moon?

    I have this project in school for settlement on moon. I have this idea that the large quantities of He 3 on moon could be extracted by heating the regolith at 700 degrees celsius and then could be taken to a reactor in which He 3 could be fused with Deuterium or itself. The heat produced could...
  16. S

    Nuclear fusion power plants - why is it taking so long to make them?

    Hello everyone and happy new year! I would like to ask why it takes so long to create nuclear fusion power plants. The world's first nuclear fission power plant to generate electricity was started in 1954, some nine years after the nuclear fission bomb was detonated. Now we are more than 50...
  17. H

    Possible fusion power plants of the future

    Question about fusion power sources. An article I just read stated that they would be safe as if anything went wrong they would just stop working. Is this correct ? If so than why do stars continue to burn and seem (to me at least) to be self feeding. Respectfully, Pat Hagar
  18. Stephanus

    Fusion Power Economic Impact: An Overview

    Dear PF Forum, Can anyone give an idea. Supposed fusion power is available. With its limitless fuel source from the ocean. What would happen? How much would this energy cost in term of money compared to gasoline and electricity? In fission, the fuel is expensive (uranium).
  19. T

    How many Fusion Power Plants to power humanity?

    I watched that documentary by Dr. Brian Cox about nuclear fusion development and in one segment Dr. Saul Griffith tries to calculate how much would World need renewable power sources like wind farms, solar panels, hydroelectric generators etc. to substitute oil use completely in like 20 years...
  20. S

    Can I create ITER geometry for MCNP using VISEDX and Notepad?

    Homework Statement the radius from the symmetry to center of the plasma is about 6.2 metres and the minor radius is 2 metres Homework Equations Can you guys help me to make the plasma geometry for MCNP? The Attempt at a Solution the softcode of plasma geometry
  21. Stephanus

    Fusion Power: Exploring Q Values and Efficiency

    Dear PF Forum, I'd like to know more about fusion power. Perhaps someone can give me idea. 1. Is Q is inefficient, take ITER for example? Supposed Q < 1, can't the produced heat boils water and recycled back to the system to produce fusion again? After all, fusion power plant (if it can be...
  22. Teen4Ideas

    Is My Idea Valid? Nuclear Fusion Power

    So as we all know (or at least I assume) Global Warming is real and happening, I am a teen, 17, and not trying to get answers for homework or anything like that. I just want to know, is it possible to create fusion using the temperature found at active Geo-thermal sites to reach the temp...
  23. Y

    Fusion Power: Exploring ITER and Molten Salt Thorium Reactors

    I would suggest that everyone check out the ITER fusion tokomak project in progress. If this unit works it will change the world. Also Molten salt thorium reactors have gotten a fresh look..Weinberg and Radkowsky s work from the old days may use nuclear waste blend to power no pressurized safer...
  24. F

    Online courses or textbooks on fusion power?

    I've seen a few posts about fusion on this thread so I thought I'd give this a shot: I'm an mechanical engineering grad student working in alternative energy and have become interested in learning more about fusion (I'm currently conducting research on fuel cell systems). What are some good...
  25. J

    If our bodies could run on fusion power

    So I saw someone post this question on facebook and naturally being an Engineering student I'm curious to know now. I haven't done any Physics in a while so I'm not sure how you would tackle this one. The question was: "The power needed to operate your body is about 120 watts. Suppose your...
  26. P

    What is limiting fusion power production

    Why can't we use fusion for power generation? What are the problems with fusion power, and what are the limiting factors for construction?
  27. R

    Is a Ph.D in Nuclear Fusion Power the Path to a Fulfilling Career?

    Hello, I'm a Mechanical Engineering grad with a M.S. in Controls and Dynamics and have been working for a year. I was originally set to get a Ph.D in Controls but I kind of got burnt out on being a student and settled for a M.S. (would have just left but it took so long to find a job I ended...
  28. O

    Understanding Fusion Power: Deuterium & Tritium in Magnetic Confinement

    I have been researching about fusion power to understand how it operates during thermonuclear reactions. I do not understand how and how much deuterium and tritium are placed into the magnetic confinement (tokomak). I appreciate it, if anyone guides me about this. Thank you
  29. B

    How Much Energy Can the NIF Laser Produce in One Shot?

  30. B

    Opinions on the Polywell fusion power system

    I wanted to throw out a question and see what some general consensus/opinion on the Polywell fusion power system is. After I first read about the precursor (Farnsworth fuser) and was initially interested greatly as I had similar thoughts before really researching fusion. Personally, I'm...
  31. P

    Unleashing Fusion Power: The Reality of ITER in the 21st Century

    Ok, all you people in the know, what's the real low-down on ITER and the possibility of fusion power reactors this century? If you believe wikipedia, and ITER themselves, the theory behind efficient fusion power generation is sound and the problems that exist are engineering problems (such...
  32. M

    Fusion Power Research - What Education & Positions Does It Require?

    Hi, I'm a first year nuclear engineering major at Georgia Tech and I've been interested in fusion power since about my freshman year of high school. I'm wondering what sort of places and positions that people who doing nuclear fusion research are at, and what sort of education it requires...
  33. D

    Whats the holdup with Fusion Power?

    You got temperature and/or pressure, and one simple atom to play with. What's the big deal?
  34. mheslep

    Pros and Cons of Fusion Power Generation

    Can anyone please suggest a comparative pro/con review of the various fusion approaches for power generation? In those approaches I'd include: tokamaks, stellarators, spheromaks, pinches (Z, focus, etc) -ICF laser, ion beam -Other inertial electrostatic Beam-beam FRC ? Obviously the available...
  35. S

    Question of Sound Fusion Power Generation

    1.with the hot and cold fusion under experiment level now, would power from sound fusion provides equal or more power and economic value if it has been successfully researched? 2. what is the difficulty faced in building a commercial sound fusion generator? 3. Future of sound fusion...
  36. Pythagorean

    Fusion Power: Breaking the Grip of Oil Economics - The Truth Behind Resistance

    Having been an avid movie watcher when I was younger, I've developed a sort of assumption that new power sources aren't very welcome in a country driven by oil economics. I understand a lot of the answers will be speculation, but I'd like to hear some opinions. Is it true that fusion is...
  37. T

    When will fusion power be economically viable?

    Can anyone here tell me how long it will be (roughly) until hydrogen fusion power stations are producing energy at economic rates? it can't be far off can it? thx