Atoms to the rescue?

AS THE world's fossil fuel reserves decline, the search for a clean, inexpensive and sustainable source of energy hots up. At a site near Abingdon, a us $794 million experiment to develop a new and virtually non-polluting energy source has entered the final phase of its programme. The experiment, known as jet (joint European Torus) is part of a multinational research programme to develop nuclear fusion as a reasonably priced energy source for the future.

In the jet experiment, fusion of atoms occurs in very high temperatures inside a specially designed vacuum chamber known as "torus". Tom Elsworth, Jet spokesperson, described the process as inherently safe due to its slow reaction rate. It would also generate less nuclear waste because of the low radioactivity of basic materials.

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