A Very Ambitious Project From The U.S. Department Of Energy

If the scientists over at the Department of Energy can pull this off, everybody on the planet has to kick in for the party.

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We don't know of a magic bullet yet that can solve all our energy needs. It's just a massive problem. There are concerns about global warming, about energy security, and so we need to explore different types of energy options. Fusion is one of the few energy sources. If we can get it to work economically it could provide us energy for thousands of years.

The Princeton Plasma Physics Lab is a Department of Energy national laboratory. We are trying to confine a plasma 10 times hotter than the core of the sun and at that temperature we'll generate fusion energy that we'll then convert to electricity. We're trying to produce a star here on Earth.

So a plasma is a hot gas. This beautiful, beautiful distinct state of matter can be manipulated by, let’s say, a magnetic field, and there are examples all around us. It's the sun and the stars and 99% of the visible universe.

So fusion energy is the way the sun works. It takes very light elements and fuses them together to make heavier elements that releases energy. It's the opposite of fission where you take very heavy atoms like uranium and split them apart.

All right, so let's go to Bay-J first.

The National Spherical Taurus experiment is an experiment that confines 50, 100 million degree plasma's.

This is sort of the top view of the machine. NSTX is over here. You see the red bars which are part of the toroidal field system, that's the electromagnets.

We are enlarging the center stack. So, we have a center solenoid that runs in the center of our vacuum vessels and it's part of our magnet system.

We're upgrading our experiments, NXTS, and the upgrade will be a factor of 10 boost in the physics capability of the experiment.

What it means is it's going to increase our confinement and we will be able to be closer and closer to what a fusion reactor would be.

Our goal in fusion research is to make a power plant that would replace a coal power plant or a nuclear power plant.

It would basically societies across the globe.

Investing in basic plasma physics, understanding how plasma's behave, will eventually lead us to limitless energy source.

There are a lot of different energy sources we should explore, but fusion is one of the long-term ideas that could lead to a long-term energy source.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This very slick video was created by the U.S. Department of Energy. Find more on the Department of Energy YouTube page.


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