Nuclear fusion test reactor
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Just a few blocks off busy Massachusetts Avenue there is a lab devoted to nuclear fusion, the science of fusing atoms together to create energy. Although it's largely outside the daily discussions on energy, fusion is still being actively pursued. There are other types of fusion being studied, but a tour of the facility introduced me to the fundamentals of magnetic fusion and some of the technical challenges.
Pictured here is the blue cylinder-shaped test reactor. Inside is a doughnut-shaped vessel measuring about 1 meter across in the middle. Researchers are able to fuse two hydrogen atoms to make helium but only for a few seconds. An interesting side note is that only a few blocks away is MIT's nuclear research reactor built at the dawn of the atomic age to study nuclear fission, or splitting atoms to produce energy.
For related story, see "A reality check on nuclear fusion at MIT."
June 29, 2011 8:42 AM PDT
Photo by: Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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