The Reading / Listening – Nuclear Fusion – Level 6
There has been a relentless quest to find sustainable energy sources in the past decades. One source of energy that has thus far eluded scientists is nuclear fusion. This is the Holy Grail of clean energy. Generations of physicists have tried to replicate this reaction. Scientists in the USA say they recreated the power of the Sun for a minuscule fraction of a second. Powerful lasers blasted a tiny target to create a reaction. The burst lasted just 100 trillionths of a second, but it created 10 quadrillion watts of power. Ten quadrillion is equal to 1 followed by 16 zeros. The power the scientists created is the equivalent of 6 per cent of all the energy from the Sun hitting Earth’s surface at any given moment.
Nuclear fusion powers the Sun and other stars. The website cnet.com said it is “a long-sought-after panacea for many energy and environmental challenges”. Nuclear fusion power plants could solve our clean energy conundrum and provide infinite, safe, clean and green power. It could also reverse the damage we do to the environment. Physicist Dr Debbie Callahan, who worked on the experiment, spoke about the breakthrough. She said it is a “huge advance for fusion” and a big step toward generating “a net-positive amount of energy”. Futurism.com said: “The promise is as lucrative as it has ever been – an infinite supply of carbon-neutral energy without ever running the risk of a nuclear meltdown.”