Fusion: a true challenge for an enormous reward
Plasma Physics Laboratory, Royal Military Academy Renaissancelaan 30, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Published online: 2 October 2018
Nuclear physics shows that energy can be released from both fission of heavy nuclei and fusion of light nuclei. Steady progress shows that fusion — an important additional option for energy production in the future — promises to be a clean and safe solution for mankind’s long-term energy needs with minimal environmental impact. A source of energy which would be inexhaustible, inherently safe and environmentally friendly, is this not a marvellous prospect? Nuclear fusion, a possible candidate for this role, has been the energy source of our Sun and the stars in the universe for billions of years. This process requires temperatures of tens of millions of degrees, so extremely high and foreign to our daily experience that it seems out of reach. Nevertheless, these extremely high temperatures are routinely realised in several laboratories all over the world, and since the early 1990s, tens of MW fusion power have been released from fusion reactions. We are witnessing the birth of a new technology destined to meet the gigantic future energy needs of mankind with minimal impact on the environment.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018
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