Fusion Power (Terra Futura)

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Nuclear Fusion was the process of fusing two atoms together. It was more efficient than nuclear fission.

(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the same words as the fission power page of Terra Futura to save time.)


Fission Power was a result of the Manhattan Project which worked to invent the atomic bomb during World War II. Four scientists in the US, including Jewish physicist Albert Einstein, were concerned about Nazi Germany developing the atomic bomb first, so they sent a letter to President Roosevelt. As a result, the Manhattan Project was created. The first bomb they created was made of Uranium-235 and dropped on Hiroshima. The second bomb was made of plutonium and dropped on Nagasaki. This ended World War II. After the Manhattan Project disbanded in 1947, more nuclear weapon tests occurred. Other countries acquired nuclear weapons. The first hydrogen bomb was created in 1951 in the US. At the same time, scientists turned to using nuclear power for electricity.

The earliest reactors were prototypes that were tested in the 1950s. Nuclear fission reactors were commercialized in 1960s. They did not become controversial until 1979 when Three Mile Island went to nuclear hell. The reactor there melted down. As investigations went on, another nuclear meltdown occurred in Chernobyl which exploded in 1986 causing massive radiation poisoning in Russia. In the 1990s, more advanced so-called Generation III reactors came into service. These were improved versions of the conventional Generation II reactors as they came to be called. However, the controversy did not subside until the 2030s.

Generation IV nuclear fission reactors were new, more advanced reactors. They solved all the problems of conventional reactors. They were pebble bed reactors which used small balls instead of fuel rods which provided advantages over conventional reactors. A nuclear meltdown was impossible. The uranium was only 9% enriched. Not even Iran could use it to create nuclear weapons. The nuclear waste was easier to dispose of. Finally, these new, more advanced reactors were cheaper than fossil fuels. Nuclear fission power was now a lucrative industry. But there was a problem. Uranium was a limited resource. Using thorium to make uranium was only a temporary solution. By the mid-21st century, fission was replaced with fusion.


Work on nuclear fusion had been going on for years. However, it was not until the mid-21st century that fusion power became commercially viable.Many projects worked on fusion, including ITER and the National Ignition Facility. In the mid-to-late 21st century, many fusion reactions and reactors would become viable. Reactions included D-T, D-He3, He3-He3, D-D, p-B11, and proton chain. Reactors included dense plasma focus and muon-catalyzed fusion. And overtime fusion became more portable.

Deuterium-Tritium (D-T) Fusion

Tech Level: 11

The earliest fusion reactors used fusion reactions of two isotopes of hydrogen, Deuterium and Tritium. This was the easiest fusion reaction to use because it required the least amount of temperature and pressure. All experimental reactors worked with deuterium and tritium. Unlike in fission reactors, there was no radioactive waste. The radioactivity came from neutrons created by the fusion reaction. This was a serious radiation hazard, and thus it required heavy shielding. This shielding would become radioactive after extended use. Not only that, but tritium was a limited resource. Tritium was usually made by splitting lithium-6. This created a limited supply of tritium. Other reactions would come to replace it.

Deuterium--Helium-3 (D-He3) Fusion

Tech Level: 11

A reaction of deuterium and helium-3 had advantages over conventional D-T fusion reactions. Although it produced less energy, this reaction produced far less radiation.  The temperature required was three times hotter, but few cared. The reaction was aneutronic. This reactor became possible as nations started establishing mining colonies on the Moon where Helium-3 was common. Other sources of Helium-3 sources were mined years later. The abundance of Helium-3 on the Moon led to the creation of a new reactor that used Helium-3 only.

Helium-3--Helium-3 (He3-He3) Fusion

Tech Level: 11

A reaction of 2 atoms of Helium-3 was the holy grail of early fusion research. The amount of radiation was virtually nothing. 75% of its total energy potential could be used. It was especially common in space where Helium-3 was common. Back on Earth, however, Helium-3 was rare. However, Deuterium was not. This led to a reactor with Deuterium only.

Deuterium-Deuterium (D-D) Fusion

Tech Level: 12

A reaction of 2 atoms of deuterium was simpler than a conventional deuterium-tritium reaction. It had more energy than a Helium-3--Helium-3 reaction. It still had neutrons but not as much as a conventional deuterium-tritium fusion reaction. Thus, shielding was lighter. It was especially common on Earth. There was an form of this type of reaction in use for producing neutrons. It was called Bubble Fusion.

Bubble Fusion

Tech Level: 12

Bubble Fusion was an unusual form of D-D fusion that involved the collapse of deuterium bubbles in water. The collapse would generate heat and pressure equivalent to a star. This broke the Coulomb barrier. The bubbles were so small that they cause no trouble. These were used to create neutron sensors, to synthesize tritium, and for medical purposes. At the same time, fusion reactors were becoming portable in other ways, too.

Portable Fusion Generators

Tech Level: 12

As hotter and more pressurized reactions came into existence, scientists gained a better understanding of the fusion process. Add to that the discovery of room-temperature superconductors, and you have a portable fusion generator. These were smaller than earlier fusion reactors like the tokamak. As a result, fusion reactors left the power plant and entered other areas. The first was space travel. Fusion rockets could travel faster than conventional rockets. Fusion reactors also appeared in ocean-going ships. There was a reactor in particular that would revolutionize fusion.

Dense Plasma Focus Fusion Reactors

Tech Level: 12

The dense plasma focus was the only fusion reactor that could sustain temperatures as hot as the sun. This fusion reactor used electrostatic and elevctromagnetic fields to swirl plasma into a column or pinch. They were useful as fusion rockets and as power stations. This required very sosphisticated electric and magnetic fields. These had to be handled with extreme precision. However, the dense plasma focus was still useful for temperatures 1 billion Kelvin or higher. This made it useful for more advanced fusion reactions.

Protium--Boron-11 (p-B11) Fusion

Tech Level: 12

If aneutronic fusion was the goal, then a reaction of protium and Boron-11 was the way to do it. In the late 21st century, the power stations started using this reaction. Both elements were very common. It was very clean and very efficient. A protium--Boron-11 reaction required 1 billion Kelvin. Also, there was some problem with X-rays. However, there was a reaction that was like that of the sun.

Proton Chain Fusion

Tech Level: 13

If you want to be disintegrated, you probably should jump into a proton chain fusion reactor. Ha ha ha ha ha... In the early 22nd century, proton chain fusion became the dominant fusion reaction. Temperature and pressure were on the scale of the sun. In this reaction, two protons collided to create deuterium. Positrons and neutrinos emitted. Then, two deuterium atoms would fuse to create Helium-3 atoms. Neutrons and gamma rays would be released. The gamma rays were converted into heat. Meanwhile, the Helium-3 atoms fused to create Helium-4. This produced electric current directly with the heat created from the gamma rays providing extra electricity. It was the holy grail of fusion research. But the temperatures were as hot as the sun. Something was needed to cool it down. And something did.

Muon-Catalyzed Fusion

Tech Level: 13

Muon-Catalyzed Fusion was a process in which the electrons were replaced with muons. A muon was 207 times larger than an electron. Because of that, the classical Bohr radius of the atom was reduced 207 times. As a result, atomic nuclei could come closer making fusion easier. The reaction could occur at lower temperatures. This was true cold fusion. But there was a problem. The muons had to be created. In 2135, scientists from Jerusalem invented the muon generator that could generate muons more cheaply. This made fusion reactors ubiquitous.

Tabletop Fusors

Tech Level: 13

To call a fusion reactor that fits in a battery a tabletop fusor is an understatement. By this time, fusion reactors had become ubiquitous. They were everywhere. They were in cars. They were in trains. They were in ships. They were on space colonies. Like Mr. Fusion in Back to the Future, these fusion batteries could were used in everything. They were in computers. They were even in cell phones. This was the holy grail of fusion reactors. This dream of science fiction was a reality by the 22nd century. But fusion would no always be the dominant power source. It would be replaced in the future.

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