|THE INTERNET PLASMA PHYSICS EDUCATION EXPERIENCE|
Why develop Fusion?
By the middle of the next century, the world's population will double and energy demand will triple. This is due in large part, to the industrialization and economic growth of developing nations. Continued use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) will rapidly deplete these limited and localized natural resources.
Burning of these fossil fuels threatens to irreparably harm our environment. On the other hand, the deuterium in the earth's oceans is sufficient to fuel advanced fusion reactors for millions of years. The waste product from a deuterium-tritium fusion reactor is ordinary helium.
Solar and renewable energy technologies will play a role in our energy future. Although they are inherently safe and feature an unlimited fuel supply, they are geographically limited, climate dependent and unable to meet the energy demands of a populous and industrialized world.
Another option, nuclear fission, suffers from a negative public perception. High-level radioactive waste disposal challenges and the proliferation threat of weapons-grade nuclear materials are principle concerns. The fuel supply in this case is large but ultimately limited (100-200 years without breeder reactors).
>> Daily waste production from a 1000 MWe
deuterium-tritium fusion reactor is small.
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