Why Don't We Have Nuclear Fusion Power Yet?

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Fusion power is supposed to save us from fossil fuels, so when is nuclear fusion going to be a viable option and why has it been so elusive?
Hosted by: Stefan Chin
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Sources:
www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last/
www.teslarati.com/porsche-ceo-hints-taycan-initial-production-911-hybrid/
www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27138087
www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-urge-u-s-to-continue-support-for-nuclear-fusion-research/
www.businessinsider.com/china-east-experimental-advanced-superconducting-tokamak-nuclear-fusion-reactor-100-million-degrees-2018-12?r=US&IR=T
www.theengineer.co.uk/first-light-fusion-debut-test/
www.theengineer.co.uk/tokamak-energy-15-million-fusion/
www3.nd.edu/~nsl/Lectures/phys20061/pdf/10.pdf
nuclearweaponarchive.org/Library/Teller.html
science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-waste-disposal.htm
www.iter.org/newsline/-/2845
fire.pppl.gov/NIF_NIC_rev6_Koonin_2012.pdf
large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph241/baumer1/
e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/550771.pdf
www.iter.org/fr/newsline/-/3121
www.iter.org/doc/www/content/com/Lists/ITER%20Technical%20Reports/Attachments/9/ITER-Research-Plan_final_ITR_FINAL-Cover_High-Res.pdf
physics.stackexchange.com/questions/175830/nuclear-fusion-scaling-with-reactor-size

ITER:
www.iter.org/sci/whatisfusion
www.iter.org/sci/plasmaheating
www.iter.org/sci/Fusion
www.iter.org/sci/Goals
NIF:
lasers.llnl.gov/science/energy-for-the-future
lasers.llnl.gov/science/ignition/ignition-experiments
lasers.llnl.gov/news/experimental-highlights/2015/may

Comments

  • gamer bähm

    gamer bähm

    55 minutes ago

    LastPass is crap! You guys should use bitwarden it's open source and free.

  • Darion Luckin

    Darion Luckin

    Day ago

    Very cool video SciShow! Well done, keep up the good work! :)

  • Mileek Bell

    Mileek Bell

    Day ago

    Don't know if the scientist on these Fusion reactors watch videos like this but a quick slightly uneducated suggestion but how about taking the pellets less use for the laser Fusion and creating a shaped like a dodecahedron and giving it a massive rotation while also heating it up at the same time with the lasers will help to get a even distribution of heat and pressure to help it undergo a fusion because it seems that rotation plays a huge roll in something like the Sun where fusion occurs often or it's just me that thinks that rotation please roll and evenly Distributing heat and pressure to an object but anyways hope this helps on the quest to better energy for all of us

  • Lance Heaps

    Lance Heaps

    6 days ago

    Damn disappointed we don’t have Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future yet. Science needs to get on that.

  • João Roberto

    João Roberto

    6 days ago

    5:40 goku and vegeta trained there

  • Eric

    Eric

    10 days ago

    Sad that this won't happen in our lifetime

  • Jaime

    Jaime

    10 days ago

    So, how much the power that the nuclear fusion could produce?

  • P GR

    P GR

    9 days ago

    Look at a star. That much.

  • Spook Man

    Spook Man

    13 days ago

    What about tidal currents? 24-7 free energy (except for the generators themselves ofc.)

  • Spook Man

    Spook Man

    13 days ago

    Because why use Thorium, which is abundantly available (like in sand), does not require insane temperatures, whose waste materials don’t fuel the the military industrial complex, If you can make billions doing the opposite?

  • Karl Jensen

    Karl Jensen

    14 days ago

    Unfortunately, fusion is a pipe dream and a great way it keeps physicists employed, at least for the next several hundred years. The “machine” would have to be huge, miles across to be viable. The second problem is extracting the energy. So much of chambers surface area is dedicated to containing the event that there is inadequate area left for energy absorption. Our efforts are better spent on LFTR reactors.

  • GodlikeVallenrod

    GodlikeVallenrod

    15 days ago

    Since when carbon dioxide is bad for the environment? It naturally exists within our atmosphere. What's bad are NOx

  • Hrishikesh Apte

    Hrishikesh Apte

    16 days ago

    never expected cat

  • Dylan Hughes

    Dylan Hughes

    19 days ago

    Can't we just use magnets to levitate the small ball right in the center of the reactor?

  • Dylan Hughes

    Dylan Hughes

    19 days ago

    Uranium is now a renewable resource, search it up. We've got unlimited supplies now and it's even commercially viable. How's that for a plot twist! "Nuclear waste" is still 99% uranium which can be used in special reactors to generate even more energy until the fuel effectively disappears.

  • kad gamer

    kad gamer

    19 days ago

    2019? anyone

  • Ty Gerrr

    Ty Gerrr

    20 days ago

    It's actually very easy. Stop making babies. Less people means more energy, more food, more space, no need for wars, and a lot less strain on the environment.

  • Hexo_Typhoon Oethou

    Hexo_Typhoon Oethou

    21 day ago

    always 30 years away......emm......don't think i can see it.

  • caav56

    caav56

    23 days ago

    Because we are too cowardly to build the PACER fusion energy powerplant - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_PACER

  • Gurren813

    Gurren813

    23 days ago

    Not even gunna mention the MIT breakthrough of a fuel mix that was producing 10x the amount of energy than every other fuel mix?

  • Tyler Bass

    Tyler Bass

    23 days ago

    Well done

  • R13

    R13

    24 days ago

    So instead of spending a trillion dollars on the Paris Accord why not put that money toward building a fusion reactor?

  • Elder 987419

    Elder 987419

    28 days ago

    The magnetic feilds just arent strong enough

  • WhoistheJC?

    WhoistheJC?

    29 days ago

    Why didn't you mention inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (or the Farnsworth Fusor)?

  • CMW18

    CMW18

    Month ago

    Could use a fusion reactor in a space ship by having that be used in a fuel cell to split water into hydrogen and oxygen to power rocket engines.

  • Sand

    Sand

    Month ago

    If you want that ICF work 4 you aleast a small amount time. You must calculate delay then lasers shots. Because motherboard who is controlling lasers must be how to say synced 1x1=1 With MCF you must calculate at lest 93% of materiel explosion way not 85% like you got it now. But its only theory.

  • Σταυρος Νεοφωτιστος

    Σταυρος Νεοφωτιστος

    Month ago

    How nuclear fusion goal will be achieved thermodynamically ? Its impossible to get more energy from a system that what you put in because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics ... doesn't that apply here ?

  • Taxoro Elysium

    Taxoro Elysium

    Month ago

    The enemy comes from turning hydrogen into helium. It's kinda hard to explain, but basically there's energy stored in all atoms, but it is not the same. Iron has the lowest amount of energy storage, hydrogen has the most. So turning hydrogen into helium means less energy needs to be stored, that energy is then released.

  • Joe Chang

    Joe Chang

    Month ago

    Fusion is a scam, it will never come true.

  • Mitchell Peterson

    Mitchell Peterson

    Month ago

    It's like humans making wheels for pottery and only later realizing that you can make a vehicle with them...something that seems very basic and obvious in retrospect. Humanity has had the tools and technology to make efficient fusion reactors for roughly 50 years now, and not the water boiling cop-outs that people are aiming for. It's equal parts frustrating and amusing to be able to watch this slow crawl and not being allowed to interfere.... Time is funny.

  • Saturn Consciousness

    Saturn Consciousness

    Month ago

    Who let you out of area 51?

  • Spikes

    Spikes

    Month ago

    Nuclear Fusion does produce radioactive waste... it releases neutrons that bombard a shield making it radioactive. Yes its better than fission as its only hundreds of years long instead of 10,000 years.... There is a Fusion plant that could power the plant already... its called the sun.... way easier and now. Just need batteries...

  • Brylin Sundae

    Brylin Sundae

    Month ago

    "MCF uses magnetic fields to control plasma' *Checks Game Theory* We can make lightsabers out of that...

  • James Craswell

    James Craswell

    Month ago

    I'm not sure but I assume your editing out normal pauses in the speech which makes this sound like your speaker is on massive doses of amphetamines or is a heavy crack user. Its very annoying.

  • Geo

    Geo

    Month ago

    Fission is bad because people are dumb fearful ignorant animals and won't let us build more plants and would rather poison the atmosphere burning coal.

  • Ty Curtin

    Ty Curtin

    Month ago

    Don't be so quick to buy into the main stream hype on global warming and carbon dioxide causing global warming. You seem smart. Look at some of the alternative arguments about CO2.

  • Taxoro Elysium

    Taxoro Elysium

    Month ago

    CO warms. That's just a scientific fact. The thing that we are not 100% sure about, is how much and if the amount we release is the cause of the warming

  • Ty Curtin

    Ty Curtin

    Month ago

    +Crystal Heart You obviously are not smart

  • Crystal Heart

    Crystal Heart

    Month ago

    Lol

  • Mr Frame

    Mr Frame

    Month ago

    Nice video, just one question. What in the world was that pellet made out of in ICF?

  • Wally Wally

    Wally Wally

    Month ago

    Technology was developed many years ago for clean energy ok, but banned for economic reasons oil first big money, so old news to me.

  • Jason Ballsack

    Jason Ballsack

    Month ago

    If you play it at 0.5 even the intro sounds drunk

  • towlie911

    towlie911

    Month ago

    Fusion does create radioactive waste. It just decays in decades rather than thousands of years

  • jvandervyver

    jvandervyver

    Month ago

    Coming from an engineering background, I'm utterly flabbergasted that someone thinks they will have viable product in 30 years. They haven't even moved out of the theoretical phase with regards to generating power. Can that gold pallet thing even output net power of any significant amount in an ideal world?

  • fuck you

    fuck you

    Month ago

    correction: you said they blast it with a beam of neutrons, that's not what "neutral beam injection" is. it's actually way cooler! they put duterium nuclei (proton+neutron) in a particle accelerator, but since the nucleus is positively charged, it can't penetrate the magnetic confinement. so they fire electrons at the nuclei while they're going top speed, towards the inside of the reactor, so it becomes a neutral composite particle (a whole atom) that deposits its kinetic energy in the center of the reactor when it bumps into the plasma inside, and the beam de-couples into plasma once inside. so imagine, you're running 100mph towards a brick wall, and then at the last second somebody fires something at you that turns you into a ghost so you can move straight through the wall

  • DavieJones2nd

    DavieJones2nd

    Month ago

    You once covered Azoazide Azide which was ridiculously unstable and exploded constantly. Would something like that be useful?

  • DavieJones2nd

    DavieJones2nd

    Month ago

    +Dschinghiss Seems legit

  • Dschinghiss

    Dschinghiss

    Month ago

    No, because its uncontrollable. You cant even move it around not to mention put it into a reactor without it going ham

  • srnda1389

    srnda1389

    Month ago

    Nuclear power is the only way to save the planet from apocalypse.New 3+ generation reactors are much safer,with the adition of fast neutron reactors in the near future nuclear fuel cycle is closed and there will be no nuclear waste or shortage of fuel

  • Robert Baylis

    Robert Baylis

    Month ago

    Have you seen a stellerator? Its like a piece of modern art or like a shape in extra dimensional space. Hurts my brain.

  • Farlan

    Farlan

    Month ago

    So... nuclear fusion is the Half-Life 3 of science

  • Ken O

    Ken O

    Month ago

    Isn't solar power actually nuclear fusion power because that is how the sun creates energy? In that way we (as humans) have always benefited from nuclear fusion power.

  • Ken O

    Ken O

    Month ago

    Perhaps a way of containment is by adding motion to create some forces of inertia, such as centrifugal and gyroscope like effects.

  • Aaron Tavares

    Aaron Tavares

    Month ago

    Precisers of Fission were ratioactive before they were dug up from the ground so back in to the ground they go once they are used

  • 1202Sid

    1202Sid

    Month ago

    Thorium is everywhere, the reactors are cheap and it generates much less wast and is self extinguishing in a catastrophe. The containment for fusion is not simple. The elements are rare and expensive. Eventually a fusion reactor will be feasible, until then we should use thorium reactors. PS: Thorium reactors are not encouraged by the governments because it does not generate weapon grade nuclear wast.

  • Taxoro Elysium

    Taxoro Elysium

    Month ago

    That last part is completely false. The government has specific nuclear reactors to generate weapon grade nuclear waste, it does not use the regular nuclear reactors that are used for energy.

  • Vish Ram

    Vish Ram

    Month ago

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  • Hans Pew

    Hans Pew

    Month ago

    "The old joke, 'fusion is always 30 years away.'" I'm old enough to remember when fusion was only 20 years away.

  • phaledax

    phaledax

    Month ago

    liquid fluoride thorium salt reactors as a fuel source for fission would work for a long time as the planet has about three times the reserves of thorium than uranium. Just thought to add that to this.

  • Chedarmentos Brown

    Chedarmentos Brown

    Month ago

    Concerning nuclear fusion energy: Remember Mars, RIP. At least they had earth to fall back on. LOL, j/k. We need to do something. At the rate we are going. The very least no gas at the very worst no life. None of those sound fun.

  • Martin D A

    Martin D A

    Month ago

    They have been saying fusion is 20 years away since 1960 - Should have been here three times already. I am beginning to think you can't do it without gravity and a big ball of hydrogen.

  • Matt Maros

    Matt Maros

    Month ago

    Why not just focus on solar, battery storage and nuclear?

  • Icriedtoday

    Icriedtoday

    Month ago

    Carbon dioxide havoc? You are an idiot. CO2 is FOOD FOR PLANT LIFE!

  • fatahilah hudaiby rafii

    fatahilah hudaiby rafii

    Month ago

    Great job, that's good explanation.

  • AnotherDora

    AnotherDora

    Month ago

    No words about Wendelstein 7-x?

  • lilcamjax

    lilcamjax

    Month ago

    They’re using Gold but why not Diamond?

  • Richard Stevens

    Richard Stevens

    Month ago

    Sodium cooled thorium power plants have been proven, are runaway safe and will use the nuclear waste already produced by uranium plants .

  • hellterminator

    hellterminator

    Month ago

    Nuclear waste doesn't pollute the environment for thousands of years. The super radioactive stuff decays in a couple weeks, the somewhat radioactive stuff decays in a couple decades and the rest, while still technically radioactive, is pretty safe. Just put it in an old mine and be done with it.

  • Patrick Degenaar

    Patrick Degenaar

    Month ago

    Typo at the start! Fusion power based on Deuterium tritium does create waste. Just nowhere near as much or as long lasting as fission.

  • Mark Ellis

    Mark Ellis

    Month ago

    Barely produces any CO2? How about no CO2?

  • Mark Ellis

    Mark Ellis

    Month ago

    Taxoro Elysium The dame could be argued for the human operators or the cars they would use to drive to the plant. My point was the fusion reactor produces no greenhouse gasses itself.

  • Taxoro Elysium

    Taxoro Elysium

    Month ago

    It produces CO2 from being built and the electricity used. If we had free energy, then this would be free energy. So if fusion is our sole energy source it would actually be completely zero co2.

  • TheAsmodeus2012

    TheAsmodeus2012

    Month ago

    I'm willing to bet the room-temperature superconductors that a scientist working with the U.S. Navy just released a patent for would probably go a long way to helping with solving the whole fusion thing, if it's for real. phys.org/news/2019-02-navy-patent-room-temperature-superconductor.html?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

  • best3usmc

    best3usmc

    Month ago

    Tough times create tough men. Tough men create easy times. Easy times create weak men. Weak men create tough times.

  • Austrian Economics

    Austrian Economics

    Month ago

    Amazing how Spider-Man2 has it so accurate all those years ago.

  • Taxoro Elysium

    Taxoro Elysium

    Month ago

    Fusion has been an idea for way way longer.

  • bagged milk

    bagged milk

    Month ago

    *Nibba just push the reverse button on a nuclear fission thing*

  • Chris Popoff

    Chris Popoff

    2 months ago

    @SciShow please do an episode on the teaser you dropped at the end about advancements in nuclear fission! There really is awesome work being done there

  • Lajos György Mészáros

    Lajos György Mészáros

    2 months ago

    Why use LastPass, when we have KeePassX?

  • Alijah Murphy

    Alijah Murphy

    2 months ago

    Have you ever started a fire in a cold environment? It's not quite like you explained.

  • Alex Besogonov

    Alex Besogonov

    2 months ago

    Research fusion reactors typically use plain hydrogen plasma (that doesn't fuse at all) for experiments to avoid regulatory difficulties. The results can then be extrapolated to D-T plasma. And the current experiments are also more specific, they focus on particular nuances of plasma behavior.

  • METO U

    METO U

    2 months ago

    Because the sun is electric and not gravitational...gravity is magnetism...the reason why you can see a star behind the Sun during an eclipse is not because of space being warped...but because the light from the star behind the Sun gets repelled around the Sun because light repels light and 2 separate photons can not occupy the same space..Big Bang only explains 4 % of the universe and the rest is dark matter and dark energy or another words... I don't know...the electric universe theory explains the unknowns of the Big Bang Theory... Just don't believe the religious crap the electric universe proponents tie to the electric universe... Same exact people are on both sides of the argument

  • mike magic

    mike magic

    2 months ago

    Enough Climate Change....We need Climate Constant!

  • Cesar Zayas

    Cesar Zayas

    2 months ago

    "It wont be that way for long" well ya in ten years it wont be 30 years from now itll be 20..

  • Eva Paz

    Eva Paz

    2 months ago

    Black holes are measurable. Black holes are created as stars implode. The star no longer emits energy, it sinks energy. What if the energy coming out of the sun is the energy being sunk into black holes somewhere else? All the funding would have been wasted. All the experts would be relying in a lie from another expert to get their full perspective. (As Christians, or funded by christians, do.)

  • Eva Paz

    Eva Paz

    2 months ago

    Remember electromagnetic waves propagate even if there is no matter.

  • Eva Paz

    Eva Paz

    2 months ago

    Has anyone ever physically proved that the energy being emitted by the sun is actually energy extracted from fusion of the elements in the sun? Has anyone ever physically proved where is the energy sunk by black holes going?

  • Sean Carlisle

    Sean Carlisle

    2 months ago

    i don't know about you but i've been powered by NF for a while usdownload.net/item/video-efZ-8EbFWic.html

  • Wiz Bud

    Wiz Bud

    2 months ago

    Power storage improvement will do more to stop pollution that any new power source. Storage is the key.

  • Drake Kay

    Drake Kay

    2 months ago

    Because Financiers demand that Scientists predict their discovers, literally violating the process of science replacing it with the process of money.

  • Supyloco

    Supyloco

    2 months ago

    #FundNuclearFusion

  • Shane

    Shane

    2 months ago

    That 1 second hair cut at 9:49

  • Aj Blazed

    Aj Blazed

    2 months ago

    this is cause they want to find a way to weaponize it as they did with nuclear …………a more powerful and cleaner source of power has excisted since the 50's

  • Taxoro Elysium

    Taxoro Elysium

    Month ago

    Already done, it's called the H-bomb.

  • Arda Karaduman

    Arda Karaduman

    2 months ago

    turbines ? all this work and we still cant find a way to get electricity more efficiently ?

  • I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    2 months ago

    The benchmark is producing energy at a cost that's equal or less than the current sources of energy. If you're spending billions to produce a few MW of energy, when you can spend millions to produce GW of energy, then fusion isn't worth it. I'm sure that one day we'll get there, but maybe in another 30 years ;p

  • I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    2 months ago

    In the meantime, Thorium nuclear energy: usdownload.net/item/video-k6BXvw6mxtw.html

  • Nini Zeldav

    Nini Zeldav

    2 months ago

    So many experts in the comment section.

  • Smart Vibes

    Smart Vibes

    2 months ago

    Ummm, did this guy use "likelier" instead of "more likely". I'm gonna use that as my password, and by the way. Why wasn't he using grammarly, I bet he was and it just fkd him over..... fkn grammarly

  • Ruben Santos

    Ruben Santos

    2 months ago

    so many chair engineers around here xD

  • Milligram

    Milligram

    2 months ago

    It's not true that the benchmark of whether fusion is practical is when you have more energy out than it takes to run - it's when you get more money out than it takes to run.

  • Hans Carlos Hofmann

    Hans Carlos Hofmann

    2 months ago

    Fusion produces also radioactive Waste ... but the alf life time is quite lower

  • Tamahagane

    Tamahagane

    2 months ago

    In about 100 years we look at this video and go HAHA did we really needed to have such a big fusion reactor to gain such a luttle amount of power? or something like "dad didnt they really have fusion cars?

  • The Ceij

    The Ceij

    2 months ago

    Stars don't work like we think we know they do.

  • Erik Hare

    Erik Hare

    2 months ago

    With all of the progress, I think we can say that fusion is now ten years away - and always will be.

  • Sauron glasses

    Sauron glasses

    2 months ago

    and i live Wright next to ITER so is it saff!!!!

  • GeterPoldstein

    GeterPoldstein

    2 months ago

    My hopes are pinned on the stellerator tocamac. Wendelstein 7-X has been posting some really nice plasma confinement results in the past few years.

  • jfedgar

    jfedgar

    2 months ago

    Disappointed you didn't mention SPARC and the promise that the newer, more powerful superconductors hold.

  • Letruffier

    Letruffier

    2 months ago

    Who said that you need extreme temperatures to reach fusion? What about Brioullin energy and other LENR concepts? There are even ambiant temperatures fusion occurring in ass of chickens :) Concepts presented in the video are so primitive and inefficient. I am considering LENR less fringe than hot reactors and if you want to remain immediately realistic do thorium which have been abandoned because of the military motherfuckers.

  • Mayday

    Mayday

    2 months ago

    why nowbody talk's about proton+boron aneutronic laser fusion? No neutrons, no long-term radiactive waste and much smaller devices This is a much more exciting way for fusion. www.nature.com/news/two-laser-boron-fusion-lights-the-way-to-radiation-free-energy-1.13914

  • dadrumer

    dadrumer

    2 months ago

    Why isn‘t there any talk about the stellarator? There is a german research facility making good progress in the field.

  • Atomicskull

    Atomicskull

    2 months ago

    Thermonuclear bombs are still mostly atomic bombs. They use the second fusion stage to generate neutrons which causes fast fission (i.e. more complete fission that otherwise possible) in a third fission stage. Most of the energy released by a thermonuclear bomb is from fission. The exception is the Tsar Bomba which had it's third uranium stage removed at the last minute. As originally designed it was supposed to be 100 megatons but even the soviets got nervous about that.

  • Mr Cabot

    Mr Cabot

    2 months ago

    Lets say for arguments sake, that these experiments, over decades, have cost in the order of some trillions of dollars, minimum. Where would the human race be today if we had spent that money just on solar and wind? We would have a global solar economy, that's what. We hear talk of problems storing energy but if you were a Roan over 1000 years ago, they would not have even thought twice. Solar farms can pump water by day and the water can flow through generators 24-7, simple hydro power. Add to that possibilities with proven geothermal and we already have a range of effective wind turbines, although far too few horizontal micro turbines suitable for homes and businesses. Electricity is critical to a clean future and the solutions need to be foolproof and have longevity few engineers bother planning for these days.

  • KohuGaly

    KohuGaly

    2 months ago

    If we spend all that money on solar and wind we would have an unstable power grid that relies on overpriced gasoline and coal to throttle the supply and keep it from collapsing. Sure, carbon emissions might be lower overall, but at the same time, they are floored with absolutely no viable alternatives to reduce them to zero, in at least a century to come. With all the money in RnD of nuclear fusion we have a reasonable hope to start switching to 100% green power grid within our lifetimes.

  • subvet657

    subvet657

    2 months ago

    you lost me at man made global warming. he's a tip.....nuclear fission power generation is greenhouse gas free and something we can do NOW. don't like it? too bad. it's the best thing to use to get to something better. and you didn't even mention MSR's which is a nuclear reactor you could have in your back yard.

  • Trippy Bruh

    Trippy Bruh

    2 months ago

    We need more nuclear power plants! Just don't build them on the coast or near a fault line.

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