Our future energy needs are likely to come from fusion reactors – a potentially highly efficient and relatively clean technology. When two light atomic nuclei fuse they form a heavier nucleus and release a large amount of energy. Most reactors use deuterium, which can be extracted from seawater, and tritium, which is in natural lithium deposits. The EU has already spent some €40m on its giant Iter research project in southern France.
Now Lockheed Martin says it can build a reactor small enough to fit on a truck within a year. This could be fitted to a submarine or aircraft carrier in ten years. Strangely, Lockheed’s secret labs is called ‘Skunk Works’ – let’s hope there’s a no smoking policy there!