Nuclear Fusion

Topics: Nuclear power, Stanley Pons, Martin Fleischmann Pages: 2 (826 words) Published: February 16, 2011
In spring of 1989, two scientists by the name of Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced that they had found a way to create nuclear fusion in a relatively simple and cheap way. Superhot fusion is the process in which deuterium, a heavier form of hydrogen, is held within a magnetic field and heated to tens of millions of degrees. The nuclei of the atoms fuse, and heat energy is released. This kind of fusion happens in our solar system’s sun. This type of fusion is known to occur, but recreating it is extremely difficult. One method of creating fusion failed because even a 100 trillion watt laser was not powerful enough to stimulate fusion. Fusion at room temperature, or cold fusion, is the type that Pons and Fleischmann claimed to have made. Cold fusion is theoretically possible if, instead of electrons, the deuterium has a cloud of heavier particles around it called muons, but attempts had never created noteworthy amounts of heat. If such fusion could be discovered, the scientists responsible would be guaranteed Nobel Prizes. This is because when fusion occurs, more heat is released than consumed, and it is an extremely efficient and 100% environmentally green source of energy. Fusion is a virtually limitless source of power. In addition, the power plants would have absolutely no pollutants; not even carbon dioxide, which is believed to cause global climate change, as well as giving off significantly less radiation than nuclear power plants. The generator basically runs on seawater. Needless to say, the find caused much excitement in the scientific and political communities.

There was a problem, though. Pons and Fleischmann had many holes in their experiment. The first problem was that they couldn’t recreate their experiment. A scientific experiment is only good if it can take place more than once. Also, their claim was not backed up by any facts, and not nearly enough research or testing. It appeared they made the announcement of fusion well before...
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