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Astonishing Video Provides A Rare Glimpse Inside An Active Fusion Reactor

Could fusion energy still be the answer to all our problems?

28/06/2017 12:41 BST

A fascinating video showing rare footage inside a fusion reactor has surfaced again after being shared on Reddit.

The footage gives us a glimpse into the moment when the experimental reactor creates a thick column of plasma suspended thanks to some astronomically powerful electromagnets. 

The video was actually uploaded back in December 2016 but has become a hit on Reddit as interest in fusion energy steadily increases.

What you’re looking at are just 300 milliseconds, recorded using a specialist high-speed camera at the experimental Tokamak reactor in Prague.

Owned by the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the COMPASS tokamak reactor uses highly-cooled electromagnets to suspend plasma within a vacuum.

Encyclopaedia Britannica via Getty Images

The heat generated from the reactor can then be used to power a conventional turbine and generate electricity.

The technology, if perfected, has the potential to give us clean, limitless power with none of the radioactive waste that has become such a problem for conventional fission reactors.

There are some hurdles that are needed to overcome though, the first of which is actually creating the perfect environment for the plasma to exist within.

Not only does it need to be a perfect vacuum but it has to be in perfect stasis so it doesn’t react with any other elements within the reactor. As you can see from this video below even the tiniest impurity can cause little ‘specks’ to appear throughout the plasma.

Fusion reactors differ from the conventional nuclear reactors we see today by fusing two atoms together, rather than splitting them.

The only truly functional fusion reactors we know of are stars, however as humans get closer and closer to perfecting the technique this could all be about to change.