A major American invention could revolutionize the way energy is produced around the world.
• Read more: What is nuclear fusion?
“This is an important step because we have been working for a long time to extract energy that can be converted into electrical energy. The United States is the first country to produce energy using nuclear fusion,” explains Register Doctor of Physical Engineering Cornelia Cillian.
On Sunday, the US Department of Energy said today it would announce “a major scientific breakthrough” in the field of nuclear fusion.
This is the first time researchers have succeeded in producing so much energy in a fusion reaction that powers the Sun.
Nuclear fusion produces less radioactive waste and more energy, but this process was previously impossible to achieve.
“The main problem is that we cannot control the intense heat [de la fusion nucléaire] Jean-Thomas Bernard, associate professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, explains.
Merge instead of break
Fission, the energy produced everywhere in the world so far, consists in breaking the bonds of heavy atoms to recover energy.
In contrast, fusion is the “marriage” of two light nuclei to form a heavier one.
The facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is about the size of three football fields and is made up of nearly 200 lasers that target a tiny spot of high energy to start a fusion reaction.
Unlike fission, fusion does not involve the risk of a nuclear accident.
Eric Lefebvre, project manager at Nuclear Power, explains that “if some lasers are missing that don’t fire at the right time, or if the confinement of the plasma by the magnetic field is not perfect,” the reaction simply stops. brokerage.
Quebec on the side
Despite the apparent enthusiasm for this major development, it would be surprising if Quebec were to turn to nuclear power, given that 97% of the energy consumed in the province is hydroelectric.
“Currently, we are mainly moving towards renewable energy, namely wind and solar energy,” said Mr. Bernard comments.
Hydro-Quebec, for its part, prefers to wait for an announcement before commenting.
In 2012, the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant at Begancore was shut down.
Other nuclear power plants in the world may turn to this new technology, but the delay before accessing it could be 20 to 30 years.
– With AFP
Nuclear fusion is considered the energy of tomorrow by its defenders, especially since it produces little waste and no greenhouse gases.
This new process is safe because if major problems occur, the reaction simply stops.
Fusion is possible only by heating matter to very high temperatures (over 100 million degrees Celsius).
The United States is stepping up to be the first country to develop this new technology.
Canada still has four nuclear power plants in operation.
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