Nuclear fusion is an energy source that humans have been trying to control for many years now. It works like the natural process that powers the Sun and other stars out there in the Universe.
Within stars, natural fusion reactions produce all but the lightest elements in a process called nucleosynthesis. The fusion of the lighter elements in stars releases energy, which completes the nuclear fusion reaction.
Here on Earth, scientists are trying to achieve artificial nuclear fusion in an energy process in which light atoms, such as hydrogen and deuterium, are combined to form heavier atoms.
In the merging (or fusion) of these atoms an enormous amount of energy is released, mostly in the form of thermal energy (that is, heat).
We have achieved nuclear fusion on Earth, but scientists have yet to control it. Studies of controlled nuclear fusion began in the 1950s and they continue now into the 2010s.
One important place where these experiments are being carried out is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California. They have accomplished an important step in the eventual ability of scientists to control nuclear fusion.
Please read page two for more of this inching forward in our quest to harness nuclear fusion.