For a long time nuclear power has had its problems. It creates toxic nuclear waste. The reactor can break and release radioactive particles to nature. Meltdown. But these are all problems of nuclear fission reactors. And the bad kind1 of fission reactors to boot.
However, a team from the UK Atomic Energy Authority thinks that nuclear fusion reactors will be feasible in 10 years or so. Fusion reactors make energy differently. Instead of using large atoms that break down and release radioactivity, fusion fuses together hydrogen atoms, like what our sun has been doing for 5 billion years. This generates energy, and makes helium. But it doesn’t make radioactive waste. Until now it’s been too tricky to do and get more energy out than it took to get it started and keep it going. But that’s changing. If it works, we could have a resurgence of nuclear power—the clean kind of nuclear power. The fuel is plentiful, and there’s no annoying waste to deal with. We’ll have to see how safe these reactors can be made, and the technology is new.
1 Uranium and plutonium reactors. These were originally built in the US to make the raw materials for nuclear weapons.