Nuclear fusion: Coming to a basement near you soon

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Inc. debuted their Focus-Fusion-1 dense plasma focus research reactor in mid-October, after nearly 8 years of research and building. In the blink of an eye, this freezer-sized nuclear fusion demo machine can push more than 100 gigawatts of power through a space smaller than a pin point. By comparison, the entire U.S. uses about 430 gigawatts of electricity every hour.

Unlike standard nuclear fission — which involves bombarding a fuel, like plutonium or uranium, with neutrons to break it up into isotopes and releasing massive amounts of energy — the Focus-Fusion-1 bombards boron atoms with neutrons, turning it into helium and even more massive amounts of energy.

Then there's the price. A new nuclear fission plant costs billions, and requires a community willing to have one. Focus-Fusion-1 costs several hundred thousand dollars, and could shrink the land footprint of typical power plants from acres to basement-water-heater-size, while reducing the cost of electricity to 1/10th of our cheapest available power today.

And the end-products are way better. While the waste from fission will make the lab techs glow in the dark and die horrible deaths if exposed, Focus-Fusion-1's waste products will just make them talk funny.

Via and Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Inc.