El mito de la fusión

Francia se apresura a construir el Reactor Termonuclear Experimental Internacional (ITER), que supuestamente demostrará que la fusión puede usarse para alimentar plantas de energía nuclear. Frecuentemente se presenta al ITER como la solución de largo plazo al problema del calentamiento global porque la fusión nuclear puede ser una fuente infinita y limpia de energía. Pero el ITER no hará nada semejante.

En las reacciones de fisión de las que depende actualmente la generación de energía nuclear, los elementos pesados como el uranio se descomponen en elementos más pequeñas, mientras que en la fusión nuclear los elementos pequeños como el hidrógeno se unen y forman elementos más pesados (helio). Tanto la fisión como la fusión producen abundante energía.

Algunos líderes políticos explican que la fusión nuclear existe en el sol y que gracias al ITER la controlaremos. Frecuentemente agregan que, puesto que la fusión consume hidrógeno, que puede encontrarse en el agua de mar, es una fuente infinita de energía.

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