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Kevin Jacobson

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Why can't we achieve fusion with normal Hydrogen(Protium)?

In fusion research, experiments are almost always done using Deuterium-Deuterium reactions or Deuterium-Tritium reactions, but why can't reactions be achieved with Protium, the most common isotope of Hydrogen which makes up most of our sea water?

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  • Feb 4 2013: physics This has been going on for years and never got close Even when I was a graduate student. My advisor told me that maybe it will never work.
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    Feb 4 2013: it can be done, but the problem is, the reaction is way more complex, much slower, needs higher temperature and thus unfeasible with present technology. the main problem is that two protons does not form a nucleus. you need neutrons to make stable helium. so a series of fusion reactions have to take place, through unstable intermediary elements like He-3. all this happens in a reaction chamber flooded with high energy gamma photons, electrons and positrons, which constantly bombard the newly formed and highly excited nuclei, cracking them before they can settle down. to make it work, you need a very hot and high density plasma.

    much more feasible to feed the fusion with deuterium and tritium. rare they might be, but extracting them from seawater is not *that* difficult.