Fusion Power Explained – Future or Failure


The fundamental currency of our universe is energy. It lights our homes, grows our food,
powers our computers. We can get it lots of ways: Burning fossil fuels, splitting atoms, or sunlight striking photovoltaics. But there’s a downside to everything Fossil fuels are extremely toxic, Nuclear waste is… well, nuclear waste, And, there are not enough batteries to store sunlight for cloudy days yet. And yet the sun seems to have virtually limitless free energy. Is there a way we could build a sun on Earth? Can we bottle a star? [Intro Jingle] The sun shines because of nuclear fusion. In a nutshell, fusion is a thermonuclear process. Meaning that the ingredients have to be incredibly hot. So hot, that the atoms are stripped of their electrons Making a plasma where nuclei and electrons bounce around freely. Since nuclei are all positively charged, They repel each other. In order to overcome this repulsion, The particles have to be going very, very fast In this context, very fast means “very hot” Millions of degrees Stars cheat to reach these temperatures. They are so massive, that the pressure in their cores Generates the heat to squeeze the nuclei together Until they merge and fuse Creating heavier nuclei and releasing energy in the process. It is this energy release that scientists hope to harness In a new generation of power plant, The fusion reactor. On earth it’s not feasible to use this brute force method to create fusion. So if we wanted to build a reactor that generates energy from fusion, We have to get clever. To date, scientists have invented two ways of making plasmas hot enough to fuse: The first type of reactor uses a magnetic field to Squeeze a plasma in a doughnut shaped chamber Where the reactions take place. These magnetic confinement reactors Such as the I.T.E.R. reactor in France, Use superconducting electromagnets cooled with liquid helium To within a few degrees of absolute zero. Meaning that they host some of the biggest temperature gradients in the known universe. The second type called “Inertial confinement” Uses pulses from super-powered lasers To heat the surface of a pellet of fuel Imploding it, briefly making the fuel hot and dense enough to fuse. In fact, one of the of the most powerful lasers in the world Is used for fusion experiments At the National Ignition Facility in the U.S. These experiments and others like them around the world are today, just experiments. Scientists are still developing the technology, And although they can achieve fusion, Right now, it costs more energy to do the experiment Then they produce in fusion. The technology has a long way to go before it’s commercially viable, and maybe it never will be. It might just be impossible to make a viable fusion reactor on earth, But if it gets there, it will be so efficient That a single glass of sea water, could be used to produce as much energy as burning a barrel of oil, with no waste to speak of. This is because fusion reactors
would use hydrogen or helium as fuel And sea water is loaded with hydrogen But not just any hydrogen will do. Specific isotopes with extra neutrons called Deuterium and Tritium Are needed to make the right reactions. Deuterium is stable and can be found in abundance in sea water, Though Tritium is a bit trickier. It’s radioactive And there may only be 20 kilograms of it in the world Mostly in nuclear warheads Which makes it incredibly expensive. So we made need another fusion buddy for Deuterium instead of Tritium. Helium-3, an isotope of Helium,
might be a great substitute. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly rare on earth. But here, the moon might have the answer. Over billions of years, the solar wind may have built up huge deposits Of Helium-3 on the moon. Instead of making Helium-3, we can mine it. If we could sift the lunar dust for helium, We’d have enough fuel to power the entire world for thousands of years. One more argument for establishing a moon base, if you weren’t convinced already. Ok, maybe you think building a mini sun Still sound kind of dangerous But they’d actually be much safer
than most other types of powerplants A fusion reactor is not like a nuclear plant, Which can melt down catastrophically. If the confinement failed, then the plasma would expand and cool, And the reaction would stop. Put simply, it’s not a bomb. The release of radioactive fuel, like Tritium, Could pose a threat to the environment. Tritium could bond with oxygen making radioactive water, Which could be dangerous as it seeps into the environment. Fortunately, there’s no more than a few grams in use at a given time, So a leak would be quickly diluted. So we’ve just told you that theres nearly unlimited energy to be had At no expense to the environment In something as simple as water. So, whats the catch? Cost. We simply don’t know if fusion power will ever be commercially viable. Even if they work, they might be too expensive to ever build. The main drawback, is that it’s unproven technology Its a 10 billion dollar gamble And that money might be better
spent on other clean energy That’s already proven itself. Maybe we should cut out losses Or maybe, when the payoff is unlimited
clean energy for everyone, It might be worth the risk. Videos like this one take hundreds of hours to make and are made possible by your contributions on If you want to learn more about global energy, Here’s a playlist about nuclear energy, fracking and solar power. Let us know in the comments if there are other technologies you want us to explain.

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100 thoughts on “Fusion Power Explained – Future or Failure”

  1. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell says:

    There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here:

  2. ravyn Collins says:

    How about a joint space station where we have multiple nuclear reactors in space it won't harmony body will be very expensive sadly but will get lots of energy from it in other words I'm just speaking about a ginormous where we get to refill rockets with nuclear for nuclear rockets new rocket coming up from to the station filling up the ship with nuclear it would be expensive I know trust me I seen other things happen I never on different for my first thousands of years spending here on this lol I'm not a name being I'm a human who is really hungry at the moment I'm waiting till I can eat we are not your normal human I'm from a different universe were we have the giants if multiple nuclear funny what is interesting of how many nuclear reactors we have we have about a million nuclearAnna all perfectly safe and now for people to go in and out of the and I work there I am a repair Crewe I fix broken ships is a little bit dangerous if you don't know what you're doing I know what to do are we also measure background radiation was completely and don't ask me how I managed to get here I have no idea to how I got here the last thing I remembered was on a nuclear reactors failed and then I think they might have worked my memory cos my photo pillow I've been putting into a ship innocent here right goodbye for now about swim I see eachother again in a thousand years Wilko thousand years from now would be the year 3019 and I can't exactly what happens in a thousand years but yeah so this is goodbye for now do you think I should call somebody from my time a rescue mission basically right yes or no

  3. Afifa Tasneem Quanita says:

    How about gama energy

  4. will2see says:

    It is much more than 10 billion dollar gamble. And btw, how do you imagine we will "mine" this Helium-3 on the Moon? Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of thermonuclear fusion, but this "mining" on the Moon is a problem, gently said.

  5. WEREWOLF457 ESO says:

    Can we build a sun? We probably shouldn’t I know this because I’ve seen Spider-Man 2 enough times to know it’s a bad idea

  6. Donland says:

    It's not a bomb.

    USA: And like that you've lost me

  7. Matthew Laliberty says:

    84 seconds into watching the video I came up with a concept to create a mini sun; downside is, it isn’t very safe to even begin to meddle with science like this, not quite yet atleast.

  8. John Vlahos says:

    If Kurzgesagt says it's safe it probably is. I mean they have a kink on destroying stuff.

  9. Vlad the Impaler says:

    To think that some of the hottest as well as coldest places int he universe are right here on Earth in our laboratories.

  10. E Dab says:

    So we have to be Goku and fuse with piccolo?

  11. Barish K says:

    if you need help bottling something just hit us Barcelona up, against all odds we will be sure to bottle the fuck out of anything!

  12. Xander Ψαμπο says:

    Can the laser be used to destroy asteroids?

  13. Bjørn Kristian Hansen says:

    This videos are always limited to science that is "accepted by academic circles".

    The real problem is to understand is that the academicly accepted science is only there to serve big businesses. And have no intrest in serving us or the global enviorment.

    If you truly Realise how much influence money have on our accepted knowledge. You would be ashamed to not represent real solutions.

    Do you really think theese are the only solutions?

    The universe is electric and aboundant in electricity.

    Nikola tesla. Jhon searl.

    They are not scams.

    We cut down trees and print them to money. While there are real solutions not taken advatage of. Humans are destructive, rotten with big money and foolish.

  14. UnableBlueBoy 13 says:

    2:24 still german "Hohlraum" thank me later

  15. Blue Sandbox says:

    Organic machine

  16. Blue Sandbox says:

    That's my question

  17. ScrotNimation says:

    How about just cheat reality. Instead of heat we use vacuum and cooling the proton down as it’s so cool we could use literally anything to squeeze them together and after they start to heat up again they would be struck and done infinite energy after that we use the energy that we created to make more proton and use those proton to make even more proton

  18. Alex Iachimciuc says:

    How to transform fusion power into electric power? The old way? Heat some water into steam??

  19. CptUSMC says:

    Fusion is the only power source with the energy capable to bend space for star travel. You want off this rock? Fusion is the key.

  20. CptUSMC says:

    Why solve a 21st century problem (climate change) with 20th century technology (wind/solar)?

  21. MR X says:

    I think I've figured out unlimited energy

  22. Azhar Mohsen says:

    RBMK reactor wasn't supposed to explode either

  23. Ultra Instinct Android says:

    1:50 Fusioooooon ha!

  24. Richard Hruškoci says:

    Thanks for Czech subtittles

  25. Jack Brown says:

    Okay Doc Ock

  26. LNOITS-GAMER OP says:

    Lol 1:45
    It is that simple

  27. Smash-ter says:

    This channel really wants a moonbase

  28. Arthur Moe-Mux-Hagi says:

    Wait, Tritium is real ? I thought that was a fictionnal fuel they invented for Spider-Man 2 !

  29. Abdurrahman P says:

    Even if we succeed in building unlimited energy it will still not free

  30. S G says:

    You left out the part where nuclear power works with a fundamentally different (and more efficient by orders of magnitude) force of nature than all traditional and antiquated forms of power generation (which includes solar technology, since solar panels trace back to Einstein's postulation of the photo-electric effect in 1905, predating the nuclear reaction form of power generation).
    Going from mechanical/electrochemical forms of power generation to nuclear is switching from electromagnetic/gravitational energy generation, to intra-nuclear manipulation, a fundamentally different (and more efficient) approach; it's the new craze that never caught on, thanks to green peace vegan commies who play too much Fallout!

  31. S G says:

    We have the means to build a dyson sphere, and transmit that power to earth, but putting money towards viable American fusion power models is impractical? Does Not Compute.

  32. S G says:

    We got money for Dyson Spheres now, but American fusion research cost 2 much? Does Not Compute.

  33. Zauce The Sauce Bauce says:

    Could we somehow incorporate a fission reactor too? Get power from fusing then split the atoms apart and get power from that too. Creating a loop.

  34. S G says:

    I hate your accent, but I love this material so much it cancels out.

  35. S G says:

    To the man who says it's impossible to make a viable fusion reactor, I ask: how do your solar panels work, then (referring to the fact that solar panels run on the energy generated by the sun's ongoing fusion reaction).
    If it can be demonstrated in nature, man can replicate it; there is no shortage of information on this.

  36. S G says:

    Bullshit green energy is not viable either!!!!!
    Gasoline is cheaper and easier than green scams, and nuclear is the obvious replacement, this solar/wind bullshit is the biggest scam since dot-coms!!!!!
    Keep your money away from it, america! Invest in the fundamental sciences that brought your first industrial revolution!
    Dream big, don't settle for recycled technologies of yesteryear!

  37. Gene Schmidt says:

    What if… just what if, we stopped using so much energy on pointless things and equating quality of life with quantity of stuff. It is absolute insanity that people think our current average uses of energy in daily life make any sense at all. We are people who literally sleep with air conditioning full blast, with blankets. Humans are smart enough to create, But have no concept of limitation or conservation.

  38. Manas Hejmadi says:

    Mr electron and Mr proton. Hmmmmmmmm….

  39. Novark Ngood says:

    Rubbish vid

  40. Joseph Fiore says:

    Only the universe can make a star. Throwing away money since they started research. Scientists are so arrogant if they think they can do it. If they can it will take 100,000's of years.

  41. Andre Andre says:

    Maybe yo can make a video about trying to make a magnetic-engine (Magnetmotor) I would really like that, to see why its possible or not.

  42. CARZILLA says:

    Money shouldn't apply to science

  43. Eric Ho says:

    What about a closed path homopolar generator?

  44. Jonah Farrell says:

    0:09 Compu-ception

  45. Eternal Goof says:

    This generation wastes all resources of all future generations of mankind. At the same time we discuss if we really should invest some bucks into the only technology which could guarantee the survival of mankind. For shame.

  46. Eyad Saffour says:

    We can spend trillions on weapons . But we can not spend 10 B on that ?

  47. Didi Danica says:

    Yeah sure, but why u lying. Bitch stop lying.

  48. Boris R. Cuduco says:

    Maybe the Chinese already know how to make a fusion reactor and that's why they want to keep traveling to the moon.

  49. Josh Gatto says:

    It's our barrier once we get clean energy for everyone we blow up

  50. Name says:

    Sound vibration

  51. Debasis Maity says:

    Total energy(unlimited!) produced by fussion will finally convert to heat(remember the 2nd law? ) . That will eventually heat up the earth and global warming will be further accelerated. We can bring fuel from moon but how to release the heat from earth without increasing earth's temperature?
    Is any body worried on that? Or will solve that later!

  52. Ayan Chowdhury says:

    Tentacle Duck !! WTF!! 😛

  53. Stormy says:

    I am a firm believer in the idea that if we attain fusion energy in an energy-profitable manner, third-world countries would develop out of existence within 20 years.

  54. Jonathan Tripp says:


  55. Sayeed Abdullah says:


  56. Jrlomay0616 says:

    3:46 is that a Wallace and Gromit reference?

  57. William Armitage says:

    What about the Arc Reactor from Iron Man?

  58. sleepy boi says:

    And it will boil water same with nuclear and geo.. Something new? Like its energy will be transferred directly to regulator then distribute?

  59. thediamondshard says:

    People once said that crossing the Atlantic was impossible, we did that, people once said a man on the moon was impossible, we did that, everything’s impossible until you make it happen!

  60. slucarios says:

    Fusion is just a cheap tactic to make weak energy stronger!

  61. Swapnil Paul says:

    I need dark energy and special matter and the largest galaxy IC 1101 details in depth

  62. Fausto Araujo says:

    It sounds like an infomercial for a brand.
    I'm very suspicious, now.

  63. R3tr0. mov says:

    We should get the sun in the boat

  64. Demyte D-1248 says:

    no more fusion is waiting! imminent

  65. MechanicPluto24 says:

    Electromagnet: -269 Celsius
    Plasma: 150M Celsius
    Temperature difference: pretty much what it feels like to turn the shower handle .001 nanometers

  66. Andrew Hawkins says:

    Kurzgesagt:*talking about anything*
    no one:
    Kurzgesagt:: WE NEED A MOON BASE

  67. PN Prion says:

    Хах, главный вопрос! Окупит ли себя французский реактор, или просрем на работу магнита миллиарды долларов

  68. WaLlAb33 says:

    Ah yes, the precious tritium

  69. Nimble Nickel says:

    Kurzgesagt, please make a video about fracking! 🙂

  70. kok fah chong says:

    The sun is not a lump of hydrogen gas. High temperatures will only cause atoms to go their separate ways (e.g. outwardly motions). To be honest, the sun produces heat and light through fission on its dense radioisotopes. No doubt that the atmosphere of the sun is enriched with hydrogen and helium gases and this doesn't imply that the sun generates heat and light by fusing hydrogen gas into helium gas. The upper atmosphere of the earth is also enriched with hydrogen and helium gases that derived from proton emission and alpha emission respectively on decaying radioisotopes within the core of the earth. Face this: Einstein's famous equation, E=mc^2 is wrong otherwise garbage also can be used to make nuclear bombs as  long as it is matter or it has mass. Energy and matter can't interchange one another according to Einstein's famous equation. One must have photons before one can emit out photons. Photons are particles and they have mass. All forms of EMWs including light and heat are dynamic photons per volume per time in different saturations. During the detonation of an atomic bomb, gargantuan amount of heat and light have been emitted out. The loss mass during the detonation is equal to all dynamic photons that have been dissipated out during the detonation that released from splitting nuclei of uranium-235 atoms. Therefore without any doubt that photons have mass. Capturing those dynamic photons will cause severe change in momentum therefore a "typhoon-like" winds blew outwardly from the zero-ground. Einstein's famous equation is the foundation of modern physics. If Einstein's famous equation is wrong or not true, this will bring the downfall of the entire modern physics. Fusion is a "bluff"! It only takes place during the last phase of the implosion of the entire universe before Big Bang. Only dense and very dense stable elements will be churned out during the last phase of implosion of the universe. As the universe expanding further, those used-to-be stable elements will eventually turn into radioisotopes after the angular momentum of their nucleons is no longer able to resist the strong repulsive forces among protons within their nuclei. Decaying on those dense radioisotopes will emit out intense heat and light, this will cause the emergence of stars within the universe. If you are interested in real discoveries, I would recommend you to read my book, The Unification Theory – Volume One and you will be amazed with lots of new, interesting discoveries. In God I trust.

  71. Derino k says:

    1:48 ..hah..ha DBZ fusion dance….

  72. Ali Mushrif says:

    Amazing job

  73. Ben Dover says:

    Ya know we wouldn’t have so mutch of a down side if we used thorium instead of uranium or plutonium and there wouldn’t be a catastrophic melt down if you used thorium

  74. Jason Bentley says:

    "unlimited energy for everyone" … who ever owns the first fusion plants will probably become the worlds first trillioinaire. Think about it, how expensive is it to get a cup of sea water vs a barrel of oil… Initial investment will be huge sure but cost of running it seems so cheap you could say its almost free…besides labor, taxes, and cost of replacement parts, and cost of fuel there doesn't seem to be much in the way of operation cost… so where do I invest???

  75. Markimus says:

    The eventual discovery of fusion power could be the reason we haven't spotted any dyson spheres. There's just no reason to.

  76. Marqan says:

    So to put it simply in plasma state the protons are contantly yelling "no homo"?

  77. aara555720 says:

    I doubt it will truly be free energy
    Government will find a way to nationalize/corner the market and put a tax on our energy usage, close to our current electric bill

  78. Rock Hill ER slendy Tubbies says:

    Well we don't have the technology to do this yet like Fusion reactors

  79. Mystic Dragon says:

    Kurzgezagt: can we bottle a star?
    Me: that sounds like something a drunk person would say

  80. alaslfasf asfasjfsaf says:

    moruq 10 milyarı buna verceğime saraya altın sandalye alırım aq

  81. Lisp says:

    1:12 when your crush likes you back

  82. Eric Lee says:

    Why are all the comments talking about the US military expenditure

  83. David Cuellar says:

    “Cost” so f*ck capitalism is what you’re saying

  84. Delphineas says:

    I'm really disappointed by this. hat I wanted to know is how we CONVERT the energy from fusion into a usable form. Same principle as steam turbines, or something else?

  85. lush push says:

    No spider man reference

  86. Pist0n says:

    That Wallace & Gromit reference at 3:44 pushed me back in my chair

  87. Daniel Bojidarov says:

    imagine slipping a bottle into that thing :0

  88. John Papiewski says:

    If you think tokamaks are it, you're stuck with tritium and He3 – low hanging fruit that's easy to fuse. There are other methods that can burn D-D, P-B11 and other more practical fuels. As well as producing fewer neutrons, which turn your expensive reactor into brittle junk in a matter of months.

  89. Adrian Cremenea says:

    ?How much is worth the answer to the "problem" unlimited free clean energy, a device that turns one glass of water to produce more energy than a barrel of petrol?

  90. Neeraj Sonu says:

    The last advertising part is actually 2X times faster!😂

  91. Alice Argentino says:

    Very imuyte

  92. Charlotte Done says:

    you should mack a video on terrorforming

  93. Jeremy Allen says:

    I've created a word which lead to the idea which came the invention of a field of energy which I call hypernetics although in stable and un proven if set fourth cant be strapped as a Juggernaut but if could be harnessed correctly would be unlimited power forever with no complex contraptions just timing and timing and timing the only way to precisely stop the force exactly with the exact amount of energy

  94. Flydrop88 says:

    People have to realize that fission is still a great, maybe the best, type of energy we have nowadays… Yes, fusion looks good and might be the best in the future, but for now fission is still much better than any other energy type, including the clean ones. Just look at the numbers, there is pretty much no downside, besides the high price (which would be much lower if people weren't so scared about it).

  95. Peridot says:

    maybe you can make a video on the hydrogen economy

  96. aum pnw says:

    "Renewables" are failed technology requiring massive resource extraction at a loss and using fossil fuels to prop themselves up. A complete joke and fission reactors are already safer and actually work.

  97. Doggyhouz LA says:

    Mine as try. 10bil only

  98. Coda Reaves says:

    An unlimited energy producer that runs on water and moon dust sounds pretty badass to me.

  99. 100K Subscribers Without Any Videos Challange says:

    Read my name and please help me! 😀

  100. Ni To says:

    2:24 I found the German word

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