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Fusion Power – Gold Enables A Breakthrough

Tuesday February 25, 2014 14:40

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory appear to have achieved what generations of scientists have been dreaming of: a working fusion process.

In simple terms, fusion is a method of producing nearly unlimited amounts of power. This also demonstrates how tech metals are being used to further scientific discoveries.

The energy is generated by through a reactor containing a gold vessel (aptly called “hohlraum”, German for “empty space”). The vessel is filled with deuterium, also known as “heavy hydrogen”, and tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. The process very much resembles the type of combustion that occurs in the sun: large amounts of energy are compressing molecules until they release energy themselves – the energy that is produced is more than what is used to fuel the reaction. Such “fuel gains” are what scientists are after. Fuel gains mean that a reaction is able to sustain itself while giving off excess energy – a process that can last for a very long time.

What does this “breakthrough” mean? Clearly, this is not technology we are about to see in the near future. The experiment merely confirmed theoretical science. A lot more research and development is required from here on to make the technology usable for energy production. Estimates given in various online publications talk about this type of production entering the mainstream in another 25 years.

There is also the aspect of military use and the likely need for regulation, controls and secrecy to prevent the technology from falling into the wrong hands. That said, it can potentially change the lives of future generations, and have effects on space travel, submarine settlements and other “far out” concepts we used to see in Sci-Fi movies.

To learn more about this experiment, please visit the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s website or check out Nature Magazine’s online publication of the results. There is also an older article on Nature Magazine’s website explaining the “hohlraum” in more detail. Here is the link.

The photo in this article is by Eduard Dewald of the LLNL and reproduced with the institution’s permission.

By Bodo Albrecht



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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