Thirty-five countries, including the U.S., China and Russia, are collaborating on a project that could transform energy production, according to CNBC.
The combined effort, known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), is constructing a magnetic fusion device known as a “tokamak” at a research facility in the south of France.
The ambition for the project is big. The tokamak has been designed to prove that fusion is a feasible large scale, carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle which powers our Sun. The difference between fission, which is used to produce nuclear energy today, and fusion is significant.
"Fission is taking a very large atom like uranium, you hit it and it splits apart into two pieces. Fusion takes… two (very) small particles, it fuses together and give(s) off energy," said Mark Henderson, a physicist at ITER.
The ITER facility is currently under construction. European Union countries are responsible for the largest portion of costs, with the remainder shared by China, India, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and Russia.
The potential of fusion is huge. According to the World Nuclear Association, fusion power "offers the prospect of an almost inexhaustible source of energy for future generations." (Source: CNBC))
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