January 28, 2009

Fusion-fission hybrid system created

U.S. physicists say they've designed a system that would use fusion to eliminate most toxic waste produced by nuclear power plants.

The University of Texas at Austin scientists said their invention -- called the Super X Divertor -- when fully developed, could help combat global warming by making nuclear power cleaner and a more viable replacement of carbon-heavy energy sources, such as coal.

We have created a way to use fusion to relatively inexpensively destroy the waste from nuclear fission, said Mike Kotschenreuther, a senior research scientist. Our waste destruction system, we believe, will allow nuclear power -- a low carbon source of energy -- to take its place in helping us combat global warming.

The research that also included scientists Swadesh Mahajan, Prashant Valanju and Erich Schneider appears in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design.