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In a fusion power station, energy is produced from the fusion of light atomic nuclei, a process that is similar to that of the sun. Of all the possible fusion reactions that could be considered for such a power station, the reaction between the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium produces the greatest energy yield at the lowest temperature. The sun�s fusion reactor uses normal hydrogen, which is held together as hot plasma by its own gravitational force. In a power station, however, the hot fuel mixture must be sealed in a magnetic-field cage and kept away from the walls of the vacuum flask. The advantages of fusion energy are well known and include high intrinsic safety, almost endless fuel supplies, no emissions and low levels of radioactive waste. How far fusion research has progressed over the past years, and how long it will take before this energy source delivers the contribution to the bulk of the electricity supply that the fusion researchers expect, are the most important topics covered in this article.

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Authors: BOSCH H-S, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching (DE);BRADSHAW A, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Physikalische Blätter, Vol.57, No.11 (2001), pp.55-60
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