Why Don't We Have Nuclear Fusion Power Yet?

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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?
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Published on


Feb 6, 2019




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Comments 2 329
Lance Heaps
Lance Heaps 3 days 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 3 days ago
5:40 goku and vegeta trained there
Eric 7 days ago
Sad that this won't happen in our lifetime
Jaime 7 days ago
So, how much the power that the nuclear fusion could produce?
P GR 6 days ago
Look at a star. That much.
Spook Man
Spook Man 10 days ago
What about tidal currents? 24-7 free energy (except for the generators themselves ofc.)
Spook Man
Spook Man 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 days ago
never expected cat
Dylan Hughes
Dylan Hughes 16 days ago
Can't we just use magnets to levitate the small ball right in the center of the reactor?
Dylan Hughes
Dylan Hughes 16 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 16 days ago
2019? anyone
Ty Gerrr
Ty Gerrr 17 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
always 30 years away......emm......don't think i can see it.
caav56 20 days ago
Because we are too cowardly to build the PACER fusion energy powerplant - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_PACER
Gurren813 20 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 20 days ago
Well done
R13 20 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 25 days ago
The magnetic feilds just arent strong enough
WhoistheJC? 26 days ago
Why didn't you mention inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (or the Farnsworth Fusor)?
CMW18 27 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.
Sand Month ago
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 29 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
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.
Saturn Consciousness
Who let you out of area 51?
Spikes Month ago
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
"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 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
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 29 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
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 Month ago
Fusion does create radioactive waste. It just decays in decades rather than thousands of years
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 Month ago
You once covered Azoazide Azide which was ridiculously unstable and exploded constantly. Would something like that be useful?
DavieJones2nd Month ago
+Dschinghiss Seems legit
Dschinghiss Month ago
No, because its uncontrollable. You cant even move it around not to mention put it into a reactor without it going ham
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 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 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 29 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.
Vish Ram
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 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
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 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 Month ago
No words about Wendelstein 7-x?
lilcamjax Month ago
They’re using Gold but why not Diamond?
Richard Stevens
Richard Stevens Month ago
Sodium cooled thorium power plants have been proven, are runaway safe and will use the nuclear waste already produced by uranium plants .
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
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 29 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 29 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 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 Month ago
Tough times create tough men. Tough men create easy times. Easy times create weak men. Weak men create tough times.
Austrian Economics
Amazing how Spider-Man2 has it so accurate all those years ago.
Taxoro Elysium
Taxoro Elysium 29 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 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 usvid.net/video/video-efZ-8EbFWic.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 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
Taxoro Elysium
Taxoro Elysium 29 days ago
Already done, it's called the H-bomb.
Arda Karaduman
Arda Karaduman 2 months 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: usvid.net/video/video-k6BXvw6mxtw.html
Nini Zeldav
Nini Zeldav 2 months ago
So many experts in the comment section.
Smart Vibes
Smart Vibes 2 months 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 2 months ago
so many chair engineers around here xD
Milligram 2 months 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
Hans Carlos Hofmann 2 months ago
Fusion produces also radioactive Waste ... but the alf life time is quite lower
Tamahagane 2 months 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 2 months ago
Stars don't work like we think we know they do.
Erik Hare
Erik Hare 2 months 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 2 months ago
and i live Wright next to ITER so is it saff!!!!
GeterPoldstein 2 months 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 2 months ago
Disappointed you didn't mention SPARC and the promise that the newer, more powerful superconductors hold.
Letruffier 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months ago
Why isn‘t there any talk about the stellarator? There is a german research facility making good progress in the field.
Atomicskull 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months ago
We need more nuclear power plants! Just don't build them on the coast or near a fault line.
Pyronious520 2 months ago
Last Pass is wondeful! Also holy cow i really hoped we were closer to fusion.
mrspeigle1 2 months 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 2 months ago
Try controlling a FUSION reaction. DUH.
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