Nuclear fusion is the energy source of the sun and the stars.
Fusion research is intended to demonstrate that this energy source can also be used on earth. Nuclear fusion is a safe and environmentally-friendly way to generate electricity and to meet the energy needs of a growing world population. The fuel reserves required for this energy source are widely available.
Fusion research has already resulted in numerous technological challenges and spin-off applications. What's more, fusion technology has a number of important characteristics that make it a very interesting investment for Europe. It concerns among others:
independence from energy raw materials
Deuterium and tritium, the fuel that feeds and maintains the desired fusion reactions are quite easy to obtain.
There is approximately 35 g of deuterium in each m³ of water, and tritium is formed in the reactor from lithium, an element that occurs everywhere in the earth's crust. The Lithium is incorporated into a special tritium bleeding blanket around the reactor.
low fuel requirements
How much fuel is required to continuously run a 1000 MW power station?
A coal-fired plant requires some 2 700 000 tonnes of coal per year that must be transported via rail or waterways.
A traditional nuclear power station requires 32 tonnes of uranium oxide (3% enrichment).
For a fusion power station, barely 0.10 tonnes of deuterium and 0.15 tonnes of tritium are required per year.
Based on current prices, the costs of fuelling a fusion reactor account for only 1% of the price of fusion electricity. A comparison: for gas-fired power stations, fuel costs often account for 75% of the total cost of electricity production.
small amounts of short-lived nuclear waste
The nuclear waste is mainly limited to activated material that must be disposed of when dismantling the installation. After a few decades, its cumulative radiotoxicity is lower than that of the ashes produced by a similar capacity coal fired plant in 25 years.