In nuclear fusion, light atomic nuclei fuse together, releasing a large amount of energy. The most notable starting materials for this process are heavier isotopes of hydrogen - deuterium and tritium - and lithium. While deuterium is available in abundance, tritium and lithium are currently scarce resources. In the future, however, both substances are to be produced by a closed cycle in fusion power plants. This could make nuclear fusion a clean and virtually unlimited source of energy.
The development of fusion technologies is still at an experimental stage, but intensive research is being conducted worldwide to overcome the technological challenges and realize fusion as a promising energy source for the future. More and more startups are setting out to develop the first successful and commercially viable fusion power plant. Depending on their success, nuclear fusion can make an important contribution in the transition to a CO2-neutral and sustainable energy supply.
Nuclear fusion is significantly safer than nuclear fission. There is no risk of an uncontrolled chain reaction or nuclear explosion. Radioactive waste from fusion power plants is also not only produced in significantly smaller quantities than from nuclear power plants but is also less hazardous and has significantly shorter half-lives of around 100 years.