Why Don't We Have Nuclear Fusion Power Yet?

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  • Published on Feb 6, 2019
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    Fusion power is supposed to save us from fossil fuels, so when is nuclear fusion going to be a viable option and why has it been so elusive?
    Hosted by: Stefan Chin
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    Sources:
    www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last/
    www.teslarati.com/porsche-ceo-hints-taycan-initial-production-911-hybrid/
    www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27138087
    www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-urge-u-s-to-continue-support-for-nuclear-fusion-research/
    www.businessinsider.com/china-east-experimental-advanced-superconducting-tokamak-nuclear-fusion-reactor-100-million-degrees-2018-12?r=US&IR=T
    www.theengineer.co.uk/first-light-fusion-debut-test/
    www.theengineer.co.uk/tokamak-energy-15-million-fusion/
    www3.nd.edu/~nsl/Lectures/phys20061/pdf/10.pdf
    nuclearweaponarchive.org/Library/Teller.html
    science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-waste-disposal.htm
    www.iter.org/newsline/-/2845
    fire.pppl.gov/NIF_NIC_rev6_Koonin_2012.pdf
    large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph241/baumer1/
    e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/550771.pdf
    www.iter.org/fr/newsline/-/3121
    www.iter.org/doc/www/content/com/Lists/ITER%20Technical%20Reports/Attachments/9/ITER-Research-Plan_final_ITR_FINAL-Cover_High-Res.pdf
    physics.stackexchange.com/questions/175830/nuclear-fusion-scaling-with-reactor-size

    ITER:
    www.iter.org/sci/whatisfusion
    www.iter.org/sci/plasmaheating
    www.iter.org/sci/Fusion
    www.iter.org/sci/Goals
    NIF:
    lasers.llnl.gov/science/energy-for-the-future
    lasers.llnl.gov/science/ignition/ignition-experiments
    lasers.llnl.gov/news/experimental-highlights/2015/may

Comments • 2 330

  • Lance Heaps
    Lance Heaps Day ago

    Damn disappointed we don’t have Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future yet. Science needs to get on that.

  • João Roberto
    João Roberto Day ago

    5:40 goku and vegeta trained there

  • Eric
    Eric 5 days ago

    Sad that this won't happen in our lifetime

  • Jaime
    Jaime 5 days ago

    So, how much the power that the nuclear fusion could produce?

    • P GR
      P GR 4 days ago

      Look at a star. That much.

  • Spook Man
    Spook Man 8 days ago

    What about tidal currents? 24-7 free energy (except for the generators themselves ofc.)

  • Spook Man
    Spook Man 8 days ago

    Because why use Thorium, which is abundantly available (like in sand), does not require insane temperatures, whose waste materials don’t fuel the the military industrial complex,
    If you can make billions doing the opposite?

  • Karl Jensen
    Karl Jensen 9 days ago

    Unfortunately, fusion is a pipe dream and a great way it keeps physicists employed, at least for the next several hundred years. The “machine” would have to be huge, miles across to be viable. The second problem is extracting the energy. So much of chambers surface area is dedicated to containing the event that there is inadequate area left for energy absorption. Our efforts are better spent on LFTR reactors.

  • GodlikeVallenrod
    GodlikeVallenrod 10 days ago

    Since when carbon dioxide is bad for the environment? It naturally exists within our atmosphere. What's bad are NOx

  • Hrishikesh Apte
    Hrishikesh Apte 11 days ago

    never expected cat

  • Dylan Hughes
    Dylan Hughes 14 days ago

    Can't we just use magnets to levitate the small ball right in the center of the reactor?

  • Dylan Hughes
    Dylan Hughes 14 days ago

    Uranium is now a renewable resource, search it up. We've got unlimited supplies now and it's even commercially viable. How's that for a plot twist!
    "Nuclear waste" is still 99% uranium which can be used in special reactors to generate even more energy until the fuel effectively disappears.

  • kad gamer
    kad gamer 14 days ago

    2019? anyone

  • Ty Gerrr
    Ty Gerrr 15 days ago

    It's actually very easy. Stop making babies. Less people means more energy, more food, more space, no need for wars, and a lot less strain on the environment.

  • Hexo_Typhoon Oethou
    Hexo_Typhoon Oethou 16 days ago

    always 30 years away......emm......don't think i can see it.

  • caav56
    caav56 18 days ago

    Because we are too cowardly to build the PACER fusion energy powerplant - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_PACER

  • Gurren813
    Gurren813 18 days ago

    Not even gunna mention the MIT breakthrough of a fuel mix that was producing 10x the amount of energy than every other fuel mix?

  • Tyler Bass
    Tyler Bass 18 days ago

    Well done

  • R13
    R13 19 days ago

    So instead of spending a trillion dollars on the Paris Accord why not put that money toward building a fusion reactor?

  • Elder 987419
    Elder 987419 23 days ago

    The magnetic feilds just arent strong enough

  • WhoistheJC?
    WhoistheJC? 25 days ago

    Why didn't you mention inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (or the Farnsworth Fusor)?

  • CMW18
    CMW18 25 days ago

    Could use a fusion reactor in a space ship by having that be used in a fuel cell to split water into hydrogen and oxygen to power rocket engines.

  • Mantas
    Mantas Month ago +1

    If you want that ICF work 4 you aleast a small amount time. You must calculate delay then lasers shots. Because motherboard who is controlling lasers must be how to say synced 1x1=1
    With MCF you must calculate at lest 93% of materiel explosion way not 85% like you got it now. But its only theory.

  • Σταυρος Νεοφωτιστος

    How nuclear fusion goal will be achieved thermodynamically ? Its impossible to get more energy from a system that what you put in because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics ... doesn't that apply here ?

    • Taxoro Elysium
      Taxoro Elysium 27 days ago

      The enemy comes from turning hydrogen into helium. It's kinda hard to explain, but basically there's energy stored in all atoms, but it is not the same. Iron has the lowest amount of energy storage, hydrogen has the most. So turning hydrogen into helium means less energy needs to be stored, that energy is then released.

  • Joe Chang
    Joe Chang Month ago

    Fusion is a scam, it will never come true.

  • Mitchell Peterson
    Mitchell Peterson Month ago +1

    It's like humans making wheels for pottery and only later realizing that you can make a vehicle with them...something that seems very basic and obvious in retrospect. Humanity has had the tools and technology to make efficient fusion reactors for roughly 50 years now, and not the water boiling cop-outs that people are aiming for. It's equal parts frustrating and amusing to be able to watch this slow crawl and not being allowed to interfere....
    Time is funny.

  • Spikes
    Spikes Month ago +4

    Nuclear Fusion does produce radioactive waste... it releases neutrons that bombard a shield making it radioactive. Yes its better than fission as its only hundreds of years long instead of 10,000 years....

    There is a Fusion plant that could power the plant already... its called the sun.... way easier and now. Just need batteries...

  • Brylin Sundae
    Brylin Sundae Month ago +1

    "MCF uses magnetic fields to control plasma'
    *Checks Game Theory*
    We can make lightsabers out of that...

  • James Craswell
    James Craswell Month ago

    I'm not sure but I assume your editing out normal pauses in the speech which makes this sound like your speaker is on massive doses of amphetamines or is a heavy crack user. Its very annoying.

  • Geo
    Geo Month ago

    Fission is bad because people are dumb fearful ignorant animals and won't let us build more plants and would rather poison the atmosphere burning coal.

  • Ty Curtin
    Ty Curtin Month ago +1

    Don't be so quick to buy into the main stream hype on global warming and carbon dioxide causing global warming. You seem smart. Look at some of the alternative arguments about CO2.

    • Taxoro Elysium
      Taxoro Elysium 27 days ago

      CO warms. That's just a scientific fact. The thing that we are not 100% sure about, is how much and if the amount we release is the cause of the warming

    • Ty Curtin
      Ty Curtin Month ago

      +Crystal Heart You obviously are not smart

    • Crystal Heart
      Crystal Heart Month ago

      Lol

  • Mr Frame
    Mr Frame Month ago

    Nice video, just one question. What in the world was that pellet made out of in ICF?

  • Wally Wally
    Wally Wally Month ago

    Technology was developed many years ago for clean energy ok, but banned for economic reasons oil first big money, so old news to me.

  • Jason Ballsack
    Jason Ballsack Month ago

    If you play it at 0.5 even the intro sounds drunk

  • towlie911
    towlie911 Month ago

    Fusion does create radioactive waste. It just decays in decades rather than thousands of years

  • jvandervyver
    jvandervyver Month ago

    Coming from an engineering background, I'm utterly flabbergasted that someone thinks they will have viable product in 30 years. They haven't even moved out of the theoretical phase with regards to generating power.
    Can that gold pallet thing even output net power of any significant amount in an ideal world?

  • fuck you
    fuck you Month ago

    correction: you said they blast it with a beam of neutrons, that's not what "neutral beam injection" is. it's actually way cooler!
    they put duterium nuclei (proton+neutron) in a particle accelerator, but since the nucleus is positively charged, it can't penetrate the magnetic confinement.
    so they fire electrons at the nuclei while they're going top speed, towards the inside of the reactor, so it becomes a neutral composite particle (a whole atom) that deposits its kinetic energy in the center of the reactor when it bumps into the plasma inside, and the beam de-couples into plasma once inside.
    so imagine, you're running 100mph towards a brick wall, and then at the last second somebody fires something at you that turns you into a ghost so you can move straight through the wall

  • DavieJones2nd
    DavieJones2nd Month ago

    You once covered Azoazide Azide which was ridiculously unstable and exploded constantly. Would something like that be useful?

    • DavieJones2nd
      DavieJones2nd Month ago

      +Dschinghiss Seems legit

    • Dschinghiss
      Dschinghiss Month ago +1

      No, because its uncontrollable. You cant even move it around not to mention put it into a reactor without it going ham

  • srnda1389
    srnda1389 Month ago

    Nuclear power is the only way to save the planet from apocalypse.New 3+ generation reactors are much safer,with the adition of fast neutron reactors in the near future nuclear fuel cycle is closed and there will be no nuclear waste or shortage of fuel

  • Robert Baylis
    Robert Baylis Month ago

    Have you seen a stellerator? Its like a piece of modern art or like a shape in extra dimensional space. Hurts my brain.

  • Farlan
    Farlan Month ago

    So... nuclear fusion is the Half-Life 3 of science

  • Ken O
    Ken O Month ago

    Isn't solar power actually nuclear fusion power because that is how the sun creates energy? In that way we (as humans) have always benefited from nuclear fusion power.

  • Ken O
    Ken O Month ago

    Perhaps a way of containment is by adding motion to create some forces of inertia, such as centrifugal and gyroscope like effects.

  • Aaron Tavares
    Aaron Tavares Month ago

    Precisers of Fission were ratioactive before they were dug up from the ground so back in to the ground they go once they are used

  • 1202Sid
    1202Sid Month ago

    Thorium is everywhere, the reactors are cheap and it generates much less wast and is self extinguishing in a catastrophe. The containment for fusion is not simple. The elements are rare and expensive. Eventually a fusion reactor will be feasible, until then we should use thorium reactors.
    PS: Thorium reactors are not encouraged by the governments because it does not generate weapon grade nuclear wast.

    • Taxoro Elysium
      Taxoro Elysium 27 days ago

      That last part is completely false. The government has specific nuclear reactors to generate weapon grade nuclear waste, it does not use the regular nuclear reactors that are used for energy.

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    Vish Ram Month ago

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  • Hans Pew
    Hans Pew Month ago

    "The old joke, 'fusion is always 30 years away.'" I'm old enough to remember when fusion was only 20 years away.

  • phaledax
    phaledax Month ago

    liquid fluoride thorium salt reactors as a fuel source for fission would work for a long time as the planet has about three times the reserves of thorium than uranium. Just thought to add that to this.

  • Chedarmentos Brown
    Chedarmentos Brown Month ago

    Concerning nuclear fusion energy: Remember Mars, RIP. At least they had earth to fall back on. LOL, j/k. We need to do something. At the rate we are going. The very least no gas at the very worst no life. None of those sound fun.

  • Martin D A
    Martin D A Month ago

    They have been saying fusion is 20 years away since 1960 - Should have been here three times already. I am beginning to think you can't do it without gravity and a big ball of hydrogen.

  • Matt Maros
    Matt Maros Month ago

    Why not just focus on solar, battery storage and nuclear?

  • Icriedtoday
    Icriedtoday Month ago

    Carbon dioxide havoc? You are an idiot. CO2 is FOOD FOR PLANT LIFE!

  • fatahilah hudaiby rafii

    Great job, that's good explanation.

  • AnotherDora
    AnotherDora Month ago

    No words about Wendelstein 7-x?

  • lilcamjax
    lilcamjax Month ago

    They’re using Gold but why not Diamond?

  • Richard Stevens
    Richard Stevens Month ago +3

    Sodium cooled thorium power plants have been proven, are runaway safe and will use the nuclear waste already produced by uranium plants .

  • hellterminator
    hellterminator Month ago

    Nuclear waste doesn't pollute the environment for thousands of years. The super radioactive stuff decays in a couple weeks, the somewhat radioactive stuff decays in a couple decades and the rest, while still technically radioactive, is pretty safe. Just put it in an old mine and be done with it.

  • Patrick Degenaar
    Patrick Degenaar Month ago

    Typo at the start! Fusion power based on Deuterium tritium does create waste. Just nowhere near as much or as long lasting as fission.

  • Mark Ellis
    Mark Ellis Month ago

    Barely produces any CO2? How about no CO2?

    • Mark Ellis
      Mark Ellis 27 days ago

      Taxoro Elysium The dame could be argued for the human operators or the cars they would use to drive to the plant. My point was the fusion reactor produces no greenhouse gasses itself.

    • Taxoro Elysium
      Taxoro Elysium 27 days ago

      It produces CO2 from being built and the electricity used. If we had free energy, then this would be free energy. So if fusion is our sole energy source it would actually be completely zero co2.

  • TheAsmodeus2012
    TheAsmodeus2012 Month ago

    I'm willing to bet the room-temperature superconductors that a scientist working with the U.S. Navy just released a patent for would probably go a long way to helping with solving the whole fusion thing, if it's for real.

    phys.org/news/2019-02-navy-patent-room-temperature-superconductor.html?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

  • best3usmc
    best3usmc Month ago

    Tough times create tough men. Tough men create easy times. Easy times create weak men. Weak men create tough times.

  • Austrian Economics
    Austrian Economics Month ago +1

    Amazing how Spider-Man2 has it so accurate all those years ago.

    • Taxoro Elysium
      Taxoro Elysium 27 days ago

      Fusion has been an idea for way way longer.

  • bagged milk
    bagged milk Month ago

    *Nibba just push the reverse button on a nuclear fission thing*

  • Chris Popoff
    Chris Popoff Month ago

    @SciShow please do an episode on the teaser you dropped at the end about advancements in nuclear fission! There really is awesome work being done there

  • Lajos György Mészáros

    Why use LastPass, when we have KeePassX?

  • Alijah Murphy
    Alijah Murphy Month ago

    Have you ever started a fire in a cold environment? It's not quite like you explained.

  • Alex Besogonov
    Alex Besogonov Month ago

    Research fusion reactors typically use plain hydrogen plasma (that doesn't fuse at all) for experiments to avoid regulatory difficulties.
    The results can then be extrapolated to D-T plasma. And the current experiments are also more specific, they focus on particular nuances of plasma behavior.

  • METO U
    METO U Month ago

    Because the sun is electric and not gravitational...gravity is magnetism...the reason why you can see a star behind the Sun during an eclipse is not because of space being warped...but because the light from the star behind the Sun gets repelled around the Sun because light repels light and 2 separate photons can not occupy the same space..Big Bang only explains 4 % of the universe and the rest is dark matter and dark energy or another words... I don't know...the electric universe theory explains the unknowns of the Big Bang Theory... Just don't believe the religious crap the electric universe proponents tie to the electric universe... Same exact people are on both sides of the argument

  • mike magic
    mike magic Month ago

    Enough Climate Change....We need Climate Constant!

  • Cesar Zayas
    Cesar Zayas Month ago

    "It wont be that way for long" well ya in ten years it wont be 30 years from now itll be 20..

  • Eva Paz
    Eva Paz Month ago

    Black holes are measurable. Black holes are created as stars implode. The star no longer emits energy, it sinks energy. What if the energy coming out of the sun is the energy being sunk into black holes somewhere else? All the funding would have been wasted. All the experts would be relying in a lie from another expert to get their full perspective. (As Christians, or funded by christians, do.)

    • Eva Paz
      Eva Paz Month ago

      Remember electromagnetic waves propagate even if there is no matter.

    • Eva Paz
      Eva Paz Month ago

      Has anyone ever physically proved that the energy being emitted by the sun is actually energy extracted from fusion of the elements in the sun?
      Has anyone ever physically proved where is the energy sunk by black holes going?

  • Sean Carlisle
    Sean Carlisle Month ago

    i don't know about you but i've been powered by NF for a while tvclip.biz/video/efZ-8EbFWic/video.html

  • Wiz Bud
    Wiz Bud Month ago

    Power storage improvement will do more to stop pollution that any new power source. Storage is the key.

  • Drake Kay
    Drake Kay Month ago

    Because Financiers demand that Scientists predict their discovers, literally violating the process of science replacing it with the process of money.

  • Shane
    Shane Month ago

    That 1 second hair cut at 9:49

  • Aj Blazed
    Aj Blazed Month ago

    this is cause they want to find a way to weaponize it as they did with nuclear …………a more powerful and cleaner source of power has excisted since the 50's

  • Arda Karaduman
    Arda Karaduman Month ago

    turbines ? all this work and we still cant find a way to get electricity more efficiently ?

  • I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    The benchmark is producing energy at a cost that's equal or less than the current sources of energy.
    If you're spending billions to produce a few MW of energy, when you can spend millions to produce GW of energy, then fusion isn't worth it. I'm sure that one day we'll get there, but maybe in another 30 years ;p

  • I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    In the meantime, Thorium nuclear energy:
    tvclip.biz/video/k6BXvw6mxtw/video.html

  • Nini Zeldav
    Nini Zeldav Month ago

    So many experts in the comment section.

  • Smart Vibes
    Smart Vibes Month ago

    Ummm, did this guy use "likelier" instead of "more likely". I'm gonna use that as my password, and by the way. Why wasn't he using grammarly, I bet he was and it just fkd him over..... fkn grammarly

  • Ruben Santos
    Ruben Santos Month ago

    so many chair engineers around here xD

  • Milligram
    Milligram Month ago

    It's not true that the benchmark of whether fusion is practical is when you have more energy out than it takes to run - it's when you get more money out than it takes to run.

  • Hans Carlos Hofmann

    Fusion produces also radioactive Waste ... but the alf life time is quite lower

  • Tamahagane
    Tamahagane Month ago

    In about 100 years we look at this video and go HAHA did we really needed to have such a big fusion reactor to gain such a luttle amount of power? or something like "dad didnt they really have fusion cars?

  • The Ceij
    The Ceij Month ago

    Stars don't work like we think we know they do.

  • Erik Hare
    Erik Hare Month ago

    With all of the progress, I think we can say that fusion is now ten years away - and always will be.

  • Sauron glasses
    Sauron glasses Month ago

    and i live Wright next to ITER so is it saff!!!!

  • GeterPoldstein
    GeterPoldstein Month ago

    My hopes are pinned on the stellerator tocamac. Wendelstein 7-X has been posting some really nice plasma confinement results in the past few years.

  • jfedgar
    jfedgar Month ago

    Disappointed you didn't mention SPARC and the promise that the newer, more powerful superconductors hold.

  • Letruffier
    Letruffier Month ago

    Who said that you need extreme temperatures to reach fusion? What about Brioullin energy and other LENR concepts?
    There are even ambiant temperatures fusion occurring in ass of chickens :)
    Concepts presented in the video are so primitive and inefficient. I am considering LENR less fringe than hot reactors and if you want to remain immediately realistic do thorium which have been abandoned because of the military motherfuckers.

  • Mayday
    Mayday Month ago

    why nowbody talk's about proton+boron aneutronic laser fusion? No neutrons, no long-term radiactive waste and much smaller devices This is a much more exciting way for fusion. www.nature.com/news/two-laser-boron-fusion-lights-the-way-to-radiation-free-energy-1.13914

  • dadrumer
    dadrumer Month ago

    Why isn‘t there any talk about the stellarator? There is a german research facility making good progress in the field.

  • Atomicskull
    Atomicskull Month ago

    Thermonuclear bombs are still mostly atomic bombs. They use the second fusion stage to generate neutrons which causes fast fission (i.e. more complete fission that otherwise possible) in a third fission stage. Most of the energy released by a thermonuclear bomb is from fission. The exception is the Tsar Bomba which had it's third uranium stage removed at the last minute. As originally designed it was supposed to be 100 megatons but even the soviets got nervous about that.

  • Mr Cabot
    Mr Cabot Month ago

    Lets say for arguments sake, that these experiments, over decades, have cost in the order of some trillions of dollars, minimum.
    Where would the human race be today if we had spent that money just on solar and wind?
    We would have a global solar economy, that's what.
    We hear talk of problems storing energy but if you were a Roan over 1000 years ago, they would not have even thought twice.
    Solar farms can pump water by day and the water can flow through generators 24-7, simple hydro power.
    Add to that possibilities with proven geothermal and we already have a range of effective wind turbines, although far too few horizontal micro turbines suitable for homes and businesses. Electricity is critical to a clean future and the solutions need to be foolproof and have longevity few engineers bother planning for these days.

    • KohuGaly
      KohuGaly Month ago

      If we spend all that money on solar and wind we would have an unstable power grid that relies on overpriced gasoline and coal to throttle the supply and keep it from collapsing. Sure, carbon emissions might be lower overall, but at the same time, they are floored with absolutely no viable alternatives to reduce them to zero, in at least a century to come.
      With all the money in RnD of nuclear fusion we have a reasonable hope to start switching to 100% green power grid within our lifetimes.

  • subvet657
    subvet657 Month ago

    you lost me at man made global warming. he's a tip.....nuclear fission power generation is greenhouse gas free and something we can do NOW. don't like it? too bad. it's the best thing to use to get to something better. and you didn't even mention MSR's which is a nuclear reactor you could have in your back yard.

  • Trippy Bruh
    Trippy Bruh Month ago

    We need more nuclear power plants! Just don't build them on the coast or near a fault line.

  • Pyronious520
    Pyronious520 Month ago

    Last Pass is wondeful! Also holy cow i really hoped we were closer to fusion.

  • mrspeigle1
    mrspeigle1 Month ago

    Dirty secret, iter is already outdated, recent advances in magnetic field generation have rendered the design obsolescent. Keep an eye on a project out of MIT called Spark.

  • QuantumRift
    QuantumRift Month ago

    Try controlling a FUSION reaction. DUH.