Startup Announces Major ‘Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough’

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Short Bytes: A small startup Tri Alpha Energy claims to have created a vessel that could contain a nuclear fusion reaction. The machine  is able to hold a ball of superheated gas—at about 10 million degrees Celsius and hold it steady for 5 milliseconds without decaying away. The feat if true, could be a major nuclear fusion breakthrough.

As the world cries foul about the environment degradation and strong protests to save the Earth, the leaders across the globe, even with the best technology face an impasse for the solution. Alternatives such as solar energy, tidal energy, and the apprehended ‘nuclear energy’ seem as the prominent answers but are yet to be unleashed at the full potential.

A small startup Tri Alpha Energy claims to have created a vessel that could contain a nuclear fusion reaction. The machine built by the scientists, south of Los Angeles forms and is able to hold a ball of superheated gas—at about 10 million degrees Celsius, and hold it steady for 5 milliseconds without decaying away.

The time might look insignificant to you, but for the researchers across the globe, it is a major nuclear fusion breakthrough. According to the team, the experiment lasted only for 5 ms because their machine ran out of power.

This is the first time that the gas has been held in a steady state in a lab at such high temperatures. Jaeyoung Park, head of the rival fusion startup Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation in San Diego says,

Until you learn to control and tame [the hot gas], it’s never going to work. In that regard, it’s a big deal. They seem to have found a way to tame it. The next question is how well can you confine [heat in the gas]. I give them the benefit of the doubt. I want to watch them for the next 2 or 3 years.

What’s interesting here is the design of the reactor. It is a long, cylindrical tube that collides pairs of plasma donuts to produce enormous amounts of heat. The resultant plasma is further stabilized with high energy beams. Check out the video.

If Tri Alpha Energy scientists can manage to increase the time and the temperature of the process, they could possibly become the first team to unleash the energy of a star here on Earth.

However, this isn’t the first time we are listening to a claim of achieving a nuclear fusion breakthrough. American aeronautical company, Lockheed Martin Corp came in the news last year when they promised energy via nuclear fusion to be available in next 10 years. Similarly, Boeing patented a jet engine last month that will be driven through Laser and Nuclear power. Both the designs are considered futuristic and a nuclear fusion breakthrough, but any updates on the advancement in their research is yet to arrive.

So, do not get your hopes high and wait till the results are substantial. Nuclear energy is the most polarizing topic today, thanks to the Fukushima disaster. Nevertheless, efforts should be made in the direction as this is our best possible hope for the clean energy in future.

What do you think of the claims by Tri Alpha Energy? Tell us in comments below.

Via: AAAS

Aashish Sharma

Aashish Sharma

Racing towards the dream - however, he's just a ping away - find him at Facebook or send him an email.
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