Fusion: The 50 Year Problem

Marc Mitchell
Idaho Accelerator Center
Idaho State University

Fusion energy promises enormous benefits over current energy technology.  Fusion power appears to be the prefect solution to our long term energy problems as it offers no-harmful-emission power from an abundant energy source, hydrogen (the most abundant element in the universe).  Though fusion is a relatively simple process, many complications exist in making it a viable energy source.  This talk covers the current status of fusion research and the many problems researchers face.  The fundamental problem in realizing fusion as an energy source is confinement of the fuel.  There are two schools of thought in fusion research:  magnetically confined fusion (MCF), and inertial confined fusion (ICF).  As such, the advantages/disadvantages of each will be discussed.  In addition, ICF relevant research at ISU will be presented.  Could fusion power be only 50 years away?