Since 2021, tensions between the former Soviet countries have been worsening every day. The escalation of the war in Ukraine has exposed Europe to an energy crisis that is currently plaguing the continent. With reduced gas shipments from Russia to its neighbors, the development of a geopolitically independent energy source has become urgent. Nuclear fusion is one of the best options to solve this problem.
Russia is responsible for supplying 40% of the European Union’s gas demand. The reduction in natural gas shipments by the country, which is the largest exporter in the segment, has accelerated the search for energy from nuclear fusion. In response to newsweekMegan Wilson, director of strategy and marketing at General Motors, said the situation is a warning about the importance of nuclear fusion: “As the Russian conflict leads to high energy prices and shortages of energy in Europe, we are seeing an increased interest in fusion. at a time when interest in the merger is already high.
What’s so good about nuclear fusion?
The process of nuclear fusion involves forcing two atomic nuclei together under intense conditions, creating a single heavier nucleus. However, their mass is not equal to the sum of the masses of the original nuclei, so the “remaining” weight is converted into energy. This process occurs in the Sun, where hydrogen nuclei are constantly fusing into helium atoms. The “remainder” of the reaction releases about two million times more energy than that released by the fission of the atoms. Compared to Itaipu, 3 kg of hydrogen would produce the same energy produced by the plant in one day.
Nuclear fusion is also advantageous due to the ease of obtaining hydrogen atoms and not harming the environment. The method, in addition to not emitting carbon, produces toxic waste and radioactive inputs, also presents very low risks of explosion and contamination. However, developing a reactor that produces less energy than it consumes is a challenge for nuclear fusion.
According to Wilson, the private sector is one of the biggest investors in technology. According to a survey by the Fusion Industry Association, in July this year the private sector raised more than $4.7 billion in research than last year. Many countries like China and even Russia have worked to find energy from nuclear fission. The prediction is that within the next two decades this technology will already be available to power our homes.
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