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News Link • Energy

MIT fusion reactor gets restarted

•, Robin Burks
Fusion almost seems too good to be true: unlimited energy without pollution or the risk of dangerous situations like meltdowns. In fact, if we learn to harness nuclear fusion, we could also use it to power space travel, giving us a faster way of getting to planets like Mars. MIT invested in its own nuclear fusion reactor over 20 years ago, but that reactor was shut down last year, due to its funding being pulled by the Obama administration. But now, MIT's Alcator C-Mod reactor is running again, thanks to some serious lobbying to restore part of its budget.

Nuclear fusion is very different from nuclear fission (which is how the current generation of nuclear reactors generate energy). Fission gets its energy from separating atoms, which results in a lot of waste and the potential for meltdowns. Fusion is the opposite: atoms combine or fuse with each other at very high temperatures.

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