Laser-boron fusion now ‘leading contender’ for energy

Watts Up With That?

From the UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES and the “coming to a power plant near you in 30 to 50 years” department

A laser-driven technique for creating fusion that dispenses with the need for radioactive fuel elements and leaves no toxic radioactive waste is now within reach, say researchers

Schematic of proposed laser-driven hydrogen-boron fusion, which generates energy and insignificant levels of radioactivity. Laser 1 produces a 10-kilotesla field, which is sustained for about a nanosecond after being generated, trapping the hydrogen-boron fuel in the cylindrical axis of a magnetic coil. A 30kJ picosecond pulse from Laser 2 induces plasma block ignition6 in the fuel and the resulting fusion burn releases alpha particles (helium nuclei). The central reaction unit is charged to −1.4 million volts relative to the wall of the sphere. This potential difference stops the alpha particles, converting their kinetic energy into more than a gigajoule (280kWh) of…

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