In the United States, scientists claim to have taken a giant step towards providing a limitless source of energy by harnessing the fusion reaction used in hydrogen bombs.
TV Nuclear fusion device
SV PAN Machinery
SV Reporter Mike Power speaking to camera
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SV Unfinished physics laboratory
SV Men working on new fusion plant (3 shots)
CU Researcher, Dr. Freeman, speaking to reporter and reporter's commentary resumes.
SV PAN Fusion equipment
POWER: "The breakthrough happened in this machine right after the fourth of July. It has to do with heat. Princeton scientists burned plasma inside this device at 60 million degrees centigrade (127 million degrees fahrenheit). That is far hotter than anyone has been able to do it before, but still not hot enough to actually produce conventional electricity.
"There is no questioning the scientific achievement here. But to put it in a layman's perspective, of all the energy put into this machine, scientists got one per cent out of it at the other end. They will not get 100 per cent out of the other end until a new plant is built five years from now.
"That plant is under construction now. It will cost taxpayers almost a quarter of a billion dollars. But some proponents of nuclear fusion say it is worth it, that the Princeton break-through is the beginning of the end of the oil crisis. But even the researchers are not that optimistic."
FREEMAN: "Well, the oil crisis is definitely not over and will get worse before it gets better. Fusion power will not significantly step in to help until the year 2,000 or even a few years later, all depending on how earnestly it is pursued."
POWER: "Dr. Freeman said the breakthrough to 60 million degrees also achieved another milestone. Before, he said, something always went wrong. This time, nothing screwed up. At Princeton University, I am Mike Power."
REPORTER: MIKE POWER
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the United States, scientists claim to have taken a giant step towards providing a limitless source of energy by harnessing the fusion reaction used in hydrogen bombs. The breakthrough came last month, when Princeton University scientists created a temperature of 60 million degrees centigrade (127 million degrees Fahrenheit), four times the heat in the sun's core. If temperatures about half as hot again are produced, simple atoms found in seawater can be fused together to produce power without radioactive waste materials, unlike the present generation of fission power plants. Mike Power of the American Public Service reports.