Is fusion energy renewable
Nuclear Fusion - Regenerative Energy or Nuclear Power?
Münster â € “if two atomic nuclei fuse, a huge potential for destruction unfolds, as hydrogen bombs impressively demonstrate. But not only the military is interested in the energy of the meltdown. Researchers from all over the world are now cooperating to use this energy for peaceful purposes, namely for global power supply. Two approaches are being pursued in parallel: on the one hand nuclear fusion with the help of laser technology, on the other hand nuclear fusion in a reactor.
The ITER experimental reactor is being built in Europe
The "International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor" (ITER) is currently being built in southern France. The aim is to further develop the technology for continuous operation. A 1,000 MW power plant should manage with around 100 kg of deuterium and 150 kg of tritium per year. Deuterium, so-called "heavy water", is contained in water, which many proponents consider nuclear fusion to be a regenerative form of energy. But the resulting radioactivity is a good argument for opponents of fusion to deny the technology the title of a renewable energy source and instead to speak of nuclear energy. And this is not very popular in Germany - as the current discussions about the extension of the running time show - in large parts of society.
Conclusion: No market readiness for the foreseeable future
Overall, it can be said that nuclear fusion is still a long way from being reliably usable for generating energy. Of course, the idea behind it is tempting. But the idea of an inexhaustible, quasi-regenerative energy source, with which one can meet the global energy demand, is - measured against reality - a utopia based on current knowledge. If enough funding is poured into research, that could change. Either way, however, the time required for commercial use is considerable. There is a correspondingly high probability that the use of real â € œsunfireâ € in the form of solar energy and other regenerative technologies will be so mature by then that nuclear fusion will no longer be required at all.
Â © IWR, 2010
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