Scientists in Germany switch on nuclear fusion experiment

GREIFSWALD, Germany -- Scientists in Germany have switched on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a physicist herself, pushed the button Wednesday to inject a tiny amount of hydrogen into the Wendelstein 7-X device at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald.

A massive microwave array then heated up the hydrogen, turning it into a super-hot gas known as plasma similar to that found in the sun.

The Greifswald device won't generate energy but instead test a technology that may be used to hold plasma in place in future reactors.

Advocates acknowledge that nuclear fusion is probably many decades away, but argue it could replace fossil fuels and conventional nuclear fission reactors.



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