Scientists appear to have solved the exhaust problem for compact fusion power plants, making them more economically-viable.
The dream of pollution and radiation-free electricity derived from nuclear fusion could be a step closer to reality thanks to a breakthrough by British scientists.
They have developed an exhaust system that can deal with the immense temperatures created during the fusion process and which so far have limited the viability of commercial fusion power plants.
Initial results from the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s MAST Upgrade experiment suggest that the world-first could mean developing fusion energy becomes easier.
Producing electricity using a fusion reactor is still in the experimental stage but experts have said fusion energy – based on the same principle by which stars create heat and light – could be a safe and sustainable part of our energy supply in the future.
A fusion power station uses a machine called a tokamak to enable hydrogen atoms to fuse together, releasing energy that can make electricity.
But fusion reactions can produce a lot of heat and, without an exhaust system to handle this, materials need to be replaced more often.