Nuclear fusion is an alternative energy source of tremendous potential. If properly developed, it could solve all of the world's energy problems.
Controlled nuclear fusion would provide the world with a source of energy that is basically without limits. The
atoms needed for the fusion process can be found in the waters of the oceans in a plentiful supply.Currently, researchers are working on using deuterium and tritium
(a D-T reaction), two hydrogen isotopes with extra neutrons, to nuclear fusion. Although this reaction requires the lowest temperature of any fusion process, it still can only take place at 100 million degrees.
Other forms of nuclear fusion are also being researched. A reaction between two deuterium (D-D) atoms could be possible, but would need ten times the temperate of a D-T reaction.
So far, the only reliable way to generate nuclear fusion is through the explosion of a fission bomb. This works well in nuclear weapons, but poorly in nuclear power plants.
Another problem aside from temperature is containing the reaction. Because no materials can withstand heats of 100 million degrees without melting, magnetic fields have to be used.
Despite its high potential, nuclear fusion remains a long way away from being implemented with success. Perhaps within half a decade we will know more,
and maybe even begin to use power from nuclear fusion. At present, however, major technical challenges remain.
MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center