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Energy Tech Roundup

May 18, 2007

A fusion-powered nuclear reactor may be closer to realization.


Taming star power. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Stars and hydrogen bombs get their energy by fusing hydrogen atoms into helium. For many decades, scientists have tried to duplicate that trick in a controlled manner to create a fusion reactor. And while they’ve triggered such reactions, they haven’t been able to sustain them. Now scientists in the US and Russia have teamed up to create a new circuit that can trigger hydrogen fusion every ten seconds—rapidly enough to sustain the reaction and generate power. While promising, the researchers say it will be another two decades before the technology can be used in power plants.

In other technology news, an international team of researchers is working to incorporate flexible, light-emitting sheets of plastic into a variety of products, from clothing that could light up and change color to windows that could become lamps at night.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.