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Fusion Promises Clean Energy Future

Achieving controlled, practical fusion could be as big a step in human history as the taming of fire was, writes Ben Bova.

Published: 04-Dec-2006

Last week we talked about using hydrogen as a fuel to replace gasoline and other petroleum products. But there is much more energy in hydrogen, enough to end our energy worries forever.

We’re talking of nuclear energy now, the process of thermonuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion can be thought of as God’s chosen way to produce energy: the Sun and stars are fusion generators, fusing hydrogen (and other elements, in older stars) for billions of years on end.

Fusion is very different from the kind of nuclear energy we use today to generate electricity. Today’s nuclear power plants use fission, where the nuclei of heavy atoms such as uranium or plutonium are split apart to release energy.

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