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Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy - by Jonathan Amos for the BBC

Fusion, the process which goes on inside the sun, creates energy by forcing atoms together. It is the opposite of standard nuclear reactors which rely on fission, the breaking apart of atoms. Fusion is viewed as safe and clean but has so far proved difficult to harness.

Recently however, stunning break-throughs have been achieved in fusion technology as Jonathan Amos, the BBC Science correspondent reports:

"European scientists say they have made a major breakthrough in their quest to develop practical nuclear fusion - the energy process that powers the stars.

The UK-based JET laboratory has smashed its own world record for the amount of energy it can extract by squeezing together two forms of hydrogen.

If nuclear fusion can be successfully recreated on Earth it holds out the potential of virtually unlimited supplies of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.

The experiments produced 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds (11 megawatts of power).

"The JET experiments put us a step closer to fusion power," said Dr Joe Milnes, the head of operations at the reactor lab. "We've demonstrated that we can create a mini star inside of our machine and hold it there for five seconds and get high performance, which really takes us into a new realm."

As important for Britain, five sites in England and Scotland are in the final running to be the home of the UK's prototype fusion energy plant.

Both articles are enclosed below with links to the original beneath them:

Article for the BBC by Jonathan Amos - Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy - 09
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Article for the BBC - Nuclear fusion Five sites shortlisted for UK energy plant - October
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