Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Nuclear Fusion
Name: N/A
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

What are the dangers of nuclear fusion, and does anyone know when it should be the primary source of fuel in the world, or at least when it will be made available to large corporations?

Progress has been made on a variety of forms of fusion, but a practical reactor that produces energy for sale to the public is probably at least 20 years away. Basically, we probably could build one within 5 years given enough money, but the cost of the resulting energy would make it not commercially viable (because of the cost of the components going into it, not the cost of the fuel). There are plenty of other energy sources in the world that are likely to help replace fossil fuels before fusion comes on line though, simply because they (direct solar, ocean temperature, etc) can be utilized practically for a much lower capital cost. Dangers: the only real danger from a fusion reactor is the gradual accumulation of radioactivity in the components and other materials used in the area. This should be much lower than the equivalent from fission energy.

Arthur Smith

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory