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Home > Student Gazette > Sustainable Development

Helium 3 Fusion Energy from the Moon

Alex K. , Laura C.

30 June 2010





Helium 3 is an irregular form (isotope) of helium that is non-radioactive. It is used in nuclear fusion testing to create an alternative energy source. Nuclear fusion energy from helium 3 would give the world clean energy with no toxic waste. Instead, nuclear fission, the current type of nuclear energy, leaves a lot of long-term toxic waste. Helium 3 comes from strong solar winds. There are theories that there is a bigger source of Helium 3 on the moon and in small portions on the solar system’s gas giants, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune. Helium 3 was first discovered by an Australian nuclear scientist in 1934 at Cambridge. We feel that the use of helium 3 is a great idea because of the good ways it could be put to use for the benefit of the earth.

A man named Michel Laberge made a machine that, with the use of nuclear fusion, can use the helium three as an energy source. He and his team are working on using perfecting this machine.

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Home-Brewed Fusion
General Fusion’s proof-of-concept device in the company’s austere headquarters, in Burnaby, British Columbia John B. Carnett

The research has gotten $2 million dollars from the parliament in Canada. If Michel Laberge succeeds he will almost certainly be a Nobel Prize winner. Michel Laberge says that the research will take up to six years for the machine to work.

If helium 3 could be turned into an affordable energy source, it would be one of the best discoveries in the history of mankind for several reasons. For example, a reusable source that could replace oil and gas with the use of helium 3 would be great for the eco-system because that would mean less pollution and a cheaper energy source. Another good thing about helium 3 is that even though it comes from solar winds, it is not radioactive, so helium 3 would be a safe energy source.

The way helium 3 is turned into power is through using nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion happens when two ions of helium 3collide at such a high speed that an electrostatic repulsion is formed and broken fast enough for the ions to fuse together and form a bigger atom. That atom is so big that it creates a massive amount of heat. Another wonderful and amazing thing about helium 3 is that the machine made by Michel Laberge’s doesn’t need any additional power. It’s powered by its own magnets in the machine and the heat energy created by the Helium three.

There are two main reasons why helium 3 is not being used on a large scale already. One is that nuclear fusion reactors are only in the experimental stage now. They are not efficient enough yet to replace nuclear fission reactors. Also, governments and/or private industries need to perfect space travel to start work-sites on the moon in order to retrieve the helium 3 from the moon’s soil. In conclusion, helium 3would be a world changing invention if it is able to be used successfully in the near six to eight years. It is free to use, free to manufacture, renewable, won’t run out, and it would cause less pollution in the world. It would be a great investment for the world to choose.

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Bibliography

Dean, Josh. “ Machine Might Save World.” http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-12/machine-might-save-world 2008.